Monday, December 30, 2019

Beat Hotel - Beat Hotel

We apologize to our millions of readers for disappearing for over a week, but there was snow in Canada that needed to be skied, and beer and champagne that needed to be drunk. Tough jobs, to be sure, but we believe we performed them ably. So it is back to writing about music worth listening to.

And speaking of 'worth listening to', we suggest that you turn your ears to the self-named mini album from Beat Hotel. If the music reminds you a bit of UK guitar music of the '80s, such as the Creation Records catalog, well, there is a good reason. According to the origin story, the idea for the band arose between guitarist Paul Pascoe (of Mulow, Fire Eyes and others) and bassist Arash Torabi (of The June Brides, The Distractions, and The Granite Shore) at a show by The Jasmine Minks. After an extended hiatus, the band surfaced again earlier this decade, then joined by drummer Dave Morgan (of The Loft, The Weather Prophets, Primal Scream, The Jazz Butcher, Subway Sect and others -- an essential man for many of our essential bands). For Beat Hotel the band is completed by guitarist Stephen Brett. Additional support was provided by Frank Sweeney and James Thomas.

Whether grooving to the power pop of "Feel It", the jangling psychedelia of "Bury It Deep", the ballad "Beat Girl", the country rock of "Daddy, I Drown", the hard-rocking roadhouse "Low slung Loser", or the burning closer "Heat Light Fire", the astute listener knows their ears are in the care of absolute professionals. We love this album. It fueled our recent vacation and we aren't going to put it on the shelf for a long time (in fact, we are listening to "Beat Girl right now -- what a fine song!

Technically, the release date isn't for another month, but you can stream it right now at the Bandcamp link below. If so-moved, you can own it in digital or vinyl form. The record is released via Occultation Records.

Bandcamp for album
Occultation Records

Thursday, December 19, 2019

"A Song For You" by Lemon Drink

How about a nice lemon drink for the holidays? It arrives in the form of "A Song For You", a garage pop banger by Glasgow band Lemon Drink. The project was the brainchild of Sophie Bartholomew and Kirstie Cunningham, allegedly spawned of a 'mutual love for amaretto sours and gal bands'. That origin story works for us, as does this song. Pour yourself an amaretto sour and cue it up. And despite the precious opening bar, turn it up loud.

The single is out now via the tasteful collective Last Night From Glasgow, which is demanding more of our bandwidth lately.

Last Night From Glasgow

Introducing: Na Noise

Today's special treat comes to us from New Zealand with thanks to the Pop Lib blog. The project is Na Noise, consisting of Yolanda Fagan and Hariet Ellis. The duo have worked together in other projects, including the Echo Ohs, that deserve your ears. But this new combination of '50s vibe meets noise pop meets indie pop has captured our imagination this week. The catalog on Bandcamp is only two-deep at this point, but we are glass half full guys and we  expect that more gems will be available over time. For now enjoy these tunes, which a musical confections crafted of sweet sugar, salty tears, and a terrific beat.


Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Three Days From Retirement - Empty Chinese Cities

Yes, the name of the band and the title of the album are a bit unusual. But the self-described cinematic and euphoric instrumental post-rock soundscapes on Empty Chinese Cities deliver exactly what Edinburgh project Three Day From Retirement promise. A pleasingly-fleshed out soundtrack that pleasures your ears and lifts your spirits. Give it a chance.

Empty Chinese Cities is out now in CD and digital formats. See the Bandcamp link.

Bandcamp for Empty Chinese Cities

Sunday, December 15, 2019

"All Compasses Go Wild" by Close Lobsters

One of our favorite bands, Glasgow's Close Lobsters, will be releasing a new album at the end of February. And while we have little in the way of details about the grandly-named Post Neo Anti: Are Provera in the Forest of Symbols, we can tell you that it has ten tracks and will be a co-release from Last Night In Glasgow (UK) and Shelflife Records (US). It is available now for pre-order.

We can also tell you that album's opening track "All Compasses Go Wild" is available now as a single. So that gives us a great start to the week before Christmas week.

