Thursday, December 14, 2023

"Fell In Love" and "Alison" by The Maureens


Jangle and powerpop are a priority gateway to our musical hearts, so a listen to "Fell In Love" and "Alison" by Dutch band The Maureens will tell you why we are putting them on the "nice" Christmas list. That is especially true as they will deliver a late, but welcome, present in the form of new LP Everyone Smiles on January 19 via Meritorio Records. As for references, think Teenage Fanclub and, maybe, the Beach Boys. That should make everyone smile!





Bandcamp for "Fell in Love"

Bandcamp for "Alison"

Bandcamp For Everyone Smiles

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Lower Plenty - No Poets


No poets, they say? Poetry is a vital cultural institution, so what do we do if we have no more poetry? Our answer is that we listen to No Poets. Lower Plenty may disclaim the status (or their tongues may be firmly in their cheek), but in our not very humble opinion this ten-song set is a fulsome series of poems about life -- good, bad, triumphs, and disappointments. The arrangements are minimalist, with precious vocal and musical details and plenty of space for emphasis. The the four songwriters craft their lyrics concisely, but that concision demands the listener's attention to every word, every nuance. And spare as they are, the lyrics hit the bullseye every time. From "The Great Pretender":

In the corner of my mind there's a little town Like a ghost it follows me around I go away, I lay awake I go so far away I see the face. Stop thinkin' it was all so easy Stop drinkin', well that's not so easy Layin' in bed you talk about behavioural theory I go to sleep underneath you janglin' jailer's keys

No Poets has been out since early October, so we are remiss in not writing about it earlier. We certainly have played it enough that is has become a soundtrack for life. But with the hindsight available as we reach the end of the year, we are confident that this is one of our top five albums of the year. Buy yourself some poetry for the holidays. And buy some for someone you love.

Lower Plenty is Al Montfort, Daniel Twomey, Jensen Tjhung, and Sarah Heyward. The members' various other projects include Terry, Sleeper & Snake, UV Race, Deaf Wish, and Total Control. No Poets is out now via Bedroom Suck Records.

Bandcamp for No Poets

Bedroom Suck Records

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

"The Expat" by The Infinites


Austin indie rock band The Infinites are new to our ears, but we love the way their new single "The Expat" builds -- guitar, then rhythm, then keys -- into a swirling psychedelic arrangement riding an insistent groove. We want more from these guys, and we are going to get it because new album Archetypes will be out on February 16 via Meritorio Records; pre-orders are available now.


Bandcamp for "The Expat"

Bandcamp for Archetypes

Monday, December 11, 2023

The Brights - Oyster Rock!


Jangling, folky guitar pop can be just what our psychologist prescribe for the weekend. The Brights walk the more folky side of the jangle pop channel, but don't mistake the gentle vibe for a lack of punch. On the newly released Oyster Rock! the melodies are packed with joyous earworms and the arrangements bounce like a happy new puppy. The listener even finds power pop strands and country breaking through with great effect. The effect is blissful and laid back and there are plenty of good musical moments that will have you hitting the replay button. This is a bit of a sleeper album in that if you miss it now, it will surface in the future and you will wish it had been in your life all along.

The Brights are Sunny Blayney (vocals/guitar), Samuel Morris (vocals/bass), Cooper Anderson (drums/backing vocals), Dylan Ferguson (guitar), and Will Maddock (keys/percussion/backing vocals). Oyster Rock! is out now in vinyl and digital formats via Meritorio Records and Stable Label Records.



Bandcamp for Oyster Rock

Various links for The Brights

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Loose Wing - Miracle Baby


We in the Pacific Northwest like to share our musical treasures, so we invite all of our readers to embrace Loose Wing. A rock band with leanings toward pop and country rock, its music is characterized by the essential touchstones of excellent musicianship, affecting vocals and some fearless songwriting. The vocals and songwriting, as well as the lead guitar aspect of the musicianship, are provided by Claire Tucker, who no doubt could carve a path as a country singer if she chose. But her lead guitar clearly places her in the rock camp (she also is the guitarist for local psychedelic garage stalwarts Black Nite Crash). 

The latest album by Loose Wing is the recently released Miracle Baby and we think it is a superb musical statement. It is locked-in and concise, but there is a gritty blue collar, heart on the sleeve swagger that sells every song like they are playing live and getting paid by the volume of the applause at the end. The songs embrace a variety of emotions including consumerism, paternalistic males, job anxiety and isolation. And they do it well without lecturing or turning the proceedings into a downer. On this album Loose Wing proves there still is room for bands that splice together multiple styles. It is all about the execution, and this gang executes.

