Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Gum Country - Somewhere

It is a bit embarrassing to be a week or so late on featuring Somewhere, because the album is packed with the sort of punchy, muscular, guitar-driven indie pop/rock that we live for. But more than a bit embarrassing is the reason for our tardiness. We actually didn't pay attention to the original emails about the album because, well, we don't like gum. We don't like chewing it, smelling it, or seeing other people chew it. So when we say announcements for a band named Gum Country our reaction was 'oh well, we have a lot of music to try and cover and gum turns us off'. So we didn't listen to the music and didn't realize that the band was comprised of Courtney Garvin of the stellar Canadian band The Courtneys and Connor Mayer.

However, about a week ago we stumbled our way into realizing that we were missing something special, and since that time we have been listening to Somewhere at least twice a day. This is the sort of guitar rock that you feel in your chest when the ban strikes up live and your brain says 'this is why I go to live shows'. Of course, we don't have live shows these days, but we do have Somewhere. If you are the kind of person that listens to an album and checks off styles your list would include shoegaze, jangle, indie rock, C86 and a few others. But you don't need to be that person. You just need ears and a rocking heart, and this album will then make you very happy indeed.

Gum Country are Courtney Garvin (guitar/vocals) and Connor Mayer (drums/keys/bass). Somewhere is self-released digitally. The vinyl version is available via Kingfisher Bluez. US cassette is out via Burger Records and Australian cassette is out via Dinosaur City Records. A CD is available in Japan via Waterslide Records.

Bandcamp for Somewhere

Monday, June 29, 2020

The Crystal Furs - Beautiful and True

Sniff, sniff. No, it isn't a summer cold, just a few tears because Subjangle Records didn't give us any advance notice of Beautiful and True. And we certainly like things that are beautiful and true, especially when they have lots of jangle. But we aren't going to let bruised feelings keep us from our professional duty to tell all of our readers that on this album, the third by The Crystal Furs and their first since becoming resident in Portland, Oregon, the band is really hitting their stride. The album reveals the band's range from the noisier side of the C86 spectrum to the twee side of guitar pop. From these folks it all sounds natural, unforced and fun. Check out four gems below, and then hustle your fingers over to Bandcamp.

The Crystal Furs are Kara Buchanan, Steph Buchanan, and Rowan Church. Beautiful and True is out now as a digital release.

Bandcamp for Beautiful and True

Sunday, June 28, 2020

"Smile Now, Cry Later" b/w "Runaway" by The Shacks/Brainstory

This little single is positively swoon-worthy. The two songs are by Mr. Brown Eyed Soul, Sunny Ozuna, aka Sunny and The Sunliners. But the two track here are covers. "Smile Now, Cry Later is by New York City's The Shacks. "Runaway" is the work of Rialto, California's Brainstory. Both songs are taken from full LP of covers of Sunny's songs, to be released later this year.

The record is available now in digital and vinyl formats. See the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for single
Website for The Shacks
Facebook for The Shacks
Twitter for The Shacks
Website for Brainstory
Facebook for Brainstory
Twitter for Brainstory

Saturday, June 27, 2020

"Escalator" and "Double Vanity" by Double Vanity

A couple of days ago we featured two terrific songs by Melbourne outfit Double Vanity. However, it appears that one of us pressed the wrong button a day later and wiped out the post. We don't like doing work over, but the musicians don't deserve to have their feature suffer such a short shelf life. And to be honest, these songs are so good that they deserve a second post anyway.

Double Vanity are Zec Zechner, Sarah Blaby and Amy Chapman. They also use a Rhythm Ace Drum machine that probably is not cut in on royalties, merch sales, or ticket sales. Their music is released via Psychic Hysteria. The band plans an album for later this year.

Bandcamp for "Escalator"
Bandcamp for "Double Vanity"
Psychic Hysteria

Thursday, June 25, 2020

"Sleepers" by Cool Sounds

The sleeper EP of the summer just may come in late July, and you will know it because the title of the record is Sleepers. We all know it will be good because it is by the laid back Melbourne pop stars Cool Sounds. But we know something you may not know yet, which is just how nice the title track is. But we aren't selfish, so we bring it to you now along with the cutest video you likely have seen in a long time.

Sleepers will be available via Hotel Motel Records.

Bandcamp for "Sleepers"
Hotel Motel Records

"Babylon" by Dead Method

"Babylon" is a defiant cry for freedom to be what you are meant to be, and to seek your tribe so you can be comfortable in your own skin. It is about finding yourself, gathering your courage, assuming responsibility and taking risks. It also is a smashing dance tune.

