Friday, February 27, 2015

"When She Dances" from Skittle Alley

When we introduced you to the sweet bedroom pop of Skittle Alley to our readers last month (link) I did not expect that they would be back on these pages so soon.  But Skittle Alley has shared a new song, and while it is labeled as a demo, it is likely to make your day a bit brighter, as it did mine.

The band consists of Fanou, Guillaume, Pierre, and Stephane, and they are base in Limoges, France.  You can hear more songs at the Soundcloud link below, or my previous post which is linked in the first line of this post.


Bunny Lion - Red

Late at night after an especially tough week in and out of work, I need pampering.  Pampering calls for good music, preferably good rare music so I can feel special.  And with ten tracks of reggae deejay Bunny Lion toasting over tough rhythms crunched out by top backing band The Revolutionaries, Red fits my needs perfectly.  Bunny Lion isn't a name you will often find on the bountiful reggae discs cut in the '70s and early '80s.  And that is partly because he more often performed subsequently as Puddy Roots for Noel "Papa Jaro" Harper's Killamnjaro Soundsytem (also known for dancehall work by Super Cat, Jim Kelly, Burro Banton and Ninjaman).  His earliest recorded work, Red was recorded and produced in the late '70s by one of the great figures of the era, songwriter, singer, producer, and mentor Linval Thompson, and released in 1979 by London's Starlight Records.  He used the name Bunny Lion for the sessions, although he refers to himself as Puddy Lion several times on the disc.  Despite toasting that rivaled many of the touring stars of the day, excellent rhythms from Thompson (at least some seem to be borrowed from his Marijuana and Love Is The Question albums) and one of the better backing bands in the genre, it failed to attract a big audience and eventually was forgotten.

Fortunately, the album has been unearthed and is now available on CD, vinyl and cassette from Captured Tracks.  The vinyl includes photos and interviews with Puddy/Bunny and Linval Thompson.  For reggae deejay fans such as this writer, Red is a treasured addition to my collection. But it also is a great starter album for music fans interested in dipping a toe, or ear, into the world of deejays toasting over reggae and rocksteady rhythms.  If one is familiar with the genre, one appreciates the master work of Thompson.  His tracks display admirable discipline -- no excessive production frills, and a concise running time.  The deejay and the band are the stars, as they should be.

Captured Tracks order page for Red

For readers interested in a little more information about reggae deejays, here is a post I published a few years ago.  And if you are interested in one of Linval Thompson's finest (in my opinion) songs, check out the last video on this post -- his collaboration with deejay U Brown.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

REVIEW: Belle and Sebastian - Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance

Over their two decades as a band Scots Belle and Sebastian have earned iconic status in the indie pop world.  Including the new Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance they have released nine albums -- all but one for Matador Records.  Dedicated fans eagerly anticipate and buy each album as they drop, and I think they hang on to them because you rarely find them in the used bin at the record store (you do remember record stores, don't you?).  I suppose a cynic might find that annoying, but I happen to think that Belle and Sebastian have created a large and enviable number of truly memorable songs, have earned every single fan and deserve to have a lot more.  What may be less often considered than their status as indie darlings, however, is that they are pop tunesmiths of the finest order.  The care put into song structure, crafting melodies and placing hooks reminds me of the '60s when record labels and producers insisted that songwriting be left to the pros (playing instruments in the recording studios often was left to the pros as well) and the good looking boys and girls would then play it on stage to sell the records.  So while not the primary purpose of this post, I suppose I am advancing as a minor thesis that the world would be better off if for all these years Stuart Murdoch had been writing songs for other artists in addition to his own band.  It might not have achieved world peace, but folks would be happier in the foxholes.

What Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance proves is that Stuart and company are still at the top of the game.  Moreover, and perhaps fittingly given the reference to dancing in the title, they are not standing in the same place.  While the album includes achingly beautiful pop songs that are the hallmark of B&S, such as "Nobody's Empire", "Allie", and "The Cat With The Cream", it also includes very well-crafted dance songs such as "The Party Line", "The Power of Three", and "Enter Sylvia Path".  In fact, the first and second of those dance numbers could fit comfortably with the best offerings from The Bee Gees' disco period (perhaps heresy on an indie blog, but the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack was one of the top 25 albums of the '70s  -- there, I said it).   But the diversity of this album extends further.  "The Everlasting Muse" has an infectious Latin feel with a Klezmer chorus  -- perhaps it shouldn't work but in the hands of B&S you feel like standing and stomping around while clapping.  Other tracks bear the soaring glossy feel of Scandinavian pop or a touch of soul.  "Perfect Couples" ventures into funk.  This album deserves to be heard now, and it will continue to give pleasure for a long time.  It is broadly conceived, playful, professional and full of heart.

For this album Belle and Sebastian are Richard Colburn, Mick Cooke, Chris Geddes, Stevie Jackson, Bob Kildea, Sarah Martin, and Stuart Murdoch.  Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance is out now via Matador Records.

Matador Records

No More Tiger - No More Tiger

Upbeat, happy, charming, offbeat and undeniably entertaining -- the seven word summary of the self-titled album from Glasgow's No More Tiger.  The band are Jim McAteer, Flore de Hoog, Chloe Phillip, and Carlo Kriekaard.  This lot is completely unafraid about sounding folky, '60s pop or whatever else works to put music in your heart.  It isn't dreary and overly earnest, but it is sincere entertainment.  For my money, the best song is "My Song" (but it could be your song, in which case you could refer to it as 'my song').  Sample it below and if you are intrigued, stream all eight tracks.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Sweet Satisfaction" from Ryley Walker

One reads that Chicago-based Ryley Walker is a singer-songwriter, or a folk/blues artist, or something else.  Probably all those terms have some degree of accuracy, but Mr. Walker may just be his own genre of pop music.  His debut LP All Kinds of You was released in 2014, and his second, Primrose Green, is scheduled for release at the end of March via Dead Oceans.  A taste of the new album -- and Walker's distinctive vocals and guitar style -- is presented here via "Sweet Satisfaction".


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"Come Inside" from Lilac Pin

"Come Inside" is the slinky, sexy second offering from Glasgow duo Lilac Pin.  The synths ebb and flow over a skittering beat, while April May's voice proves to be an apt instrument of seduction.  An album is in the works, but until then come inside the world of Lilac Pin.


