Thursday, August 31, 2017

"Like You Less" by Jetstream Pony

This is the happy day when we do not need to post demos by Jetstream Pony, one of our favorite new bands.  Today, we have "Like You Less", the band's first official single.  Hook filled fuzz pop with heavenly vocals give you a lot to like, and certainly justify our devotion to this band. The single will be available next week on vinyl from German label Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten.

We also have become aware that the band is named for a retired racing Greyhound who also goes by the name Jenna.  We think Jenna deserves some limelight as well, so we've included a photo of the speedy girl at the bottom of the post.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Baker Island - Restless Legs

We love distortion, fuzz, hooks, harmonies, and buzzsaw guitars around here.  And that means we love Restless Legs, the new sophomore album from Newcastle upon Tyne quintet Baker Island.  This is '90s rock dredged in noise pop and garnished with lovely pop details.  We could listen to it all day around here.  If fact, we have been listening to it all day around here.  Check out a few standouts below, and you'll probably head to Bandcamp to hear them all.  When you came here today, you probably had no intention of owning an album named Restless Legs, but you may just do so before you go to bed.

Restless Legs is out now in digital, vinyl and CD formats via Philophobia Music

Bandcamp for Restless Legs

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sachet - Portion Control

On Portion Control, the recent album by Sydney's Sachet, melodic blasts of fuzzy garage rock meets sharp-edged post punk pop with some '90s alt rock touches.  The vibe is upbeat, and ideas are launched, developed and ended concisely but in very satisfying fashion.  We look forward to hearing a lot more from this band.

Sachet is Lani Crooks, Nick Webb, Chris Anstis, and Sam Wilkinson, members of Ray Davies and The Space Banditos.  Portion Control is out now via Strange Pursuits


Saturday, August 26, 2017

"LTF" and "Cracks" by Frøkedal

Falling in love is exciting, frightening, chaotic, and blissful, and frankly can leave even the most articulate love struck individual incapable of describing the complex feelings.  However, not all are so limited, one one lovely exploration arrives via the new double A-side from Norway's Frøkedal.  Covering the tumult, vulnerability and joy with glistening arrangements and crystalline vocals, it is a very satisfying record and may make falling in love seem less daunting.  In any case, it should make your weekend better.

Frøkedal is Oslo-based Anne Lise Frøkedal with Olav Christer Rossebø, Thea Glenton Raknes, Erlend Ringseth, and Ingeleiv Berstad.  LTF/Cracks is out now via Propeller Recordings.

Order page
Propeller Recordings

Ghostpoet - Dark Days & Canapés

Ghostpoet is Obaro Ejimiwe, a shapeshifting musician of considerable talent.  On Dark Days & Canapés, his new album, he delivers stories perfect for those wee morning hours when things slow down and one has to decide whether to go to bed or just head out for pre-dawn breakfast and start the new days.  The power of Ejimiwe's art doesn't derive from tempo, volume, or hooks, but rather from the shaded atmosphere, jazzy accents, guitars jumping in like startled flocks of birds, skittering beats, and the languid but anxiety-tinged vocals.  He adeptly addresses the heaviness of the times with a lyricism and empathy that infuses what could be a very bleak set of themes with a triumphant humanity.  This is an album that presents a worthwhile change of pace for indie music fans.  If you only have time for one track, test drive "Immigrant Boogie" below.  But we highly recommend a deeper dive.

Dark Days & Canapés is out now via Play It Again Sam.


Friday, August 25, 2017

"Free" by Pegboard Nerds X Motopony

Seattle's Motopony has featured here in the past in their accustomed glitch folk/psychedelic pop guise (with a bit of soul and funk).  But today they step into new territory with "Free", a collaboration with Norwegian/Danish electronic duo Pegboard Nerds.  With nods to both melodic rock and the dance floor, it celebrates freedom from the constraints of addictions with both music and message simultaneously uplifting.

Pegboard Nerds are Norwegian DJ Alexander Odden and Danish DJ Michael Parsberg.  Motopony is a five-piece fronted by Daniel Blue.

