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

Sunday, September 6, 2020

"I Love Only You" by Smokescreens

The subject of our previous post was the Fort Not single "Love Me Do". Staying with the romantic theme but with a bit more personal commitment, we present "I Love Only You" by Los Angeles band Smokescreens. Excellent guitar pop and, in our opinion, an excellent advertisement for the trio's upcoming album A Strange Dream. Another hint at the quality is that it was produced by David Kilgour (The Clean/David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights).

A Strange Dream will be released October 30 via Slumberland Records.

Bandcamp for A Strange Dream
Various links to pre-order A Strange Dream

Saturday, September 5, 2020

"Love Me Do" by Fort Not

The human mind tends to categorize. There is nothing wrong with that -- it is quite natural. But that doesn't mean our mind's attempts to categorize things will always be correct. We were reminded of our potential, OK, occasional ability to be wrong when listening to the singles released so far from The Club Is Open, the forthcoming LP by Fort Not.  Just listen to the tasty jangle pop gem of "Love Me Do", the latest release from the album and your mind. like ours, might assign a location such as Glasgow, Seattle, or Melbourne. But our preconceptions are dashed to discover that this Pavement-meets-Flying Nun gem originates from Gothenburg, Sweden. But regardless of location, it is one of our favorite singles in recent memory, and cements our determination to dive into the album when is is available to us.

Fort Not are Fredrik Soderstrom (lead vocals/organ/piano/keys), Robert Carlsson (guitar/backing vocals), and Emanuel Hllongreen (guitar/bass/drums/keys/percussion/backing vocals). The Club Is Open is out September 18 via Spain's Meritorio Records.

Bandcamp to pre-order The Club Is Open
Meritorio Records

Thursday, September 3, 2020

No Joy - Motherhood

Breathtaking in scope, delightfully varied and joyously performed, Motherhood is a giant step forward into a bight future for No Joy. Jasmine White-Gluz, the Montreal musician and composer, uses the shoegaze foundation she knows so well and has added dreamy indie pop, dancefloor beats, heavy rock and trip hop. It seems to us that she has reached into the future, grabbed this batch of gems and proclaimed "this is what art pop will look like when everyone catches up". The songs are busy, with disparate elements that sometimes come close to clashing. But White-Gluz adeptly melds them with the precision and flair of a celebrated sushi chef wielding his favorite knife. A truly exhilarating journey for your ears.

The songs were written by White-Gluz and Jorge Elbrecht. Motherhood is out now via Joyful Noise. See the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for Motherhood
Various links for Motherhood

Tuesday, September 1, 2020


RULES is synth pop band, and it is very, very good synth pop band. But you don't even have to be a fan of the genre to appreciate the beauty and craft of their new self-titled album. The vocals are sublime, and the melodies sound like favorite songs from the '80s you have been trying to remember but find they are just beyond your memory. The lyrical content is literary and absorbing, and the production is sublimely layered. It is no surprise that all of this makes this set of songs a perfect debut. Based on our experience the last few weeks, you won't want to stop playing RULES.

RULES are Iiti Yli-Harja (lead vocals/synth), Sarra Keppola (synth/guitar/backing vocals), and Oskari Halsti (drums/guitar/backing vocals). The album is out now via Helsinki's Soliti Music.

Bandcamp for album
Soliti Music


Monday, August 31, 2020

Mark W. Georgsson - Comes A Time 12"

Scots musician and singer-songwriter Mark W. Georgsson has delivered a very impressive variety six-pack of tunes on his new EP, Comes A Time. Want a love song? The EP offers a deeply affecting one. Need an Americana shaded stomper? Mark has you covered. Pop, rock, a bit of folk? Sure thing, with plenty of delightful changes of direction mid-song In our opinion, this record is a mature, artfully constructed set of songs and an absolute pleasure of our ears.

Comes A Time is available now via Last Night From Glasgow. It is available on streaming and digital download services, and on vinyl from the label.

