Sunday, September 20, 2020
We cover a lot of artists from many different countries and working in a number of styles. But you probably wouldn't be a regular reader is you aren't a fan of guitar pop in its many forms. And if you are a fan of guitar pop, we have good news for you: One of the better guitar pop albums to hit our ears this year is The Club Is Open by Gothenburg, Sweden's Fort Not. The album displays the band's range, featuring songs that could be considered indie pop, dream pop, country rock, and jangle pop, and their skill in crafting impossibly catchy melodies. We were convinced of the album's quality early in the album opener, "Spending Time", but then were blown away by the following "Amsterdam". This tune is so infectious that one of us woke up humming it Saturday morning. It gets stuck in the brain, but there will be no complaints.
The next two songs have a friendly, slacker pop/county vibe, and since we can't choose which is better, we won't even try. One of our album highlights, "Hanging On", again display's the band's power pop proficiency with a chorus that demands to be sung out loud, call-and-response style with your friends. And speaking of compelling singalongs, the following song has such a charming, loosely-knit bouncing rhythm that it is almost impossible to resist joining in. Just know that doing so results in singing a chorus that exclaims "some day you will find me dead". You are warned, so pick your audience with care.
"Swirling" introduces dream pop to the mix, and to great effect. The sweetly wistful "Mary Ann" brings a slower pace and offers a change to catch our breath. But the album is back with sturdy, energetic rhythms with two tracks that have previously been released as singles: "Jenny Brown" and "Love Me Do". The latter is particularly noteworthy, one of those timelessly addictive tunes for which the "replay" button is particularly suited (our feature for "Love Me Do" here). The album closes with the pure pop of "Truckload of Bubbles" and the dreamy "Boy". You won't skip any of them.
Fort Not are Fredrik Soderstrom, Robert Carlsson, and Emanuel Hallongreen. The Club Is Open is out now via Meritorio Records.
Bandcamp for album
Meritorio Records' shop
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Our New Zealand heroes The Bats are back with another cut from their upcoming LP Foothills. This time it is the album's fifth song, "Another Door". The tune is satisfyingly wistful and and dreamy until the intensity delightfully increases for the guitar-driven outro.
Foothills will be released on November 3 via Flying Nun Records. See the Bandcamp link below for pre-orders.
Bandcamp for "Single"
Bandcamp for Foothills
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Various links to pre-order Cheater
Sunday, September 13, 2020
Bandcamp for EP
Kind of Green Records
Twitter for Locked Hands
Friday, September 11, 2020
We didn't expect to have new music from Swedish experimental pop rock group Kluster B so soon after their recent album b (our feature here), but we are thrilled that they have surprised us with "Nightflight". The song encapsulates what we find so compelling about this band: A intrinsic sense of melody and an uncompromising dynamism.
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 "Nightflight"
Various links for "Nightflight"
Monday, September 7, 2020
We are asked what filled our stay-at-home airwaves this holiday weekend. If you must know, it was the sound of angels. Specifically David Newton & Thee Mighty Angels. Astute and well-informed readers (and I expect that includes most of you) might say "hey -- wasn't he guitarist and co-principal songwriter for The Mighty Lemon Drops"? And of course your memory is correct. We understand that David, a native of Britain, has been living in Southern California and, among other things, engineering and producing other people's album. In fact, he produced a favorite of ours from a decade ago, Somewhere On The Golden Ghost by The Henry Clay People.
But the subject here is his new album, A Gateway to a Lifetime of Disappointment. Despite the title, this is in no way a sad affair. David is a master of the happy, forward-pushing melody, and he lavishes his talents throughout the ten tracks of this album. It has pop, it has bounce, it has nostalgia. It also has humor, as evidenced by the title of the album -- a lyric taken from one of our favorite songs, "My First Band". Technically, this is a solo album, but David enjoyed the assistance of his angels, who are duly listed in the credits. A Gateway to a Lifetime of Disappointment truly is one of the late summer triumphs to hit our ears. Don't miss out.
The album is out now. Check it out on Bandcamp.
Bandcamp for album
Sunday, September 6, 2020
A Strange Dream will be released October 30 via Slumberland Records.
Bandcamp for A Strange Dream
Various links to pre-order A Strange Dream