Thursday, February 28, 2013

New Guitar Pop Discovery: James Younger - "Monday Morning" from upcoming EP

James Younger is playing guitar pop in a classic form - jangly and bouncy, with a vocal approach that calls to mind the Strokes. I really like the guitar lines on this song:

It's ridiculously catchy, and you can learn more (tour dates, etc.) at Light Organ Records. I am really looking forward to hearing more from him.

Introducing: Trick Mammoth

Here at When You Motor Away we are more into looking for the next big thing, or the kids who deserve a shot at being the next big thing, than we are in talking about anyone who already is a big thing.  And I feel pretty good about including Trick Mammoth of Dunedin, New Zealand.  They aren't a big thing now, but my taste says they deserve a shot and my instincts say they will make it.  Inspired by cinema, as well as literature, they paint a picture with lo-fi fuzz guitars and female vocals.  The band is going into the studio to record their debut album with Ian Henderson of Fishrider Records.  That fact alone attracts our attention, as Ian also recorded and released the Opposite Sex album that was one of my top albums of 2012 and played drums on the release from The Puddle that was in my top 50 for last year; and both releases came out on Fishrider Records.

However, while waiting for the results of the upcoming recording session, we can enjoy the "Baltimore" demos.  Each is downloadable for a "name your price" at Bandcamp.

Trick Mammoth are university students Adrian Ng (songwriting, guitar, vocals), Millie Lovelock (guitar, vocals) and Sam Valentine (drums).  Ng had been writing solo music as Trick Mammoth for some time when he and his friend Valentine met Lovelock at DIY practice space.  Valentine and Lovelock liked Ng's material and the trio agreed to work together.


Reverberation #51

This week's sonic flashback from the folks at Reverberation Radio includes the usual 60's psychedelia mixed with outsider country reminiscent of Hasil Adkins by Donald Adkins (wonder if it is an alter ego),  jangle folk by The Banana - recorded in Viet Nam by a group of GI's, early krautrock by The Inner Space and Can and topped of by raw soul by Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Johnny Love.  As Clean Gene once told me, "The best thing about flashbacks is they're free."  Enjoy.

Reverberation #51


Punk Rock Discovery: Slam Dunk - Welcome To Miami

Victoria, BC's Slam Dunk is a punk band. There being more than one type of punk rock, I'll leave it to you to come up with a hyphenated prefix. I saw one that said "soul-punk". Okay, sure. But punk, definitely. They've got a good sound -- great guitars, plenty of ska-flavored horns, shouted vocals and a killer drummer. Give this a chance and you won't regret it. Their second album, Welcome To Miami, came out in November 2012 and I must apologize for overlooking it in the year-end tumult. But better late than never.

They named their band after a basketball move. They named their album after a Will Smith song. And they put a nice painting of a beautiful dog on the cover of the album. Why did they do these things? While you're listening to this great record, you can ponder that. It's almost too much fun, as is the music.

Here's the video for "Dying Breed":

And here's "Fantasy":

They're playing at the Treefort Music Fest in Boise, ID with over 100 other bands, including Camper Van Beethoven, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Built To Spill and The Walkmen - and I predict they are going to have a lot of new fans after that. This stuff is pretty much irresistible.

Finally, because why not? - here is a link to a stream-of-consciousness interview with Canadian punk band Slam Dunk about some notable slam dunks.

You can learn more, or buy, at File Under: Music.

Introducing: Black Lizard and their single "Love Is A Lie"

Finland's Black Lizard has released the single "Love Is A Lie" from their upcoming debut LP.  The band is known for their psychedelic, shoegazy guitar attack with plenty of distortion.  I am reminded -- quite happily I might add -- of The Jesus and Mary Chain or Brian Jonestown Massacre, or Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.  I'm eagerly awaiting the album, but in the meantime, we all can enjoy "Love Is A Lie".

Black Lizard is Paltsa-Kai Salama (vocals, guitar), Joni Seppanen (guitar, synths), Lauri Lyytinen (bass), and Onni Nieminen (drums, percussion).

Soliti page for Black Lizard

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

REVIEW: Wimps - Repeat

It is time to introduce the readers of WYMA to Seattle's punk secret: Wimps.  I have wanted to to this before, but now the time is right because I don't have to rely on describing live shows, bootlegs or the old five-track demo collection.  The evidence is available to all on the bands' new LP, Repeat, which is out now on End of Time Records.   The songs do not require deconstruction or exhaustive search for hidden meaning.  This is straight-up, sincere punk.  Brief, loud, fast and full-bore punk.   Punk delivered with enough pop sensibilities to keep the themes from grinding you down (song titles include "Stop Having Fun", "Hello Frustration", and "Quit Your Job").  The personalized twist is that this band is comprised of adults, and the anxiety of actually having a life and knowing what responsibilities mean infuses a special depth, and a knowing wit, to the songs.

Check out "Stop Having Fun" --

I like a lot of different types of music, but I've always maintained that high quality punk is one of the most critical components to a good music collection.  And it is a special treat when it is performed by skilled musicians who understand the genre.  If you like punk, you like Wimps.

Wimps are David Ramm (drums), Rachel Ratner (vocals/guitar) and Mutty Nice (bass/vocals).