Last Night from Glasgow page for vinyl

Thursday, August 27, 2020

H.C. McEntire - Eno Axis

We don't listen to southern/country shaded singer songwriters every day (a failing, we know), but when we do we are likely to choose H.C. McEntire. Her voice is an absolute treasure -- clear, expressive, and endowed with incredible range and a tear-inducing ache. But as amply underscored by her new album, Eno Axis, she also is a formidable songwriter, penning songs with emotional depth and vivid imagery. The way we like to enjoy this album is when relaxing outside on the patio at the end of a summer day. We don't skip any songs. They are all more than worthy and we have embedded a few below. The album closer is a jaw-dropping cover of Led Zeppelin's "Houses of the Holy". We haven't streamed it here as yet a further enticement to click on the Bandcamp link and explore this album in more detail.

We would be remiss if we didn't mention that the additional musicians involved in the recording process illustrated McEntire's songs superbly. The players on Eno Axis are H.C McEntire (vocals/guitar), Luke Norton (guitars/keys/backing vocals), Casey Toll (bass), Daniel Faust (drums/percussion), Nathan Bowles (banjo), Allyn Love (pedal steel), Mario Arnez (backing vocals), and Justin Morris (backing vocals).

The album is out now in digital, vinyl and CD formats via Merge Records.

Bandcamp for Eno Axis
Various links for Eno Axis

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Pop Filter - Banksia

In one sense we wouldn't be wrong calling Pop Filter a Melbourne super group. We weren't alone in regarding The Ocean Party as one of the top guitar bands of the last decade, and five of that band's members comprise 5/6ths of Pop Filter. The sixth member is Nick Kearton of Cool Sounds, which certainly doesn't lessen the collective CV. But this collective isn't looking for Lear Jets, stadium tours or MTV gigs, but rather the continued friendship and connection they have achieved via music from their teens to present day, the dawn of their 30s. Continuing as The Ocean Party was not considered an option after the 2018 death of member Zac Denton, but neither was ceasing to celebrate their friendship via music.

The first full length transcript of the new band is Banksia, 12 songs recorded in four days as six songwriters fleshed out the two songs each brought to the session (yes, children, you can be assigned homework even in your 30s). It is a new chapter for the musicians - and for the fans as well, because these guys aren't the same guys they were a decade ago. They don't write the same songs, they don't live their lives the same way, they think about different things, and maybe think differently about things they thought about before. But what endures is top quality songwriting and collective performances reflecting genuine connection and generosity in supporting one's mates. The result is one of the top guitar pop albums of the season.

Banksia is out now via Osborne Again Records, Spunk Records, and Bobo Integral Records.

Osborne Again
Spunk Records
Bobo Integral Records
Bandcamp for Banksia

Monday, August 24, 2020

Special Moves - Little Help

We aren't surprised because a lot of good DIY pop has come out of Olympia, Washington since the '60s, but Little Help by Special Moves has really caught our attention. With the fuzz, jangle, melody and raw edges that remind us of Olympia favorites past as well as Guided By Voices and Cleaners From Venus, it is the sort of discovery that makes the week feel special. Billed by band originator and main songwriter Josh Hoey as an 'open source' band, the specialty du jour is concise nuggets of melody with a spontaneous live-to-tape vibe. Good stuff at a good price -- treat your ears.

Little Help is out August 28 in digital and CD formats via Jigsaw Records

Bandcamp for album

Friday, August 21, 2020

"Warwick" by The Bats

The familiar jangle and chug of The Bats is one of our more beloved sounds in music. And since they have been a group for nearly four decades with no lineup changes and nine albums, we haven't had to do without that sound. Oh, did we write "nine" albums? Our mistake - number ten, tilted Foothills, is but a couple months away. Today we -- and the 'we' includes you -- can hear the first single from the album. The gang sounds as good as ever, and the video is a treat as well.

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

Bandcamp for single
Various Links for "Warwick"
Bandcamp for Foothills

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The Chamber Strings - Gospel Morning

If you have a copy of the original Gospel Morning from the '90s, you are both a savvy music consumer and a lucky person. And it goes without saying that you have excellent taste. However, for those readers who are not covered by the first sentence, but believe that you are described in the second sentence, here is your chance. The album is the glittering debut album by The Chamber Strings, a band headed by the inimitable Kevin Junior (also of The Rosehips and Mystery Girls, as well as solo work). Sharing influences of '70s glam, alternative rock, pub rpclpower pop, and a bit of soul, the album offers a toothsome array of excellent songs, all linked by superb songwriting. Influenced by the '70s, written and recorded in the '90s, but undeniably timeless.

