here), their first album of new material in nearly two decades, on December 11 The Chills will release another single from the LP. Most would consider it among the best songs on the album, and undeniably one of the catchiest, "When The Poor Can Reach The Moon" is suffused with hope for the less fortunate. Have a listen via the charming video. The single will be available via Fire Records.
Monday, November 30, 2015
Initially a band whose first impression was hook-filled scrappiness, albeit one with a knack for a well-crafted musical story, The Deadline Shakes as of late 2015 is now a much more complete outfit. The compositions are more ambitious, the sound fuller, the instrumentation more robust and detailed. The various faces the band presents include a familiar jangle, a sharp edge, changes of pace, and a romantic or yearning sigh. Moreover, as these faces often share space in the same tune, the songs unspool as a series of mini epics.Yet the band has retained their ability to present pop tunes that are emotionally accessible and unafraid of vulnerability. There is a good dose of polish in the production, but it never feels too slick or over stuffed. Three of my favorites are available to stream below, but you can listen to the entire album at the Bandcamp link below.
Zealots is out now in digital and CD formats via Flowers In The Dustbin. The Deadline Shakes are Greg Dingwall (vocals/guitar), Iain McKinstry (vocals/guitar), Martin McLeod (bass), Thomas Booth (drums), Michael Muir (violin/banjo), Kiera Pollock (vocals/guitar), and Sam Clark.
Bandcamp for Zealots
Flowers In The Dustbin
Flowers is Sam Ayres, Rachel Kenedy and Jordan Hockley.
Sunday, November 29, 2015
The self-titled album, in my opinion, is one of the better debut releases this year. Our curator/musician has drawn from his bands like Yo Ya Tengo, Velvet Underground, Luna, The Bats, and Bill Callahan to make an album of evocative melodies and satisfying guitar textures. But Harrison isn't just making a patchwork quilt of worthy influences. He is blending them together to make his own statement via a warm and instantly familiar set of songs. Sometimes sounding recalling New Zealand post-punk, sometimes The Feelies or Galaxie 500, and sometimes a bit of dusty Americana. And then, there are the vocals. Ben has a gravelly but melodic baritone that brings to mind DIY godfather Calvin Johnson. When paired with the female vocals from Cindy Yogmas, the result is magic. You don't have to have been a fan of Beat Happening to celebrate this pairing, but it will make your appreciation that much greater.
In addition to Yogmas, Harrison fleshed out the songs with Jeff Baron (Essex Green/Ladybug Transistor) on guitar. Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500/Luna/Dean and Britta) also contributed guitar for the recording. The recording band included Sean Finn (drums), David Horn (bass), who with Harrison, Yogmas and Phil Jacoby (guitar), form the band for live shows.
Stutter Steps is released via Pittsburgh label Wild Kindness Records.
Wild Kindness Records
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
And for those hoping that the meaning of "goon sax" would be smutty and outrageous, be advised that the term is slang for the shiny plastic bag inside cask wine. Although I suspect that its mention could still get you slapped in some places with the right inflection.
Chapter Music page for "Boyfriend"
Bandcamp for "Boyfriend"
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
link) a little EP from a Scottish band named Cherri Fosphate, suggesting that they were a band to watch for the future. However, since we know what lazy slackers you all are, I expect that most of you haven't really been watching. Well, that's your mistake, because the band has released their debut full length, We Didn't Come Here To Say Goodbye, and it is even better than I would have predicted based on that fine earlier record. With vocals that recall Frightened Rabbit and a bit of Maximo Park and The Futureheads (if the latter two had been from a bit further north and west), guitars that evoke The Strokes in their prime, and pace and energy that recall Dogs Die In Hot Cars, this is a bundle of melody and muscular energy with a heavy Scots accent. The band proves more than adept in a few songs with a more relaxed tempo, but if you are like me it is the up-tempo songs that will keep a smile on your face and We Didn't Come Here To Say Goodbye on your playlist for quite some time.