The artist is rising talent and LGBTQ+ champions Dead Method, of Cardiff, Wales. "Babylon" will be available as a digital release on all the usual platforms tomorrow, June 26. That's your first weekend dance tune all sorted for you.


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Mong Tong - Mystery 秘神

Mystery, the debut album by Taiwan's Mong Tong provides us with one of the more creative sets of music we have heard in a long time. Constructed of synths, bass, guitar, programming and a boatload of samples, it is playful, adventuresome, and inspiring. And its bass heavy segments decorated with psychedelic shards would earn the approval of even King Tubby and Scratch Perry..

The band consists of brothers Hom Yu and Jun Chi. Apparently the music was inspired by Taiwanese folklore and occult. Sadly, we don't have the background knowledge to further describe how the music illustrates the brothers' take on those subjects, but we assure you that no such knowledge is necessary to appreciate the product. Mystery is out now in vinyl and digital formats.

Bandcamp for Mystery
Spotify for Mystery

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Medicine Men - A Different Port

Medicine Men have a knack for catchy, often anthemic, guitar pop with electronic elements expanding the sound. A Different Port, the Scottish band's second album, contains ten songs that display their ability to create music that seem instantly familiar and relatable. The tones are warm, the melodies pleasant and the tempo is upbeat. There isn't a weak track on the album, but several push their way forward as special musical moments, including "Back On Board" and "Getaway Driver" (both of which are superb tunes to accompany a drive to the beach or the mountains).

Several years have elapsed since Medicine Men's well-received debut. It is clear to us that they have used the time well, as this album is unusually substantial and consistent for a sophomore effort.  Sitting on the patio in the morning sunlight with a mug of coffee and A Different Port playing, this day seems full of promise.

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

Label page for A Different Port
Last Night From Glasgow web shop

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

ManaRays - ManaRays

When we discovered that there was a label in Brisbane named Swashbuckling Hobo Records we knew that we needed to feature one of their releases. You see, for all of us at WYMA our second choice at school Career Day was to be a Swashbuckling Hobo. Unfortunately, we all were accepted to law school, resulting in the world losing much needed Swashbuckling Hobos and burdening mankind with more lawyers. What can we say -- we are so sorry.

But the great news is that we didn't have to lower our standards to bring you a record from this label. In fact, the self-titled album by Brisbane's ManaRays is just what will get all of is through this week to the next weekend. Packed with gritty blues rock with indie rock hooks and a punk attitude, this is deeply satisfying indie rock to rattle your windows and gladden your souls. You don't need to go to the pub to party under stay at home orders. Have some beverages delivered, cue up ManaRays, and the pub has come home.

The band are Adrian Carroll (vocals/guitar), Micky Scott (drums/percussion), Phil Dunlea (bass/backing vocals/percussion), Chris Fletcher (vocals), and Sly Faulkner (backing vocals). ManaRays is out now on Swashbuckling Hobo Records.

Bandcamp for album
Swashbuckling Hobo Records' website

"Terry" by RULES

We are happy to bring you an absolutely lovely synth pop tune by Helsinki's RULES. "Terry" is officially released on June 18, but the video is available now and provides us with a great excuse to not wait to fill our ears with the gorgeous melody and soaring vocals. The song is based on rhe Raymond Carver short story What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.

RULES are Iiti Yli-Harja (lead vocals/synth), Sarra Keppola (synth/guitar/backing vocals), and Oskari Halsti (drums/backing vocals/guitar). Their music is released via Soliti Music.


"Out Of Sight" by The Beths (video)

We think everyone can use a Beth (or two or three) in their lives. Regardless of whether you are at optimum Beth level or in a deficit, we suggest you pay attention to the most excellent New Zealand band The Beths. They have wowed us with everything they have released so far, and we are eagerly anticipating the July 10th drop of new album Jump Rope Gazers. To help you understand why, we share with you the video for the latest single from the LP, "Out Of Sight". It strikes us as having the perfect mix of dreamy wistfulness and freewheeling crunch.

Jump Rope Gazers will be released via Carpark Records.

Carpark Records

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Sideways to New Italy

Building on the momentum of their first LP, Hope Downs, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever sprint down their chosen path carrying the banner for upbeat, crunchy, jangling guitar pop on their new Sideways to New Italy. But in doing so, they display the ability to explore the edges of their craft and create intriguing derivations such as in the '80s dance pop of "The Only One" (which gives us some welcome Prince vibes". The themes are reflective, encompassing search for personal worth, belonging and context in a complex world. But searching and incisive lyrics never weigh down the proceeding, and the listener is rewarded with an album full of meaning and good sounds, and especially a well-hone three-guitar attack..

