Friday, October 30, 2015

Hand Games Mix Tape - free download

Hand Games is a Sydney-based organization that compiles mix tapes, publishes a music zine. organizes parties, manages talent and books shows.  Their monthly mix tapes collect tracks from emerging Australian musical talent, and makes them available for free download.  Here for you listening pleasure is the October version, officially known as Hand Games Mix Tape #26.  Some of the artists will be familiar to regular readers of this blog, many others likely will be new discoveries.  One of them is the excellent Terrible Truths, whose debut LP will be featured here soon. Test out a few tracks below or stream the entire tape, including the electro-pop "Frogs", the slinky dance pop of "Avocado Galaxy" and Royal Headache's wonderful "Carolina".  Downloads are available at the Bandcamp link.

Hand Games on Facebook
Hand Games on Twitter

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Ghosts of Johnson City - Am I Born To Die?

It now is fall, with overcast skies, rain spitting with a force that is hard not to take personally, chill winds and extended darkness.  Sometimes the best way to deal with it is to listen to music that travels the dark side.  And we have a good one for you.  Covering dark folk and Americana songs born of old battlefields, murders, dangerous whaling voyages and even more dangerous coal mines, Am I Born To Die? is the perfect album for the season.  It also is a musical creation that works on many levels - an archive of Americana music, excellent stories, suburb musicianship, as well as that delicious dark shading.  With all of that going for it, I expect it is likely to be an album you'll cue up whenever the mood it right.  And for those who like their musical stories a bit on the messy side, be assured that there is plenty of blood, heartache and death.

The album is the work of The Ghosts of Johnson City, which is comprised of Portland, Maine-based musicians Amos Libby (banjo/lead vocals), Douglas Porter (guitar/vocals), Erik Neilson (baritone ukulele/vocals), and Erik Winter (harmonium).  You can buy the album in CD or digital formats at the CD link below.  But for true appreciation, visit the band's website for lyrics and other information about the tracks.  Stream it below.  A few fingers of Rye aren't required, but it couldn't hurt.

CD Baby site for Am I Born To Die?

"Carbon" by Tuff Love

We here at WYMA are fans of Tuff Love, so we are happy that the Glasgow duo is preparing a new EP titled Dregs.  As with their most recent past releases, Dregs will by out via Lost Map Records.  Interested to hear where Tuff Love is going?  Check it out "Carbon" below.  To my ears it has a more overt moodiness than much of their prior work, but retains their delightful guitar and bass sound and spot-on dreamy harmony.

Lost Map Records page for Tuff Love

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Introducing: Port Sulphur

The Creeping Bent Organization is a record label and arts collective, headed by musician, producer, and all-around musico, Douglas MacIntyre.  Affiliated bands include Sexual Objects, Fire Engines, Jazzateers, The Sexual Objects, and today's featured artists, Port Sulphur.  Affiliated record imprints include We Can Still Picnic, which has featured on these pages previously.

We don't know much about Port Sulphur.   They have been described as an electronic collective, although they seem to be a pop/rock group as well.  My introduction was via the raucous, and totally danceable, gem "Fast Boys & Factory Girls", which was released in June.  That single followed by ten months a three track release titled EP1, which was released by We Can Still Picnic.  On EP1 the band covered PIL's "Poptones", with Erik Sandberg featuring on vocals, the Fire Engines' "Discord" with Russell Burn, and Alex Harvey Band's "The Faith Healer" with poet Jock Scot providing the vocals.  Enjoy, and if you are interested, see the Bandcamp links below.

Bandcamp for Fast Boys & Factory Girls
Bandcamp for EP1
The Creeping Bent Organization's website
The Creeping Bent Organization on Facebook
We Can Still Picnic on Facebook
Twitter for The Creeping Bent Organization
Twitter for We Can Still Picnic

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Expert Alterations - You Can't Always Be Liked

I don't know whether any of Alan, Patrick, or Paul -- the trio that comprise Baltimore trio Expert Alterations -- could cuff my trousers or fix the labels on my suit jacket.  But when it comes to writing a jangling guitar song these guys are ace.  Their debut album, You Can't Always Be Liked, is packed with perfectly crafted pop gems.  The lyrics are smart, and the tunes are fast and tight with the bass and drums driving the songs.  While the C-86 style of indie pop has been ascribed to their work, there is a hint of punk and a scrappy undercurrent to the proceedings, and I find more similarities with the more aggressive path taken by bands such as The Clean, The Wedding Present, The Feelies and some of the smart guitar pop bands that Glasgow seems to produce on a regular basis.

