Sunday, August 20, 2017

Introducing: Adwaith

Among the things that get us excited is finding promising artists trying to break through.  Today's feature focuses on Adwaith, three women from Carmarthen, Wales.  It seems impossible to not love the band after listening to the classic indie pop of "Femme".  And why would you even try?  One listen, and you want the song.  A second listen, and you need that song.  Don't blame me -- life works that way.  "Femme" comes out this week on a single paired with "Lipstick Coch", which is a touch of new wave over a slinky rhythm.

Adwaith are Hollie Singer, Gwenllian Anthony, and Heledd Owen.  The single is set for release on the 25th via Libertino Records.

Libertino Records

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Ocean Party - Beauty Point

Seven albums in as many years is a prodigious feat for any pop band simply in terms of quantity.  But The Ocean Party isn't a band that deserves to be measured solely by physical weight or volume of their production.  This is a band that delivers style and substance in equal measure.  Six adept musicians provide multiple guitars, bass, percussion, keys, and even a sax (that always scores points with this old sax player), creating a sound that is rich and varied.  Moreover, with six talented songwriters, there isn't the pressure that often exists with other bands for one or two members to write an album's worth of worthy material.

The latest release, Beauty Point, finds the band with their sharpest writing to date, albeit with the somewhat more ambivalent perspective and broodier observations that tend to come with age and experience.  But darker shadings aside, the songs invariably sound gorgeous, and frequently feature uptempo arrangements.  Moreover, it is an endearing feature of this band that its members so ably help shape and refine each songwriter's compositions.  The friendship and mutual respect is palpable.  But that isn't just a guess, as I watched the band interact while waiting to perform their set at the Victory Lounge in Seattle this Spring on the final stop of a long tour.  This is a close knit group.

If, despite the multiple songwriters, The Ocean Party has a predominant style, it is a hazy guitar pop.  While not lo-fi (the production here is excellent), there is a hazy summer beach day vibe to a number of the tracks, although tracks like "Quiet Life" provide an anxiously taut, and thoroughly delightful, counterpoint.  It is nearly impossible to select representative songs to illustrate the content of the album because of the varied compositions and, more importantly, the uniform quality.  But select we must (it is an office rule), so we have a few here that struck me on the most recent front to back play of the album -- the fourth this afternoon.  In any case, we had to include "More To Run", as we think it is one of the top ten pop songs of the year ("Runaway" gave it a run in the office vote).  Beauty Point is a top ten album for us, without question.  But we encourage you to determine it for yourself by streaming it at one of the Bandcamp links below.

The Ocean Party are Jordan Thompson, Liam Halliwell, Curtis Wakeling, Lachlan Denton, Zac Denton, and Crowman.  Beauty Point is available from Emotional Response Records in North America and Spunk Records in Australia and New Zealand.  We have provide the relevant links below.

Emotional Response Records page for album (digital)
Emotional Response Records page for vinyl
Spunk Records page to order CD
Spunk records page to order vinyl
The Ocean Party's Bandcamp site for Beauty Point

"If I Really Loved Her" by Acid Tongue

If you are like us, there are certain bands you enjoy and you wish they would gift us with more music.  One such band for us is Acid Tongue.  Formerly of Seattle and not based in New York, they
are masters of a gritty, soulful version of psychedelic and garage rock.  Their previous output is only a couple of EPs, but in October they are releasing a full length titled Babies via Seattle/LA/NYC label Freakout Records.  Press play for album track for the band's version of a love song, "If I Really Loved Her", and learn why we care about this band.

The band will be touring heavily this fall.  The dates and locations are at the bottom of the post.

Bandcamp for Babies
Freakout Records order page for Babies

Tour Dates:
8/28 – Boston, MA – Zuzu Bar
9/1 – New York, NY – Berlin
9/2 – Brooklyn, NY – Alphaville
9/19 – Brooklyn, NY – The Gateway (Euro Tour Kickoff)
9/27 – Brighton, UK – Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar
9/28 – Hull, UK – ADELPHI
9/29 – London, UK – The Shackwell Arms
9/30 – Portsmouth, UK – The Birdcage
10/1 – Cambridge, UK – Blue Moon
10/2 – Bruxelles, BE – Le Chaff
10/3 – Mannheim, DE – Kurzbar
10/7 – Biarritz, FR – Savsage Festival
10/10 – San Sebastian, ES – DabaDaba
10/12 – Lisbon, PT – Damas
10/13 – Porto, PT – Mas Habitos (Babies LP Release Party)
10/14 – Sevilla, ES – Sala X
10/16 – Toulouse, FR – La Cave a Rock
10/17 – Imperia, IT – Arci Camalli
10/18 – Firenze, IT – Annibale Night @ NOF
10/19 – Roma, IT – Fanfulla 5/A
10/20 – Perugia, IT – T-Trane
11/3 – Reno, NV – Off Beat Festival
11/4 – Reno, NV – Off Beat Festival (2nd Chance)
11/17 – Seattle, WA – Freakout Festival
11/18 – Seattle, WA – Freakout Festival

