Friday, May 29, 2020

"Laughing Falling" by Pop Filter

We were more than a little sad when one of our all-time favorite bands, Melbourne's The Ocean Party, called time on the project when member Zac Denton died all too soon. We had glimpses of their artistry with further recordings by band members Lachlan Denton, Liam "Snowy" Halliwell, and Nick Kearton (via Cool Sounds), but now we are happy to report that the gang is back as Pop Filter. Their debut album Banksia will be out on August 21 via Spunk Records, Osborne Again and Bobo Integral. We expect that with multiple songwriters, a long history of collaboration, and a tight four-day recording schedule, the album will be full of spontaneous musical genius. The first single is Laughing Falling", and you can hear it below.

Bandcamp for Banksia

Thursday, May 28, 2020

The New Fools - Mershmellow

We could lie to you and tell you that we have long followed The New Fools, but that would be a lie. In fact, when we saw the name we thought it was referring to us, and we wanted to defend ourselves by pointing out that we are not 'new fools', we have been around for over a decade.

The truth is that we only recently checked out this band, possibly after noting a reference on some social media platform. But however we got that, we were impressed with The New Fools' recent album, Mershmellow. It is a bit of indie pop, and a bit of folk rock. The storytelling is good, the vocals are warm, the tempo is upbeat and there are some delightful additions of violin, brass and sax.

For this album, The New Fools are Tony Jenkins, The Druid, Dave Seabright, Pete Carter, Say Jenkins, Martin Seabrook, James Stygall, and Matt Steady. Mershmellow is out now in digital and CD formats.

Bandcamp for Mershmellow

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

H. Moon - Trustblood

Philip Ekstrom is a name known to us for his former project The Mary Onettes. However, he is here today with Trustblood, the album for his solo venture H. Moon. Ekstrom is a musician, songwriter and composer, and for this venture he calls on all three. In fact, the songs on the album began when the Swede was composing the score for a feature film. Leftover tracks were reworked and embellished with lyrics. The stunning result is a musical tapestry that is part ambient, part cinematic, and part pop. The proceedings have a melancholy cast and the emotions can be raw. But the ultimate vibe is one of warmth. Well, perhaps bittersweet warm -- the emotion of survivors.

Trustblood is out now via Welfare Sounds.

Bandcamp for Trustblood
Welfare Sounds

The No Ones - The Great Lost No Ones Album

It seems appropriate to us to follow up a nearly two day period with no new posts by featuring a band named The No Ones. It would tweak our sense of humor to say we picked the band solely because of the name, but that would not be true. You see, this band is comprised of Peter Buck (R.E.M., the Minus 5, and others), Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, the Minus 5, and others), Frode Stromstad (I Was A King), and Arne Kjelsrud Mathisen (I Was A King). Without searching the archives, we are confident that this is our first featured band with two members in Portland, Oregon and two members in Norway. As I'm sure you will expect, their recently-released The Great Lost No Ones Album is packed with satisfying guitar pop that should ease the pain of having no live shows to attend. The album was recorded in 2017, but took some time getting to the light of day. No matter, it has arrived and it sounds wonderful!

The album is out is vinyl, CD and digital formats via Yep Roc Records

Bandcamp for album

Sunday, May 24, 2020

"Goodbye Friend" by Mauv

Mauv is a band new to us, but we think it is the start of a long relationship. We write an indie music blog, and this Swedish band creates pop inflected indie rock. More importantly, we love beer, and Mauv's Facebook profile announces their fondness for the suds. There are other elements of relationships, we are told, but we think the basics are in place here.

And now, for the music. Mauv has just released a terrific single titled "Goodbye Friend". It starts out as a gentle tease, and then breaks out into a welcome-to-life banger. We recommend listening to start out your new week.

Mauv are Hanna Ahren, Albin Brandt, Samuel Krantz, Oskar Albersson, and Wael Mahrous. "Goodbye Friend" is out now via Swedish indie label Varo Records.

