Friday, June 30, 2017

"Out Of Reach" by Jetstream Pony

And here is a third excellent, and yet again different, song for your weekend playlist.  Thrill to the guitar pop sounds of "Out Or Reach" by Brighton's Jetstream Pony.  I don't have a lot of information about the band, but it may include Beth Arzy (Trembling Blue Stars, The Lexembourg Signal, and The Fireworks), Matthew Rimell (The Fireworks), Kerry Boettcher (Turbocat), Sara Boyle (drums), and Shaun Charman (The Wedding Present, The Popguns. and The Fireworks).


"Love" by Cats of Transnistria

Another, and very different, song for the weekend is "Love" by Finnish band Cats of Transnistria.  With lovely, haunting vocals over a minimalist arrangement, it is going to make get repeated plays from yours, truly.

Bandcamp link to Cats of Transnistria's 2016 EP Divine
Soliti Music

"Boy" by Duckworth

Holiday weekends are for feeling good, right?  Well here is a song that is making us all feel good -- "Boy" by Duckworth.  All hazy summer vibe and bubbling bass, we'd love to hear a lot more like this.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Kane Strang - Two Hearts and No Brain

We have long harbored high expectations for Kane Strang.  The young Dunedin musician's debut LP, Blue Cheese, impressed us enough that we covered it twice -- upon its initial release and when it was re-released.  So we won't pretend to be surprised at the quality of Two Hearts and No Brain, his new album for Dead Oceans.  We are, however, even more impressed that we expected.  Building on his strength as a songwriter, and matching his droll wit and observational skills with a deadpan delivery, it seems to us that Strang has grabbed '60s psychedelic pop melody by the scruff of the neck and lovingly given it an infusion of '90s indie rock  -- all sharp edges and guitar notes with a hint of anger and danger -- and dressed it up in sensibilities for the current decade.  And it all works because the execution is so good, with the muscular guitar-oriented arrangements providing an apt platform for the musings of a young man in 2017.

Of course, all that makes for a good listen, but we also think this is an album that has staying power.  The hooks and melodies will please your ears for as long as you play the album.  Moreover, Strang has the ability to craft songs that each stand apart as concise anthem, albeit and inward looking anthem.  In fact, the ability to cast his and the listeners' gaze inward may be one of the best long-term attributes among many for Two Hearts and No Brain.

Bandcamp for Two Hearts and No Brain


"In And Out Of Love" by Vera

We'll start out the day with a wonderfully chill, late night delight from Copenhagen producer Vera.  We love the melody, the vibe and, of course, the sax.  Recalling other recent artists we've featured, including Goss, with whom Vera has worked, we'd have to say the music scene in Copenhagen is in good health.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Tora - Take A Rest

An album like Tora's new Take A Rest invites a music writer to engage in word association.  In my case, I close my eyes, open my ears and come up with dance, lush, layers, chill, R&B, pop, travel, dance, and sunshine.  And music like you find on Take A Rest invites the listener to follow the direction of the title, and hit the beach, the park, or even the back yard, and relax.  The band composed the songs on this album while touring the world in support of their previous EP, and their experiences and emotions are embodied in the album tracks.  Both the themes and the arrangements are varied, but the album provides a "letting go" soundtrack equally useful for a sunny afternoon or a late night.

Tora is Jo Loewenthal, Jai Piccone, Thorne Davis, and Shaun Johnston.  They are from seaside town Byron Bay in New South Wales, Australia.  Take A Rest is out now via Lustre.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Skytone - JangleWaves

Evoking sun-dappled drives to the lake on a summer day or wine-on-the lawn evening with good friends, and leavened with jangle and hints of '70s soft rock, JangleWaves is a welcome addition to the summer playlist.  The album is the latest from melodic indie pop band Skytone, which is comprised of brothers Rodney and Darius Doddridge.  While the Canadian duo does, indeed, pack a lot of jangle in their compositions, dream pop, power pop and a liberal dose of beach pop all live harmoniously, melodically, and pleasingly, in JangleWaves.  Good vocals, good guitars, and good times.  Summer is here, and JangleWaves is coming along.

