Thursday, May 26, 2022

Jim Shepherd - The Circle


The Circle combines the old and new. The 'new' is the 12 tracks of pop infused indie rock that comprise this solo album by the UK's Jim Shepherd. The 'old' is the backstory of Jim Shepherd. Jim was the lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter of Creation Records and Poptones darlings Jasmine Minks. And if that isn't enough of a selling point -- although it damn well should be -- consider the worthies that have joined in to support Jim on this album: Dave Morgan (The Loft, the Weather Prophets, and Subway Sect) on drums and production, Frank Sweeney (The June Brides) on strings and keys, and Arash Torabi (The June Brides, The Distractions, Beat Hotel) on bass. Guest vocals were supplied by Tommy Reid (The Jasmine Minks), Beth Arzy (The Luxembourg Signal, Jetstream Pony), Vapour Trails, and Marianne Dissard.

As fans of Jim's past work would expect, the songwriting for The Circle is as superb as it is varied. Rock, jangle, powerpop psychedelic pop and a bit of soul are all represented, and the performances are unfailingly tight irrespective of style. But what makes this album so special for our ears is the palpable passion for the material and the joy of playing it. The Circle is not some former rocker living off the past, it is a set of songs as vital as any indie rock you will find anywhere today. This album deserves a wide audience -- do your part.

The Circle is out now in digital, CD and vinyl formats via Spinout Nuggets.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Congotronics International - Where's The One?


We are here to suggest that you can turn your computer/phone into an instrument of excitement and energy, all without visiting a site that would shock your mother. All you need to do is hit the Bandcamp link for Where's The One?, the 2022 release by supergroup Congotronics International. You get the excitement and energy promised above, and a groove that may keep you up way past your bedtime. After all, the album lasts 82 minutes.

We realize that the term supergroup may be overused, but Congotronics International earns it. The project combines Konono No.1, Kasai Allstars, Juana Molina, Wildbirds & Peacedrums, and members of Deerhoof and Skeleton. The project was developed over a period of years, including a lot of remote collaboration as well as face to face sessions. With multiple styles and artists speaking different languages the music is adventuresome and expansive, but remains rooted in the fusion of traditional Congolese music and rock. Dig in, folks, it is like an audio National Geographic collage.

Where's The One? is out now in vinyl, CD, and digital formats via Crammed Discs.

 Bandcamp for Where's The One?

Crammed Discs

And the Broken - Black and Blue EP


How about an entertaining combination of '60-style garage and powerpop? Sounds good to us, and comes via Malmo, Sweden's And the Broken. The three track EP is titled Black and Blue, and displays the band's ability with both upbeat and melancholy songs. 

And the Broken are Mans Katsler (drums/vocals), Conn Fridh (bass/vocals), Linus Lindvall (guitars/vocals), Johan Hellsten (guitars) and Tobias Borelius (lead vocals). Black and Blue EP is out now as a digital download -- see the Bandcamp link below.



Bandcamp for EP

Monday, May 23, 2022

Timeshare - Yellow


Melbourne's Jordan Thompson (Ocean Party/Pop Filter) previously has released EPs Blue and Red under the name Timeshare. Continuing with the color template for naming, his latest six track recording is Yellow. We don't know whether Jordan intends to release further records with similar titles, but given the quality of the Timeshare music so far, we would be in favor of Jordan going through the entire Crayola 64 colors before giving a though to stopping. We find Yellow to be the best of the crayon box so far. The melodies are excellent and the arrangements sparkle. Everyone needs a lift to get through a new work week and this EP might be the right medicine for you.

Yellow is out now via Osborne Again.


Bandcamp for Yellow

Friday, May 20, 2022

No Monster Club - Deadbeat Effervescent


Ireland's Bobby Aherne is a pop savant who entertains in various styles via several different projects. His musical guises over the years include Sir Bobby Jukebox, Popical Island (a collective of multiple talents), and No Monster Club. It is the last of the three that draws our attention today to listen to their recent LP, Deadbeat Effervescent. We must admit that we don't know the reason for "deadbeat" in the album title, but the music more than earns the term "effervescent". But that has been a recurring and appealing attribute of Bobby's music. It is upbeat and full of hooks, often with an almost circus quality. Humor is a common component, as is a variety of instruments and other sonic details, creating a sonic collage that dazzles and surprises the ears without appearing overstuffed.

The songs on Deadbeat Effervescent are classic No Monster Club creations, only tighter (as tight as NMC gets, that is) and seemingly more polished than previous records. They take the listener on an entertaining musical trip the almost leaves one breathless, and we highly recommend it to end your week on a positive note.

On this outing No Monster Club are Bobby, Tim Falcon Prime, and Mark Chester. Deadbeat Effervescent is out now via Emotional Response Records.





Bandcamp for Deadbeat Effervescent

Various links for Deadbeat Effervescent

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Kevin Robertson - Teaspoon of Time


An album from Kevin Robertson doesn't need a lot of words, it really just needs your ears. The man is a master of jangling psychedelic and guitar pop favorably recalling our favorite music of the '60s and '80s. His new Teaspoon of Time is another solo effort, although he also is a member of The Vapour Trails. The Scots singer songwriter is a musical multi-tool. His songwriting is melodic and evocative, his vocals gentle and nuanced, and he plays multiple instruments well. His previous solo album Sundown's End was a welcome treat, but this album even tops its predecessor. Spend and evening with Teaspoon of Time, and it will be an evening well spent.