Breezy songs with a hint of anxiety, a sturdy backbone and a jangling guitar.  This is perfect stuff!

You Can't Always Be Liked is out on October 30 via Kanine Records in digital, CD and vinyl formats.

Kanine Records page for release
Bandcamp for release

Monday, October 26, 2015

Introducing: Yea-Ming and The Rumours

Long-time member of Bay Area band Dreamdate, Yea-Ming Chen now fronts the precious Yea-Ming and The Rumours.  Why should you care?  Perhaps because the following two songs, which provide a preview of their upcoming December release are wonderful.  With elements of folk, jangle pop and country, sweet vocals and angelic harmonies, Yea-Ming, Eoin, Anna, and Sonia make your day sound so much better.  I've also embedded their previous single below.


Andrew R. Burns & The Tropicanas - Delaydeez

What's on the menu today? Slop, that's what's on the menu.  But this is special slop - dreamslop all the way from Livingston, Scotland.  Yes, indeed, Andrew R. Burns & The Tropicanas have delivered Delaydeez, with three more lo-fi, reverbed gems of vaguely tropical dream pop.  Chill and relaxed, it is the perfect backdrop for your Monday.  Specifically, a way to pretend that your Monday still is Sunday, and this feeling of being at work is just an illusion.

The EP is available via Glasgow label Flowers In The Dustbin - see the Bandcamp link below.

Andrew R. Burns & The Tropicanas are Andrew Burns (vocals), Joe Murty (bass), Ru Macpherson (drums), and Joe White (guitar).

Bandcamp for the EP

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Kent Eugene Goolsby - Minor Wear EP

Less than four months after celebrating Kent Eugene Goolsby's No Substitute For Handsome (review here), the country boy has delivered the Minor Wear EP.  Comprised of four tracks of KEG's introspective country/folk gems, it is available for the even popular 'name your price' at the Bandcamp link below.  Stream the entire EP at the Bandcamp link.  The skeptical can test drive two tracks below.

The players on Minor Wear are Goolsby (vocals/guitar), Mark Sloan (guitar/pedal steel), Spencer Duncan (bass), Tyler Coppage (drums), and Anna Leigh Goolsby (vocals).  The record was recorded, mixed and mastered by Joey Kneiser.


Friday, October 23, 2015

Neon Indian - VEGA INTL. Night School

How does one address VEGA INTL. Night School?  My humble suggestion is just to surrender yourself to it.  Neon Indian has created a delightful synth-based dish of electronica, EDM, funk, new wave, disco, and reggae that works equally well as your party soundtrack or your late night private head trip.  Plenty of accents come from the tropics, and some with an '80s vibe, but nothing sounds particularly dated here, just moved into the future and decorated with more interesting details than a department store Christmas tree.  I can't listen to this album without envisioning strobe lights, moving bodies, flesh, touching, and passion.  Even if I listen to it sitting in a chair, I feel as if I should a shower afterword to freshen up.  And I think Neon Indian would find that to be a compliment.

Night School webpage

A Girl And A Gun

This is a fun Friday slice of off-kilter pop culture.  In honor of the upcoming Bond film (you've heard of him, I expect - 'Bond, James Bond') WIAIWYA has assembled 34 versions of various themes from the Bond films over the years.  Numerous artists contributed covers, and the variety is stunning.  Indie pop, blues, electro-pop, lounge, folk, new wave, punk and just about everything else in our "tag" library.  Each song receives several different treatments.

A Girl And A Gun is available at the Bandcamp link below for 'name your price'.  So you can get it free, but if you pay you will have access to the mobile Bandcamp app to play your favorite alternative Bond themes whenever and wherever you desire.  In addition to obtaining some fun versions of Bond songs, you likely will discover a few indie artists you would like to explore.

Bandcamp for album
WIAIWYA website

Thursday, October 22, 2015

"Don't Need You" by East of Here

"Don't Need You" is the new single from Sydney band East of Here.  A tale of the search for relationships in modern culture, if features passionate vocals and a chill groove.


