Quençebo, a bold, confident fusion of garage and dreampop, anthemic in scope and thrilling in the execution. Seven songs are Francesco's original compositions, and the band added an excellent version of LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends". This is a powerful little package, bursting with joy, melody and energy. You will be thankful for the replay button.
Quençebo is available now via Jigsaw records as a digital download or CD. See the Bandcamp link below.
Bandcamp for Quencebo
This is not music criticism. On this blog, you will only read about music we like.
Thursday, December 29, 2016
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Free five-song sampler from Dot Dash
We've been singing the praises of Washington, D.C.'s Dot Dash for several years. Actually, as I look at that first sentence I feel the need for a correction. We have been writing praises of Dot Dash -- we've left the singing to them. Trust us, it is better that way. Much, much better. And as the holiday season is in full flight, there is a Dot Dash gift for everyone. Due to the kind folks at the Last Day Deaf blog, a five song sampler is available to stream and download for $0. Yes, indeed. A free song from each of the band's excellent albums. You can stream it below. If you would like to download the songs (and of course you do), hit the Soundcloud link below and then click on each song in turn for the download arrow. So there you go -- Merry Christmas from Dot Dash, Last Day Deaf and, a little bit, from us at WYMA.
Soundcloud link for Dot Dash sampler
Dot Dash on Facebook
Dot Dash albums on Bandcamp
Dot Dash on Twitter
The Beautiful Music (label for Dot Dash albums)
Last Day Deaf blog
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
The Magnetic Fields - The Wayward Bus / Distant Plastic Trees
The Wayward Bus / Distant Plastic Trees are now available from Merge Records as a 2-LP vinyl release.
Merge Records page for release
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Callum Easter - Get Don't Want
Edinburgh's Callum Easter is a young man with a degree in sound production and a distinctive approach to pop music. Formerly a member of Stagger Rats, he now is exploring life as a solo artist. On his new EP Get Don't Want, he displays an impressive range of skills. The record begins with a swaggering, glam rock stomp titled "Feelings Gone". With his rock/pop chops thus well established, Easter spreads his wings with dub effects and washed out soundscapes and a lyrical delivery that varies between singing and speaking. Easter explores dark corners, and he does it with a captivating style.
Get Don't Want is out now via Soulpunk Records. See the Bandcamp link below.
Bandcamp for Get Don't Want
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Halfsour - Charm School EP
All six songs are keepers (one of the wonderful things about EPs, I think), but you'll likely be sold on the set after listening to the first and second tracks, "Ten Year Tenure" and "Vinyl Siding". The following "Scenes From A Coach" sounds like the sort of song that becomes a fan favorite with every aware person in the audience singing along. Track five, "Ice Cream Dinner", is the first song in the set that slows the tempo and lets that band display a bit of nuance. But even on this one, the guitar fizzes and crackles and the band goes loud on the chorus. Face it folks, these kids like to rock, and they do it well.
With Charm School, Halfsour has twice proved in 2016 to be a fresh and worthy set of faces on the indie rock scene. You need no more evidence, get the EP.
Charm School is available in digital, vinyl and cassette formats. See the Bandcamp link below.
Bandcamp for Charm School EP
"We Are Magic" by Red Sleeping Beauty
Labrador Records page for "We Are Magic"
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
"Guards Down" by Dag
Dag are a Melbourne guitar band we think will soon make a big splash. We featured one of their songs recently, but we now have "Guards Down", a single available for digital download. And it comes with a video for your complete, 360 degrees pleasure. As an added bonus, Heidi Cutlack performs background vocals. Dag's debut LP, Benefits of Solitude, will be released on February 24 via Bedroom Suck Records and Omnian Music Group.
