Friday, September 29, 2017

"Follow the Money" by Veranadan

The self-titled debut EP by Helsinki's Verandan is less than two weeks away, but apparently main man Ville Hopponen decided that was enough time to release another song.  So enjoy "Follow The Money" while waiting for Soliti Music's release of the EP.  The song is a sprawling, dreamy arrangement showcasing a meditation on the effect of economic dislocation on community.

Soliti Music page for "Follow the Money"
Bandcamp for "Follow the Money"

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Kosmonaut - Misfits on the Horizon

We really hate it when we miss the release of a really good indie pop record.  In our defense, it isn't easy to follow all of the indie releases around the globe.  But it is our job to do so and it becomes harder to justify our high salaries, stock options, private aircraft, bodyguards and other perks if we don't do it well.  And failure also makes for awkward conversations with outside directors and angry institutional investors.  However, we shouldn't complain, as most people would be happy to trade places with high-flying indie music bloggers like us.  So, then, what did we miss?  Absolutely nothing, of course, we are professionals.  But we almost missed Misfits On The Horizon by Kosmonaut.  The nine-track gem of guitar and electronic-pop was released this month and deserves to be featured here.  And if not for spying a post by Wally Salem of Canadian label The Beautiful Music, that might not have happened.

To put it simply and directly, Kosmonaut may be one of the best bands you've never heard of, writing the sort of songs that reflect the cool college vibes of Teenage Fanclub and the heyday of Creation Records, The Weather Prophets, early Primal Scream and some sunny psychedelic pop (check out "Dive In Blind" and "Your Day In The Sun").  And for those who detect some of our beloved Bulldozer Crash in the bloodline, you may have hacked a bit of their DNA profile and found Stephen Maughan).  Suffice it to say that Misfits On The Horizon is the work of absolute pop masters, likely with divine inspiration [citation needed].  Giving you streams of four songs from a single album seems excessive, but it was painful enough to cut as deep as I did.  I suppose if you only have time for one, listen to "Debbie Harry's Smile" or "Silver Star".

I know we have been (trying) to spend a lot of your money lately, but listen to Misfits On The Horizon and think about living in a world in which you can't play those songs whenever you want.

Bandcamp for Misfits on the Horizon

"Super Cute" by The Treasures of Mexico

We'll have more music for you later today, but we are starting out with a new song from The Treasures of Mexico.  And that generally means two things in the music business, very good new music, and an upcoming album.  We celebrate both, but first focus on this bubbling gem of guitar pop.  Upbeat and featuring excellent guitars, it is one of those tracks that make a sunny fall day here even better.

The Treasures of Mexico are Mark Matthews and Bob Collins, formerly of The Dentists, and Russ Baxter.  We have no details on the album yet.  If you want to hear more from the band while waiting, here is a link our feature for their 2015 album via Shelflife Records.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Halamays - EP2

We don't have much time to write today, but fortunately Columbus, Ohio's The Halamays have bailed us out by offering this very sweet record, simply named EP2, for 'name your price'.  The band are Katie and Patrick Watkins, who not only make music together, but are married.  We think you will like them and their music, so enjoy!

Bandcamp for EP2

"Straight for My Heart" by Astro Children

Our favorite New Zealand children, Astro Children, are preparing a new album titled Turnpike.  Our first hint of the aural delights is "Straight For My Heart".  Aptly named, we think, as we tend to take this band's music to heart.  Astute readers will note that the song is available as a 'name your price' download.  The rest of you will wander around in customary silence.

Astro Children are Millie Lovelock (vocals/guitar) and Isaac Hickey (drums).


Monday, September 25, 2017

Mick Trouble - It's The Mick Trouble E.P.

Legend has it that Michael Toomey-Head is a legend.  Well, maybe not a Michael Toomey-Head, but as singer-songwriter punk Mick Trouble, he and his band were tipped for great success in the early '80s.  Still then in his teens, Nick dropped out of sight.  Story over, another one bites the dust - right?  Well, not quite.  It seems that Mick discovered a high quality recording of his 1980 EP, It's The Mick Trouble E.P.  Somehow Flagstaff's Emotional Response Records prevailed in the high stakes competition to release the EP, and here we are with a four-track statement of pop punk excellence and talent too long out of our reach.  Fans of Nick Lowe and The Jam will appreciate the fusion of punk attitudes, sharp songwriting and melodic expression.  And in case anyone is wondering whether we can resist streaming a song entitled "Shut Your Bleeding Gob You Git", the answer resides below.

