Friday, January 31, 2020

Basic Plumbing - Keeping Up Appearances

The release of an excellent album should be a cause for unmitigated celebration. However, the world isn't perfect and our joy at the quality of Keeping Up Appearances is dampened by the knowledge that Patrick Doyle, the man behind Basic Plumbing, died at age 32 before the album could be released. Indisputably, Mr. Doyle make a mark in the indie music world in his short time with us. His earlier projects included Scottish bands Correcto, Dot to Dot, Sexy Kids and The Royal We, and then as co-founder of Veronica Falls. Subsequent to the demise of VF, he launched solo project Boys Forever and moved from the UK to Los Angeles. Although Boys Forever was well received, Doyle rebranded his solo work as Basic Plumbing for the songs on Keeping Up Appearances. Where Boys Forever boasted soaring harmonies and delectable indie pop, Basic Plumbing pulled back in some of VF's melancholy and dark shading, while retaining pop structures and hooks. The result is an album that sounds like a live recording, while retaining high production and performance values. As before, Doyle proves to be an excellent songwriter as well as an able vocalist, touching on joy and sadness. He also played all the instruments except bass, which was provided by Helen Skinner. This is a fine album and deserves the ears of any indie pop fan.

Keeping Up Appearances is available now in digital, vinyl and CD formats. See the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for album

Thursday, January 30, 2020

"From Never To Once" by Lewsberg

Today our ears visit Rotterdam for "From Never to Once", the new track from Dutch four-piece Lewsberg. The song is appealingly raw with a driving Velvet Underground-style rhythm and talk-sing vocals. Enjoy the track and the video below, and mark your calendar for March 27, when we will have the band's second LP. Titled In This House, it will be self-released in digital, CD and vinyl formats. See the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for In This House

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Son Little - aloha

Son Little says aloha, and it is about the freshest, most appealing musical greeting you are going to find this winter. Possessing an agile voice that can seduce, charm, and soothe, the artist packed the album with 12 tracks of folky R&B accented with clever and unexpected touches. He played nearly all of the instruments himself, writing and recording the album in eight days, although he enlisted the production services of Renaud Letang. The music is warm, emotionally resonant and powerful. For us, it was love at first listen, but we were even more thrilled as each play revealed more nuances, both lyrical and instrumentally. If you want an album that is like coming in from the winter cold and sitting down by the fireplace to let the chill dissipate, this is your album.  Highly recommended.

Son Little's given name is Aaron Livingstone. In addition to his solo work, he has collaborated with The Roots, Mavis Staples and RJD2. aloha is his third album, and it is out this Friday on Anti- Records.

Various links to source aloha
Bandcamp for aloha

Sunday, January 26, 2020

"In Blue" by Loudmammoth

Loudmammoth are Sophie Hall-Luke, Will Bean, Liam Slack, and Declan Mulholland. Based in Newcastle upon Tyne in the north east corner of England, they formed the band in 2018, and have now released their third single, "In Blue". An intriguing tune, it showcases the quartet's ability to tell a musical story with simple but adeptly assembled elements. The single is out now via Last Night From Glasgow. We also suggest that you hit the Bandcamp link to hear Loudmammoth's first two singles.

Various links to source "In Blue"
Last Night From Glasgow

Friday, January 24, 2020

East Village - Hotrod Hotel

If you are an indie pop fan, the top of your shopping list this week should reflect an easy choice. Hotrod Hotel by the horribly under appreciated UK band East Village has been reissued by Slumberland Records. The band had a seven year run ending in 1991, after being formed by brothers Martin and Paul Kelly, later joined by Johnny Wood and Spencer Smith. As is too common in the music industry, East Village became more popular after their demise (sound familiar, Big Star?). Hotrod Hotel, which collects the band's singles, was originally released in 1994 and now is available in digital and vinyl formats.  And since this release marks the first time the record has been available in vinyl, if you want the physical version -- and who wouldn't -- act soon.

We featured album tracks "Violin" and "Cubans In The Bluefields" in early December, so we have chosen three other gems to stream below. After sampling five of the 12 songs, we expect you will agree that Hotrod Hotel fully justifies the band's cult status, and why it easily slides on to our "essentials" list.

