Friday, July 20, 2018

Smokescreens - Used to Yesterday

On their second album, the newly released Used to YesterdaySmokescreens doesn't try to disguise their influences.  But when your influences are early Flying Nun bands, '80s British guitar pop, and California guitar pop from the '60s forward, why the hell would anyone want it hidden?  And by the way, in the unlikely event that the band compiled the album as an audition to be a When You Motor Away house band -- and who wouldn't want to do that -- they passed the audition with top marks.

The joyous sounds kick off with the buzzsaw guitars of "Someone New", reminding us of member Corey Cunningham's former project, Terry Malts.  And then, it gets even better, with the glorious jangle of the title track followed by "The Lost Song", which could have been 'lost' off an '80s album by The Wedding Present or The Clean (and either would be happy to claim it, we suspect).  "Jolly Jane" lives up to its name with a happy garage pop vibe.  "Buddy" provides the rare slower tempo with a bit of Kiwi-style melancholy.  The upbeat vibes ramp up again with the next song, the Brydsian "Waiting For The Summer".  '80s New Zealand is further represented by a cover of Wasp Factory's "Steel Blue Skies".  And for us, the final three songs of the album provide the cherry on top, with the set of "Fool Me", "It's Not Right", and "Falling Down" blending the folk rock of The Bats with '60s British Invasion garage pop.

Used to Yesterday offers terrific melodies, great vocals, top songwriting, and all the style boxes ticked we could ask for.  This album may never leave our rotation.

Smokescreens are Chris Rosi, Corey Cunningham, Brice Bradley and Jenny Moffet.  Used to Yesterday is out now via Slumberland Records.

Bandcamp for Used to Yesterday
Slumberland Records page for Used to Yesterday

Thursday, July 19, 2018

"Slob" by The Salient Braves

One of our favorite albums last year was Delusions of Grandeur, by The Salient Braves (link to our review).  Matt Bailey and his pals have been a bit quiet on the release front since last fall, but that is understandable as counting the piles of money earned from that record must be very time consuming.  But the musical muse has done its work, and they are back with a new single titled "Slob".  The song reflects this band's appealing sweet spot -- melody, humor and wry commentary on the human condition.  In this edition, we hear the lament of a man who has let himself go and been abandoned by his love.

We like a track quite a bit, and we suspect you will as well.  However, we are firm in our denials that we were the model for the cover art.  We can't un-see that, you can't un-see that, but in any case it isn't us.

Bandcamp for "Slob"

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

"BirdHouse" by Weep Wave

How about a combo meal for lunch today?  With some heavy garage, garnished with swirling psychedelia, we can offer "BirdHouse" by Seattle's Weep Wave.  Stream it below, and click on the download link for a free download.  If you love King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, you are going to love this song.  We've been sharing it with the guys in the nearby offices with it all morning, I hope they like it.

Weep Wave are Fuentes (guitar & vocals), Dylan Trujillo (bass), Colton Harold (synth), and Van Wolfe (drums).


Introducing: The O'My's

My oh my - you really need an introduction to Chicago's The O'My's.  The duo of Nick Hennessey and Maceo Vidal-Haymes offers tightly constructed and emotionally packed pop tunes influenced by R&B, psychedelia, doo wop, and soul.  Nick plays keys and Maceo plays guitar and sings.  We understand an album is in process, but until it arrives, you can feast on "Baskets" and "Starship".

Links to buy/stream "Baskets"
Links to buy/stream "Starship"

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

"Worse Than It Seems" by Jawjaw

Jawjaw is the new collaborative music, film and art project of London's Andrew Harvey-Gannon.  Our introduction comes via "Worse Than It Seems", a pulsating, brooding electro-pop tune that pulls us in and leaves us wanting much more.  The song features vocals by London artist Tailor.


"David" by Frøkedal

One of the late summer releases we are eagerly awaiting is How We Made It, by Norwegian star Frøkedal. The Oslo-based musician possesses a magnificent voice and proves equally adept at creating intriguing pop songs.  The album will be release at the end of August by Propeller Recordings, but your ears can have an aural glimpse via album track "David", below.  Featuring sparkling instrumentation and seductive vocals, it has become the soundtrack of our morning.

