Friday, June 23, 2017

Suss Cunts - Suss Cunts

Of all that we've known in our lives, the Suss Cunts are the finest, sussiest, C..... WAIT, STOP ... Ok, that may be the last time we let one of our interns write the lead in for a feature.  Yes, this Sydney/Melbourne trio is sex-positive, but we we aren't going to win the Pulitzer Prize if we toss around words like "cunt".  Oh, I did it.  Never mind -- we can always aim for the prize next year.

OK, personal hopes and dreams dashed, what can we do for a promising young indie band?  Well, we can tell you that their self-titled five-song record is clever, danceable, and full of attitude (but only towards guys that deserve it, we're sure).  And it also walks the pop side of pop punk in a way that makes it a worthy consideration for any summer party playlist.  Certainly more worthy than our Pulitzer dreams, apparently.  So in our expert opinion as curators of summer tunes for decades (yes, we are that old individually and collectively) you need this little record and you need it now.  And think of that great moment when it is time to cue up some music, and you say 'lets play the Suss Cunts'.  You'll probably have more attention than you had the entire day up until that point.  You can thank us later.

Suss Cunts are Nina Renee (guitar/vocals), Tahlia Eastman (drums), and Helena Holmes (bass/vocals).  The record was originally released as a cassette, but now is available in vinyl and digital formats via Emotional Response Records.

Bandcamp for digital version of EP
Emotional Response page for vinyl

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hollow Everdaze - Cartoons

Cartoons?  Who doesn't love cartoons?  We all have our favorites, and finding a new one is a treat that makes us feel young again (a feeling more valued every year, we admit).  And now we have a set of musical Cartoons, courtesy of Hollow Everdaze.  Australia's reservoir of guitar pop bands appears to be deep and wide, and this band is the latest to wow us.  It seems to us that these guys simply love music.  They aren't locked into a narrow channel of expression, and are equally adept at woozy psychedelic pop (check out the title track below),  psychedelic Beatlemania ("Poisoned by Nostalgia"), lush dream pop (for example, "Running Away"), and retro '60s psyche pop (prime example, the totally wonderful "Warcry").  The songwriting is excellent and varied, the lyrics incisive.  And with a violin and cello in their arsenal, the arrangements are never lacking in sonic heft.  All around, the craftsmanship on this debut is stunning.  Every time we play this album (and we play it so much that at this point the guys in the next office suite sing along), we discover another detail that we hadn't fully appreciated before.

We know that there is a lot of music demanding your attention, but ignoring Cartoons would be a loser's choice.  Don't be a loser.  Besides, just think of the psychic lift you'll get when the guy next to you on the bus nudges you and when you pull out your ear bud and he asks you what you are listening to, you simply answer "Cartoons", and replace your earbuds and stare into the distance with a smile on your face.

Hollow Everdaze are Daniel Baulch (vocals/guitar/drums/keys), Myles Anderson (violin), Jackson Kay (bass/keys), James Turner (drums), and Dylan Young (keys).  Additional contributions on the album came from Tim Karmouche, John Lee, Zachary Schneider, and Chriss Monn.  Cartoons is out June 23 via Melbourne label Deaf Ambitions.

Deaf Ambitions page for Cartoons

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lea Porcelain - Hymn to the Night

Hymn to the Night, by London/Berlin duo Lea Porcelain, is constructed of cinematic, swirling soundscapes, alternating with intense, almost claustrophobic periods of intimacy.  Periods of balladry are bracketed by industrial walls of sound, Joy Division-style intensity and post-punk introspection.  The atmosphere is weighty, and the perspective a bit grim.  But more often than not, the music soars on a wave of synths, and satisfies on the strength of dynamic arrangements and appealing melodic coherence.  This is a very solid debut, and promises very good things for the future.

Lea Porcelain is Julien Bracht and Markus Nikolaus.  Hymn to the Night is out now.


"Nervous" by Matias Aguayo & The Desdemonas

We've become quite enamored of Crammed Discs, the Belgian label that finds all manner if interesting, and not infrequently off-kilter, music that thrills us, and usually prompts us to start dancing.  One of their most recent additions is Matias Aguayo & The Desdemonas, formed by Berlin-based Chilean musician Matias Aguayo.  According to press reports the music is inspired by music Aguayo listened to as a teenager.  The band's debut LP for Crammed Discs, Sofarnopolis, will be out in October, but we have peek into the works with the throbbing psychedelic electro pop track "Nervous".  Supposedly it is about a nightly encounter with a girl floating in purple light.  While it may cause one to wonder just what Matias was listening to as a teenager, the song is a keeper.  Take a listen and decide whether it makes you nervous.

In addition to Aguayo (guitar and vocals), the band is Henning Specht (keys), Gregorio Gomez (guitar), and Matteo Scrimali (drums)

Crammed Discs

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Cattle - Slow Sailor EP

I'll admit that we spent some time here at WYMA headquarters discussing why a band from Japan would call themselves Cattle, but like we do with most tough questions, we gave up and ordered pizza when an acceptable answer wasn't readily forthcoming.  However, neither our ruminations nor our subsequent admission of defeat interrupted our repeated plays of Slow Sailor, the five-song EP that Cattle has released via Jigsaw Records.  On what is their second EP overall, this band displays a deft hand with combining dreampop and noise pop.  It is melodic, crunchy and hook-filled, with soaring female vocals.  With four original songs and a smashing cover of Ride's "Twisterella", it will give you an energy jolt that will make your next Starbucks run unnecessary.