HL's 2014 Favorites

No one much cares what anyone's favorites are from the year before once February comes around, unless you're handing out gold trophies or some such. I barely posted at all last year, which bothers me because I thought the music was phenomenal. I can't think of a year when I was blown away by so many records; torn to pieces by so many others. 'Fifteen looks just as promising, and there are things I have on my subject list for posts if I can get on top of work, malaise, and whatever else shuts me down in the late hours when I used to dial into the WYMA nerve center and think of different ways to say, 'you really need to hear this.' So this list is sort of an exorcism, inasmuch as I can't do those until I do this. But it was a great, great year.

25.  Centro-matic -- Take Pride in Your Long Odds
The final album from one of the greatest rock bands ever only disappointed in being the final album.

24.  Eagulls -- s/t
Surly postpunk from Leeds -- at times they'll make you think of Killing Joke, and other times they'll make you think of Killing Joke crossed with, say, the Jam. Here's one of the best songs of the year:

23.  Planning for Burial -- Desideratum 
If I had to genrefy Thom Wasluck's sound I might call it 'bedroom metal'. It's ponderous and oppressive like metal, but the miserable sense of cold alienation that pervades every track makes it irresistible. Go out on the web and pull up the lyrics for "Where You Rest Your Head At Night" and follow along (here you go).

22.  Protomartyr -- Under Color of Official Right
These guys are mining the same postpunk vein as Eagulls, but iin keeping with their Detroit roots they opt for less of the industrial chaos of Killing Joke and more of the buzz and grit of Iggy Pop.

21.  Somos -- Temple of Plenty
Melodic but propulsive punk/emo from this excellent Boston band. They played one of my favorite live sets I saw in '14.

 20.  Mount Carmel -- Get Pure
This is beautiful heavy blues rock from a three man band from Columbus, Ohio. The singing is Paul Rodgers crossed with Chris Robinson; the guitar solos are tasteful but not too restrained. And the songwriting is too free-spirited to be saddled with a label like "throwback." This is the music we wish the Black Keys were making today.

19.  Beach Slang -- Who Could Would Ever Want Anything So Broken? / Cheap Thrills on a Dead End Street
Beach Slang released two phenomenal EPs in 2014 on the upstart Tiny Engines label (not the first entry on this list from Tiny Engines -- see Somos -- and certainly not the last). The band has just signed to Polyvinyl for their full-length follow up, which is expected this year. I've heard folks compare Beach Slang to later Replacements, and I suppose I do hear that, but musically they're just as close to the Psychedelic Furs or even old, old Goo Goo Dolls -- and I don't mention the latter to disparage -- I liked 'em back then. Lyrically, they make me think of that scene at the end of "Brothers McMullen", where Jack starts coming clean about fucking up, and Patrick says "you fucked up? You don't know from fucking up." Something like that. It's been awhile. This is a refreshing, yet familiar sound we haven't heard for a long time.

18.  Joyce Manor -- Never Hungover Again
I truly love this California punk band. They have never made a record that didn't make a year end list of mine. This one will quite possibly go down as my favorite when all is said and done, mainly because of its epic scope -- 10 songs and more than 19 minutes; it seems longer than the first two "full-lengths" combined. Frontman Barry Johnson is an emerging genius, a guy who probably could write Taylor Swift songs in his sleep. Lucky for us, he takes those hooks and drowns them in beautiful punk music.

17.  Restorations -- LP3
This terrific Philadelphia band had's 2013 album of the year, and I swear I like this one even better. The playing is tight, the production clean. There's no affect or pretension. And the songs are, as always with this band, nearly perfect. The song below is about Caucasian angst -- and it's one of the best of 2014.

16.  Tombs -- Savage Gold
There's a certain weirdness to this album that I've never been able quite to pin down. It's got everything metal you're looking for in a metal album -- instrumentally, vocally, thematically (you know, death and darkness, darkness and death). It was produced by Hate Eternal's Erik Rutan, so there's that. Just a lot of dang noise -- exactly what you hope for. Still, there's something else, an undercurrent of industrial prog, for lack of a better description. More than mere atmospherics, it's something that sets Tombs apart, and makes this album great, as opposed to merely very, very good.

15.  Old Man Gloom -- The Ape of God
Members of Isis, Converge, Cave In, and others have combined from time to time over the past 15+ years on some challenging metal. This year they were kind enough to bequeath two albums -- volumes one and two of The Ape of God. Some call it sludge, some post, some core -- I guess any of those describe moments you come across. Interspersed throughout are electronic effects, buzzes, whines and found audio, all combining for a bracing beatdown lasting more than an hour and a half. The first album is 8 fairly standard-length OMG tunes, and the second is 4 long-form metal meditations. I'm a bit partial to the first, but each new listen to the second yields something new. "The Lash", one of the shortest tracks, packs a lot of the overall Old Man Gloom vibe into 3 minutes, but they're really at their best when they get a chance to stretch things out.

14.  Every Time I Die -- From Parts Unknown
What with the Sabres intentionally tanking in ice hockey so as to win the Cave for McDave sweepstakes, it's nice to see something come out of Buffalo that's truly, surpassingly excellent. This is as brutal and unrelenting as any ETID album, but the cool thing is that they never let you forget they're just a bunch of punks. The youtube video is for one of my favorite songs, but before clicking play you need to know it's safe for neither work nor home. It's got full frontal male nudity, full backal male nudity, emesis, re-emesis, cocaine, Tony Montana-level snorting of same, an alligator, and various primates or near-primates, including a sloth, a lemur, and Drew Stafford.

13.  Cloud Nothings -- Here and Nowhere Else
Speaking of hockey, I once went to an NHL game in Cleveland. It was the St. Louis Blues vs. the Cleveland Barons. I was a little kid, but yeah, that still makes me old. This Cleveland band's second album was a massive improvement relative to their debut, and I loved that record. I actually think I did a review of this album about a year ago, but I'm too lazy to search for it or link it. This album would have made my list even if "Psychic Trauma" had been the only actual song on there, and the rest of the album had been farting noises.