Link to purchase and stream
Motopony Website
Motopony Facebook
Motopony Twitter
Pegboard Nerds Website
Pegboard Nerds Facebook
Pegboard Nerds Twitter
Pegboard Nerds Soundcloud

"I Took Your Picture" by Cults

We counted ourselves as big fans of Cults when they stomped into our musical consciousness in 2010.  Their darkly haunting take on a retro sound was refreshing and very welcome.  So were were not happy when the core duo of Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin terminated the band a few years later.  We can't be sure, but perhaps it was our tears that caused a reconsideration (and perhaps not, to be fair).  But whatever the reason, Cults are back in operation.  The sound is a bit different, now delving into '80s power pop.  But that is OK with us -- it is the talent that makes the band, not the style.  Oh, you want proof?  We've got it covered.  Check out "I Took Your Picture" below.

And now that you are interested, note that the new album is Offering, and will be released October 6 via Sinderlyn.  The band will be touring extensively over the next couple of months to support the album.  See the dates and venues below.


Cults North American tour dates
09/16 - Hartford, CT - Small State Great Beer Brewfest
10/14 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
10/15 - Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel
10/17 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
10/18 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
10/19 - Albany, NY - The Hollow
10/20 - Toronto, ON - Lee's Palace
10/21 - Detroit, MI - Marble Bar
10/22 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall
10/24 - Minneapolis, MN - Fine Line
10/25 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon
10/26 - Des Moines, IA - Vaudeville Mews
10/27 - Omaha, NE - Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
10/28 - Denver, CO - Globe Hall
10/29 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
10/31 - Seattle, WA - Neumos
11/01 - Portland, OR - Star Theater
11/03 - San Francisco, CA - The Chapel
11/04 - Pioneertown, CA - Pappy and Harriet's
11/05 - San Diego, CA - The Irenic
11/06 - Santa Ana, CA - Constellation Room
11/07 - Los Angeles,CA - Teragram Ballroom
11/09 - Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom
11/11 - Dallas, TX - Dada
11/12 - Austin, TX - Antone's
11/13 - Houston, TX - White Oak Music Hall
11/14 - New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks
11/15 - Birmingham, AL - Saturn
11/16 - Nashville, TN - Exit/In
11/17 - Atlanta, GA - Aisle 5
11/18 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
11/19 - Baltimore, MD - Ottobar

Thursday, August 24, 2017

New songs from Grapell

One of favorite EPs last year was the Love Chamber EP by Swedish neo-soul duo Grapell.  Happily, their desire to explore the musical expression of romantic love was not sated by the EP, so they've gone back to the studio to record a full length titled Crier.  The album will be released on November 3, but for now you can enjoy the first two songs the band has shared.

Grapell are Emil Erstrand and Nils Nygårdh, who have been friends and bandmates since their teenage years.

Bandcamp to pre-order Crier

"of tiredness of sleep" by hd hausmann

We've been a bit sparse in our posts this week, so we will try to make it up to you in the next few days.  Please accept the new cinematic gem from the collective known as hd hausmann.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Seafang - Solid Gold EP

If you call yourselves something like "Seafang", you probably aren't allowed to play folk, twee pop, or chamber pop.  St. Petersburg, Florida's Seafang understands this, and they aren't going to tempt the music gods by breaking rules.  So on Solid Gold, their five-track EP for Emotional Response Records the quintet offers shoegaze and fuzz pop anthems, with dense, busy guitars and soaring melodies and vocals.  Think of the aggressive fuzz of Glasgow's Shop Assistants and the soaring anthems of Veronica Falls coupled with more shoegaze density and more vocalists, and you'll get the picture.  But why consider it via pictures?  Listen below and at the Bandcamp link.

Seafang are Heidi (vocals), Susan (guitar), Stacey (guitar/vocals), Gary (bass/vocals), and Paul (drums).  Solid Gold is out now.

Bandcamp for Solid Gold
Emotional Response Records page for vinyl and CD

Peak Body - Peak Body EP

Time for a little fitness, isn't it?  One of our favorite blogs, the New Zealand based POPLIB has written a couple of times about a duo from Hobart, Tasmania named Peak Body.  So we checked out the band's self-titled EP today and, yes, it was well worth our time.  They play a minimalist electronic pop, sometimes spare and sometimes lush.  The rhythms as insistent and the vocals soft and ethereal.   In five tracks the band hits drum and bass, Krautrock, psychedelia, and dreampop, and owns them all.  After a few plays, we think we are totally into Peak Body mode.  Fitness is great!