Bandcamp for How We Made It
Propeller Recordings

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Hannah Barberas - The Hannah Barberas Are Here At Last

We are starting the week with some DIY indie pop from London.  Energetic and original, it makes Monday morning a venture worth undertaking.  It also is available at 'name your price', and since we spent most of our budget on beer and ice cream due to the hot weather (yes, beer and ice cream, but not at the same time -- we aren't animals), that price is very welcome.  So get to know The Hannah Barberas via their appropriately-titled The Hannah Barberas Are Here At Last.  There are two original songs and a cover of McCarthy's Red Sleeping Beauty (a fine song that also gave its name to a wonderful, long-running Swedish indie pop band).

The Hannah Barberas are Damien, Lucy, Doug, and Matthew.  The EP is available at the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for album

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Bjørn Torske - Byen

Usually electronic fans have to choose among trance, house and ambient.  But Byen, the new album by Norwegian producer Bjørn Torske, weaves all three into a pulsating, melodic, and thoroughly enthralling musical epic.  Other than the cinematic closing song, all of the tracks run for 7:44 or longer, and are packed with ideas.  But the listener never has to suffer filler.  This music is thoughtfully constructed.  Dance the long summer nights away, your soundtrack is here.

Bandcamp for Byen

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Babe Rainbow - Double Rainbow

We didn't intend this week to be "Australia" week, but it seems to be working out that way.  You hear people talking about wanting rainbows and ponies -- well, small horses are completely outside of our area of expertise (although we have dogs).  But rainbows?  We have rainbows.  In fact, we have Double Rainbow, by Byron Bay, Australia's Babe Rainbow.  And this 11-track gem is not only our album of the week, but it is likely one of our top 20 albums of the year so far.  The lads of Babe Rainbow mine deep veins of '60s psychedelic pop, and that alone would be sufficient to earn our joyful reception.  But this is an expansive, dynamic set of songs that touches on funky disco ("Eureka"), jazzy cabaret pop, folk, and indie pop while providing a full load of psychedelic vibes.

Picking highlight tracks is a fool's errand, but check out "Bella Luna" for a lovely song that reminds of '60s band Friends of Distinction (e.g. "Grazing in the Grass"), or "Eureka" for that funky disco.  Take the When You Motor Away Babe Rainbow challenge:  Listen to the album on Bandcamp and decide whether your really want to be without these songs for the rest of your summer.  There is only one answer.

Bandcamp for Double Rainbow

"I'm Right Here" by Emma Russack and Lachlan Denton

We have broad tastes, but we must admit that we like artists who are exceptional and prolific.  Of course, part of the reason is selfishness, as it makes our job easier.  But it also is better for you, the reader, as it makes it more likely that lazy people like us will bring you good music.  So we find ourselves featuring more music by Emma Russack and Lachlan Denton, whose debut album When It Ends graced these pages about three months ago.  In a happy but surprising turn of events, the duo are back again with "I'm Right Here", a new song from their soon their soon to be released second album, Keep On Trying.  The song perfectly showcases the magic that this collaboration offers.  The pop craftsmanship on this piano-driven track is top class, and vocal interplay is warm and uplifting.  Our appetites are duly whetted, and we eagerly await the album's other delights.  Fortunately, the wait won't be long.

Emma has been a member of bands and a solo artist, while Lachlan's solo work has paralleled his membership in The Ocean Party, which is one of our favorite bands.  Keep On Trying is out July 18 via Osborne Again Music.

Bandcamp for Keep On Trying
Osborne Again

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

"Crossing Rivers (Away From You)" by Arcane Station

Let's start today with some smoking hot electro R&B from Bodø, Norway's Thomas Pettersen.  Performing as Arcane Station, he has worked with Marianne Hekkilæ to create "Crossing Rivers (Away From You)".  It is his sixth single (and second with Marianne on vocals), and should further accelerate his rise as a producer we should follow.  The single is available at all the usual digital outlets.

You Tube Music link

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Watoo Watoo - Modern Express

Time for us to be 'happy sad'.  We are sad because Michael and Pascale, the core members of French pop project Watoo Watoo, are calling time on the band.  We are happy because at least they are going out it fine style with a final LP -- the new Modern Express.  For their swan song, or swan songs, the duo remind us why we treasure their work.  The songs are melodic and richly detailed.  The scope covers classic French pop, but reflects the jazz and bossa influences, as well as the electropop of Broadcast and Stereolab.  The music is sweet and vital, and just makes us happy to be living.  Consider it the new soundtrack for your day, especially if you are dashing, footloose, and traveling around France in a cute sports car with an even cuter companion at your side.  Or just pretend -- this album will provide the inspiration.

Pascale and Michael are based in Bordeaux.  Both have other projects but collaborate after Michael creates some new music, gathers some friends to help with various instruments, and persuades Pascale to provide the vocals.  Modern Express is out now in digital and CD formats via Jigsaw Records.

