Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Benin City - Last Night


Late night -- a place in time, an event, a state of mind.  Last Night, by trio Benin City, is a surging, sparkling ode to London nightlife comprised of beats, spoken work, hip hop, electronica, and dance floor delights.  And it is one of our favorite discoveries this year.  Cue it up and push back the furniture.  This album is so good you may skip going out this evening.

Benin City are Joshua Idehen, Tom Leaper, and Shanaz Dorsett.  Last Night was released earlier this year via Moshi Moshi Music.








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Monday, December 10, 2018

Ellis - The Fuzz EP

It only took a few bars of "What A Mess" to prompt us to seek more music by Ellis, the performing moniker for Hamilton, Ontario's Linnea Siggelkow.  We are happy to report that we were not disappointed.  In our opinion, her debut EP The Fuzz marks her as one of the premier dream pop artists recording today.  Sometimes words aren't adequate, so we won't pretend.  Dive in below.







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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Brace! Brace! - Brace! Brace!

Brace yourselves, because Brace! Brace! may challenge your assumptions about French pop music.  This Parisian four-piece bills themselves as shoegaze and dreampop, but our ears prompt us to consider them more punk pop/noise pop/experimental.  But regardless of the genre boxes you are tempted to check, their new self-titled album is a terrific listen.  Rhythmic, with a great sense of space and an appealing tendency to build tension over the course of a song, the music is reminds us of a more sonically adventurous Beat Happening, absent Calvin Johnson's baritone.  Get out of your groove and give Brace! Brace! a chance -- it may make your day.

We are advised that the members of the band are Thibault Picot, Cyril Angleys, Antoine Barbier, and Simon Lapillonne.  Brace! Brace! is out now as a digital release via Howlin' Banana Records.










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Thursday, December 6, 2018

"Trampoline" by Slum Summer

Here we are in the early stages of winter, and listening to music by a band named Slum Summer.  I don't even know what that name means, but I do know that summer is not what came to mind when I exited the house and 29 degrees Fahrenheit this morning.  We should cut the band some slack, however. They are based in balmy San Diego and headed by a UK transplant who probably is quite happy to have found forever summer.   ABABO, the gang's debut album comes next month via Jigsaw Records, but you can catch an aural taster called "Trampoline" below.  Solid musicianship and an offhand, storytelling style makes this band an appealing newcomer for us.

Slum Summer is Hugh J. Noble, D.J. Anderson, Grant Stewart, and Jen Edwards.




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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Catherines - Cheers!

Heiko Schneider and Sandra Ost, as The Catherines, have been dropping charming fuzz and jangle pop songs regularly for quite a while, and we have featured many of them.  But today's happy news is that the duo have bundled nine recent songs into Cheers!  It is available now in digital and cassette formats.  With delicious surprises such as this, there is nothing left to say except, from us to you, Cheers!


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Pat Thomas - I Ain't Buying It


We are familiar with Pat Thomas because of his work with one of our Bay Area favorites, Cool Ghouls, but he is on these pages today to celebrate his late October solo album, I Ain't Buying It.  The eight songs are warm, soulful, breezy, making us smile and giving us a bounce in our step every time we spin this record.  Less garage rock than Cool Ghouls output, the arrangements here include horns and piano.  We've always known that Pat could write good songs, but are impressed with his comfort and flair as a frontman.  Do you want to feel good?  Well then, check out this album.

I Ain't Buying It is out now in all formats via Empty Cellar Records.








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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

"Stranger" by Fanclub

We think you should become familiar with Fanclub.  Yes, the Austin, Texas trio has chosen a name that won't help prospective fans very much with search engines, but the quality of the music redeems them.  Their latest single is the energetically jangling "Stranger".  Frankly, we aren't surprised to find the sounds appealing, after noting that Mike Lee of Letting Up Despite Great Faults is involved.  For this project, Mike is joined by Leslie Crunkilton and Daniel Schmidt.  Check out "Stranger" below, and other recent singles at the Soundcloud and Bandcamp links.