Bandcamp for JangleWaves
The Beautiful Music (label) page for Skytone

"Gold In The Hills" by Verandan

Ville Hopponen is a veteran of two of my favorite Finnish bands, Cats on Fire and The New Tigers.  While staying with the Soliti Music family, Ville's restless musical muse has inspired his new project, named Verandan (apparently, feline-based names are out of fashion).  The first offering is the digital-only "Gold In The Hills", which will be followed by an EP later this year.  A large scale pop tune with soaring synths and a robust bass, it has a slightly '80s feel and absolutely makes our day better with each spin.

In addition to Hopponen, Verandan is Aleksi Peltonen (of Puunhalaaja), Aki Pohjankyro (of Black Twig and Love Sport), Kaarlo Stauffer (of Black Twig), and Sampo Seppanen (of Sofa Pets, Kynnet).

Soliti Music

Monday, June 26, 2017

Matinee Idols

Our research division  revealed that millions of people woke up wondering the same thing we were wondering, which is -- what can be better for an indie pop fan than a new record from Matinee Recordings (we excluded the country of New Zealand from our calculations because they woke up wondering whether today was the day that they would vanquish the US holder of America's Cup and take the prize back to New Zealand, and obviously they are all very happy and, quite likely, no longer sober.).  Of course, the answer is that nothing is better, but there are various gradations of 'better'.  And at or near the top grade is a compilation of songs from Matinee Recordings.  And the timing of our research is exquisite, as we have now been graced by just such a compilation, the wonderful Matinee Idols.  The occasion is Matinee Recordings' 20th birthday.  And not content to wait and see if someone did something special to mark the event, Matinee made their own special compilation of Matinees artists, both long-standing and spanking new.  Just for the record, Matinee, we baked you a cake, but tasted it to make sure it was OK to eat and, well, one bite led to another.  Maybe for your 30th birthday we'll have more control.

The album consists of 14 rare, exclusive or unreleased songs, all of which are more than worthy to be released as singles.  Some of our favorite bands, bands which have graced these pages more than once, are represented: The Popguns; Strawberry Whiplash; Bubblegum Lemonade; Math and Physics Club; and The Hermit Crabs among them.  So to demonstrate the quality of the record we've selected offerings from bands who have rarely or never been on these pages.  So thrill to the superb "Postcard" and "Talk" from Swedes The Electric Pop Group and Tinsel Heart, respectively.  "Something Falls" by Last leaves may remind the listener of The Lucksmiths, and since three quarters of that defunct band are in Last Leaves, it is perfectly understandable.  Also included below are notable offerings from English band Catenary Wires and The Royal Landscape Society from Spain.  We aren't waiting for the marketplace to decide, there is no need.  Matinee Idols is a pop classic right out of the gate.

Matinee Idols is out now in CD and digital formats.

Matinee Recordings page for album
Matinee Recordings on Facebook

Luxembourg Signal - Laura Palmer 7"

Assembling talent from several beloved projects, Luxembourg Signal looks on paper to be one of those "can't miss" groups.  According to our ears, the paper is correct.  Following on their debut album for Shelflife Records in 2014, the band looks to issue Blue Shield, the sophomore LP, via Shelflife later this year.  But just to make sure we all still have them on our radar, Luxembourg Signal has released an excellent two-song 7" titled Laura Palmer.  Consisting of the title track and a welcome cover of Close Lobsters "Let's Make Some Plans", the record finds the band bold, confident, and reading to bring their brand of delightfully dense dreampop to a wider audience.

The Luxembourg Signal is Beth Arzy (vocals), Betsy Moyer (vocals), Johnny Joyner (guitar), Brian Espinosa (drums), Ginny Pitchford (keys), Kelly Davis (guitar), and Daniel Kumiega (bass).  Laura Palmer 7" is out now via Shelflife Records.

Shelflife Records page for Laura Palmer 7"

Friday, June 23, 2017

Suss Cunts - Suss Cunts

Of all that we've known in our lives, the Suss Cunts are the finest, sussiest, C..... WAIT, STOP ... Ok, that may be the last time we let one of our interns write the lead in for a feature.  Yes, this Sydney/Melbourne trio is sex-positive, but we we aren't going to win the Pulitzer Prize if we toss around words like "cunt".  Oh, I did it.  Never mind -- we can always aim for the prize next year.

