Sunday, April 11, 2021
Carlos Niño and Friends - “Thanking the Earth” from forthcoming More Energy Fields, Current, out May 7
Saturday, April 10, 2021
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.
Friday, April 9, 2021
"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
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.
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”:
Wednesday, April 7, 2021
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.
Tuesday, April 6, 2021
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.
Monday, April 5, 2021
Sunday, April 4, 2021
Saturday, April 3, 2021
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
Friday, April 2, 2021
Thursday, April 1, 2021
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.
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.
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.
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: