Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The Royal Landscaping Society - Frost 7"


A certain landscaping business has been in the news in the United States as a player in yet one more farcical episode in the reality TV presidency. However, our tastes landscaping run to The Royal Landscaping Society, a two-man band from Seville, Spain. Chris and David make swoon-worthy electro pop that uplifts our spirits and fires our romance synapses. Their latest creation to reach our ears is the just released Frost 7", consisting of the wonderful title track coupled with a cover of "This Gift", a song recorded by They Go BOOM!

The Frost 7" is out now as a digital single via Matinee Recordings, available at the Matinee online ship and other digital sources. In other good RLS news, the band will be releasing LP Means of Production in the coming months.

Facebook for The Royal Landscaping Society


Matinee Recordings page for Frost

Facebook for Matinee Recordings

Sunday, November 22, 2020

I Am A Rocketship - Orange EP

Perfect for the last evening of the weekend, Orange EP by I Am A Rocketship wraps the listener in a throbbing dance groove through three tracks, then the brooding rocker "The Light In Your Eyes" and the slow-burning "Back From The Shadows".

I Am A Rocketship is duo Eric Weissinger and L E Kippner. Weissinger has been a bass and guitar hired gun for various acts, and Kippner formerly was the vocalist for a Swedish pop band. Together they create an intriguing blend of dream pop and dance rock with some experimental touches, embellished with lyrics inspired by the state of the world. The duo is versatile enough that the five songs don't allow us to predict the direction an LP might take, but we can say we would be eager to hear it.

Orange EP is out now as a digital release via My Long Wknd.




Bandcamp for Orange


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Order of the Toad - Re-Order of the Toad


Since the subject of our last feature was a Scottish band, we thought we'd give a lift to another release from Scotland before focusing on other projects on our ever-increasing list of worthy releases. And so we present Re-Order of the Toad by Order of the Toad. The project consists of Gemma Fleet (bass/vocals), Robert Sotelo (guitar/vocals), and Christopher Tayor (drums/percussion/vocals), and began when Gemma and Robert moved from London to Glasgow. The trio previously released By Order of the Toad (link) and apparently had a good enough time that they signed up to do it again. Good thing for us, because they create a fulsome brand of guitar pop with a deep and satisfying groove.

Re-Order of the Toad is out now in digital, vinyl and CD formats via both Gringo and Reckless Yes.



Bandcamp for Album


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Slow Weather - Clean Living EP

We must admit that we aren't obsessive about clean living here and WYMA, but we make an exception for the Clean Living EP. In its five tracks we find full affirmation of the reason we focus on indie releases. The songs are beautiful -- inspired, slowly unspooling gems featuring delicate vocals, memorable melodies and infectious rhythms. The creators are Slow Weather, the Scottish duo comprised of Annie Booth and Chris McCrory. Chris was known to us as an ace and sought-after producer, as well as a member of Glasgow band Catholic Action (link). Edingburgh-based Annie released her fine Spectral EP about 18 months ago. Despite their separate achievements, working together has resulted in a product even greater than the sum of its worthy components. Their talents blend perfectly, and their generosity to each other's contributions is manifest. We have provided the singles below as a stream and in their entertaining visual form. But we don't even know how singles were chosen as each of the five songs would have been a justifiable selection.

Clean Living is out now via Last Night From Glasgow.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

"We Break Up On Friday" by My Darling YOU!

 We have learned that Matinee Recordings has released a single by Swedish duo My Darling YOU! Consisting of "We Break Up On Friday" and "I Adore You", it is a thrilling release that will please long-time fans of the band and bring some new ones into the fold. My Darling YOU! are Klas Hermansson and Christopher Johansson, and their sweet spot is a somewhat manic, punk infused indie pop -- an enthralling mix of energy, heart-on-the-sleeve emotion and melody.

The single is available now, and a collection of the band's songs, titled A Dream Come True, is due in December, also from Matinee Recordings. By the way, "I Adore You" is not on the upcoming collection so you can only have it by buying the single.

Matinee Recordings page for single

Thursday, November 12, 2020

"Press 4 For Love"/"A Rainy Day In Glasgow" by Strawberry Whiplash

It has been a long five years without new music for our Glasgow friends Strawberry Whiplash, but they are back in fine style with Sandra's sweet vocals and  Laz McCluskey's Rickenbacker on the two-track single "Press 4 For Love" / "A Rainy Day In Glasgow". This duo has always offered the perfect blend of twee pop and Creation Records fuzz, all embellished by the aforementioned jangle machine.

The single is available now via Matinee Recordings. Welcome Laz and Sandra back.

Facebook for Strawberry Whiplash


Matinee Recordings page for single

"The Great Tequila Flood Of 2000-2018" by Fixtures

 If anyone is paying attention, we are focusing on singles this week. Today's offering is by Brooklyn, New York's Fixtures. The song is "The Great Tequila Flood Of 2000-2018". I know the wise guys in the crowd are saying "oh yeah, I remember that. It was awesome". Don't believe them! Anyone who says the recall and extended tequila flood is a poser who wasn't engaged in any meaningful way.

But, um, back to the music. Fixtures create the kind of raw pop that worms its way into your brain. And we don't mind because it is good stuff. "The Great Tequila Flood Of 2000-2018" is the second single from their upcoming album Weak Automatic, which will be released December 4 via Bobo Integral Records.

Various links for single

Bandcamp for Weak Automatic

Monday, November 9, 2020

"World In Numbers" by Permits


One album coming out this month that we are eagerly anticipating is Time Permits by Melbourne, Australia band Permits. The album will be released on November 26 via Brisbane label Tenth Court. But you can hear the latest single, "World In Numbers" right now. The track has a relaxed powerpop vocal over a driving VU-style rhythm. Very promising stuff indeed.

Permits are Tristan Davies, Tam Matlakowski, Dusty Anastossiou, and Rob Remedios. The members also belong variously to other bands, including The Shifters, Pop Singles, Day, and Chook Race.

Bandcamp for Time Permits

Various links to order Time Permits

Sunday, November 8, 2020

"Terminal Daze" by Kindsight


Depending on where you are when you read this you may be ending your weekend or beginning the new workweek. Regardless, we have just the tune for the moment. "Terminal Daze" by Copenhagen quartet Kindsight. "Terminal Daze" is a pristine slice of Nordic jangle pop with a retro coming of age soundtrack feel. It makes us nostalgic and peaceful, and we welcome those feelings wholeheartedly. We also note that the band has been signed by Stockholm's Rama Lama Records, which is a sign of quality in our book.

Kindsight is comprised of Nina, Sore, Anders, and Johannes. And if you like this, the Bandcamp link will also lead you to the dreamy melancholy of the band's August single "Who Are You".



Various links for "Terminal Daze"

Friday, November 6, 2020

The Working Men's Club - The Working Men's Club


One typically hears it said that techno/dance/house music belongs in the evening and early morning hours. While we can't argue that the music isn't at home in that time slot, sometimes we find an album that sounds equally at home in the daylight and out in the wide open spaces. The new self-titled album by The Working Men's Club is such an album. It has been our frequent companion on walks, runs, backgrounds, as well as right now in the late evening. Over an instrumental landscape of Sheffield hard techno and old Manchester synth rock, teenage frontman Syd Minsky-Sargeant vocalizes a compelling speak-sing with an invitation to move your feet that may seem more like a welcome command than a polite suggestion. While the elements are a bit old school, they are played expertly and infused with conviction and emotion that results in a fresh sound. Some albums just stay in our rotation long enough to allow us to decide we like it and write up a feature. This pretty beast has been hanging around for weeks and it isn't going to the self any time soon.