Twitter ( @TheseWimps )
End of Time Records

REVIEW: The Mavericks - In Time

Raul Malo is back where he started - with his mates in The Mavericks. Or, as he sings in the opening cut of In Time, "back in your arms again". The Mavericks seventh album, their first in 10 years, is a return to form (and it was always great form), and it explores all the familiar themes: memory, lost love, moonlight, jealousy and regret - but honestly, Malo could be singing the menu at Shoney's and it would be well worth listening to. The album pulls together rock, country, Tejano, Cuban and other musical influences - they're as impossible to pin down as ever.

Here's "Come Unto Me" from a performance at the 2012 Americana Music Festival in Nashville - tell me these guys don't rock:

For Malo, drummer Paul Deakin and multi-instrumentalist Robert Reynolds, keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden and guitarist Eddie Perez, the joy of playing together again is obvious. They start off in pretty high gear, with the guitars and drums revved up, Malo just swings and swings through that lead track, and the pace stays pretty sprightly throughout. There are a couple of torch songs - of course there are, there may not be any more qualified singers alive today - but we don't get the first one until track five, "In Another's Arms".

For me, the highlight is the upbeat stuff: "Fall Apart" and "As Long As There's Loving Tonight" feature some great guitar work and show that Malo, swinging like Elvis, can lead these guys through rock songs as easily as he can front a Dean Martin-style love song or something more akin to son or bolero. "Born To Be Blue" is a bouncing bundle of surf guitar, Malo's voice and a knockout rhythm section:

With Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yoakam having released albums in 2012, this becomes the third very welcome "Nashville outsider" release in less than a year. The success of those three in the 90's always seemed like proof to me that talent this good can overcome an unwillingness to stick to "the formula" in country music, and gave me hope that more artists like them might make it onto the radio.

It hasn't been a secret that the Mavericks were back together - this welcome news was revealed early in 2012, and they even played downtown at the Nashville July 4 fireworks show. But to have a full album this good makes for a most welcome comeback... In Time is out this week - you can read more, listen or buy at these sites:

Mavericks Website

Mavericks Facebook

New Shoegaze Discovery: Deaf Club - "Break It Slow" and free 4-song sampler

London's Deaf Club is playing atmospheric guitar rock with shoegaze and New Wave influences and really pleasing female vocals. In places it calls to mind stuff like The Cure and Slowdive, or perhaps more to the point, the Cure with touches of maybe Mazzy Star in the vocals. This free EP consists of their recorded output to date - and three of the songs have gotten a decent amount of radio play in the UK (with good reason - it's well-made, polished stuff). They're coming over to the US for SXSW - and maybe they'll add a few more dates in advance of their new EP, due out in April.

Here's "Break It Slow":

The band consists of Polly Mackey (guitar, vocals), Jac Roberts (guitar), Paul Bates (bass), Tom Ryan (drums). Mackey's voice is terrific, and they play together like a much more experienced band - I think they have a lot more good stuff in them. Here's a link to the topspin site to download the full EP.

Deaf Club Facebook

REVIEW: Cool Serbia - Cool Serbia EP

Those that know me well -- wife, bartender #1, parole officer, bartender #2, psychiatrist, bartender #3 -- are aware of my periodic funks about the demise of The Jesus and Mary Chain.  Well, I just received the biggest mental pick-up of the year when the self-titled EP from Cool Serbia hit my in-box.  Born in Austin, Texas from past members of Ringo Deathstarr, International Waters and Low Line Caller, and incubated in Brooklyn, the band features massively loud jangling guitars, walls of distortion, arena-level echoing drums, laid back vocals and enough '60s riffs to justify the term "doom wop".  Can anyone have any complaints? Anyone?  In fact, I have one: We could have used twice as many songs.  Thank God for the replay button.

Here is the second track from the EP, "Kill Someone" --

Cool Serbia are Raz Khandpur, Renan McFarland and Caleb Harmon.

A live version of the lead track --

The EP is available on March 5.  Check the pre-order link on their Facebook page or go to the Bandcamp page on or after that date.

Twitter ( @CoolSerbia )

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New song "Stone" from Coasts

We introduced our readers to the pop anthem goodness of Bristol band Coasts about a month ago (link) when they announced their "Oceans" single.  They now have shared "Stone", which is to be the final track on their debut EP Paradise.  The EP will be available on April 29.

Twitter ( @coastsband )

REVIEW: Toy Love - Toy Love double LP

Brooklyn's Captured Tracks label has begun re-releasing the back catalog of the venerable New Zealand label, Flying Nun.  The first installment is a double LP of material from Toy Love.  The brief lifespan of Toy Love was January 1979, when it emerged from another Dunedin band, The Enemy, to September 1980.  But their output was sufficient to fill this 28-track compilation, which includes all of their A and B sides, their demos, a live track and a radio jingle.  The package is said to include a booklet, photos and other interesting material.

Who were they and why were they important?  Taking the second question first, they were an good pop band with punk elements, and an exciting live band.  Moreover, they were an inspiration for the musicians that founded the famous New Zealand indie scene and, specifically, the Flying Nun label and the "Dunedin sound".

 As for the "who", the band was fronted by Chris Knox, and the other members were Alec Bathgate (guitar), Paul Kean (bass), Mike Dooley (drums) and Jane Walker (keys).  Knox and Bathgate soldiered on as Tall Dwarfs.  Kean went on to be the bassist for The Bats.

The pre-orders begin shipping the week of February 25.

