Monday, October 31, 2016

$MGGLR - "Alone" (Ft. Fader Lima)

$MGGLR, Smgglr, or DJ Smgglr?  I don't think I know the correct name.  But this Florida-based producer has feel for constructing a great song.  My late night pleasure tonight is "Alone", featuring vocals from fellow Floridian Fader Lima.

Facebook for DJ Smgglr
Website for DJ Smgglr
Twitter for DJ Smgglr
Facebook for Fader Lima
Website for Fader Lima
Twitter for Fader Lima

Tangible Excitement! - Tangible Excitement! EP

We all could use a bit of excitement, and we provide it today via the self-titled EP from Tangible Excitement!  The band features features Arizona-based Stewart Anderson (Boyracer and many other projects), Scott Stevens (Earthmen, Summer Cats), and Mark Monnone (The Lucksmiths, Monnone Alone), with assistance from Louis Richter (Mid-State Orange, The Lucksmiths, The Zebras, Bart and Friends).  The record kicks off with the instant guitar pop classic "Muddled Whine", which is so good that the band reprises it in acoustic form as the closer.  "My Bigmouth" continues the pop parade with soaring vocals and handclaps.  The third song is a racing cover of Tiger Trap's "Puzzle Pieces".  The Tangible Excitement! EP hits all your pleasure sensors just the way you like it, and leaves you wanting much more.  These guys know guitar pop, and deliver it masterfully.

The record is available in digital and limited edition vinyl formats from Emotional Response Records and, for UK/Europe fans, FreakScene.

Emotional Response Records' Bandcamp for Tangible Excitement !
Emotional Response Records' page for vinyl
FreakScene's Bandcamp for Tangible Excitement !

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Maria Usbeck - Amparo Remix EP

In June we wrote about (linkAmparo, the delightful electro pop album by New York-based Maria Usbeck.  A native of South America, the album was written during Maria's travels on that continent.  A collage of intriguing rhythms and airy melodies, the album is both exciting and relaxing.  Today, Labrador Records (Sweden) and Casine (New York), both of which also released Amparo, have delivered the Amparo Remix EP.  The EP features remixes of four of the best songs from the original album.  The contributions are by Project Pablo (Montreal), Jensen Sportag (Nashville), Tempelhof (Italy) and Kaazi (Brooklyn), all of which due justice to the original work while adding some new spice.

Stream the EP below and buy it from the labels or your preferred digital platform.

Friday, October 28, 2016

St. Lenox - Ten Hymns From My American Gothic

Let's start with the bottom line: Don't miss Ten Hymns From My American Gothic.  This is a top 20 album of the year -- pop rock with superb songwriting, soulful vocals, interesting and uplifting storylines, incisive social perspective and more humanity that you'll find in the entire Billboard 'top whatever' list.  The album is the work of St. Lenox, the performance name chosen by Andrew Choi.  Choi was raised in the American Midwest by his Korean immigrant parents.  His talent and love of music took him to Julliard, where he trained as a violinist.  He owns an Ivy League degree (Princeton), a PHD (Ohio State) and a law degree (NYU), and now works as an attorney in Manhattan by day, and writes and records music at night.  His previous album was Ten Songs About Memory And Hope, which displayed his burgeoning talent as a songwriter (as an attorney myself, I'll note that Andrew displays a rather lawyerly way of naming his albums).

Ten Hymns focuses broadly on the American immigrant experience, both in general terms and Choi's specific path as the son of Asian immigrants.  Written to mark his father's 70th birthday, Choi's wide lens  encompasses relationships, the inspiration to study law, confronting bigotry, American culture, raising children and other topics.  Choi packs a lot of words into his songs, and his delivery has a free-form, stream of consciousness aspect.  But his feel for language and his soulful tenor make it all work to great effect.  The arrangements are piano and electronic based, and provide a rich backdrop for Choi's stories.  This album is a triumph of musical art, to be sure, but it also is a triumph of the American Dream.  And given this election cycle, it is sorely needed.