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Cathedrale - Facing Death

Today's first treat comes to us from France, where Jules Maison, Robin Titube, Felix Paineau, and Maxime Costa make music as Cathedrale.  Their latest effort is Facing Death, ten tracks of taut post-punk with a garage ethos.  These guys make a wonderful racket, and it sounds like they have fun doing it.

Facing Death is out now via Toulouse's Howling Banana label.








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Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Variety Hour - Head Pollution


Robert Lomax (drums) and Rob Olsen (guitar/vocals) -- The Variety Hour -- have been making music together for a decade.  But as Tacoma, Washington is a bit off the beaten track for self-styled musical tastemakers, you may not have heard of them.  So what we suggest is that you let them audition for you.  They are asking for 22 minutes of your time, which is what it takes to hear the six songs on Head Pollution, their new album for hometown label Swoon Records.  What you will find is music of substance, overdriven guitars, big drums, and the kind of unapologetic alt rock that you'd expect if Teenage Fanclub and Cheap Trick crafted a tribute to Dinosaur Jr.  Does that sound worth your time?  Of course it does, you didn't come here to read about Taylor Swift or the latest boy band, you came here for the good stuff.

We have two tracks below for your evaluation, but you can stream the entire record at the Bandcamp link.







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Crabber - Bluesbusters

And now, from Hamburg, we present four-piece Crabber, with their debut LP Bluesbusters.  Providing hooks and jangle, but also offering some scruffy garage vibes and some rocking attitude, this is a set of songs that will erase your just-past-mid-week funk and paint your attitude with a fresh coat of here-comes-the-weekend.  So really, you can look at Bluesbusters as a home improvement product for your mental health.  And around here we are all about mental health -- and improvement -- so long as music and beer are involved.

Crabber are Olli, Uli, Jens, and Peter, and Bluesbusters is out now via Jigsaw Records.





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"Booksmart" by Holiday Ghosts


On the calendar, we are roughly halfway between the annual invasion of ghosts and goblins known as Halloween and the most celebrated of traditional holidays around here, Christmas.  So it is perfectly fitting to make the subject of today's first feature "Booksmart", the new single by Falmouth, UK's Holiday Ghosts.  The four-piece wowed us with their self-titled debut LP in 2017 (link), so we are thrilled to have a new song, as well as the news that their second LP, West Bay Playroom, will be available for our ears on February 15, 2019 (nestled up against the Valentine's Day holiday -- these kids know how to market!).

The new album will be released via the tasteful folks at PNKSLM Records.



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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

"Alumni Magazines" by Wormburner

Let's start the day with a pleasant surprise - new music from Brooklyn's Wormburner.  In our view, head burner of worms, Hank Henry, has gone too long without a new recording.  But that changes this week with the sizzling "Alumni Magazines".  Check out the 'name your price download at the Bandcamp link.  Hot damn, we hope more is coming soon!


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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Super 8 - HI LO

Paul Ryan, aka Super 8, is very prolific.  But his talent keeps pace with his output, so we consider our ears to be winners.  Paul recently released HI Lo, his third full album this year.  Packed with joyful and varied songs that will brighten anyone's day, with hooks and melody galore.  Paul wrote nine of the eleven tracks, covering Neil Diamond and Phoenix for the other two.  We think that the album will be welcomed by anyone except those sad sacks who focus on what they have accomplished this year versus Paul's three, full length albums.  Oh well, at least your Christmas tree is up -- right? Right?







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"Something's Over" by Delsbo Beach Club


We are starting the day in Sweden.  Well, our ears are starting the day in Sweden.  The occasion is "Something's Over", the new song by Stockholm's Delsbo Beach Club.  The band garnered a lot of press last year and released single "Talking In My Head" in April, but has spent some time re-grouping and re-charging.  The result is this energetic tune about relationship turmoil.  The track progresses from a taut opening to a slashing, soaring finish, and it makes us eager for their new EP, supposedly coming in 2019.

Delsbo Beach Club are Erik Bjorklund, Alexander Kuronen, Jacki Skogh, and Stas Neylik.  "Something's Over" is available as a digital single via Sweden's Rama Lama Records.



