Friday, February 24, 2017

Dag - Benefits of Solitude

Benefits Of Solitude, the debut album from Melbourne's Dag, offers dusty, shaggy, economically expressed guitar pop that the Australians do so well.  But what makes this album so special to us is the emotional depth and intensity that the songwriter and band manage to pack into these melodic gems, while not appearing to break a sweat.  The themes of love, loss, loneliness, death and isolation are weighty, indeed.  But in the hands of Dusty McCord-Anastassiou and his pals we are served a plentiful dose of jangling entertainment, with some strings, keys and sax for added detail,  with the more serious observations.

The band and label have chosen a few of the tracks for single treatment, and we offer them below for your pleasure.  However, a few spins through Benefits Of Solitude and you are likely to conclude that you like several of the others as much as one or more of the excellent singles.  For my money, I offer "Not Fine Mind" and, especially, "Know Where To Go".  A good album is more than the sum of its parts, and this certainly is a very good album.  But you'll find those individual parts to be pretty irresistible on their own.

For Benefits Of Solitude, Dag is Dusty McCord-Anastassiou (vocals, guitars/keys, percussion, songwriting), Josh Watson (bass, violin, percussion), Matthew Ford (drums), and Skye McNicol (violin), with assistance of Heidi Cutlack (backing vocals) and Henry Mills (sax).  The album is out today via Bedroom Suck Records (and Omnian Music Group in the US).

Bandcamp for Benefits Of Solitude
Bedroom Suck Records
Bedroom Suck Records page for Benefits of Solitude
Omnian Music Group page for Benefits Of Solitude

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Donovan Blanc - The Color Of Hearts

Lush pop, hooky disco, sweet love painted in gentle pastel tones and soft rainfall, some spot-on '60s Brill Building stylings, a touch of funk  -- that's The Color Of Hearts by New Jersey duo Donovan Blanc.  It is the band's second album, and suggests that despite the high standards achieved in their first outing, which are nevertheless exceeded with this album, we probably haven't yet heard 'peak Donovan Blanc' yet.  A couple of gems are included for your evaluation below, but you can stream the entire album at the Bandcamp link (where the more alert readers will discover that a ten-song download is only five dollars).  By the way, the title track isn't a Bee Gees cover, but you could be forgiven thinking that it was.  I don't think it insults anyone to suggest a favorable comparison to the Brothers Gibb.

This album will put a smile on your face for a good long time.

Bandcamp for The Color Of Hearts

Cakefight - Cakefight 7" EP

Conceived in Melbourne, Australia, and recorded in Austin, Texas, here is Cakefight.  The members are Andrew Porter and Vanessa Morris and they play garage rock designed to make your beer glass jump around on the table.  So press play below and enjoy Cakefight 7" EP.  I radiates summer vibes shot through with gooey hooks and excited yelps.  And if you don't have a glass with beer in it, get one.  It is that kind of music.  And for that matter, 2017 is going to be that kind of year.

Bandcamp for Cakefight 7" EP

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Campfires In Winter - Ischaemia

Ischaemia is the first album from Scotland's Campfires In Winter, and it is the perfect debut long-player from one of the finest post punk bands of which you may never have heard.  Over the course of a few shorter recordings the band proved that it could pack a weighty punch with epic rocking tunes as well as quiet and intimate songs.  What Ischaemia proves is that Campfires In Winter is more than capable of maintaining consistently superb songwriting and performances over the course of an album, with intense, fully detailed songs of grace, intelligence and power.

Lead track "Kopfkino" deserves showcase status, and with the following "Free Me From the Howl" I was in love with the album after two songs.  But for me the beating heart of Ischaemia is the run of "Greeted By The Storm", "Eating All The Bodies", "Twelve Thousand Drops", "The Sky Is Taking On Light", and "With A Ragged Diamond".  It is a five-song streak that will rival any such run on any album released this year.  Can a debut album be a greatest hits album?  Maybe so ...

Campfires In Winter are Robert Canavan (lead vocals/lead guitar), Wullie Crainey (bass), Scott McArthur (keys/guitar), and Ewan Denny (drums).  Ischaemia is out on Friday, February 24, in vinyl, CD and digital formats via Glasgow's Olive Grove Records.

Olive Grove's Bandcamp page for Ischaemia

"I'm So Scared" by Ruth Carp and the Fish Heads

Ruth Carp And The Fish Heads deliver the lo-fi, jangling slacker pop that we really like around WYMA world headquarters.  With a US tour beginning in early March, and an upcoming LP titled Can Men Like Us Go To Heaven, it seems like a good time to introduce the Sydney band to our readers.  And the boys have cooperated by releasing album track "I'm So Scared" as a free Bandcamp download and the subject of the video below.  Enjoy the song, enjoy the video, and note the tour dates and venues at the bottom of the post.  Ruth Carp And The Fish Heads - doesn't that name just scream "breakfast time" to you?  We're headed to the staff lounge to see what's available.

