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

Friday, July 3, 2020

"Big Yellow Van" by Pop Filter

Relatively new Australian project Pop Filter will be known for quality indie pop music. But they also should be known for their enduring friendship over many years, shifting residences and inevitable life events, encompassing The Ocean Party, Pop Filter, and various side projects. "Big Yellow Van" is the latest single taken from their upcoming debut album. No surprise to us, but it is our favorite song this week.

Banksia will be released on August 21 via Spunk Records, Osborne Again and Bobo Integral. We suggest pre-ordering it. If you choose the physical version, perhaps it will be delivered by a big yellow van. While that would be awesome (and if it happens, please snap a photo), you will love the album regardless of the delivery method.

Bandcamp for "Big Yellow Van"
Bandcamp for Banksia

Thursday, July 2, 2020

"Unknown" by Even As We Speak

We are finally in the month in which Even As We Speak will release new LP Adelphi, although the target date is yet three weeks away. However, we can whet our already keep appetites with the video for the latest single taken from the album -- the glorious "Unknown". The song contemplates death and the question of how one will be remembered after life ends. The ultimate question remains unresolved, but the dark subject matter is adorned by a performance and arrangement so beautiful that someone paying no attention to the lyrics might assume they were listening to a wistful love song. But, of course, we expect such heights from this band, and they never let us down.

Adelphi will be released July 24 via Shelflife Records (US) and Discos de Kirlian (Spain).

Shelflife Records' Bandcamp

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Sweam - Lounge Music For Cat People

So we are asked what music is getting us through our mid-week morning. The answer is 'lounge music'. Specifically, Lounge Music For Cat People. Before you say "ick" - either because of the designation lounge music or, perhaps, because of the reference to cat people - you should understand that this is an album of superbly crafted tunes which would never find their way into the repertoire of any card-carrying lounge singer. They span the spectrum from fulsome shoegaze to a jazzy indie pop, all sharing the capacity to delight. There is a palpable sense of fun and adventure, and a good dose of energy. We also would like to point out that while we are dog people, we know some very fine cat people.

Lounge Music For Cat People is the creation of Norway's Sweam, whose members are Jonas Gabriel Berg, Frida Marie Berg, Jorgen Stokke, Gulliver Bradshaw, and Jan Olav Andersen.

Bandcamp for Lounge Music For Cat People

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Gum Country - Somewhere

It is a bit embarrassing to be a week or so late on featuring Somewhere, because the album is packed with the sort of punchy, muscular, guitar-driven indie pop/rock that we live for. But more than a bit embarrassing is the reason for our tardiness. We actually didn't pay attention to the original emails about the album because, well, we don't like gum. We don't like chewing it, smelling it, or seeing other people chew it. So when we say announcements for a band named Gum Country our reaction was 'oh well, we have a lot of music to try and cover and gum turns us off'. So we didn't listen to the music and didn't realize that the band was comprised of Courtney Garvin of the stellar Canadian band The Courtneys and Connor Mayer.

However, about a week ago we stumbled our way into realizing that we were missing something special, and since that time we have been listening to Somewhere at least twice a day. This is the sort of guitar rock that you feel in your chest when the ban strikes up live and your brain says 'this is why I go to live shows'. Of course, we don't have live shows these days, but we do have Somewhere. If you are the kind of person that listens to an album and checks off styles your list would include shoegaze, jangle, indie rock, C86 and a few others. But you don't need to be that person. You just need ears and a rocking heart, and this album will then make you very happy indeed.

Gum Country are Courtney Garvin (guitar/vocals) and Connor Mayer (drums/keys/bass). Somewhere is self-released digitally. The vinyl version is available via Kingfisher Bluez. US cassette is out via Burger Records and Australian cassette is out via Dinosaur City Records. A CD is available in Japan via Waterslide Records.

Bandcamp for Somewhere

Monday, June 29, 2020

The Crystal Furs - Beautiful and True

Sniff, sniff. No, it isn't a summer cold, just a few tears because Subjangle Records didn't give us any advance notice of Beautiful and True. And we certainly like things that are beautiful and true, especially when they have lots of jangle. But we aren't going to let bruised feelings keep us from our professional duty to tell all of our readers that on this album, the third by The Crystal Furs and their first since becoming resident in Portland, Oregon, the band is really hitting their stride. The album reveals the band's range from the noisier side of the C86 spectrum to the twee side of guitar pop. From these folks it all sounds natural, unforced and fun. Check out four gems below, and then hustle your fingers over to Bandcamp.

The Crystal Furs are Kara Buchanan, Steph Buchanan, and Rowan Church. Beautiful and True is out now as a digital release.

Bandcamp for Beautiful and True

Sunday, June 28, 2020

"Smile Now, Cry Later" b/w "Runaway" by The Shacks/Brainstory

This little single is positively swoon-worthy. The two songs are by Mr. Brown Eyed Soul, Sunny Ozuna, aka Sunny and The Sunliners. But the two track here are covers. "Smile Now, Cry Later is by New York City's The Shacks. "Runaway" is the work of Rialto, California's Brainstory. Both songs are taken from full LP of covers of Sunny's songs, to be released later this year.

The record is available now in digital and vinyl formats. See the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for single
Website for The Shacks
Facebook for The Shacks
Twitter for The Shacks
Website for Brainstory
Facebook for Brainstory
Twitter for Brainstory