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Monday, November 26, 2018

The Lovely Sparrows - Shake the Shadow

Happy Monday!  We understand that not everyone welcomes Mondays, but we can make yours a bit better with Shake the Shadow, the new album by The Lovely Sparrows.  The project headed by Texan musician Shawn Jones displayed their potential with a debut album in 2008 and an EP in 2011.   However, the ensuing years were quiet as Jones withdrew to hone his craft.  I don't know whether Shawn worked with a special musical Yoda or did it the hard way by himself, but the results are nothing short of stunning (in fact, Shawn completed graduate studies in musical composition, but let's not let that get in the way of starting a good legend).  However it was accomplished, Shake the Shadow consists of ten tracks of shimmering, robust guitar pop of extraordinary quality and consistency.  The arrangements are delightfully constructed and fully detailed.  Lyrically, Jones intrigues with contemplation of the magical and the mundane.  We recommend this album unhesitatingly, and have already added it to the top group of our year-end favorites list.  This one could be your early Christmas present - to yourself.

In addition to Shawn Jones (vocals/guitars/bass/sax), The Lovely Sparrows are Christopher Cox (vocals/guitars/bass/synths), Lauren Gould (vocals/keys/flute), and Mathew Shepherd (drums/percussion).  Additional instrumental contributions were made by Gray Parsons, Lauren Gurgiolo, Jonas Wilson, and Robert Ellis.  Shake the Shadow is out now via Abandoned Love Records.









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Sunday, November 25, 2018

"Don't Let Me Fall" by Vic Park


A couple of years ago we were very impressed by an album titled Brutal Politic, by JP Klipspringer (link).  The project of young Australian Jack Paulson, we marked JPK as a artist to follow.  We now report that we no longer follow JPK, and have switched our focus to Vic Park.  Our job is to follow the music, and we think debut track "Don't Let Me Fall" demonstrates that Vic Park has the stuff.  However, we don't think Jack Paulson will be too upset about our switch, because Vic Park is Jack's new project.

So feast your ears on "Don't Let Me Fall", Jack's new digital gem, and look for future delights from Vic Park.  Of course, you can continue to listen to Brutal Politic -- we certainly are doing so.




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"Wadidi" by Lunir


We're launching into November's final week with a soulful slice of electronica by Edinburgh project Lunir.  The duo is Becky Sikasa (vocals/guitar/keys/vocal looping) and Dvid Scobie (vocals/drums/keys/vocal looping).  "Wadidi" has a great vibe and and showcases a confident performance to accompany the ace songwriting. 

The song is available now as a digital download.



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Friday, November 23, 2018

The Autumn Stones - Into The Light

Today's first feature is a band that is new to us, but we think they deserve to have some light shed ont Into The Light, their new four-track EP.  The Autumn Stones are a Toronto-based five piece consisting of Ciaran Megahey (vocals/guitar), Marcus Tamm (bass), Raymond Cara (drums), Dan Dervaitis (guitar), and Gary Butler (sax).  They are a versatile lot, capable of jangling guitar pop, lush dream pop, and a more robust indie rock, a fact which is well-showcased by the two songs streaming below.  We like this EP, and we think you might as well.  It is out now as a digital release.





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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Errant Boy - Memory Fractures

What talented young bands do well is convey the angst, uncertainty, anger and outrage of young people turning into adults.  Bands with fully adult musicians often try to continue with similar themes but -- at least in our opinion -- with decidedly mixed results.  The best songwriters write what they know and what they currently are feeling, and when they get it right, the resulting music is something to cherish.  And with that somewhat meandering lead-in, we introduce you to today's feature: Memory Fractures by Errant Boy.

An Edinburgh trio consisting of Chris Harvie, Sarrah McLaren, and Sean Ormsby (note: at press time we are unable to verify that the album cover art is an actual band photo), the band offers nine songs of Sean's and Chris' life experiences and observations growing up and maturing.  But unlike the angry teenage bands, the tone is warm, wry, and big-hearted, even when bittersweet, and the observations are leavened with genuine perspective.  The style takes off from classic guitar pop of the '80s, so the listener may be reminded of The Smiths, Orange Juice, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, and the Go-Betweens.  But who among us will complain about such influences?  Moreover, despite the traces of forebears, the arrangements are original and exciting and the stories are captivating and sincere.

