Friday, December 1, 2017

The Just Joans - You Might Be Smiling Now ...

Indie pop with wit and bite to go with the melody is a very special delight, and any artist or band that can deliver such music is to be treasured.   One such treasure is Glasgow's The Just Joans (I'm sorry, did you think this was about Taylor Swift?).  Named for a long-running newspaper advice columnist, the band's themes focus on the normal, mundane aspects of their -- or maybe your -- life, and specifically growing up as recollected a decade or more down the line.  But the genius is in the irreverent, self-depreciating storytelling.  The songs on their new album, You Might Be Smiling Now..., vary among sentimental, lewd and rude, but are always funny and entertaining.  Even the song titles hint at the humor to be found (e.g. "You Make Me Physically Sick (Let's Start Having Children)", "Someone Else You Might Like More Than Me", and "Johnny, Have You Come Lately?").  There is a bit of The Magnetic Fields here, but a Magnetic Fields lubricated at the pub and in a rude mood.  It is hard to imagine listening to You Might Be Smiling Now... and not smiling over 95% of the time.  The only criticism I have is that The Just Joans take a long time creating albums (unlike Taylor Swift).  But when you can deliver an album that combines resigned cynicism and melodic sunshine like this one, you don't need swift.

The Just Joans are David Pope (vocals/guitar), Katie Pope (vocals), Chris Elkin (lead guitar), Fraser Ford (bass), Doog Cameron (keys), and Jason Sweeney (drums).  You Might Be Smiling Now... is our today via Fika Recordings.

Fika Recordings page for album (stream and purchase)
Fika Recordings

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Half Forward Line - The Back of Mass

Our second offering today is from Irish band Half Forward Line.  The trio consists of the type of guys who can be found at the back of Mass on a Sunday morning, coming in late and noisily, leaving early and equally noisily, and perhaps either not singing or singing a bit too loud.  So quite appropriately their songs hit with a blast and don't stay too long.  But like the lovable lugs at the back of mass, the songs are charming and fun, and you can enjoy 12 of them on their debut album.  Oh, the title?  Quite appropriately, it is The Back of Mass.

If speedy power pop, poppy punk and buzzsaw pop is your thing, get out of your pew and head to The Back of Mass.  A change of perspective is a good thing, and so is this album.

Half Forward Line is Brian Kelly, Hiall Murphy, and Ciaran o Maolain.  The Back of Mass is out now in digital and CD formats.  North American fans can source through Jigsaw Records.  European fans can buy it in cassette form as well.

Jigsaw Records' Bandcamp for The Back Of Mass
Bandcamp for The Back Of Mass

"Candy Man" by Cats of Transnistria

We start out today's musical pleasures with "Candy Man", the latest single from Opium, the forthcoming second LP from Finland's Cats of Transnistria.  The song is presented via a video edited from the 1931 film Svengali, showcases the band's talent for shadowy, atmospheric soundscapes and soaring melodies.

Cats of Transnistria are Henna Emilia Hietamäki, Tuomas Alatalo, and Sanna Komi.  Opium will be released February 2 via Soliti Music.

Soliti Music page for Cats of Transnistria

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Hater - Red Blinders

Try if you like, but you really can't hate Hater, although after the first few notes of their new Red Blinders EP we don't think anyone would even try.  The quick and simple take on the band is that they hoist the banner of glossy, shimmering Swedish indie pop and carry it proudly and well.  Fine enough, I suppose, but in our view that is the lazy approach as Hater really offers more.  The scope of the Malmo quartet's music finds room for elements of '80s post punk pop-rock, C-86, and dreampop.  Then adding the band's lyrical talents, minor key melodic creations, and a mature ability to polish all of the components into coherent and seamless musical gems, you have some of the finest indie pop you are going to discover this year.   Hater is a band that can can slay you with a few bittersweet words while thrilling your heart with adeptly chosen hooks and chords -- and you will love every second of it.

Red Blinders is released Friday, December 1 via Fire Records.  And note that Hater is scheduled to perform at SXSW in 2018.

Bandcamp for Red Blinders
Fire Records

Monday, November 27, 2017

Water - Enjoy

With every retailer in the galaxy trying to grab your wallet, we have to appreciate a 'name your price' album.  And especially so when the music is good.  So lend your ears to the aptly named Enjoy by Auckland band Water.  With plenty of jangle and fuzz to their psychedelic tunes, this is the sort of music that gets a lot of airplay in our lives.

Bandcamp for album

Sunday, November 26, 2017

"A Little Too Easy" by The Moonlight Club

Montreal's The Moonlight Club have a new album coming in February 2018, but are they going to make you wait that long to hear a song?  Of course not.  Here is "A Little Too Easy".  Quite simply, that is a great song.  Reminds us a bit of the '80s, perhaps for the soundtrack of a Bratpack movie, but in a very good way.

Link to 2015 EP (on Bandcamp)

Steve Buscemi's Dreamy Eyes - Four Waters EP

Welcome to Four Waters, the dreamy debut EP by Steve Buscemi's Dreamy Eyes.  The Swedish four-piece makes layered, melodic music that shimmers over driving rhythms.  Well constructed with intriguing details and a current of mystery, the songs are as substantial as they are entertaining -- perfect tunes for wintery days.  We suggest that you sink into Steve Buscemi's Dreamy Eyes.

Steve Buscemi's Dreamy Eyes are Tilde Hansen, Siri Sjoberg, Elias Mahfoud, and Edvin Srleskar.  Four Waters is available in vinyl via Rama Lama Records as well as in digital via the usual outlets.

Rama Lama Records