Friday, May 11, 2018

For Scott Hutchison

We cover a lot of Scottish indie music here, and our interest therein is due in no small part to the quality of the songwriting of Scott Hutchison, the frontman for Frightened Rabbit.  We are very sad to learn that Scott died this week, a likely suicide, and a likely victim of depression.  While we usually don't continue to cover our favorite bands if they sign with a major label (not because we are oppose such signings, but because we focus our volunteer efforts on artists with fewer resources), we continued our interest in Frightened Rabbit and Scott's Owl John project even after FR signed with a major.  He was a singular talent and his music brings us great joy.

We commemorate Scott's sad passing with a few songs from his impressive catalog, beginning with the first song many outside the UK heard from the band, "Head Rolls Off" from their second album, Midnight Organ Fight.  The band was preparing a massive tour to commemorate the tenth anniversary of that album.

Website (Frightened Rabbit)
Facebook (Frightened Rabbit)
Twitter (Frightened Rabbit)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Flying Fish Cove - Flying Fish Cove EP

Flying Fish Cove is the main settlement on Australia's Christmas Island.  It also is the name of a Seattle indie pop band.  What the two have in common, if anything, is unknown to us (as, admittedly, are many other things), but as this is an indie music blog rather than a travel blog, I think you can guess which Flying Fish Cove we will address herein.

Flying Fish Cove is a relatively new band, probably not having celebrated a second birthday yet, but they have a distinct summery, jangling sound that should draw comparisons to Heavenly.  And as far as we are concerned, that sound is just ... well ... heavenly.  Their introductory self-titled EP consists of four tracks showcasing the band's bouncy indie pop style, with plenty of vocal swoops and changes of pace.  Based on the evidence here, this is a band that can take a venerable and well-established genre and invent their own delightful twists.  The EP is a true delight, and we look forward to more from Flying Fish Cove.

The members of the band are Dena, Jake, Sean, Chris, and Jacob, augmented by Star, Lydia, and Jade in the studio.  Flying Fish Cove EP is out now in digital and CD formats via Jigsaw Records.

Bandcamp for Flying Fish Cove EP

"Toy" (official video) by Young Fathers

Two months ago we expressed our love for Cocoa Sugar, the latest album by Edinburgh trio Young Fathers (link to feature).  Frankly, we think that any reason to remind you of the record is good enough, but today we bring you the excellent video for album track "Toy".  If you haven't checked out Cocoa Sugar, this is your reminder.

Bandcamp for Cocoa Sugar
Ninja Tune page for Cocoa Sugar

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Beths - Warm Blood EP

We don't know about you, but we are not happy that we learn about  a terrific record that escaped out attention when released a couple of years ago.  And it is even worse when that record has become difficult to find.  We have to admit that this specific lack of professionalism occurred with respect to Warm Blood EP, which was released in 2016.  However, Carpark Records has bailed us out by signing the ace creators of that EP -- Auckland, New Zealand's The Beths -- and re-releasing Warm Blood.

The Beths are comprised of four jazz students who love pop punk so much that they formed the band to play it.  The result is Warm Blood, which apparently was recorded soon after the band received an extra large shipment of pop hooks from Acme Pop Hook Company.  Combined with their natural musical talent, punk energy, and delicious vocals (all four members sing), the resulting record may have the catchiest five songs you have encountered in a long time.  The band will release full length album Future Me Hates Me in August, also via Carpark Records, but that is no reason to not get this EP.  Right now.

The Beths are Elizabeth Stokes (guitar/vocals), Jonathan Pearce (guitar/vocals), Benjamin Sinclair (bass/vocals), Ivan Luketina-Johnston (drums/vocals).

