Tuesday, June 19, 2018

"Phantom Ride" by New Silver Girl

Finland has developed into a reliable source of excellent bands.  Today's feature from the Northern side of the Baltic Sea is New Silver Girl.  Check out the psychedelic garage pop delights of their new song, "Phantom Ride".

New Silver Girl are Olli Happonen (vocals/guitar), Samuli Sulku (guitar), Ilmo Cantell (bass), and Niilo Suihko (drums).

Bandcamp for "Phantom Ride"
Other links for download and streaming

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Hope Downs

We live for up-tempo guitar pop, and right now Melbourne's Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever are creating some of the best up-tempo guitar pop on the planet.  This may strike you as a surprising claim about a band that has just dropped their debut LP.  But we have seen this band live, we have worn out the electrons on their previous EPs, and we have had that new album - Hope Downs - blasting out of our speakers for a couple of months, so we are confident in our assessment.  Hooks, passionate songwriting and able performances are in abundance here, with a consistency that demonstrates the value of having three songwriters on the roster.  Those songwriters, Fran Keaney, Tom Russo, and Joe White, are joined by Joe Russo and Marcel  Tussie.  The songs adroitly walk the line between urgency and pleasure, with robust but breezy arrangements, just as the guitars alternate among jangling, chunky and spiky riffs.  Lyrically, the album addresses the uncertainties and fears of the current state of the world (the album title is taken from the name of a large open pit mine, the edge of which invites you to stare down into the abyss), but rarely has disillusionment been presented in such warm, inviting colors.  In our view, this is a fantastic opening LP from a promising band, but most importantly for all of you, it is an album you will never regret adding to your collection.

Hope Downs is out now via Sub Pop Records.

Bandcamp for Hope Downs
Sub Pop Records

Monday, June 18, 2018

"The Falls" by Nic Pool

Some Mondays are consumed by doing what we need to do the eat and put a roof over our head, and this is one of those Mondays.  But we can't ignore our self-imposed obligation to bring you some fine music.  So here is "The Falls" by Tucson, Arizona musician Nic Pool.  His voice is soulful, and the beat delightful.  We hope there is more to come.


Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Catherines

If you are a fan of jangle pop with plenty of fuzz, you will be thrilled to explore the catalog of The Catherines.  It is the project of Hamburg, Germany's Heiko Schneider, who offers us classic melodies, bittersweet (and often amusing) lyrics, and arch song titles, all packaged in one or two track digital singles.  Listen to some streams below, and then go to Bandcamp and explore some more.  It may make you late for a meeting or keep you up late, but life is to be lived.


Saturday, June 16, 2018

D.A. Stern - Aloha Hola / Isn't It Obvious?

D.A. Stern (whose mom probably knows him as Daniel Aaron Stern of New Jersey) has DNA that matches pretty well with pop genius Harry Nilsson, and probably has plenty of similarity with Lennon/McCartney, Brian Wilson, and the ghosts of the Brill Building.  Now living in Los Angeles, the man is churning out music that simply demands listening.  He released full album Aloha Hola in 2017, but it only got limited traction in an increasingly crowded music world.  Fortunately for Daniel, and us, Slumberland has re-released Aloha Hola and Daniel's 2018 four track single Isn't It Obvious?  So you now can have your very own D.A. Stern collection.

You man have gotten out of bed this morning unaware of the delights of Stern's music, but now you need it in your life.  "Isn't It Obvious?"

Three from Aloha Hola:

Title track for Isn't It Obvious?:

Bandcamp for Aloha Hola
Bandcamp for Isn't It Obvious?
Slumberland page for Aloha Hola

Friday, June 15, 2018

Super 8 - Turn Around Or

Friday  has arrived at WYMA headquarters, so it is time to test candidates for weekend beverage consumption (this is scientific research, people, don't scoff) and pick some weekend music.  A trending candidate is Turn Around Or by Super 8.  Not only is the name of the band evocative of road trips, conjuring motels, gas stations, or motels with an adjacent gas station, but the songs on  Turn Around Or suggest parties, good times, and weekend beverages.  The man behind the Super 8 mask is Trip, who also is known as Paul Ryan.  But if we had a name that risked us being mistaken for the emasculated Speaker of the US House of Representatives, we would choose a stage name as well, and Trip works just fine.

