Sunday, July 31, 2022

Das Phaedrus - Dark Winning


Our ears have traveled far for the last evening of the weekend. Specifically, we are listening to the rocking riffs and robust rhythms of Dark Winning. It is the latest record by Das Phaedrus, a Dunedin, New Zealand four-piece with a literate name and a great sound. There is a good bit of '80s alternative and psychedelic rock, but plenty of pop accents and a bit of jangle as well. But the listener can count on the fact that whatever this band does, they do well. And Dark Winning is attractively offered at 'name your price' to facilitate its movement to your record collection.

Das Phaedrus are Andrew Spittle, Jeremy Taylor, Victor Billot, and Piers Graham.


Bandcamp for Dark Winning

The Reds, Pinks & Purples - Still Clouds At Noon


We remain amazed at the prodigious rate at which Glenn Donaldson has been creating dream pop gems for the past few years. His latest mini album for his project The Reds, Pinks & Purples is a Bandcamp-only release titled Still Clouds At Noon. Reactions to music are personal and highly individualized. But for me Glenn's music pulls memories both happy and melancholy, prompting an internal 'home movie' of parts of my life. Yeah, dangerous but wonderful.

Portland and Seattle fans should note that The Reds, Pinks & Purples will be visiting your town in the second week of August.



Bandcamp for EP

Various links

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Near Beer - Near Beer


There is something about the combination of hard rocking riffs and anthemic punk choruses that never fails to ramp up our heartrates, prompt us to stay up late, and, quite often, drink too much beer. Fortunately, the name of the band that is the subject of this feature also is a public service announcement. This is because Near Beer reminds us to have the aforementioned essential supplies at hand. And it is entirely necessary because the Los Angeles trio's self-titled debut is a perfect encapsulation of hard rocking riffs and anthemic punk choruses. One could have wondered whether songwriter/guitarist and frontman Joey Siara could still deliver the goods ten years following his last album for The Henry Clay People. But previous singles from Near Beer -- "Yelling At A Dog", "Dead Drummers", and "Mixtape Generation" -- promised big things and the album more than fulfills the promise. Lyrically, the songs explore various aspects of growing older and dealing with what life throws at you, delivered with acceptance, defiance and some grins. But sonically the album is all about not giving up on rocking. So in the end Near Beer is a terrific piece of music and a life affirming statement. What more could we want?

Near Beer are Joey Siara (vocals/guitar), Brent Stranathan (drums), and Jeremy Levy (bass/backing vocals). The album is out now via Double Helix Records.





Bandcamp for album

Neil Brogan - Things Keep Getting In The Way


Neil Brogan is a master of concise guitar pop nuggets. He charmed and thrilled us with his former project Sea Pinks and his solo work, and he continues to earn our praise with his new album Things Keep Getting In The Way. His sweet spot has been jangling, chiming, crunchy tunes with a good coat of sunny California vibes. Sure, he is in Belfast, but location is a state of mind. But while there are plenty of such songs on this album, Neil shows a deft touch with quieter, more reflective tunes such as "Build Back Better". Throughout the listener is treated to keep observations and wry humor to add substance to the hooks, riffs and bouncing rhythms. 

We had a brief editorial debate about whether the album is front-loaded or back-loaded, but decided that it was a trick question. The album is just plain loaded. This may be Neil's best, most consistent work. And for a man that has impressed us for a long time, that is quite a feat.

Things Keep Getting In The Way is self-released and is out now. See the Bandcamp link below.


Bandcamp for album

Various relevant links

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

"Back To The Days Of I Don't Knows" by Yea-Ming & The Rumours


One of my favorite types of posts is a post about a current song obsession. I realize that not every reader will invariably have the same feeling about a song, but I feel better just highlighting a song that moves me. So that brings us to the perfect melancholy jangle of "Back To The Days Of I Don't Knows" by Oakland's Yea-Ming & The Rumours. The song appears on the band's recent LP So, Bird ... and the song was included in our feature of the album three months ago (link). However, a second post for the tune is timely, not just because it has been newly cast in video form (see below), but because there has been a second pressing of the album. Since the first set of vinyl was quickly snapped up, this fortunate circumstance gives those who missed out on vinyl the first time a second chance. And all of us sinners love second chances (I've been known to angle for third and fourth chances, but decline to disclose my success rate).