Stream a few songs below, and stream and buy the entire Slow Sailor EP at the Bandcamp link.  Jigsaw Records keeps finding gems, and we love them for it.

Bandcamp for EP

Monday, June 19, 2017

"Sexyland" by Crepes

Melbourne's Crepes are promising an LP.  I don't think we have a date, but we still can hope it is soon.  And while we are hoping, we can enjoy the band's new single "Sexyland".  Boasting a big beat and catchy groove, it has a sly swagger and a sweet melody.  It reminds us of the '70s, but in a good way.

Crepes are Tim Karmouche, Nick Robbins, Pat Robbins, Jackson Dahlenburg, and Sam Cooper.  "Sexyland" and the debut album are to be released by Melbourne label Deaf Ambitions.


The Popguns - Sugar Kisses

On Sugar Kisses, the second full length from The Popguns since their resurrection in 2012, the band proves as adept as ever in crafting bittersweet indie pop, and have even filled out the sound with Kate Mander adding her voice to harmonize with frontwoman Wendy Pickles.  And unsurprisingly, they have added some additional maturity and perspective to the songwriting.  But the album finds the band unwilling rely only on that traditional strength and listeners aiming for nostalgia.  So here melancholy janglers like the wonderful showcase song "So Long" are balanced by the robust tracks such as "We Don't Go Round There Anymore", "A Dream Of Her Own", "Gene Machine", "Fire Away", and the glorious "Finished With The Past".  The variety and quality of execution shows this Brighton band to be as vital, energetic and aggressive as are many new bands trying to make there way in music.  The difference is that The Popguns are pros at this, and it shows.  Wendy Pickles' voice still impresses with its power and range, but even more intriguing to any careful listener is her nuanced touch with the emotional content of the songs.  The result is an album as strong as any the band has done, and it will serve as a summer mix tape for the discerning indie pop fan.  Pop the champagne corks for The Popguns -- they have earned it!

The Popguns are Wendy Pickles, Simon Pickles, Greg Dixon, Pat Walkington, Tony Bryant, and Kate Mander.  Sugar Kisses is out now via Matinee Recordings.

Bandcamp for Sugar Kisses
Matinee Recordings page for Sugar Kisses

Thursday, June 15, 2017

GospelbeacH - Another Summer of Love

It seems to us that one of the best things music can do for us is evoke memories and emotions.  And one of the most evocative albums I've listened to in a long time is Another Summer of Love by Southern California's GospelbeacH.  According to head man Brent Rademaker, the concept behind the album is a California country rock band about to lose their record contract and making a record to try and get radio play to stay alive in the game.  And certainly the album works on that level.  But the magic of music is that for me it works in ways that Brent did not, and need not consider.  For me, Another Summer of Love reminds me of a certain time in my life when summer days involved finding young women willing to head out in a boat or march to the back of the dunes with a bottle of wine, and nights were filled with climbing into my best friend's car and heading to the Ravenna Ballroom or some other teenage hangout with the air bristling with the kind of electricity that a group of young people out on the prowl create.  In those days we listened to music virtually nonstop, and the bulk of it was the sort of country-tinged California indie rock that GospelbeacH has mastered, as well as a healthy dose of Stax soul and R&B.  So Brent and his collaborators got the time and vibe exactly right, and gave me a flood of great memories.  It even prompted me to contact my old wingman, living in the opposite corner of the country, to relive the days when we thought we were becoming legends.

The foregoing doesn't mean that Another Summer of Love is a nostalgia piece.  This is timeless left coast rock, and it will never be unwelcome to those who love guitar pop.  The stories are vivid and true, the performances top-notch, and the variety reveals a songwriter with a comprehensive knowledge and love of guitar pop.  I wouldn't have been surprised to see Chris Hillman, J.D. Souther and the Poco boys in the credits.  But Brent and company are so good, they didn't need them.

Brent Rademaker's background includes Beachwood Sparks, The Tyde and in his deep past, Further, in addition to other projects.  For this album, his core collaborators were Jason Soda and Johnny Neimann.  Another Summer of Love is out this week on vinyl, CD and digital formats via Alive Natural Sounds Records.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sammy Brue - I Am Nice

You all are invited to a teenager's coming out party.  We're talking about Ogden-based Portlander Sammy Brue.  The young man is 16 years old, but writes with the sophistication and observational skills of a much more experienced man, and sings with the phrasing of an long-performing troubadour.  The platform for the party is his new album I Am Nice, although amazingly his two previous EPs were noteworthy as well.