Varo Records

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Jetstream Pony - Jetstream Pony

It has seemed like a long wait for the debut album from the UK's Jetstream Pony, but we think that this self-titled beauty is worth every second of the wait. The members of the band bring experience from other projects, including The Wedding Present, Aberdeen, and Luxembourg Signal. They have honed Shaun Charman's guitar-based sound over the last couple of years to create a formidable wall of fuzz and jangle, steadied by a rock solid bass line from Kerry Boettcher. The complete the recipe, they add big drums - satisfyingly massive drums from Hannes Mueller. Top it all with Beth Arzy's sweet vocals, and we have guitar pop perfection.

Jetstream Pony was released Friday in digital, vinyl and CD formats via Shelflife Records and Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten.

Bandcamp for album

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Love Sport - And Justice For All

Sometimes the most straightforward delights are the best delights. As a case in point, we present And Justice for All, the new album by Helsinki quartet Love Sport. It consists of seven tracks of substantial, hook-filled, crunchy, noisy alternative rock. Each song has good pop bones, but the band does not rest until each song is fleshed out as a white hot, live performance crowd-pleaser. Teemu Tanner has the classic rock frontman vocals honed to perfection, and his mates give their all for the choruses. The rhythm section provides a deliciously dirty strut (e.g. check out "Keying Cars") while Mikko Sulonen's guitar snakes around the rhythm and slashes and stabs through the breaks in the lyrics. Yes, indeed, straightforward rock done to perfection. Yeah, it is only seven songs, but that's why you buy it and use the replay button.

Love Sport are Teemu Tanner (lead vocals, guitar), Mikko Sulonen (guitar), Max Mäkinen (dums) and Aki Pohjankyrö (bass). And Justice for All is out this Friday, May 22 via Soliti Music.

Bandcamp for And Justice For All
Soliti Music

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Guds Pengar - Granar som flyr staden

Guds Pengar is one of the few bands we follow who do not sing in English. That may prevent us from singing along as our Swedish facility in nonexistent, but that doesn't prevent us from appreciating the music these young Swedes play. In fact, the inability to follow the lyrics sharpens our appreciation for the confident playing, the nuanced lyrical delivery, and the sheer euphoric vibe that characterizes this band. Our introduction to their music was "Borttappad", the lead single from their new album Granar som flyr staden. We don't consider ourselves easily impressed, but we were hooked. And when the album reached our ears, it only confirmed our first impressions. This is rock music with a restless, youthful heart, a pop sensibility and a rockers delight in filling a room with sound. Grab yourself a copy, you will be very glad you did.

Guds Pengar are Evelina Nerstrand (Eveliina Pink), Olof Strid, Liam Amner (Hey Elbow) and Anton Jansson (Brigaden), but Bussen, Kväv mig, Gröt and Horisontens Land was recorded with Pontus Örnstrand and Patrik Schlegel instead of Jansson and Amner. Granar som flyr staden is out now via Stockholm's Rama Lama Records.

Bandcamp for album
Various links for album

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Mo Troper - Natural Beauty

Portland native Mo Troper has returned home after living in California and New York, and released his third album, Natural Beauty. To our ears, third time is the charm for Mo as this set of songs is his most accessible yet. He has a knack for writing quirky but pleasing pop songs. And he gets the pacing just right--the album plays like a drive to the beach or a sun dabbled bike ride on a trail.

Mo gives you a choice of vinyl, CD, cassette, and digital download, so you can't complain that your favored music delivery system has been ignored.

Bandcamp for Natural Beauty

Monday, May 18, 2020

Modern Studies - The Weight Of The Sun

On The Weight of the Sun, chamber folk meets indie pop for a 12-song album of warm arrangements and intelligent songwriting, with class honors going to Modern Studies. The band's principal songwriting team of Emily Scott and Rob St John artfully depict a range of human emotions with beguiling melodies, sparkling instrumentation and compellingly understated vocals. The rhythm section delights, never quite stealing the scene but embellishing every track with nuance and pulse (the bass playing is the best we've heard in recent memory, to be honest). This album reminds us of the delights a bibliophile would experience on being presented with a an ornately illustrated book of top quality short stories. But in this case, we close our eyes and listen to the stories while the colors dance in our minds.