We know some who believe that these guys are the best guitar pop band around right now. For ourselves, we aren't anointing anyone a king at this point, but Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever is certainly worthy of consideration. And from personal experience, they provide a great live show.

Sideways to New Italy is out now in all formats via Sub Pop.

Bandcamp for Album

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Night Heron - I Heard You Dreaming

One of the more stunning listening experiences we have had lately is listening to I Heard You Dreaming. The songs are the creation of Michael Telles, aka Night Heron, who is a teacher in Massachusettes. Michael has an extensive catalog of music, but this special release includes 13 of his favorites plus five songs recorded for this album. The sound is an artful concoction of folk, dream pop and jangle pop, washed in reverb and accented by acoustic guitar and wistful vocals. Some songs may bring to mind Elliott Smith, others Nick Drake or the Pernice Brothers. The music is absolutely gorgeous, and while it is a fine album for any time of day in any season of the year, it is perfect for your quiet summer nights.

The album is out now in digital and CD formats via Subjangle Records.

Bandcamp for I Heard you Dreaming
Subjangle Records

"Get :Lost" by Carla J. Easton

We are going to celebrate the upcoming weekend a bit early with "Get Lost", the new record from Glasgow's Carla J. Easton. The single consists of the "Get Lost", the lead track from Easton's upcoming new album Weirdo, and non-album track "Touching The Sky". The former is euphoric, dreamy pop anthem perfection. The latter a bottom-heavy, swirling late-night club banger.

Carla believes in the power of collaboration, and the songs on this single amply display the value of her approach. The songwriting was a team effort with Scott Paterson, whose work with the late Sons & Daughters impressed us greatly. Apparently, "Get Lost" was one of their first songwriting efforts, and it stands as proof of a productive partnership. We have a feeling that Weirdo is going to be an album to treasure.

The single is out now, and Weirdo will be out on August 28 via Glasgow's Olive Grove Records.

Bandcamp for single

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Time Stalkers - Time Stalkers

Maybe you have never heard of Will Moloney. We are inclined to forgive you, as we hadn't heard of him until a month ago. But if you can write a set of songs like those on the self-titled album from the Time Stalkers, and pull together a nine-member band to execute them this well, then every indie fan should learn your name. We have discovered that Will has a following due to his Old Table project, and sometimes uses the name Will Table for his music work. His fellow Time Stalkers are vets of various Brooklyn bands and the abundance of talent is obvious.

The listener dives into Time Stalkers with "Maxine", a rambling brush-by introduction to eccentrics one might meet on the streets in Brooklyn. To be sure, eccentricity infuses the album, but in a warm and delightful way. Typical indie jangle and drums are augmented with sax, strings, xylophone, and bongos (reminding us of how much we enjoy hearing bongos). The songs are an appealing mix of upbeat and more restrained tempos, and the lyrics are imaginative and evocative. When the band ventures into the political, they are in a lane to which we can subscribe, and a bit of research shows that they aren't posing -- they live their convictions.

The band is Will Moloney/Table (vocals/snare/floor tom/ride cymbal/songwriting), Carolyn Hietter (sax/vocals), Charlie Dore-Young (bass/vocals), Paco Cathcart (electric guitar/vocals), Al Nardo (xylophone/vocals), Eli Kleinsmith (violin/vocals), Van Do (acoustic guitar/vocals), Kurt Pope (bongo drums/vocals). Time Stalkers is out now via Intellectual Birds Records, with cassette via Gentle Reminder and, eventually, vinyl via Feeding Tube. Cover art by comics artist Robert Calzone

Bandcamp for album
Old Table's Facebook page
Will's Twitter

Monday, June 8, 2020

The Stroppies - Look Alive!

Look Alive! represents yet another facet of the talented Australian four piece The Stroppies. Earlier recordings had a raw edge to them. Last year's wonderful debut LP Woosh! upped the melodic element and added some polish to superb effect. This album was recorded soon after the band finished their second European tour in in a fairly short span. While taking nothing away from the previously-mentioned elements, Look Alive! has a live-to-tape spontaneity and a bit of a jaded vibe. We must say, they wear it well.

At the end of the year, you should expect knowledgeable guitar pop folks to point out that Look Alive! is one of the guitar pop 'must haves' of the year. They will be right. And if you are on the ball, you will nod and say "I know", WYMA told me so and I bought it.