Bandcamp for album
Bandcamp for album
Sea Pinks is Neil Brogan, Davey Agnew, and Steven Henry. Soft Days will be released by the Brogan's own CF Records.
Bandcamp link for digital order of "Depth of Field"
Bandcamp link for pre-order of Soft Days
Monday, November 23, 2015
While refining my list of notable albums for end of the year awards, I discovered that one of the albums in my likely top 20 list had not been featured. I suspect the reason is that I received my copy while recovering from an accident, but I nevertheless feel that the omission should be corrected, so here it the belated feature for White Men Are Black Men Too, by Young Fathers.
With a wide scope concept of pop music, versatile compositions, tons of ability and an insistence on delivering their art on their own terms Young Fathers are, in my opinion, one of the more exciting bands indie music. Previously, the Edinburgh trio released two EPs (Tape One and Tape Two) and an LP, Dead, which won the Mercury Prize. White Men Are Black Men Too finds the band continuing to tighten their musical expression while testing boundaries, both musical and thematic. The lyrics are clear-eyed and direct. The breadth of possible musical cousins, if not influences, such as TV On The Radio, Arcade Fire, Dirigible Planets, R&B and neo-soul illustrate why Young Fathers confound those who would put them in a genre box and try to explain their music from a single perspective. It seems to me that all one can do is let the music wash over you and tell the world what you hear.
And what you hear are strong pop melodies, aggressive bass and percussion and plenty of frills filling in at the higher register. Each song is like unwrapping a present, unraveling at its own pace and in its own unique way. As a whole, it is a big sound born of big ambition teamed with breathtaking talent. The best pop music is made by having something to say, and then saying it well. Based on this album, Young Fathers are near the head of the class in pop music.
For those unfamiliar with the band, they call themselves Young Fathers because each of them is named after his father. Based in Edinburgh, Graham 'G' Hastings was born in that city, while Alloysious Massaquoi is from Liberia via Ghana, and Kayus Bankole grew up in the United States, but his parents were from Nigerian.
Friday, November 20, 2015
The Wildness is an album made by a man who loves rock and roll, for listeners who love rock and roll. What more do you need?
Bandcamp for The Wildness
This Is American Music
Thursday, November 19, 2015
Stuck In The Never Ending Now is available this week via Matinee Recordings.
Matinee Recordings page for Stuck In The Never Ending Now
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Wreckless Eric (the performance name for Eric Goulden) climbed into the consciousness of many of us indie rock fans as a musician we considered very British. British like Ray Davies, Robyn Hitchcock, Peter Astor and Nick Lowe. Like many "facts", the truth is a bit different. Eric is, in fact, a bit less British in current physical form, as he has lived a number of different places over the years, and if my usually casual research is correct the man now is living in upstate New York. And for those not inclined to research, the latest Wreckless Eric album is titled amERICa, and the cover announces "Made in the USA Using American Parts And Labor". So if you want to 'buy British', I think the man's work still qualifies, but if you want to buy American, I think you can be comfortable.
Now, after that background the relevant questions is whether the album is worth your time and money. Our answer is"yes". The album contains eleven eccentric nuggets of personal stories and societal observations, packaged in Eric's adept songcraft and recorded with a chugging style that oozes both rock and roll spirit and the feeling that the author doesn't quite fit in society's well-defined boxes. And for those of us in America, it is interesting to see our country through another's eyes.
amERICa is out now via Fire Records.
Bandcamp for album
Fire Records page for album
Monday, November 16, 2015
The Obleeks are two brothers, Andy and Lee Ketch, plus Nick Harris. The Chicago trio plays power pop and bar rock with energy and verve. A self-titled four song EP was released in March, and it is available for 'name your price' at the Bandcamp link below. The Bandcamp page has links to other releases by the band.
To our ears, The Obleeks have the rock and roll fever, and will happily infect you as well.