Ten Hymns From My American Gothic is out now via Anyway Records.

Bandcamp for Ten Hymns From My American Gothic
Anyway Records

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Radio Dept. - Running Out of Love

I have been a fan of the perfectly crafted indie pop of Sweden's The Radio Dept. since hearing their debut album, Lesser Matters, in 2003.  While the band has gone through several line-ups, and now is down to long-term core members Johan Duncanson and Martin Carlberg, it has consistently turned out melodic, dreamy pop tunes marked by their bittersweet tones and consistent high quality.  We have had a long wait for a new album after the deservedly praised 2010 release Clinging To A Scheme, but the wait is over with last week's arrival of Running Out Of Love.

For those that recall The Radio Dept. as a guitar-oriented dream pop band focusing on personal themes, Running Out Of Love contains a few surprises.  First, the instrumentation here is largely electronic  -- not in the EDM vein, but more in the New Order/Pet Shop Boys channel, with touches of Detroit house and some baggy beats.  Of course, a great song is a great song, regardless of the existence of guitars, and the band's knack for melody and sophisticated song dynamics, and Duncanson's softly accessible vocals, remain welcome constants in the mix.  The second surprise is that the album is pointedly topical.  Addressing politics, rising racism and fascism, xenophobia, and social disaffection, the album paints a darkly dystopian picture of the modern world.  In "Occupied" they even turn aim their glare at their record label, due to a contract dispute (a relationship since patched up, I believe).  I expect I share a lot of the duo's politics, but whether you do or do not, I repeat: A great song is a great song.  And this album is comprised of ten great songs.  If you miss the idea of guitars, I'll note that it is very likely that The Radio Dept. has a thick catalog of draft guitar tunes that may reach your ears in the future.  But in the meantime, enjoy one of their finest and most consistent efforts -- Running Out Of Love.  I suspect that you won't miss the guitars at all.

Running Out of Love is out now via Stockholm's Labrador Records.

Labrador Records

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Ravenna Woods - Alleyways & Animals

Seattle's Ravenna Woods brew an intoxicating set of songs on Alleyways & Animals, their new EP.  The band has long had a talent for combining acoustically oriented folk rock and art rock, with a sheen of intensity that make other bands seem like pretenders.   The lead track for this record, "Alleyways", adds a dose of new wave electronics to great effect, resulting in an anthem that makes sticking around for the rest of the songs inevitable.  And the listener won't be disappointed to spend the time.  This is a band that infuses every song with an immediacy and sense of importance that commands your attention, locking you in to the surging dynamics, layers of sound and harmonies.

Ravenna Woods are Chris Cunningham (guitar/vocals), Matt Badger (drums), Brantley Duke (keys), Nicolas Danielson (multi-instrumentalist), and Reed LV (bass).  Alleyways & Animals is out now.  Stream it below and buy it at the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for EP

Catch Prichard - Eskota

For me, Eskota is one of the most evocative musical experiences of the year.  The vocals and instrumentation paint a picture of skewed memories, fractured dreams, searching for a sense of place, and the lure and illusion of home.  The five songs are the work of Sawyer Gebauer, performing as Catch Prichard.  Sawyer recorded the album in an abandoned grocery store in a Texas ghost town called Eskota, and now resides in Oakland.  But the emotional content likely was formed in Sawyer's years traveling to and from Europe while fronting Brittsommar, a band he formed in Sweden.

Eskota features Gebauer's warm, sandy baritone and simple arrangements dominated by pedal steel, guitar and drums, with occasional synths.  And as enchanting as that all is, the magic here for me is found in the questions raised about where your home is, how to find it, and how to experience it.  Perhaps it is just my stage in life combined with recent events, but this is an album I want right now.  It is an album I need.  From one Wisconsin native to another, thanks, Sawyer.

Eskota is out now on Devise Records.

