Friday, September 24, 2021

The Shivas - Feels So Good // Feels So Bad

 


Feels So Good // Feels So Bad hits so many points on my music appreciation compass that when the vocalist demands "tell me that you love me" on the third track I immediately do just that. And when she pleads "baby don't go" two tracks later I shake my head and assure her that I'm there for the full 13 songs and a few repeats. The album is the creation of Portland, Oregon's The Shivas. The quartet has made a lot of good music in the last decade and a half, but this LP, their seventh, may well be their best. In any case, it is my favorite. The band is well known as a lively, danceable, garage/psychedelic force. And while they have lost none of the punch and sass that earned them a legion of fans, on this album they more openly express a range of emotions and display matured songwriting.

The versatility The Shivas deploy on Feels So Good // Feels So Bad almost makes the 'garage/psych' tag seem silly. They adroitly mix upbeat garage bangers such as "Feels So Bad", "My Baby Don't", and "Rock Me Baby" with girl-group throwback gems such as "Tell Me That You Love Me" and "Don't Go", and guitar pop such as "If I Could Choose" and "For The Kids". The hooks are plentiful and the choruses are a highlight. The guitars and rhythm section are superb (the drummer may owe his set an apology for the abuse it suffered in "My Baby Don't). According to my analytics this is one of the two albums I have played the most in the past four weeks, and I expect that to continue.

Feels So Good // Feels So Bad is out today via Tender Loving Empire.


"Shy Heart" by Marta Del Grandi

 

Marta Del Grandi is known as a fine jazz vocalist. But on her upcoming album Until We Fossilize she expands her reach into other genres, including electronic ambient and retro pop. We don't want to give too much away now as the album will not be released until November 5. However, we have the new single to share with you. "Shy Heart" is presented her with its official video and a streaming version.

Until We Fossilize with be released via Fire Records.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Timeshare - Blue

 

Can we interest you in a Timeshare? This one only comes in Blue, but it is varied, melodic and, at times, a bit quirky. It is true that you can't live in it, but the upside is you don't have to buy any furniture or pay maintenance fees.

Timeshare is the not Google-friendly project of Jordan Thompson, of Melbourne's beloved The Ocean Party. And because the members of The Ocean Party all contributed songs and lead vocals, the songs on Blue may have a hint of familiarity. But in our view that is something to welcome with open ... ears. This album is brief -- only six tracks -- but it is a fine showcase for Jordan's sharp and delightfully dynamic songwriting. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do, and will look forward to more Timeshare.




The Arctic Flow - Lost You Long Ago

Ranging from bittersweet jangle pop to a hazier dreampop, Lost You Long Ago is a pointed reminder of the special feeling we have listening to the all too rare recordings by The Arctic Flow. The  songs here are works of chiming, shimmering beauty with melodies that soothe and soar while the hushed lyrics reflect on loves lost and relationships dissolved. You may smile, you may cry, or you may sigh and grin through your tears. Whichever approach works for you, this album is a true indie pop 'keeper'.

The Arctic Flow is the project of Chicago musician Brian Hancheck, who has been recording under that name from time to time since 2008. Lost You Long Ago is out now via Chicago's Sunday Records



Facebook

Twitter

Bandcamp for album

Bandcamp for other recordings by The Arctic Flow

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Sweet Nobody - We're Trying Our Best


Summer is officially over, but that doesn't mean that we are finished with albums that have a summery feel. Today we offer We're Trying Our Best by Long Beach, California's Sweet Nobody. With a sound similar to but less glossy than Alvvays and some of the ache of Rilo Kiley, the band explores themes of facing challenges, social anxiety and relationships. Emotionally, the album is frank and raw. However, there is a lot of sunny pep in the arrangements and plenty of sugar in the impressive lead vocals. So what you take from the songs depends on how you approach them and what you want from them. But at a minimum We're Trying Our Best is an excellent indie pop album with excellent and generous performances and delectable songs. Take a deeper dive and you will get the songwriter's well-constructed real life stories of dealing with life's special issues. No need to fear depression as the tone is honest but the touch is light.

