Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Aug Stone and the Love Conspiracy -Don't Put A Time On Love / Written In The Stars

Do you want to be happy?  I most certainly want to be happy.  And few things make us happier than love (I know you like beer and pizza, but work with me here people).  So everyone should check out the new single from Aug Stone & The Love Conspiracy.  It consists of two tracks of upbeat, soul glazed pop.  The first song is "Don't Put A Time On Love", which is a wonderful ode to being in love, sardonic asides not withstanding, even if one doesn't consider the horns.  With the horns, it goes to my top ten songs of the year list.  After you swoon over that glorious dose of '60s-style elegant pop, you'll find that the flip side, "Written In The Stars", ramps up the R&B vibe to maximum effect.  And what is that effect, you ask?  Glad you asked -- there are two, (1) your body twitches in a personal approximation of dancing, and (2) you press the replay button.

Aug Stone is a writer and songwriter in the Boston area.  The single is out via London's Soft Bodies Records.  See the Bandcamp link below.

Blog for The Love Conspiracy
Bandcamp for record

Alex Cameron - Jumping The Shark

What is Jumping The Shark?  Concise but loose-limbed character sketches -- perhaps of people you wouldn't bring home to your mother (unless your mother is one of those types) -- narrated in a intimate baritone over a sparse electronic canvas by a man who formerly assumed the costume and character of an aged lounge singer when performing (he no longer effects the transformation, but the album art is of the artist in costume).  Welcome to the world of Sydney's Alex Cameron, formerly of the electronic project Seekae.  The tales dig deep in the grime of the downtrodden and failed people on the fringes with a clear-eyed perspective, but the phrasing is poetic and the delivery is breezy and engaging without being dismissive of the subjects.  And it must be said that part of the connection here is the listener's uncertainty of the extent to which the songs are stories by Alex Cameron, or stories about Alex Cameron.  Not that it really matters; an exploration of failure is something to which all honest men and women can relate.

Jumping The Shark may not sound like anything else you are listening to, but take my advice: Once you listen to it, you keep going back to it.  This record is a dead solid keeper.

Bandcamp for Jumping the Shark
Secretly Canadian page for Jumping The Shark

Alex Cameron Tour Dates:
Fri. Sep. 9 - Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West %
Sat. Sep. 10 - Nashville, TN @ Exit/In %
Sun. Sep. 11 - Cincinnati, OH @ Woodward Theater %
Mon. Sep. 12 - Millvale, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre %
Wed. Sep. 14 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer %
Thu. Sep. 15 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club %
Sat. Sep. 17 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall %
Sun. Sep. 18 - Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw %
Tue. Sep. 20 - Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair %

% with Angel Olsen
* with Unknown Mortal Orchestra

# with Mac DeMarco

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dora Maar - Flights EP

The music of this four-song limited edition cassette from Edinburgh's Dora Maar is fantastic -- rampant bass lines with jangling guitar accents and louche baritone talk-sing vocals.  The style recalls the best of Postcard Records, The Monochrome Set and Vic Godard.  We give it our highest recommendation, and you should want to own it.  You probably cannot, however.  You see, like most Soft Power Records releases, Flights EP sold out in pre-sale.  In fact, it sold out so early in pre-sale that I didn't even have time to tell our readers about it.  Sadly, the reason for the incredible demand, in addition to the quality of the songs, is that it is the last release from Soft Power Records, which is closing its internet doors.  Of course, we all know that the music business is a tough place to survive, for musicians and labels, so the demise of a small label isn't shocking.  But this one hurts because the lovely folks at Soft Power Records (and yes, dealing with them always was a pleasure) had great taste and a near supernatural ability to find emerging artists possessed of talent that demanded a wider audience.

However, endings and beginnings go together, and at least you can mark down Dora Maar as a band to watch for the future.  Named for an early 20th century photographer, poet, left wing activist and founding member of the Surrealists, Dora Maar consists of Andrew R. Hill, Andrew Scott, Daniel Markey, Erika Sella, and Grant Munro.  If you are lucky enough to live near a show, the band may still have some copies.  And perhaps some or all the songs will get new life on another recording.

And we strongly urge you to visit the Soft Power Records' Bandcamp link at the bottom of the post and help them out by reducing any remaining stock.  Quite simply, their catalog is wonderful.

