Monday, July 15, 2019

"Club DZ" by Acid Arab

As fans of Acid Arab, the dudes that bring middle eastern and Parisian club music together in intoxicating fashion, we are thrilled that they have announce a new album.  Jdid will be available in October via label Crammed Discs.  Our first hint of the upcoming album is the thumping "Club DZ".  Start your week out with a great tune!

Acid Arab originally consisted of Guido Minisky and Herve Carvalho.  Their roster now includes Pierrot Casanova, Nicholas Borne, and Kenzi Bourras, as well.

Various links to buy/stream "Club DZ"
Bandcamp for pre-order of Jdid

Friday, July 12, 2019

"Roll With Me" by Young Guv

What may be the top power pop album of the summer will arrive on August 2.  The title is Guv I, and it is the latest full length by Toronto's Ben Cook, aka Young Guv.  Known for his work in F'cked Up and No Warning, Cook has issued albums, EPs and singles as Young Guv for a decade and that project remains our favorite version of the musician.  Take the album for a test drive with the new digital single "Roll With Me". 

Guv I will be released via Run For Cover Records

Various links to buy/stream "Roll With Me"
Bandcamp for Guv I
Pre-Order page for Guv I in vinyl at Run for Cover Records

Thursday, July 11, 2019

"I'll Go Home" by Campfires

Our inbox has been crowded lately with excellent albums that deserve our attention, but we frequently are distracted by terrific singles that demand repeated listens.  One jewel that hit our ears this week is "I'll Go Home" by Campfires.  The song has a '60s folk rock/British Invasion vibe with jangling, twanging guitars and sweet vocals.  It is so good that it made us sad that Campfires' latest album was in 2013, but we brightened up again when our research department advised us that "I'll Go Home" is taken from new album, Fare Trax, which will be released August 30 via Fire Talk.

Campfires is the project of Jeff Walls, who resides in Portland, Oregon.  Fare Trax will be available in digital and vinyl formats.

Bandcamp Fare Trax
Label page to order Fare Trax

Various Artists - The Moon and Back

UK record label wiaiwya ("where it's at is where you are") is a treasure.  All the labels we follow choose good artists and release quality music -- if they didn't, we wouldn't follow them.  But wiaiwya is one of the labels that does some additional things we love, such as their single series that features the work of both established artists/bands and, sometimes, interesting one-off collaborations of artist/bands. Also worthy of praise are their compilations.  As a matter of fact, we are writing this feature today to alert you to one of those compilations: The Moon And Back - One Small Step For Global Pop.  Inspired by and celebrating the Apollo 11 adventure to the moon, the album consists of 38 tracks from some of the most loved indie pop artists in the solar system.  We won't give you a run down, because there are too many to cover in a fair manner, but also because one of the joys of this album is wandering through the tracks and thrilling to new music by your favorite artists and new music by new favorite artists.  As music writers, we are familiar with many pop musicians, but we still discovered new people and bands to follow.  So without further preamble, we will prime the pump with a few tracks, and then send you to Bandcamp to embark on your own adventure.

Bandcamp for album

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

"Distance" by Matveï

Time for some travelling music for our evening commute, and the spot of honor goes to "Distance" by Montreal-based Frenchman Matveï.  The euphoric house track features delightful and unexpected accents and features vocals by UK singer Alyss.  The producer's debut EP will be available later this year via French label Kitsune.


"Message To You" Strange Ranger

When sifting through submissions for songs to feature, one that stood out is "Message To You" by Strange Ranger.  It is taken from their upcoming album, Remembering The Rockets, which will be out on July 26 via Tiny Engines.  If this track is any indication, the album will be very good.

Strange Ranger are Isaac, Fred, Nathan, and Fiona. The band was formed in Bozeman, Montana, but now resides in Philadelphia.

Bandcamp for Remembering The Rockets
Tiny Engines

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

"Bizzo And Tophat" by Terry

We have been fans of Melbourne band Terry for a long time (our first post about them was in January 2016).  However, we just discovered that they have a new EP titled Who's Terry coming out next week via UK label Upset the Rhythm.  This band's music has a completely captivating sound suggesting Television Personalities masquerading as The Kinks.  But with an Australian accent.  Check out one of the EP's tracks below, and mark your calendars for July 19.  Better yet, just pre-order at the link below.