Of course, none of us can do anything about Mick bowing out of the industry when he did.  But this EP is really great stuff, and you now can have a thrilling artifact of the legend-to-be-that-was-not.  It will make you happy, then sad, and then happy again.  We recommend it.

The Bandcamp gets you digital.  Very limited vinyl is available via Rough Trade in the UK and Emotional Response Records in the US.

Bandcamp for the It's The Mick Trouble E.P.
Link to order the vinyl version

Holiday Ghosts - Holiday Ghosts

We're here to discuss an album by Holiday Ghosts, a band from Falmouth, UK.  But even before cuing up the album, we began to ponder just what the name meant.  Are holiday ghosts the ghosts that specialize in haunting your holidays, despite your desire to 'get away from it all'?  Or are holiday ghosts the ghosts of your last disastrous holiday, here to remind you that you spoke too sharply to your spouse, failed to get the exercise you had promised yourself and drank your booze provisions for the week by noon on Wednesday (put your hand down, this isn't a confessional)?  I suppose it could be either, but we prefer a third alternative.  We like to think that holiday ghosts are nothing more, and nothing less, than ghosts on a holiday, having fun and enjoying each other.  After all, shouldn't hard working ghosts deserve some time off like the rest of us?

Of course, being analytical types we should offer some evidence for our preferred explanation.  Our evidence is the self-titled, 12-track debut LP by Holiday Ghosts.  Assembled from carefully curated bits of roots rock, garage pop, punk and a few touches of glossier material, you would be hard pressed to find many more joyful expressions of stripped down, just-for-fun, guitar pop in 2017.  Our first introduction was the frank and darkly witty focus on unsettled mental states, "In My Head".  Once we got the album we couldn't stop moving our feet to the garage pop of "Walk For Hours" and "Quiet Carriage", followed by the bouncing punk pop of "Airwaves".  The roosty strut "Staring At the Moon" (one of our oft repeated songs) leads to the aforementioned "In My Head".  "Paranoia" is our second dose of raucous punk, and we expect it is a staple of live shows.  The next song, the lovely "Truman Show", is the album's most pop song and, led by Katja Rackin's breezy vocals, hints that the band's range may be even wider than this varied album shows.

Garage rock is back on the menu with the racing "Nothing to Show (Nowhere to Go)".  It is followed by the standout "Sleep Through The Morning", which sounds like it was plucked off a nuggets compilation somewhere in the neighborhood of the 13th Floor Elevators -- and we mean that as a high compliment.  Next up is one of the album's most beautiful moments, "Ron Song".  We don't know Ron, or what he did to earn this song, but we hope he deserved it.  The mid-tempo, '60s shaded "At the Same Time, Every Night" is rapidly climbing our interior charts, but we'd have agree with the band's choice of closing with the garage rocker "Can't Bear To Be Boring", featuring a driving rhythm and Katja's talk-sing backed by the guys in chorus.  It is just the sort of song to bring calls for "encore".  And speaking of encores, you can stream Holiday Ghosts at the Bandcamp link at the end of this post.

If you haven't figured it our yet, we'll make it even clearer: This album is terrific.  We have had it on our daily rotation for over a month, and it isn't getting deleted now that we are posting the review.  The energy, songwriting, and performances all are stellar.  This is a smart band, but doesn't make a big show of telling you how smart they are.  You just know after listening.  And we have to give a special shout out for the excellent and varied guitar work on this recording.

Holiday Ghosts are Sam Stacpoole, who we first met as the frontman for The Black Tambourines, Katja Rackin, and Charlie Murphy.  Holiday Ghosts is out now via PNKSLM Recordings.  See the links below for details.

