Friday, February 21, 2020

Spinning Coin - Hyacinth

It won't surprise regular readers to learn that we eagerly dove into Hyacinth, the new LP by Spinning Coin. The Glasgow four-piece (well, half of them now reside in Berlin, to be honest) have long been favorites here. But we can confidently state that the delights to be found in the album are accessible to anyone with ears, not just the confirmed fans. Named for a tragically doomed lover of Apollo in Greek mythology, Hyacinth contains a generous 14 tracks of spirited, sometimes biting, but ultimately hopeful art pop. Shared songwriting and vocal duties result in varied and interesting perspectives. The music is dynamic and the production values high, with psychedelic touches balanced by sparkling arrangements. Three previous singles from the album -- "Feel You More Than World Right Now", "Ghosting", and "Get High" -- are stellar songs and well-chosen to prepare the world for the album. However, what often separates a great album from a merely good album is the quality of the tier of songs not chosen as singles. And since we previously shared two of the singles (here and here), we will demonstrate our point below with streams of our next favorite tracks.

Spinning Coin are Chris White, Jack Mellin, Sean Armstrong, and Rachel Taylor. Hyacinth is out now in digital, vinyl and CD formats on the Geographic imprint of Domino Records.

Bandcamp for Hyacinth
Various links for Hyacinth
Domino/Geographic page for physical

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Joy Mills Band - Echolocator

A superficial characterization would put The Joy Mills Band on the shelf labeled "modern country", but a more thoughtful consideration of the tracks on Echolocator, the band's new LP, prompts consideration of "roots" and "alternative pop", as well. But we music fans know that the label is unimportant. The important factors are the emotional resonance, the internal colors conjured in your mind, and the lasting impact of the songs when the last note fades. And in these areas, Echolocator arrives as a winner. We found ourselves drawn into the stories, reading the lyrics, and enjoying our own memories prompted by the songs, as well as impressed with the merger of country twang and indie pop shimmer. Nicely balanced between upbeat stomps and ballads, this is a set of music that has made a tough week a lot more bearable. Give it a chance - no prescription required.

The Joy Mills Band are Joy Mills (guitar/vocals), Tom Parker (bass/vocals), Lucien LaMotte (guitars/pedal steel), Mikel McDermott (drums), Jack Quick (keys/vocals). Echolocator is out now in digital and CD formats.

Bandcamp for Echolocator

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

DRAMA - Dance Without Me

We always choose music with care, but never more so than selecting our late night listening. If we are going to stay up past bedtime, robbing our ever-aging bodies of the rest needed to serve as global influencers and trend-setters the following day, the tunes need to be compelling. So it is with confidence and joy that we share our current late-night soundtrack, Dance Without Me. The album is the creation of Chicago-based vocalist Via Rosa and producer Na'el Shehade performing as Drama. The duo seamlessly blends electro pop, R&B and dance into a smokey tapestry of troubled romance, dignified resignation, and hope. Rosa's agile and emotionally resonant vocals tell the stories, and Shehade illustrates them with punch and flair. Their mutual understanding seems almost otherworldly, like lovers completing each other's sentences are filling a request before it is made. Quite simply, it is achingly perfect.

To be fair, this album is not just for late night listening. It will bring joy to your day walking down Fifth Avenue or cycling around Stanley Park. But it really hits your core in the dark. Dance Without Me is out now in digital, vinyl and CD formats via Ghostly International.

Bandcamp for album
Various links to source Dance Without Me
Ghostly International page for album

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Various Artists - Somewhere In England: A Sunday Tribute to They Go Boom!!

When the good people at Sunday Records assemble compilations, magic happens. Today's case in point is Somewhere In England: A Sunday Records Tribute to They Go Boom!! The honorees are They Go Boom!!, a '90s UK electropop band who awarded themselves two exclamation marks. And if we may say so, we believe they earned the punctuation. Moreover, as the compilation illustrates, they clearly earned this tribute album as well. Collection covers of They Go Boom!! songs by terrific indie bands, many of which have graced these pages with their own compositions, ably celebrate both the original composers and the contributors. I suppose one could invent a reason not to get this album, but why start out the week being wrong?

Somewhere In England is out now via Sunday Records. The CD version is sold out already, but the digital is there for your listening pleasure.

Bandcamp for Somewhere In England
Sunday Records