Friday, September 21, 2018

Action Painting! - Trial Cuts (1989-95)

Emotional Response Records is doing heroic work giving new exposure to artists from the catalog of the defunct, much-loved Sarah Records.  Among the most welcome is the work of Action Painting!.  Welcome not just because of the quality, although the quality is undeniable, but because over the course of six years prior to disbanding, the band did not record a full length.  However, they did release four singles with Sarah and one single with Damaged Goods.  That previously released material, plus unreleased material carefully curated by the band, now comprises Trial Cuts.

The listener doesn't need to dive too deeply into this collection to discover that Action Painting! wasn't a prototypical Sarah Records band.  Yes, they jangled, strummed and crafted hooks.  But their sound also could be loud, fuzzy and aggressive.  Just compare "These Things Happen", below, with the following "Collapsing Cloud" and the demo for "Sailor Beware".  This was, indeed, a versatile band that could produce sighs from the twee crowd but stand shoulder to shoulder with The Wolfhounds and 14 Iced Bears.  So lend Trial Cuts your ears, and it will pleasure them from several directions.  And note that Action Painting! has reformed and is writing new material.  Let this compilation be your prologue to their next chapter.

Trial Cuts is available now in vinyl, CD and digital formats (See the Bandcamp link).

Bandcamp for Trial Cuts

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Chills - Snow Bound

Martin Phillipps, the mainstay of long-running guitar pop band The Chills, has few peers when it comes to decorating his musical compositions.  These are songs adorned with sharp hooks, incisive and concise lyrics, and inviting choruses.  Imagine the most beautiful Christmas tree you have ever seen -- bright, shiny and promising continuing joy -- Martin's songs are like that.  The latest set of gems arrived late last week in the form of Snow Bound, and it reveals Martin and his bandmates to be at the top of their game.  The themes reflect the age and life experiences of the songwriter, as well as current events, and as always, observations, whether sentimental, hopeful or trenchant, are wrapped in solid melodies.  Phillipps seems comfortable in his own skin, but not so comfortable that he can't take hard looks at politics ("In Harmony") and love ("Time to Atone").  "Scarred" and "Complex" demonstrate that this band can rock out like champs when the material demands, but songs like "Deep Belief" and "In Harmony" show their mastery on the more nuanced side of the coin.  We highly recommend this album for fans of The Chills, guitar pop, or just good music.

Our favorite songs at this point: "Bad Sugar", "The Greatest Guide", "Scarred", "Deep Belief", and "Snow Bound".

Snow Bound is out now in vinyl, digital and CD formats via Fire Records.

Bandcamp for Snow Bound
Fire Records page for Snow Bound

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

"Sing to Me Candy" and "Laughing Man" by Papercuts

On October 19 Papercuts will be releasing a new album titled Parallel Universe Blues via Slumberland Records.  While you have to wait a month to get your hands on it, we can give you two songs to whet your appetite.  Papercuts is Californian Jason Quever and whomever he add to the mix for a specific recording.  Expect melody melody, hooks, jangle, and a bit of 'Galaxie 500 plays Jesus and Mary Chain'.  Oh, and expect it to be good.

Bandcamp for Parallel Universe Blues
Slumberland Records page for Parallel Universe Blues

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

"Pharmacy Girl" by Drew Beskin

Late last month we shared two songs from the upcoming album by Athens singer-songwriter Drew Beskin (link).  Today, we bring you a third track, the stunning "Pharmacy Girl".  Featuring retro chord progressions and an inspired dose of sleigh bells (yes, sleigh bells), it should provide the third leg of your conclusion that this will be one of our favorite albums this year.

Nostalgia Porn will be out October 19 via Laser Brains Records.

Facebook for Laser Brains Record

"Bubble Sword" by Hairband

It has been our impression for quite a while that the musical talent in Glasgow in inexhaustible, but just in case our conviction on the subject wavered, we have yet another data point in support.  Here, for your listening pleasure, is "Bubble Sword" by Hairband.  A five-piece consisting of Rowan Wright, Sephi Lock, Emma Smith, Rachel Taylor, and Simone Wilson, the project brings together five songwriters with experience in other top bands such as Spinning Coin, Breakfast Muff, Lush Purr, and Kaputt.  They features three guitars, as well as bass and drums, producing a sound that is full and confident, but loose-jointed and carefree.  We think this group will go as far as they want to.

Hairband's self-titled debut will be out October 19 via Monorail Music.


Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Hannah Barberas - Go Go Hannah Barberas

This week the lovely quartet known as The Hannah Barberas are releasing their new three track record Go Go Hannah Barberas.  If you act now, you may be able to get it free, which is something even our readers can afford.  The record is the second from the band since the middle of the summer, and showcases their ability to create infectious tunes.

The Hannah Barberas are Damien, Lucy, Doug and Matthew.

Bandcamp for Go Go Hannah Barberas