Monday, October 31, 2022

Smashing Times -Bloom


Bloom deserves a lot more fanfare than we have observed about it. Thirteen tracks of jangling, twee folk rock, vibrant psychedelic pop and freakbeat reminding us variously of Felt, The Jasmine Minks, Sneaky Feelings and Television Personalities, and sounding to us a lot like a well-curated playlist of hits. But despite the wide influences, and perhaps partially because of them, the album sounds fresh and original. Of course, credit for that largely goes to the writing and execution by The Smashing Times.

The five-piece resides in Baltimore, Maryland, although their musical hearts seem well traveled in place to the UK, New Zealand and California, and in time to the '60s, '80s and '90s. But our musical hearts travel the same spots in the time-space continuum, which may explain why an album new to our ears sounds like it has been in our brains forever. One listen was all it took to move Bloom to our list of favorite albums this year, and repeated listens find it insinuating up the ranks. We highly recommend that your treat your ears.

Bloom is out now via Spanish label Meritorio Records.


Bandcamp for Bloom

Meritorio Records

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Don Glori - Welcome


Welcome to Welcome. Created by double-bassist and composer Gordon Li recording as Don Glori, the album reflects jazz, soul, Brazilian and funk. Gordon paints with all of the colors available in the musical spectrum resulting in an incredible vibrant and uplifting set of songs. Gordon and his collaborators wield sax, vibraphone, bass, keys, flute, drums, percussion and vocals into a stew that reaches out and grabs your soul. Such a joyful and eminently human set of songs shouldn't be missed.

Welcome is out now via Bedroom Suck & Flightless in Australia and New Zealand, Cargo Records in the UK and EU, and Dispatch Dept. in North America.



Bandcamp for Welcome

Various links for Welcome

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

"In The Woods" by Astrid Swan


Last year we wrote the following about Astrid Swan's LP D/other: "...songs that feature literate and poetic storytelling and ... compelling vocals. ... Don't miss this album, it is absolutely terrific." And if you did miss the album, consider this your reminder to rectify your omission. However, the purpose of this post isn't to grant you a second chance, although it does so, it is to share the good news that one of the finest tracks from D/other, "In The Woods", is now available as a single. It is a song about sadness and the value of accepting your sadness to allow you to go forward. And it is absolutely gorgeous.

The single is out via Helsinki's Soliti Music.




Bandcamp for D/other

Soliti Music

Monday, October 24, 2022

The 1981 - Polaroids EP


We have stumbled across a 'must have' record that we want to share with you. It is the five-track Polaroid EP by the San Francisco Bay Area band  The 1981. The EP consists of three songs previously released as singles, and two new ones. They all are worthy of being singles, and if this were still a time when indie rock ruled the radio airwaves and radio ruled our music experience, all five songs would have a better than even bet of charting well. Of course, this isn't 1981 any more, but this music is here and now and you should grab yourself a copy in digital or cassette format.

The 1981 is Adam (vocals/guitar/bass/drums/keys), and Bobby (keys/synth/organ/vocals). Polaroids is out now via Dandy Boy Records.



Bandcamp for Polaroids (Dandy Boy Records)

Bandcamp for Polaroids (The 1981 band)

"Inside Every Mountain Is A Heart" by The Paperback Throne

The Paperback Throne is Ralph and Sylvia Hector. It appears that they are active with a community of other creatives and participate in projects with various combinations of artists. But they also release music as The Paperback Throne. And under that name they just released "Inside Every Mountain Is A Heart". A grand orchestral pop tune as heartfelt as the title would suggest, it is the centerpiece of the upcoming album Waves. The B-side is "Arms Around You", a folky tune about comforting your loved one. I actually needed these tracks today as my wife crashed on our bike ride and I just got back from the ICU. she is likely to be fine, but it is a reminder to pay attention to what is important and your loved ones, because it all can disappear fast.