Sweet Nobody are Joy Deyo (vocals/guitar) and Brian Dishon (drums) with Casey Synder (lead guitar) and Adam Nolan (bass). We're Trying Our Best is out now via Daydream Records.




Facebook

Twitter

Bandcamp for album

Monday, September 20, 2021

Hits - Cielo Nublado

 

Sometimes the descriptions described by labels are painfully off the mark. But sometimes we can't really improve on them, so we don't. San Francisco's Paisley Shirt Records describe the music on Cielo Nublado, the new album by Oakland's Hits, as "warbled post-punk meets oozing art pop", and so it is. Of course, that just dials in the geography. So we will add that it is inventive and fun, giving the listener the feel of aural discovery without having to spin the radio dial or dive back into the digital library. And while the band sounds completely dialed into the material and each other, the recordings has a loose-limbed, spontaneous feel that makes the seem more immediate and visceral. Like everything else I've heard from Paisley Shirt Records, this album is well worth your ears.

For this album Hits is leader Jen Weisberg (vocals/guitar/songwriting) joined by Brian Tester (drums/percussion/guitar/keys/recording), and Max Nordile (bass/percussion/Xaphoon). Cielo Nublado is out now via Paisley Shirt Records.




Bandcamp for Cielo Nublado

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Smoke Bellow - Open For Business

After bouncing back and forth between their native Australia and Baltimore, Smoke Bellow is open for business in Baltimore, Maryland. Or, more accurately, Maryland is open for business and Smoke Bellow have adopted the Governor's pro-business state slogan as the title for their new album. To continue with the business analogy, if this album were a store it wouldn't be one of those one item stores that sells only shoes, only cameras or only books. It would be a store with a couple of levels and various racks of disparate merchandise, not necessarily separated by item but all coordinated harmoniously.

Certainly, Open for Business is not all of any one thing. Much of it throbs with propulsive drums and bass, but there also are minimalist songs as well. High life guitar, which is a favorite of mine, makes several guest appearances and the songs are accented with various unexpected but appreciated sounds of identifiable and (and least by me) unidentifiable origin. Generally, it is a hybrid of various styles and influences, but it is immediate, purposeful, and superbly crafted and produced. In two weeks I've gone from never having listened to Smoke Bellow to putting Open for Business in my draft list of potential favorite albums of the year. And who needs or wants a Grammy when you can get that kind of recognition from WYMA?

Smoke Bellow are Meredith McHugh and Christian Best, with recent addition of drummer Emmanuel Nicolaidis.

Open For Business is out now via Trouble In Mind



Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Bandcamp for Open for Business


Thursday, September 16, 2021

"Party Store" by Cindy

 

San Francisco band Cindy makes dreampop that I don't want to live without. This isn't sunshine and lovers making puppy dog eyes at each other dreampop. But it is beautiful and, in an understated manner, packs a devastating punch. We have already featured two recent singles, "Be True" (feature here) and "Lost Dog" (feature here), and today share a third, "Party Store". All of the singles are taken from the band's upcoming third LP, 1:2.

Cindy's music is centered around the compositions of vocalist/guitarist Karina Gill. The other members of the band are Jesse Jackson (bass), Simon Phillips (drums), and Aaron Diko (keys). The songs are of moods, feelings and scenes, depicted in snatches more often than full narratives. The effect is a bit like slipping in and out of daydreams. The arrangements underscore the compositional approach with unhurried tempos and sparse instrumentation. The result is a beautiful musical haze with an unsettling dark streak.

The video for "Party Store" was made by two stalwarts of the San Francisco indie music scene. Kevin Linn of Paisley Shirt Records directed the video and Mike Ramos of Tony Jay shot the video. Mike also forms the other half of the duo Flowertown with Cindy's Karina Gill.

1:2 will be out via Tough Love/Mt St Mtn on October 1.


Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Bandcamp for 1:2

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The Suncharms - Distant Lights

 

The Suncharms produced a small number of short-form releases in the '90s, and then dropped off the music radar. They re-emerged midway through the last decade via a retrospective album. But thanks to Chicago's Sunday Records, the Sheffield, UK indie pop band now has released a debut album. Titled Distant Lights, it is a delightful collection of dreamy indie pop tunes with plenty of jangle, fuzz and hooks, and a somewhat shoegazey vibe. It references '90s British guitar pop, but doesn't seem at all out of place in today's indie pop world. Listen, and you, like us, will be happy that The Suncharms didn't give up on making a debut full length.