The true test is in the listening, isn't it.  So here is "Swimming Pool" for your evaluation --

"I Don't Mind", fusing punk and jangle pop --

Here is a live version of the compilation's opening track --

Captured Tracks - Page for Toy Love double LP

Monday, February 25, 2013

New Dream-Pop Discovery: Blondfire - "Where The Kids Are"

Big beats, big guitars and big synths backing big-sounding female vocals - it's a catchy combination. This is Blondfire - they released an EP in the fall with this as the title song:

And here's "Waves" - on this one you can definitely hear the influence of their Brazilian heritage (father is American, mother Brazilian, and they grew up listening to plenty of bossa nova along with rock and pop):

They are brother and sister Erica and Bruce Driscoll - he's the drummer and she contributes guitar, keyboards and, of course, those instantly recognizable vocals. They'll be at SXSW and on tour with AWOLNation, and a full album is due out later this spring on Warner Brothers. You can listen to more at their website, and it's got links to buy the music, plus tour info.

Blondfire Website

New Single from Jamaica's Courtney John Project -- "Black Cinderella"

I was pretty well blown away by the last song I heard from this collective of Jamaican artists back in October. I did a profile of them and their song "Soul of a Man" that heralds a new Island music style -- a mix of warm Kingston mash up and cool dubstep known as Rootstronic.

In advance of their forthcoming full-length album, Future, the Courtney John Project have released a new single, a mesmerizing reworking of Errol Dunkley's 1972 hit "Black Cinderella." About once a month I feel compelled to talk about how much I love cover songs, and about Husker Du's version of "Eight Miles High" and so on and so on, but I need to do it again here, because this is such a daring, yet loving, reinterpretation.  The original musical theme continues intact, but shares space with more aggressive percussion and a bracing splash of piano and electronics. Ultimately, I wonder if this could have been pulled off without a singer like Courtney John, who was born and reared in reggae, and who has the instincts and pure vocal chops that make this effort sound fully realized and authentic.

Word is there'll be some more good stuff from CJP hitting the wires before the album release, so keep watching this space. We'll also post an album release date soon.

Courtney John Project website
Courtney John Project on Twitter and Soundcloud

"Boy", the new single from The Deadline Shakes

We've been following Glasgow's promising young indie band The Deadline Shakes as they inch towards their debut LP.  First we covered  "Sweeten the Deal", and then their single "Don't Be Too Cool".  The latest installment is the excellent "Boy" , which will be released by Flowers In The Dustbin on March 18.

If you would like to experience the track in video form --

The Deadline Shakes are Greg Dingwall (guitar/vocals), Iain McKinstry (guitar/vocals), Martin McLeod (bass) and Thomas Booth (drums).

Twitter ( @DeadlineShakes )
Flowers in the Dustbin

REVIEW: Pissed Jeans -- Honeys

"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

Henry David Thoreau

* * * * * 
"You know, there's nothing better than making yourself dinner and watching Thursday night TV. Also, I just got a computer. And I'm fanatical about doing the laundry. There's nothing better than a stack of fresh, clean clothes. Except maybe a good movie. You know that creepy-looking guy you stare at two seats behind you, thinking, who would come to a movie by himself? That's me."

Brendan Frederick Shanahan

     I think the conventional wisdom is that Thoreau is talking about desperation borne of the mundane, the crushingly prosaic everyman problems of everyday existence; how they divert us from our natural state of pursuing the heroic, of seeking the divine. And although I expect he's right that this is the way most men lead their lives, Matt Korvette, lead singer for Allentown-born and Philadelphia-based punk rock band Pissed Jeans, takes a different path. The tedium, you see, is his muse. On their just released fourth album, Honeys, his desperation is thunderous. 

      And, as will become obvious if you do yourself the favor of buying and listening to this terrific album, there is no mimesis in the art of Pissed Jeans. This is the point of including the passage from Shanahan above instead of some fancypants William Carlos Williams poem like "The Red Wheelbarrow." Don't come to this looking for metaphor. To quote the contemporary philosopher Tyrone Willingham, "it is what it is." When Korvette sings about cafeteria food in the song "Cafeteria Food," he really means cafeteria food, and he really does hope his project manager dies of cancer, just like he says. When he sings about choosing a health plan on "Health Plan," he really is talking about his health plan, a health plan with zero approved doctors. As you can see for yourself, there's no reason to get all existential about it: 

This is the most accessible Pissed Jeans record so far, mainly because all the songs are compact, taut little bombs of furious ennui. There's no noodling around, no self-indulgence. You still hear the Jesus Lizard influence all over the place, but you'll also hear occasional Nirvana-ish hooks, like on "Vain in Costume," which is probably my current favorite:

So you might be thinking to yourself, "Matt Korvette's a freaking rock star; how can what he sings be authentic? What does he know about white collar hell?" The easy, smartass response would be, "Well, what does Elton John know about brawling on weekends? or Can Barry Manilow even locate Cuba on a map?" The truth, though, is even better (well, better is sort of a relative term here). You see, Matt Korvette is only a rock star at night. During the day, he's a Philadelphia insurance adjustor. That's right, he's in that most hellish of hells -- the insurance industry. Feel his pain, and buy his band's album (it's out on Sub Pop).

Here's the best video I've seen in a year. 

Visit Pissed Jeans on Facebook and at Sub Pop.