Bandcamp for Flights EP
Soft Power Records' Bandcamp Page

Monday, August 29, 2016

Big Wave Riders - Endless Summer

Finland's Big Wave Riders ride a big wave of dense, melodic sound.  Rumbling bass, sinuous guitar lines, chunky riffs and cavernous percussion create a sound that is made for big arenas or the outdoor stage under starry skies.  After a couple of quiet years on the recording front, the band is back with Endless Summer, a stellar step forward from their good 2012 debut album and preceding EP.  The melodies and hooks soar high, enabled by a seriously tough rhythm section that, to my ears, echoes the fat baggy beats of Ye Old Manchester.  With the guitars augmented by a layer of synths, the ten songs range from dreampop to surf rock to dance rock to shoegaze without an unworthy track.  Moreover, I struggled to choose favorite tracks because it all sounds so very good.

I was thrilled when I learned that Big Wave Riders were delivering a new album, and I expected it to be good.  What I didn't expect is that the boys would vastly exceed my expectations.  Endless Summer is the perfect way to extend the season well into the Autumn chill.

Big Wave Riders are Teppo (guitars/vocals), Aleksi (bass/backing vocals), Anssi (guitar/backing vocals), and Pete (drums).  Endless Summer is out now via Helsinki's Soliti Music.  Check the Bandcamp link below or your preferred digital provider.

Bandcamp for Endless Summer
Soliti Music's page for Big Wave Riders

Friday, August 26, 2016

Various Artists - Fuckin Ziggurat

I suppose people listen to music for many reasons, but fun and discovery of new sounds are high on my list.  And if those are good reasons for your listening habit, you can't go wrong with Fuckin' Ziggurat, a 17-song compilation of bands from the US, UK, France, Ireland, Australia and, I expect, other places as well.  We get pop, punk, country, electronic-experimental and several other styles of music, all from excellent artists.  Several bands, including No Monster Club (Ireland), Wanda Junes (Arizona), and Ginnels (also Ireland), have been on these pages before.  Others, such as The Orchestre Murphy and The Plain People of England are new to us.  But we welcome the old and the new, and the sheer diversity and quality of the music.

The digital version of the album is a steal at $5.  But for a mere $11 you can get a CD and a very cool booklet with information about the artists and a few comic strips.

Bandcamp for Fuckin Ziggurat
Emotional Response link for CD and booklet

Babaganouj - Hard To Be EP

Get your fresh, delicious Babaganouj right here.  No, we aren't talking about eggplant-based treats here (that is three blogs over to the right, next to the Hummus and Falafel).  We are talking about one of our favorite three-piece indie bands, Brisbane's Babganouj.  Chuck, Ruby and Harriette play great rock and roll.  They can dash off an acoustic number that will pluck your heartstrings with the best of them, but their sweet spot is up-tempo songs with rubbery bass and plenty of guitar noise.  They are on a fantastic run of EPs this year, and the latest -- Hard To Be -- is available now on their Bandcamp page.  Two quieter songs bookend three blasts of fun and energy, and they all are fantastic.  Check it out below.

Bandcamp for Hard To Be EP

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Various Artists - Continental Drift

Slumberland Records in Oakland and Fortuna POP! in the UK are two of the best indie labels in the world when it comes to guitar pop, and they have teamed up on releases a number of times.  But even by their historically high standards of performance, Continental Drift is a special one.  I'm supposed to be the wordsmith about music here, but I can't improve on the opening line from Mike at Slumberland: "Four great bands, two great labels and two continents meet on this stellar mini-LP".  There are eight songs here, with two from each band.  The US is represented by Philadelphia's Mercury Girls and Baltimore's Wildhoney, while the UK puts forward Edinburgh's The Spook School and London's Tigercats.  Is it a battle of the bands?  An intercontinental showdown?  Perhaps, but to me it just is a sampler of some of the best pop songwriting on today's indie landscape.  Fuzz, hooks, clever lyrics, dreamy shoegaze, pop-punk, pop and politics, and the palpable sheer joy of participating in music are in ample supply in these eight songs.  If you like guitar pop, this may be your best investment of the year.  Sample the goods below and then treat yourself.  You know that you deserve this one.

As an aside, sadly Fortuna POP! is closing its doors soon.  They will be sorely missed here at When You Motor Away.

