Good dreampop provides a soundtrack for visualizing someone else's well conceived version of a dream. It seems to us that Joe Stevens of Peel Dream Magazine takes a deeper dive and puts the listener in the dream. Our first taste of his approach was his album of a couple years ago, Modern Meta Physic. The new Agitprop Alterna further refines the in-dream approach. Just as our dreams give us scenes from our lives, or from our imagination, manipulated or skewed and then only partially remembered, Peel Dream Magazine gives us songs reflecting music from the '90s, altered, spliced, and blurred as if the listener is hearing a playback of the remembered portions of last night's dream. Pleasant memories will be evoked, but not always distinctly. Best not to overthink it, just go with the flow. And make no mistake, the beating heart of this album is a dreamy flow embellished by sweetly-sung male/female vocals. For prospective fans desirous of a reference point, consider Stereolab with a good dose of Velvet Underground influence. A very intriguing and pleasant listen that we keep going back to.
For this album Peel Dream Magazine are Joe Stevens, Jo-Anne Hyun, Brian Alvarez, and Kelly Winrich. Agitprop Alterna is out now via Slumberland Records.
Liam "Snowy" Halliwell's musical chops are beyond question. Writing and performing with The Ocean Party and other bands, producing, mixing and mastering -- he excels at it all. And now his own baby, Snowy Band, has its very own album. Titled Audio Commentary, the LP consists of 11 tracks of impeccably crafted pop, embracing folk and jazz elements. Unsurprisingly, the uptempo songs such as "Never Change", "The Rest of Your Life" and "More Than Enough" hit the sweet spot immediately. But equally impressive and very satisfying are the sparsely adorned, quieter songs like "East West", my new favorite "Coast Road", and the superb "Love You To Death". The emotions are raw and palpable, and the band delivers the materials with nuance and skill. Moreover, Snowy plays the sax on "Coast Road", which makes it one of our favorites. We have provided two of each below for your own evaluation, but be assured we could have chosen others.
Snowy could have played it safe and offered up 11 delectable pop tunes. He didn't, and that enriches the rest of us. The album is a triumph.
Snowy Band are Liam Halliwell (vocals/guitar/other), Emma Russack (vocals/guitar), Nathalie Pavlovic (vocals/bass), and Dylan Young (vocals/drums). Audio Commentary is out now via Osborne Again and Spunk Records.
We love UK guitar pop, and we love dogs. So we think that Jetstream Pony is a perfect band for tonight's feature. This four piece is named after a retired racing greyhound. Fortunately for our ears, the members have not yet retired. They have featured here several times in the past, but are back for the special announcement that their debut LP is being pressed, and to share the first single therefrom -the terrific opener, "It's Fine".
Jetstream Pony are Beth Arzy, Shaun Charman, Kerry Boettcher, and Hannes Muller. The album will be released May 22 via Shelflife Records and Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten.
The DIY label sticks to The Hannah Barberas with the ferocity that we pretend characterized all our old girlfriends devotion to us when we are bragging to each other instead of writing about music (keep that between us - our partners don't need to know). And I guess it is accurate, but don't assume that DIY means that this London band is anything other than a talented, purposeful guitar band. Following the footsteps of many beloved '80s guitar bands and wielding sharp lyrical pens, the band rides enthusiastic musicianship and excellent harmonies straight into our hearts. Whether railing about politics, or examining romantic entanglements, the songs are well paced and the sound robust. We've provided a few of our favorites below, but deliberately let off gems such as the angry anti-royalty "What Are You Celebrating?" and the '60s British Invasion style "No Mystery". Why? Because we want to entice you to go to Bandcamp, fall in love with the album, and buy it. We really are that transparent.
The Hannah Barberas are Damien (guitar/vocals), Lucy (vocals), Ian (bass/vocals), and Matthew (drums/vocals). Into The Wild is out today in digital, CD, cassette and vinyl formats via Subjangle, Sinout Nuggets, and Gazer Tapes.
Yes, it is still over two weeks before the new Kluster B album is released via Rama Lama Records. But we have yet another single to tease us. "Graveyard' starts as a pop tune, but shifts to rock mode about a minute in. But don'e get settled, because the cute pop tune returns. Then the rock section repeats (and we are only halfway to the finish!). We float through the finish with a bit more pop. It is a fun ride, and probably should go for twice the price.
