Friday, January 24, 2020

East Village - Hotrod Hotel

If you are an indie pop fan, the top of your shopping list this week should reflect an easy choice. Hotrod Hotel by the horribly under appreciated UK band East Village has been reissued by Slumberland Records. The band had a seven year run ending in 1991, after being formed by brothers Martin and Paul Kelly, later joined by Johnny Wood and Spencer Smith. As is too common in the music industry, East Village became more popular after their demise (sound familiar, Big Star?). Hotrod Hotel, which collects the band's singles, was originally released in 1994 and now is available in digital and vinyl formats.  And since this release marks the first time the record has been available in vinyl, if you want the physical version -- and who wouldn't -- act soon.

We featured album tracks "Violin" and "Cubans In The Bluefields" in early December, so we have chosen three other gems to stream below. After sampling five of the 12 songs, we expect you will agree that Hotrod Hotel fully justifies the band's cult status, and why it easily slides on to our "essentials" list.

Bandcamp for Album

Thursday, January 23, 2020

"Counterpart" by Kluster B

Malmo quintet Kluster B has been on our radar since the middle of the last decade. An artistically restless lot, their recordings probe the delights of jazz, punk, noise rock and other sub-genres to flesh out their indie pop arrangements. Our only complaint is that they aren't prolific enough, but they will remedy that soon with their sophomore album. An intriguing taste is offered below, via new single "Counterpart".

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 "Counterpart"
Various links to source "Counterpart"

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Pintandwefall - Your Stories Baby

One could look at the name of the band, and conclude that Pintandwefall walks the path of pub music. And the impression wouldn't be lessened by reading the promotional material describing the members of the Finnish quartet as Crazy Pint, Cute Pint, Dumb Pint, and Tough Pint. I mean, we're talking about pints and falling down -- this isn't complicated.

Except, that it is a bit complicated. Play the band's new album, Your Stories Baby, and you enter a world of sophisticated yet accessible pop music. The vocals are exceptional and the instrumental elements, while understated, are detailed and well crafted. The tone and moods are varied and there isn't a weak track on the album. Sample the goods below with "Ah-Ah-Ah", which may be the sweetest three minutes you experience today, and the darker "Short Goodbye"

By the way, the actual names of the Pintandwefall are Sanna Komi, Ninni Luhtasaari, Ringa Manner, and Iiti Yli-Harja, who also are engaged in other musical projects. The band was formed in 2006, and Your Stories Baby is their sixth album. It is out now via Helsinki's Soliti Music.

Soliti Music page for album
Various links to source album

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Cupholders - The Cupholders Present The Wisconsin Polka!

A song, a place, a state of mind: Welcome to the world of "The Wisconsin Polka". The song was written by Wisconsin (Racine) native, and one-third of Seattle's The Cupholders, Bart Cameron for his other band, The Foghorns. With references to love, lust, aging, tough driving and cold - bitter cold - and set to a Polka rhythm, it is a pithy and warmly drawn musical poem and tribute to both Bart's home state and the state of life unspooling. The song takes on legendary stature in The Cupholders' new mini-album, The Cupholders Present The Wisconsin Polka!. Beginning with a snippet of the state song (I was required to learn the words myself as a grade school student in Wisconsin), the album presents The Foghorn's punky polka version as the "Racine" version, then follows it with a rendition of the song by Cupholder Casey Ruff with Joy Mills. Labeled the "Montana" version after Casey's home state, it is an folky, acoustic take. Apparently they don't polka in Montana, but they do perform good songs well.

Next up is the soul/garage (but still Polka) "Kenosha"version voiced by Cupholder Sam Russell, a native of Kenosha, Wisconsin. The following Drexel Hill Version is by guest Jon Rooney/Virgin of the Birds (a Pennsylvania native), who offers an affecting indie pop interpretation as well as creating the album art. Then we get an all hands "Ballard" version, presumably named after the Seattle neighborhood that hosted the album release party. The album closes with an immensely interesting last minute treat - a dreamy, shape-shifting version by autOudiO (Paul Beaudry).

And what do you do when you have heard six versions of The Wisconsin Polka back to back? You cue it up and play it again. It is that good.

Bandcamp for album