Slumberland Records' pre-order page for Continental Drift
Fortuna POP!
Mercury Girls on Facebook
The Spook School on Facebook
Wildhoney on Facebook
Tigercats on Facebook

"I Don't Care" by Las Kellies

We love Argentina's Las Kellies.  We can assure you that their upcoming album Friends & Lovers is an impressive display of assured songwriting, shimmering guitars, sharp lyrics, beefy rhythms and confident energy.  There is a touch of New Wave under the fuzz, and a streak of Riot Grrrl.  I already have slated it among my top thirty albums of the year, and it hasn't even been released yet.  But enough taunting from me -- here is a taste of the goods.  By the way, the album will be released in October by Fire Records.

The Argentinian band consists of Silvina Kelly and Cecilia Kelly, and they will be joined by Manuela Ducatenzeiler for their upcoming tours.  And speaking of tours, European fans should review the dates and venues listed at the bottom of this post.

Las Kellies on Tumblr
Fire Records' Bandcamp for pre-order of Friends & Lovers
European Tour Dates
06 Nov: Moth Club, London, UK
07 Nov: The Hope, Brighton, UK
09 Nov: The Bassment, Chelmsford, UK (date change)
10 Nov: Night & Day, Manchester, UK
11 Nov: Arden Arms, Halifax, UK
14 Nov: Harley, Sheffield, UK
13 Nov: The Ferret, Preston, UK
15 Nov: Oporto, Leeds, UK
19 Nov: V11, Rotterdam, Netherlands
20 Nov: Oedipus Brewery, Amsterdam, Netherlands
24 Nov: ACU, Utrecht, Netherlands
26 Nov: 1000fryd, Aalborg, Denmark
01 Dec: Espace B, Paris, France
06 Dec: Rhiz, Vienna, Austria
13 Dec: Ubu, Perpignan, France
(More to be announced…)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Lawrence of Arabia - Absolute Truth

New Zealand's James Milne, recording as Lawrence of Arabia, is a pop classicist of notable skill.  He builds his tracks of solid melodies, earworm hooks, grand bridges and inviting choruses.  His arsenal calls on his impressive vocal range, call and response vocals, strings and horns.  And it all comes together perfectly from start to finish on Absolute Truth, his fourth album overall and first for Flying Nun.  The album reflects a mature contentment adorned with wry observations and a sunny perspective.  The listener will be reminded of Harry Nilsson, Paul McCarthey, and even some Brill Building favorites, but that is a matter of style.  The songs on Absolute Truth feel current and relevant, and may well become a treasured part of your summer soundtrack.

Another Century from Lawrence Arabia on Vimeo.

Absolute Truth is out now on CD, vinyl and digital formats


Friday, August 19, 2016

Cool Ghouls - Animal Races

If I were to pick the modern band that most completely embodies the spirit of West Coast garage rock, it would be San Francisco's Cool Ghouls.  Their music is heavily veined with sunny melodies, British Invasion harmonies, shaggy arrangements, psychedelic shimmer, and a palpable love of keeping the guitars at the forefront of the proceedings.  Well, all that and and a vibe that suggests an awesome house party with several cold kegs in the back yard.  On Animal Races, the band's new album and third overall, they display it all with the best songwriting and tightest performances of their recording history.  They rock hard on "Brown Bag", evoke 'Nuggets' garage rock on "Never You Mind", let in the jangling psychedelic sunshine on "Sundial", dig into a spacey jam on "Time Capsule"and dish out dusty country rock on "Days" and "(If I Can't Be) The Man".  And the steel guitar embellished "When You Were Gone" is becoming one of my favorite ballads of the year.  With the addition of a 12-string Rick, steel pedal  and some synths, the band has filled out their sound, but none of the new additions distract from their solid rhythm sections or garage guitar roots.

The bottom line for us here is that Animal Races is the best work yet by a band we have followed since their first demos popped up on the web.  I'm going camping this weekend and this album is one of the few that I'm taking with me.  I'm hoping the mountain goats in the central Cascades appreciate it.

Animal Races is available via Cellar Door in North America and Melodic Records in the UK/Europe. Burger Record has the cassette.  Cool Ghouls are Alex Fleshman (drums/percussion/piano), Pat McDonald (vocals/guitar/drums/mellotron), Ryan Wong (vocals/guitar/bass/mellotron), and Pat Thomas (vocals/bass/guitar/farfisa).  For this album, they received contributions from Tom Heyman on pedal steel, and producer Kelley Stoltz on midi guitar and percussion.  The album was mixed and mastered by Mikey Young.