Great stuff - please go to Bandcamp and experience it for yourself.

Modern Studies are Emily Scott, Rob St John, Pete Harvey, and Joe Smillie. The Weight of the Sun is out now via Fire Records.

Bandcamp for album

Saturday, May 16, 2020

The Memory Fades - 14 Cheerleader Coldfront (GBV cover)

We are always thrilled to receive new music by The Memory Fades, the current project of Stephen Maughan (ex Bulldozer Crash, Kosmonaut and others). And today's recording is extra special for a band named after a Guided by Voices song, as it consists of an electric and an acoustic cover of GBV's "14 Cheerleader Coldfront". It is a digital download for "name your price", so dig in and recall all the cheerleaders that shot you down in high school.

Bandcamp for "14 Cheerleader Coldfront"

"Aros Am Byth" by Ynys

Ynys, the musical alias of Cardiff singer-songwriter Dylan Hughes, delivers a stirring soundtrack for our evening. Combining psychedelic swirl, big beats and soaring vocals, "Aros Am Bryth" (Welsh for "waiting forever") magically washes away fatigue and prompts me to pour a second brew. I think I'll listen to this one for a while this evening.

The song is available now as a digital single via Libertino Records.

Libertino Records

Friday, May 15, 2020

"Liquid Walls" by KO:MI

We have had the privilege of experiencing the work of Sanna Komi in bands Pintandwefall and Cats of Transnistra, and today she returns with the single "Liquid Walls" and accompanying video for her project KO:MIKO:MI released a debut album in 2017, and now have signed to Soliti Music.

"Liquid Walls" is a lovely song with a cinematic quality ably illustrated by the video, and Sanna's vocals are pure magic. We suggest that it is a perfect mental break for your work-from-home Friday.

Bandcamp for "Liquid Walls"
Soliti Music

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Scott the Hoople - Sad Box and Other Hits

Truth be told, Scott McCaughey is a Pacific Northwest treasure. Formerly, he was a Seattle treasure, but he headed south to spread the wealth to Portland, so we enhanced his title. His many projects include Young Fresh Fellows, the Minus 5, the Baseball Project, Filthy Friends, Tired Pony, and the No Ones. But with touring for any band currently suspended, Scott displays his disdain for household projects, self-improvement courses and other stay-at-home trends by recording a new album for his solo musical identity, Scott the Hoople. He gave himself the month of April to do it, and by the deadline he had recorded 11 songs, put a virtual bow on the album and released Sad Box and Other Hits on Bandcamp.

So if hook-filled guitar pop-rock is your thing, and it certainly is our thing, you can spend seven bucks on Bandcamp and make Scott feel much better about not fixing the leaking faucet and trimming the hedge in April. And as a point of clarification, Scott the Hoople is not the same Scott that writes for this blog. Scott the Hoople can, and did, write 11 songs in April, while the Scott that writes for this blog would need 11 Aprils to write one song.

Bandcamp for album

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

"Goodbye Oceana" by The Arctic Flow

The Arctic Flow is the project of US musician Brian Hancheck. A number of his past recordings are to be found at the Bandcamp link at the bottom of the page, and we suggest that it is among the finest electro-dreampop you are going to find. However, the reason for today's post is his song "Goodbye Oceana", which Sunday Records is offering at 'name your price'. Even those of you out of work can handle that, and the song will help your spirits. Those of us who still have jobs can be a bit more generous, right?

Bandcamp for "Goodbye Oceana"
Bandcamp for other recordings by The Arctic Flow

Monday, May 11, 2020

"Getting By" by Locked Hands

The always compelling Locked Hands is helping us get by in lock down with "The Getting By". The song is a swirling electropop tune that changes moods between late night cabaret and jazzy breakdowns. Perfect for our late night musings.

The release date technically is a few days away, but you can download the song now at the Soundcloud link. It is released via Errant Media.