The main man of The Suncharms is Marcus Palmer. Distant Lights is out now in digital and CD formats. A vinyl version may be available later this year.




Facebook

Twitter

Bandcamp for Distant Lights


"Burning" by Good Morning


Despite the pandemic, the boys of Good Morning appear to be having a good year. Evidence includes a fine two-song single a few months ago, their work at the decks for the upcoming album by Emma Russack and Lachlan Denton, and their upcoming LP Barnyard. Of course, they aren't unaware of the state of the world, and their views are reflected in "Burning", the new single taken from the album.

Stefan Blair and Liam Parsons are Good MorningBarnyard will be out October 22 via Polyvinyl and Good Morning Music Company.


Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Bandcamp for Barnyard

Various links for Barnyard

"Coolsville USA" by The Exbats

 

We have all heard that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but we do it from time to time anyway. I suspect that many of us have, from time to time, judged an album by its first song. If I were to take that approach after hearing "Coolsville USA" by Arizona trio The Exbats, I would declare the upcoming LP Now Where Were We to be a 'must have' album. I have listened to the single several times and considered my alternatives. I now declare the Now Where Were We to be a must have album. Smart, fun, and sassy with really good tunes -- what more do you want?

The Exbats are a garage band from Southern Arizona consisting of Kenny McLain, Inez McLain and Bobby Carlson Jr.

Now Where Were We is out October 22 via Goner Records.

Facebook

Tumblr

Twitter

Bandcamp for album

Goner Records page for album



First single of "Now Where Were We," the new album from daughter / father garage pop band from Arizona! Recorded by the desert genius Matt Rendon, this might be the best-sounding record of the year! Timeless coming-of-age / smartass stories from drummer / songwriter Inez and guitarist / songwriter / dad Kenny.


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

"Under The Rolling Moon" by Ducks Ltd.

 

One of my eagerly anticipated albums yet to be released this year is Modern Fiction by Toronto duo Ducks Ltd. The third single, "Under The Rolling Moon" dropped this week and matched the quality of its predecessors. The song is about helping a friend in need, riding an uptempo arrangement with backing vocals by The Beths.

Ducks Ltd. are Tom McGreevy and Evan Lewis. Modern Fiction will be out October 1 via Carpark Records and Royal Mountain Records.


Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Bandcamp for Modern Fiction

Various links for Modern Fiction

"Luxuries" by Astrid Swan

 

Today's first post brings you the third single from the upcoming D/other by Finnish award winning singer songwriter Astrid Swan. A perceptive and incisive songwriter and lovely vocalist, new music from Swan always is a cause for excitement around WYMA HQ. "Luxuries" is no exception, expressing a positive outlook and celebration of the moment in the face of life's uncertainties.

D/other is Astrid Swan's seventh album, and it will be released October 8 via Soliti Music.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Saint Etienne - I've Been Trying To Tell You

 


Whether their offerings are aimed at the dance floor or the heartstrings, Saint Etienne has long been included among the coolest and smartest electro pop bands. And despite their past success, their new album I've Been Trying To Tell You feels special in many ways. The product of the pandemic, it was recorded remotely rather than in a studio, working with several producers and collaborating with film and television composer Gus Bousfield, who contributed two of the songs. Samples are used extensively throughout, creating a nostalgic and diverse soundscape that intentionally refers to memories of optimism in late '90s UK. The album is atmospheric and dreamy in the most literal way -- the songs have the feel of drifting into and out of dreams of the past. Or an alternative version I like is that it is like watching a romantic movie from the '90s on late night TV, drifting into and out of sleep so you are only catching snippets of plot and suggestions of moods. But whichever interpretation you like the album is intriguing, full of sparkling warmth, and a worthy addition to Saint Etienne's discography. 