Gospel Morning is available in digital, CD and vinyl formats. See the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp Gospel Morning

Sunday, August 16, 2020

The Hannah Barberas - Fallow Days EP

Do good by acquiring good music? Here is your chance to contribute to a good cause with very little effort on your part and the added bonus of permanently possessing four new, delectable indie pop tunes. Despite dropping their debut full length earlier this year (our feature here), The Hannah Barberas have been busy during lockdown and home recorded the Fallow Days EP. Sweet peppy and so very fresh. And all the proceed go to the Lewisham Foodbank. Get a copy for yourself, and get a copy for a friend.

The Hannah Barberas are Damien (guitar/vocals), Lucy (vocals), Ian (bass/vocals), and Matthew (drums/vocals).


The Yellow Melodies - We All Deserve A Chance"

Whenever we learn of a new record from Spain's The Yellow Melodies, we cover it. The reason is simple: Headman Rafa Skam has a genius for pop melodies, surrounds himself with adept players, and churns out memorable record after memorable record. It would be malpractice to not cover them. Take, as a current example, the new We All Deserve A Chance. The three tracks lift our souls and make us smile. The lead track is an indie pop dance tune -- twee disco, perhaps. Our current favorite is the second song, "Silhouette In Blue", a lovely keys-driven tune. "Once Upon A Time" closes the proceedings with a pleasant jangle and a terrific hook. As always, to level stuff from a band that all indie pop fans should follow.

We All Deserve A Chance is available in digital and vinyl 7" formats, see the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for record

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Lisa Mychols & SUPER 8 - Lisa Mychols & SUPER 8 album

The transatlantic partnership of UK musician Paul 'Trip' Ryan, aka SUPER 8, and California vocalist Lisa Mychols has delivered one of summer's top treats for our hungry ears. Gleefully romping over a wide swath of the pop landscape, they deliver tunes that evoke timeless hits of mid '60s British invasion, early '60s top 40 bubblegum, '70s soul/pop, garage pop and beyond. The only certainty is that each song will grab your attention and hold it tight until the final note.You will wish these guys had decided to do this earlier, and you will fervently hope they decide to do it again. Often.

Lisa Mychols & SUPER 8 album  is out now via Ottawa, Canada label The Beautiful Music (and the name fits for every record they release). If you are in Canada, hit the label link. If you are in the UK, hit the SUPER 8 Bandcamp link. If you are in the US, hit Lisa's Bandcamp link. If you live somewhere else, it isn't our fault. Just try and see what works for you.

Facebook for SUPER 8
SUPER 8's Twitter
Lisa's website
Lisa's Twitter
Bandcamp link for US purchasers
Bandcamp link for UK purchasers
The Beautiful Music

Monday, August 10, 2020

"Bloom With Me" by Loaver

As fans of the wonderfully inventive Malmo, Sweden band Kluster B, we are thrilled to discover that Kluster B vocalist and musician Linnea Hall has a solo recording project named Loaver. Actually, we are a bit late to the party as she released a self-titled album about 18 months ago. Perhaps we are just late bloomers, but that leads us to Loaver's new single, "Bloom With Me". The song progresses at a stately tempo, sparsely adorned with percussion and piano, and featuring Hall's clear, swooping and nuanced vocals. A lovely tune indeed, and a taster for her new album, Fern, which will be out October 30 via Rama Lama Records.

Bandcamp for single
Various links for "Bloom With Me"

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Exploding Flowers - Stumbling Blocks

Calling all fans is indie pop, paisley pop and jangle bop. Hey, that sounds like a lot of the usual suspects who hang around WYMA. We found the perfect place to park that money that just doesn't fit in your pocket - Stumbling Blocks by Los Angeles aces Exploding Flowers. Comprised of veterans of Alice Bag Band, Future Shoxx, Cody ChesnuTT, Lassie Foundation, and Ray Barbee, this group has their sound perfectly dialed in. Whether your tastes run to Big Star, Rain Parade, The Bats, the Chills or those many '60s bands that make us swoon, you will find tracks to treasure on this album. The jangle overflows and there are more hooks than Hemingway's fishing vest, but it isn't all veneer -- this are good songs done well. The first two songs we have embedded are in the jangle pop variety, but the second two amply demonstrate that the band's range extends beyond that territory.