We cannot advise you of our favorite songs, because we are completely captivated by the entire album.  However, we had to choose a few for your evaluation, so we lead off with the wonderful "444", which recalls the young songwriters first exposure to The Rolling Stones and the Velvet Underground.  We follow with the rhythmic "Theme From 29 Bus" and the video version of "We Like You".  Nevertheless, we are pained to not include "Downpour", "Wine Store Hurricane", "Means" and ... well ... you get the picture.  Give yourself a treat, and spin the record a few times on the Bandcamp site, and we think you will be a believer.  For us, this is a top 15 album for 2018.

Memory Fractures is out now in vinyl and digital formats via the band's own Errant Media label.








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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Astounds - Get Alright With

Time to be astounded by The Astounds?  We suggest you give them a chance.  For our part, we only became aware of them via twitter, but after spinning their recently released album, Get Alright With, we think that this St. Louis five-piece has the power pop formula  wired.  The record is packed with concise, melodic blasts of energy with no shortage of fist pumping anthems.  It has a visceral live-to-tape vibe that makes it perfect to kick off the long American holiday weekend.  And we would be remiss if we didn't point out that it is available via Bandcamp for 'name your price'.

The Astounds are Dean, Julian, Mike, Zach, and Tyler.







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The Perfect English Weather - Don't You Wanna Feel The Rain?

We suppose that the term "English weather" may mean different things to different people, depending on where they live, what weather they have experienced or heard about in England, and their climate preferences.  But for those of us safely ensconced in the warm confines of WYMA Tower, English weather means only one thing - the welcome arrival of another record by The Perfect English Weather.  The personal project of Wendy and Simon Pickles, husband and wife and mainstays of long-running and beloved band The Popguns, The Perfect English Weather creates well crafted indie pop with a melancholy shading.  While perfectly capable of bringing the noise, the output is overall quieter and more contemplative than their work with their other band.  Yes, different, but certainly no less satisfying.

The new record is the 12-track Don't You Wanna Feel The Rain?, their second full length.  Styled as a concept album, the album addresses adult life, and the unique perspectives on romance, separation, parenting, careers, travel, and other matters occupy one's life as one grows older.  We can relate, but more importantly, we appreciate the melodic and incisive treatment that this set of songs provides.  We feel the longing, the joy, the uncertainties, the self-depreciation, and the acceptance.  And we celebrate the great tunes that deliver the observations.  If loving this album marks us as having reached 'a certain age', then so be it.  We even will consider feeling the rain.

Don't You Wanna Feel The Rain? is out now in digital and CD formats via Matinee Recordings.








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Monday, November 19, 2018

Virgin of the Birds - Numberless Needs


One of our favorite albums of a couple of years ago was Secret Kids by Jon Rooney's Virgin of the Birds project.  So we didn't need much prompting to cue up Numberless Needs, their new five-track EP.  In fact, knowledge that VotB was covering "Wisconsin Polka", by fellow Seattle band the Foghorns might have been enough, as our ranks contain Wisconsin expats as well.  Jon changed a few things about the song (in fact, it is no longer a polka), but that doesn't prevent it from being a great piece of music.  Overall, the EP display's Rooney's wide-ranging interests and versatile songwriting.  Opener "I Fought A Turk", featuring guest US/Scottish artist Faith Eliott is a gentle folk pop melody with a dark lyricism.  "In 1970, Across Philadelphia, Frank Rizzo Broke the Black Panther Party" and "Peter Stone Brown" are both inspired by Jon's home town of Philadelphia.  The former uses a police action against the Black Panthers as a springboard for broader social commentary about oppression of minorities, while launches from memories of a local singer-songwriter and music writer.  After the non-polka "Wisconsin Polka", we arrive at the sharp-edged closer, "Every Rival", in which Jon settles some scores with a song about settling scores.  Numberless Needs is a highly recommended listen, and to prompt you to do that, you'll have to hit the Bandcamp link for "Wisconsin Polka".  We suggest beer as a pairing with the tune.