Bandcamp page for single
Bedroom Suck Records
Omnian Music Group
"Meat Moon" / "Mary, Gary, warehouse" by Love Sport
The single is out today via Soliti Music. Love Sport's album Dull Tracks will be released by Soliti in the next few months. We are betting that the tracks on Dull Tracks will be anything but dull.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Tears Run Rings - In Surges
The album opens with the moody, staticy, mid-tempo "Happiness 6". In the following "Belly Up" Tears Run Rings spread their melodic shoegaze wings with soaring melodies and layered vocals. The band's dreampop craftsmanship is showcased on "Things Have Changed", which is likely to be a favorite among most listeners. "Parts of Glass" is jangling, moody haze dissolving to sunshine. "Green Lakes" presents ethereal tension and a sense of mystery. Dreampop and shoegaze meld into a perfect hazy bliss with angelic vocals on "Broken". "Destroyer" shimmers and sparkles, leading to the rocking, Ride-like shoegaze of "Something You Can't Hide". The album relaxes into jangling dreampop with "Sine Wave Sleep", and then ends with a "Happiness 7" -- a sweeping soundscape. Varied, detailed and beautifully executed, In Surges may be the shoegaze LP of the year. Sample below, and stream the entire album at the Bandacmp link.
Tears Run Rings are Dwayne Palasek (drums), Ed Mazzucco (guitar), Laura Watling (vocals/bass), and Matthew Bice (vocals/guitar). The four members reside variously in Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, which results in the members writing and sending their contributions via the internet to other members. From time to time, they converge and record, but as In Surges was under construction for six years, you'll have plenty of time to digest it before you hear a follow up. The band's past recordings include two LPs (most recently, the well received Distance) and one EP.
In Surges is out now on vinyl and digital formats via North Carolina's Deep Space Recordings.
Bandcamp page for digital album
Order page for vinyl
Deep Space Recordings
Monday, December 12, 2016
"Still Ticking" by Hollow Everdaze
Sunday, December 11, 2016
"Hymn On The 45" b/w "Wanderlust" by Allo Darlin'
Allo Darlin' has always been adept at combining melancholy and sunshine, romanticism and steely realism, emotional weight and devil-may-care attitudes, a longing for home and wanderlust. And this final record finds them in absolute top form doing what they do best. As always, the tone and phrasing of Elizabeth Morris' vocals star, and on the A-track in particular Paul Rain's guitar work shines. "Hymn On The 45" speaks to starting out in a new city, while "Wanderlust" addresses missing people and places while striking out for new adventures. This is a perfect slice of indie pop to end the year and end the recording career of an excellent band, the appreciation of which will only grow over the coming years. Are you ready for your goodbye kiss?
"Hymn On The 45" b/w "Wanderlust" is out now via Fortuna POP! The gold 7" vinyl is only available at the few shows the band are playing in the UK, but the record is available in digital format via the Bandcamp link below.
Allo Darlin's members are, or were, Elizabeth Morris (guitar/ukulele), Paul Rain (guitar), Bill Bottlng (bass), and Michael Collins (drums).
Bandcamp for "Hymn On The 45" b/w "Wanderlust"
Thursday, December 8, 2016
Lower Plenty - Sister Sister
With three songwriters and three voices, the band's offerings are uniformly high quality and very diverse, despite a core melancholic suburban ethos. While the songs initially can present a ramshackle face, the listener quickly appreciates the careful craftsmanship, and deadly aim, of the composer. The performances sound like a group of friends recording around a kitchen table, and supposedly, that is exactly how Lower Plenty pull things together. One could wonder whether the Velvet Underground would have sounded a bit like this if they were suburban Melbournians recording acoustic demos. Given the variety, it is impossible to predict anyone's favorite tracks. My ears pull me to the more upbeat opener, "Bondi's Dead", the weary "Glory Rats" and "Cursed By Numbers", the sprawling psychedelic "Ravesh" (which features an excellent sax contribution), and the anti-war "All The Young Men". But it is all excellent, and all so unlike what else you are likely playing now. Dance with the mystery girl, my friends, it is worth it.