Bandcamp for Album

Thursday, January 23, 2020

"Counterpart" by Kluster B

Malmo quintet Kluster B has been on our radar since the middle of the last decade. An artistically restless lot, their recordings probe the delights of jazz, punk, noise rock and other sub-genres to flesh out their indie pop arrangements. Our only complaint is that they aren't prolific enough, but they will remedy that soon with their sophomore album. An intriguing taste is offered below, via new single "Counterpart".

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.

Bandcamp for "Counterpart"
Various links to source "Counterpart"

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Pintandwefall - Your Stories Baby

One could look at the name of the band, and conclude that Pintandwefall walks the path of pub music. And the impression wouldn't be lessened by reading the promotional material describing the members of the Finnish quartet as Crazy Pint, Cute Pint, Dumb Pint, and Tough Pint. I mean, we're talking about pints and falling down -- this isn't complicated.

Except, that it is a bit complicated. Play the band's new album, Your Stories Baby, and you enter a world of sophisticated yet accessible pop music. The vocals are exceptional and the instrumental elements, while understated, are detailed and well crafted. The tone and moods are varied and there isn't a weak track on the album. Sample the goods below with "Ah-Ah-Ah", which may be the sweetest three minutes you experience today, and the darker "Short Goodbye"

By the way, the actual names of the Pintandwefall are Sanna Komi, Ninni Luhtasaari, Ringa Manner, and Iiti Yli-Harja, who also are engaged in other musical projects. The band was formed in 2006, and Your Stories Baby is their sixth album. It is out now via Helsinki's Soliti Music.

Soliti Music page for album
Various links to source album

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Cupholders - The Cupholders Present The Wisconsin Polka!

A song, a place, a state of mind: Welcome to the world of "The Wisconsin Polka". The song was written by Wisconsin (Racine) native, and one-third of Seattle's The Cupholders, Bart Cameron for his other band, The Foghorns. With references to love, lust, aging, tough driving and cold - bitter cold - and set to a Polka rhythm, it is a pithy and warmly drawn musical poem and tribute to both Bart's home state and the state of life unspooling. The song takes on legendary stature in The Cupholders' new mini-album, The Cupholders Present The Wisconsin Polka!. Beginning with a snippet of the state song (I was required to learn the words myself as a grade school student in Wisconsin), the album presents The Foghorn's punky polka version as the "Racine" version, then follows it with a rendition of the song by Cupholder Casey Ruff with Joy Mills. Labeled the "Montana" version after Casey's home state, it is an folky, acoustic take. Apparently they don't polka in Montana, but they do perform good songs well.

Next up is the soul/garage (but still Polka) "Kenosha"version voiced by Cupholder Sam Russell, a native of Kenosha, Wisconsin. The following Drexel Hill Version is by guest Jon Rooney/Virgin of the Birds (a Pennsylvania native), who offers an affecting indie pop interpretation as well as creating the album art. Then we get an all hands "Ballard" version, presumably named after the Seattle neighborhood that hosted the album release party. The album closes with an immensely interesting last minute treat - a dreamy, shape-shifting version by autOudiO (Paul Beaudry).

And what do you do when you have heard six versions of The Wisconsin Polka back to back? You cue it up and play it again. It is that good.

Bandcamp for album

Friday, January 17, 2020

"The Clap" by The Chats

We know a number of people who consider The Chats to be one of the more interesting young bands in recent memory. This is the case, despite the Australian trio not having released a debut album yet. Obviously, such notoriety speaks well of The Chats' brand of garage punk. Of course, no one should be surprised songs about that beer and sex, delivered with a smile, are almost as popular as the real thing.

The reason The Chats are on our mind today is the they finally are releasing the debut album, appropriately titled High Risk Behaviour. The album won't reach our ears until the last week in March, but the band have released a video for album track "The Clap" and announced tours in North America and Europe (venues and dates are listed at the bottom of this post). Enjoy your dose of "The Clap" below.

The Chats are Eamon Sandwith, Matt Boggis, and Josh Price. In true DIY punk fashion, High Risk Behaviour will be released via the Band's own label: Bargain Bin Records.