Kluster B are Sebastian Hegedus (guitar), Adam Jonsson (guitar), Pontus Ornstrand (keys/synth/bass), Andreas Pollak (drums), and Linnea Hall (vocals). Their music is released via Rama Lama Records.
We have proudly featured a number of releases by Chicago's Sunday Records, and here is another we regard as very special. Aptly titled Shelter, it is a compilation consisting of seven songs by artists who have releases out on the label. And Sunday is making the record available for free digital download to help you pass time sheltering in place.
We suggest that you take Sunday up on the kind offer and download the album. But if you like the tunes, note the links on the Bandcamp page to the artist's own albums. Check those out and perhaps you will find some new favorite albums.
Upbeat, good-natured tunes to entertain us while staying at home and maintaining social distancing? Right here, right now with Head Sounds by Super 8. The project of UK musician and songwriter Paul Ryan, Super 8 crafts melodic, upbeat songs that infuse our days with fun and sunshine. This album consists of nine of Paul's own songs recorded over the past year, plus a cover each of a John Lennon tune and a Brian Wilson tune. He does justice to both covers, but we were drawn more to the original material. Three of our favorites are below, but we encourage you to find your own bliss at the Bandcamp link.
Head Sounds is available now in CD and digital formats via Subjangle.
There is no musical direction that Amalie Bruun could take that would surprise us, and no musical genre that she would fail to master. Her roster of projects includes black metal, electronic, pop, rock and folk. But our favorite Bruun guise is her Nordic folk recordings as Myrkur (a name she also uses for black metal recordings). Her latest record for that project is Folkesange. Playing Nordic folk with Gothic and Celtic shadings in some tracks, some classical choral elements and employing traditional Scandinavian instruments, she had created an album of exceptional beauty and emotional resonance, and has completely captivated our ears. We humbly suggest that you need this in your lives.
The album was produced by traditional European folk musician Christopher Juul. Folkesange is out now in digital, vinyl and CD formats.
We first heard the lovely electropop of Melbourne's Leisure Suite in the fall of 2014, and have been fans ever since. Then a trio, and now a duo, the band is calling it a day. But before exiting the stage, they have created a lovely final album titled Overture. Twelve tracks of evocative melodies and sultry vocals, it reminds us of why we loved them in the first place. Perhaps less suited for sunshine in the park and late at night, it thrills and seduces in equal measure.
Mitch and Bridget - thanks for the good tunes, and good luck in the future.
Siv Jacobsen's voice is delicate and pure, but her songs have a quiet, unwavering power and sense of purpose. The Oslo, Norway artist has just released the two song digital single Fight or Flight, consisting of the title tracks and "Only Life". "Fight or Flight" is a sparkling contemplation on the meaning of lifetime commitment and enduring love. We find it a peacefully perfect way to end our day. Time to give the spouse a kiss and turn out the lights. Well, maybe we will listen just one more time.
Siv's next album, A Temporary Soothing, is scheduled for release in August.
Alex, Chris, David, and Simon are the good folks that comprise Dayflower. The Leicester, UK band crafts sugary dream pop that will put a smile on your face. Their new EP Popping Candy is the perfect dessert after every meal, and is available at the inviting 'name your price' level. Help a band out in these trying times and help yourself feel better at the same time.
Sometimes when listening to SuckThis Tangerine, the new album by awesome Argentine duo Las Kellies, we say to ourselves "this dance rock sounds like garage rock". Other times, we say to ourselves "this garage rock sounds like dance rock". But even we were smart enough (eventually) to stop torturing ourselves and realize that this album simply is the best dance rock album we have heard in a very long time, and the garage touches, and the incredible dub bass platform, just make the entire confection just more incredible. This is supple, sexy, slinky, and swaggering music that never fails to make us happier than we were before we started playing it (and given how much we stocked up on beer and wine before our virus lockdown, we usually are pretty damn happy before we press "play"). Almost four years since the band's last album, this one is their best so far and well worth the wait.