Loose Wing is Claire Tucker (guitar/vocals/keys), Jack Peters (bass), Aimee Zoe (drums), and Bill Patton (guitar/pedal steel). Miracle Baby is out now in digital, vinyl and CD formats via Drums & Wires Recording.



Bandcamp for Miracle Baby

Various relevant links


Sunday, December 3, 2023

Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lockpickers - Murder 24/7


It has been a few years since we last wrote about Jacob and his mates. But while trawling the internet to avoid professional and household duties we discovered Murder 24/7, a six-track mini-album by Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lockpickers. One listen and we were thorough captivated and massively entertained. With the theme of murder as entertainment, a gothic folk/roots R&R approach all underpinned by a dub rhythm section, it is a great little record. Call it gothic dub folk, rockabilly dub or whatever you imagine fits. But the genre really doesn't matter when it tickles our fancy. And oh, we are very tickled.

The band is Jacob Lovatt (vocals/lyrics), Josh Longton (bass/guitars/keys), Michael Bleazard (drums/percussion), Jamie Bolland (keysboards/piano), and Christopher Haddow (guitars). Murder 24/7 is out now in digital and vinyl formats via Errol's Hot Wax.


Bandcamp for album

Label page for album

Pop Filter - CONO


All members are singers-songwriters, most or all are multi-instrumentalists, and all have been members of respected bands, so there is no fear of contradiction in writing that Pop Filter is an Australian super-group. But the special nature of the band's recordings goes beyond those facts. This is a collection brought together by affection for each other and love of making music, not ego and a chase for fame (and since it is an indie pop band, we are confident it is for reasons other than acquiring great wealth). Their cohesion as a playing unit is a testament to their talent, but also is earned over the years playing with each other in various combinations in other bands (The Ocean Party, Cool Sounds, Snowy Band, Partner Look).

The songs on Pop Filter's new album CONO evince comfort and sincerity, but also the ambition to make each member's creation as perfect as possible -- understanding that perfection in this realm doesn't necessarily mean a glossy finish. The guitars, keys and rhythms always sound terrific while the vocals are delivered in that now familiar laconic Aussie style. All of the foregoing combined with the top class and delightfully distinctive songwriting result in an album that sounds special, feels special, and is special. Which songs are our favorites? All of them, but we have a few for you below. By the way, "Racin' Like Hell" is an album closer that shames most other album closers. So we haven't embedded it below because we hope you go to the Bandcamp link and are tempted to buy the album. Sure, the band deserves it. We think you deserve it too.

One of our clear favorites of the year, CONO is out now via Spunk Records, Osborne Again, and Bobo Integral

Bandcamp for CONO

Saturday, December 2, 2023

"Coping"/"Paris" by Layman


Are you in the mood for some garage rock? Oh good, because so are we. Some friends in Australia sent us this delightful two-track single "Coping"/"Paris" by Sydney trio Layman. Consisting of three former members of the band BLAND, the band is Cambell Smith (guitar/vocals), Samuel John McEwen (bass/vocals) and Brock Perry (drums). There is nothing complicated here, and there is no need for complication. This is just the sort of music that draw many of is to the indie sphere. And if you have the inclination to look beyond the groove, we think the songwriting is quite good, and "Paris" is very amusing.



Bandcamp for "Coping"/"Paris"

Various relevant links

"jamcod" by The Jesus And Mary Chain


We are confirmed fans of Glasgow legends The Jesus and Mary Chain, even several times having spent days listening to every song on a B-sides and rarities compilations titled The Power of Negative Thinking. Accordingly, we are quite excited by this week's news that Jim and William Reid will grace 2024 with a new album Glasgow Eyes at the 40th anniversary of their first single.The announcement of the album and the release of its first single, "jamcord", came on November 29 -- the anniversary of the release. We are told to expect classic J&MC chaos, intensity, and clever pop touches, while supplementing to foregoing with additional influences. But rather than engaging in predicting the future, we will just commend "jamcord" to your ears. The track looks back at the band's 1999 breakup while clear eyes and scorching intensity.

Glasgow Eyes will be out February of March of 2024 via Fuzz Club. There also will be a UK and European tour in 2024.



Bandcamp for Glasgow Eyes

Various links to pre-order Glasgow Eyes