Devise Records

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Holiday Crowd - The Holiday Crowd

Please welcome one of our favorite indie pop bands from Canada, the one and only The Holiday Crowd.  In a marketplace not short of guitar bands, what makes this Toronto outfit special?  For us, it is a fresh approach to '80s-early '90s British guitar pop that combines some of the jangle and sensibilities of The Smiths with a danceable low register groove, a lot more pep and a sunnier outlook.  We first featured The Holiday Crowd about four years ago (link).  We were impressed with them then, and we think this album is a terrific showcase for their evolution.  If you only have time to check out one track, stream "Anything Anything" below.

The Holiday Crowd is Imran Haniff, Colin Bowers, Alex Roberts, and John Coman.  The Holiday Crowd is out now via Shelflife Records.

Shelflife Records page for album

Hooton Tennis Club - Big Box Of Chocolates

If you are like me, you wake up some mornings thinking only of pumping up with some tunes from Liverpool's Hooton Tennis Club, and scoring some chocolate.  Well, today is our lucky day because Hooton Tennis Club is releasing a Big Box Of Chocolates.  Satisfaction of two cravings in one tasty package.  What a great world this is!

Big Box Of Chocolates is comprised to 12 expertly performed songs that still manage to sound effortless, spontaneous and sincere.  It is direct, accessible and loads of fun.  The band is known for their up tempo style, but songs such as "Sit Like Ravi" reveal the gentler side of foursome.  Thematically, the album ranges over life in their part of the world, enriched by colorfully sketched real and imaginary characters.  Both melodically and lyrically, the album is clever without being showy, and provides an energetic, friendly, and melodic brand of rock to which many bands aspire, and few attain.  Give this one a chance to get under your skin, and you'll be playing it a long time -- maybe until Hooton Tennis Club releases their next album.

Hooton Tennis Club are Ryan Murphy (vocals/guitar), James Madden (vocals/guitar), Callum McFadden (bass) and Harry Chalmers (drums).  Big Box Of Chocolates was recorded by the great Edwyn Collins, and is out now via Heavenly Recordings.

Heavenly Recordings

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Kellies - Friends & Lovers

For their third album, the recently released Friends & Lovers, Argentina's Las Kellies are down one Kelly (former bassist Betty), but Silvina Costa (drums) and Cecilia Kelly (guitar) continue to rock on with their own special brand of garage and psychedelic rock with a bit of dubby new wave, along with new bassist Manuela Ducatenzeiler.  There is less of the latter on this album, but Las Kellies' proficiency and growing confidence make for a satisfying listen in the garage/psychedelic rock groove as well.

The band doesn't move to a new plane with this album, but they already were very good, so that would have been a high bar.  Long time fans will be pleased, and prospective fans should find a lot to like.  If Las Kellies have a special sauce, it is that they understand that the kids want to dance. And the band wants the kids that want to dance to be able to dance.  As an example, check out "I'm On Fire" below.

Friends & Lovers is out now via Fire Records.

Bandcamp for Friends and Lovers
Fire Records

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Milk Skin - Syrupy / Space Race

Allow me drop this one into your Autumn listening line-up.  The record is the two song single Syrupy/Space Race by the UK's Milk Skin.  The band is comprised of Laura of Tigercats and Tom of Owl & Mouse, with able assistance from Johnny of Wave Pictures, Paul of Allo Darlin.  "Syrupy" is a gauzy mix of a sneakily infectious krautrock  groove and a tribal form of dream pop, all with a sneaky groove.  In its turn, "Space Race" begins as a hazy bit of fuzz folk and then dives into a long Beta Band-style finish.  Syrupy/Space Race is available in vinyl and digital formats -- see the Bandcamp link at the bottom of the post.

Records like this are one of the reasons we are enthusiastic fans if London lable wiaiwya ("where its at is where you are").  The music scene is awash with singles, many of them quite good, but the wiaiwya-7777777 singles club is the premier boutique purveyor of singles, due to the rarity of the releases, the unique combination of artists, the devotion to the format, and most of all, the freshess and quality of the recordings.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Jack River - Highway Songs No.2

Young Australian Holly Rankin has adopted a childhood nickname -- Jack River -- and launched a recording career.  We suggest that you make a note of it.  Her debut EP, Highway Songs No.2, is modest in length, only seven tracks including an Intro and Outro, but it bursts with talent and wide scope inspiration.  Rankin is a rocker on "Palo Alto", a dreamy folky on "Head To Stars", a synth pop star on "Talk Like That" and travels into psychedelia with "Nothing's Going To Hurt You Baby".  The songwriting is razor sharp throughout, and Holly is a convincing vocalist in every genre.