Las Kellies are Cecilia Kelly (bass/guitars/vocals) and Silvina Costa (drums/percussion/vocals). Suck This Tangerine is out now in vinyl, CD and digital formats via Fire Records.
One could wonder which Are Steinsholm is more favored by our ears, the Are Steinsholm of Swedish sensations Melby, or the Are Steinsholm whose other project, Lilla Parasit, has just released their self-titled debut mini-album. But we won't fall into that trap, because our musical hearts can love both. However, today we will focus on Lilla Parasit to celebrate their new record. We shared the magic with our readers by featuring early singles "Gaslights" and "Feather Soul", sparkling, upbeat pop tunes that herald a fine new solo voice on the scene. The other five songs on Lilla Parasit maintain the high quality, while expanding the scope to darker moods and folk pop expression and indie rock modes. We strongly urge that you check out this album -- it will help pass the virus isolation spell, and cast spells for you for a long time thereafter.
Are wrote all of the songs on the album. The performers are Are, David Svedmyr, Jessica Lindgren Klingsell, and Amanda Lindren. Lilla Parasit is out today via Stockholm's Rama Lama Records.
New singer songwriter talent Nat Vazer deserves our attention. Her performance alone on her new song "Grateful" would earn our ears, but he songwriting is even more impressive. Addressing the role of women in society and honoring the role models who pave the way for other women, the lyrics are sharp and concise. The single is out now as a digital release, by the young Melbourne musician will release an album later this year via Hotel Motel Records.
It is nice to meet new people, but we need to be careful with the new social distancing recommendations. Since we are in Seattle, we think it is safe to get to know Belfast's Junk Drawer. Here is their recently released "Temporary Day", which takes on mental health, sexual identity and eating disorders, and wraps it up in a terrific rocking package.
The band's album Ready for the House will be released April 24 via Art For Blind Records.
Stockholm's Rama Lama Records is assembling a mighty roster of fine indie bands. One of their more recent signings is Guds Pengar (which translates as 'God's Money'). Their debut album, Granar som flyr staden, is due in May. We featured the debut single last fall (link), and we are pleased to share another album track today. "Qute" is a rousing song that gives us good vibes (the song's theme is self pity, but we don't speak Swedish, so we cannot assess the lyrics). We are playing it loud on repeat right now. And it may be played all morning.
Guds Pengar are Evelina Nerstrand, Olof Strid, Liam Amner, and Anton Jansson.
The world is in massive turmoil, with fear and uncertainty our daily companions. At times like this (as rare as they fortunately are, for most of us), we aren't looking for more crashing, banging and shouting. We want to be soothed and even teased a bit. We want playful melodicism and tunes that manage to tell a story. And yes, we have found it -- Truth or Consequences by Yumi Zouma. The band was formed in New Zealand early in the last decade, although only two members still live there, the other two living in London and New York, respectively. Their sweet spot is indie pop characterized by warm melodies and the golden voice of Christie Simpson.
The songs on Truth or Consequences, the band's third album, cover heartbreak, romance, distance and disappointment. Like life, the issues are not always resolved at the end of the track, and there will be sighs, tears, disappointments or questions. But with songwriting and performances this good, the listener still feels that he or she has received a warm hug. And we all need a few warm hugs these days (air hugs only, six feet apart).
Yumi Zouma are Christie Simpson, Charlie Ryder, Olivia Campion, and Josh Burgess. Truth or Consequences is out now in digital, vinyl and CD formats via Polyvinyl Records.
Melby's 2019 debut album None of This Makes Me Worry was the triumph that those of us who had followed them since 2016 expected. Yet their new single "Things I Do When I'm Alone" suggests that the Stockholm four-piece have even more talent yet to be revealed. The single is a layered and nuanced folk pop tune with a superb vocal contribution by Matilda. In our opinion, it may be the best song we have heard to date from this band.
Melby are Matilda Wiezell (vocals/keys), Are Engen Steinsholm (guitar/backing vocals), David Jehrlander (bass), and Teo Jemkvist (drums). "Things I Do When I'm Alone" is out now via Rama Lama Records and Sinnbus.