Bandcamp for Modern Express

Monday, July 9, 2018

Melody's Echo Chamber - Bon Voyage

Our executive board has decided that the best way to kick off this week is with the broadly-conceived and joyfully performed psychedelic pop of Bon Voyage.  And while we don't actually get to say goodbye to anyone and travel to a better destination than our offices, this delightful album gives our minds and hearts a chance to explore and soar.  The seven inventive creations are the work of Melody Prochet, recording as Melody's Echo Chamber.  Prochet suffered a near fatal accident a couple of years ago, which delayed the release of Bon Voyage.  Her return with this album works well as a celebration of her return to health.  But more than that, it seems to reflect a new-found freedom to experiment without boundaries or expectations, because who knows what tomorrow will bring -- or whether tomorrow will even come.  This is an album of colorful textures and broad influences, superbly produced and performed with conviction and heart.  Happy Monday!

Bandcamp for Bon Voyage

Friday, July 6, 2018

Boyracer - Fling Yr Bonnet Over The Windmill

Boyracer doesn't make music that sneaks up on you.  Their music enters your cranium at warp speed, with punk ferocity and a dense, fuzzy wrapper around a tight little pop filling in the center.  And then just as your pleasure sensors are rocking out, the song takes a quick bow and the next one leaps in.  The band have been at it for a long time, with a numerous and changing cast of musicians, multiple labels, and several different locales -- including their original base in the UK and main Boyracer Stewart Anderson's current home in Flagstaff, Arizona.  Between 1993 and 1994 the band released three EPs via Sarah Records, EPs fans assumed were lost in the mists of time.  But such assumptions didn't account for the combined effects of modern technology and Stewart's psychological condition known as ABRM (or, Always Be Releasing Music).  So Emotional Response Records, run by Stewart and his spouse, Jen Turrell (also a Boyracer alum), has combined the three EPs into Fling Yr Bonnet Over The Windmill.  This is classic stuff, with 15 tracks of rough-edged punk rock perfection.  And in addition to being thoroughly exciting, we think it is an important take on pop music that earns the right to reach a new set of years (and old ears as well).  Concision is the order of the day -- I think only one track exceeds three minutes and I'm surprised that Stewart didn't break it up into "part 1" and "part 2" -- but with the energy packed in each track, the run times are exactly right.

Fling Yr Bonnet Over The Windmill is available in digital and vinyl formats.  See the Bandcamp link below.


Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Essex Green - Hardly Electronic

Hardly Electronic by The Essex Green teaches certain unassailable truths.  One truth is that male/female vocals, in any combination or sequence, add depth and interest.  A second truth is that well-done '60s style pop never really goes out of style.  A third truth is that The Essex Green consists of some very fine songwriters and performers.

The band was formed in the late '90s and were based in Brooklyn for many years, although now are variously located in Vermont and Montana.  They were considered part of the Elephant six scene and shared members with chamber pop band Ladybug Transistor.  Although psychedelia was present in their earlier work, the songs on Hardly Electronic lean more toward folk rock with some chamber pop and country, although they can rock out when they want to (check out "Catatonic" below).  The sound is a layered and fulsome combination of keys and guitars, with well-delivered vocals and a high energy delivery.  This is a band that has matured without getting complacent, and gloriously overcome the hurdles to writing music while living far apart.  If you are looking for a new album for your summer soundtrack, check out the tracks below and stream it in its entirety at the Bandcamp and Soundcloud links.

And that reminds us of a fourth truth, the twelve year wait between the preceding album and Hardly Electronic is far too long to wait.

The Essex Green are Jeff Baron, Sasha Bell, and Chris Ziter.  Hardly Electronic is out now in digital, CD, and vinyl formats via Merge Records.

Bandcamp for Hardly Electronic
The Essex Green on Soundcloud

"Complex"/"Lord of All I Survey" by The Chills

In September, the resurrection chapter of The Chills continues with a new album titled Snow Bound.  The long-running New Zealand guitar pop band, headed by Martin Phillipps, still delivers its now classic guitar pop sound, but the lyrical content confronts the passage of time.  Think of it as summer anthems with an autumnal shading.  Two of the songs, "Complex" and "Lord of All I Survey" are available now as a digital single.  Long live The Chills!

Snow Bound will be released by Fire Records.  The band will be touring New Zealand in September and October.