Highway Songs No.2 is out now via I Oh You in Australia and Hopeless Utopian Records in the United States.


Virgin of the Birds - Secret Kids

The easy observation regarding the music of Jon Rooney, the main man behind Seattle's Virgin of the Birds, is that he is an accomplished tunesmith.  And I suppose that alone might be enough to help Jon sell a few copies of his new album.  But like many good things in life, there is so much more complexity to this gift to our ears, brain and heart that Jon has named Secret Kids.  Jon writes music with layers, and you can take as much or as little as you choose.  The initial impression, of course, comes from the melodies.  Then you appreciate the adornments -- hooks, a chiming riff, a rock god run, an unleashed bass, a smile inducing bridge -- and those other things that separate an accomplished rock/pop band from your favorite garage band at 2am Saturday morning.

Of course, you need time for the lyrics.  The clever phrases grab you first, as they are meant to do.  One of the best is the title of the standout single "Spooky, Stony, Barely Over Thirty".  Beyond the quick rush of those phrases, your focus eventually is drawn to the stories themselves.  Jon has a keen eye, and a memorable way of taking the past, perhaps giving it a bit of a twist, and wrapping it up in verses that burn into the listener's memory.  You know the stories are someone else's, but Jon has a way of making them accessible.  For example, I've never had a lover tell me she wasn't in Spain even though I saw her there, but when I listen to "Spanish Accusations" and its delicious retro chord progressions, it reminds me of a few situations with past lovers.  And these lines from "Spooky, Stony, Barely Over Thirty" may tickle the memories of many of us for whom youth is in the rear view mirror:
We were wasted, we were warned 
We were vague and poorly formed 
We were soft, don't rub it in 
Almost lost, don't rub it in 


She was spooky, stony, barely over 30 
She allowed herself to dream of the crusade 
To lay waste to the city streets, and collapse every county seat 
And depart from the apartments of the easily laid
The songs on Secret Kids that impressed me most the first few listens were the up-temp songs "Cardinal Points", "Spooky, Stony, Barely Over Thirty", "Spanish Accusations", "Queen of Sweden", and "Summer Palace" (all of which are on my current, go-to playlist).  However, while the charms of the lovely "I Am A Bad Dreamer" or the withering "Victor Bockris" may show themselves more slowly, they are fully formed gems waiting your discovery.  How can anyone who has loved not connect with this line from "I Am A Bad Dreamer"?
I was dreaming of your love, I guess 
You were groping me, you were getting dressed 
I was carnal, I was careful 
When you came to me and gave to me my evils 
This album is a treasure not to be missed, dear readers.

Virgin Of The Birds is out now via Abandoned Love Records in North America and Song By Toad Records in the UK/Europe.

Virgin of the Birds' Bandcamp
Song By Toad Records' Bandcamp

Monday, October 17, 2016

"Wait and See" by The Echo Session

Flowers In The Dustbin, the Glasgow label that urges us all to demand genius, is offering another single from The Echo Session.  The single is set for a November 25 digital release, which is a long time in the future.  But we see no reason not to let you stream its wistful, '60s-shaded delights starting now.  We have included a video as well, so you can enjoy a multi-sensory experience.  And speaking of the future, the band's album, also titled Wait and See, is expected in 2017.

