Friday, October 30, 2020

Smokescreens - A Strange Dream

The origin story for Smokescreens is that the members bonded over an appreciation for New Zealand guitar bands. And as origin stories go, this one seems to us to hit the bullseye. The influence of The Clean, The Chills, The Bats and others is evident in their sound But leaving little to chance the band brought on David Kilgour of The Clean (and David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights and solo work) to produce and create the cover art. Of course, the world being a sharing place, the listener also will detect similarities with more recent guitar bands from Melbourne, Glasgow, Sweden and other locales as well. The songs on their new album, the eight-track A Strange Dream, have plenty of jangle in the guitars and an appealing mix of upbeat and more restrained songs. The songwriting is so good, and the performances so spot-on, that this is an album that sounds like a timeless classic right out of the box. Unless you were paying attention to the singles, you haven't heard these songs before. But your head and your heart will try to convince you that you have, and that they are among your favorites.

A Strange Dream is out now via Slumberland Records.

Bandcamp for A Strange Dream
Slumberland Records

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

"Play (On My Mind)" by The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness


Probably most of you woke up this morning with one question in mind: When will be blessed with the second album by The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness? Fortunately, we actually know the answer to that question. The album, which is titled Songs From Another Life, by the way, will be released on January 20, 2021, via Bobo Integral. And because you will want it, here is the wonderful "Play (On My Mind)", a sweet dose of perfect power pop that happens to be the first single from the album.

The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness are Scottish/Spanish duo Andrew Taylor and Gonzalo Marcos.


Bandcamp for album

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Proctors - Summer Lane 1993-1997


One of the finest jangle pop bands produced by the UK is The Proctors. Their recordings in the '90s are swoon-worthy and you would do well for yourself to get your hands on them. Except, that may be a difficult task. Fear not, the problem solvers from the City of Big Shoulders, Sunday Records (who also had the good taste and foresight to sign The Proctors back in the day), have got you covered with Summer Lane 1993-1997. As you can see from the title, the album collects a well-curated set of 14 songs from a five year span of inspired music by the band. The jangle, melodies and boy-girl vocals all hit the right aural pleasure spots, making it a must-have album for indie pop fans. We note that the band was reanimated with a couple of line-up changes in the past decade, and after collecting this album, you may be inspired to check those out as well. We assure you that a robust collection of music from The Proctors is a mark of good taste.

For these recordings The Proctors are Steven Davies (bass), Adrian Jones (drums/percussion), Christina Priest (vocals), Gavin Priest (guitar/keys/vocals/brass). Summer Lane is out now via Chicago's Sunday Records.


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Bachelor Pad - All Hash and Cock

Pop melodies with punk attitude and psychedelic delivery. It could have been chaos but, well, sometimes is was chaos. But it was glorious chaos and a full share of really good music. Welcome to All Hash and Cock - The Very Best of Bachelor Pad. The creators are the five-piece The Bachelor Pad, a Glasgow band that swam against the C86 current of their era. Their tunes and choruses actually were more melodic and catchy than much of the guitar pop of the day, but eschewing a twee delivery likey limited their reach. They deserved better, and thanks to the good folks at Emotional Response Records, they live again in digital and vinyl formats. It is an unexpected throwback treat that sounds better with each spin, and you can't say that about most of your purchases, can you?

Out now -- see the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for All Hash and Cock


Thursday, October 15, 2020

Slomosa - Slomosa

As a tough work week draws to a close we found ourselves desiring music with sonic heft, and we didn't have to look far. The self-titled album by Bergen, Norway's Slomosa is a heavy, swirling stew of desert rock built on a stoner groove. Admittedly, desert rock from a cold country with plenty of rocks, trees and water, but no sand, seems odd. And there have been quips that the play 'tundra rock'. But our ears tell us that this band's version of desert rock sounds pretty damn authentic to us, and their own unabashedly heavy and energetic performance makes Slomosa a winning album.

Slomosa is out now in digital, CD and vinyl formats via Apollon Records.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Supercrush - SODO Pop


About 18 months ago we featured a collection of singles by Supercrush (our review here), a band which quickly became one of our favorite powerpop groups. To our great delight, frontman Mark Palm recently let us know that Supercrush has released a full length titled SODO Pop. We wasted zero time finding our way to the album and pressing "play", and were rewarded with ten tracks of the kind of powerpop that made Teenage Fanclub beloved. Remarkably, Palm has spent much of his career in punk and hardcore groups, but his feel for powerpop and talent for songwriting is manifestly evident here. In fact, this album sounds and feels like a greatest hits album to us, and it may well to you as well. Give it a shot, your day will be better for doing so.

For this recording, Supercrush are Mark Palm, Phil Jones, Allen Trainer, Bob Reed, Inna Showalter, Greg Ehrlich, and Jay Kardong. SODO Pop is out now in all formats via Don Giovanni Records. By the way, the album title is a Seattle in joke. While it looks like Mark misspelled "soda", he actually is referring to the name of the neighborhood of Seattle south of the downtown business district.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Flatmates - The Flatmates

There are some albums that leave you breathless, as if you just finished an enjoyable bout of strenuous exercise. You glow, you feel alive, and you want to do it again. The new self-titled album by Bristol's The Flatmates is such and album. Played at a pop punk pace with loads of fuzz and melody and hooks riding the wave, it is C86 revisited on steroids. The drums and bass are appealingly high in the mix, but then, everything else is too. And to for us, it is a confection that is easy to love. We assure you, this version of The Flatmates is a welcome addition to the indie scene, and this album is prominent in our rotation this month.