REVIEW: Eat Skull - III

As a self-appointed music writer, I'm careful to remind myself that as much as a learn, there is much I don't know about the current indie scene, and faking knowledge is a fool's game.  So I'll admit at the beginning of this post that I was unfamiliar with a group from a few hours south of here -- Eat Skull of Portland, Oregon.  And that unfamiliarity probably contributed to my failure to review the album III before February 19, which is the day it was released by Woodsist.  Happily, I remembered the album and listened to it carefully this week, and even more happily, I think that III is an excellent album.  I've read descriptions of the band's music as noise pop, lo-fi scuzz rock, and a precursor to tinnitus. That may be more true of their prior two LPs but, as a breed, III is really a garage pop adventure of very high quality.  Sure, you can hear the muscle in the guitars from time to time, but the emphasis here is an boisterous, slightly ramshackle, pop tunes.  You can sample the album via the two tracks below --

Other favorites of mine on III include "Dead Horses" and "Catch Em Before They Vanish".

The album has a GBV DIY feel, but that isn't a negative for those of us on this blog.  Eat Skulls shows great breadth and imagination in entertaining us, but when restraint is needed, it is there.  Give it a try.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

REVIEW: Mount Moriah - Miracle Temple

Mount Moriah is Heather McEntire (vocals and guitar), Jenks Miller (guitar) and Casey Toll (bass). Their new album is Miracle Temple - and it is deep, soulful, gorgeous and completely arresting. It demands and rewards your full attention. At the outset, I feel a need to mention that, though they're not credited as band members, the album would certainly not be as full without the contributions of James Wallace on drums, piano and organ, Daniel Hart on violin and Allyn Love on pedal steel. At various points throughout the album, Wallace's drumming, Love's pedal steel or Hart's sweet strings supply absolutely essential transitions.

But of course the core of the band is McEntire, Miller and Toll - there are other players involved, but these three are the songwriters, and the overriding components of Mount Moriah's sound are McEntire's vocals and Miller's guitars. They've hit on what is, to my ears at least, an unbeatable combination: an evocative, memorable voice that sounds as if it was born to sing country songs and some of the best Southern rock guitar licks outside of an Allmans or Crazy Horse record.

This is a joyful, at times achingly beautiful record - it is almost overwhelming in places, it's so good. You'll find yourself bobbing your head in time, swaying along with McEntire's singing and leaning in to follow Miller through a guitar line that goes to familiar, yet unexpected places - for example, I absolutely love the echoes of Dickey Betts' playing on "Blue Sky" that kick in about 3:00 into "Eureka Springs"... though it seems unfair to single out one such moment on an album that is absolutely bursting with them. I mentioned Hart's violin - check out "I Built a Town" - the guitar is a bit understated, and this has the effect of allowing the strings to ramp up the emotion, into another heart-tugging McEntire vocal. On "White Sands", the guitars are just ragged enough to contrast with her light, beautiful singing (and Indigo Girl Amy Ray's gospel-tinged backing vocals).

Here is opening track "Younger Days" - a great start, and an apt example of the way McEntire's crystal-clear phrasing and Miller's guitar tones intertwine:

And here's "Bright Light" - a glorious Southern rock song with some wonderful piano from the aforementioned James Wallace:

The record is out February 26 on Merge. If this is not in my top five at the end of 2013, it will have been a year like no other. And if you have ever liked Southern rock, you are gonna want this thing.

SXSW Preview: Diarrhea Planet

Last year at SXSW, Patrick Stickles of the world's greatest rock and roll band, Titus Andronicus, suggested that we go see a band called Diarrhea Planet from Nashville, TN.  When it comes to SXSW, I don't trust the music advice of many people outside my immediate circle of trusted advisors (namely the guys on this site, my Dad, and The Midgetmen), but Patrick is about as knowledgeable as it gets regarding rock and roll (and most other things remotely related thereto), so I had to check them out.

Despite being worn out from three-days of strenuous and healthy exercise (Hi kids, nice to know you are reading Daddy's blog entries), I, along with the aforementioned Midgetmen, went out into the blinding Saturday at noon Austin sun and rolled into the dark, dank, and stanky concrete block prison that is Beerland to see our first show of the last day of SXSW 2012.  Right before the show started, a guy strolled in and bought two beers, which were served to him with the caps removed, as they always are in every bar I have ever visited.  But he was a rambler and only wanted them capped and to go!  In fact, he wanted to go so badly that he chugged his first beer, gave his extra beer to me, and left.  This was an omen.

Forty-five minutes later, I was completely rejuvenated and was a Diarrhea Planet fan.  Rarely, if ever, have I seen a bunch of guys have more fun pummeling a crowd of 12 people and each other with guitar madness.  Not unlike the the Andrew W.K. set a few days earlier, it was almost too much Rock to comprehend.  So many guitars, so much power, so much fun.

Like this:

and this:

If you like your rock and roll served up loud, with a huge side of fun, check out Diarrhea Planet.  Here are a few more tracks and their super nice video for "Warm Ridin'."

(This is the fourth in my series of SXSW Previews.  Please check out PAWSSpider Bags and Rah Rah at SXSW as well.)


Saturday, February 23, 2013

REVIEW: Twin Library: Lowways

The first time we heard from Twin Library, it was as the result of a shared love of the music of Guided by Voices - and that's enough to make me want to check out a band. Here's a previous post I put up about them and their 2011 release No Summer/Shaking Hands.