12.  Afghan Whigs -- Do to the Beast
I've said it before and I'm gonna say it again -- Greg Dulli is a national treasure. It would be great to see him replace the Maroon 5 guy on "The Voice" so he could sit next to Gwen Stefani. My thinking is that without saying a word, he'd give Gwen a lustful staredown that would make her nervous and sweaty, and deeply hurt that Bush guy's feelings. He'd also teach all those weasels what it's like to be a frontman for a great rock and roll band. The simple guitar solo at the 2 minute mark of the song below is just transcendent.

11.  Mastodon -- Once More 'Round the Sun
I don't expect Mastodon ever to make another album as great as Leviathan, and wasn't really surprised when I didn't flip over 2011's good-but-not great release, The Hunter. That's just what happens. It's not selling out, in my view; it's just the sound of a band playing itself out. So it was a great surprise to me to be pretty much blown away by Once More . . . It's not Leviathan, but it is an extremely strong collection of short-to-mid-length songs that are a refreshing take on what Mastodon just does better than anyone else: traditional structures festooned with enough mathy, proggy ornaments to make it sound like Red-era King Crimson stumbled across a reverse time capsule of COC albums or something.

10.  Typesetter -- Wild's End
This is gritty midwestern punk music. My superlatives for this record carom into one another, it seems, because the beautiful production shines a light on the rawness of the performances. Feedback abounds, and each guitar has its own channel in the mix, making headphone listening a revelation. The two vocalists in this Chicago band make zero effort to harmonize. If they did, you'd lose much of the authenticity. And that doesn't mean they can't sing, by the way. This album has been out almost a year, and I still crank the hell out of it a couple of times a week.

9.  Inter Arma -- The Cavern
Richmond's Inter Arma was near the top of my list last year for the brilliant Sky Burial. The Cavern is a single, 45 minute song that they (and Relapse Records) modestly refer to as an EP. That's nearly 3 times the "full-length" Joyce Manor record at 18 on this list. The thing is, "The Cavern" really feels like one song. Its breaks are organic, flowing naturally from face-melting nihilism to the soulful warmth of a guest vocal performance by Dorthia Cottrell of Richmond and Relapse neighbors Windhand. Themes crest and resurface a half hour later. It never drags, and there's no cheap filler. By the way, make sure to see them live if you ever have a chance. You'll thank me for that advice. Here's Relapse's trailer for the record.

8.  Hard Girls -- A Thousand Surfaces
I had never heard of this San Jose trio until a couple of years ago when they teamed up with Jesse Michaels of Operation Ivy, called themselves Classics of Love, and released a punk rock album for the ages. A Thousand Surfaces doesn't sound much like that CoL record, but that doesn't mean it's not truly great on its own merits. The playing is beautifully tight, the songwriting is intelligent and muscular, yet filled with hooks (they are big Guided by Voices fans, according to their Facebook Page -- if you don't believe me, click on the band photo at the link).

7.  The War on Drugs -- Lost in the Dream
I can't add anything to what everyone (well, everyone except that jackass Mark Kozelek) has said about this phenomenal album. This is my favorite song from it.

6.  Obliterations -- Poison Everything
This LA band combines scabby hardcore vitriol with the precision and sheer heft of metal. Make no mistake, even though the record was released by the venerable metal label Southern Lord, this is pure punk rock -- 13 songs in 29 minutes. It's menacingly aggressive, veering at times into proto- and then even to industrial. That happens on the song below, which is probably my favorite even though it's the "slowest" on the album. For some reason this music makes me think of one or more guys I've known who can drink like champions, but when they take down nearabout a fifth of the brown demon a switch flips and someone new and highly dangerous steps out and sets about to making trouble. Like what Hurricane Andrew did to Homestead, Florida. It's the sort of thing that reaffirms my faith in the human race.

5.  Pallbearer -- Foundations of Burden
The downtuned guitars, the ten minute songs, restrained solos -- one might be forgiven for assuming that doom is a stagnant sub-genre, but it's really experiencing a remarkable renaissance over the past five years or so, led by a handful of bands including this foursome from Little Rock, Arkansas. This album builds on their beautiful debut, 2012's Sorrow and Extinction.

4.  Morning Glory -- War Psalms
This is an ambitious collection of thrash punk that also has enough melody infused to hold the attention of those with delicate sensibilities. Ezra Kire is a punk rock lifer who likes to write big, heart-on-his-sleeve anthems about politics, addiction (which he has some experience with), and the punk scene. He's not afraid to use over-the-top orchestral sounds and even banks of horns (playing, at one point, something along the lines of the Rocky theme) when it suits his dramatic purposes. Still, purists don't need to turn up their noses at this because one is never more than a couple of seconds away from Kire's blistering guitar. In the end, it's the basic punkrock guitar/bass/drums format that powers this tremendous set of songs. The other stuff isn't unwelcome because it never gets in the way of the sheer force of the band.

3.  YOB -- Clearing the Path to Ascend
Mike Scheidt's Portland, Oregon-based doom metal outfit made my album of the year for 2011 with their sixth release, Atma. I love this new album at least as much. It's downright gates-of-hell heavy in spots, but as the four song, hour-plus album moves along, you start to sense a warmth -- a glimmer of hope in the middle of all that doom. It befits the album title, and is really beautiful and effective. The song below, "Nothing to Win," is one of my favorite metal songs of the past 4 or 5 years. It's worth listening to all the way through, because after pounding on a pretty simple theme for the first half of the song, you come into a quiet interlude that builds tension and ultimately gives way to a gripping final few minutes of Scheidt exploring the destructive capabilities of his Monson guitar.

2.  Wovenhand -- Refractory Obdurate
David Eugene Edwards, the Denver-based songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist who fronts Wovenhand (and who once fronted 16 Horsepower), appears to be from another place and time. He is well-known for his affection for old musical instruments, from the banjo and hurdy gurdy to the Chemnitzer concertina. He is also known for his deeply held religious beliefs, which give life and breath to the people and imagery in his songs.  In trying to describe how profound and powerful this album is, I have been unable at times to resist comparing Edwards to a character from Flannery O'Connor, but that assessment is cheap, and does injustice to the man. Because instead of the grotesque hucksters that masquerade as religious folk in O'Connor's writing, Edwards is genuine -- devout without being didactic; less a tent revivalist and more a missionary.