Trader Horne - Morning Way

Trader Horne was formed by Judy Dyble (vocals/electric autoharp/piano), formerly of Fairport Convention (in which she proceeded Sandy Dennis as the lead female vocalist) and other bands, and Jackie McAuley (vocals/guitar/keys/whatever is needed), former bandmate of Van Morrison in Them.  Straddling the space between traditional British folk and the rock infused folk of Judy's former group and the likes of Steeleye Span, the duo began in early '69 and was done in '70.  Their total output was a couple of singles and an album titled Morning Way.  Earth Records has rescued the album from obscurity, and reissued it this month.  Of course it is a snapshot in time; an artifact of acid folk that had a good following and a number of purveyors on both sides of the Atlantic.  But it also is an artifact worthy of reissue.  Judy and Jackie combine well vocally, and collaborate beautifully instrumentally.  The songs are richly textured and airy.  And the band's decision to link songs with gentle instrumentals sets it apart from the work of their peers to delightful effect.  Best listened to in a single setting rather than as individual songs, one can only be disappointed that the duo didn't continue to hone their sound together.

This edition of Morning Way has been remastered and is available on limited edition vinyl and unlimited CD.  Fans who have wanted this album but balked at the prices asked in second hand stores finally have their Christmas self-present sorted out.  But this isn't an album just for existing fans.  It is an album that evokes summer and early autumn days in sunny meadows, with a picnic basket, a good bottle of wine, and a favorite companion.

Earth Records' order page for vinyl, CD and digital

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Introducing: Midnight Bloom

Our readers invariably respond favorably to our occasional features on French pop artists, so we are happy to again make a digital venture to France to introduce you to Midnight Bloom.   A duo consisting of Harisoa (vocals and bass) and Felix (guitar and percussion), they craft music that sounds both ultra cool and passionate.  Elements of blues, jazz and Latin rhythms make for a varied soundtrack for the remarkable vocals.   They released an EP titled Side By Side this Spring, which we recommend you check out at the Bandcamp link below.  It is available in digital format for 'name your price'.  Two of my favorite tracks are embedded below.

And a tip of the WYMA touring cap to the Piggledy Pop blog for he tip about Midnight Bloom.


Video for "Doorframe" by The Mantles

Way back -- two days ago (link) when we reviewed All Odds End, the new album from The Mantles, we didn't have a video for album track "Doorframe".   A great song with a bit of The Bats and The Chills in its DNA, the video is a fine way to experience it again.

Slumberland Records page for album

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

DUCKY - Lost Angeles EP

Young Morgan Neiman, aka DUCKY, has an incredible feel for club music.  According to the story, she (courtesy of a fake ID) was working in clubs as a DJ while still in her teens.  Moving to NYC, she continued to hone her craft.  The wandering artist is now in LA, which has inspired her latest work, the three track Lost Angeles EP.  To my ears, DUCKY's work is finely detailed, artfully nuanced and features the big groove we want in our club music.  Check it out below, and if you agree with my assessment of her talent, visit her Soundcloud or webpage for more.


Monday, October 19, 2015

The Mantles - All Odds End

Tastes are individual.  But for me one band that never fails to satisfy is Oakland's The Mantles.  And their ability to deliver isn't dependent on outside of the box genre or incredible production wizardry.  It is the result of doing what they do -- psychedelic garage pop -- and doing it better than the field.  Not louder, not faster, not by jerking out tears, not by aping some past fashion.  Just better.  So here we are with a clear contender for a spot in the top ten of my list of best albums of the year, All Odds End.

So, what makes this album so good?  It starts with excellent songwriting, emphasizing simple but appealing melodies and enough hooks to make a fisherman happy at Christmas.  The tone and vocals are melancholic, warm, and unassuming.  The songs don't force themselves on you, but rather seep into your brain and soon feel like old friends.  And as you get excited about the bright guitars and irresistible groove, you listen to the lyrics and realize that there is a lot more going on than Brit pop/Nuggets 'I'm in love' or 'live your life'.  Of course, that's a good thing, like finding the guy at the creamery store put an extra layer of fudge and whipped cream underneath your scoop of ice cream as well.  The album commences at a brisk pace with "Island", "Lay It Down" and "Police My Love" suggesting the dance album the Velvet Underground never recorded.  "Hate To See You Go", one of my favorites, adds a more melancholy shade with hints of the Yardbirds in the guitar chords.