Lower Plenty are Al Montfort, Jensen Tjhung and Sarah Heyward. Sister Sister is out now via Bedroom Suck Records in Australia/New Zealand and Omnian Music Group in North America.
Bandcamp for Sister Sister
Bedroom Suck Records
Omnian Music Group page for Sister Sister
Veronique Vincent & Aksak Maboul - 16 Visions of Ex-Futur
The songs mix electro pop with French pop and electronic dance music, and sound perfectly current for today's tastes despite their date of origin. 16 Visions of Ex-Futur isn't a re-release of the original album, but effectively a tribute album with covers and remixes of the songs from the original album. In addition to updated interpretations from the original artists, contributions come from Nite Jewel, Jaakko Eno Kalevi, Laetitia Sadier (late of Stereolab), Forever Pavot, Ramona Gonzalez and others. The result is a delightfully swirling and rhythmic soundscape in which you can get happily lost. And then press replay over and over again.
By the way, Crammed Discs has been one of my favorite label discoveries of the year.
Crammed Discs page for 16 Visions of Ex-Futur
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Soliti Five Years - My Brain Hurts A Lot
Soliti Music page for My Brain Hurts A Lot
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Ablebody - Adult Contemporaries
Adult Contemporaries is out now via Lolipop Records in CD, vinyl and digital formats (cassettes are sold out).
Bandcamp for Adult Contemporaries
Monday, December 5, 2016
Meursault - Simple Is Good
For Simple Is Good, Meursault is again Neil plus collaborators. In this case, Robyn Dawson, Fraser Hughes, Sam Mallalieu, Reuben F. Taylor, Sophie Dodds and Bart Owl. The songs are varied, with powerful emotions expressed acoustically via tracks such as stunning opener "Simple Is Good" and the gorgeous but heartbreaking "A Kind Of A Cure", soaring dramatic pop as in "By Gaslight", alt folk as in "A Killer Chorus", and full on rocking intensity on tracks such as "The Fix Is In". As would be expected, the stars of the show are Pennycook's voice, and his songwriting. With respect to the latter, his approach is poetic, but direct and often dark and angry. It is an economical and highly effective approach not only because he is a gifted songwriter, but also because a vocal instrument such as the one possessed by Pennycook can sell any message. The atmospheric arrangements provide rich support for the compositions, but never overshadow them. This EP is an elegant and polished gem, perfect for the winter months. It is available in CD and digital formats.
Meursault - Simple Is Good from Song, by Toad on Vimeo.
Bandcamp for Simple Is Good
Song By Toad Records
Sunday, December 4, 2016
Sam Russell & The Harborrats - "Born To Hurt" / "Make Me Lose Control"
Bandcamp for "Born To Hurt" / "Make Me Lose Control"
Friday, December 2, 2016
Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers - Goths!!!
Well, there may be no single answer, but Scotland's Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers have an answer. According to JY&TPGLP, sometimes you have to dance in the gutter, troll through the graveyard, share copious tears and contemplate degradation and mortality to know that you are alive and feel good about your life. And their motivation for you to do so is their darkly addictive dark soul, doom wop, and gutter Gospel. A few years ago we covered Luck, the band's smashing debut LP. They are back now with Goths!!!, seven songs that overall are a bit slower in tempo and quieter in volume, but packed with dark emotion. The album opens with "The Tigris", a simple piano-driven arrangement in which the protagonist tells of life and loss, ending with a decision to drown himself in the titular river. Showcase tune "The Gospel According To The Selfish Gene" follows with a glorious slice of roadhouse R&B. It is so good I've provided it twice below, one a stream of the test pressing, the other a portion of Jacob's live performance of the song. One of the best tracks is the following "Grace of God", in which Jacob tells of a man who has lost his job, home, family, and eventually his life. "Winter In My Heart" is a jazzy, nocturnal meditation that you'd expect to hear as the last patron on the club while the barman cleans up and the roadies pack the amps (Jackson Browne, eat your heart out). Next is the dub dominated "Care Home", which addresses the grim life in a home for the aged. Even at seven and a half minutes, it could run longer with no complaint from me. The album closes with the dark tales "Bits of Glass" and "The Heart". The later is one of my favorites on the album, and is my preferred tune for a late night whisky before bed.