What fuels WYMA evenings these days? The one clear answer is Octagon City. The creation of Melbourne's Mystery Guest, this is club music for the chill crowd, pop for the anti-pop crowd, and we have been using it to wow our own not-so-mysterious guests for several weeks. Appealing female vocals ride low key club melodies, world beat rhythms, and deep, rubbery bass. Sweet and alluring, we consider it one of our more delightful discoveries in some time. Hit the Bandcamp link below and let Mystery Guest brighten you late night hours.
Mystery Guest is a duo consisting of Patrick Telfer and Caitlyn Lesiuk, with backing vocals from Joel Carey, percussion by James Mannix, bass by Zachary Schneider (who also recorded this album), marimba by Zac Milner-Creteny, and trumpet by Joel Robertson. Octagon City is out now in digital and cassette formats via Tenth Court.
Islet makes music like no one else. And that is a bid sad, because the world certainly needs more music like Eyelet, the Welsh trio's new album. But on the other hand, its rarity makes this album that much more of an extra special journey of discovery. It is experimental indie pop, but that label drastically fails to convey inventive spirit, the breadth of ideas, and the sheer beauty of the music. Inspired by literature, history, politics and personal events, the album is, in turn, inspiring for the listener. You may not have heard of Islet before today, and that is OK. Just don't let tomorrow dawn without having heard their music.
Islet are Emma Daman Thomas, Mark Daman Thomas, and Alex Williams. Eyelet is out now in vinyl, CD, and digital formats via Fire Recordings.
We were nearly quivering with excitement at the news that Melbourne's Quivers were going to tour the US, including a stop at one of our favorite Seattle venues, despite SXSW being cancelled. However, today brings the sad news that the increasing spread of the Coronavirus and resulting shut down of shows and gatherings has caused the band to postpone their trip.
But we aren't the types to waste a good quiver, so we are pleased to present Quivers' first single of the new decade, the nostalgia-washed "Videostores". The underlying theme of the song addresses the fear of falling in love and the relief in finally taking the plunge. It is out now as a digital release via Hotel Motel Records.
Quivers are Sam Nicholson, Bella Quinlan, Holly Thomas, and Michael Panton. Phil McPhee provided keys and synth.
Folk pop project Little Hands of Asphalt is new to us, but on the strength of the project's new single "Dystopian Sci-fi / Six Feet Over" we are very interested in checking out the forthcoming third album Half Empty. The band was formed by songwriter and producer Sjur Lyseid as his solo project, although he works with other musicians for recording and performing his songs.
"Dystopian Sci-fi / Six Feet Over" is out now as a digital release. Half Empty will be released March 27 via Fika Recordings, Furuberget, and Friend of Mine Records.
Martin Frawley, co-founder of the late Melbourne band Twerps, has released his first new music since the February 2019 album Undone At 31. An appealing tune about one of life's foibles that affects everyone with friends, it presents Martin at his melodic, unassuming best.
Our musical day begins with the melancholy synth pop gem "Kafuku's Wife" by Helsinki, Finland's RULES. A duo formed by Iiti Yli-Harja (music/vocals) and Sarra Keppola (lyircs/backing vocals/synths), they are the most recent signing to Soliti Music. Drumming was provided by producer Oskari Halsti. The guest guitarist was Esa Pottonen.
The song provides an alternative perspective on the short story Drive My Car by Haruki Murakami, and the theme combines beautifully with the music to capture the sense of loss and search for meaning.
We must admit that we normally would dismiss a message advising us that the band's new song was "dictated ... by a sinister apparition in a three piece suit over a Brexit breakfast paid for with fake commemorative 50p coins". However, Sean Ormsby has, to our knowledge, ever lied to us, whether has Locked Hands or one of his other projects. So here is "Shallows Shadows", available as a digital release via Errant Media. It crackles with sinister energy, delivered with a sly smile.
We spent the day on snow, gliding on skinny skis in the sunshine. It was a great way to spend the day. However, all that snow reminded us that we are tardy in sharing the newest track from the Audio Commentary, the upcoming album by Snowy Band. What we expect from this album is top class indie pop, and I assure you that is what we will receive. While listening to "Never Change" you can pre-order the album. But you cannot order the limited edition blue vinyl, because it is already sold out.
Snowy Band consists of Liam Halliwell (vocals/guitar/others), Emma Russack (vocals/guitar), Nathalie Pavlovic (vocals/bass), and Dylan Young (vocals/drums).