The Working Men's Club are Syd Minsky-Sargeant (vocals/guitar/drum machine/synth), Liam Ogburn (bass), Rob Graham (guitar/synth), Mairead O'Connor (guitar/keys/vocals). The album is out now via Heavenly Recordings with support from PIAS.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

"23, Never Me" by Dead Pony


Glasgow nurtures a large number of fine bands covering a wide spectrum of styles. Today's release of single "23, Never Me" by Dead Pony carries the flag for the punk/post punk brigade. With a confident bubblegum pop vocal from irrepressible frontwoman Anna Shields and a slashing, bashing performance by the lead guitarist, bassist and drummer, it is a three minute stunner that left us a bit breathless and wanting more. Fortunately, a EP is planned for later this year. For now you can find "23, Never Me" at your preferred digital outlet.

The members of Dead Pony are Anna Shields (lead vocals/guitar), Blair Crichton (lead guitar/backing vocals), Liam Adams (bass), and Aidan McAllister (drums). "23, Never Me" is out on this week via LAB Records.




Loaver - Fern

Loaver is the solo project of Malmo, Sweden's Linnea Hall, who also is a member of WYMA favorite Kluster B. While Kluster B creates an adventuresome and eclectic array of songs, Hall has created the Loaver project to make a more individualistic musical statement. She released an EP in 2019, and now has presented her first solo full length, Fern. While not as experimental as a Kluster B record, Fern is inventive and packed with delights. If this is bedroom pop, it is a deluxe version with all the trimmings. The arrangements are varied and well-fleshed out, venturing into dream pop, trip hop and dramatic indie pop. As always, Hall's vocals are clear and dynamic. Fern is the sort of album that rewards the repeat listener with new thrills. It is a remarkable solo debut and a keeper of an album.

Fern is out now via Stockholm label Rama Lama Records.

Bandcamp for Fern
Various links for Fern
Rama Lama Records

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

The Luxembourg Signal - The Long Now


With their third album, the recently released The Long Now, transatlantic project The Luxembourg Signal confirms their status as one of the better dream pop bands on today's scene. The soft vocals of Beth Arzy and Betsy Moyer certainly are part of the reason. But at least as impressive is the band's knack for getting the balance of elements just right. In particular they blend the background atmospherics, vocals, insistent rhythms, muscular guitars and intriguing melodies into a seamless, dynamic whole. The entire album has a bright vibrancy that lifts the listeners mood and makes today's journey more enjoyable. We can't ask for anything more right now.

The Luxembourg Signal are Johnny Joyner, Beth Arzy, Brian Espinosa, Ginny Pitchford, Daniel Kumiega, Betsy Moyer, and Kelly Davis. The Long Now is out now via Shelflife Records and Spinout Nuggets.



Bandcamp for The Long Now

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Claire Tucker - Same Old Hunters EP


The world is an exceedingly unsettling place right now, and all of our readers could be forgiven if they are feeling more than a little bit stressed and in need of a lift. We humbly suggest that we may have just what you need: The approximately 18 minutes of transcendent beauty that is Same Old Hunters EP. The 4-song record is the solo work of Claire Tucker, a Seattle musician possessed of exceptional talent and remarkable versatility. She is the guitarist, songwriter and vocalist of Loose Wing (whose 2019 album was one of our favorites of the year - our feature here), and on which she shows the triple threat of nimble and shimmering guitar, siren vocals and deft storytelling. Another current project is Seattle shoegazers Black Nite Crash, in which she displays a different aspect of her guitar prowess.

But for these tough times, the most welcome version of Claire Tucker may well be the singer songwriter of Same Old Hunters EP. The songs glisten with aural perfection and warm with sincerity. Claire's vocals are pristine and compelling with a natural folk/country ache that sells the emotional content. We have embedded the terrific single "Tigers Make Milk" below, but we strongly urge you to stream the entire EP at the Bandcamp link. We find it to be just the hug we need right now.

Other players on the album are Jack Peters and Jon Pontrello. The EP is out now in digital and CD formats via Drums and Wires Recordings.