The Jackals are an Edinburgh four-piece whose brand of warm, psychedelic indie rock sounds as at home on the American west coast as it does in their home city. Their new album People features soulful vocals, jangling guitars and melodies that range from dusty psychedelia to surf to foot-tapping country rock. Some of the songs, such as "Ghost Soul Traffic", are perfect for racing down the highway with the top down. Some are better for late at night. But the boys don't put a wrong foot forward over the course of this album, and the quality begs for a wide audience. Unfortunately, no major label has stepped up to do assist with that task, so it fall to fans like WYMA. Check out a few tracks below and then hit the links.
The Jackals are Scott Wilson (vocals/guitar), Paddy McMaster (drums/vocals), David Panton (bass/vocals), and Gary Quilietti (guitar). People is available in digital and vinyl formats from the Cartel page and other outlets below. The cassette version is available from Burger Records.
The Jackals' Big Cartel page
Friday, November 13, 2015
Mt. Doubt is an Edinburgh-based band that plays dark, brooding indie rock. The frontman is Leo Bargery, who writes the songs and them brings them to life with the band. This is perfect music to play late at night when finishing your last drink before bed. There are some similarities with American band Pela (now defunct) and its successor, We Are Augustines: Good writing; and sincere performances. Their recent song "Soak" can be streamed and downloaded below.
You can buy a physical copy of the band's EP My Past Is A Quiet Beast here. If you are satisfied with digital, a number of their recent songs are available for free download at the Soundcloud link below.
link) and his single with Keith Negrus for a project titled The Fairlight Myth (link). The album, named Spilt Milk, will include Mr. Music, as well has "My Right Hand", which can be streamed below. The album was recorded at the home of James Hoare (Veronica Falls, The Proper Ornaments, and Ultimate Painting), with James providing much of the instrumentation. Based on what we have heard so far we think we will love this album.
Thursday, November 12, 2015
The Moonlight may never be well-known outside of New Zealand, but if such is the case it won't be my fault. Their recently released self-titled album is superb guitar pop, and I intend to sing their praises to anyone who will listen. Softly sung harmonies riding jangling guitars over a chugging rhythm section, sometimes dissolving into swelling dream pop. Songs with appealing melodic structures and gentle but insistent hooks, then painted in melancholy shades. For fans of jangle pop we could just write "New Zealand" and folks would nod knowingly. But true fans know that there is no template, and while hints of other bands are audible here, the trio of Tim Lewton, Nich Cunningham and John Crocker are mining their personal existential vein in their own vision. And it is well worth your ears. And speaking of worth, a digital download is only ten New Zealand dollars. Test out three tracks below and stream the entire LP at the Bandcamp link -- where you will be prompted to buy. And which you will do ...
Wimps latest effort is the 12-song Suitcase, the band's second full album Channeling the cynicism, boredom, angst and drudgery of life in concise nuggets of self-effacing lyrics and chugging punk and garage rock, it is the band's best work and among the best punk to be released this year. Guitarist Rachel Ratner shout-sings and tosses of angular riffs, while Matt Nyce's bass and Dave Ramm's drums provide energetic drive to the proceedings. The songs are varied, with plenty of pop hooks and a good dose of humor leavening the sharp observations of life in the hipster city. The video version of the opening track and a stream of the title track are below. But because the band, the label, and WYMA are all very nice people, a full album stream is provided as well. It is almost Friday, rock on, crash, and then line up to purchase a suitcase.
Suitcase is out tomorrow, November 13, via Kill Rock Stars. And Seattle fans should note that the band's release show is at the Funhouse Lounge with Stickers, Mombutt, and Boyfriends. The following night they will play at The Know in Portland.
Bandcamp for Suitcase
Kill Rock Stars
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
I take no credit for Chorusgirl. But I will take the time to point out that I was on this bandwagon early, as just short of two years ago I featured the band based on a couple of demos (here). Twenty-three months later the London-based outfit has presented us with their self-titled debut LP for evaluation of their progress. After multiple spins, and noting that we are most of the way through 2015, my verdict is that Chorusgirl is a top fifteen album for the year. Consider all the promise we've heard in the best tracks from emerging indie guitar bands in recent years (I won't mention names), and imagine a greatest hits compilation. Wait, no need for such speculation. Just get a copy of this album and let the fuzz pop, new wave, alt-rock and '60s revival tunes with layered harmonies and walls of sound make sweet love to your ears while the rhythm section knocks the air out of your lungs.