As spring inches nearer for the residents of the Northern Hemisphere, various seasonal tasks crowd the schedule. We know this because we have commenced cleaning our closets. UK musician Mike Gale, the former frontman for Co-pilgrim, has been cleaning out his closets too. But unlike the WYMA staff, which has found questionable treasures such as old and seldom worn jackets, pants that mysteriously became too tight, and a Christmas sweater too ugly even for ugly Christmas sweater events, Mike has found 11 songs that haven't fit on previously released recordings. Mike has correctly surmised that some or all of these songs could find a good home with people who enjoy a well-crafted pop tune. You could consider them 'rescue tunes', but Mike has called the collection B,C,D sides Vol 1 (truthfully, we like "rescue tunes better). The collection is available for 'name your price', so dig in and see what strikes your fancy. We have included a few of our favorites below.
The release date for b, the second LP by Malmo, Sweden's Kluster B remains a little over a month in our future, but today we have the lovely and positive "Love Must Conquer", which is one of the more gloriously pop-oriented tunes we have heard from this talented five-piece. We know that many delights await us with b, but for now, we will cheer for love conquering.
Kluster B are Sebastian Hegedus (guitar), Adam Jonsson (guitar), Pontus Ornstrand (keys/synth/bass), Andreas Pollak (drums), and Linnea Hall (vocals). Their music is released via Rama Lama Records.
Cue up A New Kind Of Sky, close your eyes and listen to terrific country garage psych/pop, or, if you prefer a more concise phrase, cosmic country rock. You may feel transported to California or Austin in the '70s. You may envision cool desert nights and warm breezes under sunny skies. Well, we don't relish spoiling any good daydreams, but this tasty album is the work of London band The Hanging Stars. While the songs represent a triumph of the songwriting craft, the sincere and nuanced performances elevate each one to true gem status. Infused with humanity and carried by melody and harmony, this is an album you will turn to again and again.
The Hanging Stars are Richard Olson (vocals/guitar), Sam Ferman (bass), Paulie Cobra (drums), Patrick Ralla (guitar/keys/vocals), and Joe Harvey-Whyte (pedal steel). A New Kind Of Sky is out now in digital and vinyl formats.
We can't stop playing Misery Guests. But we can't say that we have tried. In fact, we don't find its prominence on our office music system to be a problem for us because we don't want to stop playing Misery Guests. In a style that we can best describe as Australiana pop with a folk vibe reminiscent of Fairport Convention (and dare we suggest, the spirit of The Band), the album is the debut full length from Melbourne band Ostraaly. The songs are varied, with just the right mix of whimsy and darkly shaded humanity. If you like variety in your music, this album should be your next purchase. And if you are stuck in a rut of always listening to the same style, this album may be your guide star to a richer musical experience.
Ostraaly are Katharine Daly (vocals/guitar/Casio), Leonie 'Luggs' Brialey (drums/backing vocals), Alex Griffin (guitar/backing vocals), Charlie 'Les' Brennan (bass), Lily Tait (violin/keys/backing vocals), and Joel Roberson (piano). Misery Guests is out now in digital and cassette formats via Tenth Court. A vinyl version may be available in the future. The release date was moved up to help raise funds for First Nations, wildlife and the Victoria Country Fire Authority.
Sorry to interrupt, but we want to spend a bit more money -- your money -- before you waste it all on beer. We wouldn't bother, but we hear heart screams. Insistent, urgent, darkly swirling heart screams. No, not ours, and not yours. We are writing about Heart Screams from Wellington, New Zealand's wonderful six-piece, Tidal Rave (by the way, we are so envious that they picked this name before we could finish our three decade effort to learn instruments and write our debut single). This band has its finger on the dark garage pop pulse that makes so many Southern Hemisphere bands compelling. And with three guitars, keys, and four vocalists fronting a sturdy rhythm section they pack a wide range of emotions in a tightly performed musical package. Thrill to "FOMO" and "Leave It Alone" below, as both are representative of the album and very good songs. While not in the same style, we include the album closer because it slays us, but in a very good way.