Most places on the web use "alt-country" as the primary genre for categorizing Wovenhand's music, but on Refractory Obdurate, the old instruments and more roots-inflected approach take a back seat to a blistering electric guitar assault (the album was released on the Deathwish, Inc. label). Edwards's stentorian baritone, though, cuts through the densest noise and underscores the heavy Christian themes with authority and sincerity. This album is truly one of the most unexpected explosions of brilliance I've happened upon in years, and I can't give it a high enough recommendation. Check  out the third and fourth songs on the record below.

1.  The Hotelier -- Home, Like NoPlace Is There
Like a couple of other entries on my list, this album has been out for nearly a year, and as I think of my lack of productivity on this site during 2014, much if not most of it can be attributed to the fact that I never was able to sit down and do a proper review of what has become not just my favorite album of '14, but pretty much one of my very favorite albums, period. There was a point during the year when I would listen to this front-to-back three times a day, like I used to do with old Alice Cooper and Aerosmith albums back before I was a teenager. Of course, back then I only had about five albums to choose from. Now, I had one that I just couldn't put aside.

The Hotelier is a four-piece punk rock band from Worcester, Mass. They used to call themselves The Hotel Year, and under that name in 2011 put out a very fine album called It Never Goes Out. Some people casually label The Hotelier an emo band, which is fine with me because that word has become so overused that it's pretty much lost its older connotation of something along the lines of 'less than rugged.' That old usage certainly wouldn't apply to this band and, especially, this album. To be sure, just beneath the insistent melodies and bright, clanging open chords, this album is 35 minutes of seething, clear-eyed rage.

The songs are thematically connected, but more in the way of a song cycle than a full-on concept album. The listener keeps picking things up as he or she goes along, some helping to make more sense of things, some creating more confusion. The prevailing themes of social isolation, ruined relationships and loss are not in themselves groundbreaking, but the band's ability to pump blood into these ideas and, without any sentimentality, form them into furious three minute vignettes, is revelatory.

When I say "furious" I don't necessarily mean caustic -- although there is that in the form of "Life in Drag," the paint-peeling 2 minute slab of screamo that, while inhabiting the dead center of the album, serves as a sonic climax (some listeners will impulsively skip this song because it is difficult listening the first few times through, but I humbly suggest that's a mistake, and that the song is very necessary because of its difficulty). But back to 'furious' --  if you think about it, have you ever heard a more furious album than the Mountain Goats' Tallahassee? I mean, which had more flat out anger, Tallahassee or that first Rage Against the Machine album? Although I loved both, I respectfully suggest the former.

Likewise here, you feel it in the callowness of the narrator in "Your Deep Rest", as he observes while at the funeral of a friend who has committed suicide: "The sight of your family made me feel responsible." You sense it in the parable "Housebroken", where an old, abused dog is offered a new life without chains, but refuses out of fear that his ruined body and dulled instincts cannot deal with the unknown future. You hear it in the clear, expressive vocals of singer-guitarist Christian Holden, not just when he's wearing out the microphones, but also in his more restrained moments. The album just boils with it. Sure, there are times when they get too literate and too clever for their own good, but I don't care, and neither should you. Without those things, this album would be getting perilously close to perfection.

Monday, February 23, 2015

"Brother Sister" by Sahara Beck

Sahara Beck has released a couple of well received EPs in Australia.  The Brisbane-based artist now is entering the US market with "Brother Sister", the showcase track from last Fall's Bloom EP.  A percussive tune with impressive vocals, it sits at the more pop end of the folk spectrum.  The message of the song seems to fit well with Beck's own energy and drive, and I think it is a fine introduction to a promising artist.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lures - Lures

What a coincidence! The Lures are from Seattle, and I live in the Seattle area.  Moreover, they hail from the neighborhood known as Ballard, and I was in Ballard Saturday night.  So me and Lures are like old friends, right?  Well, not quite.  I learned of the band via a tip from the fine lads in Zebra Hunt, whose superb new album we reviewed last week (link).  The link was to the band's live performance of "Vacant" at Jupiter Studios.  "Vacant" is a fine bit of surf/indie rock, and I instantly concluded that the video should be shared on the blog.  I also discovered (all by myself -- just try to find a WYMA intern on a weekend, or a weekday for that matter) that the song is on their self-titled album that was released last October.  So, Dillon M., Spencer M., and Sam P., show your thanks to the Zebra Hunt mob for the tip (I believe a beer is legal tender in Ballard, and I'm a lawyer so that probably is correct).

What Lures offers you is well-crafted post punk with surf accents and brooding baritone vocals.  The performances are highly professional but the arrangements are loose, allowing for bits of space to accent the music.  And "Walking the Cow" is just balls out fun.

If I understand correctly, Lures were on of the bands on Tacoma, Washington's Fin label.  Unfortunately, the label crashed last year, leaving the band to self-release their debut album.

Lures - "Vacant" (Live At Jupiter Studios) from Fin Records on Vimeo.

Lures is available as a digital download or on vinyl.  Source at the Bandcamp link.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Milton Star - Sorryville/Salvation

It seems that sometimes the most vivid mental images originate from sparse stimulus.  Perhaps the mind takes inspiration and colors in between the lines.  This really isn't a random thought, because I have been thinking about the effect the double A-side from Scottish duo Milton Star has on me.  The guitars shimmer and the percussion pounds insistently, even ominously.  And the vocals travel the mournful baritone channel previously dug by Nick Cave and Mark Lanegan.  But the duo of Alan Wyllie and Graeme Currie choose restraint rather than noise.  Is is country? Post punk?  Lynchian film soundtrack?  Well, yes, I suppose it sounds like all of that.  The effect is simultaneously beautiful and bleak, but it always is evocative and satisfying.  Recorded in a converted church in Fife where Wyllie lives, the music is enhanced by the unique acoustic environment.

The songs are out now via Sterogram Recordings.  Listen below, and source at the Bandcamp links at the end of the post.

Stereogram Recordings
Bandcamp for "Salvation" download
Bandcamp for "Sorryville" download

"Look Out" from Bad Wave

Tucker Tota and Patrick Hart comprise the duo known as Bad Wave.  I don't have much of a basis for analyzing their music, but based on "Look Out" there seems to be an electro-pop base with a vein of woozy dance rock.  They've drawn comparisons to Toro y Moi, Phoenix and Vampire Weekend, as well.  All good company to be sure, but this song has earned it.  They have been pick up by Crazy Heart Records too, so, um, look out, things are trending upward for Bad Wave.