Bandcamp for single
Bandcamp for album

Friday, December 13, 2019

Pink Chameleons - Songs EP

Our spirit animals  for this week are Pink Chameleons. Although we have to confess that we aren't new age enough to know what we should be doing about, with, or to a spirit animal in any general sense (maybe T-shirts or matching tattoos?), we know just what to do with Songs, the debut EP by our spirit animal: We play it often, and we play it loud. Consisting of six songs that ably display the band's ability to thrill with garage and psychedelic rock, it has a spooky, slightly unsettled vibe and features top quality performances. If you are a fan of The Jesus and Mary Chain, the Howl Sessions by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, or frontman Paltsa-Kai Salama's other band, Black Lizard, this EP nestles in the center of your sweet spot. It certainly does so for us. The band advises that their interests include country and gospel, so we eagerly await future recordings. But for now, this one is a winner.

Pink Chameleons are Paltsa-Kai Salama (guitar/vocals/songwriting), Antti Sauli (bass), and Ville Hopponen (drums/keys). Songs EP is out today via Helsinki's Soliti Music.

Soliti Music

Thursday, December 12, 2019

"Sometimes" by Ivory Caves

"Sometimes" isn't a particularly new song -- we think it became available as a free download near the end of the summer. But is is a rousing, uplifting song with interesting dynamics and soaring vocals. It has given us a good start to our day, and suggest that you see if it does the same for you. The band is Scottish quintet Ivory Caves. We hope to hear more from them in 2020.


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Lloyd Meadows - Oxford Synthesiser Club

Let's say an artist is capable of Harry Nilsson/John Lennon dream pop, jangling guitar pop, endearingly wonky synth pop, chart-reaching electropop, '80s yacht rock-meets-experimental, and baroque pop -- and you have a record quality song of each? Well, most artists would choose a style and write more songs like it, saving the others for another day. But if you are young Australian Lloyd Meadows, you realize that you've got an EP ready for the world. So you record it, name it Oxford Synthesiser Club, and release it. Job done! Actually, no, job well done. The songs here are melodic, well written, and manage to be playful and slightly fragile. It is a truly special EP, so put on your earphones and give it a spin.

Oxford Synthesiser Club is out now via Ottawa's The Beautiful Music in CD (see label page) and digital (see Bandcamp link) formats.

Bandcamp for album
The Beautiful Music

Sunday, December 8, 2019

"I Close My Eyes" 7" by Jetstream Pony

This UK band is named after a retired greyhound. At this time, the doggie goes by the name Jenna. However, showing a good sense for the power of a catchy name in marketing, the band chose the name under which the dog raced. So welcome new music by a WYMA favorite, Jetstream Pony. The two tracks showcase the band's brand of fuzzy, jangling, upbeat post punk. Try it with breakfast and hit the day at full speed.

The band consists of Beth Arzy, Shaun Charman, and Kerry Boettcher. The new single is released via Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten.


Thursday, December 5, 2019

"Violins" and "Cubans In The Bluefields" by East Village

We suspect that there is nothing quite like playing the vinyl version of Hotrod Hotel, the collection of singles by the wonderful East Village. And we are confident in our suspicion, because thus far there has been no vinyl version of that album. However, the lovely people at Slumberland Records will rectify that hole in the musical solar system by reissuing Hotrod Hotel in vinyl for the first time on January 24.

East Village had a seven-year run ending in 1991, the first few years under the name Episode Four. Founded by brothers Martin and Paul Kelly and then adding Johnny Wood and Spencer Smith, their first touchstone was C86, but their most notable work was a timeless indie pop not quite in synch with the tastes of their era. We suspect that Slumberland will sell out this reissue, so indiepop fans are well-advised to consider pre-orders.

Slumberland Records page for album

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The S-Bends - Nothing Feels Natural To Me

As we approach the end of the year we start working on our list of favorite albums. But inevitably new albums punch their way on to the list in the final month. It is almost as if the artists have no respect for our crowded calendar of holiday parties. However, when an album reminds us of Dick Diver, Ocean Party, The Go-Betweens, Paul Kelly and The Goon Sax, well, what choice do we have.