Tidal Rave are Emmie Ellis (vocals/guitar), Esther Gedye Taylor (vocals/guitar), Kristen Paterson (vocals/guitar), Ann-Marie Keating (vocals/keys), Frank Eggleton (bass), and Scott Hakkaart (drums). Heart Screams is out now in digital and CD formats via Fishrider Records.
Today is a non-stop party here at WYMA World Headquarters, and for multiple reasons. Of course, there is the "it's Friday" excuse, and the "oh my God it was sunny in Seattle for a few days in the last week of February" reason. But the major justification is that we are going to tell you about an album that will be among our favorites at the end of the year. So, let's get started.
The album is Post Neo Anti: Arte Povera In The Forest Of Symbols. It is the creation of Close Lobsters, which was formed in Glasgow several decades ago and were, for us, the go-to band and the jangling end of the C-86 spectrum. They released two albums in the latter half of the '80s, and then dropped off of the radar. They never actually disbanded, and their music was never far from our ears, but there was nothing new until an EP in 2014. Give the men credit, they have raised 'taking a bit of time off' to a very high level. But the crazy, wonderful thing is that the band have come back sounding as good or better than before, and with some of the best songs they have ever written. Understandably, there is a bit of maturity in their perspective, but the songs retain the airy charm and youthful vigor of their first two albums. Every song is a winner, so we just keep playing the album start to finish, and then beginning again.
Close Lobsters are Andrew Burnett, Stewart McFadyen, Bob Burnett, Tom Donnelly, and Jim Taylor. The album is a co-release from Last Night In Glasgow (UK) and Shelflife Records (US), and is available in digital, vinyl and CD formats (limited edition vinyl is sold out already). As the old saying (almost) goes: Keep your friends close and your Close Lobsters closer. Translated to normal, non-insane English, get yourself a copy of Post Neo Anti: Arte Provera in the Forest of Symbols now.
Along with many others, we enthusiastically greeted the arrival of Grass Stains and Novocaine, the debut LP by San Francisco four-piece Seablite, last August. We are happy to report that a mere half year later, the band has graced us with four new songs in the form of the High-Rise Mannequins EP. There is no change in line up, no change in style, and no change in quality. And all of that is very good news, because Seablite is one of the rising stars in the shoegaze space. We think that this will be one of the top indie pop EPs of 2020.
Seablite are Lauren Matsui (guitar/vocals), Jen Munday (lead guitar), Andy Postalaniec (drums/percussion), Galine Tumasyan (bass/vocal/synth). High-Rise Mannequins is out now in digital and vinyl formats via Emotional Response Records in North America and Meritorio Records in Europe.
You could throw a dart at the track list for Afloat and be thrilled with any song chosen. But in the interest of safety (for you and everyone else in the room, according to your grade school gym teacher) we recommend the easier and more rewarding route of purchasing the album. It is the debut album for the Providence, Rhode Island band Strawberry Generation. The uber-talented crew has given us plenty of previous reasons to love their music -- check out their four prior EPs linked at the bottom of the post -- but now we have a ten-song statement that announces their arrival in no uncertain terms. The band's sweet spot is sugary jangle pop, depicted in bright colors. But on most tracks there is a lot more going on than jangle and sweet hooks, and all of it is good.
Strawberry Generation are Luk Yean, Valerie Zhu, Alejandro Subiotto Marques, Dan Davis, and Max Naftol. Afloat is out now in digital and CD formats via Chicago's Sunday Records.
Our last tune before ending our weekend is the lovely shoegaze/dreampop tune "Light". The creation of The Churchhill Garden, it is a glorious song, infused with positivity. As is the case with all music from this project, it is available on Bandcamp for 'name your price'.
The Churchhill Garden is the project of Swiss musician Andy Jossi, who composes the music and plays the instruments, and American Krissy Vanderwoude, who provides the lyrics and vocals.
