Sunday, April 11, 2021

Carlos Niño and Friends - “Thanking the Earth” from forthcoming More Energy Fields, Current, out May 7

Carlos Niño is a Los Angeles-based producer, arranger, DJ and is the leader of the ensemble that created these wonderful tracks from his upcoming album More Energy Fields, Current. It is quiet, unhurried, fairly self-contained instrumental music, with a theme of our relationship with our planet. Carlos has a good-sized contingent of collaborators, each bringing something unique to the mix. In true DJ fashion, Carlos is able to pull it all together within the bounds of the length of a single track.


And here is a track released earlier, "Pleasewakeupalittlefasterplease". It is also fantastic:

 

Stay tuned for more - the album is due to be released digitally May 7, with physical copies (vinyl, cassettes, etc) due to arrive in June. You can preorder and check out some of his other music (recommended) at his Bandcamp site.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

The Reds, Pinks & Purples - Uncommon Weather


 Upon the very first listen my impression of Uncommon Weather by The Reds, Pinks & Purples was that it is an unqualified, jaw dropping, sigh inducing example of perfect indie pop music. However, knowing how initial impressions sometimes can be overly enthusiastic and then be tempered by time and perspective, I set the album aside. This week I played it several times again in anticipation of writing this feature, and with the passage of time, despite the physical challenge of sighing while one's jaw drops, my conclusion is that Uncommon Weather is an unqualified, jaw dropping, sigh inducing example of perfect indie pop music. The album consists of thirteen tracks of shimmering, melodic, richly detailed pop music bearing themes of lost love, pain, betrayal, bitterness and heartache. Lots of heartache.

The Reds, Pinks & Purples is the project of Glenn Donaldson (of Skygreen Leopards and Art Musems), who wrote, recorded, sang and played most of the instrumental parts of Uncommon Weather. The album closely follows the release of his 2019 mini-album You Might Be Happy Someday, which many of us fortunate to hear felt was one of the insufficiently heralded indie pop triumphs of that year. In many ways, this album is more of the same, only with more, and in my view, even better songs. The pairing of melancholy and heartache with sublimely melodic music is not an atypical approach to an indie pop song. But the difference between 'been there before' and 'head of the class' is all about execution. On Uncommon Weather the listener is treated to songwriting that pulls no punches in delivering the melancholy and heartache, and arrangements that reveal a mastery of all of the details and nuances of a great pop song. And the two prongs compliment rather than detract from each other. The lyrics give the lovely arrangements depth and an impact beyond the final note, and the music reminds the listener that there is always life to live and the potential of joy elsewhere and down the road. Glenn's vocals deserve special mention. They are high enough in the mix to leave no doubt about the raw feelings and disappointment. However, rather than spit out the lyrics like an angry and recently scorned lover, they are delivered with a sincere weariness and resignation. The lasting effect of that approach is that the singer-songwriter isn't playing a part in a work of art, but rather revealing his reality. That packs a meaningful punch.

Uncommon Weather is out now via Slumberland Records. You owe it to yourself to get a copy.




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Slumberland Records page for album

Friday, April 9, 2021

"Magic" by Melby

 "Magic" is the fourth successive single by Stockholm's Melby, following the 2019 release of their well-received debut album. Thematically the song pushes against the hyper-realism of the Swedish mindset, but the title also is an apt descriptor of the music that Melby makes. Blending psychedelia, pop and folk elements into dynamic and accessible music, their songs invariably delight us and, quite often, manage to surprise us as well.

Melby are Matilda Wiezell (vocals), Are Engen Steinsholm (back-up vocals, guitar), David Jehrlander (bass) and Teo Jernkvist (drums). "Magic" is out now via Stockholm's Rama Lama Records.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

"Oh Christine" and "A Little More Time" by Reigning Sound

We are happy to report that Reigning Sound will release new LP A Little More Time with Reigning Sound on May 21 via Merge. The band is one of the many projects of Greg Cartwright (The Oblivians, Parting Gifts, Compulsive Gamblers, Detroit Cobras), and have released six studio albums and a number of EPs and live recordings. You can be reminded of Reigning Sound's soulful indie rock via the two singles taken from the album so far, "Oh Christine" and "A Little More Time". Suffice it to say that this band is just as vital and exciting as they were two decades ago.

