Saturday, August 26, 2017

"LTF" and "Cracks" by Frøkedal

Falling in love is exciting, frightening, chaotic, and blissful, and frankly can leave even the most articulate love struck individual incapable of describing the complex feelings.  However, not all are so limited, one one lovely exploration arrives via the new double A-side from Norway's Frøkedal.  Covering the tumult, vulnerability and joy with glistening arrangements and crystalline vocals, it is a very satisfying record and may make falling in love seem less daunting.  In any case, it should make your weekend better.

Frøkedal is Oslo-based Anne Lise Frøkedal with Olav Christer Rossebø, Thea Glenton Raknes, Erlend Ringseth, and Ingeleiv Berstad.  LTF/Cracks is out now via Propeller Recordings.

Order page
Propeller Recordings

Ghostpoet - Dark Days & Canapés

Ghostpoet is Obaro Ejimiwe, a shapeshifting musician of considerable talent.  On Dark Days & Canapés, his new album, he delivers stories perfect for those wee morning hours when things slow down and one has to decide whether to go to bed or just head out for pre-dawn breakfast and start the new days.  The power of Ejimiwe's art doesn't derive from tempo, volume, or hooks, but rather from the shaded atmosphere, jazzy accents, guitars jumping in like startled flocks of birds, skittering beats, and the languid but anxiety-tinged vocals.  He adeptly addresses the heaviness of the times with a lyricism and empathy that infuses what could be a very bleak set of themes with a triumphant humanity.  This is an album that presents a worthwhile change of pace for indie music fans.  If you only have time for one track, test drive "Immigrant Boogie" below.  But we highly recommend a deeper dive.

Dark Days & Canapés is out now via Play It Again Sam.


Friday, August 25, 2017

"Free" by Pegboard Nerds X Motopony

Seattle's Motopony has featured here in the past in their accustomed glitch folk/psychedelic pop guise (with a bit of soul and funk).  But today they step into new territory with "Free", a collaboration with Norwegian/Danish electronic duo Pegboard Nerds.  With nods to both melodic rock and the dance floor, it celebrates freedom from the constraints of addictions with both music and message simultaneously uplifting.

Pegboard Nerds are Norwegian DJ Alexander Odden and Danish DJ Michael Parsberg.  Motopony is a five-piece fronted by Daniel Blue.

Link to purchase and stream
Motopony Website
Motopony Facebook
Motopony Twitter
Pegboard Nerds Website
Pegboard Nerds Facebook
Pegboard Nerds Twitter
Pegboard Nerds Soundcloud

"I Took Your Picture" by Cults

We counted ourselves as big fans of Cults when they stomped into our musical consciousness in 2010.  Their darkly haunting take on a retro sound was refreshing and very welcome.  So were were not happy when the core duo of Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin terminated the band a few years later.  We can't be sure, but perhaps it was our tears that caused a reconsideration (and perhaps not, to be fair).  But whatever the reason, Cults are back in operation.  The sound is a bit different, now delving into '80s power pop.  But that is OK with us -- it is the talent that makes the band, not the style.  Oh, you want proof?  We've got it covered.  Check out "I Took Your Picture" below.

And now that you are interested, note that the new album is Offering, and will be released October 6 via Sinderlyn.  The band will be touring extensively over the next couple of months to support the album.  See the dates and venues below.


Cults North American tour dates
09/16 - Hartford, CT - Small State Great Beer Brewfest
10/14 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
10/15 - Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel
10/17 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
10/18 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
10/19 - Albany, NY - The Hollow
10/20 - Toronto, ON - Lee's Palace
10/21 - Detroit, MI - Marble Bar
10/22 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall
10/24 - Minneapolis, MN - Fine Line
10/25 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon
10/26 - Des Moines, IA - Vaudeville Mews
10/27 - Omaha, NE - Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
10/28 - Denver, CO - Globe Hall
10/29 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
10/31 - Seattle, WA - Neumos
11/01 - Portland, OR - Star Theater
11/03 - San Francisco, CA - The Chapel
11/04 - Pioneertown, CA - Pappy and Harriet's
11/05 - San Diego, CA - The Irenic
11/06 - Santa Ana, CA - Constellation Room
11/07 - Los Angeles,CA - Teragram Ballroom
11/09 - Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom
11/11 - Dallas, TX - Dada
11/12 - Austin, TX - Antone's
11/13 - Houston, TX - White Oak Music Hall
11/14 - New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks
11/15 - Birmingham, AL - Saturn
11/16 - Nashville, TN - Exit/In
11/17 - Atlanta, GA - Aisle 5
11/18 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
11/19 - Baltimore, MD - Ottobar

Thursday, August 24, 2017

New songs from Grapell

One of favorite EPs last year was the Love Chamber EP by Swedish neo-soul duo Grapell.  Happily, their desire to explore the musical expression of romantic love was not sated by the EP, so they've gone back to the studio to record a full length titled Crier.  The album will be released on November 3, but for now you can enjoy the first two songs the band has shared.

Grapell are Emil Erstrand and Nils Nygårdh, who have been friends and bandmates since their teenage years.

Bandcamp to pre-order Crier

"of tiredness of sleep" by hd hausmann

We've been a bit sparse in our posts this week, so we will try to make it up to you in the next few days.  Please accept the new cinematic gem from the collective known as hd hausmann.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Seafang - Solid Gold EP

If you call yourselves something like "Seafang", you probably aren't allowed to play folk, twee pop, or chamber pop.  St. Petersburg, Florida's Seafang understands this, and they aren't going to tempt the music gods by breaking rules.  So on Solid Gold, their five-track EP for Emotional Response Records the quintet offers shoegaze and fuzz pop anthems, with dense, busy guitars and soaring melodies and vocals.  Think of the aggressive fuzz of Glasgow's Shop Assistants and the soaring anthems of Veronica Falls coupled with more shoegaze density and more vocalists, and you'll get the picture.  But why consider it via pictures?  Listen below and at the Bandcamp link.