Bandcamp for EP

Drums and Wires Recordings page for EP

Friday, October 30, 2020

Smokescreens - A Strange Dream

The origin story for Smokescreens is that the members bonded over an appreciation for New Zealand guitar bands. And as origin stories go, this one seems to us to hit the bullseye. The influence of The Clean, The Chills, The Bats and others is evident in their sound But leaving little to chance the band brought on David Kilgour of The Clean (and David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights and solo work) to produce and create the cover art. Of course, the world being a sharing place, the listener also will detect similarities with more recent guitar bands from Melbourne, Glasgow, Sweden and other locales as well. The songs on their new album, the eight-track A Strange Dream, have plenty of jangle in the guitars and an appealing mix of upbeat and more restrained songs. The songwriting is so good, and the performances so spot-on, that this is an album that sounds like a timeless classic right out of the box. Unless you were paying attention to the singles, you haven't heard these songs before. But your head and your heart will try to convince you that you have, and that they are among your favorites.

A Strange Dream is out now via Slumberland Records.

Bandcamp for A Strange Dream
Slumberland Records

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

"Play (On My Mind)" by The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness


Probably most of you woke up this morning with one question in mind: When will be blessed with the second album by The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness? Fortunately, we actually know the answer to that question. The album, which is titled Songs From Another Life, by the way, will be released on January 20, 2021, via Bobo Integral. And because you will want it, here is the wonderful "Play (On My Mind)", a sweet dose of perfect power pop that happens to be the first single from the album.

The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness are Scottish/Spanish duo Andrew Taylor and Gonzalo Marcos.


Bandcamp for album

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Proctors - Summer Lane 1993-1997


One of the finest jangle pop bands produced by the UK is The Proctors. Their recordings in the '90s are swoon-worthy and you would do well for yourself to get your hands on them. Except, that may be a difficult task. Fear not, the problem solvers from the City of Big Shoulders, Sunday Records (who also had the good taste and foresight to sign The Proctors back in the day), have got you covered with Summer Lane 1993-1997. As you can see from the title, the album collects a well-curated set of 14 songs from a five year span of inspired music by the band. The jangle, melodies and boy-girl vocals all hit the right aural pleasure spots, making it a must-have album for indie pop fans. We note that the band was reanimated with a couple of line-up changes in the past decade, and after collecting this album, you may be inspired to check those out as well. We assure you that a robust collection of music from The Proctors is a mark of good taste.

For these recordings The Proctors are Steven Davies (bass), Adrian Jones (drums/percussion), Christina Priest (vocals), Gavin Priest (guitar/keys/vocals/brass). Summer Lane is out now via Chicago's Sunday Records.


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Bachelor Pad - All Hash and Cock

Pop melodies with punk attitude and psychedelic delivery. It could have been chaos but, well, sometimes is was chaos. But it was glorious chaos and a full share of really good music. Welcome to All Hash and Cock - The Very Best of Bachelor Pad. The creators are the five-piece The Bachelor Pad, a Glasgow band that swam against the C86 current of their era. Their tunes and choruses actually were more melodic and catchy than much of the guitar pop of the day, but eschewing a twee delivery likey limited their reach. They deserved better, and thanks to the good folks at Emotional Response Records, they live again in digital and vinyl formats. It is an unexpected throwback treat that sounds better with each spin, and you can't say that about most of your purchases, can you?

Out now -- see the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for All Hash and Cock


Thursday, October 15, 2020

Slomosa - Slomosa

As a tough work week draws to a close we found ourselves desiring music with sonic heft, and we didn't have to look far. The self-titled album by Bergen, Norway's Slomosa is a heavy, swirling stew of desert rock built on a stoner groove. Admittedly, desert rock from a cold country with plenty of rocks, trees and water, but no sand, seems odd. And there have been quips that the play 'tundra rock'. But our ears tell us that this band's version of desert rock sounds pretty damn authentic to us, and their own unabashedly heavy and energetic performance makes Slomosa a winning album.