Of course, an album this good requires contributions from a number of talented individuals. In addition to Kevin (vocals/guitars/keys/harmonica), contributors include Nick Bertling (drums/keys/bass/Sitar/guitar), Scott Robertson (bass/backing vocals/guitar/keys). Additional guest contributions were provided by Dave Morgan, Andrew Taylor, Arash Torabi, Jim Shepherd, Tali Trow, and Nick Frater. Teaspoon of Time is out now via Subjangle Records and Futureman Records


Bandcamp for album

Monday, May 16, 2022

Say Sue Me - The Last Thing Left


In their most impressive work yet in their already admirable career, Say Sue Me processes grief and related emotional trauma resulting from the death of their friend and former drummer Semin Kang on their new album The Last Thing Left. The work is an absolute triumph. The songcraft is deft, the arrangements varied and fully fleshed out, and the performances elegant and dynamic. Special commendation goes to lead guitarist Byungkyu Kim, whose guitar speaks eloquently in many languages over the ten tracks, and vocalist Sumi Choi, whose pristine voice and nuanced delivery infuses the songs with genuine emotion. BTS, the countrymen of this Busan, South Korean quartet, attracts more attention, but Say Sue Me's undeniable talent deserves a wide and appreciative audience.

Say Sue Me are Byungkyu Kim (lead guitar), Sumi Choi (vocals/rhythm guitar) Jaeyoung Kim (bass) and Sungwan Lim (Drums). The Last Thing Left is out now via Damnably Records and Beach Town Music.





Bandcamp for The Last Thing Left

Friday, May 13, 2022

"Credit Note" by Holiday Ghosts


If When You Motor Away decided to hire a house band for all of our functions, Holiday Ghosts would be one of the top invitees. In fact, we aren't hiring a house band because we actually lack a physical facility to house a function and the house band. Further, the term "hire" suggests some compensation. We have some money from time to time, but summer is coming and that means our beer inventory needs a bump so, well, I think you understand.

But our need to have the essentials of life doesn't diminish our joy at learning that Holiday Ghosts have more music ready for our ears -- music we can listen to and pretend it is played by a house band we had the money to hire. The upcoming installment is an EP titled Credit Note and it is due July 27 via FatCat Records. We understand that the digital version has five tracks, and the vinyl version includes a bonus sixth track. We haven't heard the entire EP, but based on past recordings we expect energetic indie rock with good pop smarts and a sound and performance that could convince you that they are live and in the flesh, albeit in your ears. Take it for a test drive with title track "Credit Note".

The core of Holiday Ghosts has always been Katja Rackin (drums/vocals) and Samuel Stacpoole (guitar/vocals), but they have collaborated with various friends for past recordings. For Credit Note they are joined by B. Spanks (2nd guitar) and Morgan Lloyd-Mathews (bass).



Bandcamp for EP

Thursday, May 12, 2022

"Teeth" by Wy


A year after releasing their well received LP Marriage, Swedish duo Wy is preparing to drop an EP titled Something Amazing. The title of the EP seems apt when considered with the beautiful lead track "Teeth". Dealing frankly with the desire to protect someone close but realizing the limits of one's ability to do so, it demonstrates the married couple's connection with real emotions.

Wy is Ebba and Michel Gustafsson Agren. "Teeth" is out now, and Something Amazing will be released June 17 via Rama Lama Records.




Various links for "Teeth"

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Hater - Sincere


Hater didn't need to change an thing. The band was already considered one of the brightest rising stars in Sweden and had earned fans at home and abroad for their tuneful, melancholy jangle pop. But the quartet apparently felt the fire to explore new sonic territory. The results are on grand display on their recently released Sincere. The changes are immediate and dramatic. The sound is denser and more layered. Mans Leonartsson's guitar ring, crunch, snarl and stab like a chorus of unleashed spirits. The drums are big; the bass insistent. The arrangements are more expansive and often explosive. And the songwriting has a more aggressive edge. Of course, the focal point remains the vocals of Caroline Landahl. Always expressive and nuanced, she seems to have found another level to match the change in material.

Sincere asks questions of their creators, and in our view they answer them all with style. Regardless of tempo and noise level, these songs are fully fleshed out and played with punch and confidence. The world may be down one jangling pop band, but there is a new indie rock star ascending.

Hater are Caroline Landahl, Mans Leonartsson, Frederick Rundquist, and Rasmus Andersson. Sincere is out now via Fire Records



Bandcamp for Sincere

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

"Look Back" The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness

We don't know how long a couple of guys can endure being nervous, but based on the quality of the music they create The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness are holding up quite well. This is especially true as they work remotely with one member in Spain and the other member is Scotland. Their third album coming in September and it is appropriately named The Third Wave Of ... . While September is a long way away, the boys have released a single titled "Look Back" which is available now. A lot of power pop and a touch of new wave, it is a great midweek pick-me-up.

TBWTPN are Andrew Taylor and Gonzalo Marcos. "Look Back" is out now as a digital single. The album will be released by Tear Jerk Records in Australia and Bobo Integral Records in the rest of the universe.



Bandcamp for pre-order of album