Friday, September 30, 2016

"Katy-Anne Bellis" by Hooton Tennis Club

I'm an active guy, and I make it a point to exercise in some fashion every day.  Of course, doing the same thing every day gets stale, so I like to mix it up -- running, biking, gym, kayaking, skiing, hiking and other stuff as available.  I've also been know to play a bit of tennis, and like other enthusiasts for the game, I have my favorite venues.  My current tennis club of choice is Hooton Tennis Club.  The Liverpool foursome's central feature is scrappy guitar pop with a solid melodic core and a big, upbeat sound.  This is rock and roll on the fun side, and we love them for it.

Hooton Tennis Club is releasing a new album titled Big Box Of Chocolates on October 21 via Heavenly Recordings.  Our first taste is via "Katy-Anne Bellis", a tribute to a former housemate of on of the members of the band.  Check it out below in video or streaming formats.

Oh, did you really expect information about tennis?  Not today -- just go for a run.  That's what I'm going to do.  But I'll listen to Big Box Of Chocolates, so there will be a smile on my face.

Heavenly Recordings

Thursday, September 29, 2016

"Meteors In Gorges" by Through The Sparks

It seems to me that everything recorded by Through The Sparks (in case I hadn't mentioned it before, great name for a rock band) is not only excellent music, but also is a testament to the beautiful adventure that is rock and roll.  The band has a big toolbox, not only instrumentally, but also stylistically.  They are as adept at West Coast guitar pop and '70s glam as they are southern rock.  Their vocals feature big choruses riding the waves of guitar, percussion and synths.  The songwriting is sharp and audacious.  It is hard to imagine a band being trippy, groovy, swaggering and heady at the same time, but these guys pull it off.

The latest offering from Through The Sparks is the new single "Meteors In Gorges".  It starts with a spare, pulsing synth, then adding a big, sexy groove and talk-sing vocals.  The sound builds with synths at the high end, eventually bringing in a six-woman chorus for the big finish.  Spin it below and find it at the links or your favorite digital retailer.

For "Meteors In Gorges" Through The Sparks" are Jody Nelson (guitar/vocals), Greg Slamen (keys/bass), Mikey Leon Williams (drums), with backing vocals by Andrea Paschal, Lindsay Ellinas, Mandy Graffeo, Jacklyn Loquidis Hamric, Janet Simpson, and Rebekah Fox.  The single was produced by the band, Daniel Farris and Jeffrey Cain, and released via Communicating Vessels.

Communicating Vessels page for "Meteors In Gorges"
Communicating Vessels
Bandcamp for previous releases

Beach Slang - A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings

A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings is a descriptive title.  The new album from Beach Slang is a rush of melodic but noisy rock, infused with a teenager's sensibility of living for the moment and washing away uncertainties and anxieties with, well, what teenagers do.  At times the style is pleasantly reminiscent of The Replacements, at other times it slides into shoegaze.  There is rage, a bit of reflection, and a good dose of romanticism.  It is that last element, and some very adept lyrical touches, that give the album its warmth and connection.  Cathartic? Surely.  But for catharsis to work for more than a momentary rush, the audience has to feel it, not just hear it.  That is a tough challenge for a band, but we think Beach Slang pulls it off here.

A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings is out now via Polyvinyl Records.  The band begins a five week tour in early October.  The dates and locations are at the bottom of this post.

Bandcamp for A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings

10/6 -- Boston, MA -- Royale
10/8 -- Philadelphia, PA -- Project Pabst Citywide Festival @ Electric Factory
10/11 -- Washington, DC -- Black Cat 
10/12 -- Virginia Beach, VA -- Shaka's
10/13 -- West Columbia, SC -- New Brookland Tavern
10/14 -- Orlando, FL -- Blackbooth**
10/15 -- Jacksonville, FL -- Jack Rabbits
10/16 -- Atlanta, GA -- The Masquerade (Hell)
10/18 -- Nashville, TN -- The Basement East
10/19 -- Louisville, KY -- Zanzabar
10/20 -- Newport, KY -- The Southgate House Revival
10/21 -- Cleveland, OH -- Grog Shop
10/22 -- Pittsburgh, PA -- Cattivo
10/24 -- Columbus, OH -- Rumba Cafe
10/25 -- Bloomington, IN -- The Bishop
10/26 -- St. Louis, MO -- Old Rock House
10/28 -- Minneapolis, MN -- Triple Rock Social Club
10/29 -- Maquoketa, IA -- Codfish Hollow
10/30 -- Omaha, NE -- Reverb Lounge
10/31 -- Kansas City, MO -- The Tank Room
11/01 -- Fayetteville, AR -- George's Majestic Lounge
11/02 -- Oklahoma City, OK -- 89th Street Collective
11/4-6 -- Austin, TX -- Sound on Sound Festival

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"Staying Up At Night" by Dag

Modern life makes many demands.  At any point in the day my mind is multi-tasking on various projects that require immediate attention, while dealing with the clutter of secondary demands, random noise, additional scheduling demands and the need to have a life.  Sometimes music has to take a back seat to all that.  But other times a song cuts through the clutter like a sharp knife, with a melody that burrows into my brain and lyrics that seem to speak directly to me.  Such a song is "Staying Up At Night" by Melbourne's Dag.  The song is an instant classic of folk-rock melodic melancholy, with a chugging rhythm, a jangling guitar background, and a tinge of country.  Fans of Australian indie will detect favorable parallels to The Go-Betweens and the Cannanes.