The arrangements are spare, but spot on throughout. Jacob's bluesy vocals, ably backed by Cassie Exeji of Golden Teacher sell the message, and the package from London's VAVA Records is first class. Wallow in the darkness with us -- it is surprisingly fun!
For Goths!!!, Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers are main man Jacob Lovatt, with Jamie Bolland, Richard Holmes, Michael Bleazard, Christopher Haddow, Niall Dobbie, Cassie Exeji, Stuart Evans, Emily MacLaren. The album was recorded at Glasgow's Green Door
VAVA Records page for Goths
Thursday, December 1, 2016
The Cleaners From Venus - Cleaned Up Collectables
link) for the latest album from Martin Newell's Cleaners From Venus project proved quite popular, so we are pleased to alert you to a new album titled Cleaned Up Collectables. Consisting of thirteen songs Martin recorded as demos in 1987 for the album Town and Country, which have been digitalized and otherwise cleaned up for your listening pleasure, it is a fine addition to your collection of Martin's brand of jangling, idiosyncratically English songcraft. Take "Denmark Street" and "Cardboard Town" for a test drive, and if they pleasure your ears, you can stream the entire collection. It is available as a digital download at the Bandcamp link below.
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Croque Madame - Croque Madame
Croque Madame features vocalist Florence Raynaud, with Rob Storey and Dave Perlis. The album is available at the links below.
Bandcamp for Croque Madame
Link for vinyl and CD formats
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
"Already Home" by Alex the Astronaut
The Perfect English Weather - Isobar Blues
Specifically, we have The Popguns' mainstays, and husband and wife, Simon and Wendy Pickles recording as The Perfect English Weather. Their opening statement is Isobar Blues, which has just been released by Matinee Recordings. The album contains all of the melody and hooks one expects from Simon and Wendy, with what seems to my ears a bit more intimacy, with the dreamy elements more subtly expressed and the arrangements slightly dialed back and streamlined. The songs are mostly uptempo guitar pop, but a few ballads nestle in the mix like those wonderful little packages one always enjoys finding under the Christmas Tree in late December. And over the years, Wendy's voice remains one of the treasures of pop music.
Every pop fan who hears this album will choose favorites -- mine include "The Sweetest Feeling", "Hit Town (A.T.H.E.N.S.)", "Spirited Away", "Christmas Single (Call Me)", and "You Wrote". But circling back to our opening theme, the magic here is in the connection. The Pickles' songs of scenes from their lives, in cafes, record stores, connecting with old friends, a missed concert in Athens, and so on, connect with me to a rare degree. It isn't that they are stories of my life, but listening to them I feel included in their lives, and it is a comfortable and special feeling.
Make room for Isobar Blues, it is one of the year's indie pop gems.
Matinee Recordings page for album
Monday, November 28, 2016
Scooterbabe - The Sorrow You've Been Toting Around
Try out a few of my favorite tracks below, or visit the Bandcamp link for a full stream. Like all Jigsaw releases, the price is attractive.
Bandcamp for The Sorrow You've Been Toting Around
Jigsaw Records page for The Sorrow You've Been Toting Around
Bandcamp for other Scooterbabe recordings
The Salient Braves - Guilty Until Proven Innocent
Matt Bailey is a fine storyteller and crafts songs that are warm and hit the head and the heart with just the right touch, so we encourage everyone to give him a chance. Guilty Until Proven Innocent is available now as a limited edition CD or digital download. See the Bandcamp link below.