The CD us out via Ottawa's The Beautiful Music, while the vinyl and the digital is out via Smash It Up! Records.

Bandcamp for Stumbling Bocks
The Beautiful Music (label)
Smash It Up! Records

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Neutral Shirt -Daisyworld

Welcome to Matty Terrones' musical world -- world of jangle, pop, and loud/soft arrangements. The name of his project is Neutral Shirt, but don't be fooled by the unassuming name. Matty's songs are dynamic, colorful and evocative. Daisyworld, the new album, consists of eight tracks that Matty wrote when living in Philadelphia and then recorded when he returned to San Diego.We think it is fine stuff and we suggest you devote your ears to a spin.

For this record, Matty was joined by Daniel (guitar), Rainier (drums), Maybellline (keys), and Leah (bass/trumpet). Daisyworld is out now in digital and cassette + digital formats.

Matty's Twitter
Neutral Shirt Bandcamp for digital album
Lost Sound Tapes Bandcamp for Cassette + digital

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Alpine Subs - Sweethaven

Sweethaven indeed! The new album by Chicago six-piece Alpine Subs is a sweet treat for your ears and an aural haven for your spirit in troubled times. Melding the best of '70s pop rock, country rock and a dash of alternative rock with plenty of jangle, it is a premium package of melody and positive spirit. This album has a more psychedelic touches than its more crunchy 2019 predecessor, and that attribute combined with the jangle and melody makes for an irrepressibly sunny set of songs. And speaking of a set of songs, Sweethaven boasts a generous 15 tracks. We recommend this album a prime candidate for your soundtrack for the last month of summer.

Alpine Subs are principal songwriter Will Goodseed with Pat Loveless, Carrie Roche, Drew Hackney, Brendan Taylor, and Connor McDougal. Sweethaven is out now via Subjangle Records.

Bandcamp for Sweethaven

Friday, July 31, 2020

Cools Sounds - Sleepers EP

Sleepers is quite sneaky. It appears to be a modest six-track EP of easy listening, only asking for your ears and a bit of time. But by the time its final note it has captured your heart and soul and worked its way to the top of your current playlist. This gem war crafted by the soft rock masters of Melbourne's Cool Sounds. Fans of their past work will not be surprised by the silky melodies, appealing lyrics and sharp hooks, However, the combination of elements here strikes us as prime magic. The guitars are ace and the additional vocal contributions add an extra dash of lushness.  Although our current favorites are the opening and closing tracks, which we have embedded below, every song in the set is a clear winner. And by our calculus, that makes all of us with a copy of Sleepers a winner.

Cool Sounds are Dainis Lacey, Nick Kearton, Ambrin Hasnain, Lauren Huynth, Steve Foulkes, and Jack Nichols. Additional contributions were provided by Rose Kean, Anila Hasnain, Dylan Young,, Jo Syme, and Matt Murphy. Sleepers is out now via Hotel Motel Records.

Bandcamp for Sleepers EP
Hotel Motel Records

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

R.E. Seraphin Tiny Shapes LP // A Room Forever EP

Today we would like to introduce our readers to the talented Ray Serapnin, formerly the frontman for The Talkies. Having recently moved back to the Bay Area from Austin, Texas. Ray is experiencing a highly productive year, having released an LP titled Tiny Shapes at the end of March and A Room Forever EP in June. The records are 'solo' projects under the name R.E. Seraphin, although he calls on some of his old companions for able support.

And while we don't consider ourselves to me a marketing affiliate for the artists we feature, we can't help pointing out that each of Ray's 2020 records is available as a digital download for $3 via San Francisco's Paisley Shirt Records. Tiny Shapes also is available on cassette.