Crazy Heart Records

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Autumns - Blonde EP

Feeling a bit blah? Considering a few Red Bulls or a triple espresso?  Let me suggest a far healthier alternative.  In fewer than ten minutes Derry, Northern Ireland three-piece Autumns will thrill your ears and elevate your heartbeat with their just released Blonde EP.  Splicing together elements of the early urban indie pop of Postcard Records and the noisier approach of, say Creation Records bands or early works from The Delgados or Teenage Fanclub, the EP provides an exciting look at a band carving out its sound.   If you like what you hear on "I Can See Them Looking At Me", stream the entire EP below.

Blonde EP is out now via CF Records on limited edition 7" vinyl and as a digital download.

Autumns are Christian Donaghey (vocals/guitar), Marty O'Carroll (bass), and Ruairi Coyle (drums).  The band plans a full LP release later this year via Desire Records.

CF Records

"Find Yourself" from Jacco Gardner

Touring heavily and flourishing creatively, Dutch multi-instrumentalist Jacco Gardner is on a journey worth our attention.  His LP for Trouble In Mind, Cabinet of Curiosities, brought him some deserved name recognition, including a stint playing keys for Allah Las on tour.  His brand of baroque pop and psychedelia will be on display again in early May with the release of Hypnophobia.  The first single from the upcoming album is "Find Yourself", which is available now as a digital purchase.  In mid April Polyvinyl will release it on 7" vinyl paired with "Mixed Feelings".

Hypnophobia will be out on May 5th in North America via Polyvinyl Records and Burger Records (for the cassette edition) and on May 4th in the rest of the world via Excelsior Recordings and Full Time Hobby.

Gardner will be touring heavily in the next few months, including SxSW.  The dates and locations are listed below.

Polyvinyl Records order page

Fri. March 6 - Zeewolde, NL @ Where The Wild Things Are
Sat. March 14 - Denton, TX @ Denton Music Festival
Mon. March 16 - Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas (Do512 SXSW Party)
Wed. March 18 - Austin, TX @ Dutch Impact on Cedar St (Dutch Impact SXSW Party, 11am)
Wed. March 18 - Austin, TX @ Waterloo Records
Thu. March 19 - Austin, TX @ Flamingo Cantina (Under The Radar SXSW Party)
Thu. March 19 - Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas (Austin Psych Fest SXSW Party, 4:15pm)
Thu. March 19 - Austin, TX @ Cheer Up Charlie’s (Polyvinyl SXSW Showcase, 9pm)
Fri. March 20 - Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas (Panache SXSW Showcase, 11:25pm)
Sat. March 21 - Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas (Burgerama SXSW Party, 3:30pm)
Sat. March 21 - Austin, TX @ Spider House (Panache SXSW RAGER, 6pm)
Sun. March 22 - Austin, TX @ Beerland (Panache SXSW Hangover Party, 6pm)
Wed. March 25 - San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel *
Thu. March 26 - Santa Cruz, CA @ Catalyst Atrium *
Fri. March 27 - San Diego, CA @ The Casbah *^
Sat. March 28 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo *%
Sun. March 29 - Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory (Burgerama IV)
Tue. April 21 - Cologne, DE @ Studio 672
Wed. April 22 - Paris, FR @ Point Ephemere #
Fri. April 24 - London, UK @ 100 Club @
Wed. April 29 - Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso at Tolhuistuin #
Thu. April 30 - Zwolle, NL @ Hedon #
Fri. May 1 - Gronigen, NL @ Vera #
Sat. May 2 - Utrecht, NL @ De Helling #
Sun. May 3 - Nijmegen, NL @ Doornroosje #
Wed. May 6 - Tourcoing, FR @ Grand Mix
Thu. May 7 - Luxembourg, LU @ Floor
Fri. May 8 - Lyon, FR @ Epicerie Moderne
Sun. May 10 - Brussels, BE @ Les Nuits Botanique
Mon. May 11 - Bordeaux, FR @ Barbey Rock School Club
Wed. May 13 - Barcelona, ES @ Le 2 De Apolo
Thu. May 14 - Valencia, ES @ El Loco
Fri. May - Madrid, ES @ El Sol
Sat. May 16 - Lisbon, PT @ Music Box
Sun. May 17 - Porto, PT @ Hard Club
Mon. May 18 - Orense, ES @ Auditorio De Orense
Tue. May 19 - San Sebastian, ES @ Intxaurrondo
Thu. May 21 - Capri, IT @ Mattatoio
Fri. May 22 - Ravenna, IT @ Hana Bi
Sat. May 23 - Padova, IT @ Mame
Sun. May 24 - Vienna, AT @ Arena
Tue. May 26 - Munich, DE @ Kranhalle at Feierwerk
Wed. May 27 - Berlin, DE @ Private Club
Thu. May 28 - Hamburg, DE @ Molotow Club
Fri. May 29 - Copenhagen, DK @ Loppen
Sat. May 30 - Oslo, NO @ Revolver
Sun. May 31 - Stockholm, SE @ Strand
Thu. June 4 - Rotterdam, NL @ Rotown
Fri. June 5 - Eindhoven, NL @ Psych Lab at Effenaar
Sat. June 6 - Maastricht, NL @ Muziekgieterij

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"Everyone" from TEES

I won't bore you with details about TEES, at least in part because I know little other than the duo is from Sydney, Australia, and consists of Sean from the band Virgo Rising and Liz from The Grease Arrestor.  But what I do know is that they have a great feel for deep house grooves and winning vocals.  Here is their latest single "Everyone", and the You Tube streams for a couple of previous songs.


"Hammer and a Nail" from Vienna Ditto

Cabaret, rockabilly, electro-rock, psychedelic pop, and theatrical pop -- all in one glorious song.  Yes, "Hammer and A Nail" demonstrates Vienna Ditto's ability to be audaciously different, and completely captivating as well.  Hatty Taylor's voice is a seductive, smokey, bluesy force of nature, and I want to hear it all day and night.  Nigel Firth's production is inspired, and deliciously dirty.  This single from the London duo will be released on February 23, in advance of the May 4 release of their LP Circle.  Take the goods for a test drive below.  Then have a smoke and a shower -- you'll have earned it.  Damn, May 4 seems like such a long way away.