Bandcamp for Guilty Until Proven Innocent
Sunday, November 27, 2016
"AWCWD" by The Verlaines
One of our favorite locations to find music is New Zealand, and one of our favorite New Zealand bands is The Verlaines. Of course, that hasn't added much to our music collection lately as Graeme Downes and company have only recorded sporadically. However, with Dunedin's Spleen set for release in 2017, you can sample the goods via album track "AWCWD". The album will be released by Flying Nun, but we have no pre-order information at this time.
Flying Nun Records
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Various Artists - It Is Something To Have Been
It Is Something to Have Been is a special release -- not only for the quality of the songs from four of Scotland's best, but because it is released in honor of the recently deceased father of label owner Lloyd Meredith. The four songs are gentle in tone, but powerful in spirit, as is appropriate to celebrate the impact of a life now ended. The title of the album comes from the final line of G.K. Chesterton's poem The Great Minimum. It is perfect for a holiday weekend's relaxation, reflection, and remembrance of loved ones now gone. Available in vinyl format, you can stream it below or at the Bandcamp link.
Bandcamp for EP
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
JP Klipspringer - Brutal Politic
Poulson is a Melbourne singer songwriter with an incredible knack for melody, and a satchel full of stories that is remarkable for a guy who has lived fewer than thirty years. He also has some talented friends that helped him record Brutal Politic over a period of time in 2015 and 2016. Varying his approach between power pop, jangle, dream pop, acoustic, country romp and other styles, the songs are invariably dynamic but carefully crafted. Paulson's tenor is soft, but his delivery derives power from nuance and sincerity. He covers romantic break ups, transferred blame, appreciation of Portland, Oregon, unspoken accusations, bitter taunts, obsessive yearning, and realization that certain cherished dreams of youth are dead (in this case, Jack's dreams of playing Aussie Rules Football, addressed in "Back Pocket's Lament"). There isn't a weak song in the set, but for my ears the best are "Words For Me", "So Polite", "The Beast", "Can't Be", and "Back Pocket's Lament".
So do yourself a favor for this long holiday weekend, go to the Bandcamp link below and buy yourself a present. It is a gift that will give you pleasure for a long time. We highly recommend this one.
Bandcamp for Brutal Politic
"Hermitage" by Hilma Nikolaisen
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
"Silver Velvet" by The Courtneys
The Courtneys are Courtney Loove (guitar), Sydney Koke (bass), and Jen Twynn Payne (vocals/drums).
Bandcamp for Courtney II
Flying Nun Records
Monday, November 21, 2016
Redspencer - Perks
Some may respond to the relaxed tone and soft vocals on Perks and relegate it to the bedroom pop channel, but I think that is a shallow analysis. The lyricism presented on this album are bold and ambitious and the arrangements detailed and sturdy. It is music much better suited for driving along the coastal highway than sitting inside. Consider it an album for happy, contented extroverts with nothing immediate to prove but a desire for a great soundtrack.
Redspencer are Dave McMillian, Aiden McMillian, Andre Franco, and Alex Buchanan. Perks is out now via Deaf Ambitions (see the Bandcamp link below).
Bandcamp for Perks
Sunday, November 20, 2016
"Antlers" by The Bats
I'm expecting 2017 to be a rough year in many respects, so I've been scanning the news of upcoming albums hoping for some good cheer in the gloom. The best news on that front so far is that New Zealand's The Bats will release a 12-track album named Deep Set in January 2017 via Flying Nun (I think Captured Tracks will have the US release). The first song for our ears is "Antlers". The song features the band's trademark jangle, chime and harmonies. But this band in unafraid of exploring the shadows, so we also are expecting the album to continue to reveal the band's thematic depth.
Bandcamp page for numerous releases by The Bats
Friday, November 18, 2016
Bubblegum Lemonade - The Great Leap Backward
The Great Leap Backward is released by California label Matinee Recordings.
