Friday, July 20, 2018

Smokescreens - Used to Yesterday

On their second album, the newly released Used to YesterdaySmokescreens doesn't try to disguise their influences.  But when your influences are early Flying Nun bands, '80s British guitar pop, and California guitar pop from the '60s forward, why the hell would anyone want it hidden?  And by the way, in the unlikely event that the band compiled the album as an audition to be a When You Motor Away house band -- and who wouldn't want to do that -- they passed the audition with top marks.

The joyous sounds kick off with the buzzsaw guitars of "Someone New", reminding us of member Corey Cunningham's former project, Terry Malts.  And then, it gets even better, with the glorious jangle of the title track followed by "The Lost Song", which could have been 'lost' off an '80s album by The Wedding Present or The Clean (and either would be happy to claim it, we suspect).  "Jolly Jane" lives up to its name with a happy garage pop vibe.  "Buddy" provides the rare slower tempo with a bit of Kiwi-style melancholy.  The upbeat vibes ramp up again with the next song, the Brydsian "Waiting For The Summer".  '80s New Zealand is further represented by a cover of Wasp Factory's "Steel Blue Skies".  And for us, the final three songs of the album provide the cherry on top, with the set of "Fool Me", "It's Not Right", and "Falling Down" blending the folk rock of The Bats with '60s British Invasion garage pop.

Used to Yesterday offers terrific melodies, great vocals, top songwriting, and all the style boxes ticked we could ask for.  This album may never leave our rotation.

Smokescreens are Chris Rosi, Corey Cunningham, Brice Bradley and Jenny Moffet.  Used to Yesterday is out now via Slumberland Records.










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Bandcamp for Used to Yesterday
Slumberland Records page for Used to Yesterday


Thursday, July 19, 2018

"Slob" by The Salient Braves

One of our favorite albums last year was Delusions of Grandeur, by The Salient Braves (link to our review).  Matt Bailey and his pals have been a bit quiet on the release front since last fall, but that is understandable as counting the piles of money earned from that record must be very time consuming.  But the musical muse has done its work, and they are back with a new single titled "Slob".  The song reflects this band's appealing sweet spot -- melody, humor and wry commentary on the human condition.  In this edition, we hear the lament of a man who has let himself go and been abandoned by his love.

We like a track quite a bit, and we suspect you will as well.  However, we are firm in our denials that we were the model for the cover art.  We can't un-see that, you can't un-see that, but in any case it isn't us.



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Bandcamp for "Slob"

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

"BirdHouse" by Weep Wave

How about a combo meal for lunch today?  With some heavy garage, garnished with swirling psychedelia, we can offer "BirdHouse" by Seattle's Weep Wave.  Stream it below, and click on the download link for a free download.  If you love King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, you are going to love this song.  We've been sharing it with the guys in the nearby offices with it all morning, I hope they like it.

Weep Wave are Fuentes (guitar & vocals), Dylan Trujillo (bass), Colton Harold (synth), and Van Wolfe (drums).



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Introducing: The O'My's


My oh my - you really need an introduction to Chicago's The O'My's.  The duo of Nick Hennessey and Maceo Vidal-Haymes offers tightly constructed and emotionally packed pop tunes influenced by R&B, psychedelia, doo wop, and soul.  Nick plays keys and Maceo plays guitar and sings.  We understand an album is in process, but until it arrives, you can feast on "Baskets" and "Starship".






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Links to buy/stream "Baskets"
Links to buy/stream "Starship"

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

"Worse Than It Seems" by Jawjaw

Jawjaw is the new collaborative music, film and art project of London's Andrew Harvey-Gannon.  Our introduction comes via "Worse Than It Seems", a pulsating, brooding electro-pop tune that pulls us in and leaves us wanting much more.  The song features vocals by London artist Tailor.