By the way, Cool Ghouls are traveling the western states right now, so check and see if you are in the vicinity of a show.

Bandcamp for Animal Races

Thursday, August 18, 2016

"Bring Down The City Hall" by Savage Mansion

We've said some nice things in the past about Glasgow's Savage Mansion.  We're here today to tell you that we meant them.  Actually, that's a lie.  Although the nice words were sincere, that isn't really why we're here.  We're here to bring you the band's new song "Bring Down The City Hall", presented here in video form.  So please enjoy some clips of the band playing the song and traveling about.

Savage Mansion is the project of Craig Angus, formerly of a band we also covered here, Poor Things (they are a band no longer, poor things).  Craig relies on the help of friends such as Taylor Stuart, Jamie Dubber, and Andrew MacPherson to flesh out the sounds.  You may also be interested to know that the Savage Mansion's debut EP Everyone To The Savage Mansion will be a cassette release on October 7 via Cool Your Jets.

Free download of "Elwood" by Savage Mansion
Cool Your Jets

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Various Artists - They Make No Say

They Make No Say compiles 45s from various artists released by North London's wonder label The Polytechnic Youth Label.  The overall vibe of the tracks reflects late '70 - early '80s synth and electronic music, although not necessarily by artists from that period.  However, within that channel there is incredible diversity of styles -- minimal, experimental, tribal, dance, electro-pop.  Some songs bubble sweetly (or slyly), some thunder, some play, and some threaten.  But all are accessible and entertaining.    With a DIY ethos and primitive at its core, this is a delightful set of underground, analogue electronic music unencumbered by pop pretension or big label demands.  That this album isn't being lauded all over the internet is truly a sign of malaise in modern culture.  Jump on it and help save us all!

Apparently, many of the original releases are collectors items, with some now trading well in excess of $100.  A vinyl version of this collection was released by The Polytechnic Youth Label and sold out in one day.  However, the digital and CD versions now are available from Arizona's Emotional Response label.

Bandcamp for They Make No Say
Emotional Response page for CD order
Polytechnic Youth Label on Facebook

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Ghost Wave - Radio Norfolk

It is the middle of winter in Auckland, New Zealand, but Ghost Wave has delivered a wonderful summer album.  Radio Norfolk combines dubby effects, layers of percussion, electronics, horns, and jangling guitars to create a shimmering, psychedelic aural brand of sunshine.  The melodies sparkle, the basslines are propulsive and the songs flow with purpose.  The purpose may be to dance yourself into another dimension with someone you love, but that sounds like a good goal to us.

Ghost Wave are Matt Paul and Eammon Logan.  Ages, their debut album was an appealing jangle pop set, and I've been anticipating their second act for three years.  Radio Norfolk doesn't follow its predecessor in style, but as fond as I am of jangle pop, I think it is a stunning step forward for the band.  If one were to be limited to a one word descriptor, it would be "more".  More bass, more layers, more haze, more smiles. more love, more trippy jams.  You might detect influences such as Happy Mondays, Spaceman 3, and Stone Roses,  but the freewheeling duo of Ghost Wave make this sound all their own.

The vibe is so cool, you may feel compelled to wear sunglasses.  It is OK, I'm wearing them now as I type and listen to the album.  Welcome to Radio Norfolk -- it may be your favorite summer album this year.

Radio Norfolk is available now via Flying Nun Records and Arch Hill Recordings.

Pre-Order page for Radio Norfolk

Terry Allen - Juarez

Audacious, ambitious, and outlaw, Terry Allen's Juarez stands out in any time period.  In fact, it was released in 1975, and its song cycle of of the road, featuring unreliable "facts", fringe characters, sex, violence, and a touch of Mexican history realized the young Texan art student's eccentric vision.  It was accompanied by a series of lithographs, and eventually a screenplay and sculptural and video presentation.  But at its core, it is a special set of connected songs, well written and sincerely performed.  The primary instrumentation is Allen's piano, underpinning Allen's Texas twang delivering lyrics that are gritty but poetic.

Hailing from small-town Texas, Allen is better known as an painter, sculptor and performance artist, and his work in those areas has drawn praise and awards.  But Juarez deserves to live again, and to delight those that were unaware of its existence.  It now has been reissued by Paradise of Bachelors, and for the first time since the '70s is available with Allen's artwork.  The release is in vinyl, CD and digital formats.

