Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Storm The Palace - La B​ê​te Blanche


Enthralling storytelling, which sometimes stretches credibility in a very good way, is the fare on offer on La Bete Blanche. The album is by Edinburgh-based Storm The Palace. The band, whose members hail from Scotland, the United States, and Spain, cook up a heady stew of progressive folk, chamber pop and, to our ears, a touch of Americana. But what really sets it apart from other folk albums is the quality of the writing and the band's evident joy in the theatrics and drama of their performances. The band cites fantasy cinema, dream pop and metal as among their influences, and that isn't mere puffery. So allocate some time to listen and some exciting musical doors may open for you.

Storm The Palace are Jon Bews (violin/vocals), Will Bews (bagpipes/bass/flute/vocals), Alberto Bravo (drums/vocals), Sophie Dodds (autoharp/field recordings/guitar/harmonium/vocals), and Reuben Taylor (accordian/harpsichord/organs/piano/Rhodes/synths/vocals/Wurlitzer piano). The album is out now in digital and CD formats.




Bandcamp for album

Monday, November 28, 2022

The Persian Leaps - Machines For Living


We love power pop, and one of our favorite purveyors of that pop/rock standard is St. Paul, Minnesota's The Persian Leaps. This is the ninth time Drew Forsberg's project has featured here, and so long as he continues and we continue, this won't be the last. Whether crafting snappy EPs (which seems to be his preferred mode of musical packaging) or stretching out into full albums, Drew always brings the crunchy, ringing guitars and indelible melodies. You may detect more than a  bit of GVB vibe here, and that certainly is a selling point. But there is a wash of Twin Cities guitar pop that puts an even more personal stamp on the music. Our favorite tracks at the moment are 1, 2, and 5, but that is subject to change with repeated plays. And there will be repeated plays.

The EP is available in digital and CD formats.




Bandcamp for Machines For Living

Model Shop - Love Interest


Whether the message of the songs on Love Interest are happy, sad, melancholy or joyous, nothing therein is too heavy to not euphorically rise to the skies on the glorious music created by Model Shop. The Seattle trio has earned their stripes over the year in various projects (including Math & Physics Club for Kevin and Ethan), but this current combination has the feel of the graduate thesis after years of work. Why? Well, the simple answer is that it clicks on all fronts and in all presented styles. The guitars are direct and bright and the choruses are simply superb.  Model Shop can do a slow burner and rock out, but they shine the brightest on the uptempo pop songs such as "Lucky", "Letters to Melissa", Compilation Tape", "I Was Told This Would Be Easy", and "The Greatest Only"

Model Shop are Kevin Emerson (vocals/drums), Jen Fox (bass), and Ethan Jones (vocals/guitar). Love Interest is out now in digital and vinyl formats via Madrid's Meritorio Records. However, vinyl will be shipped to US purchasers from Portland, Oregon, which will save shipping costs.



Bandcamp for Love Interest

Meritorio Records link for Love Interest

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Field School - When Summer Comes


At times like this we wish that we had purchased the deluxe box of superlatives because the subject of this feature certainly is worthy. Charles Bert, vocalist and rhythm guitarist of Math & Physics Club, refused to let the isolation of the pandemic prevent him from creating music. He began his solo project Field School and released a couple of EPs on a small label started by a friend. But quality has a way of finding a broader audience, and Charles' debut LP When Summer Comes is now available via Spanish label Bobo Integral. For fans of the sweet and bittersweet tunes of Math & Physics Club, and more generally for fans of jangling indie pop, the album is everything we could wish for and more.

The DIY ethos of hometown legends K Records seems to come naturally to Charles. But his musical feet remain firmly planted in the jangle and twee channel of Sarah Records, as well as numerous labelmates at Bobo Integral. What elevates the songs on When Summer Comes above others in that category, however, are the incisive writing and sincere performances. The listener can feel the joy and the melancholy, and enjoy the self-effacing humor. And even the more melancholy tunes benefit from Charles' relatively light touch, leaving the listener with a warm feeling and an understandable desire to hit "replay". This certainly is one of the jangle pop albums of the year.