OK, personal hopes and dreams dashed, what can we do for a promising young indie band?  Well, we can tell you that their self-titled five-song record is clever, danceable, and full of attitude (but only towards guys that deserve it, we're sure).  And it also walks the pop side of pop punk in a way that makes it a worthy consideration for any summer party playlist.  Certainly more worthy than our Pulitzer dreams, apparently.  So in our expert opinion as curators of summer tunes for decades (yes, we are that old individually and collectively) you need this little record and you need it now.  And think of that great moment when it is time to cue up some music, and you say 'lets play the Suss Cunts'.  You'll probably have more attention than you had the entire day up until that point.  You can thank us later.

Suss Cunts are Nina Renee (guitar/vocals), Tahlia Eastman (drums), and Helena Holmes (bass/vocals).  The record was originally released as a cassette, but now is available in vinyl and digital formats via Emotional Response Records.

Bandcamp for digital version of EP
Emotional Response page for vinyl

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hollow Everdaze - Cartoons

Cartoons?  Who doesn't love cartoons?  We all have our favorites, and finding a new one is a treat that makes us feel young again (a feeling more valued every year, we admit).  And now we have a set of musical Cartoons, courtesy of Hollow Everdaze.  Australia's reservoir of guitar pop bands appears to be deep and wide, and this band is the latest to wow us.  It seems to us that these guys simply love music.  They aren't locked into a narrow channel of expression, and are equally adept at woozy psychedelic pop (check out the title track below),  psychedelic Beatlemania ("Poisoned by Nostalgia"), lush dream pop (for example, "Running Away"), and retro '60s psyche pop (prime example, the totally wonderful "Warcry").  The songwriting is excellent and varied, the lyrics incisive.  And with a violin and cello in their arsenal, the arrangements are never lacking in sonic heft.  All around, the craftsmanship on this debut is stunning.  Every time we play this album (and we play it so much that at this point the guys in the next office suite sing along), we discover another detail that we hadn't fully appreciated before.

We know that there is a lot of music demanding your attention, but ignoring Cartoons would be a loser's choice.  Don't be a loser.  Besides, just think of the psychic lift you'll get when the guy next to you on the bus nudges you and when you pull out your ear bud and he asks you what you are listening to, you simply answer "Cartoons", and replace your earbuds and stare into the distance with a smile on your face.

Hollow Everdaze are Daniel Baulch (vocals/guitar/drums/keys), Myles Anderson (violin), Jackson Kay (bass/keys), James Turner (drums), and Dylan Young (keys).  Additional contributions on the album came from Tim Karmouche, John Lee, Zachary Schneider, and Chriss Monn.  Cartoons is out June 23 via Melbourne label Deaf Ambitions.

Deaf Ambitions page for Cartoons

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lea Porcelain - Hymn to the Night

Hymn to the Night, by London/Berlin duo Lea Porcelain, is constructed of cinematic, swirling soundscapes, alternating with intense, almost claustrophobic periods of intimacy.  Periods of balladry are bracketed by industrial walls of sound, Joy Division-style intensity and post-punk introspection.  The atmosphere is weighty, and the perspective a bit grim.  But more often than not, the music soars on a wave of synths, and satisfies on the strength of dynamic arrangements and appealing melodic coherence.  This is a very solid debut, and promises very good things for the future.

Lea Porcelain is Julien Bracht and Markus Nikolaus.  Hymn to the Night is out now.


"Nervous" by Matias Aguayo & The Desdemonas

We've become quite enamored of Crammed Discs, the Belgian label that finds all manner if interesting, and not infrequently off-kilter, music that thrills us, and usually prompts us to start dancing.  One of their most recent additions is Matias Aguayo & The Desdemonas, formed by Berlin-based Chilean musician Matias Aguayo.  According to press reports the music is inspired by music Aguayo listened to as a teenager.  The band's debut LP for Crammed Discs, Sofarnopolis, will be out in October, but we have peek into the works with the throbbing psychedelic electro pop track "Nervous".  Supposedly it is about a nightly encounter with a girl floating in purple light.  While it may cause one to wonder just what Matias was listening to as a teenager, the song is a keeper.  Take a listen and decide whether it makes you nervous.