Bandcamp for album
Order page for vinyl
Order page for CD

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Food Court - Good Luck

We were out and about today, as is typical for a sunny Saturday in September.  We didn't get to the mall, but we did visit a Food Court, and look what we found!  We found Good Luck, Food Court's 11-song debut LP.  And if you like garage rock and fuzz pop, the good luck is yours as well.  Take a test drive below, and then load up at Food Court's Bandcamp for good party vibes for the remainder of the weekend.

Food Court are Cristian Campano (vocals/guitar), Lewis McKeown (bass/vocals), Dan De Santis (guitar), and Nic Puertolas (drums).  Good Luck is available now.  See the Bandcamp link for details.

Bandcamp for album

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Salient Braves - Delusions of Grandeur

Songwriter and listener alike are focused on the human condition.  Life is all about us, after all.  But that doesn't mean every songwriter can articulate the human condition in a way that is both entertaining and relatable.  And our advice is this -- when you find a songwriter like that, you keep him close.  We've been looking for our listeners, and we've found Matt Bailey.  Bailey is insightful, acerbic, and witty.  He takes a clear-eyed look at life, points at the scabs and scars while shedding a few tears or howling at the injustice, then invites us all to laugh.  And he isn't poking fun at the nameless unfortunates; these are first person confessionals set to music with no hint of shame or self-pity.  The result is nothing less than the timeless dance of poetic storytelling and melody.

And that brings us to Delusions of Grandeur, the delightfully named debut LP from Bailey's The Salient Braves.  A Barnsley-based band consisting of Bailey, Johny Nocash and Neil Ritchie, with some backing vocals by Dani, they provide the perfect support for Bailey's stories.  We could go on at great length about the song quality, but you can stream the album for yourself, and read the lyrics on the Bandcamp page.  However, just to give you a flavor, consider the brilliant opening lines, such as the following from album opener "Somewhere Sordid":
Why don't you tell me another lie 
like the one you did last night? 
you know I bought it 
and do you know that contagious disease 
you brought back from your visit to Greece? 
I think I've caught it 
You saw me standing there 
running my fingers through my hair 
a poseur without a care venue? 
Somewhere sordid 
Or take the complaint of the miscreant protagonist of "Guilty Until Proved Innocent":
Well I was doing nothing wrong I was.... 
just hanging around there for too long 
until the boys in blue came along oh no! 
the arm of the law was strong 
threw me into a cell and then proceeded 
to throw the book at me as well 
my mother said I'd never learn 
and now the wheels of justice slowly turn 
The legal system's crooked and all the coppers are bent 
so I am presumed guilty until proven innocent 
And you must try "They Must Have Seen Me Coming", which begins with 'Have you ever seen a grown man cry?'

Actually, you must try them all.  This is one of our favorite indie pop albums of the year, packed with terrific melodies and sincere performances.  You don't acquire music like Delusions of Grandeur because it is on top of the pop charts or because it reflects current styles.  You acquire music like Delusions of Grandeur because it is a sincere package of humanity, styled with poignancy and humor, that will give you satisfaction now and for years to come.  The album is out now via Broken Down Records.  See the Bandcamp link for details and a highly recommended stream of the album.

Live performance of "Bankok":

Bandcamp for Delusions of Grandeur

Tropical Fuck Storm - Chameleon Paint b/w Mansion Family

In light of the havoc visited on North America by weather systems lately, the word "storm" probably invokes a cringe.  But today we're going to tell you about a storm you will like, a Tropical Fuck Storm.  A band from Melbourne, it was founded by Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin of The Drones, joined by Lauren Hammel of High Tension and Erica Dunn of Harmony and Palm Springs.  North Americans can get to know them over the next month as they play a baker's dozen of shows in the US and Canada (more details at the bottom of this post).  But the whole world can get to know them right now, because today sees the release of their debut single, Chameleon Paint / Mansion Family.  The first track is an intense commentary on the state of the world today that also manages to be an exciting slice of rock.  It is a combination of art, passion and politics that suggests that Tropical Fuck Storm already has hit a rare level.  The B-side is a cover of a song by fellow Melbourne band The Nation Blue.

The single is the first of a series of 7" releases planned by the band.  Each single will feature an original song by the band and a cover song.  The release are a joint project of Mistletone Records and Liddiard's TFS Records.