Bandcamp for "Wait and See"
Flowers In The Dustbin

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Aldous Harding - Aldous Harding

The self-titled album by Aldous Harding, the name under which Lyttelton, New Zealand native Hanna Harding performs and records has long been released in New Zealand, and from time to time in other countries.  Now, to coincide with her current tour in North America, it is available in the United States via Flying Nun Records.  Harding is a folk singer with the voice of an angel, and a set of gothic stories that belie her young age.  Her imagery is direct, but artful, and her evocation of life is harsh, but stoic.  Her vocals seek to place Harding in the mold of classic '60s folk singers, but her intriguing compositions straddle the old and the new in breathtaking fashion.  Aldous Harding is a terrific album, but even more intriguing is the future promise of an adept songwriter with her vocal talents.

Two of my favorite songs are below.  Harding's current tour still has nine more US dates, and then she heads to Europe.  Check her Facebook page (linked below) for more details.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

"Bondi's Dead" by Lower Plenty

"Bondi's Dead" is the lead track and first single from the upcoming album Sister Sister by Melbourne's Lower Plenty.  Comprised of Daniel Twomey (percussion), Jensen Tmhung (guitar/vocals), Sarah Heyward (percussion/vocals), and Al Montfort (guitar/vocals), who collectively participate in other well-regarded local projects, Lower Plenty offers sparse, elliptical observations on life, remarkable for their quiet power and simple beauty.  They also help satisfy the requirement under Australian law that at least 25% of the bands formed in Melbourne include Al Monfort (which, by the way, is a law we fully endorse). If you like the song, click on this link to fill out a form and receive a download free.

Sister Sister will be released on November 18 by Bedroom Suck Records.  The North American release will be via Omnian Music Group.  Preorder Sister Sister at Bedroom Suck's Bandcamp here.  Preorder Sister Sister at Omnian Music Group's website here.

Bedroom Suck Records
Omnian Music Group

Real Numbers - Wordless Wonder

It isn't surprising that Slumberland Record is releasing the debut LP from a very promising young band.  What is surprising is that the Oakland label found this exciting jangle pop, C86-style band in Minneapolis, rather than Seattle, Glasgow, Manchester, Dunedin, or Melbourne.  The band is Real Numbers.  Originally a trio founded by Eli Hansen (vocals/guitar), John Eggerman (bass), and James Blackfield (drums), whose other credits collectively include Cozy, Private Interests, Mystery Date, Boys Club, Retainers, France Camp and Nice Purse, it now includes guitarist Ian Nygaard of Nice Purse and Howler.

The album features upbeat, jangling songs with the crashing chime and fuzz of bands such a Razorcuts, Jasmine Minks, McCarthy and the Shop Assistants.  But Real Number's art transcends their influences, with a confident swagger and bouncing, New Wave bass lines.  The layered guitars are distinctive, vibrant and upfront.  The lyrics reflect a youthful perspective and a quirky intelligence.  Sweet hooks abound, and the choruses invite singing along.  And by the way, this may be one of the more danceable C86-style bands I've heard.  I'm on my third play of this record today -- it is a keeper.

Wordless Wonder is our now in vinyl, CD, and digital formats via Slumberland Records.

Bandcamp for Wordless Wonder
Slumberland Records page for Wordless Wonder

Friday, October 14, 2016

Terry Malts - Lost At The Party

Lost At The Party stands as proof that punk rockers don't always feel compelled to color within the same lines and in black and white.  It also is a damn fine album.

Bay Area rockers Terry Malts made their name playing wall-of-sound punk with thick veins of melody and decorated with sweet pop hooks.  They called it buzzsaw pop, and it was a accurate a description as it was a clever musical term.  Their songs were a joyful rush of Ramones meet Buzzcocks meet The Undertones and I played them every time I need an energy lift or injection of defiance.  But for this, their third album, the band had something different in mind -- different, and more.  The pace varies from the frenetic bashing of earlier recordings to mid-tempo, and even slower at times.  The dynamic range is greater over all instruments and the vocals, and the emotional content of the material is greater (or at least, more accessible).  If I had to pick only one genre tag for Lost At The Party, it would be power pop, albeit power pop with a sharp edge.  And while that generally is true, it dramatically undersells the delights to be found in the eleven tracks.  So, to continue with the opening analogy, Lost At The Party is what you get if the band that always used a pencil to create drawings in black, white, and shades of grey on 8x11 paper opened a drawer, pulled out a box of 80 colored pencils and a big canvas and said "now we'll show them what we can do".  You showed us, Terry Malts, and we like it a lot.