So, welcome to Nothing Feels Natural To Me, the debut album by Sydney's The S-Bends. If you are expecting yet another slacker pop album, you will be pleasantly corrected. This set of songs truly earns the above references with crisp playing, spacious arrangements, assured songwriting, and affecting storytelling. Some of the tunes have all the bounce of a New Zealand guitar pop band, and we've streamed three of them below -- think, perhaps, of Ocean Party and Boomgates performing a tribute for The Bats. but the moody, slower tempo wonders such as "Datsun", "Kilroy", and "Two States" more than earn their place on the album. And as good as the album is out of the box, it manages to grow on the listener with repeated plays. Our first listen earned votes for this feature. Our second listen brought a place on our provisional year-end list. At this point, it is a likely top 20.

The S-Bends are Jacob Dawson-Daley, Madeleine Er, Samuel McEwen, Mitchell Ryan, and Andrew Zic. Nothing Feels Natural To Me is out now in vinyl and digital formats via Stable Label.

Bandcamp for album

"Tell Your Lover" by Luke Marshall Black

If you happen to be looking for a stylish kiss-off to exit a toxic relationship (and a happy holiday to you, as well!), may we recommend "Tell Your Lover" by young Luke Marshall Black. The Glasgow native has a smooth voice with a hint of grit, and we admire both his delivery and his songwriting on this fine single.

"Tell Your Lover" is out now as a digital release.

Various links for "Tell Your Lover"

"Teenage Blues" by Vistas

Despite our best efforts, Wednesdays have not yet been banned. So our only reasonable tactic to find a song with a anthemic chorus and play it loudly a few dozen times. Our selection is "Teenage Blues" by Edinburgh trio Vistas.

Vistas are Prentice Robertson, Dylan Rush, and Jamie Law. "Teenage Blues" is out via Manchester's LAB Records.


Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Hot Shorts - I Understand & I Wish To Continue

Tuesday's WYMA hot shot is by Hot Shorts (admittedly, we had to go back and review that opening to ensure that we didn't mistakenly write 'Tuesday's WYMA hot shorts are by hot shot', so never let it be said we don't have standards and quality controls). Their new album I Understand & I Wish To Continue works both as good rock music in the vein of Weezer or Pavement, and as truly funny social commentary. We suppose that the latter will not surprise those readers aware that the band includes two published authors (which, at this point, should include all readers), but we think that these folks get extra credit for not just nailing the introspection, but in doing so in a manner that is humorous, engaging and very peppy. We've included two of the gems below, but some of our favorites can only by those who purchase the album or have access to it via a streaming service. You have our permission to treat yourselves.

Hot Shorts are founding members Chris Killen and Peet Earnshaw, with Lara Williams and Joel Nicholson. I Understand & I Wish To Continue is out now via Manchester label Icecapades.

Bandcamp for album
Icecapades' Bigcartel page for album

Monday, December 2, 2019

Ducks Unlimited - Get Bleak EP

We like ducks, whether it is a single duck or an entire flock. So it is understandable that we are attracted to a band named Ducks Unlimited. And our mild disappointment at discovering that the quartet might be more accurately referred to as 'four ducks' or something else closer to the truth, we fell in love with the music they make on  their new Get Bleak EP. There is no quacking involved, but there are descriptions of life as a young, underemployed, isolated 20-something. However, bleak topics do not make for bleak music in the hands of Ducks Unlimited. The record consists of four ace jangle pop tunes that strut despite the content.

The EP is out now in digital and vinyl formats via Bobo Integral Records.

Bandcamp for EP

Saturday, November 30, 2019

"Borttappad" by Guds Pengar

We are pleased to introduce you to Guds Pengar, or "God's Money" if you would like the translation from Swedish. The introduction arrives in the form of "Borttappad", their debut single for Rama Lama Records. Unlike many of the Nordic bands we feature here, Guds Pengar sticks to Swedish. But our lack of linguistic dexterity doesn't dim our appreciation for the thrillingly dynamic music the band creates.

The  Malmö-based Guds Pengar are Evelina Nerstrand and Olof Stid, and occasionally some like-minded musical friends.