Brue's style touches on folk, Americana, country, garage, and a bit of '60s retro (e.g. "Was I The Only One" and ("I See, I Hear").  One could say he's a young Dylan, but no one deserves to bear that burden.  Moreover, Brue doesn't mine the political and social commentary veins, but rather writes about actual or possible relationships with a keen eye, empathetic tone, and sly sense of humor.  I invite you to watch the lyric video below for "I Never Said" for a view to the young man's knack for lyrics, melody and delivery.  I feel safe in saying that most musicians don't hit that level in their entire career.  And to embellish the praise, I should add that Sammy wrote some of these songs several years ago (I guess one has more time when one is too young to drive).  Moreover, while Brue is brilliant on the slower-paced songs, he can rock out with panache, as evidenced by "Covered In Blood" and "Control Freak" (the latter inspired by an interview with Kurt Cobain).

My favorite songs are "Was I The Only One", "I Never Said", "Control Freak", but every song is a keeper.  The production is superb and ably enhance Sammy's performances.  If you don't get this album, you'll see it on 2017 lists in six months and feel foolish.  Don't be foolish.

I Am Nice is out on June 16 via New West Records.

New West Records

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

"Lucky" by Life Model

Glasgow guitar pop band Life Model's Lucky EP won't be available until July 21, but you can get a taste right now by listening to the stellar title track.  If you like it, watch this space for more information about the EP in the coming weeks.

Life Model are Sophie Evans, Chris Smith, Joanne McCafferty, and Michael McDonald.  The EP will be released by Frux Tapes in digital and cassette formats.

Frux Tapes

Monday, June 12, 2017

"When I Dance With You" by The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart"

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart ("POBPAH") shouldn't need any introduction to the readers of and indie blog, so I won't waste your time writing one.  But we all know that when Kip Berman is on his game, he dishes out top of the class dreamy, concise indie pop that favorably recalls The Pastels and our C86 favorites.  Today POBPAH shared the second song from their upcoming album, and it once again reminds us that this band is as sharp and relevant today as they were when they burst on the scene in the '00s.  Enjoy "When I Dance With You" below.  The song is about the comfort one finds in love despite uncertainties concerning the future.

The new album, Echo of Pleasure, is due September 1 via the band's Painbow Records.  POBPAH is touring this month and in September and October.  Dates and venues are listed below.

Painbow Records pre-order page


Wednesday, June 14 -- Boston, MA -- The Sinclair *%
Thursday, June 15 -- New Portsmouth, NH -- 3S Artspace *%
Friday, June 16 -- Montreal, QC - Bar Le Ritz *%
Saturday, June 17 -- Toronto, ON -- The Horseshoe Tavern *%
Monday, June 19 -- Cleveland, OH -- The Grog Shop *%
Tuesday, June 20 -- Detroit, MI -- El Club *%
Thursday, June 22 -- Minneapolis, MN -- 7th St Entry *#
Friday, June 23 -- Madison, WI -- High Noon Saloon  *#
Saturday, June 24 -- Chicago, IL -- Lincoln Hall  *#
Sunday, June 25 -- St Louis, MO -- The Firebird  *#
Tuesday, June 27 -- Nashville, TN -- The High Watt *#
Wednesday, June 28 -- Atlanta, GA -- The Earl  *#
Friday, June 30 -- Chapel Hill, NC -- Local 506 *#
Saturday, July 1 -- Washington D.C. -- Rock & Roll Hotel *#
Sunday, July 2 -- Philadelphia, PA -- World Cafe Live Downstairs *#
Friday, September 22 -- Vancouver, BC -- Biltmore Cabaret $&
Saturday, September 23 -- Seattle, WA -- Tractor Tavern $&
Sunday, September 24 -- Portland, OR -- Doug Fir Lounge $&
Tuesday, September 26 -- San Francisco, CA -- The Chapel $&
Wednesday, September 27 -- Los Angeles, CA -- Teragram Ballroom $&
Thursday, September 28 -- San Diego, CA - The Loft UC $&
Sunday, October 15 -- Madrid, Spain -- Joy Slava
Monday, October 16 -- Cordoba, Spain -- Sala Hanger
Tuesday, October 17 -- Granada, Spain -- Lemon Rock
Thursday, October 19 -- Valencia, Spain -- La Rambleta
Friday, October 20 -- Barcelona, Spain -- Bikini
Saturday, October 21 -- Santander, Spain -- Escenario

* = w/ Ablebody
# = w/ Beverly
% = w/ Frankie Rose
$ = w/ The Courtneys
& = w/ The Prids

Red Bum Ball: Rare and Unreleased Rocksteady 1966 - 1968

We are starting out the week with some old music.  Some very old music, packaged for new and old ears alike.  The genre is rocksteady, the Jamaican musical form that provided the brief bridge between ska and reggae in the later half of the '60s.  Taking rhythms of ska, slowing them down, adding elements of American R&B, and emphasizing the bass guitar and vocal harmonies, the rocksteady period produced numerous beautiful songs.  Labels have released numerous rocksteady compilations in the digital era, but we are always happy to listen to a new one, especially from a respected label such as London's Pressure Sounds.

Which brings us to Red Bum Ball: Rare And Unreleased Rocksteady 1966 - 1968.  For this compilation, Pressure Sounds has assembled 20 rocksteady  tunes produced by Derrick Morgan, and recorded with Lyn Taitt & The Jets as the backing band.  The vocals were provided by various artists, including several by Derrick Morgan himself.  The aspect of this compilation which elevates it above a number of other rocksteady compilations and into the 'recommended' status, other than the quality of the tracks themselves, is its uniqueness.  While the material on many compilations overlap, Pressure Sounds took the harder road of selecting songs that were rare, and even unreleased, while still having the quality to justify inclusion on a record 50 years after recording.  The result will please any casual fan of Jamaican musical styles, and likely will be essential for any serious collector.