Peak Body are Emma Jane Marson and Jordan Scott Marson.  Peak Body EP is available at the Bandcamp link below in cassette and digital download formats.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

"Juglar Child on the Carousel" by The Zephyr Bones

If you are a fan of psychedelic pop with summer beach vibes (welcome to the club), your new favorite band may be The Zephyr Bones.  With members from Spain and Chile, the Barcelona-based quartet plays fuzzy, punchy psychedelic pop to warm your heart and move your feet.  Spanish label La Castanya will release their LP, Secret Place, on November 10.  You can sample the goods via the first album track to be shared, "Juglar Child on The Carousel".  And UK fans should note that the band's first-ever UK show is set for November 24 at The Shacklewell Arms.

The Zephyr Bones are Brian Silva (guitar/vocals), Jossip Tkalcic (guitar/vocals), Marc Lopez (drums), and Carlos Ramos (bass).

Bandcamp for 2016 single Black Lips / Surrounded by Flowers
La Castanya

The Van Pelt - Stealing From Our Favorite Thieves / Sultans of Sentiment (reissues)

Stealing From Our Favorite Thieves

Wound tighter than a death grip and playing guitars like buzzing weapons, The Van Pelt's debut album, Stealing From Our Favorite Thieves, provided fierce post punk and quasi-hardcore in a world diverging into turntables or alternative rock and grunge.  Their acerbic observations were dished in a staccato talk-sing, punctuating the riffs and crashes, headlined by often humorous song titles.  It was defiant and breathtakingly life-affirming, with melody present but suited in a coat of protective aural armor.  And for us, when you listened to it, it was as if this was the only music in the world.  If you were an A&R guy looking for the next big thing, you wanted to be the guy to sign this band.  If you were such an A&R guy, it would end in tears for you.

The band was formed in New York City in 1994 by Chris Leo (vocals/guitar) of Native Nod (and brother of indie hero Ted Leo), with Sean Greene (bass), Brian Maryanski (guitar), and Neil O'Brien (drums).  This debut album was released two years later by a small New Jersey label Gern Blansten, supposedly turning down big money offers.  Apparently, DIY basement rock by disaffected outsiders was too deep in their psyches to shake off for a few dollars.  The explosion that was Stealing From Our Favorite Thieves detonated with great impact, especially with critics, label scouts and college radio, and further marked the band as one expected to continue an upward trajectory.

The reissue of Stealing From Our Favorite Thieves is out now in digital, CD, cassette, and vinyl formats via Spanish label La Castanya.


Sultans of Sentiment

So, what do you do when you are on the cusp of becoming the country's new darling rockers?  Well, if you are The Van Pelt you tack in a new direction.  With Seth Green leaving the band and Yoko Yasuda (Blonde Redhead) joining on bass, the band wrote and recorded songs that emphasized the melodic core of its predecessor and dialed down the volume and pace a bit.  The resulting Sultans of Sentiment, also released by Gern Blansten, offered measured steam of consciousness observations with relaxed and more spacious arrangements.  The band still could bring the noise, such as on "Yamato (Where People Really Die)" and "My Bouts with Pouncing", and the song titles remained in the whimsically absurd range.  Nevertheless, the overall tone of the album risked losing the momentum created by the band's debut. But instead the stripped back approach allowed fuller appreciation of the quality of the songwriting and melodic presentation, bringing the band new fans and greater recognition.  And it is our favorite of the two '90s releases from The Van Pelt.  Sultans of Sentiment also has been reissues by La Castanya, and is out now in digital, CD, cassette, and vinyl formats.

As an indie music fan, you can probably sketch out how this ends.  The band records a third album that doesn't see the light of day (until this decade), and the members of The Van Pelt go on to other projects.  But now, thanks to La Castanya, we have our Van Pelts back.

Bandcamp for Stealing From Our Favorite Theives
Bandcamp for Sultans of Sentiment
La Castanya page for The Van Pelt

Monday, August 21, 2017

"Go To Hell" and "Happiness" by Smoke Rings

We're kicking off Monday with some Britpop from Australia.  The band is Melbourne's Smoke Rings, and the vehicle is the catchy and muscular double A side Go To Hell, featuring the title track and "Happiness".  This is really good listening and a great dose of energy to start the week.  Nothing more needs be said.