Frontman and songwriter Dusty Anastassiou founded the Dag in Brisbane, moved to Melbourne, and now has signed with Bedroom Suck Records.  For the recording, he recruited mates Matt Ford, Josh Watson, and Skye McNicol.  The band's first album, Benefits of Solitude, will be released by Bedroom Suck on February 24, 2017.  The single "Staying Up At Night" is available now from Bedroom Suck Records.

Bedroom Suck Records page for "Staying Up At Night"
Bandcamp for previous releases

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Cleaners From Venus - The Last Boy In The Locarno

What an absolute delight The Last Boy In The Locarno is!  The fifteenth album released under the banner of The Cleaners From Venus, it is yet another generous dose of engaging music from Englishman Martin Newell.  While the overall atmosphere is laid back, the songs are carefully constructed and cleverly detailed.  Moreover, Newall has packed a generous amount of variety among the 12 tracks.  The gems include a tribute to '60s girl groups in opener "The Crystals and Ronettes", dream pop tunes such as "Gorgeous Day" and "Pearl of the Palais", the rhythmic indie rock of "Voodoo Watusi", the shimmering pop of "Time Star", street corner '50s stylings on "Eight O'Clock Angel", classic Cleaners From Venus jangle pop of "Victorian Doll", the wonderful country-tinged "My Life In Film".  And there is more, and all of good.  The Last Boy In The Locarno is like a set of nesting boxes with wonderful gifts at every level.  It is an album to enjoy at first listen, and then find even greater joy as you find more to love at each replay.

The Last Boy In The Locarno is out now via Soft Bodies Records.  I expect everyone will go immediately to the Bandcamp link below and purchase the CD or digital version.  But if you are one of those skeptical types you can stream a few track below.  If you are even more distrustful, you can stream the entire album at the Bandcamp link.

Martin Newell's website
Soft Bodies Records

Monday, September 26, 2016

Howe Gelb - Sno Angel Like You

A decade ago country musician Howe Gelb, who also records as Giant Sand, traveled from his southern Arizona home to Ottawa, Canada to record a project called Sno Angel.  Sno Angel was comprised of Gelb singing his loose-jointed country compositions with backing vocals by a Canadian Gospel Choir called Voices Of Praise.  The recording included seven songs composed for the Sno Angel project, three covers of Giant Sand songs, and three songs by the late slide guitarist Rainer Ptacek.  The album was slyly titled Sno Angel Like You.  The combination of Gelb's earthy sandpaper-soaked-in-Drambuie lead vocals, the evocative stories embodied in the songs, and the Gospel stylings of the backing vocals make for a transcendent listening experience.  The performances are bursting with life, with the performers playing off each other's contributions with building energy.  The production is amazingly clean, with the vocals high in the mix, as they should be.

For Gelb fans, I think this collection is a 'must have'.  But I submit that this is pretty close to a 'must have' for the collection of any music fan who isn't wedded to one narrow genre.  I've included streams of several album tracks below, and you can stream the entire album at the Bandcamp link

Sno Angel Like You is available now in a deluxe reissue on 3 CDs or 2 LPs.

Bandcamp for Sno Angel Like You
Facebook for Howe Gelb
Fire Records page for Howe Gelb

Sunday, September 25, 2016

"1057" by Jasmine Sokko

Jasmine Sokko is a fresh voice from Singapore.  The songwriter, vocalist and producer is making her mark with her new disco shaded single, the eminently danceable "1057".  We have it here in video form as well as a Soundcloud stream.  By the way, the title of the song is intended to be a representation of the word 'lost'.  We hope to hear much more of that voice.


No Monster Club - Where Did You Get That Milkshake

Oh happy days -- we have a new record from Dublin's No Monster Club.  Where Did You Get That Milkshake only has four tracks, but Bobby Aherne packs so much melody and fun in every track that no one will complain, and we're always happy to feature them (most recently his fine I Feel Magic album here).  Bobby's brand of music is art pop played by the Beach Boys on amphetamines with additional toy instruments to freshen the sound.  It is euphoric, upbeat, surreal and irresistible.

And in our opinion, Where Did You Get That Milkshake is a very special edition of No Monster Club's deluxe tunesmithing.  Starting with the surf pop opener "Do The Mess Around" and closing with "Hippocampus Circus Maximus", it offers four A-side quality tunes.  You can stream both the songs named above in this post, but for a real dose of fun, view the video for "Do The Mess Around".  A lurid, blood soaked tale of double-crossing and an unfortunate encounter with a depraved weirdo, all played for dark laughs, it begs for repeated views.  And of course you can listen to the entire album at the Bandcamp link below.

You can find the digital version of the EP at the Bandcamp link, and the vinyl at the Emotional Response Records link.  If you are in the UK or Ireland, Norman Records is your source.

And for the United States contingent of readers, No Monster Club has invaded us for nine shows.  See the dates and locations of the seven remaining shows at the bottom of this post.

Bandcamp for Where Did You Get That Milkshake (for digital)
Emotional Response page for release (for vinyl 7")
Norman Records (UK purchase)

9/26 Pinky Swear, Chicago, IL
9/27 Stone Tavern at Michel’s, Kent, OH
9/28 Coyote Joe’s, Dubois, PA
9/29 The Dev, Utica, NY
9/30 Midnight at Otto’s Shrunken Head, Manhattan, NY
9/2 Candy Apple Island, Bloomfield, NJ
10/5 New Funky Jungle, Providence, RI