The fine "Lately" finds The Mantles in a more reflective mood.  "Doorframe" and the gem "Time To Come Away" pick up the pace again.  "Undelivered" has a California jangle pop feel and could have been a hit for Asylum back in the day.  A hint of country rock comes with "Best Sides".  The album closes with "Stay", a surfy garage stomper so perfect, and perfectly placed, that you will unconsciously reach the the button to replay the album.  Sneaky, but sneaky good.

Of course, a tour through the album will stir memories of potential influences, such as Nuggets, paisley pop, British invasion, VU, '80s New Zealand guitar pop, Postcard era Glasgow bands.  But The Mantles aren't looking over their shoulders.  This is music for today and tomorrow, built on strong foundations.

All Odds End is out today, and is available on vinyl and CD, and as a digital download, via Slumberland Records.

The Mantles are Michael Olivares (guitar/vocals/songwriting), Justin Loney (lead guitar), Matt Bullimore (bass), Carly Putman (keys), and Virginia Weatherby (drums).  Olivares, Loney and Weatherby are Mantles veterans.  Newbies Putman and Bullimore more than pull their weight, adding substance and energy to the performances..  All Odds End is out now via Slumberland Records on CD, vinyl and digital formats.

Slumberland Records page for All Odds End

"Death Row" by Jimi Charles Moody

We've been featuring the digital releases of Jimi Charles Moody since they began, and we happily note that we finally have a date for his first album release.  Islington will be out on vinyl in December.  To pass the time until then, Jimi has thoughtfully shared another album track, the fine "Death Row".  We still don't know the identity of the UK chart-topping artist providing these bluesy gems, but there is not question about the quality of his music.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Video for Fraser A. Gorman's "Never Gonna Hold You (Like I Do)"

In June we featured Slow Gum, the debut LP from Melbourne's carpenter/troubadour Fraser A. Gorman (link).  Fraser has released a video for one of the great songs, "Never Gonna Hold You (Like I Do)".  Depicting a brief change of career as an ice cream truck driver and a carjacking, it is an excellent excuse to listen to the song again.

Bandcamp for Slow Gum

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Introducing: Yassou

Bay Area-based Yassou has embarked on a five-chapter video project to attract fans to deliver their bold brand of pop music.  Previously issued were "Fall Again" and "Youngblood".  The third chapter, "To Sink", now is available.  "In The Woods" will be released any day, and "In These Summer Nights" is scheduled for November 5.  We are quite taken with their approach, and have provided all three chapters below.

Yassou is Lilie Bytheway Hoy (lead vocals and bass), James Jackson (guitar, drums and vocals), A.J. Krumholz (guitar, keys, vocals), Patrick Aguirre (drums), and Theo Quimby (drums, piano, and vocals).

Chapter Two: "YoungBlood" --

Chapter One: "Fall Again" --

Yassou's media page

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Cleaners From Venus - Rose of the Lanes

The hell with old blue eyes, the guy that does it his way is Martin Newell.  Under his moniker The Cleaners From Venus, he has shared 16 tracks of psychedelic pop and lo-fi music hall style songs on his new album, Rose of the Lanes.  His songs massage your ear, delight your brain and soften your heart.  Martin is a writer and poet, and his literary talents are well-showcased in his unfussy and concise compositions.  As a performer, the man's vocals have lost none of their emotive charge and nuance.  The vibe is "English", in the same way that such description brings to mind such worthies as Robyn Hitchcock or Peter Astor.  But the delivery is varied, with buzzing indie rock such as "Little French Blue", the jangle pop of ""Isn't She The Biz" and "Billy Liar", the acid folk of "Ministry of Light", the rocking sing-along stomper "Third Summer of Love", the bright and wistful pop of "Liverpool Judy", and the music hall pop of "Lazy Elaine" and "Tatterdemalion".  Rose of the Lanes is a true renaissance man project, as Martin recorded the album, playing all the instruments, on a Transcam with Audacity freeware.

Every time I listen to this album, I discover additional details that give me pleasure.  Rose of the Lanes is an album to treasure.  You can test it out with a few tracks below, and you can stream the entire album at the Bandcamp link below.  The album is out now via Soft Bodies Records.

For those unfamiliar with Newell, he  started his music career in the early '70s, and has been involved in multiple projects including Cleaners From Venus, which he formed in the '80s.  He is a active writer of prose and poetry.