Upset The Rhythm page to pre-order Who's Terry

Charcoal Burners - The Best Day You Could Imagine

The best day you could imagine? Well, everyone needs to determine that for themselves.  But we suggest that we all are having a pretty good day when an album as good as The Best Day You Could Imagine is available for 'name your price' on Bandcamp. The record is the creation of the generous souls comprising Charcoal Burners, a Dunedin, New Zealand indie rock trio.  The sound is big and deep, with bottomless bass and cavernous drums.  The guitar work is excellent, sometimes joining the rhythm section's wall of sound and, at other times, slashing away in '90s alt rock fashion. The Best Day You Could Imagine is twelve tracks of deeply satisfying rock that deserves to be played loud and often.

Charcoal Burners are Andrew Spittle (guitar/vocals), Sally Lonie (bass/vocals), Finn (drums).  The members of the band have a long and productive history, and you can view past records at the last Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for The Best Day You Could Imagine
Bandcamp for other records

The Martial Arts - I Used To Be The Martial Arts

For exercise of the noncompetitive sort, we tend to run or cycle.  However, today we give time to the martial arts.  No, we aren't going to hit anyone (although we probably could compile a list of worthy targets without much trouble).  Our focus is on the latest solo release by Glasgow's Paul Kelly, whose project is named The Martial Arts.  Paul keeps busy participating in other projects such as BMX Bandits, Dr. Cosmos Tape Lab, Teen Canteen, and Carla J. Easton, but he has now delivered the I Used To Be The Martial Arts EP for our summer pleasure.  Consisting of four songs, the EP delivers perfectly crafted upbeat pop melodies, packed with hooks and ample detail to delight our ears and move our feet.  Check out the glammy "New Performance" below, and then head to the label page for the EP or your favorite digital outlet.

 I Used To Be The Martial Arts is out now via Last Night From Glasgow.

Last Night From Glasgow page for EP
Bandcamp for previous releases

Monday, July 8, 2019

The BV's - Cartography

One of the blog writing activities we most enjoy is alerting our readers about music they might not otherwise hear.  We think Cartography by The BV's may be a good example.  The band consists of Fred and Josh, and they list their locations as Falmouth and Ausburg, and according to our ears their musical creations span jangle pop, shoegaze and dream pop.  This is a very good set of songs, and we think it deserves your attention.  Check out a few tracks below and, if you like them, check out the Bandcamp link.

Cartography is out now via Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten. The vinyl and CD versions are sold out, but you still can download a digital copy.

Bandcamp for Cartography

Sunday, July 7, 2019

"Lift Off" by Parsnip

Melbourne's Parsnip probably has given more than a little thought as to how to give a bit of polish and shine to the announcement that they are going to release When The Tree Bears Fruit, their debut LP, at the end of August.  It seems to us that they have hit it on the nose with the announcement that they have signed to Trouble In Mind Records and then shared the lead single, "Lift Off".  A shaggy, youthful sounding summer jam, the song should indeed lift off everyone's expectations for the album.

Parsnip is Paris Richens, Carolyn Hawkins, Stella Rennex, and Rebecca Liston.  Note that for fans in Australia and New Zealand,  will be available via Anti Fade Records.

Bandcamp for "Lift Off"
Bandcamp for pre-order of When The Tree Bears Fruit
TroubleIn Mind Records

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Stars On Fire - Blue Skies Above

Stars On Fire is Christopher Mark, a Californian residing in Seoul.  His music attracts labels such as shoegaze, indie pop, jangle pop and noise pop.  But Christopher describes it as scrappy jangle pop for people with short attention spans, and we think that fits just fine.  But you don't need to take our word for it, or even Christopher's word for it, as his debut album Blue Skies Above is right here, right now.  As advertised, it is a noisy, jangling rush of melancholy pop that suits our ears.  We intend to give it plenty of play this holiday weekend under our own (we hope) blue skies.  We suggest that you do the same.