I've tried to provide a flavor for the tale, and the quality of the music, with the streams below.  But the only way to truly appreciate this album is to go to the Bandcamp link and play it start to finish.  It is worth your time.

Bandcamp for Juarez
Paradise of Bachelors

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Moles - Tonight's Music

We have had a two-decade wait for new material from The Moles, but the wait is over with the release of Tonight's Music.  There are no surprises in style of the music, which is just what we devoted fans of Richard Davies' work hope for, but the additional treat is the high quality and delightful variety of the tracks.  Davies' muse takes him to the corners, alleyways, and side streets of jangle pop, psychedelic pop, space pop, and chamber pop.  Some might observe that all of that comprises Oceania indie pop, and we are likely to agree -- that's why we are such fans!  Sweet hooks and clever figures abound, and the compositions are irrepressibly melodic.  But the arrangements are designed for delighting the listener's inner space rather than selling five million downloads or providing the background for a car commercial.  The journey you are invited to take is for Richard and you, not the masses staring at their phones.  As a lyricist, Davies is by turns revealing and inscrutable, gentle and sharp-tongued.  The breadth of arrangements probably results in part to the fact that the songs were written over a period of 15 years, resulting in a songwriting chronicle of the years.  But my personal suspicion is that Davies would have gifted us with a wide-ranging epic even if the songs had been composed in a tighter time frame.  And if you make indie pop playlists of your favorite songs of the year, Tonight's Music is likely to provide an inordinate share of your current list.

Tonight's Music is available now in digital, CD and double LP formats via Fire Records.  It was recorded in Boston, NYC, and Western Massachusetts.  A native of Australia, Davies now lives in the United States.  In addition to The Moles, Davies' projects include Cardinal, and (with Robert Pollard) Cosmos.

Richard Davies on Facebook
Bandcamp for Tonight's Music
Fire Records

Friday, August 12, 2016

"Sleep Little Links 2 3 4" by Rats On Rafts/De Kift

Our favorite punks from The Netherlands, Rats On Rafts, have combined with fellow Dutch punk rockers De Kift on the intriguing "Sleep Little Links 2 3 4".  The combination is mind-blowing rock magic, and will prompt any fan to ask "can't they play together more often?".  Actually, there is an answer to that question.  They are playing together quite a bit in the next few months.  See below for a list of their joint dates, as well as additional performances by Rats On Rafts.  But wait, there is even better news (because many of our readers don't live in Europe) -- the bands are releasing a collaborative album via Fire Records on October 14.

Rats On Rafts & De Kift Live Dates

28 Aug: Festival Noorderzon, Groningen, Netherlands
13 Oct: Patronaat, Harleem, Netherlands
22 Oct: Ekko, Utrecht, Netherlands
27 Oct: Gebr. De Nobel, Leiden, Netherlands
28 Oct: Burgerweehuis, Deventer, Netherlands
18 Nov: Hall of Fame (013 op locatie), Tilburg, Netherlands
26 Nov: Explore The North, Leeuwarden, Netherlands
16 Dec: Doornroosje, Nijmegen, Netherlands

Rats On Rafts (only) Live Dates

25 Aug: Bahnhof Ehrenfeld, Cologne, Germany 
26 Aug: Dutch Impact @ Stadgarten, Cologne, Germany
10 Sep: WOS Festival, Santiago, Spain
11 Sep: La Salvaje, Oviedo, Spain
12 Sep: Club de Vila-Real - Dedos Bionicos, Vila-Real, Portugal
14 Sep: La Lata de Bombillas, Zaragoza, Spain
15 Sep: Dabadaba, San Sebastian, Spain
16 Sep: La Coopérative de Mai Club, Clermont, France
17 Sep: Levitation Festival, Angers, France
19 Sep: Le Pop Up du label, Paris, France
20 Sep: La PĂ©niche, Lille, France
21 Sep: Reeperbahn Festival, Hamburg, Germany
22 Sep: Dutch Impact @ Reeperbahn Festival, Hamburg, Germany
24 Sep: Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia
26 Sep: Crane Lane, Cork, Ireland
27 Sep: Upstairs at Whelan’s, Dublin, Ireland
28 Sep: KASBAH Social Club, Limerick, Ireland
01 Oct: Shacklewell Arms, London, UK