Digital and CDR formats of Rose of the Lanes are available at the Bandcamp link below, as well as various digital outlets.

Martin Newell's webpage
Bandcamp for Rose of the Lanes
Soft Bodies Records

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"End of Times" by Tourist Dollars

Not long ago we featured an EP by Redspencer (link).  Dave and Aiden McMillan from that project have joined up with Jesse McCormack to form Tourist Dollars.  Your bracing introduction to the Melbourne-based band comes via "End Of Times".  Beginning with an aggressive base link and jangling, reverbed guitar, it evokes grand vistas and a hint of western US-tinged roots rock.  "End Of Times" is out now as a single via Deaf Ambitions.  An EP will be released in early 2016.

Deaf Ambitions page for release
Deaf Ambitions

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Spook School - Try To Be Hopeful

It probably isn't controversial to suggest that the best music is a marriage of passion and skill.  On Try To Be Hopeful, everything we knew and liked about The Spook School is back again, but is bigger and better this time around.  The hooks are plentiful and well defined, the noise is bigger, the nuances better constructed, and the social-political messages near and dear to their hearts are more upfront.  And when a band is as good as this Edinburgh quartet, this all adds up to a top flight pop album.

Thematically the album addresses issues of gender identification, stereotypes and narrow expectations.  The commentary is clear-eyed, blunt, and at times biting.  But the delivery is declarative rather than complaining, resulting in a message that is bold and hopeful.  Musically, the guitars bristle, buzz and crunch in a satisfying fashion.  This is a burly sound that should bring to mind The Buzzcocks and The Wolfhounds -- fist pumping noise pop that commands your feet to move.

Try To Be Hopeful is out now via Fortuna POP!

The Spook School is Nye Todd, Adam Todd, Anna Cory, and Niall McCamley.

Bandcamp for Try To Be Hopeful and other merch
Fortuna POP! page for Try To Be Hopeful
Fortuna POP!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Various Artists - David Cameron's Eton Mess

David Cameron's Eton Mess is my Friday delight.  No, I don't take any pleasure in the mistakes, deliberate and accidental, inflicted on the UK by Cameron and his cohorts.  I'm speaking about this absolutely delightful collection of emerging Scottish guitar bands complied by Matthew Young of Song By Toad Records.  The bands are young, many are friends, and some share musicians with other bands (such as Alansmithee and Andrew R. Burns & The Tropicanas).  There is dream pop, punk, surfy noise pop, alt rock, fuzz, dreamslop, slacker pop and just about anything else you could want.  And you have to regard it as a snapshot in time.  Some of these bands will still be going and growing in a year, and some won't.  But this is a moment in the indie sun for them, and you should take advantage of it.  Oh, I should mention that there is no overriding political theme here.  It seems the title of the release was just a convenient way to take a shot at Cameron, Eton and the mess.  And to provide a pithy title.  Nothing wrong with any of that from our perspective.

You can stream the entire compilation at the Bandcamp link below, and I encourage you to do so.  Towards the bottom of the Bandcamp page there are links to the featured bands, so you can explore more deeply those that interest you.  However, for those in a hurry, I've embedded a few gems below.

Lush Purr --

Breakfast Muff --

Passion Pusher --

Froth --

Dearness --

Bandcamp for album
Song By Toad blog
Twitter for Song By Toad

Thursday, October 8, 2015

"Boundless Plains To Share" by SMILE

We last featured Melbourne's SMILE in 2013 when they released their debut album Life Choices (link).  We were won over by the band's sun bleached psychedelic pop and relaxed vibe.  Sophomore album Rhythm Method will arrive in early 2016, but SMILE is offering a taste with "Boundless Plains To Share".  Thematically, the song addresses the refugee crisis, pointing out the vast spaces available in Australia.  Musically, it seems to herald a bit broader and more muscular atmosphere that its predecessor.  Perhaps psychedelic pop meets '90s alt rock, and that can be a good thing for our ears.

SMILE is Pete Baxter, Max Turner, Josh Delaney and Liam Gough.  Their label is Smooch Records.