Bandcamp for Warm Blood
Carpark Records page for Warm Blood
Various links to obtain Warm Blood EP

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Boys - Rest In Peace

Rest in peace is a fine sentiment, but our advice is to take no rest until you have acquired a copy of Rest In Peace.  The album is the creation of young Swede Nora Karlsson, who writes and performs as Boys.  Karlsson, who also is the guitarist for Swedish band HOLY, possesses an angelic voice, but the triumph of the album doesn't rest on the quality of the vocals alone.  Her songcraft is exceptional, and her brand of dream pop is sprightly, dynamic and substantial.  Lyrically, she shows a sharp insight for the world around her and the successes and failures that are part of growing into adulthood.  Rest In Peace reflects ambition and rare talent.  We will be interested in the next chapter for Boys, but we can be patient and enjoy this album for a long time.

The album is out now via Stockholm's PNKSLM.  See the links below.

PNKSLM store for Boys

Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders - Blue Poles

On Blue Poles, Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders mines a deep vein of dark pop, with doses of surreal stories and sardonic humor.  This isn't the kind of singer-songwriter dark pop that travels the same narrow channel and identical tempo, song after song.  Yes, there is melancholy in abundance, but the arrangements have elements of funk, R&B and rock, and there is a dark romanticism to the proceedings that is quite appealing.  And then there is the atmosphere provided by the mournful baritone of nearly seven-feet tall Tim Rogers, aka Jack Ladder.  Invoking comparisons to fellow Australian Nick Cave and American Bill Callahan, but richer in tone than the former and less morose than the latter to our ears.  The melodies are solid, and the storytelling exceptional.  We can think of no better reason to wallow in sorrow for a while.

The Dreamlanders supporting Jack Ladder are Donny Benet, Laurence Pike, Kirin J Callinan, and Ben Hauptmann.  Blue Poles is out now -- see the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for Blue Poles

Monday, May 7, 2018

"That's Not Me" and "Love and Sex" by Beach Skulls

Pay attention here, because you are about to learn something ...

OK, that may be an example of over-promising.  But there is something we wanted to point out, and that thing is that a certain Stockholm record label is putting out great stuff.  The name of the label is Punk Slime Recordings, but is often referred to (even by the label), as PNKSLM.  We have featured their music from time to time over the past few years, but probably will be bringing you three albums from the label in the next five weeks.  That is a sign of their quality, because we wouldn't even give that kind of coverage to our mothers, if our mothers released music, and it is almost Mother's Day.

However, today isn't an album feature, but a hint of an album feature to come.  The band is Beach Skulls, and they reside in Manchester and Liverpool in the UK.  The name suggests head-banging, loud riffs, and dreary topics.  In fact, Beach Skulls is a guitar pop band with surf and jangle tendencies.  Of course, this means we love them.  Two tracks from Las Dunas, their upcoming album via PNKSLM are below.

Beach Skulls are Ry Vieira, Jordan Finney, and Dan West.  Las Dunas is out June 1.

Bandcamp for ordering Las Dunas
Punk Slime Recordings

Brazilian Girls - Let's Make Love

Let's Make Love - as titles go, it is hard to quibble with that sentiment. But that is fitting, because the music offered in the album under that title is pretty damn wonderful as well.  Brazilian Girls has been with us for over a decade, but this album is only their fourth.  While the sparse production is understandable, as the members all have lives and don't, at this point, even live in the same city, it is unfortunate as the band is excellent.  Their sweet spot is energetic dance music painted with a broad palette of jazz, electronica, South American and Caribbean influences.  Thirteen years after their debut album, the music world finds the members of Brazilian Girls with a bit of maturity and perspective, and perhaps even more confident and subtle.  But make no mistake, this band was born and nurtured in the New York City club scene, built on talent, improvisation and fearlessness, and happily those attributes remain core elements of Let's Make Love.  Released in April, this album could be your feel-good party album for the entire summer and beyond.

For the readers unfamiliar with the band, we will perform the public service of advising you that the band consists of New Yorkers Didi Gutman, Aaron Johnston, and Jesse Murphy, with European vocalist Sabina Sciubba.  That's right -- no Brazilians and only one woman.  But with the spirit of Brazilian party music infusing their music, no one can feel cheated.  I think we all can agree on that.

Bandcamp for album