It won't surprise regular readers to learn that we eagerly dove into Hyacinth, the new LP by Spinning Coin. The Glasgow four-piece (well, half of them now reside in Berlin, to be honest) have long been favorites here. But we can confidently state that the delights to be found in the album are accessible to anyone with ears, not just the confirmed fans. Named for a tragically doomed lover of Apollo in Greek mythology, Hyacinth contains a generous 14 tracks of spirited, sometimes biting, but ultimately hopeful art pop. Shared songwriting and vocal duties result in varied and interesting perspectives. The music is dynamic and the production values high, with psychedelic touches balanced by sparkling arrangements. Three previous singles from the album -- "Feel You More Than World Right Now", "Ghosting", and "Get High" -- are stellar songs and well-chosen to prepare the world for the album. However, what often separates a great album from a merely good album is the quality of the tier of songs not chosen as singles. And since we previously shared two of the singles (here and here), we will demonstrate our point below with streams of our next favorite tracks.
Spinning Coin are Chris White, Jack Mellin, Sean Armstrong, and Rachel Taylor. Hyacinth is out now in digital, vinyl and CD formats on the Geographic imprint of Domino Records.
A superficial characterization would put The Joy Mills Band on the shelf labeled "modern country", but a more thoughtful consideration of the tracks on Echolocator, the band's new LP, prompts consideration of "roots" and "alternative pop", as well. But we music fans know that the label is unimportant. The important factors are the emotional resonance, the internal colors conjured in your mind, and the lasting impact of the songs when the last note fades. And in these areas, Echolocator arrives as a winner. We found ourselves drawn into the stories, reading the lyrics, and enjoying our own memories prompted by the songs, as well as impressed with the merger of country twang and indie pop shimmer. Nicely balanced between upbeat stomps and ballads, this is a set of music that has made a tough week a lot more bearable. Give it a chance - no prescription required.
The Joy Mills Band are Joy Mills (guitar/vocals), Tom Parker (bass/vocals), Lucien LaMotte (guitars/pedal steel), Mikel McDermott (drums), Jack Quick (keys/vocals). Echolocator is out now in digital and CD formats.
We always choose music with care, but never more so than selecting our late night listening. If we are going to stay up past bedtime, robbing our ever-aging bodies of the rest needed to serve as global influencers and trend-setters the following day, the tunes need to be compelling. So it is with confidence and joy that we share our current late-night soundtrack, Dance Without Me. The album is the creation of Chicago-based vocalist Via Rosa and producer Na'el Shehade performing as Drama. The duo seamlessly blends electro pop, R&B and dance into a smokey tapestry of troubled romance, dignified resignation, and hope. Rosa's agile and emotionally resonant vocals tell the stories, and Shehade illustrates them with punch and flair. Their mutual understanding seems almost otherworldly, like lovers completing each other's sentences are filling a request before it is made. Quite simply, it is achingly perfect.
To be fair, this album is not just for late night listening. It will bring joy to your day walking down Fifth Avenue or cycling around Stanley Park. But it really hits your core in the dark. Dance Without Me is out now in digital, vinyl and CD formats via Ghostly International.
When the good people at Sunday Records assemble compilations, magic happens. Today's case in point is Somewhere In England: A Sunday Records Tribute to They Go Boom!! The honorees are They Go Boom!!, a '90s UK electropop band who awarded themselves two exclamation marks. And if we may say so, we believe they earned the punctuation. Moreover, as the compilation illustrates, they clearly earned this tribute album as well. Collection covers of They Go Boom!! songs by terrific indie bands, many of which have graced these pages with their own compositions, ably celebrate both the original composers and the contributors. I suppose one could invent a reason not to get this album, but why start out the week being wrong?
Somewhere In England is out now via Sunday Records. The CD version is sold out already, but the digital is there for your listening pleasure.
Sweetie has arrived in time for Valentines Day, and we think it is the perfect gift from the music world to those of us with ears and hearts. This debut LP from Sweden's Steve Buscemi's Dreamy Eyes has been a long time coming, but it was well worth waiting for and, in our not so humble opinion, is one of the best albums of 2020 so far. There are 12 tracks of crystalline Scandinavian pop, with soaring vocals, bright synths and unforced energy and joy. Much of it is fast-paced and dance floor ready, and even the melancholy songs manage to put smiles on our faces. It is Valentines Day, and we are in love with our Sweetie. Steve Buscemi's Dreamy Eyes are Siri Sjoberg, Tilde Hansen, Elias Mahfoud, and Edvin Arleskar. Sweetie is out today via Rama Lama Records.