Bandcamp for 2014 single

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"Bond" from Mumrunner

Tampere, Finland's Mumrunner plays an explosive version of dreampop and shoegaze.  Gauzy tones and layers of sounds are punctuated with alternative rock elements, resulting in a dynamic listening experience and suggesting a wide range of possibilities for future songs.  Their latest effort is "Bond", which follows their two-track 'name your price' single "Zit/Rut" (see Bandcamp link below).  They have signed to Helsinki's Soliti Music, which will release the band's first EP this spring.

Mumrunner is Kati (bass), Sauli (guitars), Juuso (drums), and Jukka (vocals).

Soliti Music

Monday, February 16, 2015

REVIEW: Zebra Hunt - City Sighs

Seattle boasts several well-known icons, such as the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and simultaneous views of the city skyline and snow-capped mountains from the ferry boats.  It also has lesser-known treasures such as dim sum at Jade Garden, multiple places to fill your growler with local microbrew (including some branches of a local drug store chain), and Zebra Hunt.  Be at peace, animal lovers, Zebra Hunt does not involve the hunting of zebras.  It is a trio of musicians that have the same love of  jangling garage bands such as The Feelies, The Clean, The Chills and the Woollen Kits as all of us on the senior editorial staff of WYMA.  They can be distinguished from us, however, by virtue of the happy (for them) fact that they can write and play great songs.

From the opening notes of "Delaware" City Sighs envelopes you in warm, jangling guitar tones, thick bouncing basslines and crisp percussion.  The band has an excellent feel for the kind of upbeat garage pop tunes that dominate this album, and despite their love of Dunedin bands of the '80s the rumbling, muscular tones make this album sound distinctly American to my ears (e.g. stream "Call It Off" or "Already There" at the Bandcamp links).  While the pace generally is brisk, Zebra Hunt proves equally adept when they slow it down, as on the affecting "Memphis" and "Always", or delve into psychedelia as on "Beaches of LA".  My favorites include the previously released "Half Right", the aforementioned "Always" and the brilliant closer "Haze of Youth" -- five minutes and thirty-eight seconds of bliss.

I love the songs, the tone and the range of City Sighs.  But more than that, I like that this album seems to reveal a certain ambition.  Unless you live in Seattle or read posts about Zebra Hunt by one of us writers fortunate enough to have been exposed to their music, you likely haven't heard their music.  But the band's response isn't to start small with their first LP and mine a narrow channel such as jangle pop or dusty California guitar pop.  Rather, they dare to be a rock band that can jangle, get your feet moving, make you sigh and pump your fist.  Check out the streams below and if you think I may be right, go to one of the links and stream this album a couple of times.  I can't think of a better start to your week that doesn't involve being naked (although you are allowed to listen to City Sighs sans clothes, just don't send us pictures).

The release date for City Sighs is today, February 16 via Madrid label Tenorio Cotobade Records.  The digital release for US fans is at the designated Bandcamp link below, and the link for vinyl purchases in the US is Jigsaw Records.  The physical release for the rest of the world is by Tenorio Cotobade, which will also have digital downloads available (link below)

Zebra Hunt is Erik, Mitch and Robert.

Bandcamp for digital
Tenorio Cotobade site for vinyl and digital

Friday, February 13, 2015

Cable Street Collective - The Best of Times

Since we are headed into another weekend, we are bringing you an EP that may find its way on to your party soundtrack.  The Best of Times from London's Cable Street Collective combines pop/rock melodies and hooks with funk, house and Afrobeat dance rhythms.  It is a delicious combination, and very well executed here.  The Best of Times is out now on digital platforms, as well as a physical release.  Lead track "Can't Take Me Under" is being released as a single on February 16.  If you are surrounded by snow and ice, this EP may help warm up your world.

The members of Cable Street Collective are Dave, Rowan, Tristan, Ash, Fiona and Alex
Cable Street Collective are: Dave, Rowan, Tristan, Ash, Fiona and Alex.  The come by their Afrobeat sounds honestly, as two of the members grew up in Swaziland and Malawi.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Le Thug - Place Is EP

On Place Is EP, Glasgow-based trio Le Thug has concocted an exceedingly delicious stew.  Synths, guitars,drum machine and floating vocals combine to span shoegaze, dream pop and post punk in a captivating six-track soundscape.  Trading off the gut-punch of the rockier side of those genres for the more subtle juxtaposition of textures, the result is immediately gorgeous and immensely promising for the band's future.

The opening track, "Outer Herbidean", presents immediate, aggressive shogaze with distorted guitars and insistent beats and waves of synths.  The following "Pals" slows down proceedings and provides a delightfully rubbery beat to support the dreamy vocals.  "Basketball Land" understandably has been selected by the label (or band) to showcase the release.  Over a prominent martial beat and a gauzy backdrop Clio's vocals carry the listener away.  Every track on this release is appealing, stirring the listener with pulsing beats and enveloping the listener in swaths of noise.  I expect we are going to be treated to more thuggish delights in the future.

Le Thug is Dann McColgan (synths/samples/producer), Michael Gilfedder (guitar/vocals), and Clio Alexandra Maclellan (vocals). They previously released a split 12" on Song By Toad Records and a self-released EP on Bandcamp.  Place Is EP is out now as of February 16 on Edinburgh's Song By Toad Records.  Initially, it is available as a vinyl release with a digital download card.  I believe that the label intends to make it available for direct digital purchase soon.

Bandcamp for Ripping EP
Order page at Song By Toad Records
Song By Toad Records

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The New Southern Electrikk - Brown Eyes

We have another Valentine's Day offering for you, and consistent with my less than straightforward tastes, it isn't a happy song.  But it is a really great not happy song, born of Rikki Turner watching the woman he loved walking out the door fourteen years ago while The Shirelles played in the background.  He poured the feelings into "Brown Eyes", and now his Manchester based based band, The New Southern Electrikk, may have a massive hit on their hands.  Echoing ''60s girl groups and with restrained but inch-perfect production and Monica Ward's heartbreakingly evocative vocals, it has steadily added fans due to radio play and enthusiastic music writers.  Louder Than War Records has picked it up for a Valentines Day digital release, and the vinyl edition will follow in March.