Bandcamp for "Borttappad"
Various links for "Borttappad"

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Math and Physics Club - Indian Ocean 7"

We all want our favorite bands to go on forever, dropping nuggets into our laps from time to time. We want it as music fans, and we want the stability and comfort as humans. But, of course, things rarely work out as we like. We have been following Seattle-area band Math and Physics Club for about 15 years, and another 15 years would be most welcome. However, we recently learned that the band is wrapping up with a final single, the two-track Indian Ocean 7" available via Matinee Recordings.

Of course there is a backstory. There usually is with endings, although this one is especially poignant. Math and Physics Club co-founder and guitarist James Werle succumbed to cancer last year. Title track "Indian Ocean" was written before James died, but before it had not yet been recorded. So remaining members Charles Bert, Ethan Jones and Kevin Emerson recorded the song, as well "In Dreams", which was written as a tribute to James.  It is a truly memorable final statement, with sadness and hope, as well as a sublime craftsmanship.

The single is available as a digital download or in vinyl with a download.

Matinee Recordings page for single

Various Artists - F.A.R Out

Unsure of what music to cue up next? Let us help you -- take a look at F.A.R. Out, a new compilation from Fadeawayradiate Records. Featuring 14 original songs by various indie artists that were selected for quality and fit with the theme of '60s-style sunshine pop. Astute readers will note that several of these artists have appeared on these pages in the past. It should surprise no one that we are drawn to them again. The CD version is sold out, but the digital is there for the taking.

Bandcamp for album

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Dumb Things - Time Again

Brisbane's Dumb Things have delivered Time Again, their sophomore album, and a fine addition to jangling slacker pop it is.  Breezy and carefree, it demands nothing of the listener but delivers great joy. We discovered it only recently, but it has become one of our favorite albums of the fall. Fans of Dick Diver, Twerps and other recent Australian bands should dive in without hesitation. But really, we recommend Time Again to any guitar pop fan.

Dumb Things are Pat, Maddie, Adam, James, and Andy. And based on the quality of the album, we'd venture that they may be Dumb Things as a collective, but they certainly aren't things that are dumb

Time Again is out now in CD and digital formats.

Bandcamp for Time Again
Various links for Dumb Things music

Sasha Bell - Love Is Alright

Sasha Bell's confident, nuanced vocals, musicianship, and gifted songwriting have graced bands Essex Green, Ladybug Transistor and The Sixth Great Lake, so it is always good news to hear that she is involved in a new project. But this endeavor is particularly special, as it is her first solo full length under her own name. Listening to Love Is Alright we happily to discover that Bell clearly is comfortable as the main focus of a project. Her vocals are assured and dynamic. The sparkling arrangements find a comfortable lane between the more baroque pop of her other bands and more mainstream pop. Lyrically, Bell hits memorable points in her life and career. But this is nostalgia that is warm and sprightly, matching the presentation and lifting our spirits. We don't think Sasha Bell could have crafted a better opener to this chapter of her musical journey.

Love Is Alright is out now via Both Sides Now.

Bandcamp for Love Is Alright

Monday, November 25, 2019

Theatre Royal - Incidental Friend EP

In July we featured a singles collection from UK UK four-piece Theatre Royal. We understand that they are planning an album release in the new year, but are bridging the time span with the four-song EP Incidental Friend. We think the EP gives listeners a good look at the various facets of the band's talents. The title track is a mid-tempo look at a friendship. "Turn From Sleep" displays the band's rocking side. "Done Is Done" invites a sing-a-long in any live setting. Album closer "September Comes" is high drama post-punk. And, of course, everything is quite melodic and well-performed.

Theatre Royal are Oliver, Robert, Jon, and Bendan.


Friday, November 22, 2019

"Backyard" by L.A. Mood

Dave  Mudie has been a sought after drummer for hire, and is the current timekeeper for Courtney Barnett. As it turns out, he is a damn good front man for his own project, L.A. Mood. We featured his EP Breakfast at Sassy's a couple of months ago (link), and he is back now with a single titled "Backyard"). A '70s road house rocker of a tune, we think it is just the right fuel for the start of our weekend. Perfect timing--thanks, Dave!

"Backyard" is a digital release via Hotel Motel Records.

