Wednesday, June 12, 2024

"Be Kind" by The Male Gays

 


Here at WYMA we are fans of accepting people the way they are rather than setting up barriers. A simple rule could just be, well, be kind. Heck, we don't even do negative reviews here. If we don't like a release, why ruin someone's day and make their mother cry?

So, we were happy to receive "Be Kind", the first single by The Male Gays. It is a slow-burning and sincere plea for tenderness. The song is the title track of the project's three song single/EP which will be released August 2. Expect insight, humor, and entertaining music.

And who are The Male Gays? Two gay, self-described music nerds named Guy Blackman and Bart McDonagh. But however correct, that phrase may be, it undersells the gentlemen. Guy and Bart have played in several bands, but they have made a considerable mark in the indie music world in their roles at fine labels Chapter Music (Melbourne) and Domino Records (London), respectively. They have both earned our respect and thanks for releasing some of our favorite music over the years.


Bandcamp for single

Various links for the single

Various links to pre-order EP

Monday, June 10, 2024

Rural France - Exactamondo!

 


Did you know that there are masters of powerpop resident in Wilshire, UK? Well, you do now so that's all for now ...

Admittedly, a few more words wouldn't be inappropriate. Said masters are Rural France (to be honest, we try not to try to follow the geography here). They wowed us in 2021 with a fine album of jangle and powerpop and enough rough edges to show a potential for growth -- and perhaps a nod to the 'rural' portion of their name. The gang is back with Exactamondo!, a ten-track LP that suggests that, quite astoundingly, they might have just been playing with us the first time around. Exactamondo! hits the bullseye so often that the bullseye is obliterated. Fuzz, jangle and powerpop abound, delivered with swagger and confidence. The themes can have an edge, but the melodies are vibrant and exciting. Spend for this album and you just might find that it is one of your most played 2024 acquisitions. 

Rural France are Tom Brown and Rob Fawkes. Exactamondo! is out now via Meritorio Records 




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Bandcamp for Exactamondo!

"Monumental Ensemble" by Sad Eyed Beatniks

 

We've checked in on our favorite San Francisco beatniks, and they still seem to have sad eyes. But the mopey vibes don't extend to their songcraft, as evidenced by the just released "Monumental Ensemble". The song is the second single from  the upcoming Ten Brocades LP, due July 12 in digital and vinyl formats via Meritorio Records. A gentle strum and jangle and a relaxed arrangement transports us to a special place. As we've said before, this new album from Sad Eyed Beatniks is going to be special. Don't miss it.


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Bandcamp for Ten Brocades

Meritorio page for Ten Brocades


Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Oh Boland - Western Leisure

 


Exact portions are unknown, and vary among the tracks, but the music created by Oh Boland for Western Leisure seems comprised of powerpop, garage, punk, jangle, barroom sing-a-long, chaos, and maybe, just maybe, a bit of whisky. The band sounds like they are on the precipice, and we are on the edge of our seats -- or standing and jumping around the room. From start to finish it is original, captivating and so full of vibrant storytelling that we want to grab our coats and head out on the town. Of course, we would take the music with us.

The main man here is Irish musician and songwriter Niall Murphy. Western Leisure is Oh Boland's third album, and is out now via Meritorio Records an Safe Suburban Home. Niall deserves your ears, and you deserve this album.




Bandcamp for Western Leisure

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Neutrals - New Town Dream

 

Giving voice to the lives, challenges and memories of the generation ensconced in "new towns" in Thatcher's UK, New Town Dream by Bay Area band Neutrals is at time trenchant, at times wry, but always direct and perceptive. But most importantly, vocalist Allan McNaughton has crafted songs that are concise, vibrant and simultaneously punchy and melodic. Stylistically, the band has found that elusive sweet spot between wiry, spikey post punk and jangle pop. It is a territory that DC's Dot Dash do well (admittedly, with more of a powerpop slant), but few others currently playing do. As for Neutrals, they absolutely nail it. The arrangements are dynamic, inventive and multi-dimensional, with forays into electro-pop and dub (see the fourth embedded track below, we couldn't resist Scots accented dub). The quality and variety on offer with New Town Dream places it very high on our list of 2024 album so far. But it isn't only impressive, it is very enjoyable and we will be playing it for a long, long time.

New Town Dream is out now in vinyl, CD and digital formats via Slumberland Records.