Saint Etienne are Bob Stanley, Sarah Cracknell, and Pete Wiggs. I've Been Trying To Tell You is out now via Heavenly Recordings. We also note that film maker Alasdair McLellan directed a film to accompany the album.






Website

Facebook

Twitter

Bandcamp for album

"Done My Time" by Emma Russack and Lachlan Denton


 In our experience, music by Emma Russack means quality music. Likewise, music by Lachlan Denton means quality music. And although I was a liberal arts major rather than a math/science guy, my analysis tells me that music by Emma Russack & Lachlan Denton will be of high quality. To be fair, we don't have to guess because they have released three albums previously. As we announced recently, another album is on the way and we now have the second single, "Done My Time". A reflective and sentimental look at another way of life riding a relaxing but subtly bouncy arrangement, the song is a great way to end the day.

The album is titled Something Is Going to Change Tomorrow, Today. What Will You Do? What Will You Say? and will be released October 8 via Osborne Again Music, Spunk Records, and Bobo Integral Records.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

"Infinity" by Power Supply

 

In this ultra connected world we all need to know where to find a power supply. To our surprise, we now have a new one -- the Australian quartet known as Power Supply. The band's line-up defines 'power', consisting of Mikey Young (Eddy Current Suppression Ring/Total Control/The Green Child), Leon Stackpole (Sailors/Ooga Boogas), Richard Stanley (Onyas/Drug Sweat), and Per Bystrum (Exhaustion/Voice Imitator[Ooga Boogas). At least one project on the resume of each member has featured on these pages in the past, which is a pretty damn fine endorsement of quality in our obviously un-humble opinion. Power Supply will release their debut album titled In The Time Of The Sabre Tooth Tiger on October 22 via Anti Fade in Oz and Goner Records in the rest of the world.

But I digress -- the original point of this post is to bring you the lead single for the album. You can test drive it yourself, but this song is all we need to know that this album is a 'must have'.

Bandcamp for album

Goner Records page for album


"Give It Hell" - Yumi Zouma


 Our favorite New Zealand synth poppers Yumi Zouma could have just announced their Spring 2022 European tour, but that is a bit staid. So the quartet accompanied the news with a new single and a lyric video. Please enjoy below, and you Euro types can check out the dates.

On "Give It Hell" the listener will find the band's trademark swoonable vocals, but also thrill to the explosion of textures and expanded dynamism in the arrangement.

Yumi Zouma are Christie Simpson, Josh Burgess, Charlie Ryder, and Olivia Campion.


Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Bandcamp for single

Various links for single


 
YUMI ZOUMA 2022 European Tour
03/17 - Birmingham, UK @ The Sunflower Lounge
03/18 - London, UK @ Lafayette
03/19 - Manchester, UK @ Yes
03/21 - Dublin, Ireland @ Whelan’s
03/22 - Glasgow, UK @ King Tut’s
03/24 - Paris, France @ Le Hasard Ludique
03/25 - Brussels, Belgium @ Botanique
03/27 - Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Melkweg
03/28 - Hamburg, Germany @ Turmzimmer
03/29 - Copenhagen, Denmark @ Ideal Bar Vega
03/31 - Stockholm, Sweden @ Obaren
04/01 - Oslo, Norway @ Krxsset
04/03 - Berlin, Germany @ Burg Schnabel
04/04 - Warsaw, Poland @ Praga Centrum
 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

"Laughing Wall" and "High Heel Heavy" by Mister Strange

 

You can call it indie rock, or you can call it punk rock, or you could take your cue from the band and call it Wonder Fuzz. But whatever label you throw at it, this music sticks with you. It is the music of our first forays into clubs and basement parties, in college dorms and apartments getting psyched for the big match, or in my case, listening at home and enjoying the reminder of my youth.

The band is Mister Strange, based in Manchester and recently signed to Swedish label PNKSLM. "Laughing Wall" and "High Heel Heavy" are two of the singles taken from debut EP I, which will be released Friday, September 10. Touchstones are The Ramones, Ty Segall, and Thee Oh Sees -- and any band can be proud to keep such company.

Mister Strange is Tomas Walmsley (vocals/drums), Callum Rogers (bass), Ste Bradbury (guitar/synths), and Daryl Taylor (guitars).