So don't sleep on this opportunity, folks. This is great, classic songwriting. And if the first pressing sold out, the second pressing may as well. The album is out via Dandy Boy Records in the US and Lilystars Records in the Philippines.




Bandcamp for album

Lilystars Records page for album

Various links for the album

Sunday, July 17, 2022

"Inhuman" by Gordi


Just to keep you appetite keen for the upcoming Inhuman EP from Gordi, here is the title track from the record. It was inspired by the effects of the incredibly damaging fires suffered by Australia in 2019.

Gordi is Sophie Payten a physician and signer songwriter. Inhuman will be out on August 19 via Jagjaguwar.

Friday, July 15, 2022

"Expert In A Dying Field" by The Beths

When it comes to dense, crunching guitars, plentiful hooks and wry, intelligent and introspective lyrics, you can't really do better these days than to tune into The Beths. And if our opinion means that the New Zealand quartet must be considered one of the top indie pop rock bands these days, we won't argue at all. Their upcoming album Expert In A Dying Field will be in our hands in a couple of months, but the title track is available not. Sample the goodies below.

The Beths are Elizabeth Stokes, Jonathan Pearce, Benjamin Sinclair, and Tristan Deck. Expert In A Dying Field will be out September 16 via Carpark Records (US) and Ivy League Records (Australia).

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Bubblegum Lemonade - Never Have I Ever EP


One of our favorite janglepop artists is Laz McCluskey, aka Bubblegum Lemonade. A fan of, and influenced by, The Byrds, The Monkeys and other purveyors of upbeat, jangling guitar pop, the Rickenbacker-wielding dude has been thrilling us for years. Later this year he will deliver new 12-track LP Jangleadelica. But the new treats start right now, as Laz has released a three-song EP titled Never Have I Ever. The title track is taken from the upcoming album and is an effervescent delight. The other songs on the EP are "Sun Kiss Of Life" and "At The Pool", both non-album tracks. Sounds like summer, doesn't it.

The EP is available now via Matinee Recordings and other digital sellers.



Matinee Recordings page for release

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

"In The Right" by The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness

This is shaping up as a very good music week. We now have "In The Right", the new power pop gem by The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness. The duo's third album -- The Third Wave Of ... -- is available to preorder, and given the quality of the singles to date, it will be legendary.

TBWTPN are Andrew Taylor and Gonzalo Marcos. "In The Right" is out now as a digital single. The album will be released on September 9 by Tear Jerk Records in Australia and Bobo Integral Records in the rest of the universe.



Various links for single

Bandcamp for preorder of album

Emily Fairlight / The Shifting Sands - Sun Casts A Shadow


Sun Casts A Shadow sounds like the fruits of a collaboration mandated by the music gods. Two New Zealand artists, Emily Fairlight and Mike McLeod (The Shifting Sands), came together in Los Angeles and spent two days laying down nine tracks of their individual creations. While the styles of their past recordings differ, in the stripped-down approach undertaken for this album Emily and Mike sound like they were made to play on each other's songs.

If you are interested in the artists' past work, McLeod's The Shifting Sands has released collectable psychedelic rock recordings. Fairlight has released several albums, including the remarkable Mother Of Gloom set. Their back catalogs are well worth your time.

Sun Casts A Shadow is available as a 12" vinyl (45 RPM), CD and digital release. It is out now in New Zealand via Fishrider Records and in the UK via Occultation Recordings.