The Stroppies are Angus Lord, Caudia Serfaty, Rory Heane, and Adam Hewitt. Look Alive! is out now via Tough Love Records.

Bandcamp for Look Alive!
Tough Love Records

Saturday, June 6, 2020

"Lucky Rolling Stone" by Ian McKelvie

Good writers have the ability to see a story to tell based on a viewpoint, an observed encounter, or a journey. The best of them tell the story evocatively and succinctly, sketching the bones and allowing the reader's imagination to fill the picture in his or her mind. Scottish veterinarian and musician Ian McKelvie has such an ability, but he possesses the further talent to put his stories to music. We have featured his music under the name The Colourful Band a number of times, but today's feature is a song he is releasing under his own name (despite what it says on the Bandcamp stream below). "Lucky Rolling Stone" was inspired by Ian's drive down the Pacific Coast Highway in a camper van from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Inspired by the drive, we find it perfect driving music for our adventures.

Ian played acoustic, electric and slide guitars, and sang lead and backing vocals. Drumming was supplied by Derek O'Neill. The track is available as a digital download via Bandcamp.

Bandcamp for "Lucky Rolling Stone"

Friday, June 5, 2020

Scott the Hoople - Anything Is Better Than You EP

When we featured an album by Scott McCaughey, aka Scott the Hoople (link) we didn't expect him to be back here this soon. But America is in crisis, and Scott has penned three timely songs for an EP titled Anything Is Better Than You. I think most of us can guess to whom the "you" in the title refers, but we aren't featuring this album just because of the target. We are featuring it because all of the proceeds will be donated to a racial justice organization Color of Change ( Color of Change). The first and second tracks are aggressive, slashing indie rock. "Things Are Going To Get Better", the third track, is our favorite -- perhaps because we are optimistic types and perhaps because it has a Mott the Hoople vibe that just sits well with us as we end a horrific week.

Bandcamp for EP

Thursday, June 4, 2020

"Don't Demystify" by Terje Torkellsen

We don't know much about Terje Torkellsen other than he is a student in Olso, Norway, he has released a few previous singles and been involved in various projects (Mats Wawa, Geetar, Palmface), and his new single "Don't Demystify" is an absolute delight. What more would we need to know? The song features sincere vocals and a light and sparkling arrangement that feels like sunshine on our faces after a week of dreary rain. Hey, we live in Seattle so we are aware of these things.

The single is out now as a digital release via Oslo's Sellout! Records. Check it out -- it may just get you through your Friday.

Various links for "Don't Demystify"
Sellout! Music

"Godless" (video) by Close Lobsters

One of the best guitar pop albums of this year, and a number of recent years, for that matter, is Post Neo Anti: Arte Povera In The Forest Of Symbols by Scotland's Close Lobsters. Of course, we already featured the album (link), but we welcome any chance to mention it again. That chance comes with the release of a video for "Godless", which happens to be one of our favorite tracks from the record. Enjoy the video below, and go get yourself a copy of the album if you somehow haven't done so yet.

Bandcamp for album

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Nat Vazer - Is This Offensive and Loud?

Ok, we admit that we have a fondness for lawyers turned musicians. For one thing, the majority of us who have written for the blog are lawyers. For another, if not for a talent deficit, we could be where they are. And what is life without dreams?

So one could assume that our decision to feature Nat Vazer, who formerly spent her days as civil litigator, is due to her professional license. However, we actually locked on to her formidable talent before we became aware of her past. Her new full length album, Is This Offensive and Loud? is neither of the things suggested in its title. But it is a superbly written set of songs showcasing Vazer's sweet and nuanced vocals, intimate storytelling, and some cool guitar work. Thematically, she dives into self reflection, love, broken relationships, parents and various insecurities. She makes it personal yet relateable, and wraps it in music that sticks with you like a welcome summer breeze.

Is This Offensive and Loud? is out now in digital, vinyl and CD formats via Hotel Motel Records.

Bandcamp for Is This Offensive and Loud?
Various links for album
Hotel Motel Records

Monday, June 1, 2020

"Vice" by Cool Sounds

We have been silent for a few days, digesting life and the crazy world, but to make it up to you we have "Vice" -- a glossy, '80s style pop gem with a stuttering rhythm that just makes us want to dance around the room. And with stay at home orders combined with riot curfews, we really needed this. The song is courtesy of those wonderful folks of Melbourne's Cool Sounds, via Hotel Motel Records. Dig that sax solo!

Bandcamp for "Vice"
Hotel Motel Records