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Rain Parade - Emergency Third Rail Power Trip / Explosions In The Glass Palace

I have a deep fondness for the sliver of musical history known as the "paisley underground".  Essentially, the style was jangle pop influenced by '60s garage rock and psychedelic influences.  Primarily a California-based movement in the 1980s, prominent bands included The Dream Syndicate, Green On Red, The Long Ryders, The Three O'Clock, The Bangles, and the subject of this post, the wonderful Rain Parade.  For me, the Rain Parade epitomized the sound, making beautiful music along the way.  I also thought the name was very cool, and an improvement over earlier label "The Moving Sidewalks".

The music of Rain Parade captured the delicacy of the best psychedelic pop, with economical melodic lines adorned with jangling guitars, solid rhythms and simple effects to tell dark shaded stories.  The songs were both appealing and imbued with a sense of mystery.  I've always regarded their first two albums, the nine-song Emergency Third Rail Power Trip released in '83 and the five-song Explosions In The Glass Palace released in '84, to be their best.  So I was thrilled to discover that Real Gone Music has reissued those records as a single album.  This results in one-stop shopping for a host of songs that established the outfit's reputation as standard bearers for West Coast psychedelic pop and still influences other bands.  The material has been remastered and the package includes extensive liner notes for the musical geek in all of us.

Real Gone Music page for CD

Agent blå - Agent blå

Every now and then it is a good idea to see what the teenagers are up to.  And in the case of Gothenburg teenagers Lucas Gustavsson, Emelie Alatalo, Felix Skorvald, Josefine Tack, and Arvid Christensen, they are contemplating the darker corners of life and turning their observations into a very fine album.  Calling themselves Agent blå (Agent blue) they dropped an impressively mature album of "deathpop" in June via Luxury Records and Kanine Records.  The album features ten tracks of post punk, Gothic indie pop, and dreampop (or is in nightmare pop?).  They can shake the walls, they can coo in your ears, and they can perform with conviction.  The kids are all right.

Bandcamp for album

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"Swan's Beat" by David West with Teardrops

One of the October releases that we are eagerly anticipating is Cherry On Willow, by David West with Teardrops.  David West, an Australian living in New York, possesses an incredible musical pedigree, as a member of current bands Rat Columns, Liberation, Rank/Xerox, and previously with Burning Sensation, Lace Curtain,  and Total Control.  Recorded in New York, Glasgow and Western Australia, the album is already on regular rotation around the office.  You can have a taste here via the slinky "Swan's Beat".  It is very good, and there is a lot more where that came from.

Cherry On Willow will be out on October 20 via Tough Love Records.

Bandcamp for Cherry On Willow

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"Depths (Pt. 1)" by Yumi Zouma

Today brings us the second song to be shared from Willowbank, the sophomore album from New Zealand's yummy Yumi Zouma.  Perfect for a sunny summer day, it helps us hang on to the final weeks of summer.  Or course, we'll be sad when summer is gone, but on at least when summer is gone we'll be closer to the October 6 release date for Willowbank.   The album will be released via Cascine, and the band will support it with tour dates in Europe, UK, and North America.  The dates are listed below.

Pre-Order page for Willowbank
Bandcamp for Willowbank

Yumi Zouma Tour Dates:
Fri. Oct. 6 - London, UK @ Omeara
Sun. Oct. 8 - Brighton, UK @ The Joker
Mon. Oct. 9 - Paris, FR @ L’Espace B
Wed. Oct. 11 - Copenhagen, DK @ VEGA Musikkens Hus - Ideal Bar
Thu. Oct. 12 - Stockholm, SE @ Debaser
Sun. Oct. 15 - Amsterdam, NL @ Sugarfactory
Wed. Oct. 18 - Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater*
Thu. Oct. 19 - San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop*
Fri. Oct. 20 - Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios*
Sat. Oct. 21 - Seattle, WA @ Barboza*
Mon. Oct. 23 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
Tue. Oct. 24 - Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
Wed. Oct. 25 - New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge
Thu. Oct. 26 - Boston, MA @ Lilypad
Fri. Oct. 27 - Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz
Sat. Oct. 28 - Toronto, ON @ Smiling Buddha

Monday, August 14, 2017

Frankie Rose - Cage Tropical

In our view Frankie Rose's musical journey has led her to a very good place.  In terms of style, she has found a comfortable platform in the intersection of new wave, dreampop, and high gloss shoegaze.  In terms of content and attitude, she has reinforced confidence in her writing and performance.   The result is Cage Tropical, her new album for Slumberland Records.

