Saturday, October 28, 2017

Worriers - Survival Pop

Punk rock with melody, insight and passion -- damn this is good stuff.  If you aren't familiar with Brooklyn's Worriers, you have some catching up to do.  But start with their recent album Survival Pop.  The band's focal point is vocalist Lauren Denitzio, who also is an author and visual artist.  She relies an a fluid supporting case, including Mikey Erg, Lou Hanman, John McLean, Rachel Rubino, and Audrey Zee.  Which of them play on Survival Pop is unknown to us, but WYMA gives major respect to everyone involved.  The music and performances are first rate, and as for the politics, large and small, Joe Strummer said something like 'without politics, punk is just noise'.  We assure you, this album is far more than just noise.

Survival Pop is out now as a digital download.  See the Bandcamp link.

Bandcamp for Survival Pop

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Those Unfortunates - In Lavender and Other Stories

Since everyone reading this blog is accomplished, successful and in every respect a "fat cat", we urge you to spare a little time for the unfortunates in life.  Which unfortunates, you ask?  Well, our recommendation is Those Unfortunates.  Yes, those, the musical Londoners who are witty, melodic and, lately, appealingly prolific.  Their latest offering is the recently released In Lavender EP, which has been playing here in headquarters all morning.

The EP consists of seven numbered tracks, but the first and last are brief spoken-word bookends for the songs.  And what songs they are!  Beginning with the jangling gem "In Lavender" from their recent LP Nothing Isn't Beautiful (reviewed favorably in the most influential blogs, such as here) and continuing with four songs recorded in the sessions for that album, the record showcases the band's ability to thrill with tempo and flair, and please with more pastoral approaches.  "Druid Lane continues the uptempo atmosphere of the title track in fine fashion.  Following songs "Woodlouse" and "Mirror" slide into the band's alternative sweet spot of folk pop.  The final musical offering is the delightful "Fountayne Road", a shaggy folk rock tune.  Any of the previously unreleased songs could have held their own with the songs included in the album, so we applaud the wisdom of the band in releasing them now.  Of course, if that leaves them four songs short for the next album, they will live up to their band name, and the LP will become an EP.  But other than that potential problem, these guys are just about perfect.  Enjoy!

In Lavender is available as a highly limited cassette and digital download via the band's own Midnight Bell label.  See the Bandcamp link for details.

Bandcamp for EP

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Luxembourg Signal - Blue Field

Now seven members strong, everything about the current iteration of Anglo/Yankee band The Luxembourg Signal suggests a continuing upward trajectory.  From the top quality pop vocals of Beth Arzy and Betsy Moyer to the richly textured and dynamic arrangements that define their anthemic brand of Creation Records-meets-2017 brand indie pop, the focus is on loading the listener's aural pleasure sensors to maximum levels.  With veterans of Aberdeen and Trembling Blue Stars, and a lineage that leads back to Sarah Records, there is a wealth of experience in crafting delectable hooks and smile-inducing melodies.  But even knowing that background may not prepare the listener for the treats on Blue Field, the band's new album.  The album offers swirling guitars and synths, forward pushing percussion, soaring and cascading harmonies, and evocative expressions of joy and unease.  And in doing so represents one of the finest combinations of pop and dreampop you will find.  Certainly one of 2017's musical gems.

The Luxembourg Signal is Beth Arzy, Betsy Moyer, Johnny Joyner, Brian Espinosa, Ginny Pitchford, Kelly Davis, and Daniel Kumiega.  Blue Field is out now on vinyl, digital and CD formats via Shelflife Records (North America) and Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten (Europe).

Shelflife page for album

Monday, October 23, 2017

Wireheads - Lightning Ears

Lightning Ears is compellingly weird and a whole lot of wonderful.  The latest album and fourth overall from Adelaide country punks Wireheads, it is loose-limbed in construction and wide scope in inspiration.  For this venture band leader Dom Trimboli gathers Harriet Fraser-Barbour (Workhourse), Luke Kenny (Men With Chips), Vic Conrad (The Garden Path), Daniel Heath (IDK 2.0) and Liam Kenny (Workhorse).  As with the prior album, the plan was to record for Calvin Johnson (K Records, Beat Happening) at his studio in Olympia, Washington.  Calvin mislaid his studio so the proceedings moved north to a deconsecrated church in Anacortes, on an island in Puget Sound.  So at the time of recording, we had a band that just recently became a band and which is still learning the songs, a half world of travel, and an enigmatic producer in a new studio.  You might guess that this is a recipe for chaos.  And of course it is, but chaos appears to be the yeast for Wireheads bread.

We've termed the music country punk here because we are accustomed to labels, but the breadth of influences is immense.  Trimboli's talk-sing and deadpan delivery of observations and questions about life and technology are transported by elements of fuzzy punk, college rock, post punk, country, glam and classic rock.  Oh, I almost forgot some Afro-pop and a children's choir (no, not in the same song, these people are civilized).  Nothing is lyrically straightforward, but on some plane it makes sense, you with an open mind you'll get there.  Everyone will find songs to love, and maybe a song or two that challenges them.  But we can't pretend to be objective because we've already put in on our draft list of best albums of the year.  And in our professional opinion, "Indian Pacific Express is one of the best songs we have heard in years.  Go ahead and play it over and over.  It won't wear out, and it won't wear out its welcome.

Lightning Ears is out now via Tenth Court Records.

Bandcamp for Lightning Ears
Tenth Court Records
Site for US vinyl orders
European site for orders

Mark Martyre - Rivers

Lyrical and suffused with emotional currents, Rivers is another stellar offering from Toronto songwriter and poet Mark Martyre.  Martyre possesses a voice seemingly drenched in smoke and whisky, and a breezy performance style that radiates warmth.  But as appealing as that combination can be, the star is the songwriting -- showcasing Mark's ability to turn his personal observations into stories that the listener may well mistake for his or her own.  Sure, Rivers is Martyre's album, but it is welcoming enough that a listener with some miles in the rear view mirror could think a story or two was borrowed from his or her own life.

This album is like a feel good prescription for you spirit.  And it refills endlessly.

Bandcamp for Rivers