This month, they have a new release, Lowways. By way of giving some incentive to check them out, they share a list of their music loves (and, perhaps, muses): Guided By Voices, Little Wings, The Velvet Underground, The Wedding Present, Ride, The Clean, Television Personalities, Robyn Hitchcock. That's good enough for me. It should be for you, as well.

Here's "The Surgery Never Left" - a sort of gently ragged guitar line that explodes into a squall of feedback about a minute in makes this one short, sweet and memorable:

Here's "Abandon Everyone" - a really pleasing slice of lo-fi folk/rock with strummed acoustic and quiet vocals that pulls in at least three of those influences they mentioned above: GbV, The Clean and Robyn Hitchcock... but where's that surf guitar come from?

It's so good, it's worth paying for... but their talent and productivity are outdone only by their generosity: you can have it for "name your price" at their Bandcamp page:

SXSW Preview: PAWS

To anyone that grew up on the great indie rock of the 80s and 90s (like the Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., Nirvana (yes, Nirvana was once indie rock), Built to Spill, and Pavement), PAWS has to be one of the most exciting and promising new(ish) bands in the world.  They and their freaking brilliant 2012 release, Cokefloat, were reviewed right here by our amazing Scottish explorer, Rocksteady74 (Scott).  So, I won't get into the details, but will say, if you like ANY of the aforementioned bands, then you should buy and pay double for this record.  Even at that price, it is a bargain.

On to the point of this post:  If there is a true "must not miss" band for me at SXSW this year, it is PAWS.  If you cannot see them at SXSW, then be sure to look for them in the first two weeks of March in D.C. (DC9), NYC (Cakeshop), Brooklyn (Shea Stadium and Glasslands), Philly (The Barbary), or Boston (Great Scott) in the early part of March.

(This is the third in my series of SXSW Previews.  Please check out Spider Bags and Rah Rah at SXSW as well.)


Introducing: Lost Weekend

Singapore's Lost Weekend plays a shimmering, jangly indie pop that is charming and infectious.  And they are offering six of their demos in Introducing ... Lost Weekend free on their Bandcamp site.  I recommend that you accept the generous gesture from Ribena, Mark, Arif, and Manny.  Sure, they are demos so there are a few ragged edges.  But the music is good and the price can't be beat.  In a few years when someone asks if you've heard of the great "new" band Lost Weekend, you can reply that your regularly listen to their demos from the early years.

Your test drive is "Mornings" --

If that works for you, here is the entire EP --

And thanks to Keith Tan of Obedient Wives Club for introducing When You Motor Away to Lost Weekend so that we can introduce them to you.  Musicians looking after their fellow musicians -- we applaud it!


REVIEW: Shout Out Louds - Optica

Swedish band The Shout Out Louds are playing electronic rock that is catchy, upbeat and very well-realized. I think their new release Optica will appeal to fans of The Arcade Fire and Franz Ferdinand. Often I see this referred to as "dance rock" and certainly there are dance-influenced aspects to this music, and at the same time, there are elements of nostalgia and reminiscing to the lyrics (much like Arcade Fire). Another touchpoint might be the super-slick, well-realized musical vision and intensely emotional lyrical content of Bryan Ferry.

Optica is their first album since 2010's Work, and upon returning from the tour supporting that album, they spent about a year and a half working on this, their next release. The Shout Out Louds consists of Adam, Bebban, Ted, Carl, and Eric, and they certainly put in the time and work to polish this record to a very bright sheen.

This is catchy music, hummable and memorable. You will find tracks like "Walking In Your Footsteps", with its flutes, becoming earworms.

Here is the album track "Illusions" - it's a very good example of all these influences coming together, and the components that make The Shout Out Louds' music so appealing:

We put up a post last month with two other album tracks here. And right now (through Tuesday), you can stream the whole thing via NPR's First Listen.

Optica is out Tuesday Feb. 26 on Merge Records.

Friday, February 22, 2013

New Spanish Hard Rock Discovery: Bullitt - So Many Ways

Echoes of the Wallflowers, Foo Fighters and '70s hard rock cascade throughout Bullitt's latest record, So Many Ways. Bullitt is a foursome from Sant Feliu with Xavier Calvet on vocals - while the music is fairly straightforward hard rock, his vocals are reminiscent of the emo of artists like Promise Ring - it's an interesting combination. As an example of the melange, check out "Back to the End":

They have incorporated violins and keyboards, but on the final 3-4 songs of the record, they return to what I am told is their previous form and rock very hard. Here's "Headblower":

This is an exhilarating listen - if you like melodic hard rock, it's worth your time to check out. Unlike some of the great Spanish stuff I've shared from BCore, these cats sing everything in English - so if that's been a barrier to you (it certainly isn't to me) - don't let it stop you this time.

Bullitt at BCore Disc

REVIEW: Popstrangers - Antipodes

A listener often has expectations from music.  Albums are written and performed in certain genres, and defined by the artists' style, desires and abilities.  But some works defy expectations and make a mockery of predictions.  In such cases, the listener needs to sit back and accept what comes.  To my ears, such is the music on Antipodes, by Auckland, New Zealand's young Popstrangers.  It tramples over category lines, giving us, for example, bits of alt rock and bits of indie pop.  The sounds are warped and stretched, the tempos altered, the volume ebbs and flows, and riffs contrast with droning and bursts of dissonance.  Atmospherically, the music suggests an isolation or "otherness" not uncommon with music from New Zealand.  And floating in and out of the music are Flyger's teasing lead vocals that can sound a bit unnervingly like Kurt Cobain.  The bones of this music are punk, with perhaps a touch of the classic New Zealand guitar pop.  The finished product has a more than a touch of the boldness that characterized the Pixies best work.  However, this music has too much of this young band's personality and vision to be anchored to one specific reference.