Turn Around Or is packed with scrappy indie nuggets that should have you bouncing all weekend long.  The songwriting is tight, the arrangements are bold, and there are enough hooks to prompt envy in Big Star.  Trip's performance has the grit and panache that we want in a frontman.  And it should be noted that while Trip did most of the work himself, he had help from the likes of Nick Bertling, Bill Philips, Owen Hodgson, and Sunnie Larson.  Picking representative songs from among this consistent menu could have been done with darts, but we manned up and made four selections.  Trip composed all except "Serious Drugs", the BMX Bandits standout penned by Scots heroes Duglas Stewart, Norman Blake and Joe McAlinden.  This man is prolific as well as talented, as it is his second release in 2018.

Turn Around Or is out now in CD and digital formats via Futureman Records.

Bandcamp for album
Futureman Records
Super 8/Trip on Twitter

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Virginia Wing - Ecstatic Arrow

You may be one of the music lovers who is not familiar with Virginia Wing, and if you are such a person you may wonder why your go-to blogs and zines are spending precious pixels discussing the Manchester band's new album, Ecstatic Arrow.  We could be snarky and suggest that you read one or more of those blogs or zines to fine out, but since you are here we will offer you a more constructive suggestion - stream the songs below, realize that the album will enrich your life, and go to Bandcamp and buy the album while streaming it in its full glory.  In our opinion, Ecstatic Arrow is a synthpop triumph, echoing the genre's glory days of the '80s and burnishing them for modern days.  Core members Alice Merida Richards and Samuel Pillay, with able collaborators (including XAM Duo's Christopher Duffin on sax), have created music that is incisive, inventive and entertaining.  While the lyrics can be serious, the arrangements are light filled and uplifting.  Virginia Wing's previous recordings were always interesting and worth exploring, but after listening to Ecstatic Arrow, those efforts seem like practice for the big game, and the new album is the first team showing their stuff, full game face in place.

Ecstatic Arrow is out now in digital, CD, LP, and deluxe LP (with zine and poster) via Fire Records.

Bandcamp for Ecstatic Arrow
Fire Records

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Martes Niebla - Martes Niebla

There have been a number of good bands coming out of Spain in the past few years, and we have discovered yet another one -- Martes Niebla.  Comprised of Cristian, Davis, Erica, Ines, and Paco, they are based in Seville, Spain.  The band's sweet spot is a muscular shoegaze with dream pop elements.  Their debut self-titled EP includes four songs, three with Spanish lyrics and one, "Marble", with English lyrics.  While melodic, the songs have a palpable authority and invite repeated listens.  Martes Niebla is available now as a digital download for 'name your price'.  This is the best deal of the day, folks.

Bandcamp for EP

Monday, June 11, 2018

Candybomber - Singular EP

It seems that Stewart Tudor-Jackman has been reincarnated!  In the '90s, he helmed the Kensingtons, a fine indie pop band with twee leanings.  But for his new project, Candybomber, the menu is power pop with buzzsaw guitars and a bit of punk.  Our first taste is the new four-song Singular EP.  And it is oh, so good!

In addition to Stewart (guitar), Candybomber includes Anthony (drums), Matt (vocals), Fasel (guitar), and Warren (bass).  Singular EP is out now in digital and CD formats via Jigsaw Records.

Bandcamp for Singular EP

Sunday, June 10, 2018

"Et le blizzard s'estompe" by The Rebels of Tijauana

There is no shortage of good music to share, and we will cover as much of it as time allows.  But the music has to fit the time and place.  Today brought a bike ride in both sun and rain, and then sun and rain again, and now we are enjoying a fine beverage.  After spending some time tying to decide what music best fit an early summer evening with a soft rain falling, we checked our email and discovered  a message from Echo Orange submitting "Et le blizzard s'estompe" by The Rebels of Tijuana.  And it is perfect!  We love the way the track establishes a groove and takes the time to let it seep entirely into the listener's brain before the lyrics drop in.  The song, which is the first single written by French poet RĂ©mi Guirao, is available as a digital download from various online sources.