Bandcamp for 2016 self-titled record

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Introducing: Adwaith

Among the things that get us excited is finding promising artists trying to break through.  Today's feature focuses on Adwaith, three women from Carmarthen, Wales.  It seems impossible to not love the band after listening to the classic indie pop of "Femme".  And why would you even try?  One listen, and you want the song.  A second listen, and you need that song.  Don't blame me -- life works that way.  "Femme" comes out this week on a single paired with "Lipstick Coch", which is a touch of new wave over a slinky rhythm.

Adwaith are Hollie Singer, Gwenllian Anthony, and Heledd Owen.  The single is set for release on the 25th via Libertino Records.

Libertino Records

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Ocean Party - Beauty Point

Seven albums in as many years is a prodigious feat for any pop band simply in terms of quantity.  But The Ocean Party isn't a band that deserves to be measured solely by physical weight or volume of their production.  This is a band that delivers style and substance in equal measure.  Six adept musicians provide multiple guitars, bass, percussion, keys, and even a sax (that always scores points with this old sax player), creating a sound that is rich and varied.  Moreover, with six talented songwriters, there isn't the pressure that often exists with other bands for one or two members to write an album's worth of worthy material.

The latest release, Beauty Point, finds the band with their sharpest writing to date, albeit with the somewhat more ambivalent perspective and broodier observations that tend to come with age and experience.  But darker shadings aside, the songs invariably sound gorgeous, and frequently feature uptempo arrangements.  Moreover, it is an endearing feature of this band that its members so ably help shape and refine each songwriter's compositions.  The friendship and mutual respect is palpable.  But that isn't just a guess, as I watched the band interact while waiting to perform their set at the Victory Lounge in Seattle this Spring on the final stop of a long tour.  This is a close knit group.

If, despite the multiple songwriters, The Ocean Party has a predominant style, it is a hazy guitar pop.  While not lo-fi (the production here is excellent), there is a hazy summer beach day vibe to a number of the tracks, although tracks like "Quiet Life" provide an anxiously taut, and thoroughly delightful, counterpoint.  It is nearly impossible to select representative songs to illustrate the content of the album because of the varied compositions and, more importantly, the uniform quality.  But select we must (it is an office rule), so we have a few here that struck me on the most recent front to back play of the album -- the fourth this afternoon.  In any case, we had to include "More To Run", as we think it is one of the top ten pop songs of the year ("Runaway" gave it a run in the office vote).  Beauty Point is a top ten album for us, without question.  But we encourage you to determine it for yourself by streaming it at one of the Bandcamp links below.

The Ocean Party are Jordan Thompson, Liam Halliwell, Curtis Wakeling, Lachlan Denton, Zac Denton, and Crowman.  Beauty Point is available from Emotional Response Records in North America and Spunk Records in Australia and New Zealand.  We have provide the relevant links below.

Emotional Response Records page for album (digital)
Emotional Response Records page for vinyl
Spunk Records page to order CD
Spunk records page to order vinyl
The Ocean Party's Bandcamp site for Beauty Point

"If I Really Loved Her" by Acid Tongue

If you are like us, there are certain bands you enjoy and you wish they would gift us with more music.  One such band for us is Acid Tongue.  Formerly of Seattle and not based in New York, they
are masters of a gritty, soulful version of psychedelic and garage rock.  Their previous output is only a couple of EPs, but in October they are releasing a full length titled Babies via Seattle/LA/NYC label Freakout Records.  Press play for album track for the band's version of a love song, "If I Really Loved Her", and learn why we care about this band.

The band will be touring heavily this fall.  The dates and locations are at the bottom of the post.

Bandcamp for Babies
Freakout Records order page for Babies

Tour Dates:
8/28 – Boston, MA – Zuzu Bar
9/1 – New York, NY – Berlin
9/2 – Brooklyn, NY – Alphaville
9/19 – Brooklyn, NY – The Gateway (Euro Tour Kickoff)
9/27 – Brighton, UK – Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar
9/28 – Hull, UK – ADELPHI
9/29 – London, UK – The Shackwell Arms
9/30 – Portsmouth, UK – The Birdcage
10/1 – Cambridge, UK – Blue Moon
10/2 – Bruxelles, BE – Le Chaff
10/3 – Mannheim, DE – Kurzbar
10/7 – Biarritz, FR – Savsage Festival
10/10 – San Sebastian, ES – DabaDaba
10/12 – Lisbon, PT – Damas
10/13 – Porto, PT – Mas Habitos (Babies LP Release Party)
10/14 – Sevilla, ES – Sala X
10/16 – Toulouse, FR – La Cave a Rock
10/17 – Imperia, IT – Arci Camalli
10/18 – Firenze, IT – Annibale Night @ NOF
10/19 – Roma, IT – Fanfulla 5/A
10/20 – Perugia, IT – T-Trane
11/3 – Reno, NV – Off Beat Festival
11/4 – Reno, NV – Off Beat Festival (2nd Chance)
11/17 – Seattle, WA – Freakout Festival
11/18 – Seattle, WA – Freakout Festival