The single is available as of October 21. Waves will be released on October 28 via Iffy Folk Records.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

My Favorite - Tender Is The Nightshift: Part I


One thing we decided early on in our blog careers is that we never should be embarrassed about covering an album that has been out for a while. Our goal is to feature music we like, not just music released this week that we like. We're actually proud that this excuse can apply frequently, but it is mentioned now because it also applies to the subject of this post. Tender Is The Nightshift: Part I was released about four weeks ago, but we just listened to it a few days ago. And then we listened to it again, and again, and again (we'll stop the reputation because we lost count).

So, what is it, (we hope) you ask. It is new wave, new romantic pop created for the modern times. Does it work, (we hope) you ask. Yes, better than we could have hoped. Of course, when one peels back the cover on My Favorite, the quality is perfectly understandable. Almost 30 years after their first single, the core of the band formed at Stony Brook is back to spin tales. The five members are down to two, but the core principles of new wave/art pop with punk spirit remains, leavened by the passage of time and the potential for eventual apocalypse. There are five tracks (the fifth a dub nice dub of the fourth) on this EP, which is the first of a planned three EP set. Count us as totally on board for the next two EPs as well.

My Favorite is Michael Grace Jr. (vocals/vocoders/melodica), Kurt Brondo (synths/piano/drum machines), and Gil Abad (bass). For this recording they are joined by Jaime Allison Babic (vocals) and Joseph Babic (guitars). Tender Is The Nigthshift: Part I is available as a digital download from the Band's Bandcamp and digitally and in vinyl from the Bandcamp for label HHBTM Records in the UA and wiaiwya in UK/Europe.




Bandcamp for album (US -HHBTM)

Bandcamp for album (My Favorite Bandcamp)

wiaiwya Bandcamp for UK orders

Various related links

Friday, October 21, 2022

"Slow Down" by Whose Rules


"Slow Down" is an appealing and pleasing reminder to take time to enjoy the happy current moments and not always rush onwards. It is the creation of Marius Elfstedt, a Norwegian producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist known up until now for his work in the EDM field. The pandemic prompted him to start a solo project named Whose Rules. After listening to "Slow Down" we hope Marius isn't too slow about releasing more.



Bandcamp for "Slow Down"

Various links for "Slow Down"

Melby - Looks Like A Map


Looks Like A Map by Melby sounds like a triumph. We have been a fan of the Swedish band since we first heard their music, so it is no surprise that we like this new recording. But even as fans we did not anticipate the growth in songwriting and arrangement reflected on the album. They are creating with a broader spectrum and additional layers of sound and the production is excellent. And Matilda Wiezell remains one of our favorite vocalists in the indie scene. The year isn't finished, but we are certain that Looks Like A Map is a top 20 album for us.

Melby are Teo Jernkvist Zurcher (drums/percussion), David Jehrlander (bass/synths), Are Engen Steinsholm (guitar/synths), and Matilda Wiezell (vocals/guitar). Looks Like A Map is out today, October 21, via Rama Lama Records.




Bandcamp for album

Label page for album orders

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Typical Girls Volume 6


Emotional Response Records knows that they have a good thing going with their Typical Girls series. It is so good, in fact, that this month they released Typical Girls 6. The series is dedicated to showcasing women artists in indie music. These records have introduced us to new artists, as well as giving us new songs of artists already on our 'favorites' list. The music encompasses female-fronted bands in indie pop, indie rock, punk and darkwave and regardless of country of origin. To give you a taste of the goodies, please enjoy songs by San Francisco dreampop band Cindy, Sheffield, UK's Persona, and Memphis' Optic Sink.

The album is released in vinyl and digital formats. See the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for album

"Don't Let This Moment Pass You By" by Field School

Today's special song is "Don't Let This Moment Pass You By" by Field School. The song is a wistful slice of sunny, jangling pop that reflects and honors the artist's Puget Sound DIY predecessors (including his former bands). It is the third and final single from the upcoming When Summer Comes LP, which will be out November 18 via Bobo Integral. It is one of our eagerly anticipated albums for this calendar year.

Field School is Olympia, Washington's Charles Bert.