Soundcloud for "Getting By"
Twitter for Errant Media

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Vulture Party - Vulture Party

Today's first feature reminds us not to jump into assumptions about a band based on the name. When reading the name Vulture Party, it is tempting to expect death metal, Gothy emo, or maybe a bro bar band with a sense of humor. However, such thinking would amount to our first (or at least early) error of the day, because this Vulture Party is quite different than all that. They describe themselves as "disquieting alt pop for the socially conscious", which seems to hit the mark quite well, even if we didn't think of those words ourselves. On their self-titled album, the band thrills us with music that is melodic, carefully constructed, and at times haunting and disquieting. In fact, for our ears, it is the juxtaposition of the melodic tones and the disquieting atmosphere that makes this music so compelling. If we can make a serving suggestion, this album goes quite well late in the evening with the lights low and the adult beverage malty and Scottish.

Vulture Party are Louise Ward, David King, and Dickson Telfer. For the album, drums were played by Lee Burgoyne, and violin by Rebecca Culllen. Organ, acoustic guitar and programming was provided by James Anderson Taylor. Additional vocals were supplied by Macy McLeod, Elsa Hendry, Anna King and Lucy King. The album is released via The Hive imprint of Last Night From Glasgow.

Bandcamp for Vulture Party
Last Night From Glasgow page for album

Friday, May 8, 2020

Various Artists - Shelter (round two)

We are pleased to bring you another Shelter compilation from the good people at Sunday Records. The lovely songs will give you joy as you stay at home, and they are free. We strongly suggest that after you grab the goodies, you visit the other material from the featured bands via the links on the Bandcamp page. These are terrific indie bands and you may discover some music that will enrich your life.

Bandcamp for Shelter
Sunday Records

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Girlatones - Horn If You're Honky

Having featured a Melbourne guitar pop band's record released by Meritorio Records earlier in the week, we were concerned that the rules would prohibit another feature of another Melbourne guitar pop band's record released by Meritorio so soon. However, after creating a study committee and spending hours analyzing the matter, and drinking plenty of beer, we remembered that we make the rules. Or, more precisely, we haven't bothered to make any rules but if we did, they would be the rules we want. So, Horn If You're Honky, this is your time.

As even the dazed and confused can discern from the opening paragraph, Girlatones, the proud parents of Horn If You're Honky, are from Melbourne. The album is their second, and it is packed with appealing tunes that span woozy pop, bubblegum, powerpop, ballads, and upbeat and slightly left field garage pop. The band is inventive and confident, and their pop craftsmanship is impeccable. This is an album you will enjoy today and forever.

Girlatones are Jesse Wiliams (vocals/guitar), Leah Senior (guitar/vocals), Tam Matlakowski (bass), and Fabian Hunter Shaw (drums), previous members of The Stevens, T.V., and Pop Singles. The album is out now via Meritorio Records and Lost and Lonesome Recording Company (Aus).

Bandcamp for record (Meritorio Records)
Bandcamp for record (Lost and Lonesome Recording Company)

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

"Giant Hoof" by Love Sport

And Justice for All, the upcoming album by Finland's Love Spot is still a bit more than two weeks from launch, but that leaves a bit of time to entrance you with the noise rock delights of album track "Giant Hoof. Rock and roll, done well. A good bit of Velvet Underground in the DNA, at least to our ears.

Love Sport are Teemu Tanner (lead vocals, guitar), Mikko Sulonen (guitar), Max Mäkinen (dums) and Aki Pohjankyrö (bass). And Justice for All will be out May 22 via Soliti Music.


RIP Millie Small

Millie Small died yesterday. In 1964 the Jamaican teenager thrilled the music world with "My Boy Lollipop". Over 50 years later, it still makes us happy. Thanks, Millie. RIP!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Go Get Mum - OK Now What EP

Discoveries like OK Now What are what keep us writing this blog for no pay and those lousy bosses we see every time we look in a mirror. It is the second EP by Melbourne quartet Go Get Mum, and while the name of the band and title of the EP are unassuming, this record features the sort of charmingly ragged but inspired indie that we find utterly captivating. The direct but engaging storytelling, jangling guitars and half spoke singing invite comparisons to the Boomgates and to some of our heroes of the '80s New Zealand guitar bands. Yes, that puts Go Get Mum on a pretty high shelf in our trophy room, but if it only took six songs to reach that level, think what joy they may bring us in the future. But you shouldn't be thinking about the future, you should be thinking about getting OK Now What, right now. Everyone needs some new best musical friends.