For Lost At The Party Terry Malts are Corey Cunningham (guitar), Phil Benson (bass and vocals), Nathan Sweatt (drums), and Jake Sprecher (guitar).  The album is out today via Slumberland Records.  You can stream it at the Bandcamp link below.

Slumberland Records page for album
Bandcamp for album

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Acid Arab - Musique de France

Music can be about many things.  For me, one of those things is discovery of new sounds, and old sounds interpreted in new ways.  And that is one of the reasons I look worldwide for music to write about, rather than focus on the plentiful offerings in my own country.  Today's first feature is a prime example of why I endorse that approach.   Musique de France is the new album from the Paris-based project Acid Arab.  Crafting adeptly constructed electronic music around a core of Middle Eastern and North African sounds and vocals, the band produces a head-rushing stew of the familiar and exotic, wonderfully detailed and wide in scope.  While many of the tracks are perfectly suited for the dance floor at 3 am, Acid Arab evinces mastery of the slow burn on the trippy "Gul L'Abi", featuring vocals from A-WA (a Yemenite trio of sisters).  The cross-cultural party that is Musique de France also includes vocals from Sofiane Saidi, Rizan Said, Cem Yildiz, Rachid Taha, and Jawad El Garrouge.

Musique de France is a rich tapestry of complimentary sounds, universal stories, and world music without borders.  If I was forced to start giving up new albums I've acquired this year, this one would be one of the last to go.  We recommend it highly.

Acid Arab was founded by Guido Minisky and Herve Carvalho in 2012.  More recently, they included the talents of Pierrot Casanova, Nicolas Borne, and Kenzi Bourras.  Musique de France is their first LP, and is available now on the excellent Belgian label Crammed Discs.

Crammed Discs
Crammed Disc's page for Musique de France

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Tyrannamen - Tyrannamen

One of my new favorite bands is Melbourne's Tyrannamen.  Apparently, the members have been playing gigs together for a half decade, but only recently recorded their debut album.  I suppose that is understandable as at least some are members of other bands.  But the music on the self-titled record is so good, that we can't help feeling deprived in retrospect, especially as travel from Seattle to Melbourne for a gig would consume our entire monthly beer and pizza budget.  There is a punk edge to some of the songs, but the real core of the album is a soulful, Memphis rock, combined with a a shaggy, pub/garage sing-along vibe.  We love it, you should love it as well.  And you may just wear this one out.

Tyrannamen originally was a limited Australian pressing by Cool Death Records, but it now is more widely available thanks to London's Static Shock Records.  US distribution is via Ebullition Records, but you may have to ask them which retailers have ordered this album.  Tyrannamen are Nic Imfeld (vocals), Cal Walker (guitar), Alex Macfarlane (bass), Angus Lord (guitar), and Chris Gray (drums).

Bandcamp for Tyrannamen
Static Shock Records
Rough Trade page for release (for UK fans)
Ebullition Records

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Faith Eliott - Insects

Insects, by musician and visual artist Faith Eliott, is a delightful collection so songs - delicate but not fragile, simply arranged but rich in content.  It is lo fi, raw, and at times experimental, but still provides pop gems such as opener "Pyrite Ammonite" or the quietly aching "Distance".  It reflects time and place (many songs were recorded in rural Nebraska), as well as the perceptive inner space of the composer.  Quite pleasing on the first listen, its power and beauty grow with each spin.  Put on headphones and sit on a park bench or your back garden, and let the magic wash over you.

Faith is from Minnesota, but has lived in Edinburgh for the last decade.  In addition to working as an artist, Faith has worked on several other musician's projects.  However, this is Faith's first recording of original compositions.

Insects is out in digital and cassette formats via Edinburgh's Song By Toad Records.