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Rain Parade - Emergency Third Rail Power Trip / Explosions In The Glass Palace

I have a deep fondness for the sliver of musical history known as the "paisley underground".  Essentially, the style was jangle pop influenced by '60s garage rock and psychedelic influences.  Primarily a California-based movement in the 1980s, prominent bands included The Dream Syndicate, Green On Red, The Long Ryders, The Three O'Clock, The Bangles, and the subject of this post, the wonderful Rain Parade.  For me, the Rain Parade epitomized the sound, making beautiful music along the way.  I also thought the name was very cool, and an improvement over earlier label "The Moving Sidewalks".

The music of Rain Parade captured the delicacy of the best psychedelic pop, with economical melodic lines adorned with jangling guitars, solid rhythms and simple effects to tell dark shaded stories.  The songs were both appealing and imbued with a sense of mystery.  I've always regarded their first two albums, the nine-song Emergency Third Rail Power Trip released in '83 and the five-song Explosions In The Glass Palace released in '84, to be their best.  So I was thrilled to discover that Real Gone Music has reissued those records as a single album.  This results in one-stop shopping for a host of songs that established the outfit's reputation as standard bearers for West Coast psychedelic pop and still influences other bands.  The material has been remastered and the package includes extensive liner notes for the musical geek in all of us.

Real Gone Music page for CD

Agent blå - Agent blå

Every now and then it is a good idea to see what the teenagers are up to.  And in the case of Gothenburg teenagers Lucas Gustavsson, Emelie Alatalo, Felix Skorvald, Josefine Tack, and Arvid Christensen, they are contemplating the darker corners of life and turning their observations into a very fine album.  Calling themselves Agent blå (Agent blue) they dropped an impressively mature album of "deathpop" in June via Luxury Records and Kanine Records.  The album features ten tracks of post punk, Gothic indie pop, and dreampop (or is in nightmare pop?).  They can shake the walls, they can coo in your ears, and they can perform with conviction.  The kids are all right.

Bandcamp for album

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"Swan's Beat" by David West with Teardrops

One of the October releases that we are eagerly anticipating is Cherry On Willow, by David West with Teardrops.  David West, an Australian living in New York, possesses an incredible musical pedigree, as a member of current bands Rat Columns, Liberation, Rank/Xerox, and previously with Burning Sensation, Lace Curtain,  and Total Control.  Recorded in New York, Glasgow and Western Australia, the album is already on regular rotation around the office.  You can have a taste here via the slinky "Swan's Beat".  It is very good, and there is a lot more where that came from.

Cherry On Willow will be out on October 20 via Tough Love Records.

Bandcamp for Cherry On Willow

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"Depths (Pt. 1)" by Yumi Zouma

Today brings us the second song to be shared from Willowbank, the sophomore album from New Zealand's yummy Yumi Zouma.  Perfect for a sunny summer day, it helps us hang on to the final weeks of summer.  Or course, we'll be sad when summer is gone, but on at least when summer is gone we'll be closer to the October 6 release date for Willowbank.   The album will be released via Cascine, and the band will support it with tour dates in Europe, UK, and North America.  The dates are listed below.

Pre-Order page for Willowbank
Bandcamp for Willowbank

Yumi Zouma Tour Dates:
Fri. Oct. 6 - London, UK @ Omeara
Sun. Oct. 8 - Brighton, UK @ The Joker
Mon. Oct. 9 - Paris, FR @ L’Espace B
Wed. Oct. 11 - Copenhagen, DK @ VEGA Musikkens Hus - Ideal Bar
Thu. Oct. 12 - Stockholm, SE @ Debaser
Sun. Oct. 15 - Amsterdam, NL @ Sugarfactory
Wed. Oct. 18 - Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater*
Thu. Oct. 19 - San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop*
Fri. Oct. 20 - Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios*
Sat. Oct. 21 - Seattle, WA @ Barboza*
Mon. Oct. 23 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
Tue. Oct. 24 - Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
Wed. Oct. 25 - New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge
Thu. Oct. 26 - Boston, MA @ Lilypad
Fri. Oct. 27 - Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz
Sat. Oct. 28 - Toronto, ON @ Smiling Buddha