When Summer Comes is out now in digital and vinyl formats.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

The Laughing Chimes - Zoo Avenue EP


Every year a number of bands surface with a jangling sound that earns our ears, as well as a place in the lineup with those jangle poppers who preceded them. But occasionally a new band will carve their way to the center of the genre, sounding like they have always been there and now are being imitated by others. Southeast Ohio's The Laughing Chimes may be such a band. The project begun by teenage siblings Evan and Quinn Seurkamp has released their debut EP Zoo Avenue which is one of the stronger opening statements we have heard from any band lately. It is no wonder that the brain trust at Slumberland Records signed them. Sunny, chiming optimism for a gloomy fall -- you really shouldn't miss these guys.

Zoo Avenue is out now in digital and cassette formats.


Bandcamp for Zoo Avenue EP

Various links for Zoo Avenue

Thursday, November 17, 2022

No Zu - Heat Beat


If a man in a trench coat approaches you and gives you a choice of "zu" or "no zu", you are hereby advised to take the less obvious choice. Sure, you might be tempted to take the first choice and become the proud owner of some zu which, you think, surely must be better than no zu at all. However, if you take the second choice you will have Heat Beat, the new EP by Melbourne's ultra terrific No Zu. If this discussion hurts your head, turn off your brain, press "play" on Heat Beat and let your heart and feet be your guide. This is punk funk. It is dance. It is world beat. It is dark but vibrant. It is the one and only heat beat.

No Zu are icons in Melbourne (and probably everywhere else they have played). Heat Beat is their first record in several years, and presents their last recordings with vocalist Daphene Camf, who died in 2021. We hope they continue because there is nothing quite like them. But the future aside, the weekend comes and everyone should have Heat Beat on their soundtrack. The EP is available in vinyl and digital formats via Chapter Music.



Bandcamp for Heat Beat

Various links for No Zu

The Silent Boys - Sand to Pearls, Coal to Diamonds


Richmond, Virginia's The Silent Boys are indie/jangle pop lifers, with a quarter of a century, eight albums and a core of devoted fans paying tribute to their talent and dedication. That doesn't mean that they are famous -- after all, their tag line is "willfully obscure since 1986". But it does mean that if you are an indie pop fan you owe your ears a taste of the spanking new Sand to Pearls, Coal to Diamonds. This is music made by humans, not machines with an eye to beats per minute, but even so it seems more homespun than many guitar pop bands. To our ears the emphasis is on the story more than the sound, although the sound is sweet as well. And all that makes the resulting songs memorable as well as pleasing and well worth your time.

The players on Sand to Pearls, Coal to Diamonds are Wallace Dietz, John Suchocki, Grant Oliver, Michael Click, John Morand, Dan-O Deckelman, and Maitreya Suchocki. See the Bandcamp link below for the digital release. CDs are available via French label Too Good To Be True Records.




Bandcamp for album (digital)

Too Good to Be True Records

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

The Photocopies - Wrong Century


We won't pretend we are very familiar with Sean Turner's project The Photocopies. But having stumbled over Wrong Century, the new collection of songs, we suggest that it is a good place for you and us to start. Sean is a Londoner decamped to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and he obviously shares our fondness for '80s and '90s guitar pop. This record includes songs previously released on singles and EPs, plus some covers of worthy songs by other artists. A great listen!

You may be too late to get the CD from Discos de Kirlian, although it is worth trying. But digital copies certainly are available. See the links below.





Bandcamp for Wrong Century-digital-version

Bandcamp for Wrong Century (CD version)

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Heavenly - Heavenly vs Satan


Well, well, well ... this is just heavenly. Literally, Heavenly.

If you are a long term indie pop fan, you certainly are familiar with the '90s UK band Heavenly. Even if you are a more recent fan you undoubtedly have read references to Heavenly in reviews or current indie pop bands because they are a gold standard. And with good reason. The band reflected innate talent plus maturation of the sound of Talulah Gosh, their former musical residence. Heavenly vs Satan was the first of their four albums, displaying nuance and dedication to pop sounds not previously dominant in their former work. It is an absolute delight and, to our ears, perfectly timeless.