Associated website
Mistletone page to order single

North American Tour Dates and Locations:

With Band of Horses
Sep 26  Soul Kitchen, Mobile, AL  
Sep 27  Varsity Theatre, Baton Rouge, LA  
Sep 29  The Lyric, Oxford, MS  
Oct 1  George's Majestic Lounge, Fayetteville, AR  
Oct 3  Diamond Ballroom, Oklahoma City, OK 
Oct 4  Metroplex Live, Little Rock, AR  
With King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
Oct 5  Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO  
Oct 6  Metro Music Hall, Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 7  Neurolux, Boise, ID
Oct 8  Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR
Oct 9  Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC
Oct 10 Neptune Theatre, Seattle, WA
Oct 12  The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA

The Persian Leaps - Bicycle Face EP

Around here we appreciate a band that is both good, and knows what they are good at.  The Persian Leaps are such a band.  The trio's specialty on the music side is refinement of the power pop and guitar pop of Teenage Fanclub, Guided By Voices, The Posies, and The Smiths.  Think powerful guitars with plenty of jangle and buzz, and arrangements with hooks thoughtfully packed in like the chocolate chips in your favorite overloaded gourmet cookies.  The band's specialty on the production side is the EP - - concise presentations of song sets that give maximum pleasure and end just a bit too quickly, causing an nearly involuntary press of the "replay" button.

It is fall, and fall brings us the band's annual EP release, this time the five-song Bicycle Face EP.  Interestingly, the name of the EP is taken from an fake 19th century medical condition invented to scare women from cycling.  Appropriately, the cover art presents a woman in 19th century dress standing next to a bike and wearing a 'don't mess with me' face.  And while the titular condition may be fake, the songs are real and vital.  The Persian Leaps are a band that understands momentum, and they explode out of the box and maintain the tension and energy through the final note.  Perhaps that is one of the things that makes the EP the perfect vehicle for their creations -- an LP may be too exhausting for the more fragile listeners.  In our view, this EP is The Persian Leaps' best work so far.  Since there are rumors that this might be the final record from the band, we strongly suggest you experience it.

The Persian Leaps is Drew Frosberg (vocals/guitar), Adam Brunner (bass/vocals), and Michael McCloskey (drums/vocals).  Bicycle Face EP is out today via Frosberg's Land Ski Records.  See the Bandcamp link below for streaming and purchase options.  By the way, lyrics are included on the Bandcamp page, which we appreciate greatly.

Bandcamp for Bicycle Face

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Tidal Rave - Tidal Rave EP

If you like your guitar pop dark, muscular and melodic, you probably like a lot of guitar pop from New Zealand.  And specifically, you probably will like the music of Tidal Rave.  A five-piece from Wellington, the band has a little EP to display their talents.   A solid rhythm section anchors three vocalists wielding guitars very effectively.  We think you will like it.

Tidal Rave are Emmie Ellis (vocals/guitar), Esther Tempest (vocals/guitar), Kristen Paterson (vocals/guitar), Frank Eggleton (bass), and Charlie Camp (drums), which includes members of Fantails, Sweaty Betty, Kittenbank and Echo Beach.  Tidal Rave EP was recorded at the venerable, and allegedly haunted, Chick's Hotel in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Bandcamp for Tidal Rave EP

Terry Malts / Kids On A Crime Spree - Our Love

Life is stressful enough without having to make choices all the time.  Jenn and Stew at Emotional Response Records understand, and want nothing more than for you to live a happy, stress-free life.  So they aren't going to force you to choose between buys some music from Terry Malts or music from Kids On A Crime Spree.  Instead, they are offering Our Love, a four track split release with two songs from each band.  This is a dose of fuzz pop you won't want to miss.  Music purchase without stress?  Consider us your "safe space" for the day.