Popstrangers are New Zealanders Joel Flyger, Adam Page and David Larson -- a classic drums, bass and guitar line-up.  They released several singles on Dunedin's famed Flying Nun label, but have chosen Carpark record for their debut LP.  The album is out on February 26.

We have a stream of album track "Heaven" below.  However, unless your computer has good speakers, listen with earphones or you'll miss the textures that make this music special.

You can stream the entire album below --

Carpark Records

REVIEW: Galoshins - EP1 / EP2

Glasgow three-piece (or four-piece) Galoshins play an exuberant,  eclectic brand of aggo-pop, art rock, noise rock, and psychedelic rock and any other damn thing that pleases the three, or four, of them.  What can I say?  It doesn't hit you the way you think it will, and when you think you've figured it out, it changes again.  But at the end of the day you really don't mind because it is a fun ride.  The music comes in the oddly named EP1 and EP2.  The quirky name is the result of the fact that the release is comprised of two EPs (hence the titles EP1 and EP2) which were recorded separately but released together by Armellodie Records.  Together, they serve as a fine introduction to the varied noise and idiosyncratic but manifest art of the Galoshins.

Take the EPs for a test drive with the first and second tracks of EP1 --

Galoshins are Mark Macphail (vocals and keyboards), James Eyland (vocals and guitars), and Ruraidh MacLeod (drums).  The "other" member is their studio wiz, Iain Macduff.  The group has been together since 2009.

Here is "Devil in Us" from EP2 --

The release is available now, and trust me -- it is never staid, and never boring.   You can stream the entirety of EP1 and EP2 at the Bandcamp link below.


Friday Nuggets - "No Fun" The Stooges

Loyal readers of our former Friday feature The Soul Corner will recall my frequent forays into the great music city of Detroit. But Detroit isn't just the Chocolate City of soul. Not even Cleveland rocks like Detroit, so it's kind of amazing I've gone even a few weeks into this new Nuggets series without a stop in the Motor City.
Well we are fixing that right here right now with one of the legendary and certainly most influential garage / punk bands from anytime anywhere, the Stooges. Led by a fellow named Iggy Pop, perhaps you've heard the name.
We could go with a lot of their songs, and we reserve the right to come back to the Stooges in future Nuggets features, but none have a more primitive, badass garage rock sound than "No Fun":

"No Fun" was produced by John Cale, from their 1969 debut album The Stooges. It was the age of hippies and flower power, and this record just stomped on that pansy nonsense, killed it dead, Detroit style.
Rock and roll was never the same.  
Well come on, well come on, well come on!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Kopecky Family Band - video for "Heartbeat", Kids Raising Kids out Apr. 2

Nashville's Kopecky Family Band is playing catchy pop-rock with really nice vocal harmonies - while not technically a family, they harmonize kind of like one. They aren't very good tennis players, though:

In case you aren't familiar with them, the band started on the campus of Belmont University in Nashville in 2007, and consists of Kelsey Kopecky (vocals, keys, bass), Gabe Simon (vocals, guitar, horns), Steven Holmes (guitar, lap steel), David Krohn (drums), Markus Midkiff (cello, guitar, keys), and Corey Oxendine (bass, guitar, horns).

Their new album, Kids Raising Kids, will be out on ATO Records April 2, but in the meantime they are going out on tour (including, of course, an appearance somewhere in Austin TX during SXSW):

MAR. 2              TUSCALOOSA, AL                        GREEN BAR*
MAR. 4              ATLANTA, GA                               THE BASEMENT*
MAR. 5              COLUMBIA, SC                             5 POINTS PUB*
MAR. 6              COLUMBUS, GA                           THE LOFT*
MAR. 7              SAVANNAH, GA                           STOPOVER FEST
MAR. 8              TAMPA, FL                                   NEW WORLD BREWERY*
MAR. 9              JACKSONVILLE, FL                      UNDERBELLY*
MAR. 11            AUSTIN, TX                                  SXSW
MAR. 12            AUSTIN, TX                                  SXSW
MAR. 13            FAYETTEVILLE, AR                      GEORGE'S MAJESTIC LOUNGE
MAR. 14            ST. LOUIS, MO                             OFF BROADWAY'S
MAR. 20            TERRA HAUTE, IN                        VERVE NIGHT CLUB
APR. 15            CLEVELAND, OH                           BEACHLAND BALLROOM**
APR. 16            LOUISVILLE, KY                            HEADLINERS**
APR. 18            NEWPORT, KY                              SOUTHGATE HOUSE**
APR. 19            COLUMBUS, OH                            THE BASEMENT**
APR. 21            INDIANAPOLIS, IN                         RADIO RADIO**
APR. 27            OMAHA, NE                                   THE WAITING ROOM**
APR. 29            KANSAS CITY, MO                        RECORD BAR**
APR. 30            BOULDER, CO                               FOX THEATRE**

Free Zombie Girlfriend!!!!!