Bandcamp for album (Fishrider Records)

Occultation Recordings

Facebook for The Shifting Sands

Facebook for Emily Fairlight

"For Love" by The Legends


Johan Angergard is a bit of a legend in Nordic music circles, as a member of Acid House Kings and Club 8, among others, as well as running Labrador Records. However, in his solo guise he is, in fact, The Legends. He has dropped a perfectly breezy, light-filled summer track titled "For Love". Check it out below and look for it at your favorite digital outlet.



Twitter for Labrador Records

Monday, July 11, 2022

The Reds, Pinks & Purples - The World Should Be Ashamed


It is beyond dispute that Glenn Donaldson is enjoying an especially productive period with his project The Reds, Pinks & Purples. But the enjoyment is not his alone. All fans of well-constructed, hyper melodic and melancholy pop music have been enjoying his many releases over the past several years. This month has brought another gem in the form of a two-track single consisting of the title track and "Take The Long Way Through The Day". Lovely stuff, and it is available now as a digital release for 'name your price'.

See the links below for digital versions of this release and prior releases. For vinyl versions of the band's releases, contact Slumberland Records or Tough Love Records.


Bandcamp for release

Bandcamp for other releases by The Reds, Pinks & Purples

Sunday, July 10, 2022

"Chelsea" by Subshine


Start your Monday with "Chelsea", a well-crafted power ballad by Subshine. Subshine is the solo recording moniker of Norwegian pop artist Ole Gunnar Gunderson. Ole was the songwriter and lead vocalist of major label band Lorraine in the '00s, but has recently forged his own path. We particularly like his bold approach - paint in bright colors, sophisticated arrangements and big sounds. You can feel the sun rising as the track unfolds.

Flowertown - Half Yesterday


Flowertown are masters of beautiful, slow core dream pop infused with a sense of disquiet. We were unabashedly blown away by their 2021 release Time Trials, and their new EP Half Yesterday is, in our opinion, even stronger. The jangle, reverb and layers of gauze remain, but several of the songs break into jangle pop territory and one can almost sense a smile on the faces of Karina Gill and Michael Ramos as they share vocal duties. The duo are both excellent songwriters, but their recordings elevate the material because of their easy partnership as performers. It can be difficult to describe the effect of their music other than to say that we feel more complete having experienced it. So we'll just leave you with the observations that we have gone entire days listening to records by Flowertown, Cindy, and Tony Jay

Karina Gill also heads San Francisco band Cindy, and Michael Ramos records and performs as Tony Jay. Half Yesterday is out now via Mt.St.Mtn. (vinyl) and Paisley Shirt Records (digital/cassette). Unfortunately, it appears that the cassette is sold out, but vinyl and digital remain available. And by the way, dear readers, both Paisley Shirt Records and Mt.St.Mtn. are terrific labels and their rosters deserve your attention.

Bandcamp for Half Yesterday

Paisley Shirt Records page for Half Yesterday

Mt.St.Mtn. page for Half Yesterday

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

The Mary Onettes - What I Feel In Some Places


Another post about a Scandinavian band so soon? Why not? We love Nordic pop when it is done well, and few do it better than Gothenburg's The Mary Onettes. It has been four years since the band has given our ears new music, but they are back in fine form with the three track What I Feel In Some Places. Dreamy and melancholy, it is a reminder of how much we missed these guys. And in even happier news, we believe a new album is coming later this year.

The Mary Onettes are Philip Ekstrom, Henrik Ekstrom, Simon Fransson, and Petter Aguren. The EP is out now via Westside Music and Welfare Sounds.





Apple Music


Westside Music

"Way I Go" by Gordi


One of the most special emails today bore notice of a singer songwriter who wasn't familiar to me. Her name is Sophie Payten, and she performs as Gordi. Her recent works have been collaborations with other artists, but she will release her six-track Inhuman EP on August 19 via Jagjaguwar. Today's missive contained a link to her first single from the EP -- the stunning "Way I Go". The song is a reflection on the transformative effects of being in love, told simply with Payten's guitar and her reverbed vocals. We highly recommend that you watch the video below.