Facebook for Terry Malts
Terry Malts on Twitter
Facebook for Kids On A Crime Spree
Bandcamp for Our Love
Link for vinyl version

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Clientele - Music For The Age Of Miracles

Seven years away from their last release of new material, and after dropping a greatest hits compilation, The Clientele has treated us to another album.  And in our view, Music for The Age Of Miracles ranks up with the band's best work.  Combining the pastoral vibe of psychedelic pop and the wistful vocals of the new romantics with swirling emotional currents and chamber pop arrangements, the album is a like a delightful set of nesting boxes.  Each time you listen is a fresh chance for discovery and a shift in perspective.  Unsurprisingly lush and layered, the songs invoke hazy daydreams and autumnal walks in the forest.  While the compositions are tightly constructed, they manage to give the impression of space and light, as if the players spontaneously chose what to do next.  Charming, beautiful and satisfying, this is not an album for indie pop fans to miss.  A few of the tracks are below, but you'll want to stream the entire record, which you can do at NPR First Listen (link).  You will discover that additional highlights include both the opening and closing songs.

The Clientele are Alasdair McLean, James Hornsey and Mark Keen, with Anthony Harmer joining for this album.  Music for The Age of Miracles is out Friday, September 22 via Merge Records.

Merge Records

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"Green Doesn't Look Good On You" by Lord Willing

This is a public service announcement from Justin, aka Lord Willing, our friend in Los Angeles.  He wants you to know that "Green Doesn't Look Good On You".  And because you may be devastated by that news, and he doesn't want you to be sad, he has recorded this bluesy, soulful musical message to make it all more bearable.

And because good style advice can be hard to find, you may want to download this Lord Willing track from your favorite digital source.


"Bad Boys" by Paddy Hanna

We haven't featured Ireland's Paddy Hanna here for a while, but his new single "Bad Boys" is a very welcome return.  Smart, slick, and oh so satisfying.  Enjoy it, and make note that 2018 brings his next album via Strange Brew Records.  Paddy will be touring in Ireland this fall.

Website for Strange Brew Records
Bandcamp for "Bad Boys"

Monday, September 18, 2017

Floating Action - Is It Exquisite?

You likely have heard Seth Kauffman before, even if you weren't aware of him.  Perhaps it was with Jim James, or Dan Auerbach, or Angel Olsen.  And if you pay attention to music, you know that good musicians attract and choose to work with other good musicians.  So you might be tempted to think that Kauffman is good at this music thing even before you hear his solo work.  You would be correct, but of course in a world of 'fake news', you want proof.

And your proof is right here, under the title Is It Exquisite?.  Written, played, sung and recorded by Kauffman under the name Floating Action, the album is a veritable celebration of pop music.  The set includes southern soul, a bit of funk, vintage rock, some sunny psychedelic pop and even some dub effects.  Kauffman doesn't recognize traditional boundaries, but his has superb instincts and proves himself to be a top-quality musical brewmaster.  Everything he throws into the hopper on this album works, and works with style.  It is a truly rewarding listen.

Is it Exquisite?  is available via several labels, including PIAPTK and OK Records.  The only remaining question to answer is whether the record is exquisite.  Why yes, yes it is exquisite.

PIAPTK site for Is It Exquisite?
OK Records site for Is It Exquisite?

Siobhan Wilson - There Are No Saints

OK, so maybe there are no saints.  But Siobhan Wilson sounds like an angel on There Are No Saints, and if we have an angel, maybe we can do without the saints.  On this album, her second, offers moments of beauty with contrasting storm clouds and heartbreak.  Wilson's clear vocals are presented in a variety of settings, from spare folk arrangements to piano ballads to J&MC fuzz and distortion.  And while the listener could be forgiven being seduced by the aural delights to the exclusion of all else, it is a mistake to ignore the lyrics.  This is heart-on-the-sleeve stuff with self-awareness and a refreshing lack of self-pity.  Residing in Glasgow, Wilson also has spent considerable time in Paris, and sings in French on two track, including the lovely "Paris Est Blanche" below.

There Are No Saints is an album of charm, passion and craft, and it will become your late night favorite before retiring with a smile on your face.  It is out now via Song By Toad Records.  See the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for There Are No Saints

Friday, September 15, 2017

"Means" by Errant Boy

Over a month ago I devoted digital ink to a 2016 album by Scotland's Errant Boy.  The album was indeed worth my time and effort, but when discussing albums long past the release date, especially by artists involved in other musical ventures, one worries that perhaps the band won't make more music and one has gotten the readers unduly excited.  Fortunately, Errant Boy spares us that concern by releasing new song "Means".  It has an Postcard Records Orange Juice/Josef K sound with excellent dynamics and a pace that gets our blood moving.  And on Fridays, our blood needs moving.  Oh, we would be remiss if we didn't mention that it is a free download.  Thanks, Errant Boy.  Now write a few more; we are insatiable.