Smooch Records

Shopping - Why Choose

Throbbing post punk with spiky, angular guitars, stuttering rhythms and talk/sing call-and-response vocals -- are you in?  You should be.  East London's Shopping is one of the unsung gems of the London scene, and their excellent new album, Why Choose, is well constructed and eminently danceable (check out "Straight Lines" below).  With the bass leading the way on many tracks, this album has a deep grove to match its edgy, twitchy vibe.  Fans of The Au Pairs, Gang of Four, and The Slits may take to this sound most readily, but frankly I can't see anyone who likes danceable rock not loving this album.  I liked their 2013 album Consumer Complaints, but Why Choose seems to me to be a big step forward -- more polished, but not glossy, and with better developed song structures.  Most importantly, it retains and improves the band's ability to deliver incredibly taut songs, bristling with energy and urgency and packed with hooks.

Shopping are Rachel Aggs, Billy Easter, and Andrew Milk.  Why Choose is out now via FatCat Records.  The band currently is touring North America. Check out their Facebook page for dates and locations.

FatCat Records

Video for "I'm Not Vicious" by Sweet Madness

In late June we featured the sweet sounds of Spokane, Washington's Sweet Madness (review here) upon the release of the the second compilation of their work, Volume 2 Made In Spokane 1978-1981.  When music is that good, we are happy for any opportunity to feature it again.  Our chance to do so comes via this video for album track "I'm Not Vicious".  My goodness -- this is great stuff!


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"Inside"/"So Bright" by Zone Out

Melbourne's Zone Out was a band, then it wasn't a band, and now is a band again.  Reformed by Ashley Bundang, of other projects Totally Mild, Sui Zhen, and Ciggie Witch, and Dove Bailey of the very noisey (and completely wonderful) Scotdrakula, they have released the "Inside"/"So Bright" single via Deaf Ambitions.  The digital is available now, and the vinyl is expected to be available next month.

You can stream "Inside" below.  Ashley's delicate and perfectly phrased vocals float over unassuming by richly detailed production.  I'd like to hear much more of this, so I was happy to learn that Deaf Ambitions will be releasing a full Zone Out LP in 2016.

Deaf Ambitions page for "Inside"/"So Bright"
Bandcamp for 2013 EP

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Close Lobsters - Firestation Towers 1986-1989

Every long-time music fan has a list of bands that should have been better known, and given my focus on lesser known bands my list grows longer every year.  But near the top of my list is Paisley, Scotland's Close Lobsters.  The band often is associated with the C86 bands because they were included in the seminal compilation.  But like the Wolfhounds, they were playing in a different playground.  Yes, the guitars jangled.  But they, and the choruses, also soared to the rafters and were sturdy enough, and at times demanded, the sort of volume that one expects with indie rock and college rock outfits.  The rhythm section had more heft and bounce than the average C86 output.  And then there were the lyrics -- consistently intelligent and well constructed.  Moreover, unlike The Smiths, who gathered a larger fan base in the jangling end of the spectrum, Close Lobsters' lyrical content wasn't focused on sharing the band's tears or causing you to shed some of your own.  In my view, in the late '80s they were the perfect guitar band for intelligent, well adjusted fans, which of course describes me down to my last button.

Formed in 1985 with Andrew Burnett (vocals), his brother Robert (bass), Tom Donnelly (guitar), Graeme Wilmington (guitar), and Stewart McFayden (drums).  "Firestation Towers" landed on the C86 comp, and Fire Records released the band's first single.  During their first active period as a band Close Lobsters released two albums -- Headache Rhetoric and Foxheads Stalk This Land -- and a number of singles.  Fire Records has assembled both LPs and the singles, b-sides and rarities, which previously were available on Forever, Until Victory! The Singles Collection, as a three-CD box set titled Firestation Towers 1986-1989.  There probably are other arguments for obtaining this set, but the most important one is that this is really terrific guitar pop, with no weak songs, and you'll want to listen to it until you no longer have working ears.  If my desert island list is allowed to have box sets, this one is on it.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Close Lobsters never broke up.  They did take an extended hiatus, but returned last year with an excellent single for Shelflife Records, and I believe they are working on more new material.  That makes me a happy man, indeed.  But until the new songs are available, I need Firestation Towers 1986-1989 in my life.