Bandcamp for Pre-order of High Risk Behaviour
Various links for pre-order of High Risk Behaviour

Fri. April 10 - Indio, CA @ Coachella
Sat. April 11 - Berkeley, CA @ The UC Theatre *
Sun. April 12 - Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades *
Mon. April 13 - Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom *
Tue. April 14 - Seattle, WA @ El Corazon *
Fri. April 17 - Indio, CA @ Coachella
Sat. April 18 - San Diego, CA @ Observatory North Park *
Sun. April 19 - Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom *
Mon. April 20 - Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf *
Wed. April 22 - Dallas, TX @ House of Blues *
Thu. April 23 - Austin, TX @ Emo’s *
Fri. April 24 - Houston, TX @ Bronze Peacock at House of Blues *
Sun. April 26 - Denver, CO @ Marquis Theatre *
Tue. April 28 - St. Paul, MN @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall *
Wed. April 29 - Chicago, IL @ House of Blues *
Thu. April 30 - Nashville, TN @ Exit/In *
Fri. May 1 - Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre *
Sat. May 2 - Charlotte, NC @ Epicenter Festival
Sun. May 3 - Washington, DC @ The Fillmore Silver Spring *
Tue. May 5 - Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts *
Wed. May 6 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club *
Thu. May 7 - Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw *
Wed. Oct. 7 - Amsterdam, BL @ Melkweg Max
Sat. Oct. 10 - Paris, FR @ Maroquinerie
Sun. Oct. 11 - Cologne, DE @ Gloria
Mon. Oct. 12 - Hamburg, DE @ Gruenspan
Tue. Oct. 13 - Berlin, DE @ Festsaal Kreuzberg
Fri. Oct. 16 - Southampton, UK @ 1865
Sat. Oct. 17 - Nottingham, UK @ Rock City
Mon. Oct. 19 - Dublin, IE @ Olympia
Tue. Oct. 20 - Belfast, UK @ Limelight
Thu. Oct. 22 - Glasgow, UK @ Galvanizers
Fri. Oct. 23 - Manchester, UK @ O2 Academy
Sat. Oct. 24 - Newcastle, UK @ Boiler Shop
Sun. Oct. 25 - Leeds, UK @ Stylus
Mon. Oct. 26 - Brighton, UK @ Dome
Tue. Oct. 27 - Bristol, UK @ O2 Academy
Wed. Oct. 28 - London, UK @ Electric Brixton
Thu. Oct 29 -  London, UK @ Electric Brixton

* = w/ Mean Jeans & Thick

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Kiwi Jr. - Football Money

Kiwi Jr. plays indie rock with the competence of seasoned professionals headlining an extended tour and the exuberance of the teenage band down the block who just secured their first paid gig and have their fake IDs sorted. Fuzz, jangle, distortion and an injection of bratty attitude - no fucks given and no apologies offered or needed. Spinning Football Money, the Toronto band's new album, gives the listener the improbable -- although undeniably delightful -- impression of Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, Pavement, and Scott & Charlene's Wedding combining for a set at your local venue. The proceedings are sunny and uptempo, and infused with a sense of fun and adventure.  And when they dial down and reflect, as on penultimate rack, "Swimming Pool", the effect is just as stunning. The influences detected on Football Money are plentiful and varied, but with writing and guitar-work this good, the quartet's material stands on its own without comparisons.

Oh, and be warned, this album gets better with each listen.

Football Money is out Friday, January 17, via Mint Records in Canada and Persona Non Grata Records elsewhere.

Bandcamp for Football Money
Mint Records

"Ghosting" by Spinning Coin

In November we featured "Feel You More Than World Right Now", the debut single from the upcoming album by Spinning Coin. As the Glasgow (with two members now residing in Berlin) band is one of our favorites, we are looking forward to the arrival of Hyacinth on February 21. Meanwhile, today brings the video for another album track, the tense and urgent "Ghosting". Treat your eyes and ears below.

Spinning Coin are Chris White, Jack Mellin, Sean Armstrong, and Rachel Taylor. Hyacinth will be released via the Geographic imprint of Domino Records.

Digital links for "Ghosting"
Bandcamp for Hyacinth
Pre-order link for Hyacinth (vinyl/CD)
Link for digital order of Hyacinth

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

"Neve Give Up" by Son Little

One of our favorite records of the year so far drops at the end of the month. The artist is Los Angeles' Aaron Earl Livingston, who performs under the name Son Little. The title of the album is aloha, and it will be release via Anti-.  Of course, we will have more words about the fantastic set of songs later, but for now we will leave a taste for your ears in the form of the video for album track "neve give up".