The Rebels of Tijuana are Alex (guitar/bass/vocals), Seb (keys/backing vocals), Romain (drums/backing vocals), and Julien (bass/backing vocals).  Despite the band's name, they are a French, and living in Switzerland.  Obviously, their tastes run to '60s and '70s French pop, and that is quite alright with us.  They will be releasing Asile, a double vinyl LP in October 2018, which promises to encompass folk rock, pop, jazz, and psychedelia.  Based on the evidence of this single, our bet is that they deliver on those promises.

And we wish you a relaxing end to your weekend.

Echo Orange

Friday, June 8, 2018

Various Artists - The Official Matinee World Cup EP

It is just about time for World Cup 2018.  Fans of the participating countries, and unaffiliated fans of the beautiful game, will be focused on cheering for their favorite team in every match.  Of course, musicians are not immune to such passions, and have even been known to compose songs about their teams.  Some of such songs are good, and some of such songs can even be played in polite company.  Today we bring you The Official Matinee World Cup EP, a hot-off-the-press compilation from Matinee Recordings featuring songs by five bands whose fellow countrymen will compete for the ultimate prize.  Last Leaves from Australia sings of "Golden Days To Come".  Sweden's Red Sleeping Beauty is regarding the team "Dressed In Yellow And Blue".  The Spanish contribution from The Royal Landscaping Society reminds us who won in "2010".  "Red White And Blue" is the The Popguns ode to their English team.  Brazil's Pale Sunday contributes "Dirt Pitch Superstars", reminding us of the impromptu pitches that nurture the seemingly endless youth talent supplying their national side.

The games begin next week, so now is the time to load up on modern anthems in digital or CD format.  We already have our copy, and it will feature prominently at happy hour at least until this WC is over.  And because it is good music, and national leagues start up again in August, we'll probably keep playing it.

Soundcloud for EP
Matinee Recordings page for EP

Carla J Easton - Wanting What I Can't Have

As all of us who love music know, you can't keep a good song out of your head.  Carla J. Easton knows that too, but she does it one better on her new record Wanting What I Can't Have.  She gives us the titular track -- then she gives us six remixes of the titular track.  So we get a good song residing our heads, but we get variety as well.  And the song?  It is a bottom-heavy delight with big choruses and Carla's appealing lead vocals.  All of the remixes are excellent, although we are particularly taken with the version by Sun Rose, subtitled 'The Optimist Point of View'.  Fans of Easton's work as ETTE certainly will appreciate her return, but this is a record that should please new fans as well.  And think of the work Carla has saved us.  Usually one would have to collect remixes one at a time as various production teams took on the tax.  Here we have everything wrapped up for us in a single package.

Wanting What I Can't Have is out now as a digital release via Glagow's Olive Grove Records.

Bandcamp for release
iTunes link for ablum

Thursday, June 7, 2018

"Heart Turned Blue" by Melbourne Cans

Your slice of retro pop heaven for the week is "Heart Turned Blue" an ode to fictional pop icon "Peggy Sue" by Australian four-piece Melbourne Cans.  The song is taken from Heat of the Night, which will be released soon by The Lost and Lonesome Recording Co.  We have this one on continued repeat.  We think you will understand why.

Bandcamp for Heat of the Night
Additional links for Heat Of The Night
The Lost and Lonesome Recording Co.

"Hot Mess" and "The Wire" by Saltwater Sun

In case your predilections for a summer soundtrack run towards alternative rock, we suggest that you introduce your music device, and ears, to Saltwater Sun.  They adeptly mix crunch, grit and sunshine.  It is June already, my people, get your summer going ....

Links to buy/stream "Hot Mess"

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Karen Meat - You're An Ugly Person

Karen Meat is from Iowa, which quite frankly isn't a hot spot for bands covered here.  Who knows, maybe we're missing something.  But any group that can package barbed wire lyrics with sweet vocals and upbeat arrangements deserves our time.  Their new album, You're An Ugly Person, covers the pop spectrum with dance, electro-pop, surf, girl group, and funk.  Imagine if a couple of suburban parents hired what they thought was a family-friendly dance band for their daughter's party, only to discover that the singer/songwriter is working through issues of rejection and disappointment and the backing funk/surf band spiked the punch and then guzzled it.  And we mean that as a sincere compliment.  This is an album that will put a smile on your face and a bounce in your step  -- the building blocks of a good life!