Virgin of the Birds is Jon Rooney, Colin J Nelson, Ken Nottingham and Paul Baudry.  Numberless Needs is out now as a digital release via Abandoned Love Records.





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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Lightfoils - Chambers EP

Chicago five-piece Lightfoils have crafted a winning formula of dreampop meets shoegaze, beautifully decorated by the angelic vocal performance of Jane Zabeth Nicholson.  Chambers EP, their new record, is due this Friday, and consists of five sonic feasts in time for the Thanksgiving Holidays.  We know you will feed your stomach, but don't ignore your ears.  Favorite tracks: "The Bitter Over" and "Honeydew".

Lightfoils are Jane Zabeth Nicholson (vocals), Jon Rungger (drums), Neil Yodnane (guitar), Zeeshan Abbasi (guitar), and Cory Osborne (bass).  Chambers EP will be released in digital and vinyl formats.





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Sam Fender - Dead Boys


We are in the business of being impressed by new talent and then sharing our discoveries with you.  One of our latest finds is Newcastle's Sam Fender.  His new EP is Dead Boys, and will be a digital release via Polydor Records on November 20.  The six tracks showcase his superb vocals, but even more impressive is his socially conscious lyricism.  Check out the videos below for "That Sound" and his live performance of the title track, which addresses male suicide.






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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Chez Ali - Buenas Noches Club EP


Elias Mahfoud certainly is known to us here at WYMA.  But we know him as a member of guitar pop band Steve Buscemi's Dreamy Eyes, which featured here twice in the fall of 2017.  However, today we get to know him as Chez Ali, a romantic crooner with a dance-positive, R&B set of songs in his arsenal.  You can get to know Elias as Chez Ali too, via his new EP Buenas Noches Club.  For this outing, Elias paints his indie inclinations with an appealing coat of pop enamel, and the results are an absolute joy.

Buenas Noches Club is out now in vinyl and digital formats via Stockholm's Rama Lama Records.



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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Value Void - Sentimental

The roots of Value Void are in Argentina, where two of its members began writing songs. Jump break to London and some other projects, recruiting a third member to play bass, and the band which became Value Void came to life.  We read about them before we heard and songs, and tags such as alt rock and proto punk were applied.  But after spinning their new full length Sentimental, we are of the opinion that the general vibe is '90s alt rock (although "Cupid's Bow" in particular drives in the punk lane).  However, we are inclined to offer the big caveat that this band displays enough pop smarts, and enough new century sensibilities that we are reluctant to put them in any box.

What we are willing to do is champion the album.  It is assured, muscular, and stuffed with smart, satisfying songs.  Sometimes upbeat, sometimes moody, but always carefully detailed and performed with conviction.  Check out the streams below and then explore at the Bandcamp link.

Value Void are Paz Maddio, Marta Zabala, Luke Tristram.  Sentimental is out now via Tough Love Records.








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Monday, November 12, 2018

New Silver Girl - New Silver Girl


This week's opening feature record is the self-titled album by New Silver Girl.  For their debut long player, the Finnish four-piece proves equally adept with heavy rock riffs and the more poppy, glammy side of indie rock.  This versitility is well-demonstrated by the first two songs we have streamed below, the riffy album opener "Love Is Like A Goldmine" and the glossier "Starlight City".  The album unspools like a romp through the '70s up to today, and it is vibrant, fun, and superbly crafted.  If you need some rock energy to start your week (and who doesn't?), New Silver Girl should be first on your menu.

New Silver Girl are Olli Happonen (vocals/guitar), Samuli Sulku (guitar), Ilmo Cantell (bass), and Niilo Suihko (drums).  The album is out now via Helsinki's Soliti Music.






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Friday, November 9, 2018

"When I Was Younger" by Tyler Boone

For those readers who asked whether our several day absence was because we had hopped a freight train with a hot partner and a bottle of bourbon, well, we appreciate the vote of confidence.  In fact, we were busy working to pay the bills.  However, speaking of bourbon, if we had been engaged in the activity mentioned in the opening sentence (other than in a daydream, aspirational sense, which describes most of our romantic encounters), we would have been drinking Boone's Bourbon.  And we are thinking about Boone's Bourbon because Tyler Boone, the founder of Boone's Bourbon, is releasing a terrific slice of bluesy rock and roll today.  In searching for song to feature in welcoming ourselves back to blogging, "When I Was Younger" shouldered its way to the head of the pack.  Slashing guitar, bluesy vocals, heavy bass and, in fact, a heavy vibe overall.  This is rock and roll, and we are back.  We will now cut the cake, ignore the cake, and commence sampling some bourbon.