Heavenly -- that is Amelia, Mathew, Peter, Cathy and Rob -- has decided to release all four of their albums in vinyl, and have begun with Heavenly vs Satan. The disc also includes the first two singles released by the band. The releases are available via Amelia and Rob's Skep Wax label and records stores. For online orders, see the Bandcamp link below.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

"Lucky" by Model Shop

Seattle trio Model Shop opens our nostalgia floodgates. Before we discovered girls, we frequented model shops to buy and build plastic playthings. Then we developed love interests and model shops became a thing of the past. But Model Shop promises to call to mind both of those segments of our lives with their upcoming LP Love Interest, and to do so with the jangling, sparkling indie pop that we have loved for our adult lives. Take a taste with irrepressible new single "Lucky" and look back in our archives for our posts about previous singles "Compilation Tape" and "Letters to Melissa" (or take the efficient approach and just hit the album Bandcamp link below). 

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). Kevin and Ethan were members of Math & Physics Club.


Bandcamp for Love Interest

Meritorio Records link for Love Interest

"Jennifer Valentine" by Field School

 We are just a week away from the drop of an album that all indie pop fans should have on their wish list: When Summer Comes by Field School. We have shared a couple of singles from the album previously, but just in case you still have doubts or missed the earlier post, one listen to the final single, the yearning "Jennifer Valentine", should seal the deal. The song has made our "song obsession" list.

Field School is Olympia, Washington's Charles Bert. When Summer Comes LP, which will be out November 18 via Bobo Integral.

Bandcamp for single

Bandcamp for When Summer Comes

Saturday, November 5, 2022

The Reds, Pinks & Purples - Everything You Ever Loved


From time to time we engage in a bit of housecleaning, and we invariably are proud of the results. However, Glenn Donaldson of The Reds, Pinks & Purples puts us to shame. You see, he has been going through his vaults of unreleased recordings (or limited and rare releases) over the past few years and packaging them for our eager ears. The latest is the six-song Everything You Ever Loved. If you are a regular reader you already know our high opinion of the music from this project. And you know that the music really sells itself with melancholy plucks on your heartstrings and melodies that seem like they have been in a happy place in your brain forever. So dive in, kiddos -- may Glenn's vault's never run empty!



Bandcamp for record

"Ice Cream Skies" by The Laughing Chimes


The optimism of youth plus an appreciation for the enduring appeal of jangle pop provide us with a couple of highlight tracks for our Saturday night. The band is The Laughing Chimes, consisting of teenage brothers Evan and Quinn Seurkamp. The Southeast Ohio duo have signed to Slumberland, and soon will release the six-song Zoo Avenue EP. The first single released from the EP is the jaunty "Ice Cream Skies". But just to let you know that the boys aren't one-hit wonders, we included a stream of the single edit of another of the EP's tracks, "Laurel Heights Court".


Bandcamp for EP

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Dot Dash - Madman In The Rain


All of us music fans have bands whose releases will always attract us. One of such bands for WYMA is Washington, D.C.'s Dot Dash. The trio has earned our ears over the course of seven splendid albums, but the new Madman In The Rain is, in our opinion, their best yet. Powerpop, jangle, and punky indie rock spread over 12 well-conceived tracks. Guitar, bass and drums all variously star and support with energy and nuance. The songs will thrill both fans of '80s and early '90s UK, US and New Zealand guitar pop bands, and fans of The Clash and The Jam. But but there is no imitation here -- just agile talent creating new music on good foundations. We are entirely captivated and have entered it on our year-end list of favorites.

The album was supposed to be released on November 5, but you can't keep a good album hidden and it has burst out of the gates already.

Dot Dash are Terry Banks (guitar/vocals), Hunter Bennett (bass), and Danny Ingram (drums). Their former bands include St. Christopher, Saturday People, Glo-Worm, Weatherhead, Swervedriver, Julie Ocean and Youth Brigade. Madman In The Rain is out via Ottawa, Canada's The Beautiful Music.



Bandcamp for Madman In The Rain

Label page for Madman In The Rain