Matinee Recordings' page for album
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
alansmithee / Menage a Trois (split album)
The alansmithee side is the dreamy, psychedelic guitar pop we count on them to deliver. The side provided by Menage a Trois takes a more groove/funk-oriented approach to psychedelia. Together, this may just be your find of the week. Stream below to hear for yourselves. The Bandcamp links are provided. I've also included links for alansmithee. I was unable to find anything useful for Menage a Trois, but I'll warn that the name in a search engine may not be a good idea.
Bandcamp for alansmithee's five songs
Bandcamp for Menage a Trois' five songs
Facebook for alansmithee
Twitter for alansmithee
Kent Eugene Goolsby - Temper of the Times
The post-election, everyone's fighting blues got me today, so I needed something connecting me to back to normal life. To the rescue comes Temper of the Times, the new album from Kent Eugene Goolsby. Offering powerful rock guitars, singer songwriter sincerity, and KEG's whiskey-soaked velvet vocals (with spouse Anna Leigh providing the harmonies), KEG lets us into his life so far. Good decisions, bad decisions, successes, failures, and the commitment to the musician's life. In addition to his formidable musical talents and enviable vocal abilities, he quite simply has a way with words that puts just the right spin on the tale (note that his webpage includes the lyrics). He doesn't celebrate his imperfections, but he reveals then directly and with humor, and puts it all in context -- there are good days and bad days, but celebrate the entire journey. And it is that spirit that gives the album just the right amount of weight.
I've been sitting here for a while trying to decide whether the guitars or the vocals were my favorite aspect of Temper of the Times. Then I realized that the election must of scrambled my brains -- why even decide the question? They both are great, and so is this album.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
"Rewind" by San Mei
San Mei is songwriter, vocalist, guitarist and producer Emily Hamilton, our favorite musician from Gold Coast, Australia. We've featured her music several times in the past, and today we are revealing "Rewind", her new single. The song features her sweet melodies and engaging vocals over a crunching rock arrangement. Good look, Emily, we hope to hear more.
"Rewind" will be released November 25. We expect a debut EP next year.
Monday, November 14, 2016
Soft Lions - XOXO
XOXO kicks off with "Freeway", a new wave slice of indie pop that is perfect to get everyone at your next party dancing. "I Get Lost" follows with a perfect blend of riot girl, garage pop, and slacker doo wop. The band turns down the pop for the post punk "Digital Girl". Next is the garage romp "Pretty Enough". The EP ends with the upbeat "Run In Dreams" and the rootsy boot stomping "In The Garden". Very good stuff from a band to watch.
XOXO is out now via Velvet Blue Music.
Bandcamp for XOXO
Velvet Blue Music page for XOXO
Honeyblood - Babes Never Die
Stina Tweeddale and Cat Myers, the duo that comprise Glasgow's Honeyblood, don't suffer fools, and they aren't quiet about it. Stina snarls the lead vocals and plays guitar while Cat Myers ferociously wields the drumsticks. In fact, the volume and intensity on their recently released second album, the defiantly-named Babes Never Die, would lead an uninformed listener to conclude that that band had several more members. But it isn't all about the noise. There are plenty of hooks and a meaty groove underneath the shouted choruses. The band dials it back on a few tunes (for example, "Walking At Midnight" and, most especially, "Cruel"), and does it well. But this is album isn't about confessing vulnerability or even negotiating compromise. Honeyblood are unapologetic rockers, and Babes Never Die is a worthy calling card.
Babes Never Die is out now via FatCat Records.
Sunday, November 13, 2016
"Late Night Store" by Husky
Friday, November 11, 2016
Hi-Tec Emotions - Hard to Handle
The album kicks off with the punk fury of "Look Around". By track three, "Heart Line" we are in heavy rhythm new wave territory. Other highlights are punky "Evil", the new wave anthem
"Mirror Mirror", and the glittering "Tess".
Hi-Tec Emotions are Ema Dunstan (vocals/keys), Jess Lakatosh (bass), and Mackenzie Randall (drums). Hard to Handle is out now via Listen Records.
Bandcamp for Hard to Handle
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