Tiny Shapes is a power pop gem, with plenty of chiming, ringing and jangling guitars. There is a bit of Martin Phillipps in his songcraft (in fact, we were reminded of Ray's album while listening to the reissue of The Chills' Soft Bomb and Submarine Bells albums), but there is a bit of The Feelies, The Clean and a lot, a delicious lot, of Television Personalities. It strikes our ears as a terrific summer album, so grab it while you still have some summer left.

The players on Tiny Shapes are R.E. Seraphin (vocals/electric guitars), Owen Kelley (bass/acoustic and electric guitars/keys), Yea-Ming Chen (vocals), and Phil Lantz (drums). Additional contributions were made by Jasper Leach and Matt Bullimore,

Bandcamp for Tiny Shapes
Bandcamp for Paisley Shirt Records


A Room Forever is a different animal than its preceding longer sibling. The sharp songwriting remains, but the soundscape is less power pop/pop rock and more a blend of jangle and dream pop. Strong Television Personalities kinship, and more generally, '80s British and American guitar pop, is a mainstay on this record, and it has never sounded so fresh. We won't beat around the bush: This is one of our favorite EPs of the year.

The players on A Room Forever are R.E. Seraphin (vocals/guitar/bass), Owen Adair Kelley (guitar/bass/synth/arrangements/vocals), Matt Bullimore (guitar/vocals), and Yea-Ming Chen (vocals).

Bandcamp for A Room Forever

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Even As We Speak - Adelphi

Australian band Even As We Speak attracted a well-deserved following in the '80s, including Mr. John Peel, and even found an apt platform in Sarah Records for their debut LP, Feral Pop Frenzy. They dissolved in the early '90s, looking destined to be one of those wonderful '80s fuzzy pop bands that burned bright and then left fans forever hunting for rare physical artifacts of their art. But Even As We Speak is the rare band that can not only mount a resurrection, but a resurrection that encompasses a broader sound and more nuanced and (understandably) experienced perspective. So after a reunion and the Black Forest EP in 2016, the five-piece has created Adelphi, the band's second LP.

The album, quite simply, is musical magic. Everything the band did well before, they still do as well or better, so the melodies are delectable and perfectly illustrated by the players. But they also deepen and expand the aural landscape with synths, and the emotional landscape with an appreciation of the loves, losses, and day to day challenges of life heading into middle age (nice to know we aren't alone, isn't it?). And Mary Wyer's vocals continue to be a treasure of the indie pop world. We couldn't pick our three favorite songs on the album if we tried, so we didn't try. Instead we picked three songs that illustrate some of the many facets of the songcraft on Adelphi. If you buy any music this year -- and of course you will -- this album should be on your list.

Even As We Speak are Matthew Love, Mary Wyer, Julian Knowles, Rob Irwin, and Anita Rayner. Adelphi is out now in vinyl, CD, and digital formats via Shelflife Records (US) and Discos de Kirlian (Spain).

Bandcamp for album

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Introduction - Introduction

Introduction is the name of the band, the name of the record, and the name of the first track. Introduction are Harriet Fraser-Barbour, Elena Nees, and Lauren Abineri, whose individual credits include Wireheads, Rex Wonderful & The Silk Sheets, and Waterbear. Introduction is the band's six track debut EP. And "Introduction" is a rhythmic, minimalist post-punk wonder. In fact, the minimalist approach with a prominent bassline and a thunderous drum characterize the entire album, with variations to encompass dream pop (the showcase "Red Light"), synth pop ("Rollercoaster") and droning electropop. But while there is a similar approach to all six songs, the record never seems stale or repetitive. It is an enthralling, intriguing and impressive debut that leaves us craving for more.

Introduction is out now in digital and cassette formats via Tenth Court Records.

Bandcamp for Introduction
Tenth Court's Bandcamp page

"You're Lookin' At My Guy" / "Could You Be the One" by The Radio Dept.

The Radio Dept., our favorite Swedish dream pop band, has delivered a mid summer delight with the two-track single "You're Lookin' at My Guy" / "Could You Be the One". Johan Duncanson and Martin Carlberg always seem to get both the big things and small things just right. The hooks and melodies spark up the music pleasure spots in the brain with immediate effect. But the emotions, the nuanced uncertainties and regrets, elevate their songs to another level. Treat your ears below -- you may not find a better dream pop single this year.