Bandcamp for "Backyard"
Various links for "Backyard"

Thursday, November 21, 2019

"Comfort Zone" by Fabric Bear

Mental health is an important topic, so we think everyone should give some thought to their comfort zone. And to help you get started, how about listening to the most excellent "Comfort Zone" by Edinburgh's Fabric Bear.  It has us happily bouncing around the premises here at WYMA World Headquarters.

Fabric Bear are Ryan Hunter, Callum Jones, Matt Graham, and Stewart Clark.


"Feather Soul" by Lilla Parasit

Today brings "Feather Soul", the second single by Swedish band Lilla Parasit.  The band is a project of Are Engen Steinsholm of Melby, joined by Amanda Lindgren (Systraskap), David Svedmyr (Me and My Kites) and Jessica Klingsell. Signed to Rama Lama Records, they will release a mini album in 2020.  The single is dreamy celebration of sibling bonds, buoyed by a sturdy and well-detailed arrangement, and has brought warmth and sunshine to us on a chilly November morning.

Bandcamp for "Feather Soul"
Various links for "Feather Soul"

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

"Anthem For A Doomed Youth" by Dictator

One of our favorite inbox nuggets lately is "Anthem For A Doomed Youth". Featuring a deep groove and a psychedelic touches, it fuels our mornings as we get a grip on the day. The creators are Dictator. , a Scottish four-piece draws that draws comparisons to The Charlatans and fellow Scots Primal Scream. We think that is really fine company to keep.

Various links for single

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Romantic States - Ballerina

Romantic States is a Baltimore band that plays minimalist, lo fi pop that strikes us as the sound we might encounter if Beat Happening and Yo La Tengo combined, slowed down and were fronted by a more talented (and melodic) version of Nico.  And as good as the sound is on their new album, Ballerina, the real treat may be the lyrical content. This is a band that drills down to the exposed nerve -- and then keeps drilling. Honesty is good; honesty can also be uncomfortable. But we can't look away when it sounds this good. Please listen to the album at the Bandcamp link and be sure to select the "lyrics" button. Our favorite songs are "Changed Your Mind", "Real Real Blonde", "XstrawberryX", "Son Of Barb", and "Ballerina". But you really don't want to miss any of them.

The original members of Romantic States are guitarist Jim Triplett (of Videohippos) and vocalist Ilenia Madelaire (of Amor Fatigue). For this outing they add drummer Shawn Durham (Gauche/Snail Mail), and bassist Alan Everhart (Wildhoney/Dummy). Ilenia also drew the affecting cover art. Ballerina is out now via Gentle Reminder Records.

Bandcamp for Ballerina
Gentle Reminder Records

Night Hikes - Chalice

We look worldwide for interesting new indie music, but it would be foolish for us to ignore the talents in our backyard. Today we want to introduce you to a fine Seattle band named Night Hikes. For Chalice, the duo of Olivia Godby and Matthew Farrell craft evocative stories with dream pop and shoegaze textures. Perceptive lyricists and evocative vocalists, they provide an intimate soundtrack for late night listening. Our instincts tell us that we can expect a lot more good material from Night Hikes.

Chalice is out now as a digital release. See the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for Chalice

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Springfields - Singles 1986-1991

We know that there is a jangle pop god, and we know that this god bestows favors on devotees of the genre. Often those favors are in the form of new recordings by current bands. But occasionally the jangle pop god delivers an extra special treat in the form of long-lost gems resurrected for our pleasure. Today, working through faithful servant Slumberland Records, the jangle pop god reveals Singles 1986 - 1991. The album collects the tunes from all five singles by The Springfields, which were released between 1986 and 1991 on various labels including Sarah Records. The Springfields were just one of the bands that offered the combined talents of Ric Menck and Paul Chastain, but may have been the highest expression of their art. Crafting and covering songs that reflect and project the golden tones of indiepop from the British Invasion through the current decade, Menck and Chastain's five-year run in this band serves to sum up the best of 50-plus years of the genre despite arriving in the middle of the span. Quite simply, you cannot be a jangle pop fan and turn your back on this record. The god has been good to us, accept her gift.