The core of Karen Meat are Arin Eaton and Dana Telcrow, although they call on other like-minded crazies from time to time.  You're An Ugly Person is available in digital and vinyl formats via Emotional Response Records.

Bandcamp for album

"Reject" by Melby

Stockholm's Melby will be touring Europe and the UK this summer, and have given fans yet another reason to turn out for their shows with the release of new song "Reject".  The single follows their excellent 2017 self-titled release, and suggests that this quartet will continue to be a band we follow.

Melby are Matilda Wiezell, Are Engen Steinsholm, David Jehrlander, and Teo Jernkvist.  "Reject" is out now via Sweden's Rama Lama Records, as is their Melby EP.

Rama Lama Records

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Vital Idles - Left Hand

We must confess to be in the throes of an "album obsession" period.  The current object of our focus is Left Hand, the debut LP by Vital Idles.  Combining a sparse, hard edged primitivism with a melodic jangle, the Glasgow quartet has crafted a generous 14-song set filled with anxious charm and meandering lyricism.  The band has drawn comparisons to Kleenex, Life Without Buildings, The Raincoats, and even The Smiths.  We get that, but we tend more to regarding them as the love child of The Clean, Beat Happening and Yes On Blood-era The Mallard (which was one of our favorite albums in 2012).  Yes, in our make-believe world three parents are possible.  But regardless of the influences you might detect, we think you will find Left Hand to be an album that will live in your rotation for a long time.

Our favorite songs as of this writing are "A Premise", "Chains", "Solid States", "Life Like", "Geraniums" and .... well, you get the idea, we pretty much like everything this album offers.

Vital Idles are Jessica Higgins, Nick Lynch, Ruari MacLean, and Matthew Walkerdine.  Left Hand is out now via Upset The Rythm.

Upset the Rhythm page to order Left Hand

Friday, June 1, 2018

Beach Skulls - Las Dunas

Beach Skulls dish up a tasty musical stew on debut album Las Dunas.  The featured ingredients are psychedelia, garage pop and surf.  And the result is sunny and a bit spicy, with plenty of variety.  Consider it an album with a sense of adventure, which make it the perfect soundtrack for what you should be planning for the summer (note that we wrote "what you should be planning", now what you couch surfers actually will accomplish).  Listen to "That's Not Me" below, and you might be tempted to think that this trio is from California, rather than the UK midlands.  We take our beach music wherever we can find it (which over the years has included Scotland, Finland, Japan, and Indonesia).  This year, it is Liverpool and Manchester with Beach Skulls.

The band are Ry Vieira, Jordan Finney, and Dan West, and they reside (variously, we assume, in Manchester and Liverpool).  And for those keeping score, this is another week with a winning release from PNK SLM Recordings.

Bandcamp for ordering Las Dunas
Punk Slime Recordings

Thursday, May 31, 2018

"This Is The Final Song" by Charlie Big Time

We have long loved the warm indie pop of Charlie Big Time - and we have long been without new music from them.  We were quite happy to learn that they finally have a new song, although we were alarmed that the title might indicate an impending retirement and relocation to the south of France to live off of their considerable wealth gained from selling tunes for money.  We can't determine whether that fear is to be realized or not, although we take some hope from a recent post that mentioned new songs, not just a final song.  In any case, enjoy the melodic "This Is The Final Song".


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

"Everything Will Be Fine" by Milkpunch

In our view, "Everything Will Be Fine" is appropriately named because every time I listen to it -- and we have listened to it quite frequently since we discovered it last weekend -- everything seems so much better.  We tend to develop obsessions about certain songs, and we think we have a thing going on about this one.  The good news for you, for us, and for everyone, is that the song is available as a free download.  See, we told you -- everything will be fine!