Errant Media on Twitter

Thursday, September 14, 2017

"Until We See The Sun" by Beauty Sleep

Introducing Cheylene Murphy, Ryan McGroaty, and Aimee Williamson, collectively known as Beauty Sleep.  We think their brand of upbeat, hook heavy synth and guitar pop is a welcome ray of sunshine on the scene.  A new EP, Nature Will Eat Me, is expected soon.  Meanwhile, you can enjoy their latest single, "Until We See The Sun".  Right here.  Right now.


"Frostbeat" by Sad Palace

Whether Sad Palace are indeed sad, or whether they live in a palace, are questions we'll leave for another day (read: we hope no one asks us about it because we have no idea).  But the four-piece from Britain's south coast can be happy about how their latest single, "Frostbeat" turned out.  The song offers two sides to the band in one package.  After about three minutes of straight up melodic pop, a big guitar riff slams into the picture, grabbing the song and the listener (lovingly and, thankfully, figuratively) by the throat, and then dissolving.  Knowing how to make a memorable impression is important in this industry.  Well done, Sad Palace, well done.

"Frostbeat" is out now via Kissability.  Check your favorite digital outlet.


"A Single Truth" by The Deportees

The Deportees are a five-piece from northeast Scotland that have proven quite adept at a brand of Celtic folk rock that tends towards the dramatic.  Their sound is full, layered and quite satisfying.  The band's debut album is titled The Birth of Industry and will be available on November 3.  The first single is the digitally released "A Single Truth", which thrills will rich harmonies, dark themes and insistent guitar lines.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Cody Munro Moore - Perfume Nightmare

On Perfume Nightmare Cody Munro Moore shapes a post-punk soundscape with taut pop-rockers, '80s pop and a bit of house.  The hooks are plentiful and the songwriting clever and smooth.  And the Sydney musician's vocals, often reminiscent of The Cure's Robert Smith, are up to the task regardless of the genre at hand.  As always, we give extra credit for employing a sax, such as on "Just Don't Need It Enough" and "Night Scene".  You may be familiar with Cody's endeavors with Big White or New Lovers, but it doesn't matter if you aren't.  This album stands by itself and we think it marks a big win for Mr. Moore.

Perfume Nightmare is out as a digital download on September 15 via Moore's Dinosaur City Records.

Dinosaur City Records
Twitter for Dinosaur City Records

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Joy Cleaner - Total Hell

Your first question upon hearing Total Hell might be 'is this a compilations of hits from Joy Cleaner?'  Your second question may well be 'who the hell is Joy Cleaner?'  Fair enough, let's take the second question first.  Joy Cleaner is a power pop trio from New Jersey which includes Kyle Wilkerson of the late Makeout Vertigo.  Kyle and pals Joey and Cory display a knack for loading each track with wall-to-wall hooks and playing them with anthem-level energy.  As for the second question, to my knowledge this is their only album to date, but it is full of sharp-edged indie pop gems.  Good stuff at a good price!

Total Hell is available now in digital and CD formats from Jigsaw Records.  See the Bandcamp link below.

Facebook for Total Hell

"Strange Insistence" Gun Outfit

Hard-etched and deliciously textured western soundscapes with mystical musings, the music of LA's Gun Outfit is a special kind of musical treat.  Take a taste with "Strange Insistence" and then mark your calendars for the new album, Out of Range, the band's fifth.  The LP will be released on November 10 via Paradise Of Bachelors.

