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