The song is by Milkpunch, a band named for a cocktail.  It started life as a bedroom project for young Brazilian Raf Lima.  Raf has moved to Sydney, Australia and added Liam, Jo, and Sam to the band.  Last year they released debut EP Junk Pop (Bandcamp link below), which featured "Iced Tea", a crunchy rocker you can watch in video below.

Bandcamp for "Everything Will Be Fine"
Bandcamp for Junk Pop EP

Cozy Slippers - Postcards EP

Here at WYMA we are adamant that we cannot be bribed or cajoled into saying nice things about the music we cover.  However, we can be intimidated.  So when we read that a record we are evaluating is made by a band "using music to work out some issues and settle old scores", we find it in our hearts to regard that record very highly (especially as we live in the same community).  With that introduction out of the way, we would like to tell you about the excellent five song Postcards EP, by the stellar musicians and wonderful people that comprise Cozy Slippers.  The guitars jangle and the keys and dual female vocals provide an '80s sheen to the music, while the rhythm section provides a sturdy backbone.  Some listeners may detect hints of the haunting arrangements of Heavenly and Veronica Falls, but we suspect everyone will groove to the music -- even while the vocalists sing about betrayal.  The band does Seattle proud on this record.

Cozy Slippers are Sarah Engel (bass/vocals), Steven Skelton (guitar), and Barbara Barrilleaux (drums/keys/vocals).  Postcards is out now in digital and CD formats via Jigsaw Records.  It is the band's second EP.  We are hoping the third EP doesn't say bad things about us.

Bandcamp for Postcards EP
Jigsaw Records

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

KiDD - You and I

Artists that ignore conventional approaches and triumph are rare, which makes the occasional successful effort an event to celebrate.  However, if we were to handicap which guy could pull it off, our money would have been on Stu Kidd.  Stu has been involved in a number of projects, including BMX Bandits, The Wellgreen, Dr Cosmo's Tape Lab, The Store Keys, Snowgoose, Jonny, Linden, and St Deluxe, but lately has been recording as KiDD.  The latest KiDD release is You and I, which combines Stu's songs accompanying a book by Michael Stephen Clark.  Without giving too much away, the album/book is about a boy (Joe), his dog (Alfie), and a walk to the park.  The simple tale comes alive with the engaging songs, evincing the Beach Boys' way with a melody and The Kink's flair for storytelling.  Give in to your inner child, and enjoy the most classic of tales, well told and well sung.

You and I is out now as a digital download which includes the underlying book as an e-book with KiDD's songs embedded so you can read and listen.

Bandcamp for You and I
Website for story You and I

Tracyanne & Danny - Tracyanne & Danny

Offering a masterclass in the singer songwriter arts, Traceyanne & Danny delivers ten excellent pop tunes to decorate  your summer.  Lyrically, the songs are reflective, bittersweet, and sincerely emotional, while the arrangements tend toward the breezy style of '60s rock and girl group pop.  Some artists' collaborations never gel, while others become dominated by one of the collaborators.  But Traceyanne Campbell of Scottish band Camera Obscura and Danny Coughlan of English project Crybaby seem to find the perfect balance, meshing their talents to create songs worthy of a long-time songwriting partnership.  Edwyn Collins (Orange Juice and solo work) and Sean Read (Dexys Midnight Runners) were chosen as the production team, and they delivered in inspired fashion, with keys, horns, strings, and other instruments accenting the sublime vocals from Campbell and Coughlan.  And Collins chipped in with vocals an "Alabama", as well.  On first listen, this album is truly impressive.  On subsequent listens, it is even better -- pop perfection, dear readers, pop perfection.

Traceyanne & Danny is out now in digital, CD and vinyl formats via Merge Records.

Bandcamp for album

Monday, May 28, 2018

Loose Wing - "Heather Army" / "Blanket Skin"

Seattle's Loose Wing doesn't have much of an online presence.  Whether that is by design, reflects a recent  formation, or both, we can't say.  But we do know this -- when you make a song as good as "Heather Army" you deserve to have people help get the word out.  So dive into the aural bliss of this stellar two track single.  And by the way, it is a free download!

Loose Wing is Claire Tucker (guitar/vocals/keys), Jack Peters (bass), and Rusty Willoughby (drums).