No, we aren't offering you a girlfriend that is a zombie.  We have a relatively strict "no matchmaking" policy.  And we aren't asking to you join a movement demand release of an imprisoned female zombie.  What we are doing is alerting you to a free set of lo-fi garage rock from our favorite Hungarian rock band, which is, in fact, named Zombie Girlfriend.  The title of the offering is Our Secret Summer (Rarities 2011-2013) and it consists of 22 previously unreleased tracks.  There is a bit of variety among the tracks, but with the size of the offering, you can't help but find some gems.  I've included a few streams below, and if you are interested, hit the Bandcamp link near the bottom of the post.

Bandcamp for Our Secret Summer

New song from Young Galaxy, album to follow

In advance of the release of LP Ultramarine on Paper Bag Records on April 23, Young Galaxy has picked March 5 to debut track "Fall For You".  The record will include "Fall For You" and a remix by Ghosting Season.  You can stream it below --

"Fall For You" is the second release from Ultramarine.  "Pretty Boy" was released earlier this year.

The Montreal-based band is comprised of vocalist Catherine McCandless and Stephen Ramsay, Stephen Kamp, Matthew Shapiro and Andrea Silver.

We're looking forward to the album release, but for now we can enjoy these tracks.  And SXSW attendees can seek the band at that festival.


REVIEW: Paperfangs - Past Perfect

Featuring charming keyboard-based dream pop tunes with evident craftsmanship and interesting textures, Past Perfect by Finland's Paperfangs is a debut LP worthy of note.  The tones are remarkably clear (of course, it is Scandinavian pop) and warm, with plenty of vibrato.  The vocals are conversational and intimate, with a male voice taking the lead and the female voice adding depth by softly chiming in from time to time.  It is about as perfect for late night headphones listening as any album I've heard in a long, long time.

"Bathe to Glory" is a previously released single from the album --

The songs on Past Perfect are loaded with hooks.  Not the big, telegraphed hooks that swallows the rest of the song, but rather the delicate hooks that when you hear the song for the second time, you think "yesssss, it is this song..."  Here is the band in a somewhat moodier vein.

Paperfangs are brother and sister Jyri and Tarleena, respectively, and their friend Mikko.  They previously released two EPs, AAVVAV in 2012 and ePop006 in 2010.  Past Perfect is their first release for Soliti Music.  Ten perfect nuggets of dream pop to get you through the last of the winter.  You owe it to yourself to investigate Past Perfect.

Twitter ( @Paperfangs )
Soliti Music
Soliti on Facebook

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

UPDATE: Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray on tour, live tracks available

One of my favorite records of 2012 was Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray's We're From Here (WYMA review here, Top 50 here). I love the guitars and her voice... and their modesty (Yuma was tickled that I called them "guitar heros"). They are one of the hardest-working acts in rock, having recently finished up their extensive 2012 tour, and preparing to embark on their 2013 tour in support of the album (dates below).

They have made available a free download of a live cut from their Live at DC9 album, "Baby Blue":

And, in fact, you can download the entire live disc for "name your price" here... so consider it a virtual tip jar, or download it for free and then buy We're From Here. They're a hardworking band and they make killer music - we could always use more of that. Those tour dates:

3/22 - Caldera Tap, Ashland, OR
3/23 - Pine Cone Tavern, Brookings, OR
3/25 - Trillium, Hood River, OR
3/28 - John's Alley, Moscow, ID
3/30 - Crux Coffee, Boise, ID
4/5 - Steaming Bean, Telluride, CO
4/7 - Cowgirl BBQ, Santa FE, NM
4/9 - Adobe Bar, Taos, NM
4/11 - Pioneer Inn, Nederland, CO
4/13 - Ritual Café, Des Moines, IA
4/14 - Quencher's Saloon, Chicago, IL
4/18 - Zazoo's, Louisville, KY
4/19 - Southgate House, Cincinnati, OH
4/20 – Howlers, Pittsburgh, PA
4/23 - The Radio Bean, Burlington, VT
4/27 - Red Hook Bait 'n Tackle, Brooklyn, NY
4/28 - The Galaxy Hut, Arlington, VA
4/29 - The Black Cat , Washington DC
5/1 - Evening Muse, Charlotte, NC
5/3 - The Cavern, Russellville, AR
5/5 The Parish Underground, Austin, TX
5/10 - Taos Alehouse, Taos, NM
5/11 - Cowgirl BBQ, Santa Fe, NM
5/12 The Yucca Tap Room in Tempe, AZ

Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray Website

Reverberation #50

If it's Wednesday, it's time to switch the dial on your virtual radio to Reverberation Radio.  Reverberation #50 is another curated pastiche of tasty underplayed garage and psychedelic cuts.  This week the focus is almost entirely on mid- to late-60's psychedelia.  The major exception to the garage moniker is The Index. The Index - hailing from Grosse Pointe, MI, consisted of drummer Jim Valice and guitarists Gary Francis and John Ford (yes - the Ford family.)  All the tracks were recorded in a ballroom at a Ford Estate.  Their version of "Eight Miles High" is a gem.  "Israeli Blue" is the pick on this list.

