Friday, November 23, 2018
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
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.
Errant Media Bandcamp
Twitter for Errant Media
Tuesday, November 20, 2018
The Astounds are Dean, Julian, Mike, Zach, and Tyler.
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.
Bandcamp for album
Matinee Recordings page for album
Monday, November 19, 2018
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.
Bandcamp for Numberless Needs
Abandoned Love Records