Bandcamp for record

Sunday, May 27, 2018

"Close" by Lachlan Denton

Lachlan Denton appears to be a lavishly generous man.  In Lach's case, his generosity manifests itself in brilliant songwriting spread over multiple projects.  Regular readers are aware of our admiration for The Ocean Party, of which Lach is one of six members, all of whom are songwriters (our feature for Beauty Point LP here).  More recently, Lach joined forces with the talented Emma Russack to create a lovely EP (our feature here).  But Lach has more to say -- more to tell us -- so at the end of this week he will release Two Months in Ben Woolley's Room via Osborne Again Music.  In advance of the album's release, Denton has made album track "Close" available as a free download (Soundcloud or Bandcamp).  As expected, the song is effortlessly melodic and well voiced.  But beyond that, it demonstrates the artists particular talent for heartfelt, relateable stories, unashamedly intimate yet universal.

This is going to be a special album.

Bandcamp for "Close"
Bandcamp to order Two Months in Ben Woolley's Room

The Love-Birds - In The Lover's Corner

Dealing with love isn't easy, but most musicians will admit that love is a reliable springboard for songwriting.  Sometimes the result are as messy as the relationships, but when the song and the performance click, the result is classic pop excellence.  And such is the case with In The Lover's Corner, the debut album by San Francisco's The Love-Birds.   The quartet evince a solid appreciation and understanding of their influences, and combine jangle pop, power pop and garage into a fluid and entertaining set of songs.  Sweet hooks and Byrdsian jangle alternate with crunch and fuzz as the lads tell us what went right, what went wrong, and why they are often at fault.  But while past lovers may assign blame in their direction, the listener will find no fault with this album.  This is your power pop charmer of the week.

The Love-Birds are Charlie Ertola (bass), Eli Groshelle (drums/percussion), Thomas Rubenstein (vocals/guitar), and Eli Wald (guitars).  In The Lover's Corner is out now via Trouble In Mind Records.

Bandcamp for In The Lover's Corner
Trouble In Mind Records


Saturday, May 26, 2018

"Essential Three" and "Essential Four" by Soulwax

It is Saturday night here and we are getting our party started with two essential tracks by Belgian dance/electronica wizards Soulwax.  We know they are essential, because they are titled "Essential Three" and "Essential Four", taken from the duo's upcoming June 22 release titled Essential.  The album springs from an invitation to appear on BBC's Essential Mix program, which inspired Soulwax to create an hour of original music based on the word "essential".

Essential will be released in CD, vinyl and digital formats by DEEWEE / PIAS.

Links to pre-order Essential

Friday, May 25, 2018

"Someone New" by Smokescreens

"Someone New" is the something new from Los Angeles quartet Smokescreens.  Founded on a love of '80s New Zealand guitar pop, the band now reflects a wider array of influences, all of which resonate with our ears, brains and hearts.  Used to Yesterday, their second album, is scheduled for a mid-July release via Slumberland Records.  But because it would be very cruel to announce the album and not let you hear a bit, they have provided "Someone New" -- a truly great bit of indie rock to start your weekend!

Smokescreens was founded by Chris Rosi and Corey Cunningham, and now includes Brice Bradley and Jenny Moffett.

Bandcamp for Used to Yesterday
Links for pre-order of Used to Yesterday

"Snakes" and "The Islands" by Pale Green Things

Manchester's Jack Traynor records as Pale Green Things, crafting reflective, folky pop songs of quiet grace and beauty.  His debut album is titled The Beast in the Hearts of Men, and is due in late June.  But you can meet his music now via album tracks "Snakes" and "The Islands", which have been released as singles.  Both songs are worth your attention, but we are particularly fond of "Snakes".