Various links for single

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Oneness of Juju - African Rhythms 1970​-​1982

We aren't given to grand statements. After all, our mission is to alert you to music that we like. But we are going to step out of our lane a bit and tell you that African Rhythms 1970-1982 is an essential album. The band is Oneness of Juju, led by James "Plunky" Branch, which fused funk, jazz and African rhythms into an irresistible stew of sound. This album, which was originally released in 2001, collects the band's output for a 12-year period in San Francisco, New York, and Richmond, Virginia. This collection of music would be welcome any time, but its re-release is especially appropriate for the current focus on the status and travails of our Black fellow citizens. Check it out below, and explore further at the Bandcamp link.

African Rhythms 1970-1982 is available in digital, double CD, and triple LP formats via Strut Records.

Bandcamp for album
Plunky's Facebook

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Wolfhounds - Electric Music

Can't See The Light rumbles. And it snarls. And it bays at the moon at the state of modern Britain. Frankly, we couldn't be happier about it and wouldn't change a thing. Always a somewhat uneasy fit with the C86 tape which helped build their reputation, the Wolfhounds had a rougher edge and a noisier, more rocking approach to their art. This LP, their first of the new decade, proves that not only are they still noisy (no forays into country, folk or easy listening for this lot), but they still are politically and socially aware and have the edge and the brass to express themselves honestly. A cathartic and rousing call to action for our times, cue it up and see if you Can't See The Light.

Wolfhounds are David Callahan (vocals/guitar/samples), Andy Golding (vocals/guitar/banjolele/Bulbul tarang/keys), Richard Golding (bass), and Pete Wilkins (drums). Can't See The Light is out now via A Turntable Friend Records.

Bandcamp for Electric Music
A Turntable Friend Records' Bandcamp page

Friday, July 17, 2020

"This Side of Luv" by Keys

Well, well well, this is a glorious opener to the final work from home day of the week. The song is "This Side of Luv", the new single by Welsh band Keys. A soaring melody painted in bright tones with a full and sparkling arrangement, it has put a likely day-long smile on our faces. Irrepressible, irresistible retro charm to the max. We could wake up to it every morning -- perhaps we will wake up to it every morning.

"This Side of Luv" is out now via Libertino Records.


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Beths - Jump Rope Gazers

Jump Rope Gazers is a different animal from The Beths' debut Future Me Hates Me. Where the 2018 LP was all energy and melody, this album is more subdued. The band's unerring ear for melody remains, but is packaged in reflective thoughts of yearning, physical and emotional distance, and coming to grips with their growing stature in the indie music world. True, the writing has always been self-conscious -- charmingly so, in our opinion -- but that attribute is more to the fore in this outing. That said, this band can fuse an apt hook in any song of any tempo, and their arrangements reflect an appreciation for the perfectly stacked hits of 60s-70s American soul music. There is no doubt that Jump Rope Gazers is another triumph for this band, and will be marked as one of our cherished albums of this summer.

The Beths are Elizabeth Stokes (vocals/guitar), Jonathan Pearce (guitar/vocals), Benjamin Sinclair (bass/vocals), Tristan Deck (drums/vocals). Jump Rope Gazers in digital, vinyl and CD format via Carpark Records.

Bandcamp for album

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Opium Cartel - Valor

The Opium Cartel is the project Norway's Jacob Holm-Lupo uses for his synth pop creations. Their latest LP, the nine-track Valor, is a delightful collage of melodic, electronic delights, and appealing guest vocalists and musicians. The collaborative nature of the album, in addition to Holm-Lupo's own creativity, results in an album that is varied and consistently exciting. While good any time of day, we find it particularly invigorating in our summer mornings.