Facebook

Instagram

Bandcamp for EP

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Stars On Fire - Ready, Steady, Go 7"


Tonight's treat is the jangling shoegaze of Stars On Fire. The project of Christopher Mark -- a Californian who resides in Seoul, South Korea His latest single is Ready, Steady, Go, a vinyl release that includes a digital download. This isn't the first time Stars On Fire has featured here, and I expect it won't be the last. To learn why, stream the single below and then hit the Bandcamp link for past treasures.

Ready, Steady, Go is released via Cloudberry Records.

Facebook

Twitter

Bandcamp for single 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Monnone Alone - Stay Foggy

Two years ago Monnone Alone impressed us with the sunny powerpop album Summer of the Mosquito (our feature here). At the time the project was a quartet headed by Mark Monnone, the former bassist of The Lucksmiths. However, due to pandemic-induced subtraction Mark was forced to create the follow up album, Stay Foggy, as a solo effort.We are pleased to report that Mark was more than up to the task. Shifting effortlessly among powerpop, jangle pop, British Invasion, folk rock, psychedelic pop, and post punk, the album is a delightful assemblage of hooks, melodies and just damn good songs. We try to limit ourselves to three embedded tracks, but for this album the difficulty was leaving out any of them. Obviously, that means that the three below are but a hint of the goodies, so we suggest trying them out and, if you like them, go to the Bandcamp link and enjoy all of the tracks.

Stay Foggy is out now via Meritorio Records (Spain), Emotional Response Records (United States), Royal Mint Records (Finland), and Lost And Lonesome Records (Australia).



Facebook

Twitter

Bandcamp for Stay Foggy


"Without U" and "Only One" by Royel Otis

 

As those of us in the Northern Hemisphere search for ways to keep that summer vibe going as we slide into autumn, a rescue comes from Australian band Royel Otis, The duo comprised of Otis Pavlocic and Royel Maddel has shared two songs from their upcoming EP, Campus. And even though it currently is winter in Australia, the songs reflect Pavlocic and Maddel's upbringing on the sunny Bondi Beach coastline. "Without U" is a summer bop that reflects yearning for someone to love. "Only One" is a psychedelic pop tune with an infectious groove and a touch of surf. We think this project shows a lot of promise. And we note that their good instincts extended to the naming of the band. Pavlocic and Maddel are fine names, but doesn't quite have the snap of Royel Otis.

Campus will be available October 7 via House Anxiety / Ourness.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The Bordellos - "All Psychiatrists Are Bastards" / "Will I Ever Be A Man"

Liverpool-area band The Bordellos make pop music like few others. Inventive compositions evincing bruised psyches and bleeding hearts, they always manage to draw a "wow" and repeated listens. And with a Twitter catch phrase "bring me the head of Justin Bieber" you know that they have their heads together. This week brought new single "All Psychiatrists Are Bastards" / "Will I Ever Be A Man". The A-side is a breathless rush of rhythm and rant with a '50s beat poet vibe. The B-side is a downbeat acoustic tune with enough charm to compensate for its sparse arrangement.

The single is out now via Sydney's Metal Postcard Records.


Facebook

Twitter

Bandcamp

"Stolen Beer" by Rural France

 

Rural France may seem an odd name for a UK indie rock band. It could be that when Tom Brown and Rob Fawkes decamped London for the more pastoral Wiltshire in 2017 the culture shock may have made the new home seem more like a move to rural France. However, despite the name, the music the duo create has more kinship with Teenage Fanclub and Guided By Voices than the French countryside. And, of course, that makes them a perfect fit for a blog named after a GBV song, like us.

Today brings the good news that Rural France has a new album coming out this autumn. Titled RF, it consists of 11 tracks recorded in true lo-fi fashion in Rob's garage. "Stolen Beer" is the first single, and it suggests that this new album will be a worthy successor to their fun debut Two Drink Maximum (link). Buzzing guitars, big drums, spirited vocals, wry humor and terrific melodies -- a perfect menu!

RF will be out October 29 via Meritorio Records.


Facebook

Twitter

Bandcamp for album


credits