Blue Skies Above is available now in digital and CD formats via Jigsaw Records.  See the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for Blue Skies Above

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Chris Staples - Holy Moly

Chris Staples' career spans groups and solo work in indie rock, pop, and folky singer songwriter ventures.  He began in Florida, but now resides in Seattle.  As a solo artist, Chris' songwriting is introspective.  However, the execution -- even with gentle, slow tempo tunes -- displays a knack for melody and pop expression.  His talents are well displayed on Holy Moly, which was released via Barsuk Records last week.  The album begins with the comfortable pop of "World On Fire", and then invites everyone to wiggle their hips with title tune "Holy Moly".  The following tracks find the album settling into a soft, summery folk-pop.  If one had heard "Holy Moly" first, one might initially be disappointed that the other songs are not similarly constructed.  But we suggest giving the entire album a chance.  In fact, it may well compete to be your music of choice for time in the afternoon breeze with a favorite beverage.

Bandcamp for Holy Moly
Barsuk Records

Monday, July 1, 2019

"I Might Disappear" by Mermaidens

Today brought the good news that New Zealand post punk trio Mermaidens will release new album Look Me In The Eye on September 6 via Flying Nun Records.  They also announced September shows in the UK, which we have listed at the bottom of the post.  But for our immediate enjoyment, we have album track "I Might Disappear", as the soundtrack for a video of the band enjoying their time on tour.  They seem to like beer and wine -- perhaps we should audition.

UK Tour Dates
Saturday 21st September - Elsewhere, Margate
Sunday 22nd September - The Library, Oxford
Monday 23rd September - The Hug And Pint, Glasgow
Tuesday 24th September - Picture House Social, Sheffield
Wednesday 25th September - Old Blue Last, London

Summer Cannibals - Can't Tell Me No"

Can't Tell Me No is well conceived and well performed rock and roll with a big dose of  'don't tread on me' defiance (personal, not political), arriving just in time for your summer playlists (and for our US readers, your July 4th barbecue).  The album is the fourth from Portland band Summer Cannibals, and is their first for the Tiny Engines label.   While the band's approach to their craft varies little - expect riffs, hooks, big choruses and noise -- their execution hits the sweet spot and the lyrics have a genuine bite born of fraught personal and professional relationships.  This album is the soundtrack of a band reclaiming their professional and personal lives, and they do it with passion and flair.

Summer Cannibals are Jessica Boudreaux, Cassi Blum, Devon Shirley, and Ethan Butman.  Can't Tell Me No is out now in all formats.  See the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for Can't Tell Me No
Tiny Engines pre-order page for album

Friday, June 28, 2019

"The Highway Again" by Remington Super 60

We begin each day exactly at 'blog 30'. Blog 30 is a moving target based on a complicated formula involving the amount of sleep in the previous night, the level of coffee consumed and, if it is a day ending in "y", finalization of the plans for beer later in the day.  So, dear readers, please be advised that we have arrived at today's Beer 30.

In our first post of the day we bring to you the shiny new single "The Highway Again" by Norwegian pop group Remington Super 60.  Evoking thoughts of driving through the fantastic Norwegian countryside on a summer day, the melody and vocals wash over us like a gentle breeze.  The song is available as a digital release; check your preferred source.

Remington Super 60 is based in Fredrikstad, and consists of Christoffer Schou, Elisabeth Thorsen, and Magnus Abelsen.  The band's music is released on Christoffer's own own label Café Superstar Recordings.  A new EP is planned for later this year.  You can explore their many releases over the past 20 years at the links at the bottom of the post.

Cafes Superstar Recordings

Thursday, June 27, 2019

"This Christmas" and "The Time We Had" by Lachlan Denton & Studio Magic

One July album that has already found a spot on our wish list is A Brother, by Lachlan Denton & Studio Magic.  Lachlan was one of the mainstays of Melbourne's Ocean Party, which we believe to have been one of the best bands of the past decade.  A Brother is the product of Lachlan's efforts to come to grips with the tragic death of his brother Zac last fall.  To help him in the project he called upon friends and former bandmates of both brothers.  We will have more to write about the album, the players, and Zac Denton when the album is released.  However, we wanted to share with you two excellent tracks that already are available as singles.  And you really don't need much more from us about them, the love is palpable.

A Brother will be released by Osborne Again Music, Spunk Records, and Bobo Intregal.

Bandcamp for pre-order of A Brother

Peter Cat - Plays Well With Others

We are not fans of false advertising, so we issue a few demerits to Glasgow project Peter Cat for having neither a cat nor a frontman named Peter.  However, we believe in forgiveness (and we have a feline-like curiosity), so we listened to the band's recent album, Plays Well With Others, and we are very glad that we did so.  The songs are an infectious mix of indie pop rock, cabaret, glam, and art school.  The vibe is upbeat and fun, and the listener may have the feeling that they are experiencing a musical stage show as Peter Cat slips from one song style to another like different costumes for each scene.  And by the way, the band provides the lyrics, which are well written, humorous and enhance the listening experience.