For this album Holm-Lupo called upon Silje Huleboer, Ole Ovstedal, Bjorn Riis, Lars Fredrik Froislie, Jacob's 13-year old daughter, Ina A, Leah Marcu, Maria Grigoryeva, Ilia Skibinsky, and Alexander Stenerud. Valor is out now in vinyl, digital, and CD formats via Apollon Records

Bandcamp for Valor
Apollon Records

Monday, July 13, 2020

Peel Dream Magazine - Moral Panics EP

Joe Stevens (aka Peel Dream Magazine) dropped a new album earlier this year (our feature here),  so we didn't expect to hear more from him this soon. But apparently the muse that guides him to push the edge of dreampop with his static and drone-draped melodic creations is on its own schedule. The result is the surprise arrival of the six-track Moral Panics EP. The record consists of five new songs and a demo. The EP is a welcome addition to our growing collection of Peel Dream Magazine recordings and has enriched our summer lock-down days. We suggest it will do the same for you.

Bandcamp for Moral Panics EP

Monday, July 6, 2020

Sea Pinks - Crocuses EP

We can be sad about Belfast's Neil Brogan calling time on his Sea Pinks project. OK, who are we kidding  -- we are sad. But life is full of starts, stops, and changes in direction. So we sill focus on the positives. First, consider that Sea Pinks released ten albums and three EPs of top quality guitar pop. Second, Neil has left a goodbye present in the form of the Crocuses EP. Eschewing the easy choice of maudlin goodbyes and long endings, the record leaves us with swaggering, upbeat tunes that remind us how good Sea Pinks has treated us for a decade. These tunes are top form British Isles jangle meets California guitar band, which to our ears has always been Neil's sweet spot. In our view, that is the way to say goodbye.

Thanks for the entertainment, gents, and we hope to hear what follows.


Sunday, July 5, 2020

Lucy and the Rats - Got Lucky

Take a dose of  garage plus '60s girl group vocals, an infusion of power pop and a coat of punk pop and what do you have? You have Got Lucky, that's what you have. The sophomore album by Lucy and the Rats consists of 12 songs that frame bittersweet defiance, love and freedom in concisely-written and passionately performed bursts of melody. While we enjoyed the band's debut, it is clear to us that this record confirms an upward trend for the band both in terms of consistency and quality. If you are looking for a fun summer album grab this one and you will be lucky. As for Lucy and the Rats, they didn't get lucky with this album -- they earned it.

Got Lucky is out now. You can get a digital download, order the vinyl via Stardumb Records and Surfin' Ki, or get a CD via Dirty Water Records.

Bandcamp for Got Lucky
Stardumb Records
Surfin' Ki Records
Dirty Water Records

Saturday, July 4, 2020

The Muldoons - Made for Each Other

Yesterday's feature celebrated the latest release from good friends who have been together as The Ocean Party and, now, Pop Filter. Continuing with the friendship theme we now bring you Made For Each Other. It feels strange to refer to the album as a debut, because the gentlemen called The Muldoons began playing together in the '90s in Paisley Scotland, both as The Muldoons and as The Church Grims (we may later take a poll as to which name our listeners would have preferred surviving). After putting the project on the shelf to pursue jobs, families and other distractions, they re-combined in 2017 for an intended one-time show. Deciding the magic and motivation had not been exhausted, the band began writing and performing, with the end result now available for our ears.

So, what do we have? Classic Scottish guitar pop melodies with jangling guitars, sturdy rhythms and excellent vocals, all of which is stuff that we love. And in this case, it is done particularly well and the stories are sharply written and delivered with warmth, compassion and humor. But as good as that all is, The Muldoons also possess a secret weapon. Yes, this band adorns their songs with a trumpet. We understand that this sounds like a simple one-instrument addition, but we assure you that it is not. This trumpet acts as an aural punctuation mark for the verses, a booster rocket for the choruses, and just makes everything - which as we said was damn good already - grander.

We have been listening to this album for several weeks, and we can't take it out or rotation. It seems like and old friend and delights our hearts every time we play it. We have no choice -- we are moving it to the list of our favorite albums of the year so far, which means we have to keep playing it to evaluate it with its peers. We are quite happy with how this has turned out. Mark another winner for the Last Night From Glasgow label.

The Muldoons are Gerry Mullen (vocals/guitar), Bobby Corrigan (guitar), Andy McPake (drums), Greg Bolland (trumpet/melodica), and Davy Brook (bass). Made For Each Other is out now via Last Night From Glasgow's Hive subsidiary.

Label page for vinyl version of album