Bandcamp for single

Bandcamp for When Summer Comes

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Cool Sounds - Like That


For some time Cool Sounds has been our go-to band for brightly colored soft rock with a good dose of jangle. However, they don't stay in a single lane and in prior releases they have flavored the compositions with dream pop, country and indie pop. In Like That, their new album, the core of soft rock remains, but the band has added some glam to the proceedings. Now, this isn't a sea change because Cool Sounds' songs have always seemed to have a propulsive swagger and sparkly polish. But the glam element pushes to the front edge here and, to our satisfied ears, is a delightfully fresh addition. As often is the case for Cool Sounds a lot of sonic details are packed into the songs (including horns), as well as plenty of whimsey and humor. But it all is in service of a good song and, we suggest, some very danceable tunes.

The main man of Cool Sounds is Dainis Lacey, who writes and sings the songs and, for Like That, played nearly all of the instruments. But he draws on talented friends such as Ambrin Hasnain, Dylan Young and Pierce Morton to round out the proceedings. In our view Lacey is a very talented musical cook and on this album he got the glam, the bounce, the melodies and all of the other ingredients just right. It is a very enjoyable set of songs and is available now via Chapter Music.


Bandcamp for album Like That

Various links for album Like That

Various relevant links

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Cozy Slippers - Cozy Slippers


Last night when we allowed ourselves to follow the Twitter rabbit hole, we read a tweet that said something like this: 'Look at your last Google search - that is what kills you'. That is relevant to this post, because our immediately prior Google search was "Cozy Slippers". Now, if I we were hard working and focused music writers we would have taken the reminder to get back to writing about the new self-titled album by Cozy Slippers. However, as we were not in a hard working and focused frame of mind we spent time musing about just what death-by-cozy-slipper would entail. Choking on a slipper while trying to eat it? Being beaten by a cozy slipper until dead (would seem to take a really long time)? Or perhaps the three members of this Seattle-based band wreaking vengeance for a bad review? Hmmm, thinking about the last one prompts us to get back to work. We mean, they seem like nice people, but why take chances?

In fact, it is no burden to write nice things about Cozy Slippers. The album is packed with hooky, effervescent guitar pop with plenty of fuzz, jangle, chime and twang. Even when the themes turn a bit dark our heads bobs and our feet are moving. And while this band has no weaknesses and the guitar playing was thrilling, we would be remiss if we didn't mention that this rhythm section rocks our world. We haven't seen Cozy Slippers live yet, but based on the 12 songs on this album, we think it is a show worth seeing. But as seeing the band live won't be a option for may of you, we suggest buying the album, playing it loud, and pretending you are at a show. No one will judge you.

The members of the band are Barbara Barrilleaux, Sarah Engel, and Steven Skelton. Cozy Slippers is out now via Subjangle and Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten.




Bandcamp for Cozy Slippers

Various links for Cozy Slippers and the album

Saturday, October 15, 2022

The Reds, Pinks & Purples - They Only Wanted Your Soul


Well none of us pop fans can complain about the volume of material released by Glenn Donaldson's The Reds, Pinks & Purples in the past few years, because he has released more than anyone would have thought possible. And that is especially true given the top quality of the music that comprises those releases. Of course, it is human nature to want more of what we love. But is is too early for a "greatest hits" album (and how would one choose?), and we don't want a career retrospective of the project because we hope there is much more to come. Fortunately, Glenn hit on a solution: They Only Wanted Your Soul. This new LP reaches back in the near past and grabs the four songs from a rare early EP released on a Swedish label and adds six additional songs from that 2019-2020 period that were never formally released. As you would expect, it is the among the finest examples of melancholy dream pop that you could hope to find. So we recommend that you buy it because the only winning move to is have a complete set of The Reds, Pinks & Purples. And we all like to be winners.

They Only Wanted Your Soul is out now in vinyl and digital formats via Slumberland Records. The Bandcamp link contains an note for UK purchasers who want to avoid overseas postage fees.