Bandcamp for aloha
Links to pre-order aloha
Anti- page for Son Little's recordings

Monday, January 13, 2020

The Just Joans - The Private Memoirs and Confessions of the Just Joans

It is rare to read a review of a new recording from Glasgow's The Just Joans without a mention of the fact that they are named for an advice columnist for Scotland's Daily Record newspaper. But we aren't going to fall into that trap. No sir, we are too clever for that. So we will jump right into the important stuff: The Just Joans have a new album titled The Private Memoirs and Confessions of the Just Joans. As knowledgeable  fans would expect, the songs are filled with tales of non-love, disintegrating relationships, casual violence, gender battles, annoying acquaintances and wry observations on our fellow men and women. The lyrics are sardonic, humorous, self-deprecating, bittersweet, and eminently clever.

We are reminded of the joys that will be revealed every time we receive a recording from this band just by reading the titles of the songs. For example, this outing brings us "Hey No, Let's Not Go", "Who Does Susan Think She Is?", "My Undying Love For You Is Beginning to Die",  "The One I Loathe The Least", and "Another Doomed Relationship".   But the titles are just the appetizers, as The Just Joans never fail to deliver on the promise of a clever title. They entertain, they make you laugh, and they poke fun. But ultimately, their work is full of humanity and makes us happier to be alive.

The Just Joans are David Pope (vocals/guitar), Katie Pope (vocals), Chris Elkin (lead guitar), Fraser Ford (bass), Arion Xenos (keys), and Jason Sweeney (drums). Alison Eales contributed lovely string arrangements. The Private Memoirs and Confessions of the Just Joans is out now in vinyl, digital and CD formats via Fika Recordings.

Spotify link for album
FIKA Recordings page for album
FIKA Recordings

Friday, January 10, 2020

"Short Goodbye" by Pintandwefall

In a week the world will have Your Songs Baby, the sixth album by Finland's Pintandwefall. From what we have heard so far, it will be a release that our readers will want to hear. But you don't have to wait to hear album track "Short Goodbye" via the engaging video below.

Pintandwefall are Sanna Komi, Ninni Luhtasaari, Ringa Manner and Iiti Yli-Harja. Your Songs Baby will be release via Helsinki's Soliti Music.

Soliti Music

Thursday, January 9, 2020

"Feeling Never Goes Away" by Dropkick

The tradition of jangle and power pop is strong in Scotland, so we weren't surprised to learn of another talented band picking up the mantle. Not surprised, but still impress with the quality of the work from Dropkick. Led by Andrew Taylor and completed by Ian Grier, Mike Foy, and Alan Shields, the Edinburgh quartet offers perfect harmonies, jangling and hook-filled melodies, and positive lyrics. Recently signed to label Bobo Integral, they have a new album titled The Scenic Route dropping February 7. You can sample the tunes via debut single "Feeling Never Goes Away" below.

Bandcamp for album

Monday, January 6, 2020

Treasure Chest Alert: Television Personalities compilations

Did you receive what you wanted and needed this holiday season? If not, we think you should treat yourself. In fact, we think you should treat yourself even if you got everything you thought you wanted and needed. And if we may be so bold, we have a suggestion for you: Two collections of the singles released by Television Personalities from 1978-1994. For our money, these compilations are a literal treasure chest of some of the most delightful indie pop ever recorded. Carefully prepared by Fire Records, the music is presented chronologically, including some very rare recordings and remixes, and is presented in digital, vinyl and double CD bookback with liner notes.  Packed with hooks, delightfully melodies, playful lyrics and spanning indie pop, twee and gentle psychedelia, it should cement to reputation of main TP man Dan Treacy as one of the best and most prolific songwriters of the era. It seems pointless (and impossibly daunting) to undertake more detailed descriptions, so we will leave you with some streams from the goodies, and our highest recommendation to own these collections forever.

Some Kind of Happening - Singles 1978-1989:

Bandcamp for album

Some Kind of Trip: Singles 1990-1994:

Bandcamp for album

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Cloth - Cloth

One of our delights over the holiday season has been repeated plays of the self-titled album by Cloth. The Glasgow trio of Rachael Swinton (vocals/guitar), Paul Swinton (guitar) and Clare Gallacher (percussion) crafts sparse soundscapes adorned with soft vocals and makes adept use of space for emphasis. While not loud, the songs have an understated urgency, performed with assurance. The electronic grooves give the album a forward push that freshens the presentation and adds to the accessibility. Cloth won't be the soundtrack for your Saturday night rave, but if you are like us it may be your soundtrack for every other evening.

Cloth is out now in digital, vinyl and CD formats via Last Night From Glasgow.

Label page for album