In addition to Aguayo (guitar and vocals), the band is Henning Specht (keys), Gregorio Gomez (guitar), and Matteo Scrimali (drums)

Crammed Discs

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Cattle - Slow Sailor EP

I'll admit that we spent some time here at WYMA headquarters discussing why a band from Japan would call themselves Cattle, but like we do with most tough questions, we gave up and ordered pizza when an acceptable answer wasn't readily forthcoming.  However, neither our ruminations nor our subsequent admission of defeat interrupted our repeated plays of Slow Sailor, the five-song EP that Cattle has released via Jigsaw Records.  On what is their second EP overall, this band displays a deft hand with combining dreampop and noise pop.  It is melodic, crunchy and hook-filled, with soaring female vocals.  With four original songs and a smashing cover of Ride's "Twisterella", it will give you an energy jolt that will make your next Starbucks run unnecessary.

Stream a few songs below, and stream and buy the entire Slow Sailor EP at the Bandcamp link.  Jigsaw Records keeps finding gems, and we love them for it.

Bandcamp for EP

Monday, June 19, 2017

"Sexyland" by Crepes

Melbourne's Crepes are promising an LP.  I don't think we have a date, but we still can hope it is soon.  And while we are hoping, we can enjoy the band's new single "Sexyland".  Boasting a big beat and catchy groove, it has a sly swagger and a sweet melody.  It reminds us of the '70s, but in a good way.

Crepes are Tim Karmouche, Nick Robbins, Pat Robbins, Jackson Dahlenburg, and Sam Cooper.  "Sexyland" and the debut album are to be released by Melbourne label Deaf Ambitions.


The Popguns - Sugar Kisses

On Sugar Kisses, the second full length from The Popguns since their resurrection in 2012, the band proves as adept as ever in crafting bittersweet indie pop, and have even filled out the sound with Kate Mander adding her voice to harmonize with frontwoman Wendy Pickles.  And unsurprisingly, they have added some additional maturity and perspective to the songwriting.  But the album finds the band unwilling rely only on that traditional strength and listeners aiming for nostalgia.  So here melancholy janglers like the wonderful showcase song "So Long" are balanced by the robust tracks such as "We Don't Go Round There Anymore", "A Dream Of Her Own", "Gene Machine", "Fire Away", and the glorious "Finished With The Past".  The variety and quality of execution shows this Brighton band to be as vital, energetic and aggressive as are many new bands trying to make there way in music.  The difference is that The Popguns are pros at this, and it shows.  Wendy Pickles' voice still impresses with its power and range, but even more intriguing to any careful listener is her nuanced touch with the emotional content of the songs.  The result is an album as strong as any the band has done, and it will serve as a summer mix tape for the discerning indie pop fan.  Pop the champagne corks for The Popguns -- they have earned it!

The Popguns are Wendy Pickles, Simon Pickles, Greg Dixon, Pat Walkington, Tony Bryant, and Kate Mander.  Sugar Kisses is out now via Matinee Recordings.

Bandcamp for Sugar Kisses
Matinee Recordings page for Sugar Kisses

Thursday, June 15, 2017

GospelbeacH - Another Summer of Love

It seems to us that one of the best things music can do for us is evoke memories and emotions.  And one of the most evocative albums I've listened to in a long time is Another Summer of Love by Southern California's GospelbeacH.  According to head man Brent Rademaker, the concept behind the album is a California country rock band about to lose their record contract and making a record to try and get radio play to stay alive in the game.  And certainly the album works on that level.  But the magic of music is that for me it works in ways that Brent did not, and need not consider.  For me, Another Summer of Love reminds me of a certain time in my life when summer days involved finding young women willing to head out in a boat or march to the back of the dunes with a bottle of wine, and nights were filled with climbing into my best friend's car and heading to the Ravenna Ballroom or some other teenage hangout with the air bristling with the kind of electricity that a group of young people out on the prowl create.  In those days we listened to music virtually nonstop, and the bulk of it was the sort of country-tinged California indie rock that GospelbeacH has mastered, as well as a healthy dose of Stax soul and R&B.  So Brent and his collaborators got the time and vibe exactly right, and gave me a flood of great memories.  It even prompted me to contact my old wingman, living in the opposite corner of the country, to relive the days when we thought we were becoming legends.

The foregoing doesn't mean that Another Summer of Love is a nostalgia piece.  This is timeless left coast rock, and it will never be unwelcome to those who love guitar pop.  The stories are vivid and true, the performances top-notch, and the variety reveals a songwriter with a comprehensive knowledge and love of guitar pop.  I wouldn't have been surprised to see Chris Hillman, J.D. Souther and the Poco boys in the credits.  But Brent and company are so good, they didn't need them.