Monday, August 14, 2017

Frankie Rose - Cage Tropical

In our view Frankie Rose's musical journey has led her to a very good place.  In terms of style, she has found a comfortable platform in the intersection of new wave, dreampop, and high gloss shoegaze.  In terms of content and attitude, she has reinforced confidence in her writing and performance.   The result is Cage Tropical, her new album for Slumberland Records.

Cage Tropical is a progression from Intersteller and Herein Wild, her two most recent albums and the first albums as she began to break away from the fuzz pop of her period with Vivian Girls and Dum Dum Girls, and first solo album under the banner of Frankie Rose and the Outs.  Perhaps writing the album in a different location and time -- during a difficult period struggling for success in Los Angeles -- was partially responsible.  But we are more inclined to believe that Rose has gained an enhanced appreciation for how to use all of the high production tools at her disposal to tell a story in a way that the story is still the focal point, rather than the gloss and full sound.  Make no mistake, the gloss, full sound, and Rose's otherworldly vocals shine to perfection.  There just is a lot of substance to go with it, as well as quieter moments delicately constructed by infused with crackling emotion.  The result is a record that is as intelligent as it is entertaining, and is a testament to the artist's continued growth and personal tenacity.

Cage Tropical is out now in all formats via Slumberland Records.

Slumberland Records


Public Service Broadcasting - Every Valley

And now for something rather different.  Public Service Broadcasting is not, as the name suggests, a public broadcasting system.  Rather, it is an electronic, multimedia pop project spawned by a multi-instrumentalist/songwriter and drummer calling themselves J. Willgoose, Esq. and Wigglesworth, respectively.  What is different about the duo, other than their names, is that the vocals on their songs are spoken word clips provided by guest performers, interviews or samples extracted from educational films and old news reports (hence, 'public service broadcasting').  Their latest album is Every Valley, a concept album about the rise and demise of the coal industry in Wales.  They moved to Wales to research and record the album, and interviewed residents and historians.  Now this may all sound a bit strange, but the interesting thing is that it really is a very enjoyable album.  There is a reason that they have been chosen to open for the Rolling Stones, among others.  Whether you are happy in your own musical rut, or restlessly looking for something new, Every Valley deserves your ears.

The music on Every Valley is dynamic, expansive and propulsive.  The unusually rendered vocals are captivating, informative, and include interviews with residents of towns in Wales affected by the shut down of the coal mines.  And it isn't only relevant to the coal industry, as dying industries in other places and in other countries have had a significant impact on the regions and their inhabitants. The joy here is that Public Broadcasting Service make the story compelling and topical without losing sight of the need to entertain.  Their work is meticulously detailed and performed.  In addition to archival samples, additional guest vocals are provided by Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura, James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers, and singer-actress Lisa Jen Brown, among others.

Every Valley is out now on vinyl, digital and CD formats via Play It Again Sam.

Play It Again Sam

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cinema Red and Blue - Come Back To The City, Babyface / The Captain's Song

Completely out of the blue, here are two delightful songs from Cinema Red And Blue.  And who is that, you ask.  Well -- and thanks for asking -- it is some collection of conspirators from Comet Gain, Crystal Stilts and Pale Lights (at least according to legend and supposition) recording songs crafted by David Feck of Comet Cain and recorded with Gary Olson at Marlborough Farms (which may not be a farm and may not look as grand as the name, but it has birthed some really good music).   Phil Sutter, Kyle Forester, Andy Adler, JB Townsend, and Christian Townsend may all have been involved as well

The songs are the soaring, slightly retro guitar pop "Come Back To The City, Babyface" and the moodier "The Captain's Song".  These are slices of pop joy with a big heart.  I don't know when they were recorded, but they see the light of day now by reason of the sad demise of beloved indie pop label Fortuna POP!  While the label is closing its doors, it refuses to do so without delivering the promised goods to the subscribers to its singles club.  And this record certainly qualifies as "the goods".