Paradise Of Bachelors order page for Out Of Range
Bandcamp page for Out Of Range

Monday, September 11, 2017

Even As We Speak - The Black Forest

Once upon a time there was Sarah Records, on of the finest of the indie pop labels.  It was so beloved that in the wake of its sad demise its life has been celebrated in documentary and book form, and the label often is mentioned in reviews of records by current bands if they are deemed to have a style similar to the bands which released on Sarah.  The laudatory postmortems (well deserved, in our professional opinion) prompted renewed interest in some of the Sarah Records stable.  One of such bands is Sydney's Even As We Speak.  They played NYC Popfest last year, and with renewed energy returned to the studio to record their first record in a quarter century.  The resulting The Black Forest EP bears testament to the fact that the band has lost nothing in the intervening time.  From the achingly sweet opener through standout track "Such A Good Feeling" to the country-jam instrumental closer, it is clear that Even As We Speak can still thrill and inspire.  The five-song set is essential indie pop and we highly recommend it.  Get it now in vinyl, CD or digital format via Emotional Response Records.

Bandcamp for The Black Forest
Emotional Response link for vinyl

BMX Bandits - BMX Bandits Forever

Purveyors of bittersweet pop of high quality, BMX Bandits has been around long enough to now have released their tenth album.  Admittedly, that isn't an exceptionally high number for a band formed in 1985, but BMX Bandits have always lived via their own schedule.  The lineup has changed numerous times, with the constant being founder Duglas T. Stewart, who named the band with the expectation that they would be short-lived.  The cast of other performers over time have included, among others, members (or future members) of Teenage Fanclub, Superstar, Soup Dragons, Boy Hairdressers, The Vaselines and Eugenius.  BMX Bandits Forever does not contain any surprises for fans of the band, but that is intended as praise, not criticism.  The album contains a generous sixteen songs of the sort of guitar pop that those of us who admire the band expect and cherish.  With ace-colleagues such as Stuart Kidd and Anton Newcombe, the band offers classicn heart-on-the-sleeve music, with sunshine and regret never far from the surface, and plenty of humor and wry observations to keep the listener engaged.  When a band remains active this long, there is a good reason, and it is that it delivers what we need, and BMX Bandits Forever delivers.

Duglas Stewart on Twitter
Bandcamp for BMX Bandits Forever
Elefant Records


Saturday, September 9, 2017

"End Game" by Johnny Kills

One of the wonders of modern life is that there is an App for just about anything you want to do.  They are supposed to make life easier and more efficient for the user.  And sometimes they even manage to do so, although I suspect that often the greater reward is more to the vendor's side of the ledger than the user's.  But it seems to us that the music world has long had a similar tool.  Pick an emotion or event -- be it unrequited love, political rage, the joy of being young and stupid, the thrill of surfing, the hit of illicit drugs -- there is a song for that.  Yes, there always is a song that helps you own, process or celebrate the moments in your life.

And that brings us to the moments where you have screwed up so badly that there is nothing you can say or do to finesse the situation.  We're talking epic, relationship ending, job trashing, friendship destroying, reputation deflating faux pas.  Is there a song for that?  Why yes, thanks for asking, there is.  The song is "End Game" by UK trio Johnny Kills.  It covers just that situation with as much distortion and bratty vocals as those situations demand.  So if you do something soul-crushingly bad, at least you now have a song to help you deal with it.

Johnny Kills is Tim Lloyd-Kinnings (guitar/vocals), Lewis Lloy-Kinnings (bass/keys/vocals), and Cameron Gipp (guitar/vocals).  Drumming on the record was provided by Fin S. Woolfson.  "End Game" is self-released on the band's own Johnny's Killer Records.  "End Game" is the third of a trio of summer 2017 songs from the band.  Check out "My Shirt Guy Is High" and "Let's Talk About Me" at the Soundcloud link below.  I assure you they are worth your time.


Friday, September 8, 2017

Beaches - Second of Spring

Some bands lose their edge ten years in, and some just stay in place.  And then there are Melbourne's Beaches.  Four years after their second album, the fine She Beats, the quintet delivers the magnificent Second of Spring.  The album is a generous 17 track layer cake of psychedelic rock, equally impressive for its artistry and technical accomplishment.  The songwriting is mature and adventuresome, the melodies and harmonies affecting, and the arrangements textured.  The rhythm section is sharp and aggressive.  And the guitars?  Well, with superb players at lead and two rhythm guitars, the guitars are breathtaking.  These ladies can coo in your ear, or whack your chest cavity with heavy riffage.   But that isn't enough, so they do both in the same song.  The tone of the album reflects the dichotomy of light and dark, with tension and release provoked with every track.  Loving this album is easy, leaving it would be hard.