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Bandcamp for New Town Dream

Various links for New Town Dream


Saturday, June 1, 2024

Kindsight - No Shame No Fame

 

Welcome to No Shame No Fame, an album that is easily one of our top five albums of the first half of 2024. The creation of Copenhagen's Kindsight, it is dynamic, melodic, spirited and uniformly superb. Each track sounds honed to perfection in every detail while never seeming slick or over-produced. As always with this band Nina Rasmussen's vocals are a distinct highlight. Yet the other members are equal players in the creation of the aural brilliance. We suppose that if one had to choose one style it would be the compromise term pop rock, but in reality the band's range is too large to pigeonhole. They can be as dreamy as the Sundays, as poppy as Alvvays, and veer into shoegaze; and in reality, each track probably is falls into at least two of those camps. No Shame No Fame is a truly inspired set of songs and you would be failing yourself in the self-care department if you don't check it out. A few of the gems are below, beginning with the soaring wonder that is "Tomorrow".

Kindsight are Nina Hyldgaard Rasmussen (vocals/guitar), Soren Svensson (guitar), Anders Prip (bass), and Johannes Jacobsen (drums). No Fame No Shame is out now in vinyl, digital and CD formats via Rama Lama Records.



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Label page for album

Friday, May 31, 2024

"Pro Volunteer" by Lame Drivers

 

What a great way to start the weekend! "ProVolunteer" is a rousing, surging indie rock anthem suffused with buzzing guitars, pounding drums and gang vocals in the chorus (if a threesome can be a gang). It is the latest single by Brooklyn's Lame Drivers and is taken from their upcoming LP Become An Island. The trio seems to take its inspiration from various points on the pop compass, but a comparison to Guided By Voices would not be in error. In our opinion, when you are in that lane of musical traffic you are going to go far -- even if your driving is lame.

Lame Drivers are Jason Sigal (guitar), Joe Posner (bass), and Jeff Wood (drums). Become An Island will be out in vinyl, CD and digital formats on June 28 via Jigsaw Records and Bleeding Gold Records.


And as an extra treat, here is the previously released title track for the album --


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Bandcamp for album


Bleeding Gold Records page for album

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Lightheaded - Combustible Gems

 

What are the best tracks on Combustible Gems, the new album by New Jersey's Lightheaded? We would nominate tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. You may dismiss such a statement as a cop out when discussing an album with eight tracks, but here is the deal: We a fans of indie pop. And when we listen to an album that sounds like the most knowledgeable DJ has curated a list of unknown guitar pop diamonds that spans Glasgow twee, New Zealand strum and jangle, '60s craftsman hooks and vocals, '80s and '90s British guitar pop, current San Francisco pop renaissance and lots more, we damn well are going to embrace it wholeheartedly. So there you are. Check out a few charming earworms below and then decide whether you want digital, vinyl or CD formats. Combustible Gems is out now via Slumberland Records.

Lightheaded are Sarah Abdlebarry (guitar), Stephen Stec (guitar), Cynthia Rickenbach (bass) (apologies to the drummer as we don't have his name).





Bandcamp for Combustible Gems


Sarah Abdlebarry (guitar), Stephen Stec (guitar), Cynthia Rickenbach (bass) (apologies to the drummer as we don't have his name).


Lightheaded are, simply, a great pop group. Their songs are full of melody and harmony, are bittersweet and memorable, familiar yet original. Their sound is a perfect mix of jangling guitars -- featuring Sarah Abdlebarry's exquisite, tasteful, but punchy Gretsch lead played over Stephen Stec's Rickenbacker chime -- anchored to singer Cynthia Rickenbach's Hofner Violin bass, which sounds like the bass on Michel Polnareff's first LP.


"Hugging Horizons" is the Sound of Young New Jersey. It's soul music, but by experimenting and playing around, they have accidentally invented some sort of New New Pop. "Because of You" ends the album on a real high, featuring Johnny Marr style guitar and some gorgeous strings. It's poignant and sophisticated, but still eager, slightly gauche even. And as always refreshingly, wonderfully, naively sincere.

Combustible Gems is a jump into the sparkling blue water, excited experimentation, exploration, finding themselves, with the effervescence of youth that makes for great debut LPs. It has the youthful urgency of Comet Gain, the wide-eyed nostalgia of early Orange Juice, the suss and anti-macho swagger of those early Pastels singles. It yearns for something, it is an exciting, stumbling, falling, laughing , charming, great pop debut.