Bandcamp for "Snakes"
Bandcamp for "The Islands"

Thursday, May 24, 2018

TV Girl - Death of a Party Girl

TV Girls is a Los Angeles collective headed by songwriter/musician Brad Petering.  We have been fans for years, enjoying their crisp synth pop and warm, hook filled arrangements.  The lyrics can be bittersweet, or even dark, at times, but the music never fails to hit the spot.  Their latest offering, wisely timed to coincide with their active summer touring schedule, is Death of a Party Girl.  You can score a vinyl version via pre-order at the Bandcamp link, but you can get a free digital download right now.  We recommend it highly, and have already added the ten songs to our permanently available TV Girl playlist.  This album provides a chill soundtrack for your summer, and if you are a vinyl collector, the digital will keep you happy until your disc is ready later this year.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

High Sunn - Missed Connections

Every year as summer approaches we search for music to provide our summer soundtrack.  You know, music for driving to the beach, music for backyard parties, music for late nights on the deck under the stars.  And a prime contender this year comes courtesy of 18-year old San Francisco musician Justin Cheromiah.  Recording and performing as High Sunn, Justin has followed his well-received 2017 EP Hopeless Romantic with Missed Connections, containing some of the most infectious, guitar pop we've heard in a long time.  We note that Justin is not a rookie when it comes to recording his songs, as he has been recording his own material since he was 14.  But now he is working with a full band and, while still lo-fi, his material is polished, hook filled, melodic, and highly accessible.  Unsurprisingly, the themes run to coming-of-age and teenage angst, but we old guys are fine with that if the music is this good.

Missed Connection commences with the sunshine surf pop of "Summer Solstice", followed by the '90s alt rock "I Thought You Were There" and the upbeat power pop "Those Last Words", with oohs and swoops in the choruses.  And for our money, those aren't even the best songs.  What are the best songs?  Well, the run of songs from track four through the closer, track 10, presents a wealth of choices so consistent that we can't decide for you.  We've presented three candidates below, but we encourage you to stream the album on Bandcamp and decide for yourself.

For this album, Justin's band includes Joe Jensen (drums), Freddy Rivera (lead guitar), and Arianna Vazuez (bass).  Missed Connections is out now in digital, vinyl and CD formats via Stockholm's PNKSLM Recordings.

Bandcamp for Missed Connections
PNKSLM Recordings

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Color Dolor - Love

Love is the third album by Finland's Color Dolor.  Offering elements of dream pop, electronica, R&B, industrial, and club music, it is a delectable showcase for the craft of Stina Koistinen (vocals) and Nicolas "Leissi" Rehn (instruments and programming).  Adventurous and dynamic, yet intimate, the album looks at love at several levels and from several perspectives, but never fails to delight and entertain.  It is a new musical approach for Color Dolor, but we think that it should provide them with a chance of gaining a major audience.

Love is out now in digital, vinyl, and cassette formats via Helsinki's Soliti Music.

Bandcamp for Love
Soliti Music page for Love

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Cleaners From Venus - Star Cafe

Another record by Martin Newell, AKA The Cleaners From Venus, isn't really a surprise, although it is thoroughly welcome.  The new Star Cafe even has a bit of a twist as it is a concept album, or perhaps a play waiting for a troupe of willing performers.  It is packed with great storytelling, loosely based on Cinderella and set in a cafe (with the thought that the audience can be the customers).  It offers family drama, hopes and dreams, and the awakening of second chances.  Musically, it boasts the sort of timeless folk pop arrangements that the British do so well.   The recording is lo-fi, but the execution execution and sincerity are top of the range.

Enjoy the album, and if you are tempted to stage a play, Martin has said he may even be willing to offer a bit of scriptwriting.

Bandcamp for Star Cafe

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Those Unfortunates - Two Songs About Football

Once again for your listening pleasure, London's Those Unfortunates.  The London band, which released an excellent album last year (link), has followed their recent bus-themed single with a single about football (or soccer, for those otherwise inclined to confuse things).  Consisting of two songs celebrating the beautiful game while showing two sides of jangle pop -- the energetic "Hornsey Automatic FC" and the folky "King of the Lane".  This record is a great way to get into the mood for this summer's world cup.

Those Unfortunates are Ben Brill, Magnus Alanko, Henry Bird, and Seb Brennan.  Two Songs About Football is out now in digital and cassette formats via Gare Du Nord Records.