Bandcamp for single

Bandcamp for album

Friday, October 14, 2022

"Compilation Tape" by Model Shop


Like any truly good indie pop song "Compilation Tape" has a solid core of melody and hooks. And this new single by Seattle's Model Shop has that and more. The sweet lyrics, layers of detail and classic arrangement result in a tune that lodges in your brain like it always belonged there. And maybe it does! In any case, if you are a pop fan you won't mind.

"Compilation Tape" is the second single from the band's upcoming debut LP, Love Interest. We recently featured the first single, "Letters to Melissa" (link). The album will be released November 25 via Spanish label Meritorio Records. Note that US orders will shop from Portland, thus avoiding expensive shipping charges.

Model Shop are Kevin Emerson (vocals/drums), Jen Fox (Bass), and Ethan Jones (vocals/guitar).


Bandcamp for Compilation Tape

Bandcamp for Love Interest

Meritorio Records link for Love Interest

Monday, October 10, 2022

Free Time - Jangle Jargon


Dion Nania moved from Melbourne to New York to pursue his studies, and we expect that left him with scant free time. But unlike those of us who use our free time to play a game or doom scroll the news, Dion devotes considerable energies to Free Time. In fact, the recently released Jangle Jargon is his third album under that name. And while it is Dion's project and his songs, the end result also draws on contributions from Martin Frawley and Amy Franz (Twerps/Wild Horses), as well as Jonah Maurer and Mike Mimoun. 

Dion is a deft songwriter who evinces a solid vision for what he wants to say and how he will say it. So even when several of his songs touch on styles termed slacker pop or dolewave in recent decades, the material strikes the listener as genuinely fresh and original. And for the most part, Jangle Jargon is comprised of timeless guitar pop -- well crafted and expertly performed. An album from Dion is always welcome, but we think that this one is the best Free Time recording so far.

Jangle Jargon is out now via Bedroom Suck. Bedroom Suck is a Brisbane label, but US fans can purchase vinyl at the Polyvinyl Shop link below.



Bandcamp for Jangle Jargon

Polyvinyl shop for US vinyl orders

Aluminum - Windowpane EP


Put your face up to the Windowpane EP and experience the thrilling music of Aluminum. The San Francisco quartet makes an aggressive shoegaze wrapped around a nugget of sugary pop and riding baggy rhythms. And then they sidestep being typecast with some sweet dreampop. The effect is exciting and addictive.

The EP begins with the title track, which may become your favorite driving track although it sounds damn fine sitting in my desk chair. After the following gauzy electric interlude of "Waiting For Tomorrow", Aluminum returns with the racing, slashing shoegaze of "Solar" -- and yes, it does seem as hot as the sun. In a delightful change of pace, "With You", the fourth track, is a gentle dreampop tune. "Secrets Breed" is another brief electronic breath-catcher before the closing explosion of "Red & Gold" which combines the various facets of Aluminum to great effect.

Approach this one with an open mind, and we think you will regard Aluminum as one of your top discoveries of the year.

Aluminum are Marc Leyda (vocals/guitar/sampler/synth), Ryan Gonsalves (vocals/bass), Austin Montanari (guitar), and Eric Mohammed (drums). Windowpane EP is out now in digital and vinyl formats via Dany Boy Records.


Bandcamp for Windowpane EP

Various links

Order link for cassette

Sunday, October 9, 2022

I'm Starting to Feel A Bit Like Myself Again" by Field School

 Ah, Sunday night is the official start to a new week of music at WYMA, and our selection committee has unanimously decided to lead off with "I'm Starting to Feel A Bit Like Myself Again" by Field School. Of course, the primary reason that we lead off with this single by the project of Olympia, Washington's Charles Bert is that it is a fine pop song. But it also reminds us that we are now recovered from attending Friday night's show with Quivers, Massage and Zebra Hunt. And Charles will know what we mean because he was there as well, and had to drive back to Olympia.

The single is taken from the debut Field School album When Summer Comes which is due November 18 via Bobo Integral.