"When I Was Younger" is out now as a digital download, so visit your favorite platform and enjoy what we are enjoying (well, minus this bourbon -- it is ours).



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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

"Walls Come Tumbling Down" by Boyracer

Today is the day for midterm elections in the United States.  If you haven't voted, get your ass out and do it.  If you don't vote, you don't deserve to complain.  If you do vote, you can complain all you want.  You want to be able to complain, don't you?  And to give you a boost in contemplating your civic duty, here is Boyracer (Stewart Anderson) covering the old Style Council song "Walls Come Tumbling Down", pointing out the importance of voting if you want change.  It is a available as a digital download on a 'name your price' basis, and you should get it and pay something for it.  But even that isn't as important as voting, so go vote already.  We've also included the video for the song, which clearly was a collaborative effort.

And in case we hadn't mentioned it, don't forget to vote.






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The Cleaners From Venus - Life In A Time Machine

Children may be our future, but on behalf of adults of a certain age everywhere I would like to remind the world that we aren't dead yet.  So give the children treats, toys, and story times, but don't forget about us.  In fact, we here at WYMA declare it adult story time.  Today's featured storyteller is Martin Newell, professionally knows as The Cleaners From Venus.  'Wait', you might ask, 'isn't that a musical project?'  Well, yes it is.  Martin writes very nice tunes and performs them with guitars that jangle, ring and chime, just the way we like them.  But the real star is the storytelling.  We all walk through life with our eyes open -- if for no other reason than to avoid open potholes, brick walls, and speeding traffic.  But Martin observes closely, interprets with imagination, and creates vivid stories from everyday life.  So on his latest set of short stories, Life In A Time Machine,  we hear about "The Dandy On The Circle Line" (he of the Italian shoes), "The Children of Waterloo Square", "Timothy Silverspoon" and other characters, places and events.  We can't be there to observe when Martin does, but we have the impression that we are more fully enriched listening to Martin's rendition than if we were there ourselves (focused on avoiding potholes, brick walls and traffic).

So here is story time for us adults.  A few of our favorites are offered below for your evaluation, but you can stream the entire album at the Bandcamp link.  And we had to include "Let's Steal A Train" as the first track because not only is it a great song, but it struck us as the most romantic adventure available that didn't involve fond attachment to another human being.







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Monday, November 5, 2018

"Spinoff" by The New Tigers

Some people like to creep into their work week meekly.  They slink along the hallway, close their office door and sip their first coffee, wondering when they can slip out for lunch.  We don't roll that way.  We like a hearty greeting, strong coffee, and then we cue up some music that gets us racing through the morning.  One of our favorite guitar pop bands, The New Tigers, have given us just the track with "Spinoff".  A reworked song from Do Xao, the Finnish band's latest album,  it gives us the thump, tempo and funk that turns Monday morning into a club dance floor.  Our apologies in advance to the folks on the lower floor, but we've got to do what we've got to do.

"Spinoff" is out today as a digital single via Soliti Music.



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Sunday, November 4, 2018

The More We Kept Moving The Farther Away We Got From Us" by The Catherines

The latest single from Hamburg's The Catherines finds their jangle pop venturing into melancholy territory.  But the listener won't mind, as this is a fine tune to add to your fall playlist.




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Friday, November 2, 2018

The Ocean Party - The Oddfellows' Hall

While The Oddfellows' Hall is nothing short of brilliant, we note at the onset that this is the saddest review we ever expect to write because earlier this week Zac Denton, one of the six members of the band and brother of bandmate Lachlan Denton, died of complications from a brain cyst.  Zac was immensely talented, well-loved, and only 24 years old.  Our words are insufficient to convey our sympathy at such a loss.