Fire Records page for release
Bandcamp for release

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Shifting Sands - Cosmic Radio Station

One of the pleasures of listening to pop music is finding a band that has a clear vision of the sound they want to produce, and the ability to deliver that sound.  When it is a sound that you like, the pleasure is sublime indeed.  For me ears, The Shifting Sands, from the south island of New Zealand is such a band.  Their new LP, the appropriately named Cosmic Radio Station, is a ten-song tapestry of note perfect psychedelic pop, featuring intricately layered guitars, fuzz, feedback, melody, drone, and airy vocals.  While staying within the psychedelic channel, the band is adept at changing pace and emotional space, resulting in an album that evokes the namesake breadth of the cosmos.  The three songs I've provided below, triumphant album opener "Waiting For The Sun", the sparkling "All The Stars" and the chugging "Should Be Better" -- provide but a taste of the goods on offer.  Other highlights are the thick psychedelic drone of "Making It Through" and "Abstract Objects", "Coming Back" (with David Kilgour of The Clean and David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights on guitar) and "Whareakeake".  The latter, a short instrumental, presumably named after the surf beach near Dunedin, currently is song on the album I'm most inclined to repeat.  For fans of psychedelic pop, like me, this is an inspired album.  From where did the inspiration derive, from the cosmic radio station, of course.  And this album translates it very, very well.

The Shifting Sands are Mike McLeod (guitar/vocals), Tom Bell (bass) and Jake Langley (drums).  The trio run and allegedly haunted music venue called Chick's Hotel in Port Chalmers, which is near Dunedin.  Able assistance on a couple tracks is provided by David Kilgour on guitar and Alex Vaatstra on violin.  Cosmic Radio Station is released by Dunedin label Fishrider Records, which not only performs a wonderful service in exposing the music of the south island to a broader audience, but has excellent and varied taste, as demonstrated on the label's Bandcamp page.

UK fans are advised that Occultation Records will have copies of the album later this month.

Bandcamp for Cosmic Radio Station
Fishrider Records
Fishrider Records' Bandcamp page
Occultation Records

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Video for "Ui Yia Uia" by NO ZU

In late August I featured one of the most awesome songs of the year, "Ui Yia Uia" from Melbourne band No Zu.  The song, which is taken from the band's 2016 release Afterlife for Chapter Music, is now subject to a video worthy of it.  "Ui Yia Uia" is available as a digital download single (here and here)


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Introducing: Goddam Nobody

Some days it is tougher to get some work done at WYMA World Headquarters.  Here is the discussion that occurred ten minutes ago between me and Ralph The Intern ("RTI").

Me: Good Morning Ralph.

RTI: Hi, Scott. What's going on this morning?

Me: I'm planning to write about an English band.

RTI: What's their name?

Me: They are Goddam Nobody …

RTI: Whoa - Scott! You need an attitude adjustment!  This band, whomever they are, may not have a big reputation, but they deserve our respect.  After all, you're the guy who wanted the blog to focus on lesser known and small or no label bands.

Me: Ralph, I think that you misunderstood me.  The band is Goddam Nobody …

RTI: Man, you really have it bad today.  I don't think you should tackle writing that feature until you get your head right.

Me: [sigh] Maybe you are right, Ralph.  It would be helpful if you went out and got us some coffee, rolls and a bottle of something to brighten up the coffee.  Take your time, enjoy the morning and charge it to the research budget.  And go to the shop in the city center.  Their pastries are better than the closer shops.

RTI: Sure thing, Boss!  And I'll be happy to help you with the feature about the English band when I get back.  Maybe you'll start by telling me their real name.

Sometimes, you get what you pay for.  That is the case with Ralph, the unpaid intern.  But sometimes, you get much more, as is the case with Goddam Nobody.  These guys craft songs with a '50s - '60s vibe and play them straight up, un-ironic.  Sometimes they put a dream pop sheen on it.  It all sounds great to my ears.    They have released three EPs which are available at the Bandcamp link below.  They are attractively offered at 'name your price', and I encourage you to give them something above zero for their trouble.  After all, we want to hear more from them.  I've played each EP several times over the past few days and now I'm updating it into my Sonos system.  My wife's life is going to be filled with Goddam Nobody.  She's lucky to have me.

The members of the band are Oli, Jonny, Dan, and Jamesy, and sometimes members Matt Cleave, Dan E. Brown and Joshy Gibbs.  They list their homes as London and Falmouth.

Take a taste of their new five-song No Lust For Life EP via "Hit The Ceiling".  A great sing-along melody, fun story and a '60s garage vibe.