Cage Tropical is a progression from Intersteller and Herein Wild, her two most recent albums and the first albums as she began to break away from the fuzz pop of her period with Vivian Girls and Dum Dum Girls, and first solo album under the banner of Frankie Rose and the Outs.  Perhaps writing the album in a different location and time -- during a difficult period struggling for success in Los Angeles -- was partially responsible.  But we are more inclined to believe that Rose has gained an enhanced appreciation for how to use all of the high production tools at her disposal to tell a story in a way that the story is still the focal point, rather than the gloss and full sound.  Make no mistake, the gloss, full sound, and Rose's otherworldly vocals shine to perfection.  There just is a lot of substance to go with it, as well as quieter moments delicately constructed by infused with crackling emotion.  The result is a record that is as intelligent as it is entertaining, and is a testament to the artist's continued growth and personal tenacity.

Cage Tropical is out now in all formats via Slumberland Records.

Slumberland Records


Public Service Broadcasting - Every Valley

And now for something rather different.  Public Service Broadcasting is not, as the name suggests, a public broadcasting system.  Rather, it is an electronic, multimedia pop project spawned by a multi-instrumentalist/songwriter and drummer calling themselves J. Willgoose, Esq. and Wigglesworth, respectively.  What is different about the duo, other than their names, is that the vocals on their songs are spoken word clips provided by guest performers, interviews or samples extracted from educational films and old news reports (hence, 'public service broadcasting').  Their latest album is Every Valley, a concept album about the rise and demise of the coal industry in Wales.  They moved to Wales to research and record the album, and interviewed residents and historians.  Now this may all sound a bit strange, but the interesting thing is that it really is a very enjoyable album.  There is a reason that they have been chosen to open for the Rolling Stones, among others.  Whether you are happy in your own musical rut, or restlessly looking for something new, Every Valley deserves your ears.

The music on Every Valley is dynamic, expansive and propulsive.  The unusually rendered vocals are captivating, informative, and include interviews with residents of towns in Wales affected by the shut down of the coal mines.  And it isn't only relevant to the coal industry, as dying industries in other places and in other countries have had a significant impact on the regions and their inhabitants. The joy here is that Public Broadcasting Service make the story compelling and topical without losing sight of the need to entertain.  Their work is meticulously detailed and performed.  In addition to archival samples, additional guest vocals are provided by Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura, James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers, and singer-actress Lisa Jen Brown, among others.

Every Valley is out now on vinyl, digital and CD formats via Play It Again Sam.

Play It Again Sam

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cinema Red and Blue - Come Back To The City, Babyface / The Captain's Song

Completely out of the blue, here are two delightful songs from Cinema Red And Blue.  And who is that, you ask.  Well -- and thanks for asking -- it is some collection of conspirators from Comet Gain, Crystal Stilts and Pale Lights (at least according to legend and supposition) recording songs crafted by David Feck of Comet Cain and recorded with Gary Olson at Marlborough Farms (which may not be a farm and may not look as grand as the name, but it has birthed some really good music).   Phil Sutter, Kyle Forester, Andy Adler, JB Townsend, and Christian Townsend may all have been involved as well

The songs are the soaring, slightly retro guitar pop "Come Back To The City, Babyface" and the moodier "The Captain's Song".  These are slices of pop joy with a big heart.  I don't know when they were recorded, but they see the light of day now by reason of the sad demise of beloved indie pop label Fortuna POP!  While the label is closing its doors, it refuses to do so without delivering the promised goods to the subscribers to its singles club.  And this record certainly qualifies as "the goods".


"Do You Really" by Licks

Time for smooth. Really, really smooth.  We're talking about "Do You Really?", the musical love poem the Wellington, New Zealand songwriter and producer known as Licks wrote for his wife.  The song is just about perfect.  The only flaw is that it makes the rest of us look bad by not doing something like this for our significant other.  Thanks a lot, Licks.