Fire Records pre-order page for Snow Bound

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

"Self-Destruct Reality" by Jetstream Pony

Jetstream Pony, the only band we follow that is named after a retired racing greyhound, is gracing us with a new self-titled EP next week.  The record will be released on 12" vinyl via Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten.  We haven't heard the EP yet, but if the title track below is any indication, it will be a record to collect.

Discogs page for label

The Rareflowers - The Rareflowers

Today's ace discovery is New Brunswick, New Jersey's The Rareflowers.  The trio crafts classic power pop with jangle, hooks and plenty of sunshine.  Their self-title EP offers four songs that demand your ears while you drive, lay on the beach or, in my case, pretend to work at the office.  The songs have plenty of energy and exude optimism.  We are sufficiently impressed that we've provided a representative track, a stream of the EP, and a video of the record closer, "Shake".

The Rareflowers are Jimmy Maraday (guitar/lead vocals), Kane Maraday (bass/vocals), and Aaron Gollubier (drums).  The Rareflowers EP is out now via Brooklyn's Good Eye Records.

Bandcamp for The Rareflowers
Good Eye Records

Sunday, July 1, 2018

"Love Is A Word" by The Smittens

Time for a bit of education.  The Smittens is a term that describes a talented indie pop band from Burlington, Vermont.  Fika Recordings is London-based record label that releases quality pop music.  "Love Is A Word", well, yes.  But it also is a name of a song by The Smittens and released by Fika Recordings, which also will release The Smittens' August 3 LP City Rock Dove.  So there - learning doesn't have to be boring or painful.

Fika Recordings

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Lachlan Denton - Two Months In Ben Woolley's Room

The ability to create beauty and find meaning out of loss and pain is a defining characteristic for an artist.  Of course, not all art is created that way, but those that react creatively to such hurdles are a special breed.  For example, most of us would respond to the demise of a long-term relationship by moping, sleeping, weeping or drinking (note that your personal answer may include more than one of the foregoing activities, as has been the case in my experience).  In the aftermath of the dissolution of an 8-year relationship, Lachlan Denton took a two-month sublet from Ben Woolley, and put his talents to crafting what our ears declare to be the finest singer songwriter album we have heard this year.  The title -- Two Months In Ben Woolley's Room -- reflects a directness and honesty that is echoed throughout, with sincere and heartfelt songs that are bittersweet and reflective, but refreshingly vibrant.  Love isn't an abstract concept, but rather something you feel and live when you are in the relationship, and something that creates a palpable void when all that is left are the memories.  Lach understands that, and generously allows the listeners to pull in close and share his reflections.   But make no mistake, this isn't an album of tears and mopery.  The songs are melodic, with shimmering arrangements and, in several instances, a delightful strut to the tempo.  Denton wrote all of the songs but one, and his choice for a cover is the Go-Betweens' "Boundary Rider".  And that just goes to show that perfection can be perfected.

Lachlan Denton is a mainstay of Melbourne's ace The Ocean Party, but has released several solo records as well and collaborated with Emma Russack.

Two Months In Ben Woolley's Room is out now in digital and cassette formats.

Bandcamp for Album

Two new songs by Hater

We usually try to bring you love and happiness, but today we bring you Hater.  This four-piece from Malmo, Sweden has been on our radar for a while, and we featured their fine Red Blinders EP last November (link).  Their sweet spot is dynamic but melodic guitar pop with bittersweet shadings.  New album Siesta will be out in September via Fire Records, but you can stream and purchase two of its 14 tracks right now.  On first listen, "Its So Easy" prompted us to say 'this is just the way we like our indie pop'.  And then we heard the wistful "I Wish I Gave You More Time Because I Love You", which prompted a moment of silence, and then 'wow, that too'.

Bandcamp for Siesta and the single
Fire Records page for Hater

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Blues Lawyer - Guess Work

We can hear your protests already - "the world doesn't need any more damn lawyers!"  OK, even though several of us are, in fact, lawyers, we understand the sentiment.  We really do.  But this feature isn't about just any lawyer, this is about Blues Lawyer.  Unlike those of us that pretend to explain the law while keeping you in a sufficient state of confusion that you keep paying us in the hope that we might make sense at some point, Blues Lawyer's debut album, Guess Work, just gets on with the very direct business of playing crunchy power pop with enough grit to make you think that if they had a law office, it might be the back seat of an '89 Cadillac Eldorado parked in a not yet gentrified street in their home town of Oakland, California.  You won't require any further explanations from them and the only bill is $7 for digital, $18 for vinyl.  Mining romantic adventures, and misadventures, for your listening pleasure, this record is equally packed with riffs and laughs.