Bandcamp for "I'm So Scared"

3/5 - Los Angeles, CA - The Mint
3/7 - Los Angeles, CA - Silverlake Lounge
3/9 - Austin, TX - Dozen Street
3/11 - San Antonio, TX - k23
3/12 - Houston, TX - Super Happy Fun Land
3/13 - New Orleans, LA - Rare Form
3/16 - Nashville, TN - The Springwater Supper Club and Lounge
3/19 - Black Mountain, NC - Town Pump
3/21 - Raleigh, NC - Slims Downtown
3/22 - Philadelphia - Kung Fu Necktie
3/24 - Brooklyn, NY - Alphaville
3/30 - Cleveland, OH - Now That's Class
4/5 - Chicago, IL - Township
4/9 - Los Angeles, CA - The Trip

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Goddam Nobody - Dead Beat

We like to style ourselves as the champions of the undersigned, unsigned, little knowns, unknowns, just-getting-started and even a Goddam Nobody.  In fact, this post isn't even our first attempt at promoting Goddam Nobody.  Avid readers and shut-ins with no television may remember our October 2015 introduction to Goddam Nobody (here), which included some free downloads.  Happily, Matthew Oliver, who is the primary Goddam Nobody (although he has help from Ben Woods, Daniel Morris, Matt Cleave, and Dan E. Brown), has crafted an EP that will be available via Super Fan 99 this Friday, February 24.  The man has a knack for hooks and melodies in which to place them, and his lo-fi fuzzy guitar style hits our sweet spot.  For this outing Oliver's songs have a bit less of the '60s retro style and a bit more '90s alt rock style.  You won't hear any complaints from us, and if you are a fan of the Brian Jonestown Massacre you may be particularly pleased.  Check out showcase title tune "Dead Beat", and if you want more, stream it below.

Superfan 99 Records page for Dead Beat
Superfan 99 Records on Soundcloud

Monday, February 20, 2017

Middle Kids - Middle Kids

Sydney's Middle Kids are hitting 2017 at a full run.  Less than a year out from their first single, the trio has just released a remarkably self-assured and satisfying six-song self-titled EP.  Their scope embraces big pop hooks, sweet alt-country, chunky rock, and smokey ballads, highlighted by frontwoman Hannah Joy's powerful and nuanced vocals -- ringing in the rafters or cooing in your ear, depending on the moment -- and solid songwriting and performances from all.  "Edge Of Town" generally gets the nod as the showcase tune, but you aren't going to find a weak song in the set and there probably would by votes for "Your Love", "Never Start" or one of the others if you put it to a fan vote.  But why choose - you can enjoy them all.

Note that the band is touring North America now.  We've included the dates and locations down below.

Middle Kids are Hannah Joy (vocals/guitar), Tim Fitz (producer/multi-instrumentalist), and Harry Day (drums).  The Middle Kids EP is out now via Domino.  See the Bandcamp link below for streaming and digital downloads.

February 21 || Seattle, WA || Barboza 
February 22 || Portland, OR || The Fremont Theater 
February 25 || Los Angeles, CA || The Echo 
February 28 || Denver, CO || Lost Lake Lounge 
March 1 || Kansas City, MO || The Tank Room 
March 3 || Nashville, TN || The Basement 
March 4 || Charleston, SC || The Music Farm * 
March 5 || Charlotte, NC || The Fillmore * 
March 6 || Saxapahaw, NC || Haw River Ballroom * 
March 7 || Atlanta, GA || The Tabernacle * 
March 10 || Baton Rouge, LA || Varisty Theatre * 
March 11 || Fayetteville, AR || George's Majestic Lounge * 
March 12 || Omaha, NE || Sokol Auditorium * 
March 14 || Madison, WI || Majestic Theatre * 
March 15-16 || Austin, TX || SXSW 
March 18 || Chicago, IL || Riviera Theater * 
March 19 || Indianapolis, IN || Egyptian * 
March 21 || Detroit, IL || St. Andrews Hall * 
March 22 || Toronto, ON || Danforth Music Hall * 
March 23 || Pittsburgh, PA || Stage AE * 
March 24 || Covington, KY || Madison Theater * 
March 29 || Philadelphia, PA || Boot & Saddle 
March 30 || Washington, DC || DC9 
April 1 || Brooklyn, NY || Baby's All Right 

 * with Cold War Kids

Bandcamp for Middle Kids

"Elevator" by PONCÉ

Perhaps shockingly, When You Motor Away is starting out the week with some elevator music.  Yes, the first post of the week is "Elevator" by Nashville-based duo PONCÉ.  The band is comprised of identical twins Michael and Carson Ponce, and we think they have a sound that will carry them far.  Enjoy the "Elevator" ride, and we'll bring you more PONCÉ when their Afterglow EP is released in early May.