Rats On Rafts on Facebook
Rats On Rafts on Twitter
De Kift on Facebook
De Kift on Twitter
Bandcamp page for album

Thursday, August 11, 2016

"Spooky, Stony, Barely Over Thirty" by Virgin Of The Birds

Jon Rooney is a superb, Seattle-based singer songwriter whose current project is named Virgin Of The Birds.  Their album Winter Seeds was one of our top thirty albums of 2014.  Secret Kids, the second VotB album, will be released in October via Abandoned Love Records in North America and Edinburgh's Song By Toad Records in the UK/Europe.  The first single from Secret Kids is "Spooky, Stony, Barely Over Thirty".  Jon and his co-conspirators are in fine form on this autobiographical ramble, and if this song is representative, this album is going to be one of my favorites.

Bandcamp for Secret Kids
Song By Toad Records

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

"Talk Like That" by Jack River (video)

Sometimes I research the hell out of a new discovery, and sometimes I go with my instincts.  When I watch the video for "Talk Like That" by Australia's Jack River, my first impression is that Holly Rankin is a strong and talented woman, and I feel quite comfortable with that assessment.  My second impression is that we would like to hear more from her, and I understand that she will deliver an EP later this year, so we are having a good night.

"Talk Like That" is available now via your preferred digital platform.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

"Blood On Our Hands" by KNGDAVD

New York's KNGDAVD is back again with a tune they contributed to this week's soundtrack for Guilt.  We really need more music from this project.  I hereby request that they suspend normal life and get busy.


Monday, August 8, 2016

The Prophet Hens - The Wonderful Shapes of Back Door Keys

I loved Popular People Do Popular People, the debut album from Dunedin's The Prophet Hens, so much that I expect I would be extolling the virtues of their follow-up even if it duplicated its predecessor.  Happily, however, the band's talent and ambition spare me that embarrassment, as The Wonderful Shapes of Back Door Keys takes all that was good before and builds on it like a visual artist taking his line drawings and turning them into a full oil painting.  The hooks and jangle over a insistent and sturdy rhythm section remain.  But the vocals from Bray and Esplin are more confident and expressive, and their interplay is among the highlights of an album of highlights.  Esplin's Casio keys are more prominent, alternating between melancholy shading and a circus-like adrenaline jolt.  Thematically, the scope is broader, with bassist Cederman adding his songwriting contributions to Bray's.  Stylistically, the kinship to other Dunedin bands is evident to listeners aware of the band's hometown.  But listeners unaware of such details could be forgiven suggesting hometowns such as London or Glasgow, with a nod to The Feelies on the side.

After multiple listens, I cannot identify a song that stands out from the others, but that is true only because the songs all have such adeptly layered emotions and elements, such perfectly blended melancholy and hope, that each listen reveals new joy.  At various points my favorite song has been "Drunk In A Park", "Basically", "Only One", "Songman", and "Popular People".  I'll listen again tonight and may well find a new candidate ("I Might Not Be Right" is trending heavily).  The overall feel of the album is uplifting, to no small degree owing to pace of the tracks and the rich detail in the arrangements.  We don't want to put scandalous notions in the heads of indie guitar pop fans, but you could even dance to this album.

The Wonderful Shapes of Back Door Keys is released by Dunedin's Fishrider Records, but for fans in the UK/Europe it is jointly distributed by Occultation Recordings.  North American fans can buy physical copies from Jigsaw Records and Midheaven soon, and if you can't wait, order from Fishrider and have it shipped.  You can stream the entire album at the Bandcamp link at the bottom of this post.

The Prophet Hens are Karl Bray (guitar/vocals), Penelope Esplin (keys/vocals), Robin Cederman (bass), and Ben Morton (drums).

Bandcamp for The Wonderful Shapes Of Back Door Keys
Fishrider Records
Occultation Recordings
Jigsaw Records

Friday, August 5, 2016

"For The Record" by Beat Connection

The lads at Seattle's Beat Connection decided they couldn't let summer pass without a new tune, so they've dropped "For The Record" on to our backyard dance parties and beach fire discos.  Warm and nostalgic, but with plenty of meaty beats and calls to move, it is just what we needed.  Thanks, guys.  Headed to the back deck with a brew right after I press "publish".

It is a digital release, so head to your favorite electro-store for electro-pop.