Peter Cat are Graham Neil Gillespie and some like-minded collaborators.  Plays Well With Others is out now in digital and cassette formats.

Bandcamp for album

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Neutrals - Kebab Disco

Not many bands from California's San Francisco Bay Area sound like a punk/post punk band from Glasgow.  But most bands are not fronted by Allan McNaughton.  Allan was raised in Western Scotland and  played in Glasgow post-punk band Glue (we believe the time frame was late '80s-early '90s).  He has since relocated to California, where his musical talents were applied to Giant Haystack and, now, Neutrals.  With Neutrals, Allan and his bandmates embrace Allan's Scottish background and California present in a connected and not quite autobiographical series of vignettes.  Presented in  both vintage punk and Glasgow indie rock styles (with a touch of California), and voiced with Allan's still thick Scottish accent, the songs depict snapshots of life in Glasgow on the A-side and California on the B-side.  You will hear of art school, technical school, professional jealousy, drugs, romance, and late night kebabs, all before crossing the Atlantic for food courts, hating on the summer of love and a song about the iconic motorcycle cop.  The music is excellent, the spirit is strong, and this album is one of the fun listens of this year.

Neutrals are Allan and two Phils.  Kebab Disco is out now in digital format (vinyl is sold out) via Emotional Response Records.

Bandcamp for album

Red Sleeping Beauty - Tonight EP

Prolific synth pop masters Red Sleeping Beauty are presenting us with a new record.  Just a few months after releasing the wonderful Stockholm LP, the Swedish trio return with Tonight, a four-track EP that should further enhance their reputations in the top echelon of synth pop.  Leading off is title track "Tonight", an upbeat song featuring dual vocals and memorable hooks.  It also featured on the recent album, but it deserves this second and starring role.  Following track "Someone Somewhere" adds a charming indie pop vibe to the band's repertoire, with Kristina's vocals bearing the perfect amount of sassy '60s girl group attitude.  "Emma's House" is an enchanting cover of a tune by English band The Field Mice.  Final song "Falling Out Of Love" fits perfectly in Red Sleeping Beauty's sweet spot creating songs that invite you to dance while you sigh.  Listen for it in a club near you.

Red Sleeping Beauty  are Niklas Angergard, Kristina Borg, and Mikael Matsson.  Tonight EP is out July 12 in CD and digital formats via Matinee Recordings, but you can order it and obtain the digital version now.

Bandcamp for EP
Matinee Recordings page for EP
Matinee Recordings

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

St. Christopher Medal - Hoof!

St. Christopher Medal is a new old band.  Under that name, they began recording quite recently.  However, four of the five members comprised Life With Nixon, a Scottish band that ended its run in the '90s.  It seems that friendship and a love of music have a glue-like property, so the world of music now has St. Christopher Medal and St. Christopher Medal have a new album titled Hoof!  Perhaps surprisingly given the scattered UK location of most of the band (one of the members now resides in the US), the dominant flavors here are country rock and Americana.  But Hoof! also happens to be one of the finest country rock and Americana albums we have heard in a very long time.  The songwriting reflects experience, perspective and a keen observational eye.  Similarly, the performances are of the sort one can only expect of performers with years of experience and familiarity with each other.  The songs are warm, reflective, melodic, and richly detailed.  For those of us no longer in our 20s or 30s, this album is life set to music, and it makes a strong case for a place on our essential playlist.

We embedded a few of our favorites below, but it hurt to not include more, including the lovely "Diablo", "Baseball Jacket" and "The Desert Wind And The Jazz Wolf".  Suffice it to say that if you don't choose to listen to the entire album, you are cheating yourself.  Visit the Bandcamp link below; you can thank us later.

St. Christopher Medal are Ali Mathieson, Kenny Mathieson, Billy Nisbet, David Mack, and Andy Jeffries, with additional contributions by Liam Cassidy and Steph Fraser.  Hoof! is out now in CD, vinyl, and digital formats via Stereogram Recordings.