Long-time friends and a band of musical brothers, The Ocean Party is one of those indie bands that will be revered for years to come by those who treasure guitar pop craftsmanship.  One can devote a lot of words describing their music and referencing predecessors, such as The Go-Betweens, Triffids, The Lucksmiths, but for us the bottom line always has been that this is the kind of genuinely sincere and beautifully shimmering music that justifies writing this blog and sharing music we love.  For their new album, the six songwriters convened at Oddfellows Hall in the rural Australian town of Yass and began their session.  A week later they had a 12-track album, as well as the title The Oddfellows' Hall.  This band has been prolific by any measure, both in this form (this is their eighth album as The Ocean Party) and in other projects, but no recording represents anything other than thoughtful, emotionally resonant storytelling and collaborative, textured performances.  This album finds the band members headed towards their 30s and dealing with the life events and transitions expected after a decade or so of adulthood.  While the basic facts are not necessarily unique, the songwriting and arrangements transform the narratives to first-rate art.  The album begins with Zac Denton's stunning "Rain On Tin", which begins soft and sparse and then gathers power and color for a glorious three minute close.  The album ends with the sprawling, throbbing "Better Leave Soon".  Those are two superb songs bracketing another ten gems. With multiple songwriters, there is ample variety in themes, pace, and arrangement, but the band's generosity towards each other's compositions results in a cohesive musical tapestry.  We include below "Rain On Tin" and "Better Leave Soon" below, and also have embedded Zac's other contribution to the album, "Home", and "What It's Worth", which we think is one of the better songs we've heard this year.

The songs on this album were written and recorded long before Zac died, but the stories of transitions, hopes, fears, losses and regrets, especially those he wrote, take on immeasurable poignancy with his passing.  If you would like to hear more of Zac's songs than the two on this album, we recommend the playlist at this link, which contains songs from The Ocean Party and several of his other projects.  We also recommend the well-done write up about Zac's musical legacy here.

The band has released The Oddfellows' Hall early in honor of Zac.  While the vinyl version is for sale, the digital version is available at 'name your price'.  If you are in Australia or New Zealand, see The Ocean Party's Bandcamp link for digital and the Spunk Records link for vinyl.  For fans elsewhere see the Emotional Response Bandcamp link for digital or vinyl.









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"Lazy Bones" by Soccer Cousins

Do the Soccer Cousins play soccer? Are they cousins? Do they even like soccer?  So many questions, and so few answers.  But all we really need to know for now is that "Lazy Bones" is a fine guitar pop song, and they will be releasing an EP soon via Gentle Reminder.

Soccer Cousins are Josh Erickson, Jon Niles, and Brendan Laezza, and they are from Brooklyn.






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Bandcamp for "Lazy Bones"

"Roppongi Hills, On The Roof" by U.S. Highball

One of the many great things about dogs is that if you give them love, they give back even more love.  Sure, it tends to be wet, furry and at times overly enthusiastic, but who is going to complain?  But sometimes you give pooches love, and then they go away.  A case in point is Glasgow's The Pooches -- we gave them some love here in early 2016 (link), and then they seem to have disbanded.  So we no longer have The Pooches.  However, we recently discovered that Calvin Halliday and James Hindle from that band are now U.S. Highball.  And they still are in Glasgow and still are crafting sweet and upbeat indie pop songs.  You can sample the new, apparently canine-free, band below.  The three-song digital EP Think Again is out next Friday via Lame-O Records.  If you want a cassette, hit the Fuzzkill Records link.




Twitter for U.S. Highball
Bandcamp for Think Again EP
Lame-O Records
Fuzzkill Records (for cassette)

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

"Never By Myself" by Attic Lights

Glasgow four-piece Attic Lights will be releasing a new album in early 2019, but we don't have to wait that long for fresh sounds from the band.  They have just released a digital single consisting of "Never By Myself" and "Bright Eyes".  This is classic guitar pop, evoking Teenage Fanclub to the Beach Boys, and it just makes you feel good.

Attic Lights are Kev Sherry, Colin McArdle, Jamie Houston, and Noel O'Donnell.  Never By Myself single is out now via Spanish label Elefant Records.