The album is out now in vinyl, CD and digital formats via Slumberland Records.

Bandcamp for album
Slumberland Records

Friday, November 15, 2019

Sprinters - Struck Gold

It probably takes a good bit of confidence to write a batch of songs, and name the collection Struck Gold while recording them. But Neil Jarvis did just that for the second album by his project Sprinters. So we have Neil's opinion about the songs that his Manchester-based band has created, and now the listeners can weigh in. After living with this album for a few weeks, our verdict is: Sprinters have struck gold.

As the daylight hours become shorter, the skies grayer, and the rain more frequent, one thing we have been able to count on is the feeling of hazy sunshine on our shoulders and a good dose of serotonin every time we listen to this album. The title track opens the proceedings with a strutting riff borrowed from "Brimful of Asha", and then unspools down a trail of guitar pop and surf with a wash of melancholy for added depth. We previously featured single "3s & 4s" (link), a true showcase song. But we don't need to repeat it here because there are so many highlights in this ten-track set. For example, we are completely spellbound by "The Light", a slow tempo wash of liquid gold the infuses us with the same wonderful feelings that we heard the first time we heard late '60s AM hit "Grazing In The Grass" by Friends Of Distinction (despite the two songs having little in common other than a 100 percent feelgood factor), although we could understand others drawing a more direct line to The Rascals' "Groovin On A Sunday Afternoon". "Undone" features ringing shoegaze. "Demolition" slays us with a beautiful guitar line and a palpable melancholy. Currently, our most repeated song is "It's Gone". If you are a fan of guitar pop, this album is a 'must' addition to your musical library.

Struck Gold is out today via Meritorio Records.

Bandcamp for Struck Gold
Meritorio Records

Thursday, November 14, 2019

"Editing" by Johnny Kills

Our friends Johnny Kills are releasing an EP named Panic on November 20, which happens to be just in time for our holiday shopping. These boys are very thoughtful. So thoughtful, in fact, that the EP's closing track, "Editing", is available right now! Check it out below. We think it is ace.

Johnny Kills are Tim Lloyd-Kinnings, Lewis Lloyd-Kinnings, and Cameron Gipp. Panic will be released via Killing Moon.

Various links to buy/stream "Editing"

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Program - Show Me

Another day, another good band from Melbourne. Does that leave us jaded? Hell no! It makes us jazzed, jacked and pumped. We've been grooving all afternoon to Show Me, the latest nine-track wonder by Program. The songs feature the breeziness and crunch of California indie rock, the propulsive drive and jangle of New Zealand guitar pop and the understated charm and wry observations that have characterized Melbourne bands in this decade. And they add up to an impressive, and very satisfying, debut album. We know that some or all of members have other musical projects (including The Stroppies), but we hope they find the time to keep this one going as well.

Program are Johno Brewin (guitar/vocals), Rory Heane (guitar/vocals), James Kane (bass/guitar), Jessie Fernandez (bass/keys), and James Tyrrell (drums). Show Me is out now via Anti-Fade Records.

Bandcamp for Show Me
Anti Fade Records on Facebook

Joy Cleaner - You're So Jaded

Just like our sports watches and iPhones, we at WYMA often need an energy recharge in the middle of the work week. And there is no use in fighting the feeling -- the only solution is to search through our recent intake file an find what we need. So please give a warm welcome to this week's Wednesday energy special: You're So Jaded by New Jersey's Joy Cleaner. Brewing a thumping aural concoction of power pop and '90s alt rock, this band creates songs that are free-wheeling, punchy and thoroughly addictive. This 10-track is their sophomore LP, and it builds on their strengths with a further sharpening of their power pop chops. We can find true joy in the classics, and rocking tracks of You're So Jaded deliver a mega dose.

Joy Cleaner are Joey DeGroot, Kyle Wilkerson, and Justin Grabosky. You're So Jaded is out now in digital, CD and vinyl formats via Portland's Jigsaw Records.