By way of background, Sophie Payten is from Sydney, although she travels and may now be residing in Los Angeles. She also is a physician.





Various links for "Way I Go"

Various links for Gordi

"Once A Bombshell" by Northern Portrait


Last fall we had a new single titled "At Attention" from Danish band Northern Portrait (link). After a long wait, we now have "Once A Bomshell", which is the second single from the upcoming album The Swiss Army. Unlike the racing jangle of "At Attention", this new song hits a mid-tempo groove for a somewhat moody tale of the fading glory of a former bombshell. Our conclusion is that Northern Portrait have lost none of the mastery of the art of a pop song.

The Swiss Army will be out August 5 in vinyl, CD and digital formats via Matinee Recordings.


Matinee Recordings page for single

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

"Didn't It Rain Last Night" by First Rodeo


It is true that most of our posts focus on pop and rock artists, but we sometimes cross to the country side of the street when appropriately attracted. We recently received a song called "Didn't It Rain Last Night", and we were duly attracted. The creation of Portland/Philadelphia band First Rodeo, the song is classic country/Americana road song replete with affecting vocals and a rich arrangement. First Rodeo consists of Nathan Tucker and Tim Howe. The met in Portland a few years ago and played in each other's bands. Although Nathan has since moved to Philadelphia, their urge to collaborate remains strong, so the do what they can remotely, and then get together to record. Their first album, First Rodeo, will be out August 5 via Forged Artifacts.

Bandcamp for "Didn't It Rain Last Night"

Bandcamp for album

"The Soft" by Slim Wrist


We are quite take with "The Soft", which is the new single by Edinburgh duo Slim Wrist. The song adeptly walks the line between melancholy dream pop and more upbeat electro pop. There is a nice dichotomy between the glitchy rhythms and the smoother chorus. The single is out now and is taken from the upcoming album Closer For Comforting.

Slim Wrist are Fern Morris and Brian Polora. They formerly were known as Super Inuit. Closer For Comforting will be released in September.





Monday, July 4, 2022

"Soaking Up The Sickness" by Dream Ivory

Welcome to the dream pop of Christian and Louie Baello, two early-20s California brothers who record as Dream, Ivory. They are unafraid to express vulnerability and heartache, and willing to push conventions with respect to instrumentation, influences and arrangements. The new single is "Soaking Up The Sickness", and we were quite impressed. If this is the new dream pop, give us more. In any case, we want more Dream, Ivory. And we will get it because new album About a Boy is due September 30 via AWAL.

Friday, July 1, 2022

"Life After Winter" by Wireheads


Adelaide's Wireheads are like no one else, which is just one of the many good reasons we love them. Of course, the top reason is that they make music that is captivating, enthralling, often off-kilter but always interesting. Happily, they have a new album cooking, preceded by their new single, "Life After Winter". The single is a classic Wireheads track. As for the album, we expect left field observations and stories delivered in leader Dom Trimboli's talk-sing. And we expect that it will be one of our favorite albums of the year.

The single and the album will be released via Tenth Court.


Bandcamp for single

Various links for single

"Dead Drummers" by Near Beer


Time for the first post of the US holiday weekend, and it may be a coincidence that I am sipping my first beer of the holiday weekend while writing about the third single from the upcoming album by Near Beer. However, that fact is not nearly as relevant as the fact that the single, titled "Dead Drummers", is about grieving lost friends, and it comes as we all age and the world has spent two plus years in the grip of a virus that has killed many. Sure, the track is the sort of blistering rock that we would expect from this Los Angeles trio, but it is the message that really hits.

Near Beer - formed on the foundations of The Henry Clay People - are Joey Siara (vocals/guitar), Brent Stranathan (drums), and Jeremy Levy (bass/backing vocals). The album will be released July 15 via Double Helix Records.





Bandcamp for "Dead Drummers"