In addition to Cartwright (vocals/guitars/percussion), Reigning Sound includes Alex Greene (vocals/keys/percussion), Greg Roberson (vocals/drums/percussion), Jeremy Scott (bass/vocals), and Graham Winchester (drums/percussion). Guest players on the album included Coco Hames, John Whittemore, Elen Wroten, and Krista Wroten.


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Two singles by Jo Yonderly

The dynamic and unpredictable songs of Malmo, Sweden's Jo Yonderly thrill and delight with their psychedelic near-chaos and pop smarts. Two new ones, "Big Boys Cry And Small Men Are Violent" and "Heart" are out now on all digital platforms via Stockholm's Rama Lama Records. We are particularly fond of "Big Boys Cry And Small Men Are Violent", but each of the few releases so far has intrigued us. His debut album, Greatest Hits 1.0, will be released via Rama Lama on April 23.



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Bandcamp for "Heart"

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Aaron Lee Tasjan - Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan!

 Aaron Lee Tasjan has really matured as an artist, and his latest Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan! is a terrific pop rock album, exploring strands of Americana, power pop, folk rock and some fairly baroque Britpop. He's also become a local Nashville hero, with his album cover portrait on the side of Grimey's, and he played a show a couple weeks ago to celebrate the release of the vinyl edition of this record.

I'm reminded of several of the Wilburys - I think the quality of the first four songs puts him in league with Petty in terms of the big chorus/guitar combos, and there are strains of ELO all over this record. Tasjan is a really good vocalist - his voice supports every one of these turns, and the record combines these elements well. 

Here’s “Don’t Overthink It”:



 

 And here's "Up All Night" - I love the way he is not the least bit restrained from repeating a chorus over and over - good thing for an artist to know when he's struck gold:

 

 

 The songs are all high quality, with plenty of variety to reward repeated listens. The album ends on a strong emotional note with soaring vocal harmonies and acoustic-based melodies of "Not That Bad" and "Got What I Wanted", which seem to be a denouement, based on the album's themes of self-discovery and self-care. Very well done. I realize this has been out a while, but the vinyl just came out a couple weeks ago, and I really like it, so here you go.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

"Half A Feeling" by Massage

I think we all can a agree that half a feeling is better than none. But in the case of "Half A Feeling" by Los Angeles five-piece Massage, the listener can't help but feel like they got a full dose of feeling and maybe a bonus hug. With a backbeat, hooks and distortion that recall The Jesus and Mary Chain, and a burning vibe, it is one of the more thrilling songs I have heard in a while. And the best news is that this isn't a one-off single, but rather the opening track of Still Life, the band's second album which is due via Mt.St.Mtn. (North America), Bobo Integral (Europe) and Tear Jerk Records (Australia)

Massage are Alex Naidus, Andrew Romano, Gabi Ferrer, and Natalie de Almeida, and David Rager, four of whom were members of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart.

            

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Various links for "Half A Feeling"



Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Acid Dad - “BBQ” - single from forthcoming album Take It From The Dead

Acid Dad is a Brooklyn psych / slacker rock band set to release a new album in June, and they've provided us with a foretaste in the form of this song, "BBQ", as both a visualizer video:
 

... and a streaming track. It's got a great sort of slacker rock feel underlaid by an insistent drum/bass line, a vocal reminiscent of Waaves or Ty Segall, and a lot of different guitar sounds. Like the way the repeated guitar line runs throughout, swerving in and out for the length of the song:


Umbrella Puzzles - A Slowly Dawning Realization


Ryan Marquez, the main man of The Umbrella Puzzles, lists Gerry Love, Grant McLennan and Peter Astor among his music inspirations. Listening to Ryan's jangling creations on his newest release it seems to us that he has been well and truly inspired. The songs on A Slowly Dawning Realization are lo fi, but definitely a thoughtful, finished product. Mid-tempo twang and jangle, but with plenty of drive and bounce, it is a very pleasant listen that rewards repeated listens.

Ryan's other projects are Apple Orchard and Golden Teardrops. With The Umbrella Puzzles added to the mix, it seems to us that the California musician is building a fine body of work.

A Slowly Dawning Realization is out now in digital and CD formats via Subjangle Records.