"Do You Really?" is our now on Sunset Revelry, the label run by Alexander Reid of another New Zealand favorite around here, Honey.  The track is available at the Bandcamp link below or your other favorite digital platform.  Listen to more of Licks' music at the Soundcloud link below.

Bandcamp for single

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Stammer - Face In Peril

In real estate "good bones" make some old homes good homes to purchase.  In pop music, the same is true when the old standard of relationships gone bad is coupled with good songwriting and sincere, adept performances.  And by that measure Face In Peril, the new album from The Stammer, is a keeper.  The Philadelphia band starts with the spirit of Lou Reed's chugging guitar-oriented approach and adds in dashes of the type of American rock we've loved from bands as diverse as early Springsteen, Pela, and the Henry Clay People.  The result is both familiar and fresh.

Face In Peril races through the excellent first four tracks while the band sinks a big hook in the listener's brain, and then takes a breath for the affecting midtempo ballad "Eleven".  The uptempo rock parade relaunches with the jangle pop "Run Across The Bridge" and continues through the country-rock shaded "What Else Did You Come Around Here For?" and the Reed-meets-Springsteen musical celebration that is "Young Hearts".  The epic, slow burning title track bridges to "Slender", the jangling bittersweet closer.  This album is a terrific musical statement from a band that deserves a much higher profile.  Check it out below and at the Bandcamp link.

The Stammer are Brian Brotman (vocals/guitar/songwriting), Gavin Landesberg (bass), Zachary Zimmerman (drums), and Ted Quann (guitar/backing vocals).  Face In Peril is out today.

Bandcamp for Face In Peril

Thursday, August 10, 2017

"Short Dream" by Verandan

About six weeks ago we introduced you to the lovely synth/guitar pop sounds of Finland's Verandan (link to previous post).  The band is back this week with the shimmering melody and propulsive rhythms of "Short Dream".  It is the musical equivalent of walking into a room and having sparkling confetti tossed on you while you are handed a glass of champagne.  Trust me, I know -- I am accustomed to being greeted this way.

Verandan is the project of Ville Hopponen of WYMA favorites Cats On Fire and The New Tigers.  "Short Dream" will be released as a single on August 14 via Soliti Music, which also will release the upcoming EP from the band.

Soliti Music

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

"Alibi" by Lowtide

On the dreamy edge of shoegaze, "Alibi" is the latest single from Melbourne's Lowtide.  The song is about a dissolving relationship, but the instruments and vocals sparkle.  It has been one of the highlights of our day, and I think the Soundcloud electrons should be exhausted by now.  Your turn.  And UK fans should note that Lowtide is touring the UK in September.

Lowtide are Giles Simon, Lucy Buckeridge, Gabriel Lewis, and Anton Jakovljevic.  Alibi" is released via Rice Is Nice and Opposite Number.


No Monster Club 2017 encyclopedia project

We write about No Monster Club with some regularity here.  Why?  Because they entertain us with well crafted indie pop that enters from the wacky side of the stage.  The brainchild of Bobby Aherne, the Dublin-based band is in the midst of an interesting year-long project.  Every month they are releasing a single that was written and recorded in its entirety in the previous month.  The aim is to have an encyclopedia-like collection of singles by the end of 2017.  The August and July offerings are below.  Previous months can be found at No Monster Club's Bandcamp site.

Aherne is a prolific and versatile songwriter, and that alone should draw listeners to his recordings.  But the emphasis on having fun is the cherry on the Sunday.  The dude may be sad from time to time -- we all are -- but he never makes music to make us sad.  How does he do it?  A good attitude, of course.  And cheesy instruments and tropical-tinged arrangements don't hurt in the least.

Despite the world's problems, here is your chance to be happy.  Don't blow it like you did with your in-laws last Christmas.

Bobby Aherne's homepage

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Life On Venus - Encounters

Given the current state of world affairs, it may be that a large number of people are thinking more seriously about interstellar travel.  In fact, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos seem to be counting on it as they pour millions into developing the means.  But there should be an avenue for those of us who don't even like to fly to at least pretend to get off the earth for a while.  Leave it to the Russians to save us -- no, really!  We present Moscow's Life On Venus.  Their new album is Encounters, and it delivers a brand of shoegaze that is bristling with power, packed with soaring melody, and a wide scope sound as big as the universe.  The more up-tempo songs have an epic scale, and the slower songs are perfect for dreaming on a summer day.  And you can stream the entire album below.  Welcome to space travel!