Blues Lawyer is Rob I. Miller, Elyse Schrock, Nic Russo (Dick Stusso), and Alejandra Alcala. 
 Guess Work is out now via Emotional Response Records.  Vacant Stare has a cassette version that might work for you if you have an '89 Eldorado.

Bandcamp for Guess Work

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Azure Blue - Fast Falls the Eventide

Swedish pop savant Tobias Isaksson has been working as Azure Blue this decade, crafting warm, accessible synth pop that covers the spectrum from lush romanticism to New Order style pulse-racers.  Two months ago we featured his Whatever '18 EP, but the prolific Swede is back already with a full album of new material titled Fast Falls the Eventide.  With a generous 11 songs, the album delivers the brand of upbeat synth pop, with Tobias' creative flourishes and careful craftsmanship, that will brighten the beginning of anyone's summer.  This is music that is vital and bristling with energy.  In addition to "Whatever '18", standout tracks include "Crimson Red", "My Final Candle", and "Don't Turn On Me".  Fast Falls the Eventide is an instant synth pop classic -- don't miss it.

Tobias Isaksson wrote all the songs and performed on all tracks.  Additional contributions were from Julia Boman, Tim Johnsson, The Land Below, Peter Moren, Paola, Tangela, and Cesar Vidal.  Fast Falls the Eventide is out now via Matinee Recordings.

Twitter for Tobias Isaksson
Matinee Recordings page for Fast Falls the Eventide

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Catenary Wires - Was That Love? / What About The Rings

A duo such as Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey need little or no help from us, or anyone else, to burnish their reputations.  After all, their enviable resume includes Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research and other worthy projects.  Moreover, Amelia and Rob are not resting on their laurels, and continue to make wonderful music.  Their current project is The Catenary Wires.  In 2015, the band released their debut album, Red Red Skies.  After a delay that we can only describe as 'longer than we would like', the duo returns with a lovely two-song single for the WIAIWYA singles club.  Consisting of the sweet "Was that Love?", which is 2:28 of aural bliss, and "What About The Rings?"  Both songs provide your daily dose of several essential vitamins, as well as a bumper crop of charm.

Bandcamp for single

Friday, June 22, 2018

Red Sleeping Beauty - Always On Your Side

Sweden's Red Sleeping Beauty took a long hiatus between the '90s and their 2016 release Kristina, but they are back to address unfinished business.  And to our ears, that business appears to be proving that they are one of the world's top synth pop acts.  The proof will come with the band's fourth album, which still is in production, but we get a tease of what is to come with today's Always On Your Side EP.  The title track, which will be on the upcoming album, already is one of my favorite songs of the year.  The following "Falling Out Of Love" is from a demo by Niklas Angergard's other project, Acid House Kings.  "Just For Fun" is a cover of a top Alpaca Sports' song.  The closer is "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight", an unabashed love song.  This is synth pop the way it should be -- playful (dig the intro to "Falling Out Of Love" and the low tones punctuating the chorus on "Just For Fun"), sunny, uplifting and pristine in tone.  Yes, Always On Your Side is a Nordic gem of the highest order.

Red Sleeping Beauty are Niklas Angergard, Mikael Matsson, and Kristina Borg.  The EP is out today on all digital platforms, and a CD is available via Sunday Records.

Soundcloud for EP
Order page for CD (Sunday Records)
Spotify for EP

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Flasher - Constant Image

Much of what comes out of Washington, D.C. these days is stomach-churning, so it is in the spirit of balance, and no small amount of nostalgia for a city I enjoyed living in for several years in a past decade, that we bring you Constant Image, the superb album from D.C.'s Flasher.  Barely two years old, this three-piece has emerged from their punk roots as a versatile and inspired rock band.  The songs on this debut album flow easily from punky anthems to pop smeared indie rock to taut post-punk.  But regardless of style, every song bristles with energy and is performed with passion.

Thematically, Flasher doesn't believe in shading the truth or sugar-coating disappointment.  The songs feature dispassionate and clear-eyed observations of personal and public life, and in picking their scabs, you may feel your own pain.  But for all that, we found listening to this album to be a welcome visceral experience.  Yeah, politics sucks, life is full of disappointments and settling for less, and we've never felt so alive for listening to it.

Flasher are Taylor Mulitz (guitar), Daniel Saperstein (bass), and Emma Baker (drums), all of whom sing on the album.  Constant Image is out now via Domino.

Bandcamp for Constant Image

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 Rémi 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