Bandcamp for You're So Jaded

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Failed Flowers - Faces 7"

One of the current treasures of the indie pop world is Slumberland Records' singles series. Today we as sharing with you Faces. The record is a two-song 7" by Failed Flowers, the on-again/off-again project currently consisting of Miles Haney, Fred Thomas, Anna Burch, and Erin Davis. The title track is a sweet rush of Sarah Records/Cloudberry fuzz and melody. B-side "Broken Screen" boasts a split personalty consisting of a garage opener and an jangling finish. Get it in vinyl or digital, and make yourself happy.

Slumberland Records page for single

Monday, November 11, 2019

Blue Tiles - Melancholitronica

Melancholitronica is constructed of contrasts: The vocal style of Stephen McLaren with the vocal style of Sean Ormsby; icy electronica and brisk percussion with warm synth textures; earthy male vocals with angelic choruses; and melancholy with bright, aural colors. The creators are Blue Tiles, a Edinburgh duo formerly known as Shards, and they have spent a long time creating a synth pop that should satisfy the listener for an equally long time. While a few of the songs could grace the dance floor, in the main this album aims for the head, not the feet. And while that strikes us as a trickier target, Blue Tiles doesn't appear to break into a sweat in scoring a direct hit. It challenges and relaxes, and always delights

Blue Tiles are Stephen McLaren and Sean Ormsby, with vocal assistance on "Headland" by Sarrah McLaren. Melancholitronica is released via Errant Media, presumably after protracted negotiations between artists McLaren and Ormsby with label honchos Ormsby and McLaren.

Bandcamp for Melancholitronica
Twitter for Errant Media

Thursday, November 7, 2019

"Feel You More Than World Right Now" by Spinning Coin

Today begins with a double dose of good news. First, we have word that one of our favorite bands, Glasgow/Berlin's Spinning Coin, will release new album Hyacinth on February 21, 1010 via Geographic imprint of Domino Records. Second, we don't have to wait until next year to get a taste of the goods, because today the band has shared "Fell You More Than World Right Now". The band is blessed with three songwriters, and this track amply demonstrates their charm, energy, and optimism, as well as their obvious quality.

Spinning Coin are Chris White, Jack Mellin, Sean Armstrong, and Rachel Taylor.

Various links for single

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

"Moon" by Steve Buscemi's Dreamy Eyes

As we may have mentioned before, we would highlight music from Stockholm label Rama Lama Records just because they have an awesome name, but we don't have to admit actually being that cavalier, because the label has a wonderful little roster. And one of our absolute favorites is Steve Buscemi's Dreamy Eyes. In fact, the only flaw we've ever found with this quartet's music is that there isn't enough of it. We understand that they are correcting that problem in early 2020 with the release of their debut album. But in the meantime, we have a fresh new song. And we mean really fresh, as in 'released this morning'. Please treat your ears to "Moon".

Steve Buscemi's Dreamy Eyes are Siri Sjöberg, Tilde Hansen, Lias Mahfoud, and Edvin Arleskär.

Bandcamp for "Moon"
Various links for "Moon"

Monday, November 4, 2019

Mr Ben & The Bens - Who Knows Jenny Jones?

We know that a lot of you have been looking for an album based on the story of a shy young lady in the 1970s who is abducted by aliens and then becomes the best disco dancer in the universe. We worked tirelessly to choose a winner, rejecting some because the heroine was insufficiently she, some because the aliens seemed to be members of Trump's border patrol, trolling for aliens to deport, and some because we thought the disco dancing was below grade. At the end of our search, we have chosen Who Knows Jenny Jones?, by Mr Ben & The Bens. Mr Ben is Ben Hall, a Sheffield transplant (via Lancaster) who composed the songs and played all of the instruments (except drums) in the recording. The album seems to check all of the boxes at the top of the class (origins, dancing, aliens), but most  importantly, Mr Ben has crafted ten perfectly superb pop songs. Yes, they all hang together quite well within the core concept, but these songs stand alone as fine music even if not compiled together to tell the tale of the disco-dancer-to-be. The textures are just on the pop side of baroque, and the hooks are pure pop.  And our scorers gave bonus points to Ben's bass.

For live performances Ben is joined by drummer Zac Barfoot, Lauren Paige Dowling, and Tom Diffenthal. Who Knows Jenny Jones? is out now via Bingo Records.