Beaches are Ali McCann (rhythm guitar), Alison Bolger (rhythm guitar), Antonia Sellbach (lead guitar), Gill Tucker (bass), and Karla Way (drums).  All of the members sing.  Second of Spring is out September 8 via Chapter Music in double vinyl, CD and digital.

Bandcamp for Second Of Spring
Chapter Music page for Second of Spring

"Humpty Dumpty" by Acid Tongue

I'm not sure the world deserves Acid Tongue, but we have them and won't give them back.  And that is final.  As we mentioned a few weeks ago (link), the band is having babies.  Specifically, they are having Babies, their debut full length record.  The LP will be released by Seattle/New York label Freakout Records, and if new song "Humpty Dumpty" is any indication anyone that shares a wall, floor, or ceiling with When You Motor Away World Headquarters better be prepared for nonstop Babies.

Acid Tongue's Fall tour schedule is listed at the bottom of the post.

Bandcamp for Babies
Pre-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, September 7, 2017

"Cherry On Willow" by David West with Teardrops

Three weeks ago we brought you "Swan's Beat" by David West with Teardrops (link).  The song was the first track from the band's October release Cherry On Willow.  They now have shared the title track, so we invite you to have a glammy strut down Willow Street with David West and Teardrops.  Oh yes, we are looking forward to this album.

Bandcamp for Cherry On Willow
Tough Love Records

El Goodo - By Order Of The Moose

Unlike many people, I have actually met a moose.  They are shockingly large, prone to aggression and a bit odoriferous.  So when I am ordered to do something by a moose, I don't take it lightly.  Accordingly, when I received a copy of By Order Of The Moose, I dutifully cued it up and pressed play.   That simple act of self-preservation had two results.  First, I was not attacked by a moose.  Second, I experienced one of my more enjoyable listening experiences of the second half of 2017.  By The Order Of The Moose is a really, really good album, even if you aren't worried about an attack by the largest member of the deer family.

The creation of Welsh psychedelic pop mavens El Goodo, who take their name from a Big Star song, the album reflects the band's appreciation for '60s music.  And we mean a broad swath of '60s music.  There is surf, sunny beach pop, garage, psychedelic, Baroque pop and British Invasion, and even some spaghetti western flourishes.  Oh, we didn't mention the gypsy songs -- we have those too.  These guys can harmonize like the Beatles and Beach Boys (and in some tracks, such as album closer "As You Said Your So Longs", they sound like both those bands in the same song), and the production is full and crisp.  Perhaps almost as impressive as the individual compositions and performances is that the album is so masterfully done that there is nothing jarring about the different styles.  It quite simply is one of the tastiest, most dynamic, musical tapas bistros you can imagine.

They say El Goodo, we say 'oh goody'.

The band are Elliott Jones (drums/percussion), Jason Jones (guitar/vocals), Pixy Jones (guitar/vocals/keys), Lewie Sewers (guitar), Matthew Young (keys), and Andrew Cann (bass).  By Order Of The Moose is out September 8 via Strangetown Records.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

"Schauer" by unhappybirthday

Before bed I wanted to share this great bit of icy melancholia by German trio unhappybirthday.  The song is the title track for an LP released in 2016.  We've given you links to all of their music, and suggest you start exploring.  You may not get any sleep tonight, but you'll hear good music.

Bandcamp for Schauer LP
Bandcamp for all releases

UV-TV - Go Away EP

Go Away EP could be your new favorite record for getting the old heart rate into man/woman-of-action mode.  Consisting of four blasts of garage and pop punk with sugary vocals, distorted guitar, elastic band bass and pummeling drums, this is the kind of music that reminds you just why you love indie music.  There seems to be a bit of Glasgow's Shop Assistants in the DNA, but with a bit more of the sugar and punk concoction and a bit less of edge-of-the-knife.  All in all, we think it is really good stuff.  The EP is the handiwork of UV-TV, a trio from Gainesville, Florida consisting of Rose Vastola (bass/vocals), Ian Bernacett (guitar/vocals), and Ryan Hopewell (drums).

The record is out now in digital and vinyl formats via Emotional Response Records.

Bandcamp for Go Away EP