Monday, March 28, 2022

Neutrals - Bus Stop Nights EP


There are punk bands that are all thunder and fury. We respect the passion and listen avidly, but at times the art of the song is lost. Then there are bands that declare themselves punk, but seem to like the idea of being a punk band while really being a pop rock band. And then there is a rare punk-oriented band that has the incisive writing and aggressive performing, but also understands the need for a hook, a laugh and a melody. Such a band are Oakland, California's Neutrals. They have all of that plus a well-earned Scottish accent with frontman Allan McNaughton. We have covered their albums, and their shorter records as well, regardless of label or format. We are happy to do so again with their new Bus Stop Nights EP. Four great songs that remind the jaded listeners that great music is still being written and recorded.

Neutrals are Allan McNaughton (guitar/vocals), Phil Benson (bass/vocals), and Philip Lantz (drums/vocals). Bus Stop Nights is available now in vinyl and digital formats.




Bandcamp for EP


U.S. Highball - A Parkhead Cross Of The Mind

Jangly and sunny powerpop from Scotland? Someone knows our preferences very well. Our soundtrack of choice the past two days has been Parkhead Cross Of The Mind by Glasgow duo U.S. Highball. The project of long-time friends James Hindle and Calvin Halliday, U.S. Highball makes the kind of classic indie pop that never goes out of style because it is always welcome. Yet Calvin and Halliday's songs seem to us to have a special bit extra -- a mix of humor, classic sixties two-part harmonies and original-sounding hooks. Adding all that to the jangle pop template and homemade charm, you have an album that demands plenty of repeats.

The album is out now  in digital and vinyl formats via Lame-O Records (United States) and Bingo Records (UK)

Saturday, March 26, 2022

"Brighter Than The Sun" by Boy With Apple


"Brighter Than The Sun" commences with an '80s synth explosion, then shifts to a sunny dreampop tapestry. If you are looking for something to put a shine on your Sunday morning, look no further. This song is your answer.

The single is the latest from Gothenburg, Sweden trio Boy With Apple. The band is relatively new, but we think they have a great future. The members of Boy With Apple are Zara Henriksson, Saga Fransson, and Tim Hedlund. "Brighter Than The Sun" is released via VARO Records.

"Keep Me In The Dark" by Team Play


Just when we were looking for a good song for the end of a Saturday evening at home, we discovered "Keep Me In The Dark" in  our inbox. The dramatic pop song is the creation of Team Play. The most recent signings to Helsinki's Soliti Music, Team Play is a duo consisting of Minja Koskela and Tapio Viitasaari. As demonstrated by "Keep Me In The Dark", Minja and Tapio seek to create romantic pop music with Gothic shadows. We think they do it well.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Kindsight - Swedish Punk


When we spend several months eagerly anticipating an album based on a few smashing singles, there always is a nagging worry that the end product won't live up to the internal hype in our minds. Not that we were particularly concerned about Copenhagen band Kindsight. Their singles were more than good songs -- they were evidence that this quartet had range, depth and vision. Moreover, Rama Lama Record's has earned our respect for the quality of their roster. Well, now that Swedish Punk has arrived, we can confirm that our confidence was well placed. The eleven tracks are more varied than we expected, including songs that are up-tempo, low-tempo, wistful, melancholy and euphoric. Whether pop or rock, the band shows verve and complete command of the demands of the material. While there is plenty of Nordic shimmer and chime, the fans of fuzzy '90s riffs will find it to their tastes as well. The vocals are special, with echoes of The Cranberries, The Sundays and The Sugarcubes and an impressive emotional content and nuance. Swedish Punk is a remarkable debut and we recommend it highly.

We've given three flavors of Swedish Punk below, a jangling pop tune, a slower song that grew on us every time we heard it, and a stomping rocker.

Kindsight are Nina Hyldgaard Rasmussen (vocals/guitar), Soren Svensson (guitar), Anders Prip (bass), and Johannes Jacobsen (drums).