Brent Rademaker's background includes Beachwood Sparks, The Tyde and in his deep past, Further, in addition to other projects.  For this album, his core collaborators were Jason Soda and Johnny Neimann.  Another Summer of Love is out this week on vinyl, CD and digital formats via Alive Natural Sounds Records.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sammy Brue - I Am Nice

You all are invited to a teenager's coming out party.  We're talking about Ogden-based Portlander Sammy Brue.  The young man is 16 years old, but writes with the sophistication and observational skills of a much more experienced man, and sings with the phrasing of an long-performing troubadour.  The platform for the party is his new album I Am Nice, although amazingly his two previous EPs were noteworthy as well.

Brue's style touches on folk, Americana, country, garage, and a bit of '60s retro (e.g. "Was I The Only One" and ("I See, I Hear").  One could say he's a young Dylan, but no one deserves to bear that burden.  Moreover, Brue doesn't mine the political and social commentary veins, but rather writes about actual or possible relationships with a keen eye, empathetic tone, and sly sense of humor.  I invite you to watch the lyric video below for "I Never Said" for a view to the young man's knack for lyrics, melody and delivery.  I feel safe in saying that most musicians don't hit that level in their entire career.  And to embellish the praise, I should add that Sammy wrote some of these songs several years ago (I guess one has more time when one is too young to drive).  Moreover, while Brue is brilliant on the slower-paced songs, he can rock out with panache, as evidenced by "Covered In Blood" and "Control Freak" (the latter inspired by an interview with Kurt Cobain).

My favorite songs are "Was I The Only One", "I Never Said", "Control Freak", but every song is a keeper.  The production is superb and ably enhance Sammy's performances.  If you don't get this album, you'll see it on 2017 lists in six months and feel foolish.  Don't be foolish.

I Am Nice is out on June 16 via New West Records.

New West Records

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

"Lucky" by Life Model

Glasgow guitar pop band Life Model's Lucky EP won't be available until July 21, but you can get a taste right now by listening to the stellar title track.  If you like it, watch this space for more information about the EP in the coming weeks.

Life Model are Sophie Evans, Chris Smith, Joanne McCafferty, and Michael McDonald.  The EP will be released by Frux Tapes in digital and cassette formats.

Frux Tapes

Monday, June 12, 2017

"When I Dance With You" by The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart"

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart ("POBPAH") shouldn't need any introduction to the readers of and indie blog, so I won't waste your time writing one.  But we all know that when Kip Berman is on his game, he dishes out top of the class dreamy, concise indie pop that favorably recalls The Pastels and our C86 favorites.  Today POBPAH shared the second song from their upcoming album, and it once again reminds us that this band is as sharp and relevant today as they were when they burst on the scene in the '00s.  Enjoy "When I Dance With You" below.  The song is about the comfort one finds in love despite uncertainties concerning the future.

The new album, Echo of Pleasure, is due September 1 via the band's Painbow Records.  POBPAH is touring this month and in September and October.  Dates and venues are listed below.

Painbow Records pre-order page


Wednesday, June 14 -- Boston, MA -- The Sinclair *%
Thursday, June 15 -- New Portsmouth, NH -- 3S Artspace *%
Friday, June 16 -- Montreal, QC - Bar Le Ritz *%
Saturday, June 17 -- Toronto, ON -- The Horseshoe Tavern *%
Monday, June 19 -- Cleveland, OH -- The Grog Shop *%
Tuesday, June 20 -- Detroit, MI -- El Club *%
Thursday, June 22 -- Minneapolis, MN -- 7th St Entry *#
Friday, June 23 -- Madison, WI -- High Noon Saloon  *#
Saturday, June 24 -- Chicago, IL -- Lincoln Hall  *#
Sunday, June 25 -- St Louis, MO -- The Firebird  *#
Tuesday, June 27 -- Nashville, TN -- The High Watt *#
Wednesday, June 28 -- Atlanta, GA -- The Earl  *#
Friday, June 30 -- Chapel Hill, NC -- Local 506 *#
Saturday, July 1 -- Washington D.C. -- Rock & Roll Hotel *#
Sunday, July 2 -- Philadelphia, PA -- World Cafe Live Downstairs *#
Friday, September 22 -- Vancouver, BC -- Biltmore Cabaret $&
Saturday, September 23 -- Seattle, WA -- Tractor Tavern $&
Sunday, September 24 -- Portland, OR -- Doug Fir Lounge $&
Tuesday, September 26 -- San Francisco, CA -- The Chapel $&
Wednesday, September 27 -- Los Angeles, CA -- Teragram Ballroom $&
Thursday, September 28 -- San Diego, CA - The Loft UC $&
Sunday, October 15 -- Madrid, Spain -- Joy Slava
Monday, October 16 -- Cordoba, Spain -- Sala Hanger
Tuesday, October 17 -- Granada, Spain -- Lemon Rock
Thursday, October 19 -- Valencia, Spain -- La Rambleta
Friday, October 20 -- Barcelona, Spain -- Bikini
Saturday, October 21 -- Santander, Spain -- Escenario