Life On Venus are Dima (guitar/vocals), Sergey (guitar), Marat (bass), Aline (vocals) and Gula (drums).   Encounters is out now in digital and CD formats (although the CDs are limited in number) via Shelflife Rcords.  See the link below.

Shelflife Records page for release

Monday, August 7, 2017

Caroline Says - 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong

After Alabama native Caroline Sallee finished college she worked as a waitress in Yellowstone, and then traveled around the western United States via Greyhound, writing songs as she went.  Armed with fresh material, Sallee returned to Alabama and recorded 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong in her parent's basement.  The album was offered under the name Caroline Says as a cassette only release.  Fortunately for Sallee, now a resident of Austin, and indie pop fans, Western Vinyl has released the album in vinyl, digital and CD formats.

When we first played the album, no one in the office was familiar with Caroline Says, and we made some assumptions about what we would hear based on Sallee's age, her Alabama roots and her Austin residence. We listened, and were stunned. Stunned and very, very impressed.  Sallee's range as a songwriter is breathtaking.  Stylistically, she is equally adept at dreampop, retro pop, psychedelic, ballads, jangle pop and even a touch of Latin influences.  Thematically, she has crafted a growing up album with a mature perspective and confident voice.  And then there is her voice -- lovely, clear and versatile.

50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong is out now.  And Caroline Says likely can't count on 50,000,000 fans just yet, but we assure that however many fans she has (including us) can't be wrong.  Note that an album of new material is expected to arrive in 2018.

Bandcamp for 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong
Western Vinyl

"Sterling Silver" by Faith Healer

Jessica Jalbert, recording and performing as Faith Healer, released Cosmic, her well received debut album a couple of years ago.  The Edmonton musician is now prepared to offer her sophomore release, Try ;-).  You can test out the goods with album track "Sterling Silver", a dreamy, synthy soundscape that contrast nicely with the tauter sounds of the previously "Light of Loving"

Try ;-) will be released on September 8.  Pre-orders are available at the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for Try ;-)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Mermaidens - Perfect Body

Mermaids of legend are an aquatic creature that is half human and half fish, and foretell and provoke disaster, cause shipwrecks, and formulate storms.  The Mermaidens of Wellington, New Zealand appear to be fully human, but their ability to conjure unease and threats of undefined future calamity, as well as the light that puts the darkness in sharp perspective, should not be underestimated.  Formed in 2013 by Lilly West, Gussie Larkin and Abe Hollingsworth, their productive first four years have led to this week's Perfect Body, an eight track statement of post punk and gothic pop that delivers substance with the entertainment.  Reverbed guitars, cavernous bass and dynamic drumming combine with evocative songwriting to provide a multifaceted gem. Brutality, abrasiveness intertwine with melodic, sparkling performances and dreamy soundscapes.  Density contrasts with space, joy with pain.

If you want the perfect music for a sunny day at the beach, this isn't it.  But the beach is overrated.  This music is wonderfully entertaining and fulfilling, and heralds a new stage of growth for a talented trio.

Perfect Body is out now via Flying Nun Records.

Bandcamp for Perfect Body
Flying Nun Records

Friday, August 4, 2017

Holiday Ghosts - Holiday Ghosts

The warning was there if I had really thought about it.  It was right there in the title "In My Head".  But I listened to the song anyway, and now the song is in my head and it will be there for days.  So I'm going to do it to all of you.  Go ahead, click on the stream below.  Don't be afraid, it is a terrific song.  Just be forewarned that it really, really will be 'in your head'.

This irresistible earworm comes to us via Falmouth's Holiday Ghosts, who are Samuel Stacpoole (of The Black Tambourines, which has featured on this blog in the past), Katja Rackin, and Charlie Murphy, with Ben Woods on bass for recording sessions.  The band's self-titled debut album will be released in vinyl and CD formats on September 22 via London/Stockholm label PNKSLM.

PNKSLM page for ordering Holiday Ghosts

Thursday, August 3, 2017

"December" by Yumi Zouma

Yumi Zouma is of New Zealand, but not often in New Zealand.  Several members live on other continents, and in the past compositions have involved sending contributions via email.  But for their sophomore album, Willowbank, the band reconvened in the home country to write and record together.  We expect that the record, to be released October 6 via Cascine, will feature the band's trademark romantic dream pop and pristine production.  Our first taste is "December", and we are indeed excited.

Note that the band will tour the United States in October 2017.