Bandcamp Swedish Punk

Various links for Swedish Punk

Rama Lama Records

Thursday, March 24, 2022

"Out To Pasture" / "Misery" by Good Morning


A lot of different things can make a morning a good morning, but one certain winner is the announcement of new music by Melbourne guitar pop duo Good Morning. The record is a two song digital single "Out To Pasture" / "Misery" which is out now via Polyvinyl. To no surprise of any fan of the band, the single shows that their music keeps getting better with each records. From 2014 through 2021, the duo of Stefan Blair and Liam Parsons released six records, but only 2021's Barnyard was on a significant label (Polyvinyl). However, those of us who have their past work like Shawcross and Basketball Breakups still treasure them. Do you crave them? Well it is your lucky morning because Polyvinyl is planning to release the band's back catalog.

In additional news, the duo are preparing their seventh album and a North American and UK tour, the dates and venues for which are listed at the end of this post.




Various links for single

Tour Dates:

03/31 - San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar (Kumeyaay)

04/01 - Pomona, CA @ Glass House (Tongva)

04/02 - San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel (Ohlone)

04/04 - Portland, OR @ Polaris Hall (Chinookan)

04/06 - Seattle, WA @ Neumos (Si'ahl)

04/07 - Boise, ID @ The Shredder (Shoshone, Bannock)

04/08 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The Beehive (Pi'a-pa)

04/09 - Denver, CO @ Ophelia's (Apache, Ute, Cheyenne, Comanche, Arapahoe)

04/11 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry (Dakhóta)

04/12 - Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club (Millioke)

04/13 - Chicago, IL @ Sleeping Village (Shikaakwa)

04/14 - Ferndale, MI @ Loving Touch (Anishinabe, Haudenosauneega)

04/15 - Toronto, ON @ Adelaide Hall (Tkaronto)

04/16 - Montréal, QC @ La Sala Rossa (Tiohtiá:ke)

04/17 - Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair (Massachusett)

04/20 - Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere (Lenape)

04/21 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's (Coaquannock)

04/23 - Washington, DC @ DC9 (Nacotchtank)

04/24 - Richmond, VA @ Richmond Music Hall (Algonquin)

04/26 - Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle (Cherokee)

04/27 - Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade - Purgatory (Creek, Cherokee)

04/28 - Oxford, MS @ Proud Larry's (Chato)

04/29 - Baton Rouge, LA @ Chelsea's Live (Chitimacha)

04/30 - Houston, TX @ The Satellite (Atakapa)

05/01 - San Antonio, TX @  Paper Tiger (Payaya)

05/03 - Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas Patio (Tonkawa)

05/04 - Dallas, TX @ Deep Ellum Art Co (Nermernuh)

05/05 - Marfa, TX @ El Cosmico (Jumano, Apache)

05/06 - Tucson AZ @ Club Congress (Ts-iuk-shan)

05/07 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Belasco (Tongva)

06/21 - Manchester, UK @ YES

06/22 - Edinburgh, UK @ Sneaky Petes

06/23 - Cardiff, UK @ Clwb Ifor Bach

06/24 - London, UK @ Oslo

06/26 - Bristol, UK @ Louisiana 

06/27 - Brighton, UK @ Green Door Store 

"Around You" by Say Sue Me


Say Sue Me is a talented four piece from Busan, South Korea that we have been following since 2018. The band demonstrates formidable chops playing fuzzy pop and indie rock, and adds a surfy vibe. While Say Sue Me's sound reflects the exuberance of youth, the themes turn a bit darker and more reflective for their new album, the forthcoming The Last Thing Left. However, the  upbeat sound remains, as featured in the lead single, "Around You".

Byungkyu Kim (lead guitar), Sumi Choi (vocals/rhythm guitar) Jaeyoung Kim (bass) and Sungwan Lim (Drums). The Last Thing Left, due May 13 via Damnably Records and Beach Town Music.





Various links for single and album

Bandcamp for album

Monday, March 21, 2022

Sugar World - Lost and Found


We would expect that a band named Sugar World would create sweet music, and a few spins through their new album Lost & Found confirms our expectations. It isn't that the eleven songs are all sweetness and sunshine, although there is plenty of both. But this album is sweet in that every single track is a delectable pop gem, whether striding the twee side of the street, exploring ramshackle tendencies, dishing a jangling guitar pop anthem, gazing at their shoes like J&MC or whispering a ballad.

Sugar World is Katryn Macko and Ryan Stanley. They write good songs, and have graced this album with seven of their own creations. They also show a keen ear for other artists songs and they have included four cover on Lost & Found, giving them the Sugar World treatment to great effect. Sincere emotion, humor and confidence are evident throughout, making for a superb and pleasingly varied set of music.