Bandcamp for Hoof!
Stereogram Recordings

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Terror of the Deep - The A-Team

Regular readers of this blog will be shocked to know that we found another worthy guitar band.  Absolutely shocked!  Well, not really because we are always on the lookout for talent in the Southern Hemisphere, and we often find it.  This discovery is Wellington band Terror of the Deep, purveyors of brightly colored, hook-filled guitar pop as presented in their new album, The A-Team.  The arrangements are part garage, part dream pop with a few psychedelic bits as well.  There is just enough of the past NZ guitar pop heroes to remind you that there is a rich history behind these guys, but plenty of personality unique to this band.  The players are highly adept, and meld well together, and the songs are invariably interesting and melodic.  Try a few tracks below, and if you like them, buy them, because this album follows their second album by four years, so you can't expect to sleep on The A-Team and catch the next one soon.  Of course, you shouldn't want to sleep on this album, it is a cracker, and at $7, it is an bargain.

Terror of the Deep is Oliver Dixon (guitar/vocals/drums), Taip Adams (bass/vocals), William Daymond (drums/vocals/guitar), and Thomas Watson (keys/vocals).  The A Team is out now as a digital release. See the Bandcamp link below.  And we want to thank the wonderful PopLib blog from Dunedin, NZ (link) for alerting us to this band.

Bandcamp for The A-Team

"Sun In My Eyes (feat. Pernilla Andersson)" by The Legends

It has been a while since we heard from Swedish synth pop legend Johan Angergard, who is, in fact, The Legends.  But we recently were alerted to his new single "Sun In My Eyes", featuring vocals by singer and producer Pernilla Andersson.  Since the song is making our day better, we think is is fair to make your day better as well, so here it is:

Soundcloud for "Sun In My Eyes"
Various links for "Sun In My Eyes"
Pernilla Andersson Website
Labrador Records

Friday, June 21, 2019

Azure Blue - Images of You

It is overcast and a bit dreary outside of WYMA World Headquarters this morning, but the atmosphere inside is warm and sunny thanks to Tobias Isaksson.  You see, Mr. Isaksson is Azure Blue, and under that name he creates the kind of synth pop music that elicits sighs and smiles, incites romance, and paints the listener's world with optimism.  For his new album, Images of You, Tobias wields his synths like a great sushi chef making the perfect cut, a pulse here, a swooping chord there, and layers of bright musical joy transporting us to the sky.  He can provide romanticism with soft, lush subtlety, such as in "Running with the Eventide", or with reckless abandon such as in "Wild for the Night".  Either way, based on our experiments undertaken selflessly to improve your musical enjoyment, clothing may end up scattered on the floor.  Yes, we sacrificed and you are quite welcome.  Highlight songs abound, although our current favorites -- in addition to the two baby-makers above -- are "Even Horizon", "Millions of Stars" and "Shine On".  End your week on a high note with Images of You.

Images of You is out now via Matinee Recordings in North and South America and Hybris in the rest of the world.

Twitter for Tobias Isaksson
Matinee Recordings page for Images of You

Thursday, June 20, 2019

"A Downpour" by Errant Boy (free song)

One of our favorite albums last year was Memory Fractures by Edinburgh's Errant Boy (link to our feature).  Happily, we have a new reason to remind to of that release because the band now offers a free download of "Downpour", one of the LP's fine songs and an accompanying video of the band performing it.  Yes, they stimulate two of your senses -- sight and hearing -- free.  Actually, if you are sufficiently clever and coordinated, you can stimulate "touch" as well by hitting the download arrow on the Soundcloud link.

"Downpour" is one of frontman Sean Ormsby's ace autobiographical vignettes, decorated with a bouncing rhythm and superb Rickenbacker 330 guitar.  Expect to like it. Expect to download it. Expect to consider getting the album.  Life is about seizing the possibilities.

Errant Boy's music is released via associated label Errant Media.  The players are Sean Ormsby (bass/vocals), Chris Harvie (guitar), and Sarrah McLaren (drums).

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

"Jayne" by Studio Electrophonique

Welcome to our new song obsession: "Jayne".  It is 2:46 of musical gold, created by Studio Electrophonique (who probably still is known to his friends and relatives as James Leesley).  Yes, it draws comparisons to Lou Reed, Alex Turner and Richard Hawley, but that is pretty damn good company for a singer songwriter to keep.  In fact, young James already has been a support act for Hawley.

