Thursday, June 1, 2023

"Killer Bee" by Wireheads


We are not fortune tellers, although wearing a costume and sitting by a globe and telling people lies for money has a certain appeal. And we wouldn't even need to sign up with the election committee unlike the other professional liars. But there is one bit of the future we can foretell with high confidence: Potentially Venus by Wireheads will be one of our favorite albums of the year. There are three singles available to date, including the just-released "Killer Bee", and all of them are classic Wirehead gems. We assure you that the rest of the songs are terrific as well.

Wireheads are there own genre, an indie rock/post punk/psychedelic/jangle/alt country/punk collective that gives life to the weird and wonderous songwriting of leader Dom Trimboli. "Killer Bee" is a psychedelia-shaded alt country jam with a thumping rhythm line and addresses several themes, including the downside of living near the police station and a bee sting. As always, it is an interesting ride.

Potentially Venus will be out in digital and vinyl formats via Tenth Court Records. See the Bandcamp link below for pre-orders. For vinyl distribution in the  US contact, for everywhere else, contact Matthew Ford at


Various links for "Killer Bee"

Bandcamp for pre-order of Potentially Venus

Tenth Court Records

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Whadya Want - Skippy Knows


Whadya Want was a mid-80s collaboration of Melbourne musicians David Chesworth (Essendon Airport), Philip Jackson and Warwick Bone. The fruits of their labor was Skippy Knows, their best (and only) album. But packed with arty dance pop perfect for the dance floors of the decade. Moreover, unlike much of current dance music which bludgeons with the beat and repetition, Skippy Knows is a thinking fan's dance pop that tickles the brain as much as it moves the feet. Consequently, it remains an intriguing and vital set of songs almost 40 years after its release. 

Skippy Knows is out now in vinyl and digital formats via Melbourne's Chapter Music. Note that the reissue includes slides from Chesworth's festival presentation and useful liner notes.

Bandcamp for Skippy Knows

Various links for Skippy Knows

Holiday Ghosts - Absolute Reality


A bit over a decade ago we discovered a British band called The Black Tambourines who played a surfy garage rock that we liked. To our knowledge that band didn't last long after our discovery, but one of the members, Sam Stacpoole, alerted me to a new project titled Holiday Ghosts. We immediately found their rootsy, DIY brand of garage rock quite charming and have eagerly grabbed each of their four albums.

The latest of the four is the April release Absolute Reality. For this outing the Holiday Ghosts retain their storytelling approach to songwriting and turn their gaze to social issues. Our impression is that they have become somewhat more adventuresome and varied with their arrangements with tracks of jangling pop, rootsy folk rock, post punk and a bit of punk as well. Still, this is a band that eschews studio flash and knows that their appeal is, at least in part, rooted in that 'live to tape / welcome to our weekly garage concert' approach. They do it well, and they always deliver.

Holiday Ghosts are Katja Rackin (vocals/drums), Samuel Stacpoole (vocals/guitar/synth), Benedict Nightingale (guitar/backing vocals), and Morgan Lloyd Matthews (bass). Absolute Reality is released via FatCat Records.




Bandcamp for Absolute Reality

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The Chills announce special reissues of Brave Words and Kaleidoscope World


Around WYMA World Headquarters there are few announcements that could produce more chills than New Zealand's indie pioneers The Chills' statement that their first two albums, 1987's Brave Words and 1990's Kaleidoscope World. Brave Words will be remastered, remixed and expanded and Kaleidoscope World will also be an expanded version. Both will be available as a double LP as well as a digital release via Fire Records. Fans in Europe should take note that The Chills we be touring in Europe in June.

And just to remind everyone of the quality of the songs, here are the first two tracks from Kaleidoscope World, the title track and "Satin Doll", which also happen to have been the first two tracks on the iconic Dunedin Double released by Flying Nun in 1982), plus "Rolling Moon".

Bandcamp for order of Brave Word (expanded and remastered)

Bandcamp for order of Kaleidoscope World (expanded edition)

Various links for Brave Word reissue, EU tour and others

Dropkick - The Wireless Revolution


For those of us who savor powerpop it is easy to use '90s Teenage Fanclub and Big Star as the easy reference points. But without taking anything away from acknowledged and deserving masters, Edinburgh's Dropkick yields absolutely nothing to those two bands in assembling truly delicious pop songs of jangle, harmonies and well-crafted melodies. Last month the trio released their latest LP, The Wireless Revolution for our eager ears. We have to say that there were no surprises, but that is something to be celebrated because this band has never disappointed us. For this outing the band has taken what it does well, and has done it again with even more quality and consistency. Do not ignore this album.