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"David" by Frøkedal

One of the late summer releases we are eagerly awaiting is How We Made It, by Norwegian star Frøkedal. The Oslo-based musician possesses a magnificent voice and proves equally adept at creating intriguing pop songs.  The album will be release at the end of August by Propeller Recordings, but your ears can have an aural glimpse via album track "David", below.  Featuring sparkling instrumentation and seductive vocals, it has become the soundtrack of our morning.



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Bandcamp for How We Made It
Propeller Recordings

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Hannah Barberas - The Hannah Barberas Are Here At Last

We are starting the week with some DIY indie pop from London.  Energetic and original, it makes Monday morning a venture worth undertaking.  It also is available at 'name your price', and since we spent most of our budget on beer and ice cream due to the hot weather (yes, beer and ice cream, but not at the same time -- we aren't animals), that price is very welcome.  So get to know The Hannah Barberas via their appropriately-titled The Hannah Barberas Are Here At Last.  There are two original songs and a cover of McCarthy's Red Sleeping Beauty (a fine song that also gave its name to a wonderful, long-running Swedish indie pop band).

The Hannah Barberas are Damien, Lucy, Doug, and Matthew.  The EP is available at the Bandcamp link below.



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Bandcamp for album

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Bjørn Torske - Byen

Usually electronic fans have to choose among trance, house and ambient.  But Byen, the new album by Norwegian producer Bjørn Torske, weaves all three into a pulsating, melodic, and thoroughly enthralling musical epic.  Other than the cinematic closing song, all of the tracks run for 7:44 or longer, and are packed with ideas.  But the listener never has to suffer filler.  This music is thoughtfully constructed.  Dance the long summer nights away, your soundtrack is here.







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Bandcamp for Byen

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Babe Rainbow - Double Rainbow

We didn't intend this week to be "Australia" week, but it seems to be working out that way.  You hear people talking about wanting rainbows and ponies -- well, small horses are completely outside of our area of expertise (although we have dogs).  But rainbows?  We have rainbows.  In fact, we have Double Rainbow, by Byron Bay, Australia's Babe Rainbow.  And this 11-track gem is not only our album of the week, but it is likely one of our top 20 albums of the year so far.  The lads of Babe Rainbow mine deep veins of '60s psychedelic pop, and that alone would be sufficient to earn our joyful reception.  But this is an expansive, dynamic set of songs that touches on funky disco ("Eureka"), jazzy cabaret pop, folk, and indie pop while providing a full load of psychedelic vibes.

Picking highlight tracks is a fool's errand, but check out "Bella Luna" for a lovely song that reminds of '60s band Friends of Distinction (e.g. "Grazing in the Grass"), or "Eureka" for that funky disco.  Take the When You Motor Away Babe Rainbow challenge:  Listen to the album on Bandcamp and decide whether your really want to be without these songs for the rest of your summer.  There is only one answer.










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Bandcamp for Double Rainbow






"I'm Right Here" by Emma Russack and Lachlan Denton

We have broad tastes, but we must admit that we like artists who are exceptional and prolific.  Of course, part of the reason is selfishness, as it makes our job easier.  But it also is better for you, the reader, as it makes it more likely that lazy people like us will bring you good music.  So we find ourselves featuring more music by Emma Russack and Lachlan Denton, whose debut album When It Ends graced these pages about three months ago.  In a happy but surprising turn of events, the duo are back again with "I'm Right Here", a new song from their soon their soon to be released second album, Keep On Trying.  The song perfectly showcases the magic that this collaboration offers.  The pop craftsmanship on this piano-driven track is top class, and vocal interplay is warm and uplifting.  Our appetites are duly whetted, and we eagerly await the album's other delights.  Fortunately, the wait won't be long.

Emma has been a member of bands and a solo artist, while Lachlan's solo work has paralleled his membership in The Ocean Party, which is one of our favorite bands.  Keep On Trying is out July 18 via Osborne Again Music.




Bandcamp for Keep On Trying
Osborne Again