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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