Go Get Mum are Garry Westmore (guitar/vocals), Izzy Tolhurst (guitar/vocals), Woody Eke (drums), and Sam Chin (bass). OK Now What is out in digital and vinyl formats via Meritorio Records.

Bandcamp for OK Now What
Meritorio Records

"Trapped in Amber" by Jetstream Pony

It is a gloriously sunny Monday morning for us. But it still is a Monday. So to break us out of our post-weekend malaise, exacerbated by being trapped at home, we turn to the new blast of bright and shiny pop energy, "Trapped in Amber". The song is the second single from the upcoming self-titled album by Jetstream Pony. Such is the power of this song, that even Monday morning is looking pretty damn good to us.

Jetstream Pony are Beth Arzy, Shaun Charman, Kerry Boettcher, and Hannes Mueller. The album will be released in digital, vinyl and CD formats via Shelflife Records and Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten.

Bandcamp for "Trapped in Ambe"r
Bandcamp for album

Sunday, May 3, 2020

"Other Side" by Heart Beach

Heart Beach is a well-traveled band. Starting in Tasmania, then moved to Canada a few years ago. Now, they reside in Melbourne. But wherever they are, they make music. And today they offer you a 'name your price' scuzz pop gem titled "Other Side". Be sure to thank the nice people.


Saturday, May 2, 2020

Sneaky Feelings - The Mercury Moment

An integral part of the legend of '80s New Zealand guitar pop, Sneaky Feelings released three albums in that decade -- the first for Captured Tracks and Flying Nun, and the second and third for Flying Nun. Before that they were one of the bands contributing songs to the iconic Flying Nun release Dunedin Double. While the four piece was capable of the scrappy indie for which labelmates The Clean are known, they also deployed harmonies and lusher arrangements. Best of all, they are still doing it. In mid April the band released The Mercury Moment, featuring 12 tracks that remind us of their songwriting prowess aptitude for performances that connect with their audience. An excellent listen, especially for those of us who cherish their brand of  New Zealand guitar pop. We recommend you treat your ears to this album

Sneaky Feelings are Matthew Bannister, David Pine, Martin Durrant, and John Kelcher. The Mercury Moment is out now in digital and CD formats via Flying Nun.

Bandcamp for The Mercury Moment

Friday, May 1, 2020

Boat - Tread Lightly

Pacific Northwest indie pop legends Boat didn't break up, but they did take their own sweet seven years between albums. But whatever the guys were doing during the hiatus (and much of it involved other worthy musical projects), they made time to ferment some very good Boat tunes for their new LP, Tread Lightly. It may sound like standard indie pop ingredients for us to list hooks, soaring choruses, harmonies, sweet melodies and fuzz. But just as a list of ingredients in a menu doesn't guarantee a good dish, musical ingredients only get a band so far. What Boat brings to the party is heart, deft songwriting, wry observations about growing older (that resonate with at least some of us here), combined with long friendship, collaboration and trust. The result is music that is effervescent, euphoric, and irresistible. And for guys who sing about graying hair and other unwelcome aging discoveries, they muster more pep and snap than an teenage punk band angling for their first score.

We can only hope that the next album doesn't take seven years. But in case it does, you better get this one while you can. It has turned our Friday-at-home into a boat party. We even have changed into board shorts.

Boat are Dave Krain (vocals/guitar/bass/piano/illustration), Jackson Long (drums/percussion/kesy/vocals/production/mixing), Josh Goodman (guitar/bass/keys/shouting), and Mark McKenzie (bass/guitar/vocals). Addition contributors on the album were Johnny Askew (keys/piano), Shelly Short (vocals on two tracks), Chris Ballew (intro and vocals on "Zombie State of Mind"), and Evan Mosher (horns). Tread Lightly is out now via Magic Marker Records.

Bandcamp for Tread Lightly