Bandcamp for Insects


Monday, October 10, 2016

Light Fantastic - Out of View

The sunshine is breaking out through the clouds outside our window at WYMA World Headquarters, so it is time for Out Of View, by Light Fantastic.  This is an album that sparkles like the sun reflecting off the waves of the ocean, and soothes like a summer ocean breeze.  There are well-laid layers of psychedelia, jangle pop and surf, and a light touch of shoegaze.  This is music that exists to bring a smile to your face, and that's exactly what it does.  And it should help you remember summer at least until the first snowfall.

Light Fantastic is based in San Francisco, and consists of Terry Sowers, Jeremy Bringetto, Terry Sowers, Rex Shelverton, Rachel Hoiem, and Charlie Knote.

Bandcamp for Out Of View
Spiritual Pajamas

EZTV - High In Place

Brooklyn's EZTV is quietly earning a reputation as one of America's best new jangle pop bands.  Most of us learned of the band via their fine debut LP, Calling Out, which was released mid-2015.  Their second album, High In Place, is now out via Captured Tracks.  At first listen, the new record sounds like a continuation of the first album, which is just fine for us jangle pop fans.  But we think a closer listen reveals an increased arsenal of guitar sounds and a more artful and confident expression of moods, anxieties, hopes and fears.  Of course, that the combination reminds us of The Byrds and The Bats, leads us to conclude that EZTV also is a beast that can fly, and their ten retro-tinged tracks on High In Place are a vibrant addition to modern guitar pop.

EZTV are Ezra Tenenbaum, Michael Stasiak, and Shane O'Connell.  As a live act, they include Christian Peslak.

Captured Tracks page for High In Place

Friday, October 7, 2016

Savage Mansion - Everyone TO The Savage Mansion EP

Of all the good music being released this week, our choice for the lead feature today is a four-song EP from Glasgow's Savage Mansion.  Immediately satisfying and promising great things for the future, Everyone to the Savage Mansion is their debut EP.

The project is headed by Craig Angus, formerly of the WYMA favorites and now-defunct Poor Things, with able assistance from Taylor Stewart (drums), Jamie Dubber (bass), and Andrew MacPherson (guitar).  The title of the EP seems to us to be an apt suggestion for the month ended by Halloween.  But there is nothing scary about the music.  The record consists of four distinctly delightful power pop tunes featuring sweet hooks and a robust groove.  Opener "Trouble In Paradise" kicks off proceedings with perfect power pop.  "Elwood" is swaggering garage/alt rock with a satisfying punch.  Soaring guitar pop invades your brain via the wonderful "Sparky Gone To Heaven".  The EP closes with my favorite, the Jonathan Richman echoes of "Bring Down The City Hall".  If you can write and perform four songs that please the listener while leaving hints of guitar pop from Glasgow to Dunedin to Melbourne to Seattle to Boston to Manchester, you will convince us that you are a band to watch.

Everyone to the Savage Mansion is available as a limited edition cassette from Scottish label Cool Your Jets.  But while an independent digital version is not available at this time, a cassette purchase will entitle you to a digital download and Bandcamp streaming, so you get the physical version and all of the convenience of digital.  See the Bandcamp link for details.

Bandcamp for Everyone to the Savage Mansion
Cool Your Jets

Thursday, October 6, 2016

"Hot as Hell and Ready to Die" by Blood of the Bull

We've been fans of Hillary Van Scoy for years. And that takes a bit of work on our part because it seems that the native Texan always is part of several projects around Glasgow.  Her Blood of the Bull seems to be building for another release (guys can hope, can't they?).  The band now is listed as Hillary Van Scoy, Tom R. Rennie, Amy Redford, and Paul Choy.  The latest available cut is the dark and rumbling "Hot as Hell and Ready to Die".