B-sides "Mother of Earth" and "The Theme to The New Southern Electrikk" reveal that the band is more than a one-hit wonder.  While the former is a surging, atmospheric delight, the latter suggests the most promise.  It sprawls over five minutes with the rhythmic sense of The Charlatans (UK) or New Order with samples from Charles Bukowski.

The New Southern Electrikk is Monica Ward, Zack Davies (guitar), Rikki Turner (keys), Steven Tajti (bass) and Jim Correy (drums).


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

REVIEW: The Fireworks - Switch Me On

Switch Me On is the first LP from London/Brighton band The Fireworks, but it has the feel of a mid career album or even a retrospective of past singles.  Perhaps one explanation is that while the band is relatively new the members are veterans of bands such as Big Pink Cake, The Pocketbooks, Popguns and The Wedding Present.  The result is a debut from a band that has their sound completely dialed in. And what sound it is!  Imagine if the Buzzcocks had merged with The Shop Assistants, although if you are searching for a more modern parallel consider the chainsaw pop of San Francisco's Terry Malts.  Thick, fuzzy, feedback-laden guitars with pop hooks and female (and occasionally male) vocals soaring over the sweet storm.  I have chosen four of the songs to illustrate the album, but just about any one of the 13 would work.  If you only have time for one, spin "Runaround", but you will be cheating yourself.

Some bands decide to overpower you with punk energy, some with C86 sweetness, some with soaring, gut-thumping power pop.  The Fireworks seem to have considered the options and then said "yes, all of them, only louder".

Switch Me On is available now from Shelflife Records on vinyl, CD, and digital.

The Fireworks are Matthew Rimell (guitar/vocals), Emma Hall (vocals/guitar/tambourine), Isobel Albiol (bass) and Shaun Charman (drums and guitar).

The Fireworks' blog
Shelflife page for album
The Fireworks' Bandcamp page

No Monster Club - People Are Weird

On People Are Weird, Dublin's No Monster Club offers a collection of exuberant, at times off kilter, pop tunes that meander, jump around and delight in rather breathless fashion.  At its most straightforward, the album delivers perfect pop tunes, but at other times the listener may wonder whether he or she has stumbled onto a guerrilla street theater production.  Fortunately, it does not matter because the songs crafted by frontman Bobby Aherne and his mates delight in either case.  The songs are joyful, woozy, lo-fi and almost always up-tempo.  And the band is happy to have the listener wired into the fun, as is clear beginning with the opening track "Can't Get Enough of That Hippy Dippy Bullshit".

Some of most accessible songs are on the latter half of the album, such as "A Bad Example", "Post Life Safari" and "The Loneliest Master", a three song stretch that made it clear that Aherne is a pop master, albeit one with subversive tendencies.  But I can't call the album back-loaded because the first five tracks have a scruffy charm and incredible and rare energy.  The bottom line here is that this album is both good humored and sinfully good.

People Are Weird is out today via Mirror Universe and Popical Island.  Getting a digital copy is as easy as hitting the Bandcamp link below.


Monday, February 9, 2015

The Good Morrows - The Good Morrows

Melbourne's The Good Morrows know what they do well, and this self-titled LP gives you ten of the thick, gritty garage-psychedelic nuggets that remind you why rock and roll makes your life better.  The influences fall heavily in the '60s with bands such as 13th Floor Elevators, The Yardbirds and The Kinks, but touch on more recent purveyors of this great sound like The Black Lips.  And despite the clear psychedelic bent, these tunes are fully radio-friendly.  You can try out all the tunes at the Bandcamp link, and download it there as well.  If you spend any time in a car, this album could become the soundtrack for your driving adventures for a very long time.

The Good Morrows are Jarred Scopel, Andrew Plisi, Liam Skoblar, Sam Dolling, and Tim Bass.


Tuff Love - Dross EP

We here at WYMA hope the you all get the amount of love you deserve on Valentine's Day.  Of course, there are many types of love, and we won't assume to know what each of you want, much less deserve.  However, we have become quite fond of Tuff Love, and we strongly recommend a dose of it for the big day.  Some of you may wonder what a dose of tuff love consists of, and whether it hurts.  Have no fear -- we are a full service blog and are happy to tell you that the proper dose of Tuff Love is the five song Dross EP, and it is out today via Lost Map Records.  Oh, and it hurst so, so good.

The Glasgow duo  of Julie Eisenstein (guitar/vocals) and Suse Bear (bass/vocals) have featured here several times, including our coverage of their first EP (here) and the first couple of songs shared from this release.  But we have to say that they impress us more with each exposure.  The songwriting is more focused and the performances tighter.  Dross begins with standout cut "Slammer", a post punk rocker with a snaky rhythm and sugary vocals.  "That's Right" features rumbling guitar riffs and an urgent pace.  The vibe changes intriguingly with "Sebastian" and "Doberman".  The former is a delicate and quirky tune with more languid vocals.   "Doberman" is by turns moody and surging.  The closer "Cum" is jangling and dreamy, perfectly portraying Tuff Love's for making uncertainty, anxiety, regret, loss and misery sound sunny and beautiful.

Dross EP is available as a digital download or on vinyl from Lost Map Records.  And how romantic it is to buy your Valentine's Day record from a label begun in a caravan on a Scottish island.

Dross EP is available on February 9 as a digital download or vinyl from Lost Map Records

Lost Map Records order page

Thursday, February 5, 2015

REVIEW: Tigercats - Mysteries

Mysteries is one of those great little musical discoveries.  These songs stick to all parts of your brain like Dr. Seuss' Oobleck, and refuse to leave.  To be fair, you probably won't be trying very hard to get rid of them.  As is the case with the best indie pop, the harmonies are catchy and soothing, and the gentle hooks painlessly invade your psyche.  But Tigercats have accomplished a bit more than that.  The tunes are intelligent and deceptively complex and lush, with shimmering instrumentation, but still bursting with energy and joy.  It is easier to love a pop song if the musicians can convince you that they really love the song too, and Tigercats manage that on all ten tracks here.  For me, the best tracks are "Junior Champion", the shimmering "Laura and Cesar", "Sleeping in the Backseat", the quirky "Too Sad to Tell You", and "Wheezer".  But every track gives you something fun to explore: "King of Vic" and "Call Me If You Need Me" are positively danceable, "Globe Town" has multiple chapters to experience.

