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).

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.

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).

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

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Adwaith - Melyn

A lot of music hits our inbox, and inevitably, some doesn't get the listening time earned by the artist's hard work. We only have so many ears (averaging two per person, thank you) and limited hours.  But we do make an effort to look back from time to time and look for gems that we may have passed over originally.  So that brings us to a mid-month release that almost eluded us, and, quite frankly, it is a monster.  The record is Adwaith's full length debut, Melyn -- a fifteen track soundscape of beefy garage bangers, post punk dark pop, and well shaped art rock creations.  Except for the several interesting instrumental pieces, the lyrics are in Welsh, but we assure you that you won't mind at all.  The performances are confident and, when appropriate, aggressive.  The arrangements are ambitious and inventive the sonic details delightful, and the production quality is excellent.

We find much to love about this album, but perhaps most notable are the varied textures -- a riot of shades of grey with slashes of vibrant aural color, all conveyed with a tone conveying mystery and anticipation.  At the end of the year, Melyn will be in our top 25 albums.  It really is that good, and we urge you to hunt it down and possess it.

Adwaith are Hollie Singer, Gwenllian Anthony, and Heledd Owen.  Melyn is out now via Libertino Records.

Libertino Records

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Lights On Moscow -- Aorta Songs - Part 1

Today's musical musings begins with something for the heart -- your heart, my heart, and we hope, a wide audience of hearts.  The record is the fittingly named Aorta Songs - Part 1, by duo Lights On Moscow.  The members of the band are Justin Lockey (of Editors, Minor Victories, and Mastersystem) and Hazel Wilde (of Lanterns On The Lake), who began working on these songs a decade ago.  The bedroom project developed four songs that Justin and Hazel finally have decided to release.  Featuring lush, wall-of-sound arrangements and Hazel's intimate vocals, the music hits the pleasure sensors of your brain like a morning jolt of caffeine, and then seeps down to your heart and provides long-lasting satisfaction.

For our ears, the standout track is "Lord Let Me Know", which deserves to be the anthem for searching agnostics everywhere, but all four tracks are worthy of your attention.   Aorta Songs - Part 1 is out now via Physical Education Recordings.  And we sincerely hope that part 2 doesn't take ten years to reveal.

Physical Education Recordings

Monday, October 22, 2018

Drew Beskin - Nostalgia Porn

It seems to us here at WYMA that Drew Beskin moved from strength to strength in past projects such as The District Attorney, Party Dolls, and Purses.  However, it is in his current solo career that his talents come into even sharper focus.  The newly released Nostalgia Porn, Beskin's second album under his own name, bears his trademark hooks and melodies, and his prefect rendition of the sort of guitar pop that put Athens, Georgia on the rock map.  But it also reveals a singer songwriter vein that thrills as well as promising great things for the future.  The album's variety is impressive, with Athens-style rockers such as "Still She Speaks", "Nostalgia Porn" and "The Ice Storm" sharing space with retro guitar pop gems "Pharmacy Girl" and "Just As Long" (this one could have been the concluding 'slow dance' track for any teenage dance in the '60s).  And then there are songs like "Midnight Avenue Edge" and "Super Suh & Sunny", which in our view compare favorably with tunes by master singer songwriter Jackson Browne.  Oh, and we should mention that as good as all of those songs are, the showcase song in our almost humble opinion is "Suspicion from the Start", which has found its way onto a permanent slot on the office playlist, the phone playlist, the car playlist, and even our cranial playlist -- I found myself humming it on a 50 mile bike ride recently.

Drew Beskin is a perceptive and evocative lyricist, and writes music that colors our lives.  This is the sort of album that too few people find, but is treasured by all that do.  Be one of the fortunate ones.

Nostalgia Porn is out now via Laser Brains, see the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for album