Friday, January 13, 2017

"Lonely Holiday" by Skytone

Skytone, our favorite Canadian jangle poppers have release another gem of a name-your-price single to get you through the winter weekend.  Happy Friday!

The Beautiful Music (label)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Half Japanese - Hear The Lions Roar

Hear The Lions Roar, the new album by Half Japanese, was one of the first 2017 releases to hit my inbox, and it remains one of my favorite.  With the humor, eccentricity and devotion to rhythm that marks a Half Japanese album, but the pop smarts and punk rock swagger to keep it in sweet spot for any intelligent listener, it is accessible and full of delights.  And because of its punk roots, it is music that should be heard rather than dissected on a page (virtual or otherwise).  So we've given you a couple of clips below, and urge you to visit the Bandcamp link.  We'll leave you with our conclusion that perhaps Half Japanese's greatest talent is producing a sound that fits in punk's DIY channel while still impressing the hell out of you with what they have wrought.

For Hear The Lions Roar Half Japanese are John Sluggett (guitar/keys/timbales), Gilles-Vincent Rieder (drums/percussion/keys), Jason Willett (bass/keys), Mick Hobbs (guitar/glockenspiel) and Jad Fair (vocals).  The album is out as of January 13 via Fire Records.

Jad Fair's website
Bandcamp for Hear The Lions Roar
Fire Records page for album

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Rentiers - Bring Me The Finest World Map Shower Curtain In All The Land

Philadelphia musician (and college professor) Joel Tannenbaum has been with Plow United, Snow Fairies, Skywriters, Ex-Friends and other bands, playing indie pop and punk.  But for the past few years he also has been recording songs under the banner The Rentiers.  His collaborators on the project vary, but he, and often a female co-vocalist, voice the songs.  Jigsaw Records is releasing a 17-song collection this week succinctly titled Bring Me The Finest World Map Shower Curtain In All The Land and including most of the band's recorded output.  The storytelling here is engaging and fun, and all the hooks and crunches are perfectly placed.  In fact, the flow is so good that the listener might miss just how much talent it takes to make it sound so effortless.  The Rentiers rip through driving country-tinged rockers, punk pop, a bit of reggae, and lots of good old crunchy indie rock.  True or not, it sounds like one of those album that was almost as enjoyable to make as it is to hear.

Bring Me The Finest World Map Shower Curtain In All The Land is available in digital and CD formats -- see the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for album


Lost Tapes - We Thought It Was Okay At The Time (2013-2015)

Lost Tapes is a Catalan duo evincing a formidable talent for earworms.  To date most of their music has been released as 7" singles and digital downloads.  Their debut album Let's Get Lost was released in early 2016, but the enterprising tastemakers at Shelflife Records deemed the band's output of the previous three years too good to not be collected and presented to the public in a single package, and they are absolutely correct.  So here we are with We Thought It Was Okay At The Time (2013-2015), 14 tracks of dream and jangle pop with warm melodies, welcoming vocals and endearing hooks.

Lost Tapes is Pau Roca (formerly of La Habitacion Roja) and RJ Sinclair (formerly of Tokyo Sex Destruction).  I suspect they are aware of those who have jangled and dreamt before them, including The Pastels, various C86 bands and The Close Lobsters.  But their music only hints at the nostalgia, as they carve their own path as one of the better dreampop bands playing today.  I've had this record in rotation for over a month now, and can't bring myself to replace it.  Actually, I can't think why I would want to do so.  This is top stuff, indie pop fans.

We Thought It Was Okay at the Time (2013-2015) is available in vinyl, CD and digital formats from Shelflife Records.

Shelflife Records page for album
Shelflife Records

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Milk! Records 2016! - Free Sampler

In addition to being one of our favorite rockers, Courtney Barnett runs Melbourne's Milk! Records with her partner Jen Cloher.  Being very nice people, they put together an eight-track sampler of songs by artists who have released records on their label.  And it is available for 'name your price'.  The only thing we'll add is that you are crazy if you don't grab yourself a copy.  Then check out more by these great musicians.