* = w/ Ablebody
# = w/ Beverly
% = w/ Frankie Rose
$ = w/ The Courtneys
& = w/ The Prids

Red Bum Ball: Rare and Unreleased Rocksteady 1966 - 1968

We are starting out the week with some old music.  Some very old music, packaged for new and old ears alike.  The genre is rocksteady, the Jamaican musical form that provided the brief bridge between ska and reggae in the later half of the '60s.  Taking rhythms of ska, slowing them down, adding elements of American R&B, and emphasizing the bass guitar and vocal harmonies, the rocksteady period produced numerous beautiful songs.  Labels have released numerous rocksteady compilations in the digital era, but we are always happy to listen to a new one, especially from a respected label such as London's Pressure Sounds.

Which brings us to Red Bum Ball: Rare And Unreleased Rocksteady 1966 - 1968.  For this compilation, Pressure Sounds has assembled 20 rocksteady  tunes produced by Derrick Morgan, and recorded with Lyn Taitt & The Jets as the backing band.  The vocals were provided by various artists, including several by Derrick Morgan himself.  The aspect of this compilation which elevates it above a number of other rocksteady compilations and into the 'recommended' status, other than the quality of the tracks themselves, is its uniqueness.  While the material on many compilations overlap, Pressure Sounds took the harder road of selecting songs that were rare, and even unreleased, while still having the quality to justify inclusion on a record 50 years after recording.  The result will please any casual fan of Jamaican musical styles, and likely will be essential for any serious collector.

Bandcamp for album
Pressure Sounds Records
Pressure Sounds on Twitter
Pressure Sounds on Soundcloud

Thursday, June 8, 2017

"Pulling All The Facts Together" by The Stevens

Well, you all probably were hoping that the next post about The Stevens was going to discuss their new album.  After all, a month ago we teased you with "Chancer" the first song from Good.  But the release date is still five weeks in the future.  However, not all is doom and gloom, because the Melbourne quartet has released another album track - "Pulling All The Facts Together".  Stitching together observations about electronic snooping with snippets of morning TV, the song embodies the band's melodic brand of lo-fi indie rock, which wouldn't be out of place on a Guided by Voices stage.

The Stevens are Travis MacDonald, Alex Macfarlane, Gus Lord, and Matt Harkin.  Good will be released July 14 available via Chapter Music.

Chapter Music

Beach Fossils - Somersault

Somersault is a very welcome return by Beach Fossils.  Four years between albums is long time for an indie band, and such extended hiatuses don't always signal good creative juices.  But we are happy to report that Beach Fossils return in extremely good shape.  In fact, we are joking around here that the title of the album may be a nod to the somersaults of barely restrained joy that fans will execute upon hearing this great set of songs.  At least we think it is a joke, but maybe not.

The opening chords of "This Year" suggest that we are in familiar Beach Fossils territory -- intimate guitar pop with hooks and harmonies.  But as the track, and the album, reveal themselves we are treated to a richer arsenal of ideas and sonic tools, and a more precise execution. The variety is impressive, with lush, hazy songs offset by more urgent tracks and robust rhythms. And the band expands their reach even further with guest vocalist Rachel Goswell of Slowdive on "Tangerine" and Cities Aviv on "Rise". The songwriting is crisp and focused, and the band plays with confidence. The songs are layered, but not fussy, and the vibe is perfect summery warmth. Clearly, Beach Fossils have used their 'down time' very wisely, and that is great news for us fans.