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Monday, April 5, 2021

Dr. Lonnie Smith - Breathe

Out now on Blue Note is Dr. Lonnie Smith's fine set of live jazz tunes bookended by a couple of wonderful collaborations with Iggy Pop, on which Iggy's distinctive baritone renders the lyrics of a couple of great Summer of Love standards into almost spoken word pieces. The first one, "Why Can't We Live Together", is a pretty inspired choice. The original was not a pop tune in a conventional sense - Timmy Thomas anchored the song with a drum machine and then did a lot of improvising on the keyboard. They took over a minute out of the song to get to a radio version. Here, Smith takes the improvising to another level, stretching it out to over 6:00. I'm so glad to have this version of this song:

 

"Sunshine Superman" is another quirky tune that these guys take on to create a distinctive version of their own. Donovan's sort of behind the beat, swaying vocal makes a good take off point for Iggy's unhurried, warm vocal:

 

In between these two are some well-played tunes, covers like "Too Damn Hot" and "Epistrophy" and Smith originals like "Bright Eyes" and "Track 9". Smith's band features some stars in their own right: Jonathan Blake (drums), Jonathan Kreisberg (guitar), Robin Eubanks (trombone), John Ellis and Jason Marshall on saxophones and Sean Jones on trumpet, with Richard Bravo adding percussion on the two bookend covers. Don Was produced the record and it's an example of quality-meets-quality, with great results. 

Here is Smith, on how the record got done: “I was playing with my trio at Arts Garage in Delray Beach in Florida. Iggy would come by and say he wanted to play with me. I let him play slaparoo and he loved it. He enjoyed playing with us. We thought about recording a few songs, so we went in with my trio backing us up, and it worked.” I'll say it worked. 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Adult Books - Grecian Urn

Adult Books is LA-based Nick Winfrey, who writes, sings and plays a lot of the music on Grecian Urn, with help from Sina Salessi (drums) and Alex Galindo (guitar/synth). This is his second record, coming four years after his first. The intervening time was spent touring, considering his future in the music business and, fortunately for us, writing and creating this excellent record. A host of new wave and indie rock comparisons are getting thrown around - Echo and the Bunnymen, The Smiths, Mission of Burma - and that's fine, but like the best new music, Grecian Urn takes those influences and goes in its own direction. 

The opening track is "Innocence", with a pulsating rhythm section and slashing guitar lines. And here Winfrey's vocals remind me of Richard Lloyd's solo work. There's a bit of desperation in his voice:

   

 The title track, "Grecian Urn". The opening synth and bass line certainly shows where the New Order comparisons are coming from, but stick around while he layers in some guitars at the top of the range, multi-tracked vocals, and the whole thing takes off. 

  

And here is previously-released “Florence”. Have to admire a track that starts with the lyric “Do you really know yourself?”

 

The last track is, to me, the masterpiece here - "Sparrows on the Wire", at about 4:00, builds to a hell of a crescendo for the last minute, and Winfrey shouts out the last several lines of the song over some fiery guitar lines. You'll have to get the record to hear that one, and you should.


Saturday, April 3, 2021

Dom & The Wizards - The Australian Cyclone Intensity Scale


 We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of ... well, to be precise, we are off to hear the wizards, the wonderful wizards of Adelaide. And admittedly, there is no Emerald City and not a munchkin in sight. However, the imagery The Australian Cyclone Intensity Scale is as weird, wild and delightful as anything in The Wizard of Oz, and the music is far, far better.  The work of Dom Trimboli, headman of the incomparable Wireheads and a few co-conspirators of similar left-field reality recording as Dom & The Wizards, this is a set of songs composed in technicolor and sketched out in fevered dreams that would make Hunter Thompson proud. There is plenty of pop smarts injected into a Syd Barrett aural landscape that is adds up to a thoroughly enthralling listen. Scott thinks that this will be one of his top ten albums of the year.

