Friday, April 19, 2019

Zebra Hunt - Trade Desire

We don't have a house band at WYMA, mostly because we don't have a group house.  Well, because we don't have a group house and because of a (probably well-founded) fear of being rejected by our desired candidates.  So we settle for virtual house bands.  The process is so simple: We name the band a house band, post some of their music, and play their albums at home.  The band need do nothing, and if they don't read the blog, they aren't even aware of the honor bestowed upon them.

With that out of the way, we'd like to celebrate the latest album release by When You Motor Away's virtual house band, Seattle's Zebra Hunt.  Titled Trade Desire, the album features eight tracks of the sort of guitar pop that we love.  There is plenty of jangle and no shortage of hooks, lending comparisons to bands from New Zealand and Melbourne (something these guys read quite a bit when reading about themselves, we suspect), as well as Bay Area bands such as the Fresh and Onlys and The Mantles.  But to our ears Trade Desire represents more than simply continuing a good thing.  For one thing, while their songwriting has always been good, this set appears to us to be the most consistent to date.  For another, this album seems lean toward a beefier rock sound -- on some tracks the rhythm section rumbles with satisfying authority.  Perhaps it is partially due to Robert Comitz's production, but whatever the reason, we applaud the increased sonic depth.  Finally, after a few years as a foursome, Zebra Hunt's performances are uniformly tight and confident, and that is fully evident on Trade Desire.

Zebra Hunt are Robert, Mitch, Aaron, and Erik.  Trade Desire is out now in digital and vinyl formats via Spanish label Tenorio Cotobade.

Bandcamp for digital album
Bandcamp for Trade Desire (vinyl in Europe)
Jigsaw Records page for vinyl in the US


The Leisure Society - Arrivals & Departures

Generous in spirit (and its nearly one hour run time), emotionally resonant, and superbly crafted, Arrivals & Departures is an album that you could spend your weekend playing over and over and not regret a moment.  The creation of UK chamber pop band The Leisure Society, it is delightfully detailed and and varied.  The album has 16 tracks, each consisting of six songs, and the vinyl version is recorded on two discs - Arrivals, and Departures.  Both sets are packed with excellent songs and intriguing musical moments, although to our ears the second disc is more expansive (although not happier) and has earned a few more listens around headquarters.  Oh, we should also mention that the album also chronicles the breakup of the romantic partnership of two members of the band, which is relevant to the listener as it explains the emotional heft of several tracks.  Four years in the making by a talented band, this is a highly recommended release.

Arrivals and Departures is out now in digital, vinyl and CD formats via Ego Drain

The Leisure Society - tumblr
Various links to purchase/stream Arrivals & Departures

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Possible Humans - Everybody Split

The world is full of possibilities, and promise inherent in that fact seems to be the fuel for the creative impulses of Melbourne's Possible Humans.  On Everybody Split, their new album, the five piece digs deep into intriguing guitar jams that adroitly walk the tightrope between guitar pop and free form rock.  With riffs neatly balancing hooks, and the urgency of tracks like "Stinger" balanced by the psychedelic pop of "Born Stoned" (almost 12 minutes long, and worth every second of your time), the alleged homo sapiens seem about as far away from corporate rock as you can get, and they do it with joy, skill and a lack of pretense.

The five guys that are Possible Humans are Leon Cranswick, Samuel Tapper, Steve Hewitt, Adam Hewitt, and Mark Hewitt.  Everybody Split is out now as a digital download (the limited run of vinyl is sold out) via Melbourne label Hobbies Galore.

Bandcamp for album

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

L I P S - L I P S EP

The five tracks on the debut, self-titled EP by LIPS may well convince you that you have a new addition to your list of favorite dream pop bands.  The melodies bear a trace of the '80s, and the arrangements are fuzzy and jangling, all in fine support of the pristine, floating vocals of Rachel Anstis.  Cue up the EP and let them ease you into a good evening.

LIPS EP is out now in digital and CD formats via Sunday Records.

Bandcamp for EP
Sunday Records Website

Red Sleeping Beauty - Stockholm

In our opinion April is turning out to be a good music month, and one only need to consider Stockholm to know that we are correct.  No, not the city, although a friend that visited last year raved about its charms.  We are referring to the new album by Sweden's Red Sleeping Beauty.  Continuing their return from a long hiatus, the band proves themselves synth pop creators of the highest level, perfectly balancing pop euphoria, swirling moodiness, and club hits.  For some of us, the right kind of music floods the brain with pleasure, perhaps the best natural drug on can achieve standing up.  This is an album that delivers that feeling in large, glorious doses.

Red Sleeping Beauty are Niklas AngergĂ„rd, Kristina Borg, and Mikael Matsson.  Stockholm is out now in digital and CD formats via Matinee Recordings.

Matinee Recordings page for album