Sunday, May 1, 2016

Konono No. 1 Meets Batida

Konono No. 1 is a revered and percussion and Afro-beat collective from the Congo, which has been thrilling fans -- and energizing dance floors -- since the '60s..  On Konono No. 1 Meets Batida they collaborate with Angola-born, Portugal-based dance producer Pedro Coquenao, who works under the name Batida.  The result is an enchanting, pulsating dance masterpiece that showcases the best of Konono No. 1's forward-pushing rhythms enhanced by samples and electronic touches by Batida.  Additional musicians and guest vocalists contributed to the project, and the production blends it all together into a seamless musical musical banquet that has the feel of a live performance from a large, and very enthusiastic band.

It is Sunday, the sun is shining and Konono No. 1 Meets Batida is shaking my house via multiple Sonos speakers.  I have a smile in my face and know this will be a good day.

Konono No. 1 Meets Batida is out now via Belgian label Crammed Discs.  And be prepared for more from Crammed Discs in the upcoming months, because they are releasing some very, very good music.

Konono No. 1 on Facebook
Batida on Facebook
Batida on Soundcloud
Crammed Discs page for album
Crammed Discs

Friday, April 29, 2016

The New Tigers - Vindication EP [4/29]

A new day, and new music from The New Tigers.  The four musicians from Turku, Finland, have released Vindication EP via Soliti Music.  Offered as a digital download, it consists of four songs that showcase the dreamy power pop that this band has always done so well.  The instrumentation has hints of shoegaze and psychedelia, but the pace, melody and hooks plant their flag in the indie pop camp.  Opening track "Visions" immediately remind us why this band has been a favorite of ours for years.  And if hearing "Visions" makes you inclined to agree with us, the following "Chewing Gum" should convince you.  It showcases the band's ability to shift gears during a song and keep the listener completely enthralled.  "Polar Night" has a Luna-does-Britpop feel, and they nail it.  Closing track "Dissolution" combines psychedelia, dream pop and shoegaze in a hazy 7+ minute epic.

Don't settle for tired old tigers.  Get The New Tigers -- you won't be sorry you did.

The New Tigers are Appu (guitars/vocals/glockenspiel), Valtteri (guitars/vocals), Janne (bass/synth), and Ville (drums).

Soliti Music page for Vindication EP
Bandcamp for Vindication EP

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"The Beast" by JP Klipspringer

I hear a vast amount of new music via albums, EPs and songs.  And sometimes I become so enraptured by a new song that I can't stop playing it.  Such is the case with "The Beast".  It is the latest offering from Melbourne songwriter Jack Poulson, working under the name JP Klipspringer.  Jack, who also is the frontman for The Zanes, will be releasing a new JP Klipspringer album in September.  "The Beast" is your first taste, and it is a beautifully constructed song with sticky hooks and a driving, mid-tempo groove.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"Art of Dying Young" / "Do Me Wrong" by Skellums

Last August we introduced you to Skellums (here), a band with roots in Liverpool and Wales that crafts a fresh take at alt rock and fuzzy guitar pop.  Despite the fame, and undoubted riches, earned from their earlier EP, the boys are still working.  This week brings the release of their new two-song single "Art Of Dying Young" paired with "Do Me Wrong".  The first song is a fast-past lament of a life-weary narrator.  The theme may be sad, but the song should bring concert and pub sing-alongs with glasses held high.  "Do Me Wrong" is a pop/punk tune about a twisted relationship.  Stream below and hit the Bandcamp link for more joy.

We hope there is a lot more coming from this band in the future.

Bandcamp for "Art of Dying Young" / "Do Me Wrong"
Bandcamp for August 2015 EP

"This Will Be The Day That I Die" by The Holy

Life can't always be happy faces, sunny skies and driving with the top down.  Someone needs to remind us of isolation and despair.  But if it has to be done, it should be done well, with multiple layers of opacity, passages that invoke questions and require hard thinking, and perhaps some aspects that are frankly uncomfortable.  Enter, stage left, Helsinki's The Holy.  Newly signed to that city's Soliti Music, the band has released a song titled "This Will Be The Day That I Die", which does all that and more.  You can experience the song below in video and streaming formats, but we advise you that the video is striking.