The single will be released as a digital download on July 5 via Violette Records, but we couldn't wait any longer to share it with our readers.  "Jayne" also will be the opening track of Studio Electrophonique's September EP, Buxton Palace Hotel.


"Nets" by Sachet

The inbox recently was invaded by "Nets", a new single by Sachet.  And we have deemed it very worthy of our readers' ears.  The band includes Lani Crooks and Sam Wilkinson of our old musical friends Day Ravies.  The other members are Nick Webb and Chris Anstis.  Apparently we have to wait until September for their next album, to be released by Tenth Court.  But for now this robust slice of guitar pop will do just fine.  And if you want more of Sachet, check out our feature for their 2017 album: Link.

Bandcamp for Nets
Tenth Court

"Around and Down" by Cool Sounds

If we weren't more secure in our own skins we might envy Cool Sounds.  This Melbourne band makes impossibly jaunty songs that sound effortless and breezy.  But despite the quality of their new single, our self-esteem is (mostly) intact, so we present to you "Around and Down".  It has bounce, it has strut, and it has a great chorus.  It really is a complete package of a song.  We wish we had done it, but we are OK. Really, just fine.

"Around and Down" is out now as a digital download via Osborne Again Music.

Bandcamp for "Around And Down"

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Butcher the Bar - III

As promised, here is the second indie pop treat of the day, III by Butcher the Bar.  The Manchester project emerged over a decade ago as the solo musical act of Joel Nicholson, but has now become a five-piece consisting of Joel, Peet Earnshaw, Matt Grayson, Andrew Cheetham, and Gavin Clarke.  The songs for III were recorded several years ago, and were the first tracks laid down by the expanded band.  We don't know why the songs have not been released before now, but lack of quality definitely is not a factor.  The songs have a breezy, weightless feel with strong melodies.  Additional details such as keys and strings augment the compositions but never detract.  Comparisons to The Shins, Death Cab for Cutie, Being There (our of our favorite UK bands from earlier this decade) and power pop acts such as Teenage Fanclub, Big Star and Brendan Benson are apt, but none of them are a dead hit because Butcher the Bar have evolved their own appealing style.  These songs are sweet and gentle in tone, but fully formed and perfectly fleshed out in execution.  We have embedded a few gems below, but you really owe it to yourself to try out the whole album.  And to encourage you to do so we have left out "Agree" and "Go", which are two of the highlights of an album full of highlights.

III is out now in digital and vinyl formats via Spanish label Bobo Integral.

Bandcamp for III
Bobo Integral page to order III

Alpine Subs - Alpine Subs

Oh, this will be a good day for guitar pop fans, as we intend to feature two albums and a few singles between now and when we sign off for the day.  The first is the self-titled band by Chicago's Alpine Subs.  Yes, we know that the name can refer to a venerated line of subwoofers or a popular sandwich shop.  But it also has been adopted by a group of Midwestern musicians that create a sunny brand of '60s-shaded guitar pop that is tailor made for your summer needs.  Psych-jangle, robust basslines and cheery harmonies abound, and the melodies are soar and explode into bright colors.  And for listeners that want to relax in the shade with a gin and tonic, Alpine Subs also contains some dreamy and relaxed tunes such as"If For My Eyes" and "More Than Love".  We started listening to this album a couple of days ago, but it how holds a place on our 'essential summer 2019 playlist'.

Alpine Subs are Will Goodspeed (vocals/guitar), Pat Loveless (guitar), Carrie Roche (vocals/keys/percussion), Brendan Taylor (bass), Benji Feldheim (drums), and Connor McDougal (percussion).  The album is out now in digital and CD formats via Subjangle Records.  See the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for album

Monday, June 17, 2019

Rat Fancy - Stay Cool

On Stay Cool Southern California's Rat Fancy cooks up a heady stew of punk, fuzz and power pop.  Diana Barraza's vocals cool, tease and snarl in the fashion of the best female frontwomen of '90s rock.  The arrangements are beefy and uptempo -- unapologetic rock you can feel reverberating in your torso -- while your brain thrills to the pop hooks.  The themes are wide-ranging, and the lyrics more sensitive than you might expect given the style.  Give this album a chance.  All it took was on listen to convince us that it had a place in our collection.

In addition to Diana Barraza (guitar/vocals), Rat Fancy includes Gregory Johnson (guitar/various), Matt Sturgis (drums), and Dan Fernandez (bass).  Stay Cool is out now in digital, vinyl and cassette formats via HHBTM and Solidarity Club Records.