Bandcamp page
Website for Milk! Records
Milk! Records on Facebook
Twitter for Milk! Records

"Out Of Time" by Smokescreens

Do you like noisy jangle pop like we like noisy jangle pop?  If so, your new favorite discovery may be Los Angeles four piece Smokescreens.  Originally consisting of Corey Cunningham of Terry Malts and Chris Rosi of Plateaus, both of which have been featured on these pages, the band recorded a self-titled album that will be released on February 2 via Parked In Hell.  The band now also includes Brice Bradley and Jenny Moffett.

Sample the wonderful New Zealand-influenced sound on "Out of Time", which is the first single from the album.

Bandcamp for "Out of Time"
Parked In Hell

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Clean - Getaway (reissue)

One of the most enduring of the southern hemisphere indie rocker bands are New Zealand's The Clean.  Perhaps one of the reasons for their longevity is that they are not The Clean 24/7.  Brothers David and Hamish Kilgour have other projects, and Robert Scott has The Bats and his solo work as well.  So the members live their lives and get together from time to time to be The Clean.  The trio hasn't graced us with an album of new material since Mr. Pop in the latter half of the '00s, but Merge Records is stepping in to fill our need for more material.  In this case, the label has taken the band's 2001 album Getaway, which was a CD-only release, and reissued it in vinyl form.

And to call it a reissue really doesn't do it justice.  The package is a two-LP/2-CD release (also available in digital form) with the original album plus live recordings of songs from two rare records (Slush Fund and Syd's Pink Wiring System) which had only been released in New Zealand.  The songs are remastered to great effect, which always draws listeners.  But for me the magic is the breadth of the band's sweet spot.  Of course the collection contains the jangling, scrappy type of songs one would expect from a Dunedin outfit.  But their are delicious folk tinged songs, psychedelic tapestries, satisfying instrumentals, and a few country rock tunes.  And the second disc serves to remind all of us why The Clean is such a popular live band.

So even if you are a fan and, like all of us here at WYMA, already owned Getaway, there are compelling reasons to grab this reissue (check out "Do Your Thing" below for one stellar example); and note that the vinyl comes with a digital download code.  If you don't have Getaway, this is your chance to get a great album with timeless guitar pop at an attractive price.  And if you are keeping score, this is one of the best reissues of 2016.

Bandcamp page for release
Merge Records page for The Clean

Car Seat Headrest - Teens Of Denial

Will Toledo has written an impressive number of songs, especially considering his age.  For several years they were available on the internet, but didn't attract the level of attention a serious young musician desires.  But when the young Virginian moved to Seattle and re-recorded the best of his past songs under the name Car Seat Headrest, the result was a 2015 Matador Records release called Teens of Style (our feature here).  The next year brought Toledo's debut album of new material, Teens of Denial, also on Matador.  It was released in the first half of the year, but distribution was disrupted due to a legal dispute regarding a snippet borrowed from a Cars' song.  But despite the stuttering roll out, the album can be found on a number of year end lists.  And for very good reason.

For this outing Toledo chose to compose a song cycle about Joe, a young man dealing with the life challenges of his late teens and early 20s.  I know you may be thinking "I got through that period, who cares?", but I think that misses the point.  You may not care about Joe or his struggles, but what likely will connect is the classic rock presentation, the smart lyrical constructions, the ambitious arrangements, effective performances, and -- refreshingly -- the very un-rock-god perspective on Joe's travails.  Yes, drug trips can be bad, live can suck, and complaining about life sucking can be its own ironic loop.  Teams of Denial has a certified rock heart, and boasts a very good brain as well.  Think Guided By Voices covering songs by James Mercer and Joe Jackson.  It is a great trip and a record to keep in rotation.

For Teens of Denial, Car Seat Headrest are Will Toledo, Ethan Ives, Andrew Katz, Seth Dalby, Jon Maus, Nick Shadel, and Jim DeJoie.

Bandcamp for Teens Of Denial