"Do You Really" by Licks

Time for smooth. Really, really smooth.  We're talking about "Do You Really?", the musical love poem the Wellington, New Zealand songwriter and producer known as Licks wrote for his wife.  The song is just about perfect.  The only flaw is that it makes the rest of us look bad by not doing something like this for our significant other.  Thanks a lot, Licks.

"Do You Really?" is our now on Sunset Revelry, the label run by Alexander Reid of another New Zealand favorite around here, Honey.  The track is available at the Bandcamp link below or your other favorite digital platform.  Listen to more of Licks' music at the Soundcloud link below.

Bandcamp for single

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Stammer - Face In Peril

In real estate "good bones" make some old homes good homes to purchase.  In pop music, the same is true when the old standard of relationships gone bad is coupled with good songwriting and sincere, adept performances.  And by that measure Face In Peril, the new album from The Stammer, is a keeper.  The Philadelphia band starts with the spirit of Lou Reed's chugging guitar-oriented approach and adds in dashes of the type of American rock we've loved from bands as diverse as early Springsteen, Pela, and the Henry Clay People.  The result is both familiar and fresh.

Face In Peril races through the excellent first four tracks while the band sinks a big hook in the listener's brain, and then takes a breath for the affecting midtempo ballad "Eleven".  The uptempo rock parade relaunches with the jangle pop "Run Across The Bridge" and continues through the country-rock shaded "What Else Did You Come Around Here For?" and the Reed-meets-Springsteen musical celebration that is "Young Hearts".  The epic, slow burning title track bridges to "Slender", the jangling bittersweet closer.  This album is a terrific musical statement from a band that deserves a much higher profile.  Check it out below and at the Bandcamp link.

The Stammer are Brian Brotman (vocals/guitar/songwriting), Gavin Landesberg (bass), Zachary Zimmerman (drums), and Ted Quann (guitar/backing vocals).  Face In Peril is out today.

Bandcamp for Face In Peril

Thursday, August 10, 2017

"Short Dream" by Verandan

About six weeks ago we introduced you to the lovely synth/guitar pop sounds of Finland's Verandan (link to previous post).  The band is back this week with the shimmering melody and propulsive rhythms of "Short Dream".  It is the musical equivalent of walking into a room and having sparkling confetti tossed on you while you are handed a glass of champagne.  Trust me, I know -- I am accustomed to being greeted this way.

Verandan is the project of Ville Hopponen of WYMA favorites Cats On Fire and The New Tigers.  "Short Dream" will be released as a single on August 14 via Soliti Music, which also will release the upcoming EP from the band.

Soliti Music

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

"Alibi" by Lowtide

On the dreamy edge of shoegaze, "Alibi" is the latest single from Melbourne's Lowtide.  The song is about a dissolving relationship, but the instruments and vocals sparkle.  It has been one of the highlights of our day, and I think the Soundcloud electrons should be exhausted by now.  Your turn.  And UK fans should note that Lowtide is touring the UK in September.

Lowtide are Giles Simon, Lucy Buckeridge, Gabriel Lewis, and Anton Jakovljevic.  Alibi" is released via Rice Is Nice and Opposite Number.


No Monster Club 2017 encyclopedia project

We write about No Monster Club with some regularity here.  Why?  Because they entertain us with well crafted indie pop that enters from the wacky side of the stage.  The brainchild of Bobby Aherne, the Dublin-based band is in the midst of an interesting year-long project.  Every month they are releasing a single that was written and recorded in its entirety in the previous month.  The aim is to have an encyclopedia-like collection of singles by the end of 2017.  The August and July offerings are below.  Previous months can be found at No Monster Club's Bandcamp site.

Aherne is a prolific and versatile songwriter, and that alone should draw listeners to his recordings.  But the emphasis on having fun is the cherry on the Sunday.  The dude may be sad from time to time -- we all are -- but he never makes music to make us sad.  How does he do it?  A good attitude, of course.  And cheesy instruments and tropical-tinged arrangements don't hurt in the least.

Despite the world's problems, here is your chance to be happy.  Don't blow it like you did with your in-laws last Christmas.