Bandcamp for Stay Cool
HHBTM website

Jeanines - Jeanines

The old saying is that good things come in small packages.  Like many sayings, it is true until it isn't, which is another way of saying that you only use it when it fits.  But for this album, it fits perfectly.  The songs are brief, the band only has two members, and even the name of the band is just one word.  But on their self-titled album, Brooklyn duo Jeaninies deliver concise bundles of jangling energy that contain a positive charge well above their run time.  Frontwoman Alicia Jeanine (guitar/vocals) multi-tracks her vocals, delivering delicious harmonies, and Jed Smith (bass/drums) infuses bounce and punch.  The melodies are perfect pop sugar, and the themes are melancholic with a dose of sunshine -- delivered with a direct and sincere lyricism.

The songs on Jeanines invite references to bands in the C86 spectrum, and more broadly bands such as Television Personalities, Veronica Falls and Real Numbers and the rosters of labels such as Sarah, Cloudberry, and Slumberland, which is the proud label for this release.  And the references are many because the band adeptly covers a broad range of jangle pop styles from Heavenly to Shop Assistants (albeit without the switchblade in the pocket).  There is no doubt that this album will be among the jangle pop albums of the year.

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

Bandcamp for album
Slumberland Records
Various links to buy/stream album

Friday, June 14, 2019

The Catherines

The Catherines - our favorite German indie pop band - have released another perhaps-but-not-likely-true story of their love lives.  The two tracks are "I Can't Believe You Leave Me For That Dumbo" and "Fumbleknob".  The former is lush chamber pop, the latter is classic scrappy indie pop, but both are worth your time.

The hyper-prolific duo of Sandra Ost and Heiko Schneider comprise The Catherines.

Bandcamp for record

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Azure Blue - Millions of Stars (single)

Soon, Swedish synth pop master Azure Blue will release new album Images of You.  But that feature is a few days away, so we thought it might be useful, or at the least, highly pleasurable, to feature the band's two-track single Millions Of Stars.  The second and final single taken from the upcoming album, it features "Millions Of Stars" and album closer, "The Rose".  This artist's music invariably radiates romance and positive vibes, making it part of your essential soundtrack.

Azure Blue is Tobias Isaksson.  This record is available as a digital download via Matinee Recordings.

Twitter for Tobias Isaksson
Matinee Recordings page for single

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Stroppies - Whoosh

Our dictionary suggests that "stroppy" means touchy or belligerent. We don't know if the name chosen by The Stroppies is intended to invoke that definition, but we think that it is unlikely to fit.  We find Whoosh, the Melbourne quartet's new album, to be a good-natured gem and easily one of our favorite albums of the year so far.  Of course, given the fine album the band released in late 2017 (link), we had high expectations.  And our expectations were exceeded nevertheless.  The songs on Whoosh ramble and jangle over muscular grooves with a strong but quirky sense of storytelling.  The band have pumped up the production values for this album but managed to retain an appealing immediacy and live show vibe.  While the album title suggests impermanence, these songs are anything but.  They seep further into our consciousness with every replay of the album.  And the album is replayed frequently here, with no song ever skipped.  In fact lately we've used Whoosh as a bit of a palate cleanser in between evaluating other albums.  We will listen to an album and say, "that was nice", and then play Whoosh before going to the next one.

While some writers have tried to lay the Flying Nun guitar pop mantle on The Stroppies' shoulders, it seems to us that such a comparison is unfairly narrow.  This is music that reflects AM radio guitar pop, Pavement slacker, the rambunctiousness of The Feelies as well as '80s NZ and 2010's Melbourne guitar bands.  Australia is regarded as a key standard bearer for the guitar pop flag in this decade, and Whoosh is a perfect example of why the reputation is justly earned..

The Stroppies are Angus Lord, Caudia Serfaty, Rory Heane, and Adam Hewitt.

Bandcamp for Whoosh

"I Feel Like" by Johnny Kills

Wednesday - the day far enough from last weekend to blunt the good times and far enough from next weekend to offer little hope.  What we needed was a jolt of raucous energy.  Enter "I Feel Like" by UK trio Johnny Kills.  The song addresses the protagonist coming to terms with an important stage of growing up, but it helps us come to terms with Wednesday.  For four minutes, all is well.  Looking at the clock, we hit 'replay'.