There are many reasons why this album feels special, starting with the high quality of the vocals and musicianship. But that should be expected of an album worthy of review. What Chorusgirl brings to the party to put them near the top is tight, fresh songwriting and a palpable joy in performing. The lyrics have weight and, in some cases, an edge, but the music always lifts you up. German-born Silvi Wersing, a musician in other bands, composed most or all of these songs on her laptop, and then recruited a band to bring them to life. The name of the project is a wry nod to her prior roles. And maybe that background goes part of the way to explain the euphoric sound the band produces. Silvi is now doing her own thing. And we're very glad for that.
Chorusgirl is Silvi Wersing (vocals and guitar), Udo Westhoff (bass), Michael Boyle (drums) and Diogo Oliveira (lead guitar). Chorusgirl is out this Friday, November 13, via Fortuna POP!
Another day, another new talent to follow. Cloves is a young singer songwriter from Melbourne, Australia, with an undeniable knack for singing the song you wish you could sing after your heart has been broken. And thank goodness she does it so well because in those situations we are usually too busy sobbing to try and sing a note, so we're happy to delegate. The arrangements are simple: Cloves and a piano or guitar, and some percussion. But what a voice! She's toured in the UK and US, and has a vinyl-only three-song EP titled XIII. Three songs are below - listen and weep, with joy.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Wring The Moisture From The Surf is one of the more interesting releases I've encountered this year. Created by a UK collective called hd hausmann, whose members are helpfully identified as AS, TS, MR, LP, SD, JH, AL, RH, AO, AO, and NJ. LP is the vocalist and lyricist, and apparently the others variously contribute their parts, recorded in isolation in different locations and without hearing the contributions of the others. And perhaps defying expectations, the result is a soaring, uplifting celebration of melody and textures. Acoustic and electronic elements combine, building tension and emotion to grand musical statements that evokes wide spaces, racing clouds and a pounding surf. With little biography, back story or geographic detail, one can only focus on the music. I assure you, that is enough. This is a wonderful LP that will live on your playlist for a long time.
Wring The Moisture From The Surf is out now via Marshall Teller Records.
hd hausmann - 'Old Satellites' from Nicholas Jones on Vimeo.
Wring The Moisture From The Surf is out now via Marshall Teller Records.
hd hausmann - 'Old Satellites' from Nicholas Jones on Vimeo.
Monday, November 9, 2015
The songs are tightly wound, with guitar lines by Rani Rose that alternate between jagged/angular and soothingly jazzy. Anchoring the songs is the steady groove provided by bassist Stacey Wilson and drummer Joe Alexander. In fact, while the guitar and twin vocals by Rani and Stacey are top class, what repeatedly draws me to the album is the groove. At times it reminds me of a more sophisticated brand of the adventurous '70s work by Lizzy Mercier Descloux. The final result is an album of evocative and varied textures of sound that is deeply satisfying and completely addictive.
The band was formed by Rani Rose and Stacey Wilson in Adelaide, and were joined by Brisbane's Joe Alexander. Terrible Truths is now based in Melbourne.
Terrible Truths is available now on vinyl and CD, and as a digital download, via Bedroom Suck Records.
Bandcamp for release
Bedroom Suck Records page for Terrible Truths
Car Seat Headrest is young Will Toledo. A prolific musician, the Seattle-based transplanted Virginian has just released Teens of Style, which I expect to be his breakout album, via Matador Records. The songs are a bit scruffy at the edges, but the hooks and melodies are great, the production crisp, and Toledo never forgets to flex his rock muscles. Add in an outsider's observational perspective and an adventurous craftsman's approach to structuring his songs, and you get an album that sounds like Guided By Voices songs reinvented by a talented, voluble young young man with an appreciation for orchestral pop. In the wrong hands, that could be a messy combination, but on Teens of Style, it is magic. Not all of the songs on the LP are recently, but rather represent selected songs that Toledo has penned over the last several years and recorded (or re-recorded) in the first half of 2015. But unless you have collected his prior work, that detail should be of no consequence to you. Perhaps that makes Teens of Style a bit of an appetizer, as a following release of new songs named Teens of Denial is planned for 2016. But I suggest that you don't wait. This album is too good to ignore and who knows what will really happen tomorrow, much less next year.