Seafang are Heidi (vocals), Susan (guitar), Stacey (guitar/vocals), Gary (bass/vocals), and Paul (drums).  Solid Gold is out now.

Bandcamp for Solid Gold
Emotional Response Records page for vinyl and CD

Peak Body - Peak Body EP

Time for a little fitness, isn't it?  One of our favorite blogs, the New Zealand based POPLIB has written a couple of times about a duo from Hobart, Tasmania named Peak Body.  So we checked out the band's self-titled EP today and, yes, it was well worth our time.  They play a minimalist electronic pop, sometimes spare and sometimes lush.  The rhythms as insistent and the vocals soft and ethereal.   In five tracks the band hits drum and bass, Krautrock, psychedelia, and dreampop, and owns them all.  After a few plays, we think we are totally into Peak Body mode.  Fitness is great!

Peak Body are Emma Jane Marson and Jordan Scott Marson.  Peak Body EP is available at the Bandcamp link below in cassette and digital download formats.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

"Juglar Child on the Carousel" by The Zephyr Bones

If you are a fan of psychedelic pop with summer beach vibes (welcome to the club), your new favorite band may be The Zephyr Bones.  With members from Spain and Chile, the Barcelona-based quartet plays fuzzy, punchy psychedelic pop to warm your heart and move your feet.  Spanish label La Castanya will release their LP, Secret Place, on November 10.  You can sample the goods via the first album track to be shared, "Juglar Child on The Carousel".  And UK fans should note that the band's first-ever UK show is set for November 24 at The Shacklewell Arms.

The Zephyr Bones are Brian Silva (guitar/vocals), Jossip Tkalcic (guitar/vocals), Marc Lopez (drums), and Carlos Ramos (bass).

Bandcamp for 2016 single Black Lips / Surrounded by Flowers
La Castanya

The Van Pelt - Stealing From Our Favorite Thieves / Sultans of Sentiment (reissues)

Stealing From Our Favorite Thieves

Wound tighter than a death grip and playing guitars like buzzing weapons, The Van Pelt's debut album, Stealing From Our Favorite Thieves, provided fierce post punk and quasi-hardcore in a world diverging into turntables or alternative rock and grunge.  Their acerbic observations were dished in a staccato talk-sing, punctuating the riffs and crashes, headlined by often humorous song titles.  It was defiant and breathtakingly life-affirming, with melody present but suited in a coat of protective aural armor.  And for us, when you listened to it, it was as if this was the only music in the world.  If you were an A&R guy looking for the next big thing, you wanted to be the guy to sign this band.  If you were such an A&R guy, it would end in tears for you.

The band was formed in New York City in 1994 by Chris Leo (vocals/guitar) of Native Nod (and brother of indie hero Ted Leo), with Sean Greene (bass), Brian Maryanski (guitar), and Neil O'Brien (drums).  This debut album was released two years later by a small New Jersey label Gern Blansten, supposedly turning down big money offers.  Apparently, DIY basement rock by disaffected outsiders was too deep in their psyches to shake off for a few dollars.  The explosion that was Stealing From Our Favorite Thieves detonated with great impact, especially with critics, label scouts and college radio, and further marked the band as one expected to continue an upward trajectory.

The reissue of Stealing From Our Favorite Thieves is out now in digital, CD, cassette, and vinyl formats via Spanish label La Castanya.


Sultans of Sentiment

So, what do you do when you are on the cusp of becoming the country's new darling rockers?  Well, if you are The Van Pelt you tack in a new direction.  With Seth Green leaving the band and Yoko Yasuda (Blonde Redhead) joining on bass, the band wrote and recorded songs that emphasized the melodic core of its predecessor and dialed down the volume and pace a bit.  The resulting Sultans of Sentiment, also released by Gern Blansten, offered measured steam of consciousness observations with relaxed and more spacious arrangements.  The band still could bring the noise, such as on "Yamato (Where People Really Die)" and "My Bouts with Pouncing", and the song titles remained in the whimsically absurd range.  Nevertheless, the overall tone of the album risked losing the momentum created by the band's debut. But instead the stripped back approach allowed fuller appreciation of the quality of the songwriting and melodic presentation, bringing the band new fans and greater recognition.  And it is our favorite of the two '90s releases from The Van Pelt.  Sultans of Sentiment also has been reissues by La Castanya, and is out now in digital, CD, cassette, and vinyl formats.

As an indie music fan, you can probably sketch out how this ends.  The band records a third album that doesn't see the light of day (until this decade), and the members of The Van Pelt go on to other projects.  But now, thanks to La Castanya, we have our Van Pelts back.

Bandcamp for Stealing From Our Favorite Theives
Bandcamp for Sultans of Sentiment
La Castanya page for The Van Pelt

Monday, August 21, 2017

"Go To Hell" and "Happiness" by Smoke Rings

We're kicking off Monday with some Britpop from Australia.  The band is Melbourne's Smoke Rings, and the vehicle is the catchy and muscular double A side Go To Hell, featuring the title track and "Happiness".  This is really good listening and a great dose of energy to start the week.  Nothing more needs be said.

Bandcamp for 2016 self-titled record

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