Acid Tongue - Beautiful Disaster EP

Last year we discovered a tasty EP titled I Died Dreaming by Seattle's Acid Tongue, which in our expert and unassailable opinion heralded the arrival of a very talented garage rock trio.  Guy, Ian and Jacob are back with four more of their freaky, edge-of-breakdown psych-garage gems on Beautiful Disaster, and the future couldn't be brighter.  There is a stoner, not-taking-this-too-seriously vibe, but the songs, while varied in style, are all well conceived and masterfully executed.  The garage rock rhythmic bones and guitar hooks are well adorned with soul and R&B touches and filled out with dark themes.  Listen to the psychedelic opener and the grungy "Mac and Me", and you'll be tempted to think you've heard the best of the record, but after listening to "Twister" and "Annie Get Your Scissors", I concluded that for my tastes, this EP is backloaded.

Beautiful Disaster is out via Seattle's Freakout Records (see Bandcamp link below) in digital, CD and cassette formats, and is available on digital platforms.  Failure By Design Records in the UK has a stock of cassettes of the EP as well.  Folks, this is a four-song gem for your weekend slacking around the 'hood.

Soundcloud for Beautiful Disaster EP
Bandcamp for Beautiful Disaster
Freakout Records

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Bellybuttons - Nostalgia Factory EP

We think it is time for a little navel gazing.  No! Pull your shirt back down, although we applaud your enthusiasm, if not your ab regime.  We aren't talking about your navel, we are talking about Glasgow's The Bellybuttons.  The four-piece has released a five song EP titled Nostalgia Factory which is as wonderful as it is (soon to be) rare.  Glasgow's fine garage/fuzz label Fuzzkill is only offering 100 of these precious cassettes so if it isn't too late now, it will be soon.  And even if you don't love cassettes, the purchase brings a digital download as well as streaming via the Bandcamp app, so you are covered in every direction.

What does it sound like?  Perhaps like a joint effort of The Jesus and Mary Chain and Pavement.  Check out the entire record below.  If you only have time for one song, press play on the title track.  You don't think you will be disappointed.

Fuzzkill Records Bandcamp page for Nostalgia Factory

"Sputnik" by Mumrunner

It has been our opinion for several years that some of the best shoegaze-oriented indie rock has come from Finland.  And one of the brightest lights is Tampere's Mumrunner.  Kati, Sauli, Juuso, and Jukka create music that spans the genre from the dream pop edge to the heavier, nearly abrasive sounds at the experimental end.  The guitars are big and encompassing, the melodic strains enticing.  The band will release an new EP titled Gentle Slopes in early September.  Helsinki's Soliti Music will handle the digital, while Germany's Wolves and Vibrancy Records will have 12" vinyl.  The first single from the EP is the lovely "Sputnik".

Soliti Music
Wolves and Vibrancy Records

Monday, August 1, 2016

Wyatt Blair - Point of No Return

We may all regard ourselves as dedicated fans of modern indie rock, but we should be able to admit that sometimes there is nothing quite so satisfying as so classic '80s style rock.  You know what I'm talking about -- choruses to the rafters, big hooks, indulgent guitar solos, layers of synths, gloss, big hair, hyper-over production, and a glaze of swaggering glam.  But where can you get that sort of thing these days?  As always, we have you covered.  You will find all of the guilty pleasure goodness in Point of No Return by Wyatt Blair.

This album is one delicious '80s-hit-that-was-never-released-in-the'80s after another.  It is a soundtrack to a top grossing '80s brat pack movie that was never made.  It is your summer guilty pleasure that your friends actually will like unless they are too stiff to be worth it.  I will confess that when I first read about the album, including references to Kenny Loggins, I wasn't particularly interested.  But I tried a few tracks, and became a fan.  Play this album loud in the beach parking lot and, whatever your gender, you will be "the man".

Point of No Return is out this Friday, August 5, via Burger Records and Wyatt's own Lolipop Records.

Burger Records
Lolipop Records

"3AM" by Bad Wave

Our friends at 10k Islands have been offering a pop gem every week for months.  If you don't regularly check their Soundcloud page or follow them on the book of face, you are missing a summer soundtrack of epic proportions.  The latest is from Los Angeles duo Bad Wave, a band that has featured here several times in the past.  Here is "3AM".

Bad Wave on Soundcloud
10K Islands on Facebook
10k Islands on Soundcloud