New Jersey band Lightheaded make indie pop that casts a wide net. Their 2023 EP, Good Good Great!, was five songs that moved quickly from dour jangle pop to '60s-informed instrumentation that called to mind the chamber pop sweetness of the Beach Boys or the folksy sensibility of the Byrds. There were even hints of the reverb-saturated wave of dark pop that reigned supreme on the earliest Captured Tracks releases. All of these touchstones are revisited and expanded upon with Lightheaded's proper debut album, Combustible Gems. Every song takes a slightly different approach while maintaining a consistent songwriting aesthetic, which makes for an album of colorfully diverse highlights that doesn't feel too piecemeal. The production is deep and defined, also, giving the synths of opening track "Always Sideways" a little extra sparkle and the naive 12-string leads of "Dawn Hush Lullaby" an added push that wasn't there on the EP. Vocalist Cynthia Rittenbach's performances have a balance of drive and restraint that calls to mind twee standard-bearers like Camera Obscura or Belle & Sebastian, as the instrumentals shift between twinkly, acoustic, Smiths-y melodrama on "Still Sitting Sunday," mod-tinged peppiness-meets-Sarah Records shakiness on "Bright Happy Girls," cavernous synth arpeggios and gothy harmonies on "Hugging Horizons," and other interpretations of melodic and sensitive indie sounds. Erin Turner's violin arrangements add the final touch that makes Combustible Gems an exceptional entry in the indie rock pantheon. Closing track "Because of You (3 Sundays)" puts Turner's strings in the foreground, with graceful waves of violin harmonies sharing space with surfy guitar lines and aching vocal arrangements. While Combustible Gems is only a few tunes longer than Lightheaded's previous EP (with eight songs total), the band packs every song with ideas and sounds that are tastefully crafted and always changing. Even for as intricate as the album's construction is, it's assembled with a touch so light that it creates an easy, repeatable listening experience. Combustible Gems is a striking debut, on par with some of the work that informed it in a continuum of gorgeously imperfect indie pop.

Monday, May 27, 2024

"Everyone" by Voom

 

Here is a relaxing, folky pop tune about a very unrelaxing event: The Big Bang, You know, the world explodes and everyone is burnt toast, blown to smithereens or whatever happens in The Big Bang. The event sounds scary, but the "Everyone" is ultra cool so we have that going for us, which is nice. Besides, the central message is that we are all connected, even if it takes The Big Bang to demonstrate it.

The song is by Auckland, New Zealand's Voom and is out now as a digital single via Flying Nun.

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Sunday, May 26, 2024

"Grass Walls" and "A Power of Wides" by Oh Boland

 

With each singles release from the upcoming Western Leisure from Oh Boland we get more excited to hear the entire album. We realize that you may be reading that first sentence and thinking 'buy WYMA has only feature one single'. Well, you wouldn't be wrong. But we are correcting that right now by posting the final two singles, "Grass Walls" and "A Power of Wides". It seems to us that what Niall Murphy, aka Oh Boland, does very well is blend garage, power pop and a touch of punk into a rousing tune that prompts us to pump our fist and move about. Check out the tunes below and note that Western Leisure will be released May 31 via Meritorio Records most everywhere and Safe Suburban Home in the UK.


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Bandcamp for Western Leisure

 


Yea-Ming and The Rumours - I Can't Have It All

 


With clear-eyed introspection and determination to chronicle her journey to find her true self through the layers of expectations and perspectives of others, Yea-Ming Chen has created an authentically-voiced collage of her journey titled I Can't Have It All. She -- along with her band Yea-Ming and The Rumours -- also have crafted a top quality pop album. With tracks of '90s twee oriented guitar pop and country shaded folk rock, and melancholy but beautifully sung lyrics riding bright melodies and sweet hooks, this album deserves to be a regular on your summer soundtrack.

In addition to Yea-Ming, the players are Eoin Galvin, Sonia Hayden, Jen Weisberg, and Luke Robbins. I Can't Have It All is out now via Dandy Boy Records.




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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

"Nightbug" by Mystery Waitress

 

Our track of the day is "Nightbug". All atmosphere, gritty riffs and swaggering vocals, it makes us yearn for the nightlife, as well as prompting gratitude for the replay button. The song is the latest from Wellington, New Zealand band Mystery Waitress, and it is the first single from their upcoming LP Black Black Night. Look for the album August 2 via Flying Nun. And if you live nearby, listen for the album blasting from our speakers.

Mystery Waitress are Tess Dillon, Olivia Campion, Xanthe Rook, and James Morgan.

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Bandcamp for Black Black Night

Various links for "Nightbug"