If you are somewhere where the sun is shinning, this album will reinforce your mood.  If you are somewhere where it is cold and raining, this is a prescription for a better mood, trimmer figure, better skin, and happier life.  Trust me.

Mysteries is out now via Fortuna POP! on vinyl with a digital download or CD.

Tigercats are from east London.  The members are Duncan Barrett (vocals/guitar/songwriting), Giles Barrett (bass), Laura Kovic (vocals/keys), Jonny Evans (drums) and new guitarist Paul Rains from Allo Darlin'.  Terry Edwards from Gallon Drunk and Tindersticks supplied the horns for several tracks.

Fortuna POP!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Unlikely Friends - Solid Gold Cowboys

'Pop ups' are becoming part of our culture.  We have pop up retail stores and pop up restaurants.  Those of us who spend time with rock music know that musicians have been doing this for years.  Musicians don't have to leave their regular band or bands to play with someone else.  They can just pop up another band and write some songs.  This is relevant because today's feature is Solid Gold Cowboys, which was created by the Pacific Northwest pop up band Unlikely Friends.  The project started with Charles Bert and Dave Krain.  Charles is the vocalist and guitarist for indie pop/twee band Math and Physics Club, whose 2013 album received well deserved praise on these pages (here).  Dave is the vocalist and guitarist of fine Seattle indie pop band BOAT.  If I understand the story correctly the two decided to write and record a few songs together.  But pop ups can take a life of their own, and the sessions resulted in 13 songs.  Even a pop up band may need a label for an album - right?  Well, that seems to have sorted itself out because the man they dragooned to play drums, Chris Mac, also happens to be the head of Seattle-based Jigsaw Records.  Songs, singers/guitarists, drummer, label -- Unlikely Friends is in business!

Well, now that we've handled introductions, what do we have in the way of music.  If you are guessing  indie pop with a dash of twee, you'd be wrong.  The appropriate references here are the crunchy lo-fi indie rock of Guided By Voices and the hook-filled power pop of Teenage Fanclub.  It isn't glossy and it isn't twee.  But it is top flight songwriting from musicians that know their craft and are focused on fun (some of the lyrics had me laughing out loud).  At one point I had considered giving you a chart ticking off which songs were more like GBV and which were more like the venerable Scots, but I decided that the readers should have that fun.  So, listen to the songs below and if you like them go to the Bandcamp page liked below and stream the entire thing (noting, of course that a digital download of immediate and ongoing pleasure is only $7).  Admittedly, the third song linked below "Stupid Game", is really more of a '60s folk-rock song with a vocal reminiscent of The Cyrcle or Peter and Gordon, but I found it to be two minutes and sixteen seconds of bliss, so I had to include it.

And if you take my advice to go to the Jigsaw Bandcamp site, and after you buy this album, take some time to explore the other albums from the label.  Chris has great taste and makes a point of not gouging his fellow music lovers.

Jigsaw Records Bandcamp page for Solid Gold Cowboys (CD or Digital)
Jigsaw Records order page for CD
Mirror Universe Tapes

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

REVIEW: Twerps - Range Anxiety

It seems to me that Range Anxiety, the second LP from Melbourne's Twerps is an important opportunity for the band.  Already well known in their home country, where this album is released by home label Chapter Music, this is their first album for "big" indie Merge Records, which will release the Range Anxiety internationally.  And I can report that the band has seized the opportunity in grand fashion, making an excellent album without sacrificing the attributes that have allowed them to stand out from the crowd all along.

Twerps craft jangling guitar pop tunes that are full-sounding without being dense.  The melodies seem effortless and airy, but there is a fair amount of invention and coloring outside the lines in a typical Twerps tune, from the non-indie pop aggressiveness of the basslines to the instrumental breakouts at the end of a tune to the .... well, listen and enjoy the discovery.  Justifiable comparisons have been made to The Go-Betweens, The Pastels, Real Estate and certain Kiwi guitar bands.  And there certainly is truth to the notion of a shared devotion to melody, the DIY feel and a certain overall youthful shagginess.  But talented bands don't tend to stay in one place, and Twerps are neither beginning musicians nor kids.  While focused thematically on the sorts of musings that young people have, their writing is maturing, the performances are tighter, and the sound is cleaned up.  At one point this band could be tagged as lo-fi, but they have moved past that stage.  The tempos are varied, the sounds carefully layered.  Far from being overstuffed, even at 13 tracks, Range Anxiety leaves the listener wishing the band had dropped in a few more lush tunes.

This album explores the band's preoccupation with uncertainties, inadequacies, fears and indecision.  Apparently the album title itself refers to the fear of running out of gas.  But with pop music, it is all about the tunes and these tracks never let the subject matter get stale.  After the beginning 52 second keyboard instrumental of "House Keys", the album launches strongly with standout track "I Don't Mind".  A shaggy slow tempo song with a circular guitar riff and a Go-Betweens vibe, it highlights things the Twerps do well.  Adjust your earphones and listen to the narrator make the case for making no decisions and taking no positions.

The following "Back To You" boasts a jauntier melody, while Frawley complains that someone out there is "doing better than me", and he is happy to blame someone else for his condition.

On "Stranger" and "New Moves" the band hits full jangle pop stride, with an uptempo Kiwi rock meets California style that I expect to play as well everywhere as it does in my head.  "White as Snow" is a chugging little tale of a not-so-nice girl.  The melancholy "Shoulders" is another standout track, dealing with loneliness and resignation.

The album swings back into jangle pop vein with "Simple Feelings", a tale of an on-again, off-again relationship.  "Adrenaline" is a Julia's turn to sing about an obsessive relationship.

Range Anxiety then becomes somewhat less convetional, with the moody and atmospheric "Fern Murders" and the closing dream pop of "Empty Road".  In between are the jangling "Cheap Education" and  "Love at First Sight".  The latter is a gem of a song which sounds like a demo take of a band creating a slow dance number for a '60s high school prom, and I absolutely love it.

Twerps are Martin Frawley (guitar and vocals), Julia MacFarlane (guitar and vocals), Alex Macfarlane (drums and vocals), and Gus Lord (bass) (I don't know whether Gus or former bass player Rick Milovanovic worked on the recording of this album).  Range Anxiety is out now on CD, vinyl and digital via Merge Records internationally and Chapter Music down under.

Merge Records album page
Chapter Music album page (for Australia and New Zealand)