1. Lynn Castle with Last Friday’s Fire - Rose Colored Corner
2. The Blue Things - Since You Broke My Heart
3. The Alarm Clocks - Yeah!
4. The Index - Israeli Blue
5. The Rainy Daze - In My Mind Lives a Forest
6. Syndicate of Sound - You
7. Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band - Call On Me (demo)
8. The Left Banke - Dark is the Bark
9. Shagrat - Beautiful Deceiver
10. The American Revolution - Show Me How To Cry
11. The Hollies - So Lonely
12. The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - Here’s Where You Belong


REVIEW: Great Peacock - Great Peacock EP

Perhaps audacious to predict, but I think this self-titled five-track EP from Nashville's Great Peacock will rank among the better Americana releases of 2013.  And even if it doesn't, it will have introduced fans of the genre to a new talented player on the scene.  The band is comprised of Andrew Nelson and Blount Floyd, two former rockers who've dialed back the volume and rage.  Instead, to remarkable effect, they have ramped up the storytelling and emphasized joy.

The opening track also has been released as a single.  I don't usually expect to find anthems in this genre, but the boys most certainly have one in this song.

The second track, "Desert Lark" begins as a gentle acoustic tune, but builds delightfully as the voices soar, the bass dives in, and horns provided the counter punch.  The third and fourth tracks,  "Sailing" and "Family Home", respectively, reveal the duo's country folk chops with earnest aching vocals accented (I believe) by a  pedal steel guitar.  The album closes with the gentle acoustic pop of "Bluebird" -- a final life-affirming statement from the band.

Americana isn't an uncrowded field these days (nor is the roster of bands with two names, one of which is an animal, as the band is impishly aware).  However, the quality of the songwriting, sincerity of the stories, and honesty of the southern styling set Great Peacock toward the fore of the bands to which attention should be paid.  We're advised that an LP is in the works, which is good news.  In the meantime, Great Peacock EP will be released on March 5 by This Is American Music.

This Is American Music

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

REVIEW: Flowerss - Charm

From Test Pattern Records, a previous source of some terrific shoegaze music, comes Flowerss (Christapher Larsen, formerly of Buildings Breeding, along with Andrew Hoke (aka Bird Peterson). This is a terrific combination - the electronica of Hoke and the more laid-back California pop of Larsen combine to make a record that, while pleasant, is plenty catchy and builds slowly throughout to some fairly heavy sounds.

Their new release, Charm, is not easily categorized - it's kind of quiet, almost ambient electronic music in places ("Halo" and "Sun Dial", for example), but has got a component that borders on shoegaze, in places - the guitars swirl and get nearly overwhelming at times. Then, on songs like "Big Hands", it is clearly soul-influenced:

Overall, it's got a lot of the qualities you look for in good psychedelic music, and the variation in sounds and tempos only serve to hold my interest and confirm for me that Larsen is somebody I definitely want to hear more from.

Here's "Every Mile" - my favorite song on the record. It's pretty soulful and brooding, but pretty poppy at the same time:

And there's an alternate mix of the same song that brings up the beats a little more - and, interestingly, is three seconds shorter:

It's out Tuesday (Feb. 19), and you can listen and buy at Test Pattern Records

New video from Mister Loveless - "Punk Like Me"

From its 2012 release Grow Up, San Francisco's Mister Loveless has released a new video for their pop-punk anthem "Punk Like Me":

They invite you to download the song for free, well, for the cost of a tweet or Facebook like, at their website.

New demo from Honeydrum

One of our favorite lo-fi outfits, New Jersey's Honeydrum, will release an album later this year on Amdiscs.  But just so we don't forget them in the meantime, they have posted this wonderful little demo.  Will you like it? Of course you will.


REVIEW: Cheatahs - Extended Plays

Let's make a prime rock cocktail - take two parts aggressive shoegaze, one part '90s guitar god alternative rock (think Dinosaur Jr. and Sugar) and stir with solid chunks of pure pop.  We'll call it Extended Plays and attribute it to London's Cheatahs.  The result is exciting and refreshing, and more than a little bit noisy.  We'll warn you that you likely will want another.

Album opener "The Swan" plays up the huge guitars.  "SANS" and "Fountain Park" provide even more pace, while "Flake" brings pop melody to the fore. "Coared" features ringing guitars and a bit of psych pop feel.  "Ripper" and "Jacobi" continue the British '90s vibe, bringing to mind Teenage Fanclub.  I wouldn't have been surprised to find album closer, "Froshed", on a Ride album, and I would have liked it there as much as I like it here.    For this outing, the band has eschewed the slower side of shoegaze, but if you are looking for raw energy, this album provides it in seamless fashion from start of finish.

Cheatahs are Male Bonding member Nathan Hewitt, assisted by James Wignall (of Weird Dreams), Dean Reid and Marc Raue.  They hail from Canada, England, Germany and the US, and as far as I know they have no long history of playing together.  But I'm very impressed with how they have taken their influences and then pulled out the stops and had fun: More effects; more riffs; and more melody.  What isn't apparent is that Extended Plays is comprised of two four-track EPs released last year, SANS and Cored.  To my ears, the SANS tracks (the first four) sound more alt-rock/grunge while the Coared tracks are a bit more to the Brit pop end of shoegaze.

As cocktails go, Extended Plays is a short one - eight songs over less than a half hour.  But as most of us have learned, and usually the hard way, it is the punch the cocktail packs, rather than the size, that matters in the end.  You'll have no complaints about the punch from Cheatahs.

The album is out now on Wichita Recordings.  If you want to catch the band live, they will be at SXSW, and touring with Waaves and FIDLAR.

Twitter ( @cheatahssuck )
Wichita Recordings