Bandcamp for album
Pressure Sounds Records
Pressure Sounds on Twitter
Pressure Sounds on Soundcloud

Thursday, June 8, 2017

"Pulling All The Facts Together" by The Stevens

Well, you all probably were hoping that the next post about The Stevens was going to discuss their new album.  After all, a month ago we teased you with "Chancer" the first song from Good.  But the release date is still five weeks in the future.  However, not all is doom and gloom, because the Melbourne quartet has released another album track - "Pulling All The Facts Together".  Stitching together observations about electronic snooping with snippets of morning TV, the song embodies the band's melodic brand of lo-fi indie rock, which wouldn't be out of place on a Guided by Voices stage.

The Stevens are Travis MacDonald, Alex Macfarlane, Gus Lord, and Matt Harkin.  Good will be released July 14 available via Chapter Music.

Chapter Music

Beach Fossils - Somersault

Somersault is a very welcome return by Beach Fossils.  Four years between albums is long time for an indie band, and such extended hiatuses don't always signal good creative juices.  But we are happy to report that Beach Fossils return in extremely good shape.  In fact, we are joking around here that the title of the album may be a nod to the somersaults of barely restrained joy that fans will execute upon hearing this great set of songs.  At least we think it is a joke, but maybe not.

The opening chords of "This Year" suggest that we are in familiar Beach Fossils territory -- intimate guitar pop with hooks and harmonies.  But as the track, and the album, reveal themselves we are treated to a richer arsenal of ideas and sonic tools, and a more precise execution. The variety is impressive, with lush, hazy songs offset by more urgent tracks and robust rhythms. And the band expands their reach even further with guest vocalist Rachel Goswell of Slowdive on "Tangerine" and Cities Aviv on "Rise". The songwriting is crisp and focused, and the band plays with confidence. The songs are layered, but not fussy, and the vibe is perfect summery warmth. Clearly, Beach Fossils have used their 'down time' very wisely, and that is great news for us fans.

Beach Fossils are Dustin Payseur, Tommy Davidson, and Jack Smith. Somersault is out now via Payseur's own Bayonet Records


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Introducing: Poolshop

We feel in love today.  No, it isn't our first time, but it feels real, and right.  With whom?  A musician from Brisbane, Australia named Jaimee Fryer.  Jaimee is lead guitarist and vocalist for Major League, which alone could result in "crush" status.  But now Jaimee also launched a solo project as Poolshop.  Building on her talents as a singer and guitarist, Poolshop treks in the shoegaze/guitar pop/dreampop in particularly delightful fashion.  Check out our new love with the the dreamy "How Long", which is available as a 'name your price' download, and the excellent "You're Alright Alone".

We can't wait for Valentines Day!


Aquaserge - Laisse ca etre

If you have adventuresome musical tastes, Laisse ca etre may be your delight of the month.  The latest work from Aquaserge, a collective from southern France, blends together ideas from jazz, French films, folk, Krautrock, psychedelia, progressive rock, vintage pop and other elements from around the globe.  With a cinematic feel that would slot in nicely as the soundtrack for an indie film, the songs sprawl generously with a variety of concepts and plenty of delightful left turns.  But despite the rapidly shifting rhythms, time signatures and instrumentation, the band has a breathtaking ability to perform with absolute precision.  This is pop music with a brain, a heart, and the spirit of a global backpacker.  Climb on, it is a wonderful ride.

Including members of Tame Impala, Stereolab and Melody's Echo Chamber, Aquaserge was founded by Julien Barbagallo, Julien Gasc and Benjamin Gilbert, and now includes Audrey Ginestet and Manon Gilbert, among others.

Laisse ca etre is out now via Almost Musique in France and Crammed Discs in the rest of the world.

Bandcamp for album
Crammed Discs

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Mt. Doubt - The Loneliness of the TV Watchers

Leo Bargery's Mt. Doubt project is back to bring us their latest set of indie rock ballads, and the material is a little bit as before and a little bit different.  On The Loneliness of the TV Watchers Leo's expressive baritone remains, and the themes remain dark.  But the arrangements and, at times, the tempo, inject a welcome dose of pop smarts and energy.  The result is a five song set that is the most consistent and accessible of the band's two year career to date, and presents a very solid case for following Mt. Doubt as it continues to grow.

The EP commences with the sprawling "A Natural Swimmer", on which Leo balances the fatalistic subject with a decidedly uptempo. pop-oriented arrangement.  "Tourist" follows with a dose of humor, as well as providing the most indie pop moments of the EP.  Not wanting us to start pigeonholing the band as 'former rockers', "Reference Books" arrives next to remind us that the '80s and '90s did exist, and we enjoyed grunge.  "Purity" then provides a nice change of pace, both down-tempo and a bit downtrodden; life is like that sometimes, and Leo doesn't want us to forget it.  The grand finish is provided by "Soft Furnishings", a sprawling piano track that builds nicely as we are warned to avoid the temptation of giving up and getting all too comfortable not trying.  In our view there isn't a weak track in the set, but you can test that below and at the Bandcamp link.