The roster of Wizards supporting Dom includes Vic Conrad, Col Gellard, Jess Johns, Tom Spall, Harry Freeman, Liam Kenny, Jessica Johns, Katie Schilling, Dexter Campos, David John Wilke, and Alexander Meuniere. The Australian Cyclone Intensity Scale is out now via Tenth Court Records in Brisbane



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Friday, April 2, 2021

Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio - “Jimmy’s Groove” - out today



Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio is a tight three-piece playing impeccable funk/jazz. Their latest single, “Jimmy’s Groove”, is available right now - it’s an outtake from their recent album and is part of two non-album singles being released to supplement the record. It’s a rollicking six minute instrumental - just try to sit or stand still while you’re listening, and tell me you don’t feel that bass line right from the start:

   

 An added treat - when doing a little research on these guys I found a live version of one of my favorite songs, so you get this thrown in. Definitely stick around for the part where Delvon takes it up a notch on the keyboards at about 2:30:

 

These guys are incredible, expect to hear much more from us about them. The track is available at Bandcamp, you can clidk through the track above. On Colemine Records.

New Metal track - Pentral: “ All My Wounds”

 


Pentral is a Brazilian band playing a slightly different turn on heavy metal. They sing in English and are up front about the message in their music. They are heavy, but melodic. Like most bands, they stand at an intersection between their local (Amazon region) influences and the global music genre they are a part of. And their concerns, while also local, are universal - what is changing, what’s been taken away, and how to cope with forces you cannot hope to counteract alone. 

Or you can just turn it up and throw your hair around. Like all good metal, this is conducive to that. Their latest song is “All My Wounds”, a strong, fast-paced drum-driven track. They’re excellent musicians and play well together. Producer is Tim Palmer, who’s worked with, among others, Ozzy Osbourne and Pearl Jam.


It’s from a forthcoming album What Lies Ahead of Us - available to pre-order now, due for release on May 7. 




Thursday, April 1, 2021

"IDK" by Jeshua


One of our recent favorite dream pop records is the new single "IDK" by Jeshua -- Glasgow musician Joshua Gray. Featuring a captivating combination of dreamy pop textures and a driving beat, we think "IDK" displays Joshua's formidable talent, and marks him as a artist to follow.

The single is out now as a digital download consisting of "IDK" and a mnlghtr mix of the song.

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Various links for "IDK"

"Pink Lunettes" by Pond


 Well, well, well, this is a fine way to get fans to pay attention to your upcoming tour. Australian psychedelic rock five-piece Pond are going to tour western Australia soon. But with that announcement they have released new single "Pink Lunettes". With a locked in, tribal groove this song is a relentless adrenaline rush verging on the edge of chaos. With over a decade as a band and eight albums to their credit, this wild bunch proves they still have the magic

"Pink Lunettes" is out via Spinning Top Records.


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"Woah Man" by Dayglow

As promised last night, we started our day with a few more spins of rousing glam rock from Wales. But as the sunshine began to warm an early spring day here, we decided to turn to some sweet pop. Our first choice is "Woah Man", the fresh new single by Dayglow. The man behind the project is 21-year old Texan Sloan Struble, and the song is taken from his upcoming second album Harmony House, which will be out May 21 via Struble's own Very Nice Records.

"Woah Man" has a warm '70s vibe, infused with a relaxed, natural charm. And just makes us smile every time we listen. For the fourth day of a busy work week, that is just what we needed.

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Various links for "Woah Man"

New Guitar Pop Tracks - “Promises I’ve Made” plus 2 more by Andrew Gabbard

 We’ve written about the Buffalo Killers here before - always have liked their laid back psychedelic rock, and I’m not surprised at the quality of Andrew Gabbard’s pop instincts on his solo work. This track is a tribute to Emitt Rhodes, one of Andrew’s musical heroes. 

Andrew says, "Emitt wrote the book on homemade albums. His music endlessly inspires me to create. ‘Promises I’ve Made’ is a personal favorite of mine - I had to do it. Recorded at home. Emitt Rhodes forever!”

 

 And here are two earlier tracks - I’m getting caught up on Andrew’s recent solo activity and glad to share it with you; as he says, it’s “made at home with love”. "Instant Trancer" is one he calls an ode to his daughter, a sweet song. Really like the way he layers the vocals on the chorus and the guitar effects:

 

 Finally, his 2021 New Year's song - "Wake Up, Brother" - a song of hope and a call for change, with what I hear as some echoes of some nice 70's Laurel Canyon psych folk rock a la Dennis Wilson:

Andrew Gabbard on Instagram

Colemine Records