Bandcamp for album

House Deposit - Reward for Effort

On Reward For Effort Melbourne's House Deposit employs a speak-sing delivery that would make Lou Reed proud to tell tales of failed relationships, moving, anxiety, mood-altering substances and other features of young life. Of course, we aren't in a position to determine how much effort was put into the album, but we can tell you that there should be a reward for the effort. And we aren't speaking of a participation trophy-type reward where you stream the album. We are talking about buying the album and making it your very own. That is the reward for effort that the band has earned. Don't let them down (but if you do, they probably will write a song about it).

House Deposit are Meaghan Weiley, Sam Lyons, Dylan Bartlett, and Dan Oke. Reward for Effort is out now in digital and cassette formats via Melbourne's Spoilsport Records.


Thursday, October 31, 2019

Dreams of Empire - Nothing's Ever Finished

We have covered music by Brighton's Dreams of Empire on few times, having been impressed by their artful dream pop meets shoegaze recordings. Today's feature celebrates the duo's first full length, Nothing's Ever Finished. The soaring compositions feature reverbed vocals and multiple textures. Fans of Ride and Slowdive will find this album particularly pleasing, but we think anyone will find it an inspiring soundtrack for their day.

Dreams of Empire are Jane Craig (vocals) and Andrew Craig (words/music). Nothing's Ever Finished is out now in digital, vinyl and CD formats.

Dreams Of Empire - Website
Bandcamp for album

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Stars On Fire - Songs For The Summer

One of the fine debut EPs we have heard this year is Blue Skies Above by Stars On Fire (link to our feature). The man behind the flaming night ski is Seoul-based Christopher Mark, a transplanted Californian. We were thinking of him this week because we noted that he mentioned us in a tweet. When we woke up this morning the first thing on our mind is that his tweet referenced a new record. OK, we may be slow, but we aren't complete idiots. Having finally pieced together that Christopher was letting us know about a new release, we hunted Songs For The Summer down this morning, and now present it to our readers.

Beginning with the shoegazey "I Need Nobody (that's you)", followed by the bright dream pop of standout track "Salty Kiss", this EP delivers on its title -- reminding us of the summer now gone. We have fond memories, melancholy, and a few regrets. The EP is completed by the instrumental shoegaze of "Summertime" and the delicious, jangling fuzz pop song "Late" (which has a nice Pains Of Being Pure At Heart vibe). Here is the audio for your summer scrapbook.

Bandcamp for Songs For The Summer

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

"When It Breaks" by Quivers

Like us, you probably woke up this morning wondering what the wonderful people of Quivers are up to. Fortunately, there was an email in our inbox that answered the question. And being of kind disposition, we will share with you that there is a shiny new single, with an album coming next year. The single is "When It Breaks", and it is a terrific slice of life-affirming-in-the-face-of-mortality jangle pop that we look for to fuel our days. We trust that you will like it as well.

Quivers are Sam J. Nicholson, Michael Panton, Bella Quinlan, and Holly Thomas. "When It Breaks" is released via Melbourne's Hotel Motel Records

Various links for "When It Breaks"

Monday, October 28, 2019

Giant Sand - Recounting the Ballads of Thin Line Men

After a weekend that feature too many events, too many tasks, and insufficient sleep, Monday demands music that features energy, swagger and a rebel spirit. Monday demands rock and roll. And a top rock album for us over the past five weeks has been Recounting the Ballads of Thin Line Men, by Giant Sand. The project of Howe Gelb and various other contributors, Giant Sand bakes a thrilling concoction of desert rock, Americana, and roadhouse blues. It must be said that this album is unusual, as it takes the material from 1986's Ballad Of A Thin Line Man, reworks it with a new perspective, adds an opening track from another compilation. All of that just proves the quality of the original version of the songs, and the rocking spirit of the current version of the band. And it makes our Mondays perfect (and goes down well every other day of the week).

The players are Howe Gelb (guitars/piano/vocals), Tommy Larkins (drums), and Thoger Lund (bass). Recounting the Ballads of Thin Line Men is out now via Fire Records.

Bandcamp for album