The Loneliness of the TV Watchers is out now in digital and CD formats via Scottish Fiction.

Bandcamp for EP
Scottish Fiction

Monday, June 5, 2017

Australian Popfest Compilation

One of our favorite little labels, Emotional Response Records of Flagstaff, Arizona, continues to delight us with unexpected treasures.  Most recently they released an Australian Popfest Compilations.  Punk, indie pop and electropop coexist on 16 tracks you won't find together elsewhere.  The backstory is that label bosses Jen and Stew lived in Australia for a while, and in 2002 organized a pop festival at Melbourne's Empress Hotel.  This artifact of selected portions of the proceedings in now available at the Bandcamp link below.  A few tracks are here for your listening pleasure -- one punk, one indie pop, and one electro pop.  We like balance.


Young Guv - Traumatic 7"

We wants to start our the new week of musical musings with a sure winner, so we proudly present the Traumatic 7" from Toronto's Young Guv.  Young Guv is the solo project of Ben Cook, whose musical talent wears several guises.  The punk Ben thrills as a member of Fucked Up.  The hardcore Ben gets in your face with No Warning (this sentence worked our better than I expected).  And the power pop, '80s-loving Ben is a Young Guv.  It is also my personal favorite version of Ben, if anyone cares.

A few years ago Young Guv released a fine 8-song album called Ripe 4 Luv (our feature here).  He now has given us "Traumatic" and "It Could Be Me".  The lead track is a bouncy sugar rush of synthy rhythms, guitar and dramatic vocals.  It sounds great at the first listen and gets better with each repeat.  The B-side is smeared power pop with helium vocals and should give you enough energy for the next several hours of whatever activity you have planned.  This week is looking (sounding) pretty damn good already.

Traumatic 7" is available in vinyl and digital formats via Slumberland Records.  See the Bandcamp link for details.

Young Guv on Twitter
Bandcamp for single
Slumberland Records page for single

Saturday, June 3, 2017

School Damage - School Damage

For some band, naming their genre probably doesn't take a committee of experts.  I mean, know one was seriously tempted to label Metallica 'jangle pop', or Orange Juice 'death metal' (although knowing the power of the internet, someone, in their parents' basement, is telling his or her mates that their ticket is playing "Blue Boy" as a death metal song).  But for other bands, there is more of a challenge putting a finger on their own slice of the indie world and giving it a name.  And this -- yes, there really is a point to this -- brings us to the 'wobble pop' of Melbourne's School Damage.  I must confess, I had my doubts about the term, but the keys really do have a wobbling sound.  Fortunately, not only is the wobble both interesting and pleasant, but the rest of the music is damn good as well.

The songs on the band's self-titled debut address the issues of young modern life.  The atmosphere is superficially DIY, as well as alt-bubblegum (hey, we can construct genre labels as well!), but don't be fooled.  The performances are focused and tight.  They can sound like a almost out of control circus band, a bunch of punk thrashers, a taut post punk outfit or a Gothic folk project.  But whatever the guise, it is effortlessly charming and, I suspect, sounds exactly the way the band intends.  So, in keeping with the circus keys, be ready for a wild ride.  But like the circus, you'll be smiling and come back for more.

The band was founded by Carolyn Hawkins (of Chook Race (one of our favorites) and Pronto) and Jake Robertson (of Ausmuteants, Hierophants, Frowning Clouds).  The band has since filled out with Jeff Raty and Dani Damage.  This is their debut album, and it is released on a Chapter Music, which rapidly has become a tastemaker for Melbourne area bands.  Check the Bandcamp link below for a full stream and acquisition details.

By the way, the album was mastered by Mikey Young, because, well, of course it was.  He mixes much of what is good in the world.  I think he mixed my oatmeal this morning, and it was delicious.

Bandcamp for album
Chapter Music page for album

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Pure Conjecture - No Ghosts

It may be pure conjecture on my part, but No Ghosts may be the most subversive indie pop album of the year.  Why subversive?  Because in a music world increasingly bifurcated between manufactured and team-assembled pop on one hand, and scrappy DIY on the other (I'm ignoring classic rock reunion tours and reissues for all sorts of good reasons), The Pure Conjecture takes a highly eclectic band of indie musicians with impressive pedigrees at the scrappy or DIY side of the divide, and creates deliciously bright and smooth pop rock.  Up front rhythms, sweet soul vocals, soaring harmonies, sharp hooks and smooth melodies abound.  The production is warm and crisp, the arrangements full.  If you are looking for a summer album of Northern Soul, washed with sunshine and performed with a reverential nod to the art of Hall & Oates, this is your ticket for the next three months.  We have it on our mobiles, in our cars, and on the home stereo.  It is like the puppy that walks up to you and says "take me home and love me".   Yes, we will.