The players on Teens of Style are Andrew Katz (drums), Jacob Bloom (bass), Amanda Schiano di Cola (trumpet on tracks 5 and 10), Eleni Govetas (sax on track 8), and Will Toledo doing everything else.
Bandcamp for Teens Of Style
Friday, November 6, 2015
The band is Aleksander Raftevold (aka Aleks Grey), Reece Cairns, Eline Brun, Andreas Oxholm, and Andreas Skuggen.
Thursday, November 5, 2015
Zack Buchanan is The Outdoor Type. It's true -- it says so on his Facebook page. But more important than his implied rugged demeanor and skill in building a fire in the wilderness, Zack is an excellent songwriter and musician. We first featured his music a year ago (link) to feature his shimmering "Are You Happy", a wonderful tune with a '70s country rock vibe. Last April we featured "When The Sun Goes Down" (link), an equally good post punk song, and a month later featured his debut EP (link). So I guess you could say we favor the outdoor type.
Zack is back again with "On My Mind", which takes a scrappy, bouncy, but thoroughly engaging song with hints of Lou Reed (not completely an original thought on my part) and a bit of The Clean.
As a music blogger, I have a list of favorite blogs that I check myself, either because I like the way the bloggers address and write about the topic, or because the blogger has access to music to which I don't have ready access. One of such blogs is Ian's Pop Lib blog. His most recent post features an Auckland, New Zealand-based band (although I think they have roots in Montreal) named Wormstar. The band's recent album, Turning Red, is the sort of jangling guitar pop -- alternating between woozy shimmer and fuzz -- that we love here at WYMA. Test drive a few songs below and if it tickles your ears, click on the Bandcamp link below.
Bandcamp for Turning Red
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Efe Tekkanat is Oceans, a Finnish producer who crafts electronic soundscapes featuring warm tones, bright colors and surging rhythms. His second EP, Thrill, which is out now via Helsinki's Soliti Music, seems to find the artist in transition. While retaining his feel for atmospheric songs, Efe's five offerings on Thrill will be more than welcome on the club playlists. I find it a confident and well executed progression, resulting in an EP with provides considerable immediate satisfaction and intriguing promise for the future.
Alert readers will note that "Give All" is available for free download.
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Silver Bullets begins with a dramatic intro, and then launches into the delicate and dramatic "Warm Waveform", the rousing "Silver Bullets", and the pensive "Underwater Wasteland". All three are album highlights and, in my view, compare favorably with the band's work in the '80s and early '90s. "America Says Hello" delivers political observations in a classic Chills wrapper, while "Liquid Situation" is a too-short slice of early '80s Dunedin pop-punk. "Pyramid/When the Poor Can Reach the Moon" wears a dream-pop mantle for the beginning, then transitions into an experimental rock tune, and then becomes an upbeat pop song. Track 8 is the pacy "Aurora Corona", which to my ears is one of the best three songs on the album, and may deserve release as a single, and the following "I Can't Help You" is only slightly behind it. "Tomboy" provides a more serious note before the album ends with the triumphant "Molten Gold".
This album reaffirms Phillipps' knack for marrying the scrappy South Island New Zealand guitar sound with soaring pop sensibilities, crafting pop gems that feel memorable and timeless. In terms of consistency and quality, this is among the best set of songs in The Chills' discography.
The current version of The Chills consists of Martin Phillipps, James Kickson, Todd Knudson, Erica Scally, and Oli Wilson. Silver Bullets is out now via Fire Records.
Fire Records' page for Silver Bullets
Bandcamp for Silver Bullets