Pre-order link of Willowbank

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Obedient Wives Club - Cinematica

We were worried that Obedient Wives Club didn't love us any more.  The five-piece from Singapore has been all two quiet on the recording front for several years, although with things like marriages, jobs and other projects (including guitarist Cherie Ko's promising Tomgirl), one can't accuse them of idleness.  However, in mid-July the band released Cinematica, their latest EP of super-addictive Spectorgaze.  For those not familiar with the genre, is is Spector-like wall of sound, female vocals, lots of reverb and a bit of fuzz.  It is retro, atmospheric and, at times lush.  As compared to their prior recordings, the sound is cleaner and the vocals higher in the mix.  And our ears think that it is quite delicious.  Sweet melancholy and wistful sighs, just what the doctor prescribed.

Obedient Wives Club is YinQi Lee (vocals/keys), Keith Tan (guitar), Cherie Ko (guitar/backing vocals), Sulaiman Supian (bass), and Lennat Mak (drums).  Cinematica is released in digital and vinyl formats.  Check your favorite outlet for digital; vinyl will ship in September, and can be pre-ordered at the band's website (linked below).  And you should be able to stream it on Spotify if you are a user.


Hulaboy + Safe Distance - Split LP

When I walked into the office today two interns were fighting for control over the WYMA music delivery system.  One argued that they wanted to hear Hulaboy, the long-running musical partnership of Boyracer #1 Stewart Anderson and Eric M. Stoess of Hula Hoop.  The other intern was arguing for Safe Distance, which consists of Simon Williams of Crayola Summer, Great Leap Forward and others, and the aforementioned Stewart Anderson.  With the wisdom of Solomon, and control of the WYMA catalog, I stepped into the dispute and settled it without blows (and good thing I did, because she would have taken him apart).  What is my secret?  The knowledge that Emotional Response Records recently released the Hulaboy + Safe Distance Split LP.  Album cued up, peace restored, music joy delivered in surround sound.

I'll add that both interns are correct. The bands are worth listening to, and what better way than to have them in a single album?  Check it out below, and hit the Bandcamp link for more.

Bandcamp for Split LP

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Errant Boy - A Wayward Mirror

It is the band's job to provide the music, and it is our job to use words to try to describe the music.  But sometimes the band describes their music so perfectly that our initial reaction is "what they said".  And so it us with Scotland's Errant Boy, who provide the following description on their Bandcamp page for their 2016 album A Wayward Mirror:  "Melodic guitar manoeuvres and lyrical unease".  Exactly so!  Of course, if you follow along with the lyrics for A Wayward Mirror (which are helpfully provided on the Bandcamp page), you won't find the band's concise descriptive accuracy any surprise.  Errant Boy delivers the melody, lyrics and performance in equal measure.  The variety is impressive, and the album demands repeated plays.

You might well wonder why we are bringing you an album released over a year ago.  The answer is twofold.  First, we only became aware of the album when preparing for a feature on the upcoming solo album by Stephen McLaren, which is to be released by the label that released A Wayward Mirror.  Second, we think this album is just too good to not feature.

Errant Boy is Chris Harvie (guitar), Keith Kirkwood (drums), Fabien Pinardon (bass/drums/piano), Sean Ormsby (vocals/guitar/synth), Stephen Dennis (occasional keys), and Ann Coates and Emmanuell Le Coz (occasional backing vocals).  The album was released via Errant Media.

Bandcamp for A Wayward Mirror
Errant Media's Twitter

Annie Hart - Impossible Accomplice

Annie Hart can make one feel inadequate.  Hart is one of the three vocalists/keyboardists in Au Revoir Simone, which has released four well-received albums.  If I had that credit on my resume, and my band went on hiatus, I'd probably read a few books, get some exercise, and lie to my friends about my progress in writing a thriller that not only would be a best seller, but also would be made into a Hollywood blockbuster.  To put it another way, I'd not get a lot done.  On the other hand, Annie Hart used her downtime to craft the eight songs that are Impossible Accomplice.  And I can't even criticize her for making me feel inadequate, because those songs are really, really good.

Hart employs her great melodic sense and a beguiling voice to spin concise pop gems and melancholy ballads wrapped in dreamy synths.  She played all of the instruments and recorded nearly all of the album in her basement.  With a dark perspective and eight songs of less than four minutes, the effect is like a warm summer rain shower.  Make that a welcome summer rain shower.  This may be your synth pop find of the summer.