Dropkick is Andrew Taylor, Ian Grier, and Alan Shields. The Wireless Revolution is out in digital, CD, and vinyl formats via Hurrah Musica (Murcia) and Rock Indiana Records (Madrid).





Bandcamp for The Wireless Revolution

Various links for Dropkick and theirmusic

Monday, May 29, 2023

Panic Pocket - Mad Half Hour


One of the things that keeps us writing about music despite the time commitment is the discovery of refreshing new sounds, whether from old friends or new projects. Natalie Healey and Sophie Peacock, aka Panic Pocket, fall into the new projects category. And they most definitely qualify as 'refreshing new sounds'. On their debut album for Skep Wax, Mad Half Hour, the duo dish out complaints and call outs in a D.I.Y. girl group style that prompted wide grins from us from start to finish. We've always had an affinity for acerbic thought sweetly expressed, and Panic Pocket has that template cold. If you are one of their targets, they may leave you bloody on the floor. But that doesn't mean you won't be smiling and tapping your toes.

Mad Half Hour is out now in vinyl, CD and digital formats via Skep Wax Records.




Bandcamp for Mad Half Hour

Various links for Panic Pocket

"Foreign Land" by Teenage Fanclub


Yes, Teenage Fanclub still lives on. And they are creating new music rather than relying on old standards. And what is their new music? Judged in light of their last album and the recently released "Foreign Land", they haven't lost their knack for hooks and harmonies. The new single begins the countdown to the September 22 release of new album Nothing Lasts Forever which will be available via Merge Records.




Various links for "Foreign Land"

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Spirit Award - The Fear


Some of us may reside in Seattle, but that doesn't mean that we have comprehensive knowledge of the city's wide and vibrant music scene. An example is the subject of this post, Spirit Award. A week ago this band was unknown to me. But while driving to pick up some skis which needed an end of the season tune up, I heard a live performance on KEXP. I pulled over and listened to several songs, captivated by the guitar work and atmospherics. I researched the band when I got home and discovered that they were releasing new album Fear last Friday. So that chance encounter over the airwaves results in tonight's post about a captivating record.

The songs are intense explorations of emotions, states of mind, and alternative perspectives. There are elements of psychedelia, dreampop, post punk and even, to my ears, a tough of surf. But I can't fit it into any specific boxes. It isn't like anything else I've heard this year, and I'm glad I discovered it.

Spirit Award's main man in Daniel Lyon (songwriting/vocals/guitar). Drums were by Andrew King and bass by Chris Jordan. Fear is available in digital and vinyl formats.





Bandcamp for The Fear

Various links for Spirit Award

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

"Gonna Have To Tell You" by Lost Days

 Tony Molina (Ovens/solo work) is a master of hooks and jangly melodies. So, given our love jangling indie pop, we were drawn to his project with Sarah Rose Janko (Dawn Riding). Calling themselves The Lost Days, the duo released an EP of demos in 2021. Quite recently they released a full LP titled In The Store which is out now via Speakeasy Studios. The themes are weighty, but the treatment by these ace songwriters is an absolute treat for the ears. And speaking of treats, The Lost Days have released a video for album track "Gonna Have To Tell You" and it is like a chocolate cookie for your brain. Try it below and if you like it, check out the links for the full album.

Bandcamp for In The Store

Speakeasy Studios

"Downwinders" and "Giving Up The Ghost" by Life Strike


Life Strike are Nick Pratt, Patrick McCabe and Scotty Brique. They wowed us with album Primitive Future in 2019 (link). New album Peak Dystopia will drop this summer, and we are looking forward to it. This band addresses serious topics, and do so with an artistic flair that makes you want to listen to their message. For example, new single "Downwinders" addresses nuclear weapons testing, an undeniably weighty topic that is nevertheless presented in the form of a terrific guitar pop song. "Downwinders" and the recently released "Giving Up The Ghost" are both taken from the upcoming album. Give them a listen below.

Peak Dystopia will be released on July 14 via Stable Label (Aus) and Bobo Integral.