"Coconut Sunshine" by House Plants

As the season changes and the temperature drops, we always bring in some of the plants on our courtyard and make them house plants for the winter.  And in the spirit of collective action, and as a public service, we are offering you House Plants to bring into your home.  House Plants are four guys living in South London who play lo fi indie pop that will crack the clouds with rays of sunshine.  And fortuitously for the chance to have any coherence to this post, their new single is "Coconut Sunshine".  It was just released by Leeds label Chud Records, and is available at the Bandcamp link below.  If you would like to hear more tunes by House Plants, see the Soundcloud link near the bottom of this post.

Chud Records

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Those Unfortunates and their new singles

Last March we featured a London four-piece called Those Unfortunates (link)  I don't recall whether they found us or we found them, but we were very impressed with their slightly punky guitar pop.  Since that feature the band has released two singles for Edinburgh's Stereogram Recordings, and we are bringing them to your attention because we love the songs, and think they show some very positive growth for the guys (well, musically anyway).  OK, we also are doing it because our accountant has us doing some end of the year tax planning, and has advised us that doing things of value for those less fortunate gives us a charitable deduction.  So we will post about the singles by Those Unfortunates, and take a well-deserved $1,725 deduction.  Like Donald Trump, we are business geniuses.

But back to the business of Those Unfortunates and what the four songs on these two singles tells us.  This is a band that has the style of The Jam, the lyrical expressiveness and sly wit of The Kinks, and the pop smarts of Television Personalities.  Yes, that is high praise, but we expect these guys to live up to it (actually, we will be counting on it if the Internal Revenue Service challenges the value of our deduction).  The most recent single is The Servant, which is a double A-side digital release consisting of the title track and "Saturday".  The first track draws from the '60s film with the same title, and is a dark and tautly constructed, but also up-tempo.  In its turn, "Saturday" is a warm slice of Syd Barrett pastoral psychedelia.

The previous single for Stereogram is Letter Writing Man, with consists of "Letter Writing Man" and "The Book That I'm Reading".  The first song reminds me of The Jam, and is an absolute joy  It also is the subject of the video later down in this post.  "The Book That I'm Reading" is a freewheeling and loosely stitched romp of which I think The Kinks would be proud.

By the way, Those Unfortunates will deliver an album in the new year.  We all are fortunates.

Webpage for Those Unfortunates
Bandcamp for The Servant
Bandcamp for Letter Writing Man
Stereogram Recordings

Monday, October 3, 2016

Nick Waterhouse - Never Twice

For Nick Waterhouse, the year is 2016.  But artistically, Nick's world is the 1950s and early 1960s.  The guitarist/vocalist is completely devoted to the sounds or R&B from that era, and his new record, Never Twice, is a kinetic, sweat-soaked, and euphoric slice.  This is music for your weekend parties, or just anytime to put a smile on your face and a bounce in your step.  What we particularly like about the songs on this album is that Nick eschews the easy route of by-the-numbers slick R&B, and infuses plenty of authentic grit into the mix.  Oh, sure, he can be slick and smooth, with jazzy touches and a crooner's feel for the right emotional note.  But one spin of Never Twice reveals that Nick and his top notch cast of collaborators are at their best when the leash is loosened and everyone goes where the spirit moves them.  Let the spirit move you -- give Never Twice a chance.

Never Twice is out now on vinyl, CD and digital via Innovative Leisure Records.

Innovative Leisure

Grapell - Love Chamber EP

Welcome to my late night, feel good record of choice this fall -- Love Chamber EP by Swedish duo Grapell.  The Stockholm-based project was formed by long-time friends Emil Erstrand and Nils Nygårdh, who share the songwriting responsibilities, but call on guest musicians and vocalists on some tracks.  Their creations for Love Chamber must be regarded as nothing less than a triumph.  Simple but sophisticated arrangements underpin romantic, soulful ballads adorned by trumpet and, in my view as a former sax player, some excellent sax lines.  Be careful, babymaking may result from exposure to this record.

Love Chamber" EP will be released digitally and on limited vinyl via Strangers Candy in Europe and via Roll Call Records in the rest of the world. Grapell will tour in Europe late 2016 and early 2017.

Bandcamp for Love Chamber EP
Soundcloud for Grapell
Roll Call Records