Beach Fossils are Dustin Payseur, Tommy Davidson, and Jack Smith. Somersault is out now via Payseur's own Bayonet Records


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Introducing: Poolshop

We feel in love today.  No, it isn't our first time, but it feels real, and right.  With whom?  A musician from Brisbane, Australia named Jaimee Fryer.  Jaimee is lead guitarist and vocalist for Major League, which alone could result in "crush" status.  But now Jaimee also launched a solo project as Poolshop.  Building on her talents as a singer and guitarist, Poolshop treks in the shoegaze/guitar pop/dreampop in particularly delightful fashion.  Check out our new love with the the dreamy "How Long", which is available as a 'name your price' download, and the excellent "You're Alright Alone".

We can't wait for Valentines Day!


Aquaserge - Laisse ca etre

If you have adventuresome musical tastes, Laisse ca etre may be your delight of the month.  The latest work from Aquaserge, a collective from southern France, blends together ideas from jazz, French films, folk, Krautrock, psychedelia, progressive rock, vintage pop and other elements from around the globe.  With a cinematic feel that would slot in nicely as the soundtrack for an indie film, the songs sprawl generously with a variety of concepts and plenty of delightful left turns.  But despite the rapidly shifting rhythms, time signatures and instrumentation, the band has a breathtaking ability to perform with absolute precision.  This is pop music with a brain, a heart, and the spirit of a global backpacker.  Climb on, it is a wonderful ride.

Including members of Tame Impala, Stereolab and Melody's Echo Chamber, Aquaserge was founded by Julien Barbagallo, Julien Gasc and Benjamin Gilbert, and now includes Audrey Ginestet and Manon Gilbert, among others.

Laisse ca etre is out now via Almost Musique in France and Crammed Discs in the rest of the world.

Bandcamp for album
Crammed Discs

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Mt. Doubt - The Loneliness of the TV Watchers

Leo Bargery's Mt. Doubt project is back to bring us their latest set of indie rock ballads, and the material is a little bit as before and a little bit different.  On The Loneliness of the TV Watchers Leo's expressive baritone remains, and the themes remain dark.  But the arrangements and, at times, the tempo, inject a welcome dose of pop smarts and energy.  The result is a five song set that is the most consistent and accessible of the band's two year career to date, and presents a very solid case for following Mt. Doubt as it continues to grow.

The EP commences with the sprawling "A Natural Swimmer", on which Leo balances the fatalistic subject with a decidedly uptempo. pop-oriented arrangement.  "Tourist" follows with a dose of humor, as well as providing the most indie pop moments of the EP.  Not wanting us to start pigeonholing the band as 'former rockers', "Reference Books" arrives next to remind us that the '80s and '90s did exist, and we enjoyed grunge.  "Purity" then provides a nice change of pace, both down-tempo and a bit downtrodden; life is like that sometimes, and Leo doesn't want us to forget it.  The grand finish is provided by "Soft Furnishings", a sprawling piano track that builds nicely as we are warned to avoid the temptation of giving up and getting all too comfortable not trying.  In our view there isn't a weak track in the set, but you can test that below and at the Bandcamp link.

The Loneliness of the TV Watchers is out now in digital and CD formats via Scottish Fiction.

Bandcamp for EP
Scottish Fiction

Monday, June 5, 2017

Australian Popfest Compilation

One of our favorite little labels, Emotional Response Records of Flagstaff, Arizona, continues to delight us with unexpected treasures.  Most recently they released an Australian Popfest Compilations.  Punk, indie pop and electropop coexist on 16 tracks you won't find together elsewhere.  The backstory is that label bosses Jen and Stew lived in Australia for a while, and in 2002 organized a pop festival at Melbourne's Empress Hotel.  This artifact of selected portions of the proceedings in now available at the Bandcamp link below.  A few tracks are here for your listening pleasure -- one punk, one indie pop, and one electro pop.  We like balance.


Young Guv - Traumatic 7"

We wants to start our the new week of musical musings with a sure winner, so we proudly present the Traumatic 7" from Toronto's Young Guv.  Young Guv is the solo project of Ben Cook, whose musical talent wears several guises.  The punk Ben thrills as a member of Fucked Up.  The hardcore Ben gets in your face with No Warning (this sentence worked our better than I expected).  And the power pop, '80s-loving Ben is a Young Guv.  It is also my personal favorite version of Ben, if anyone cares.