The band is founded around the songwriting duo of Matthew Eaton and Darren Moon.  They list their location in Cardiff, Wales, but the members come from various points in Wales, England and Scotland.  For this album, The Pure Conjecture are Matthew Eaton (vocals/guitar), Darren Moon (vocals/guitar), Matthew Twaites (synths), Rose Elinor Dougall (vocals/piano), Johny Lamb (horns), Marc Geatty (bass), and Joel Gibson (drums).  Additional contributors are Andrew Michell (lead vocals and co-writing credit on "Knock Four Times"), Ashley Mcavoy (backing vocals on "Not A Cloud In The Sky"), and Joe Harling (lead guitar on "No Ghosts").  No Ghosts, the band's third album, is out today via Glasgow's Armellodie Records.  See the Bandcamp link for details.

Bandcamp for No Ghosts

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"Over And Over" by The Stammer (free download)

Here we are with a breakup song that should make you happy -- not because it isn't your breakup, but because is sounds so damn good.  "Over And Over" by The Stammer is chunky, hooky indie rock just the way we like it, and it is a 'name your price' offering at the linked Bandcamp page.

The Stammer are Brian Brotman (guitar/vocals), Gavin Landesberg (bass), Ted Quann (guitar) and Zachary Zimmerman (drums).  They blew us away in 2015 with their debut LP, and we are happy to report that the band will release new album Face In Peril this summer.  And if you are lucky enough to be in Philadelphia on June 21, The Stammer will be there playing their new and old songs at The Pharmacy, and making everyone happier that a billionaire with a tax cut.

Bandcamp for "Over And Over"

"Dancing" by Slow Skies

With a busy day in the office, we wanted to start the day with a bright song, and the winning entry is "Dancing" by Slow Skies.  The project of Dublin's Karen Sheridan, Slow Skies has crafted a song with sunny tones and pop smarts that builds appealingly from folky beginnings to a full blown party in your brain.  Stream it below and check out other songs from the artist at the following Soundcloud link.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"Different Ways" by Blanket Rule (free download)

We don't know much about Blanket Rule, other than they are from Melbourne, Australia, and intend to release a tape later this year.  Oh, and this debut song was engineered by Zac Denton of WYMA favorites The Ocean Party.  So we'll just encourage you to listen to the song and take advantage of the band's king offer of a free download.


Rat Fancy - Suck A Lemon EP 12"

Trust me, you could do with a dose of Rat Fancy in your life.  Rat Fancy sings sweetly, plays hooky and fuzzy indie pop, and has the ability to simultaneously kiss you off and flick you off while making you still feel supercharged on the sugar rush they have injected into your brain.  Sound about right for the start of summer, right?  Well here you are, six songs on the Suck A Lemon EP 12" (well, sure, it is five compositions but the band thoughtfully delivers two versions of the title track).  This record is a big ball of girl group, wall of fuzz, bubblegum and Southern California attitude.  We can't stop playing it, and if you buy it you won't stop playing it either.

Rat Fancy is Diana Barraza, late of Sweater Girl (vocals/guitar), Gregory Johnson (guitar/keys), and Gavin Glidewell (drums).  Suck A Lemon EP 12" is out now via HHBTM Records.  Check out the Bandcamp link.

HHBTM Records

Friday, May 26, 2017

Slowes - Times EP

The music world is awash with electro-pop, which raises the question:  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?  Of course, that is a trick question because the answer depends on the songwriting and performance.  When we sorted through new electro--pop recently, the duo that seems to us to drip with promise is Slowes.  The multifaceted Copenhagen duo has just delivered their debut EP Times, and we have it on repeated plays.  Opening song "Anymore" and the third track, "Enough", offer perfectly crafted, glossy, neo-R&B synth pop.  The title track presents moody, dubby experimental pop.  Track four is "U", a bittersweet new wave song about wanting someone who wants someone else.  The EP's mood becomes slower and more contemplative with "Heartbreak Again" and "OOX", the second of which is a slow burner that is becoming a favorite around here.  Love and loss with solid melodies and beats and R&B influenced vocals -- a very good debut and highly recommended to start your weekend.

Slowes is Jack Kilburn (vocals) and Anders Hamann (beats).  Times EP is out today via Distiller Records.

Distiller Records

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Sea Pinks - Watercourse

We consume a lot of music here at WYMA World Headquarters.  Hell, we consume even more music than beer and pizza, and we consume so much beer and pizza that we are working on our beer budget for October -- October 2023, to be exact.  And what we are looking for is the magic that makes an indie band worth recommending over other indie bands.  The magic can be a specific attribute of a musical work or, more often, a combination of attributes.

Today's special magic is brought to us by the Northern Irish imagineers known as Sea Pinks.  The trio's sixth album, Watercourse, quite simply does what its predecessors have done, only better.  And that is transporting us to a special place where you hear the sea, feel the sun and wind, and celebrate being alive.  It isn't so much a time and place, although there are plenty of echoes of '80s and '90s guitar pop and hints of California rock.  The guitars jangle, chime, and crunch, while the propulsive rhythm section provides a solid backbone.   The lyrics are bittersweet, yearning, and searching, not so much offering answers as setting the stage for your own musings -- perhaps with some sly guiding. Fittingly for a band inspired by sea grass, the arrangements are relaxed, although by no means languid.  In fact, this may be the most forward of the Sea Pinks albums in memory, suggesting some Glasgow/Postcard Records and Dunedin in the DNA, but leavened with some surf and country rock touches.  The magic is the performances that only hint at influences and leave us with the impression that this is Sea Pinks music, and nothing else.  And we think it is the perfect soundtrack for whatever action you have planned for summer days.