Slomosa is out now in digital, CD and vinyl formats via Apollon Records.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Supercrush - SODO Pop


About 18 months ago we featured a collection of singles by Supercrush (our review here), a band which quickly became one of our favorite powerpop groups. To our great delight, frontman Mark Palm recently let us know that Supercrush has released a full length titled SODO Pop. We wasted zero time finding our way to the album and pressing "play", and were rewarded with ten tracks of the kind of powerpop that made Teenage Fanclub beloved. Remarkably, Palm has spent much of his career in punk and hardcore groups, but his feel for powerpop and talent for songwriting is manifestly evident here. In fact, this album sounds and feels like a greatest hits album to us, and it may well to you as well. Give it a shot, your day will be better for doing so.

For this recording, Supercrush are Mark Palm, Phil Jones, Allen Trainer, Bob Reed, Inna Showalter, Greg Ehrlich, and Jay Kardong. SODO Pop is out now in all formats via Don Giovanni Records. By the way, the album title is a Seattle in joke. While it looks like Mark misspelled "soda", he actually is referring to the name of the neighborhood of Seattle south of the downtown business district.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Flatmates - The Flatmates

There are some albums that leave you breathless, as if you just finished an enjoyable bout of strenuous exercise. You glow, you feel alive, and you want to do it again. The new self-titled album by Bristol's The Flatmates is such and album. Played at a pop punk pace with loads of fuzz and melody and hooks riding the wave, it is C86 revisited on steroids. The drums and bass are appealingly high in the mix, but then, everything else is too. And to for us, it is a confection that is easy to love. We assure you, this version of The Flatmates is a welcome addition to the indie scene, and this album is prominent in our rotation this month.

The Flatmates are Lisa Bouvier (vocals/backing vocals/bass/guitar), Martin Whitehead (guitar/backing vocals), Mattias Lidehall (bass), Rocker (keys/programming/backing vocals), and Brian Price (drums). The Flatmates is available in digital, CD and vinyl formats via Bristol label Local Underground.


Bandcamp for the album

Local Underground

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Latitude - Mystic Hotline

There is indeed magic in the universe, and a telling clue is that something precious like Mystic Hotline by San Francisco five-piece Latitude can come into your life. The magic wand of songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Amy Fowler artfully blends '70-'80s pop rock/power pop that will pleasantly call to mind Fleetwood Mac, The Go-Gos, The Nerves and The Bangles. But listen a bit of longer and you'll hear something more sophisticated in the rhythms and a bit darker in the themes (listen to "Checkmate", for example). The band is a pleasure machine of melody and hooks and the entire album sparkles and shines with just the right amount of gloss. If we still had radio that strove to be curators of worthy music rather than pushing narrowly drawn playlists from major labels (yes, I know we have a few good ones like KEXP), Mystic Hotline would be dominating the airwaves right now.

In addition to Ms. Fowler, Latitude is Josh Miller (guitar), Justin Frahm (keys/vocals), Rob Duncan (bass), and Joe Z. Armin (drums/vocals). Mystic Hotline is out now in digital and vinyl formats via Emotional Response Records.

Bandcamp for Mystic Hotline

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The Dupont Circles - In Search Of The Family Gredunza

We are very happy to be featuring In Search of the Family Gredunza. Not because of any particular affection for the Gredunza clan, we don't think we have met them and we are certain that we don't owe them any money. However, we feel a kinship with The Dupont Circles, a band that has been around in one form or another for three decades and whose name appears to be taken from the DC landmark and neighborhood Dupont Circle. And that happens to be a neighborhood that one of us lived in a bit over 30 years ago. So really, the band an WYMA are like cousins. Cousins who have never met, to be clear, but kin is kin.

And what have our non-kissing cousins created? A veritable cornucopia of garagey psychedelic pop. Think Syd Barrett and Dan Treacy (Television Personalities) working their magic direct to tape in your garage with stories of colorful characters and memorable encounters, and you have it. It is comprised of 16 songs culled from their decades of work and recorded over the last five years. This is the kind of album The Dupont Circles have deserved to deliver for years. For whatever reason, the didn't. But thanks to Canadian label The Beautiful Music, their work is available to charm us all.

In Search of the Family Gredunza is available now in CD and digital formats. See the Bandcamp link below or visit The Beautiful Music website.


