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.