A few years ago Young Guv released a fine 8-song album called Ripe 4 Luv (our feature here).  He now has given us "Traumatic" and "It Could Be Me".  The lead track is a bouncy sugar rush of synthy rhythms, guitar and dramatic vocals.  It sounds great at the first listen and gets better with each repeat.  The B-side is smeared power pop with helium vocals and should give you enough energy for the next several hours of whatever activity you have planned.  This week is looking (sounding) pretty damn good already.

Traumatic 7" is available in vinyl and digital formats via Slumberland Records.  See the Bandcamp link for details.

Young Guv on Twitter
Bandcamp for single
Slumberland Records page for single

Saturday, June 3, 2017

School Damage - School Damage

For some band, naming their genre probably doesn't take a committee of experts.  I mean, know one was seriously tempted to label Metallica 'jangle pop', or Orange Juice 'death metal' (although knowing the power of the internet, someone, in their parents' basement, is telling his or her mates that their ticket is playing "Blue Boy" as a death metal song).  But for other bands, there is more of a challenge putting a finger on their own slice of the indie world and giving it a name.  And this -- yes, there really is a point to this -- brings us to the 'wobble pop' of Melbourne's School Damage.  I must confess, I had my doubts about the term, but the keys really do have a wobbling sound.  Fortunately, not only is the wobble both interesting and pleasant, but the rest of the music is damn good as well.

The songs on the band's self-titled debut address the issues of young modern life.  The atmosphere is superficially DIY, as well as alt-bubblegum (hey, we can construct genre labels as well!), but don't be fooled.  The performances are focused and tight.  They can sound like a almost out of control circus band, a bunch of punk thrashers, a taut post punk outfit or a Gothic folk project.  But whatever the guise, it is effortlessly charming and, I suspect, sounds exactly the way the band intends.  So, in keeping with the circus keys, be ready for a wild ride.  But like the circus, you'll be smiling and come back for more.

The band was founded by Carolyn Hawkins (of Chook Race (one of our favorites) and Pronto) and Jake Robertson (of Ausmuteants, Hierophants, Frowning Clouds).  The band has since filled out with Jeff Raty and Dani Damage.  This is their debut album, and it is released on a Chapter Music, which rapidly has become a tastemaker for Melbourne area bands.  Check the Bandcamp link below for a full stream and acquisition details.

By the way, the album was mastered by Mikey Young, because, well, of course it was.  He mixes much of what is good in the world.  I think he mixed my oatmeal this morning, and it was delicious.

Bandcamp for album
Chapter Music page for album

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Pure Conjecture - No Ghosts

It may be pure conjecture on my part, but No Ghosts may be the most subversive indie pop album of the year.  Why subversive?  Because in a music world increasingly bifurcated between manufactured and team-assembled pop on one hand, and scrappy DIY on the other (I'm ignoring classic rock reunion tours and reissues for all sorts of good reasons), The Pure Conjecture takes a highly eclectic band of indie musicians with impressive pedigrees at the scrappy or DIY side of the divide, and creates deliciously bright and smooth pop rock.  Up front rhythms, sweet soul vocals, soaring harmonies, sharp hooks and smooth melodies abound.  The production is warm and crisp, the arrangements full.  If you are looking for a summer album of Northern Soul, washed with sunshine and performed with a reverential nod to the art of Hall & Oates, this is your ticket for the next three months.  We have it on our mobiles, in our cars, and on the home stereo.  It is like the puppy that walks up to you and says "take me home and love me".   Yes, we will.

The band is founded around the songwriting duo of Matthew Eaton and Darren Moon.  They list their location in Cardiff, Wales, but the members come from various points in Wales, England and Scotland.  For this album, The Pure Conjecture are Matthew Eaton (vocals/guitar), Darren Moon (vocals/guitar), Matthew Twaites (synths), Rose Elinor Dougall (vocals/piano), Johny Lamb (horns), Marc Geatty (bass), and Joel Gibson (drums).  Additional contributors are Andrew Michell (lead vocals and co-writing credit on "Knock Four Times"), Ashley Mcavoy (backing vocals on "Not A Cloud In The Sky"), and Joe Harling (lead guitar on "No Ghosts").  No Ghosts, the band's third album, is out today via Glasgow's Armellodie Records.  See the Bandcamp link for details.

Bandcamp for No Ghosts