Monday, October 5, 2020

Blake - HMS Blake

English musician Julian Pugsley, aka Blake, is a Swiss Army Knife kind of pop artist. Looking for jangling singer-songwriter tunes -- you will find them here. Want some boogie blues rock -- he has you covered. But he doesn't stop there. His new collection of songs, HMS Blake, includes alt rock and folk songs as well. We term the album a collection because it is a two disc release including 1971, his album from earlier this year, six new songs, and a career retrospective of earlier releases. So in addition to remarkable variety, the album is consists of a very generous 40 songs. You have to play HMS Blake through from start to finish to truly appreciate what it can do for you. It is like finding a top quality indie station playing guitar pop and rock inspired by the best influences of the past five decades. That it is all written and performed by Pugsley is even more incredible, of course.

The album is available now in CD and digital formats via Subjangle Records.

Bandcamp for HMS Blake

Friday, October 2, 2020

Scott & Charlene's Wedding - Live at The Tote

Ah, the weekend is here. Everyone ready for some live music. Oh, that's right, there isn't much live music these days. But we are all about public service here, so we are going to offer a very satisfying substitute. It just happens that one of our favorite bands, Melbourne's Scott & Charlene's Wedding, played a live gig at The Tote this past January. And it also just happens that the performance was captured on tape with, to our ears, excellent sound quality. Known for their impeccable taste, the good people at Bedroom Suck Records swooped up the rights to release the performance, and now has unleashed Live At The Tote for our weekend almost live show pleasure.

If you aren't familiar with this band, here is an introduction. The main man is Craig Dermody -- singer, songwriter, painter, and all-around good dude. His musical approach is a somewhat rough-edged and charmingly disheveled singer-songwriter-as-indie-rocker. The compositions are warm, heartfelt and infused with humanity. The current version of the band includes Jack Farley (bass), Ela Stiles (guitar), and Joe Alexander (drums). And for this recording they were joined by former member Gill Tucker (guitar). So obviously, there is a lot of rumbling, snarling guitar riding a solid rhythm, and the energy leaps out of the speakers. You might even get the sense that there is beer sticking your shoes to the floor. It might be your imagination, but it may just as well be your own beer when as you started grooving to one of the best live recordings you have heard in a long time. 

In the main the songs are fast-paced and raucous, while still managing a common man lyricism. But there are tender moments like "Scrambled Eggs" as well. Good God, we love this album!

Live At The Tote is available in digital and cassette formats. See the Bandcamp link, and rock on.

Bandcamp for album

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Dollar Bar - Pyrrhic Victory

One might think that the COVID induced working from home would have improved our blog output. However, while it has increased readership as home office workers feel more comfortable, and bored enough, to check-in more regularly, we haven't kept pace. Part of the problem is that without a clear demarcation between work and home, we find ourselves working at times when we normally wouldn't (no wonder the managing partner is in no hurry to call us all back to the office and slurp the free coffee). And we also have more access to the great outdoors of which we have made frequents use. Yes, we do work out, thanks for noticing. So with apologies to several fine bands, we are going to try to reach back and highlight some worthy music.

And first on the list is Pyrrhic Victory, the fourth and final album from Brisbane's Dollar Bar. Why "final"? We don't know. But we do know that this is an excellent album and if it is their exit music, they are leaving at the top of their game. They launch with a couple of rocking tunes so appealing that the we could wonder whether the band has used their musical ammunition too soon, but instead our smiles get bigger as we bounce to the power pop segment of "Cops On Ferrars", the very GBV-esque "James Brown", the '60s tinted "Paddington Workers Club", and "Not A Dig". Desert rock is on offer with "The House of the Rising Damp". The splendid tracks keep coming and we become even more remorseful at not alerting you to this album sooner. Save our blushes and go get it. NOW.

Dollar Bar is Dale Peachey (guitar/vocals), Chris Yates (guitar/vocals), Patrick McCabe (bass/vocals), and Brendan Rosenstengel (drums).