Bandcamp for Impossible Accomplice
Uninhabitable Mansions

Monday, July 31, 2017

Next Exit - One Way Ticket 1981 - 1982

In our opinion, Sweet Madness was a band that deserved to be regarded as one of the United States' best new wave band (our review of one of their compilations here).  They had just enough raw garage and punk to add some frayed edges to the new wave gloss, and they could write and perform at a very high level.  Maybe it was bad luck, maybe it was their location in out of the way Spokane, Washington, but it didn't really happen for them.  But not a band full of quitters, by 1981 they decided they needed to change their venue and their name (in the latter case, to avoid confusion with second wave Ska band Madness).  So Sweet Madness of Spokane became Next Exit of Seattle.  Ancillary to those changes, John Robison the keys/synth player and one of the songwriters, and bass player Don Lynd, dropped out and guitarist  Greg Morlan and bassist Jef Morlan added to the remaining members Jan Gregor (vocals/guitar) and Mark Fenton (drums/backing vocals).  In Seattle Next Exit continued to play from the Sweet Madness catalog while developing new material and reworking the new, more guitar-centric sound.  I know, you are asking how you can get some of this material.  Well, this is your lucky day, because a trip to Bandcamp can get a digital download of One Way Ticket 1981 -1982, which includes 13 Next Exit interpretations of Sweet Madness songs and three new songs.  We'll note that even if you have the Sweet Madness material this album is worth getting, because the added edge and energy of the added lead guitar puts a different cast on the Sweet Madness songs.

Happily, this isn't even all we'll here from this talented lot.  Next Exit lasted two more years and an additional compilation may be ready by this Autumn.  By the way, the band later became Variant Cause, but I have no word on whether any of that material is forthcoming.

Bandcamp for album
Facebook (Sweet Madness}
Sweet Madness website


Friday, July 28, 2017

Jane Weaver - Modern Kosmology

Jane Weaver lives up to her name.  For Modern Kosmology, she takes the motorik rhythms of Krautrock and blends in pop melodicism, operatic folk, electronic psychedelia and a bit of prog rock, to create a seamless musical tapestry that is as intriguing  as it is unclassifiable.  The moods shift from dark to light, the sound from heavy and claustrophobic to spacious and airy, the impressions from pastel to primary colors.  Everything is in connected, but in constant motion.  For me, it was like being inside a large musical kaleidoscope.  It is a stunning bit of adept musical shapeshifting, and a very entertaining listen.

Modern Kosmology is out now via Fire Records.

Bandcamp for Modern Kosmology

Great Outdoors - Fake News

Zachary Schneider is a member of Australian bands Totally Mild and Free Time, and also has recently recorded with Full Ugly, Milk Teddy and Lehmann B Smith.  But Zach felt the urge to create his own music, resulting in Great Outdoors.  Originally a solo project, it became a trio with the additions of Dylan Young and Max Sheldrake-Falovic.  The band's ethos is to write and record quickly, resulting in Fake News -- a ten-song LP with palpable immediacy and a warm, organic vibe.  The album, which apparently was recorded in two days, offers a change of pace from their previous record, Dad's Oasis.  While the former album presented a more dreampop set of songs, Fake News is more direct, and many songs are taut, post-punk tunes.  We especially liked the jittery "Keep Your Focus".  However, the softer edges remain with the lovely "Bachelor's Bliss" and "Mara".

Great Outdoors is a talented band with the confidence to create fine music without worrying about painting between the boundaries of a specific genre, and Fake News is the perfect introduction to their music.  The album is out now via Smooch Records.

Bandcamp for Fake News
Smooch Records page for Great Outdoors

Thursday, July 27, 2017

"No Longer Young Enough" by The Just Joans

We are drawn to Glasgow band The Just Joans by their sharp-eyed and witty songwriting, twee sensibility and melodic sense.  Any band that can make us laugh and sigh, often in the same song, is a band to keep in your playlist.  Later this year we will be graced with For Those About To Weep, their new LP.  However, we don't have to wait that long for a bit of The Just Joans, as the single "No Longer Young Enough" will be released tomorrow.  Consisting of the title track and "Breakfast for Our Tea", it is just what we needed to hold us over until the album is available.  Check out the title track below, which offers girl-group vocals pointing out that for all of us, there is a time when Friday nights/Saturday mornings in the clubs becomes reading at home in our PJs and an early lights out.

Both the single and the album are to be released via Fika Recordings.