Johnny Kills are Tim Lloyd-Kinnings, Lewis Lloyd-Kinnings, and Cameron Gipp.  "I Feel Like" is a digital release via Killing Moon.

Various links to purchase/stream "I Feel Like"

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Wildhoney - Naive Castle 7"

And here is another fine 7" to be released this month as part of Slumberland Records' singles subscription series.  This record is Naive Castle by Baltimore to Los Angeles band Wildhoney.  The title track is a soaring, spacious dream pop tune with chiming guitars, a relaxed tempo, and ambient accents.  The B-side is a special treat, as the band puts a dreamy veneer on Sixpence None The Richer's "Kiss Me" with notes of resignation and weariness -- completely captivating take on a favorite pop standard.

Wildhoney are Alan, Joe, Lauren, Nathan, and Zach.

Bandcamp for "Naive Castle"
Slumberland Records page for single
Subscription page for Slumberland Records' single series

Smiles - Gone For Good 7"

Did you know that the venerable Slumberland Records has a singles program?  We think it is something you should know, and we apologize for not mentioning it sooner.  However, to take some pressure off of ourselves, all indie fans should sign up for missives from this label, because their entire catalog is quality.

Today we will highlight two of the singles that will be released later this month.  Our first candidate is Gone For Good, a two-song seven inch by Smiles.  The title track reminds us of a slow-tempo masterpiece by Teenage Fanclub.  The B-side is "This Boy", which has a dreamy and lush singer-songwriter vibe.  We would tell you something about the band if we had any information, but we couldn't find any active social media accounts and the label concisely informs us that they are from the San Francisco Bay area.

Gone For Good will be released in vinyl and digital formats.  Get it and your summer soundtrack will be greatly enriched.

Bandcamp page for single
Slumberland Records page for single
Slumberland Records page for singles subscription series

Monday, June 10, 2019

"Want God" by St. Martins

"Want God" is our introduction to the woozy melodicism of Scottish duo St. Martiins.  We think we will hear a lot more from them.

St. Martiins are Katie Lynch and Mark Johnston. The single is available as a digital download via LAB Records.


"What You Deserve" by 11

We like starting the week with a smile on our faces, and "What You Deserve" does that in fine fashion.  A bit of soul, a bit of rap, a bit of jazz, and a bit of electro pop, and three minutes of pure enjoyment.  The artist is 11, a duo consisting of James Lamb and Richard Craker.  Originally from London, they have decamped to sunny Los Angeles.  The single is available as a digital download, check your preferred source.


Friday, June 7, 2019

The Royal Landscaping Society - Goodbye

The Royal Landscaping Society is a Spanish duo consisting of Cris Romero (vocals/guitar/synths/electronics) and David Vidal (bass/synths).  Despite the name of the band, don't expect them to cut your lawn or trim your hedge.  However you can count on them to deliver some sweet pop music.  Our exposure to their art so far has been via songs on compilations (although they did release a self-titled album in 2014)  But now we have Goodbye -- a two-song digital single released by Matinee Recordings.  The lovely title track is embedded below.  The B-side is "A To Fade In", and while we don't have a stream for you, we assure you that for our ears, this single is a double A-side.

Matinee Recordings page for single

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Monnone Alone - Summer of the Mosquito

Today's second feature is Summer of the Mosquito by Mannone Alone.  The band is the not really solo project of Mark Mannone of The Lucksmiths.  We gave you a taste of it a month ago with a feature of a two-song single headlined by this album's naughty closing track (link).  But now you have the full summer celebration -- a noisy power pop and classic rock tribute to summertime fun, frolic, foibles and memories.  Riffs, hooks and harmonies abound, and everyone -- both in the band and in the audience -- should be smiling throughout.  This may just be your summer power pop album of choice.

Monnone Alone is Mark Monnone (vocals/guitar) Gus Franklin (drums/backing vocals), Joe Foley (bass/backing vocals), and Louis Richter (12-string guitar).  We have provided links below for sourcing the album from the US, Australia, Spain, and Finland.

Bandcamp for album (Emotional Response Records/US)
Bandcamp for album (Lost and LonesomeRecording Co/Aus)
Bandcamp for Album (Meritorio Records/Spain)
Royal Mint Records