Bandcamp for Pyrrhic Victory

Monday, September 28, 2020

Ezrat - Carousel

Bands come and go. For example, we were fond of indie jangle poppers EZTV, but they drifted off the radar and are now in the 'former band' category. But sometimes, bands transform and comeback. To continue with our example, Ezra Tenenbaum, the songwiter and main man behind EZTV is back in the guise of Ezrat. The project is not quite solo, as percussionist Michael Stasiak from EZTV has come along. The fruits of their labor is the 12-track Carousel, which at this very moment is pleasuring our eager ears. The songs, which were recorded with the assistance of a formidable roster of Brooklyn talent (see the credits on the Bandcamp page), retain some of the jangle of EZTV but Ezra also infused these gently melancholy creations with an ample dose of dream pop. The result is a fine album perfect for the Indian Summer days of Fall, which is where we find ourselves at WYMA World Headquarters.

Carousel is out now via Madrid's Bobo Intregal Records.

Bandcamp for Carousel

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Chills - Submarine Bells and Soft Bomb

We are writing today to encourage you to improve your collection of vinyl. The subjects are the reissues of two treasured albums by the iconic New Zealand band The Chills. The band was formed in 1980 by Martin Phillipps, and released a number of singles and two albums in that decade. However, it was in the early '90s when Phillipps was able to combine his songwriting, his band's talents, and increased production facilities to create the sound he wanted over the course of an entire album. The results were Submarine Bells and Soft Bomb. Both releases were on the US label Stash, and were well received by fans and college radio, but failed to reach mass market success. After these albums, The Chills were an on and off again project as Phillips' battled health issues. However, they have been going strong for the last decade and released an excellent LP titled Snow Bound a couple of years ago.

For us, what Submarine Bells and Soft Bomb so special is Phillipps' ability to synthesize his highly melodic and hook-filled songwriting with the sounds he wants from punk, post-punk, psychedelia, '60s garage rock, jangle pop, and baroque pop -- all accented by Phillipps' chiming guitars. Despite the disparate elements, the songs are cohesive and complement each other well on the album. Of course, these albums were good originally or they wouldn't have been reissued. But to our ears, they seem to have aged like a fine wine. When we learned they would be reissued we started listening to them again and found that we appreciate them now than before. The quality and variety is breathtaking, and our fresh listening leads us to appreciate details we might have missed originally. This is immaculate, timeless guitar pop and belongs in every collection.

Submarine Bells and Soft Bomb are available now via Fire Records.



Submarine Bells (1990)

Bandcamp for Submarine Bells

Soft Bomb (1992)

Bandcamp for Soft Bomb

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Fort Not - The Club Is Open

We cover a lot of artists from many different countries and working in a number of styles. But you probably wouldn't be a regular reader is you aren't a fan of guitar pop in its many forms. And if you are a fan of guitar pop, we have good news for you: One of the better guitar pop albums to hit our ears this year is The Club Is Open by Gothenburg, Sweden's Fort Not. The album displays the band's range, featuring songs that could be considered indie pop, dream pop, country rock, and jangle pop, and their skill in crafting impossibly catchy melodies. We were convinced of the album's quality early in the album opener, "Spending Time", but then were blown away by the following "Amsterdam". This tune is so infectious that one of us woke up humming it Saturday morning. It gets stuck in the brain, but there will be no complaints.

The next two songs have a friendly, slacker pop/county vibe, and since we can't choose which is better, we won't even try. One of our album highlights, "Hanging On", again display's the band's power pop proficiency with a chorus that demands to be sung out loud, call-and-response style with your friends. And speaking of compelling singalongs, the following song has such a charming, loosely-knit bouncing rhythm that it is almost impossible to resist joining in. Just know that doing so results in singing a chorus that exclaims "some day you will find me dead". You are warned, so pick your audience with care.

"Swirling" introduces dream pop to the mix, and to great effect. The sweetly wistful "Mary Ann" brings a slower pace and offers a change to catch our breath. But the album is back with sturdy, energetic rhythms with two tracks that have previously been released as singles: "Jenny Brown" and "Love Me Do". The latter is particularly noteworthy, one of those timelessly addictive tunes for which the "replay" button is particularly suited (our feature for "Love Me Do" here). The album closes with the pure pop of "Truckload of Bubbles" and the dreamy "Boy". You won't skip any of them.