The Holy are Laura (bass/synth), Henrik (vocals/guitar/synth), Samppa (drums), Eero (drums), and Pyry (guitar).

Soliti Music

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Summer Flake - Hello Friends

You may not have heard of Stephanie Crase, especially if you don't live in Australia, but you should take the time to catch up.  A veteran of other bands, Stephanie -- with Antony Bourmas and Joel Cary -- now plays as Summer Flake.  On her new album, Hello Friends, they weave sentimental, intimate, often melancholic stories with a solid rhythmic structure that allows Stephanie's multi-tracked voice to sooth and plead while the guitars rumble, jangle, twang and shred.  The result is dream pop with a muscular core, and the vocals, arrangements and full sound provide a retro feel in several tracks.  The performances are excellent, with enough fuzz and frayed edges to give the record a live performance vibe.  We find Hello Friends infectious and irresistible.  It grows stronger with every listen, and is one of our favorite albums of the spring.

Hello Friends is out now via Rice Is Nice Records, and is available in digital and vinyl formats.

Bandcamp for album
Rice Is Nice

"Barricade (Matter Of Fact)" by Yum Zouma

Today's bright spot is the "Barricade (Matter Of Fact)", the sparkling second single from the upcoming debut album from Yumi Zouma.    For our tastes, the New Zealanders are one of the best synth pop bands in the business -- smooth, pulsating, melodic, mysterious and exceptionally talented.  Enjoy the springtime groove of the new single and watch for the LP, Yoncalla, to drop in late May via Cascine, Arch Hill Recordings (in New Zealand and Australia), Rallye (in Japan), and Double Deer (in Indonesia).  The album will be available in vinyl and digital formats, but the vinyl will have extra features never available digitally.

Arch Hill Recordings

Monday, April 25, 2016

Mayflower Madame - Observed In A Dream

We invite you to let yourself get lost in Observed In A Dream.  It isn't a difficult task.  The songs crafted by Oslo's Mayflower Madame take elements of atmospheric rock, psychedelia, shoegaze and drone, then shade it in dark colors.  The vocals are ominous and carry a hit of danger.  The sound is immense and enveloping.  Close your eyes and you'll feel like you are surrounded by multiple drum kits, electric guitars and bass guitars.  But nestled firmly in the atmospheric haze is a core of melody and an insistent groove.  I haven't heard Gothic post punk (think Bauhaus) done this well in years, and if you are like me and like a good dose of this kind of dense sound from time to time, I highly recommend this album.

Mayflower Madame are Trond Fagernes (vocals/guitar), Rune Øverby (guitar), Petter Gudim Marberg (bass), and Ola Jørgen Kyrkjeeide (drums).  Observed In A Dream is out via Night Cult Records and Custom Made Music.

Night Cult Records (Norway)
Custom Made Music (Virginia)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Beths - Warm Blood

It is a rainy, thoroughly dreary day in Seattle (quite a shock, I'm sure), and we needed something to get the old blood moving.  To the rescue are The Beths, an Aukland, New Zealand power pop quartet that hit the spot.  And while it is risky to ascribe magical properties to humans you haven't met, I'll just observe that since I began this post the rain stopped and the sun came out.

If you are looking to similarly improve your part of the world, there is little risk in hitting the play button for "Whatever", the lead track on the band's Warm Blood EP.  I can't guarantee that on song alone will improve your weather, so you may have to play all tracks on the EP, which we thoughtfully embedded below.

The Beths are Elizabeth Stokes (guitar/vocals), Jonathan Pearce (guitar/vocals), Benjamin Sinclair (bass/vocals), and Ivan Luketina-Johnston (drums/vocals).  A tip of the When You Motor Away motoring cap to the excellent Pop Lib blog (link) in New Zealand for exposing us to The Beths.

Bandcamp for Warm Blood