Bandcamp for single
Fika Recordings

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Renee Barrance and Tim Player are OV PAIN, a band that dwells in the musical landscape of Gothic darkwave.  On their new self-titled album the keyboards create thick layers of swirling sound over pounding percussion, with haunting vocals partially hidden in the fog.  The effect is claustrophobic and dissonant, but ultimately vital and majestic.  Through earphones, late at night, this album has become a first choice way to end the day.

Bancamp for Ov Pain (digital and vinyl versions)
CocoMuse Releases
Vacant Valley page for cassette in Australia
Zero Style for cassette in New Zealand

The Complete Loma Singles: Vol. 1

How many things in your life achieve "I'd hate to live without it" status?  For me, in addition to my family, there is coffee, my running habit, good books, good beer, any beer, and, of course music.  And speaking of music I'd Hate To Live Without, my gaze turns to The Complete Loma Singles: Vol. 1.  Why?  Well, I really love '60s R&B and soul.  But like many of us, when we turn to our personal collections or find an oldies station on the radio or internet, we tend to have a limited range of standards.  Don't misunderstand, I'm a big fan of the Motown and Stax/Volt hits.  But life demands variety and adventure.  Don't we R&B fans deserve the raw energy of the striving talents who never made it to more or less identical loops of oldies hits?  I think so, and thank Odin, Real Gone Music thinks so as well.

 On The Complete Loma Singles: Vol. 1 Real Gone Records collects a generous 50 songs from the Loma label.  A Warner subsidiary, the label only existed from 1964-1968, and while it wasn't known for producing hits, its releases have long been sought by soul music collectors.  And a spin through this two disc collection tells you why that is so.  You can feel the passion and your mind's eye can see the sweat, joy and tears.  If anyone every asks you what soul music is, just offer to sit them down and play this compilation.  Do not, I repeat, do not lend them the discs because you might not see them again.  And as we said at the top of the post, this is a 'can't live without item'.  When You Motor Away  blog, and its officers, directors, employees, shareholders and camp followers will not be responsible for self-harm by those who do not take care of their The Complete Loma Singles: Vol. 1.

Oh, and save your pennies, because this is the first of a planned four album release of Loma material.  See, we have a lot to live for!

Real Gone Music page for The Complete Loma Singles:Vol. 1

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Grawlixes - Set Free

Robin Cederman and Penelope Esplin have graced these pages before as members of Dunedin's The Prophet Hens.  As a duo, they have launched folk pop project Grawlixes, and, after touring in Europe, they have released debut full length record Set Free. The album's melodies are delicate, intricate, and sweet, while the themes tend toward melancholy and clear-eyed realism, and particularly clear-eyed realism about melancholy-inducing relationships.  Restrained acoustic guitar provides most of the instrumentation, but accordion, violin and occasional electric guitar provide notable sonic depth.  Both Penelope and Robin sing, sometimes in unison, sometimes with one lead and one in the background.  Their voices compliment each other well, and the material is enhanced by the varied approaches.  Infectious and intelligent, Set Free is a real treat for your quieter moments.  And if you don't regularly have quieter moments, this album makes a strong argument for making time for them.

Set Free is out now via Home Alone.  You can stream the entire album at the Bandcamp link below.  The lyrics are provided, and we found them quite worth reading while listening.  By the way, the band helpfully points out that a "grawlix" is a spiral-shaped graphic used to indicate swearing in comic strips.


"No More (Say Yes)" by Stephen McLaren

When we last listened to Stephen McLaren he was in Edinburgh dream poppers Collar Up.  Now the talented gent is launching a solo project, and his first offering is "No More (Say Yes)".  Opening with an insistent thumping beat and anthemic vocals, it is the perfect platform for a song about the Scottish independence vote.  We'll add that it also translates well to the dance floor, the running trail, or speeding down the highway.  Kind of like a valuable and soon-to-be-treasured musical utility tool.  In case you hadn't noticed, we love it.

"No More (Say Yes)" is out now via Errant Media.  Stephen's debut LP, We Used To Go Raving, will be released by Errant Media on September 29.

Errant Media (label)

Monday, July 24, 2017

Real Numbers - Frank Infatuation / Leave It Behind

Minneapolis' Real Numbers blew us away last year with Wordless Wonder, their debut LP released via Slumberland.  But now they prove that it only takes two songs to remind us just how good they are.  Please welcome "Frank Infatuation" and "Leave It Behind" to your record collection.  That is, welcome it if you act quickly.  It is a limited edition vinyl single from British label Market Square Records.  Buy a copy and get unlimited streaming and a digital download.  What a deal!

Bandcamp for record