Sea Pinks are Neil Brogan (guitar/vocals), Steven Henry (bass), and Davey Agnew (drums).  Watercourse is out Friday, May 26 via CF Records.  See the Bandcamp link below for details.  May and June tour dates for the British Isles and Europe are listed below.

Bandcamp for album

Tour Dates:
25 May - Rosin Dubh, Galway
26 May - The Grand Social, Dublin
29 May - Bush Hall, London
31 May - Supersonic, Paris
1 Jun - Bar Hic, Rennes
2 Jun - DIY Cafe, Lille
3 Jun - De Nieuwe Anita, Amsterdam
4 Jun - Coin Aux Etoiles, Mons
5 Jun - Gruner Jager, Hamburg
6 Jun - Internet Explorer, Berlin
7 Jun - Kunstkeller, Furth
8 Jun - Schuur, Lucerne
9 Jan - Hirscheneck, Basel
10 Jun - Le Salopard, Biel
11 Jun - Handmade Festival, Guastalla
17 Jun - Black Box, Belfast

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Feature - Banishing Ritual

It seems to us that the usual template is for musicians to form bands with the intent of making it "big", or at least continuing until making it big isn't going to happen.  And then there is Feature.  The trio is Liv Willars (guitar/vocals), Jen Calleja (drums/vocals), and Heather Perkins (bass/vocals), and they released their debut LP, Banishing Ritual, on April 7, 2017 (following an earlier EP and split single).  Their farewell LP, Banishing Ritual, was available on April 7, 2017, and they had already disbanded.  Now, we could just say "oh, well, at least they quit before it all got stale" and move on to ongoing bands who will appreciate kind words for what they mean to their future.  But the thing is, you deserve to know about good music, and musicians that produce good music should be recognized even if the project is defunct.

So, what is so good about Banishing Ritual (other than being the best damn album Feature ever released)?  The answer is that this is a melodic, but loud album of punk and post punk rock that will remind the listener of Sonic Youth, The Ramones, The Breeders and The Slits.  The performances are intense, with powerful chords, snappy choruses, plenty of buzz and distortion, and a bit of drone.  The vocals are engaging' particularly when the three members hit their bubblebum punk groove, and the spirit of the proceedings is palpable.  Perhaps the best summary is provided by the band on their Bandcamp page: "Tuneful but weaponized".

Banishing Ritual is out now via Upset the Rhythm.  See the Bandcamp link for details.  And a thanks to The Finest Kiss blog for letting us know about this fine album.

Upset The Rhythm

Monday, May 22, 2017

"So Long" by The Popguns

One of the many things I've learned in life is that there is never a bad time for a new song from The Popguns.  And the theorem has been proved right again with the arrival of "So Long".  Flowing, melodic, bittersweet -- it is classic stuff from one of the the best indie pop bands.  It is available for a few more days as a free download from the Bandcamp link below.  If you want both tracks, or if you fail to act before this Thursday, you can still buy the single, comprised of "So Long" and companion track "Sugar Kisses" as a digital download.  For a bit of cold cash, you also can get a CD with "So Long" and "Sugar Kisses" if you are lucky enough to act before the very limited supply of CDs is gone.

And in June, Matinee Recordings will release the new album, Sugar Kisses, which will include both of these tracks plus eight other gems.  June is looking good to us!

Bandcamp for "So Long"
Matinee Recordings page for Sugar Kisses

Jessica Says - Do With Me What U Will

Jessica Venables writes, records and performs under the name Jessica Says.  Possessed of an excellent voice and captivating delivery, the young Melbourne singer's brand of intense pop understandably draws comparisons to Kate Bush.  Venables is a classically trained cellist, and on her new album, Do With Me What U Will, she favors rich arrangements and high gloss production which provide an interesting contract to her direct lyrical content.  The song styles are varied among cabaret, pop, and even dance (see "Queen of the Night" and "Collarbones").  This is an album that reveals new delights with every listen, and we never tire of hearing Jessica's voice.

Do With Me What U Will is Jessica's second album.  The long span between her 2009 debut and this release is due to severe injuries she suffered in a fall.  The album is out now via Chapter Music.  See the Bandcamp link for details.

Bandcamp for Do With Me What U Will

Friday, May 19, 2017

Zebra Hunt - In Phrases

Opening track "I Won't Blame You" commences with  two notes followed by the rhythm section rolling in like thunder on a summer day in the mountains, and then joined by guitar chords jangling like Bobby "Fuller's I Fought the Law".  Welcome to In Phrases. Welcome to the world of Zebra Hunt, a world where energy, melody, deft writing, exquisite timing and a bit of grit, and a bit plus more of jangle, transport you to places that only good music can take you.  You feel the thump of the drums and bass in your chest, the jangling and ringing guitars in your brain and you get blissfully lost in the moment.  The Feelies did this for us, The Clean did this for us, The Bats and The Chills still do it.  The promise was evident in Zebra Hunt's previous work, but In Phrases puts them on the list.