And here is a slow-dance gem from their Cut And Paste To Waste EP.

Don't miss the title track from their No One Around EP, which may be the sweetest sounding three songs in their catalog.

I've go to press 'publish' here because Ralph is coming up the stairs and I need to find a project to distract him.

Super Fan 99 Records

Friday, October 2, 2015

Sleuth - Out Of The Blue Period

We are unabashed fans of pop music globalism.  In the past two weeks we've featured music from the US, Scotland, England, Denmark, Singapore, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand.  However, we feel that we haven't been fair to our close northern neighbors.  So today we feature Out Of The Blue Period from Vancouver, BC band Sleuth.  Quick descriptions of this album likely will reference "indie pop", "jangling", and "twee".  And glancing at the tags I've chosen for this post, I'm as guilty as anyone.  However, while all those terms generally apply, I think that there is a lot more going on here than what we normally would associate with those tags.  The arrangements are more varied and adventuresome.  And the lyrical content is a cut above most pop.  The result is an album that you will like the first time you play it, but chances are you'll like it more with successive listens as you tune in to the subtle details that make Sleuth such a good band.

As frequent readers know, I'm a big fan of jangle pop, and this album delivers a satisfying dose starting with the opening track, "Good On Ten Inside (I Don't Mind)".  Some of the brightest gems here, however, step beyond that genre.  I've provided a few tracks below, but I encourage you to hit the Bandcamp link and let Sleuth be the soundtrack for your evening.  And take the time to watch the video for "A Finely Tuned Machine".  Any band that can talk the local roller derby ladies into filming a music video gets extra points from me.

Sleuth is The Lion in Love, Julian Bowers, Oliver McTavish-Wisden, and Leon Easter.  I few years ago I think I tracked down a more official name for The Lion in Love when I featured an earlier release from the band, but I'm not going to do it again.  If he wants to be known as The Lion in Love, who am I to argue?  I'd only advise him to avoid dentists from Minnesota.

Out Of The Blue Period is available on vinyl, CD and digital formats from Jigsaw Records.

Bandcamp for Out Of The Blue Period
Jigsaw Records page for Out Of The Blue Period

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Crayon Fields - No One Deserves You

Once upon a time Melbourne boasted a fine, very young indie pop band called The Crayon Fields.  Formed in high school and self-educated in the art of lo-fi psychedelic shaded dream pop, they earned a faithful following and released some fine records.  The band then went silent for a while one of their number, Geoff O'Connor, embarked on a solo project more focused on synth pop.  Now, in the latter half of 2015, the foursome's paths have converged again and the rejuvenated band has released No One Deserves You.  Its ten tracks combine the dream pop and '80s influenced synth pop into a wonderful blend that is as pleasing to the ear as anything I've heard this year.  The sound is smooth and infused with romantic yearning.  The harmonies soar and the hooks tug at your emotions.

For me, the best songs are opener "Slow Magic", the two previously released songs, "She's My Hero" and the soaring "Love Won't Save You" (back in the '80s when MTV played music, a video for this one would have been in frequent rotation), "Night Moves", and the retro "So Do I" -- my goodness, I love this song.  But there are no songs to skip, just favorites to repeat a few times.

This edition of The Crayon Fields is not the last decade's version.  But it isn't a lesser version.  More mature, more assured, but still optimistic and unjaded, and with a keen knack for crafting a song.  This version of The Crayon Fields will do just fine indeed.

The Crayon Fields is Geoffrey O'Connor, Neil Erenstrom, Brett Hudson, and Chris Hung.  No One Deserves You is out now in CD, digital, and vinyl formats from Chapter Music (vinyl is delayed until late October, according to the label).

Chapter Music

"Warm Waveform" by The Chills

As we previously announced, Martin Phillipps and his current incarnation of The Chills will release Silver Bullets, their first album of new music in many years at the end of this month via Fire Records.  In advance of that date, the band has released the second track from the LP.  "Warm Waveform" demonstrates that Martin has lost none of his ability to create rousing, shimmering pop music.

The Chills are Martin Phillipps (vocals/guitar), James Dickson (bass/backing vocals), Todd Knudson (drums/backing vocals), Erica Stichbury (violin/backing vocals), and Oli Wilson (keys/backing vocals).

Fire Records