Fort Not are Fredrik Soderstrom, Robert Carlsson, and Emanuel Hallongreen. The Club Is Open is out now via Meritorio Records.

Bandcamp for album
Meritorio Records' shop

Thursday, September 17, 2020

"Another Door" by The Bats

Our New Zealand heroes The Bats are back with another cut from their upcoming LP Foothills. This time it is the album's fifth song, "Another Door". The tune is satisfyingly wistful and and dreamy until the intensity delightfully increases for the guitar-driven outro.

Foothills will be released on November 3 via Flying Nun Records. See the Bandcamp link below for pre-orders.

Bandcamp for "Single"
Bandcamp for Foothills

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

"My Candidacy" by Pom Poko

Energetic Norwegian pop punk band Pom Poko has announced new album Cheater, due November 6 via Bella Union. The announcement was accompanied by an offering of the single "My Candidacy". Despite the election season, the song actually is about the desire for unconditional love, and we are quite happy that it isn't about politics. The sound is classic Pom Poko: Like a firecracker loaded with sugar. Perfect stuff to cure your mid-week blahs.

Various links to pre-order Cheater

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Studio Kind of Green featuring Locked Hands - Making Light

Studio Kind of Green is the recording name adopted by Carey Walton, the producer behind the label Kind of Green Records. The label had been based in Auckland, New Zealand, but Carey has relocated himself and the label to Linlithgow, Scotland. The move has provided the opportunity to work with Sean Ormsby, a favorite of ours who records as Locked Hands (among others) and helms Edinburgh's Errant Media label. For the recently released three-song EP Making Light, Carey created rhythms and tracks and sent them to Sean to add lyrics and vocals. Of course, further work and refinements transpired with the well-honed final product available for our listening pleasure. So dive in below, and note that if you act quickly the EP is available for a limited time as a free download.

Bandcamp for EP
Kind of Green Records
Twitter for Locked Hands

Friday, September 11, 2020

"Nightflight" by Kluster B

We didn't expect to have new music from Swedish experimental pop rock group Kluster B so soon after their recent album b (our feature here), but we are thrilled that they have surprised us with "Nightflight". The song encapsulates what we find so compelling about this band: A intrinsic sense of melody and an uncompromising dynamism.

Kluster B are Sebastian Hegedus (guitar), Adam Jonsson (guitar), Pontus Ornstrand (keys/synth/bass), Andreas Pollak (drums), and Linnea Hall (vocals). Their music is released via Rama Lama Records.

Bandcamp for "Nightflight"
Various links for "Nightflight"

Monday, September 7, 2020

David Newton & Thee Mighty Angels - A Gateway to a Lifetime of Disappointment

We are asked what filled our stay-at-home airwaves this holiday weekend. If you must know, it was the sound of angels. Specifically David Newton & Thee Mighty Angels. Astute and well-informed readers (and I expect that includes most of you) might say "hey -- wasn't he guitarist and co-principal songwriter for The Mighty Lemon Drops"? And of course your memory is correct. We understand that David, a native of Britain, has been living in Southern California and, among other things, engineering and producing other people's album. In fact, he produced a favorite of ours from a decade ago, Somewhere On The Golden Ghost by The Henry Clay People.

But the subject here is his new album, A Gateway to a Lifetime of Disappointment. Despite the title, this is in no way a sad affair. David is a master of the happy, forward-pushing melody, and he lavishes his talents throughout the ten tracks of this album. It has pop, it has bounce, it has nostalgia. It also has humor, as evidenced by the title of the album -- a lyric taken from one of our favorite songs, "My First Band". Technically, this is a solo album, but David enjoyed the assistance of his angels, who are duly listed in the credits. A Gateway to a Lifetime of Disappointment truly is one of the late summer triumphs to hit our ears. Don't miss out.

The album is out now. Check it out on Bandcamp.

Bandcamp for album