Bobby Aherne's homepage

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Life On Venus - Encounters

Given the current state of world affairs, it may be that a large number of people are thinking more seriously about interstellar travel.  In fact, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos seem to be counting on it as they pour millions into developing the means.  But there should be an avenue for those of us who don't even like to fly to at least pretend to get off the earth for a while.  Leave it to the Russians to save us -- no, really!  We present Moscow's Life On Venus.  Their new album is Encounters, and it delivers a brand of shoegaze that is bristling with power, packed with soaring melody, and a wide scope sound as big as the universe.  The more up-tempo songs have an epic scale, and the slower songs are perfect for dreaming on a summer day.  And you can stream the entire album below.  Welcome to space travel!

Life On Venus are Dima (guitar/vocals), Sergey (guitar), Marat (bass), Aline (vocals) and Gula (drums).   Encounters is out now in digital and CD formats (although the CDs are limited in number) via Shelflife Rcords.  See the link below.

Shelflife Records page for release

Monday, August 7, 2017

Caroline Says - 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong

After Alabama native Caroline Sallee finished college she worked as a waitress in Yellowstone, and then traveled around the western United States via Greyhound, writing songs as she went.  Armed with fresh material, Sallee returned to Alabama and recorded 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong in her parent's basement.  The album was offered under the name Caroline Says as a cassette only release.  Fortunately for Sallee, now a resident of Austin, and indie pop fans, Western Vinyl has released the album in vinyl, digital and CD formats.

When we first played the album, no one in the office was familiar with Caroline Says, and we made some assumptions about what we would hear based on Sallee's age, her Alabama roots and her Austin residence. We listened, and were stunned. Stunned and very, very impressed.  Sallee's range as a songwriter is breathtaking.  Stylistically, she is equally adept at dreampop, retro pop, psychedelic, ballads, jangle pop and even a touch of Latin influences.  Thematically, she has crafted a growing up album with a mature perspective and confident voice.  And then there is her voice -- lovely, clear and versatile.

50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong is out now.  And Caroline Says likely can't count on 50,000,000 fans just yet, but we assure that however many fans she has (including us) can't be wrong.  Note that an album of new material is expected to arrive in 2018.

Bandcamp for 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong
Western Vinyl

"Sterling Silver" by Faith Healer

Jessica Jalbert, recording and performing as Faith Healer, released Cosmic, her well received debut album a couple of years ago.  The Edmonton musician is now prepared to offer her sophomore release, Try ;-).  You can test out the goods with album track "Sterling Silver", a dreamy, synthy soundscape that contrast nicely with the tauter sounds of the previously "Light of Loving"

Try ;-) will be released on September 8.  Pre-orders are available at the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for Try ;-)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Mermaidens - Perfect Body

Mermaids of legend are an aquatic creature that is half human and half fish, and foretell and provoke disaster, cause shipwrecks, and formulate storms.  The Mermaidens of Wellington, New Zealand appear to be fully human, but their ability to conjure unease and threats of undefined future calamity, as well as the light that puts the darkness in sharp perspective, should not be underestimated.  Formed in 2013 by Lilly West, Gussie Larkin and Abe Hollingsworth, their productive first four years have led to this week's Perfect Body, an eight track statement of post punk and gothic pop that delivers substance with the entertainment.  Reverbed guitars, cavernous bass and dynamic drumming combine with evocative songwriting to provide a multifaceted gem. Brutality, abrasiveness intertwine with melodic, sparkling performances and dreamy soundscapes.  Density contrasts with space, joy with pain.

If you want the perfect music for a sunny day at the beach, this isn't it.  But the beach is overrated.  This music is wonderfully entertaining and fulfilling, and heralds a new stage of growth for a talented trio.

Perfect Body is out now via Flying Nun Records.

Bandcamp for Perfect Body
Flying Nun Records

Friday, August 4, 2017

Holiday Ghosts - Holiday Ghosts

The warning was there if I had really thought about it.  It was right there in the title "In My Head".  But I listened to the song anyway, and now the song is in my head and it will be there for days.  So I'm going to do it to all of you.  Go ahead, click on the stream below.  Don't be afraid, it is a terrific song.  Just be forewarned that it really, really will be 'in your head'.

This irresistible earworm comes to us via Falmouth's Holiday Ghosts, who are Samuel Stacpoole (of The Black Tambourines, which has featured on this blog in the past), Katja Rackin, and Charlie Murphy, with Ben Woods on bass for recording sessions.  The band's self-titled debut album will be released in vinyl and CD formats on September 22 via London/Stockholm label PNKSLM.

PNKSLM page for ordering Holiday Ghosts