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