Bandcamp for Two Songs About Football

Thursday, May 17, 2018

"Make Your Own Mind Up" by The Firestations

In early April we featured The Year Dot by UK band The Firestations.  To say that the album impressed us is an understatement, and I believe we referred to it as "a musical fireworks show" (link to WYMA feature).  The band is now releasing the shimmering, layered, standout album track "Make Your Own Mind Up" as a single with three added remixes by Bit Cloudy, Grasscourt, and The Nameless Book.  Check out the video or stream below and make your day better.

"Make Your Own Mind Up" is available as a digital release via Lost Map Records, which we expect is the only record label on the Isle of Eigg, an island off the coast of Scotland.

Bandcamp for "Make Your Own Mind Up"
Lost Map Records

"Sunday Roast" by Courtney Barnett

The answer is "yes, of course!"  The question was "do you want more Courtney Barnett.  We get a lot more Courtney tomorrow when new LP Tell Me How You Really Feel is released.  But we have a video for a song Courtney wrote when she was 13.  The seemingly effortless lyricism of her songwriting and sincerity of her performance slays us.  Being competitive guys we figured that we would write the great stuff we accomplished when we were 13, however, when viewed in print it was obvious that some things don't need to be shared.  And I am reminded, and comforted, that there is a statute of limitations applicable to most of it.

Tell Me How You Really Feel is out tomorrow, May 18 via Mom + Pop Music (US and Canada), Milk! Records (Aus and NZ), and Marathon Artists (UK and Europe).

Courtney Barnett Website
Website (for album orders)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

"An Air Conditioned Man" by Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

We still are about a month away from the release of the debut LP from Melbourne's Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, but the good lads don't want us to suffer too much while waiting.  Accordingly, we have another album track to enjoy while we wait for Hope Downs to drop.  Indie rock heaven, folks.

The album will be out June 15 via Sub Pop.

Bandcamp for "Mainland"
Sub Pop

Monday, May 14, 2018

Death and the Maiden - Wisteria

We have a wisteria growing alongside our front steps.  It winds up the pillars of the overhang and overhead trellis, and then spreads up, out and across, creating a virtually impenetrable tangle of branches and leaves that is eight feet high, 10 feet front to back and 14 feet side to side.  At this time of year it blossoms, and the visual effect is stunning.

And with our own foliage in mind, we think that Wisteria is an apt name for the new album from Dunedin, New Zealand's Death and the Maiden.  Its nine tracks present dark, tangled pop, full of mystery and unease, but always propelled forward by an insistent, inspired polyrhythmic beat.  The synths and reverbed guitars create an enveloping sound, like a dense aural fog.  The overall effect is hypnotic, evocative, and addictive -- at the same time claustrophobic and liberating.  And frankly, after listening to it we find it hard to turn directly to other other music.

Death and the Maiden are Danny Brady, Lucinda King, and Hope Robertson.  Wisteria is out now via Fishrider Records and Occultation Recordings.

Bandcamp for Wisteria
Firshrider Records
Occultation Recordings

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Famous Problems - Hey! It's Raining!

We aren't the type to wish problems on anyone.  But if you are going to have problems, why not famous problems?  You could ponder that question, but frankly that seems like work.   We suggest as an alternative listening to Famous Problems.  The collection of talented musicians, including all of the special guests, consists of Jeffrey Green, Peter Whitney, Neil O'Brien, Scott N. Amore, Alison Cotton, David Feck (Comet Gain), Pam Berry (Black Tambourine), Mark Flunder (Cee Cee Beaumont), John Panos, and Delia Sparrow.  They all have a story, or rather many stories. And some of those stories, autobiographical or not, become songs for our ears on Hey! It's Raining!  And what do our Famous Problems offer here?  Fuzzy indie pop, jangle pop, and slow burning piano ballads - and that's just the first three tracks.  And then they give you even more.  This gang are master pop tunesmiths, and they deliver the goods.  But instead of blathering on by ourselves, we offer the comment by David Feck: "So open your ears, children, to the sound of bleeding wounds, of paperback legs, of dirt road sailors, of prison poets and hairy, hairy hearts."  You must admit, it is worth listening just to discover the sound of a hairy heart.

Hey! It's Raining! is available now in vinyl and digital formats from London label WIAIWYA.

Bandcamp for Hey! It's Raining!