Lost & Found is out now in digital, CD and vinyl formats via Sunday Records.




Sunday Records Bandcamp for Lost & Found

Sugar World's Bandcamp for Lost & Found

Subterfuge - Dots


It shimmers, it jangles, it twinkles. It rocks, it soothes, it uplifts. It prods, it teases, it satisfies. It is Dots, the fifth studio album by Subterfuge. Admittedly, the boyhood friends from Dusseldorf have been perfecting their craft for 30 years, but this album is a pop music triumph by any measure. The breadth of musical proficiency displayed by the band is impressive -- from twee tunes to jangles to psychedelic to college rock, they can write it all and play it with style and conviction. Vibrant and full of life, Dots will be one of your out of left field treasures of the year.





Bandcamp for Dots

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Good Grief - Shake Your Faith


While you can listen to it any time you please, Shake Your Faith by Liverpool band Good Grief strikes us as an album made for Saturday nights. It is indie rock that hits your gut like Husker Du  and other great alternative guitar bands, and adds a punk edge. That fact that is a bit more adventuresome and literate than the normal indie rock fair, of course, just adds another layer of interest. Good Grief has been on our radar for almost ten years, but with the twists and turns of life and a world-wide pandemic, Shake Your Faith arrives in 2022 as their debut LP. No harm done -- this is a thoughtfully conceived and carefully constructed indie rock album that is well worth your time.

The good people of Good Grief are Will Fitzpatrick (guitar/vocals), Paul Abbott (bass/vocals), and Matiss Dale. Shake Your Faith is out in vinyl and digital formats March 18 via HHBTM Records and Everything Sucks Music.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Young Guv - GUV III


Toronto's Ben Cook, formerly guitarist for Fucked Up, has been rebirthed himself as Young Guv -- a master of power pop, paisley underground and the associated fine arts of jangle, sweeter than sweet melodies and grand choruses. And on previous recent albums GUV I and GUV II he crafted it as well as anyone else in that space, and better than most. But on GUV III, he shows that new heights can be achieved, and he has scaled them and planted his flag. The album plays more like a career hits compilation than a single LP. Perhaps the time afforded by the pandemic helped, but the simple answer usually is the correct one -- Ben is just that talented. So dig in for your power pop treat of the season, and pray for GUV IV to arrive in the future.

GUV III is out now via Run For Cover Records.



Bandcamp for GUV III

Run For Cover Records page for Young Guv releases

"Any Day Now" and "Don't Wait For A Sign" by Jeanines


Things are looking good in the indie pop world when we can write that NYC indie pop duo Jeanines will release an album titled Don't Wait For A Sign on April 22 -- a little post-tax day treat that we surely will need! We expect jangle, shimmer, melody, and sunshine, and we know that Alicia Jeanine and Jed Smith will deliver. You can sample the album via the first two earworms, "Any Day Now" and the title track. Enjoy, and rush to Slumberland to pre-order your desired format. We wouldn't be surprised if the vinyl sold out quickly.




Bandcamp for album

Slumberland Records page for album

Various links for album

Monday, March 14, 2022

"The Perfect Crime" by The Stroppies


Melbourne's The Stroppies are back this spring with a new album titled Levity. In past recordings the four-piece has impressed us with their adept pop craftsmanship and wit. In this offering, the band promises a somewhat darker take, which seem to match the world we live in. As evidenced by the debut single "The Perfect Crime", the targeted perspective is conveyed with more distortion, a more motornik rhythm, and to our ears, a touch of Velvet Underground. We think this adds up to a very promising release.

The Stroppies are Angus Lord, Caudia Serfaty, Rory Heane, and Adam Hewitt. Levity will be out May 5 via Tough Love Recordings.


Bandcamp for Levity

Various link to order Levity

Label page for Levity

Saturday, March 12, 2022

"Eye Know Who You Are" by Garbage & the Flowers

Garbage & the Flowers may not be a household name, even among music fans. But as we aren't devoted to major label/Tik Tok/Influencer/X million stream artists here, we're quite OK with that. Don't get us wrong -- we are all in favor of worthy artists becoming successful. It's just that we have decided to help those who haven't gotten to that point and may not even be trying to get to that point, but make music that moves us.