Bandcamp for single

Bandcamp for When Summer Comes

Friday, October 7, 2022

Great Friday Show In Seattle!

 For those looking for great music -- or for an excuse to get out of the house without drinking being listed as the primary reason -- Barboza on Seattle's Capitol Hill (925 E. Pike Street) has a great bill tonight. Quivers are headlining, having traveled all the way from Melbourne just to treat your ears. Support comes from the most excellent Massage from southern California and Seattle's own Zebra Hunt. Now, we aren't going to hype expectations by saying that you will see something unprecedented, such as a quivering zebra getting a massage on stage, but we aren't saying you won't, either. But you will hear enough jangle, pop and chime to make your weekend a success on the first night, so you will have that going for you.

And just look at what top publications are saying about these bands:

Quivers -

"... Quivers passes every test essential to a guitar pop band, and every nonessential test one can think of as well." When You Motor Away

"   [T]he song shimmers and jangles in all the right places, with the warm and sincere vocals balanced by a dynamic arrangement." When You Motor Away

"... [I]t is a terrific slice of life-affirming-in-the-face-of-mortality jangle pop that we look for to fuel our days."  When You Motor Away

Massage -

"... [I]t is a clear demonstration that his band has the chops to be considered on of the best guitar pop bands around." When You Motor Away

"... Still Life by California quintet Massage, truly is one of the better guitar pop albums I have heard in several years." When You Motor Away

"... A chiming, jangling jumble of guitars and synths with wistful vocals and a heart-tugging hooks in the choruses, it is solid gold indie pop." When You Motor Away

Zebra Hunt -

"From the opening notes of "Delaware" City Sighs envelopes you in warm, jangling guitar tones, thick bouncing basslines and crisp percussion.  The band has an excellent feel for the kind of upbeat garage pop tunes that dominate this album, and despite their love of Dunedin bands of the '80s the rumbling, muscular tones make this album sound distinctly American to my ears ...." When You Motor Away

"Welcome to In Phrases. Welcome to the world of Zebra Hunt, a world where energy, melody, deft writing, exquisite timing and a bit of grit, and a bit plus more of jangle, transport you to places that only good music can take you."  When You Motor Away

"[W]e'd like to celebrate the latest album release by When You Motor Away's virtual house band, Seattle's Zebra Hunt.  Titled Trade Desire, the album features eight tracks of the sort of guitar pop that we love." When You Motor Away

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

The Chesterfields - New Modern Homes


There are a number of bands that those of us who are, well, of a mature age remember fondly but don't expect to see again or record new music. As you would expect if you are a regular reader here, a number of UK guitar pop bands from the '80s would fall into that category. So imagine our surprise and genuine delight to discover that English band The Chesterfields have just released an album of new music. The band had been active in the later half of the '80s, disbanded, briefly reformed in the early '90s, and then again to play New York Pop Fest in the middle of the last decade. Their new album is New Modern Homes consisting of 12 tracks that recall the jangle and scruff of the C86 era of their origin, but also reflect some well polished updating. Treat your ears to some classic jangle pop, a bit of Television Personalities skewed pop, and some harder edged songs with a wash of psychedelia. This is a reunion to celebrate.

For New Modern Homes The Chesterfields are Simon Barber (bass/vocals), Rob Parry (drums), Helen Stickland (guitar/vocals), and Andy Strickland (guitar/vocals). Founding member Dave Goldsworthy died in 2003. The album is out now in digital, vinyl and CD formats.



Bandcamp for New Modern Homes

Various links for The Chesterfields and New Modern Homes

Monday, October 3, 2022

"Is Your Mind That Free?" by The Reds, Pinks & Purples


A few weeks ago we announced that The Reds, Pinks & Purples would be releasing They Only Wanted Your Soul, via Slumberland. The album include six tracks from the projects early days, plus songs from a rare early "7" inch. And to help you remember to mark the release day of October 14 on you music calendar, here is "Is Your Mind That Free?", the second single from the album.



Bandcamp for single

Bandcamp for album