The Flatmates are Lisa Bouvier (vocals/backing vocals/bass/guitar), Martin Whitehead (guitar/backing vocals), Mattias Lidehall (bass), Rocker (keys/programming/backing vocals), and Brian Price (drums). The Flatmates is available in digital, CD and vinyl formats via Bristol label Local Underground.


Bandcamp for the album

Local Underground

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Latitude - Mystic Hotline

There is indeed magic in the universe, and a telling clue is that something precious like Mystic Hotline by San Francisco five-piece Latitude can come into your life. The magic wand of songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Amy Fowler artfully blends '70-'80s pop rock/power pop that will pleasantly call to mind Fleetwood Mac, The Go-Gos, The Nerves and The Bangles. But listen a bit of longer and you'll hear something more sophisticated in the rhythms and a bit darker in the themes (listen to "Checkmate", for example). The band is a pleasure machine of melody and hooks and the entire album sparkles and shines with just the right amount of gloss. If we still had radio that strove to be curators of worthy music rather than pushing narrowly drawn playlists from major labels (yes, I know we have a few good ones like KEXP), Mystic Hotline would be dominating the airwaves right now.

In addition to Ms. Fowler, Latitude is Josh Miller (guitar), Justin Frahm (keys/vocals), Rob Duncan (bass), and Joe Z. Armin (drums/vocals). Mystic Hotline is out now in digital and vinyl formats via Emotional Response Records.

Bandcamp for Mystic Hotline

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The Dupont Circles - In Search Of The Family Gredunza

We are very happy to be featuring In Search of the Family Gredunza. Not because of any particular affection for the Gredunza clan, we don't think we have met them and we are certain that we don't owe them any money. However, we feel a kinship with The Dupont Circles, a band that has been around in one form or another for three decades and whose name appears to be taken from the DC landmark and neighborhood Dupont Circle. And that happens to be a neighborhood that one of us lived in a bit over 30 years ago. So really, the band an WYMA are like cousins. Cousins who have never met, to be clear, but kin is kin.

And what have our non-kissing cousins created? A veritable cornucopia of garagey psychedelic pop. Think Syd Barrett and Dan Treacy (Television Personalities) working their magic direct to tape in your garage with stories of colorful characters and memorable encounters, and you have it. It is comprised of 16 songs culled from their decades of work and recorded over the last five years. This is the kind of album The Dupont Circles have deserved to deliver for years. For whatever reason, the didn't. But thanks to Canadian label The Beautiful Music, their work is available to charm us all.

In Search of the Family Gredunza is available now in CD and digital formats. See the Bandcamp link below or visit The Beautiful Music website.


Monday, October 5, 2020

Blake - HMS Blake

English musician Julian Pugsley, aka Blake, is a Swiss Army Knife kind of pop artist. Looking for jangling singer-songwriter tunes -- you will find them here. Want some boogie blues rock -- he has you covered. But he doesn't stop there. His new collection of songs, HMS Blake, includes alt rock and folk songs as well. We term the album a collection because it is a two disc release including 1971, his album from earlier this year, six new songs, and a career retrospective of earlier releases. So in addition to remarkable variety, the album is consists of a very generous 40 songs. You have to play HMS Blake through from start to finish to truly appreciate what it can do for you. It is like finding a top quality indie station playing guitar pop and rock inspired by the best influences of the past five decades. That it is all written and performed by Pugsley is even more incredible, of course.

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

Bandcamp for HMS Blake

Friday, October 2, 2020

Scott & Charlene's Wedding - Live at The Tote

Ah, the weekend is here. Everyone ready for some live music. Oh, that's right, there isn't much live music these days. But we are all about public service here, so we are going to offer a very satisfying substitute. It just happens that one of our favorite bands, Melbourne's Scott & Charlene's Wedding, played a live gig at The Tote this past January. And it also just happens that the performance was captured on tape with, to our ears, excellent sound quality. Known for their impeccable taste, the good people at Bedroom Suck Records swooped up the rights to release the performance, and now has unleashed Live At The Tote for our weekend almost live show pleasure.

If you aren't familiar with this band, here is an introduction. The main man is Craig Dermody -- singer, songwriter, painter, and all-around good dude. His musical approach is a somewhat rough-edged and charmingly disheveled singer-songwriter-as-indie-rocker. The compositions are warm, heartfelt and infused with humanity. The current version of the band includes Jack Farley (bass), Ela Stiles (guitar), and Joe Alexander (drums). And for this recording they were joined by former member Gill Tucker (guitar). So obviously, there is a lot of rumbling, snarling guitar riding a solid rhythm, and the energy leaps out of the speakers. You might even get the sense that there is beer sticking your shoes to the floor. It might be your imagination, but it may just as well be your own beer when as you started grooving to one of the best live recordings you have heard in a long time. 

In the main the songs are fast-paced and raucous, while still managing a common man lyricism. But there are tender moments like "Scrambled Eggs" as well. Good God, we love this album!

Live At The Tote is available in digital and cassette formats. See the Bandcamp link, and rock on.

Bandcamp for album