So, um, where were we? Oh yes, Garbage & the Flowers. What we (think we) know is that the core of the band is Yuri Frusin and Helen Johnstone. From time to time their ranks have included Paul Yates, Heath Cozen, Torben Tilly, Rebecca Davies, Kristen Wineera, and Stuart Porter. Their name comes from a line in Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne". They released a small amount of well regarded music in the past few decades, and they have a new five-song album titled Cinnamon Sea coming out on May 13 via Fire Records. The label lists the band as hailing from Wellington, New Zealand, but the album was recorded in Freyerstown in Victoria, Australia.

Our -- and your -- first taste of Cinnamon Sea is "Eye Know Who You Are". We think the song showcases the band's ability to created ramshackle, jangling pop gems, and it is the sort of music that touches us at our core. And we like being touched that way. 



Bandcamp for Cinnamon Sea

"Queen Of The Cowboys" by Kindsight

One of our eagerly anticipated albums of the spring is Swedish Punk by Danish quartet Kindsight. The young band delivers a winning combination of youthful insights, hooks and upbeat but melodic rock/pop soundscapes that go perfectly with sunny skies and carefree days. The latest single from the album is the uber-appealing "Queen Of The Cowboys".

Kindsight are Nina Hyldgaard Rasmussen (vocals/guitar), Soren Svensson (guitar), Anders Prip (bass), and Johannes Jacobsen (drums). "Queen Of The Cowboys" is out now via Stockhom's Rama Lama Records, which also will release the album on March 25th.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

"Losing" by Night Noise Team

Electropop maestros Night Noise Team hasn't made much noise in the past eight years. Chalk it up to post-Scottish independence vote hangover, to one of the duo - Sean Ormsby - remaining in Edinburgh and one -Fabian Pinardon - moving to London, to creative people moving on to other creative things, or some combination of the foregoing. But NNT is back and making noise again. Beautiful, vibrant noise. Today brings "Losing", a digital-only single you now can have for your very own collection. We also can report that there will be a new album this autumn, as well.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

"Building Blocks" by Atom Eyes


A little over three months ago we feature "Roll The Dice" by Edinburgh Neo Soul band Atom Eyes (link). They are back with "Building Blocks", a playful, melodic and upbeat tune that assures us that we were not wrong to mark Atom Eyes as an outfit with a good future.

Atom Eyes are Lissa, Fraser, Scott, Alan, and Tom. "Building Blocks" is taken from their upcoming album, and is released via Marionville Records.




Tuesday, March 8, 2022

"17 18 19" by Ibibio Sound Machine


This will get your feet moving -- "17 18 19" by London's Ibibio Sound Machine. Combining Afrocentric rhythms, electro-pop, disco and post punk, this band is one of the more refreshing bands we are currently evaluating. The song is from their upcoming new album Electricity, which will be out March 25 via Merge Records.





Bandcamp for Electricity

Various links

Monday, March 7, 2022

Jenny Hval - Classic Objects


The prodigiously talented Norwegian musician and novelist Jenny Hval is about to grace the world with her new album, Classic Objects. We are advised to expect observations of settings past and future, real and imagined. We don't need to be advised that it good -- Jenny is always good. But in case you are not familiar, here are two album tracks to win you over.

Classic Objects will be out this coming Friday, March 11, via 4AD.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

The Hannah Barberas - When You Were My Boyfriend EP


Good News/Bad News Sunday. Good News: Ace indie pop band The Hannah Barberas will be releasing their second album this year. Bad News: The release date is several months away. But the bad news is only partial bad news, because the quartet has released the four-song When You Were My Boyfriend EP. The release is digital-only and only via Bandcamp, so check it out below. We expect this little record will make everyone's upcoming week much better.

The Hannah Barberas are Damien (guitar/vocals), Lucy (vocals), Ian (bass/vocals), and Matthew (drums/vocals).




Bandcamp for EP

Friday, March 4, 2022

"Hopes High" by Hater

"Hopes High" is the latest single from the upcoming album Sincere by Sweden's Hater. The triumphant closer to new album Sincere, "Hopes High is a fuzzy shoegaze song about fading memories of past relationships. Drawn with bright tones and a martial beat, it should tell all of you that you will want this album when it is available in a couple of months.

Sincere will be released May 6 via London's Fire Records.



Bandcamp for Sincere

Various links to order "Hopes High"

Various links to order Sincere