Bandcamp for "Downwinders"

Bandcamp for "Giving Up The Ghost"

Various links for "Giving Up The Ghost"

Bandcamp for Peak Dystopia (July 14)


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

"Bang" by Melenas


One truism in following indie pop these days is that one must follow Chicago's Trouble in Mind Records. These folks have excellent taste and put out good music from various spots in the globe. Today we are bringing you a single from TiMR signee Melenas. The title is the aptly-named "Bang". The song sprints into your brain with swirling electro-pop keys and a motorik beat. The sparse lyrics are in Spanish but that shouldn't give anyone any pause. Heck, we can't even sit still listening to this song!

Melenas' upcoming album is Ahora, and TiMR will release it on September 29.




Bandcamp for pre-order of Ahora

Various links for Melenas

"Crisp" by Hugh Klein and Komang


The artist in the above photo is Hugh Klein. The artist in the photo below is Komang. Both are worthy of your ears, but especially captivating is their joint composition "Crisp". The song is a sensual slice of new soul that puts us in the mood for, well, something other than writing about music. In fact, we are inclined to consider this a subgenre of soul that we will call 'take your clothes off soul'. I think you can figure out what we mean by that.

Various links for "Crisp"

Instagram - Hugh Klein

Twitter - Hugh Klein

Various links for Komang

Instagram - Komang

Monday, May 15, 2023

Rob I. Miller - Companion Piece


With Companion Piece, San Francisco musician Rob I. Miller has delivered one of the powerpop albums of the year -- a dynamic, melodic, jangling and sometimes snarling collage of an ace songwriter's art. Thematically, it covers the various stages of romantic breakup replete with dead on observations, incisive thrusts, and even some hints of hope. To be honest, we expect top quality work from Mr. Miller; the only surprise here is this album comes soon after the 2023 release of All In Good Time by Blues Lawyer, in which Miller is a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter (our feature here). Rob has, indeed, been a busy boy. Busy and productive.

Breakup albums can be difficult, but this one goes down easily, like Mary Poppins spoonful of sugar. That is partly due to the classic indie pop paring of melancholy and upbeat melodies, but mostly due to the thematic arc and excellent songcraft. Come for the music, come for the tears if you must, but you will stay for the music.

Companion Piece is out now via Miller's Vacant Stare Records.



Bandcamp for Companion Piece

Various Links for Companion Piece

Sunday, May 14, 2023

"Bete" and "Selkie" by Special Friend


Skep Wax, Howlin' Banana Records and Hidden Bay Records are teaming up to bring indie pop fans a special treat in late June. The release is Wait Until The Flames Come Rushing In by Paris-based Special Friend. The album is the band's second, and we expect that it will deliver the noise pop for which the band is becoming known. If you like bands like Galaxie 500 with a touch of Glasgow's Pastels, you are going to love these guys.

The first two singles are out now and we have them below in video and streaming formats. "Bete" is sweetness itself and reminds us of the Pastels. "Selkie" hits our noise pop pleasure receptors perfectly, and who can resist a song take from a Celtic tale of seals that come ashore and transform themselves into seductive humans. We'll swipe right!

Special Friend is a duo consisting of Erica Ashleson and Guillaume Siracusa.



Bandcamp for album pre-orders

"Dirty Dancing" by Echo Ladies


A trio melding dreamy soundscapes with powerful and dynamic shoegaze, Echo Ladies are due for discovery by a broader music audience. And Stockholm's Rama Lama Records, who have an keen eye for talent, have signed up their fellow Swedes. The band's first single for the label is "Dirty Dancing". Feel the power, feel the dark shading, and look forward to an album later this year.

Echo Ladies are Matilda Bowid, Mattis Andersson, and Joar Andersen.




Various links for Dirty Dancing

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Alfie Firmin - Absentee


Taste in music is very individualistic, but it is unassailably true that a singer songwriter whose music is favorably compared to Harry Nilsson, Ron Sexsmith, early '70s Beach Boys and other soft rock legends is doing something very right. And having spent time with Absentee, the new album by Southend-on-Sea musician Alfie Firmin, we readily agree that the comparisons are deserved.

The songs aren't loud, widely dynamic or possessed of flashy instrumentation. Alfie relies on songwriting and winning melodies. The results are always pleasing, and a number of the tracks are beautiful. If the weather is good, we suggest sitting in your backyard with your favorite beverage and listen to the album while imagining that Alfie and his friends are there performing for you.

Absentee is out now via Bobo Integral.


Bandcamp for Absentee