The songs on this album are focused, the stories specific, personal and relateable.  We feel the yearning, the lust, the loss, and the regret.  The performances are confident -- the sound of a band that believes in what they are doing and believes that we will like it as well.  And the execution is as impeccable with mid-tempo songs as it is with the blistering jangle rockers.  The bottom line is that in our opinion In Phrases is the best example of New Zealand-style guitar pop not on Flying Nun, Fishrider, Merge or Trouble In Mind (your move labels, your move).  If we had the budget, they would be our choice for a house band.  As it is, they are a prime example of why we take the time to tell people about indie music.

Zebra Hunt, in alphabetical order, are Aaron (guitar), Erik (bass), Mitch (drums), and Robert (guitar/lead vocals).  In Phrases is available digitally on Bandcamp, and physically via Jigsaw Records in the US and Madrid's Tenorio Cotobade Records for the rest of the world.

Zebra Hunt's Bandcamp for In Phrases
Jigsaw Records page for In Phrases
Tenorio Cotobade's Bandcamp for In Phrases
Tenorio Cotobade Records

Those Unfortunates - Nothing Isn't Beautiful

Two of my favorite albums of the year so far are released today, and we'll deal with them one at a time, starting with Nothing Isn't Beautiful by London quartet Those Unfortunates.  I'll begin by noting that I am a mature, stable man with no hipster pretensions, thus it should be understood that few albums even tempt me to use emoticons.  But if I were a weaker man, Nothing Isn't Beautiful might be the one to do so.  And happy emoticons they would be.

Those Unfortunates crafted the album as 13 stories of the highs and lows of a year living in the Big City.  We are treated to reactions to boredom, the living death of endless middle management, a failed theatrical performance and a few happy stories as well.  And it all is done in a literate, wry manner and in styles ranging from jaunty jangle pop to pastoral folk pop.  Only the band can advise you of their influences, but at various times I hear bits of Orange Juice, Cats on Fire, Syd  Barrett, The Kinks, a less punky Ballboy, and, on the quieter moments, John Blain Hunt's Butcher Boy project and Firestations.  The album radiates intelligence and a flair for storytelling, with the melancholy offset by endearing melodies and able grooves.  And without exception, I find it completely captivating.  In fact, if anyone wonders why there haven't been more posts lately, blame Those Unfortunates, as I keep reaching for their album.

The first half of the album contains the more immediately upfront crowd pleasers, in particular "A Question For Mr Richardson", "Repertory Man", "A Song For Brampton Court", "The Consolations Of A Life I Know" and ... come to think of it, the entire A-side is really top drawer stuff.   The latter half of the album is lovely stuff as well, it simply is -- with the exception of "In Lavender" -- a more laid back set of songs that choose to reveal their charms more gently.

Nothing Isn't Beautiful is available in digital and CD formats via Midnight Bell records.  See the Bandcamp link for details.  And I'll note that although I wrote this feature without the use of any digital emoticons, the look on my face in the mirror after listening to Nothing Isn't Beautiful may constitute an organic emoticon.  I'll have to live with that.

Bandcamp for Nothing Isn't Beautiful
Midnight Bell Records

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hush Machine - Hush Machine

Fortunately for Western Civilization, anything arguably artistic that I endeavored to do in high school hasn't been memorialized for the ages.  And I expect that is true for most of us.  But 21 year-old Sam Boatright of Lawrence, Kansas isn't most of us.  A few years ago when Sam was a junior and senior in high school he wrote and recorded some songs, eight of which are now available on the self-titled album available under his moniker Hush Machine.  If you are expecting Hush Machine to contain quiet, dreamy and yearning music appropriate for a artistically inclined teenager, you are in for a surprise.  A very pleasant surprise, we expect.  Because what Hush Machine dishes out is robust, new wave glazed garage with a vibe (and vocal quality) not unlike the Strokes.  Exciting, a bit raw, and played with energy and confidence.  This debut is just too good to ignore.

A couple of songs are below, and the entire album can be streamed at the Bandcamp link.  Hush Machine is a digital and CD release via Jigsaw Records.

Bandcamp for Hush Machine
Jigsaw Records

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Arid Sea - New Roman Twilight

We promised 'free music Wednesday' and that is what you are going to get.  Our second (and likely final) free album of the day is New Roman Twilight by Seattle band The Arid Sea.  The album was released as a limited edition CD in 2005, and received positive and well-justified reviews from those privileged to have heard it.  Weaving elements of dark folk, Gothic post punk, psychedelic and melodic indie rock, it presents a swirling array of broad strokes, dynamic structures and a myriad shades of grey and black.  Yes, the atmosphere is undeniably moody and infused with sorrow.  But a beating heart and rays of tentative hope peak through.  It is a masterful, heartbreakingly lovely work, and we are pleased that the band has again made it available.

The Arid Sea was Joseph Mass (drums), Michael Guillory (bass) and Isaac Aubrey (guitar/vocals).  Several of their other releases are to be found at the Bandcamp link, and we understand that more may be available in time.  There has been some chatter about a reunion as well, and we will let you know if we hear more about that.

Bandcamp for New Roman Twilight