Facebook
Bandcamp for single
Elefant Records

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

"Games" by Newton Circus

Coming to us from Singapore is indie rock four-piece Newton Circus with their new single "Games".  A romantic track that gathers energy over a steady groove, we find it appealing and a bit addictive.  Listen below.

Newton Circus are Kenneth Ong, Colin Ong, Jefri Chua, and David Tan.  The single is available from various digital outlets.



Website
Facebook
Bandcamp for previous releases

"Overthinking" by Melby

In June we introduced you to Melby, a talented young band from Stockholm (link).  The quartet has just released a new single titled "Overthinking" via Swedish label Rama Lama Records.  We understand that the song is from their upcoming debut album, and it leads us to believe that it is an album we will want.

Melby are Matilda Wiezell, Are Engen Steinsholm, David Jehrlander, and Teo Jernkvist.  "Overthinking" is available today via the Bandcamp link below and other digital retail outlets.



Facebook
Twitter
Bandcamp for "Overthinking"
Rama Lama Records
Link to various digital sources for "Overthinking"

Friday, October 26, 2018

Cool Sounds - Cactus Country

Cactus Country delivers the perfect vibe to kick off our weekend.  Spearheaded by the jaunty title track, it offers 11 tracks of soft rock/pop with a '70s sensibility (which really was a sweet spot for soft rock) with a western shading.  It is the creation of the Dainis Lacey helmed, seven-person Cool Sounds, a band whose name also serves as a foundational principle and mission statement.  The album radiates a force field of enviable cool, containing both upbeat songs that unspool like dawn on a sunny summer day and slower, moodier tracks.  We must admit that our initial focus was drawn to the former, but repeated listens to the more restrained songs reveal a compelling power and deft songwriting.  The result is a complete package that offers the listener one of the most important benefits of music -- it just makes you feel good.  At this point our favorite songs are "Cactus Country", Cassandra", "Twin Turbo", "Wrangler", "Loose Grips", and "Nowhere to Run".  Yeah, that is over half the album, and we like the others as well.  It is that kind of album.

Cactus Country is out now via Osborne Again Music (vinyl) and Hotel Motel (digital).








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Bandcamp for Cactus Country
Osborne Again Music
Hotel Motel Records

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Tears Run Rings - Somewhere EP

Although Tears Run Rings is not a prolific band, every recording that they find time in their busy schedules to create reminds us how good they are.  Their style is an appealing intersection of shoegaze and pop, offering the layered sounds and fulsome textures of the former, and the hooks and melodies of the latter.  While working on their fourth album, they still have found time to record the four-song Somewhere EP.  For us, the standout track is the soaring opener "Helios Heliadae", followed closely by the urgently jangling "Be Still".  But the lush "Someone Somewhere" and melancholy closer "Daylight" are excellent songs as well.  Yes, that is only four tracks, but we think that four tracks from this band is worth twice as many from a number of shoegaze outfits.

Tears Run Rings are Ed Mazzucco, Matthew Bice, Laura Watling, and Dwayne Palasek.  Somewhere EP is out now in vinyl and digital formats via Shelflife Records and Deep Space Recordings.






Website
Facebook
Twitter
Shelflife Records page for Somewhere EP
Deep Space Recordings
Bandcamp for Somewhere EP


"What It's Worth" by The Ocean Party


We previously have mentioned that Melbourne's The Ocean Party is, in our opinion, one of the best guitar pop bands in the world.  And in case you doubt us, we have another argument in support of our position.  Here to pleasure your ears is "What It's Worth", the band's new single.  The song, which is taken from their soon to be released new album, The Oddfellows' Hall, begins with soft keys and a single voice, but then expands with additional voices, an infectious beat, and a luscious slide guitar.  Great sounds, reflective lyrics -- it is easily one of the finest songs we've heard this year.  Play it, repeat. Play it, repeat.  There is your morning sorted out.

The Oddfellows' Hall is out on November 9 via Spunk Records (Australia) and Emotional Response Records (US).




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The Ocean Party's page for the single
Emotional Response Records page for album
Spunk Records page for album