Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Happily, the band has emerged into the sunlight again with In My Flat, which I think is the band's best work yet. Recorded in Idaho with Jeremy Jensen and Jake Hite of The Very Most (with whom Mel collaborates as Baffin Island), it comprises eight songs pop songs featuring Whittle's delicate and pristine voice, appealing melodies, and uncomplicated but interesting instrumentation. And as always is the case with a recording from The Hermit Crabs, Whittle's compositions are a star of the proceedings. Personal, intimate, revealing, feisty and witty, she paints evocative little portraits of life in a manner reminiscent of Scottish indie pop peers Belle & Sebastian and Camera Obscura. This record does what good indie pop should do -- make you sigh, may you smile, and prompt you to tap your foot or even dance around the room. If mixtapes still are a thing you do, a few of these may end up in the hands of your special friends. The Hermits Crabs are back in the sunlight, get yourself some.
In My Flat is available in CD or digital formats via Matinee Recordings.
Matinee Recordings page for In My Flat
Monday, November 30, 2015
here), their first album of new material in nearly two decades, on December 11 The Chills will release another single from the LP. Most would consider it among the best songs on the album, and undeniably one of the catchiest, "When The Poor Can Reach The Moon" is suffused with hope for the less fortunate. Have a listen via the charming video. The single will be available via Fire Records.
Initially a band whose first impression was hook-filled scrappiness, albeit one with a knack for a well-crafted musical story, The Deadline Shakes as of late 2015 is now a much more complete outfit. The compositions are more ambitious, the sound fuller, the instrumentation more robust and detailed. The various faces the band presents include a familiar jangle, a sharp edge, changes of pace, and a romantic or yearning sigh. Moreover, as these faces often share space in the same tune, the songs unspool as a series of mini epics.Yet the band has retained their ability to present pop tunes that are emotionally accessible and unafraid of vulnerability. There is a good dose of polish in the production, but it never feels too slick or over stuffed. Three of my favorites are available to stream below, but you can listen to the entire album at the Bandcamp link below.
Zealots is out now in digital and CD formats via Flowers In The Dustbin. The Deadline Shakes are Greg Dingwall (vocals/guitar), Iain McKinstry (vocals/guitar), Martin McLeod (bass), Thomas Booth (drums), Michael Muir (violin/banjo), Kiera Pollock (vocals/guitar), and Sam Clark.
Bandcamp for Zealots
Flowers In The Dustbin
Flowers is Sam Ayres, Rachel Kenedy and Jordan Hockley.
Sunday, November 29, 2015
The self-titled album, in my opinion, is one of the better debut releases this year. Our curator/musician has drawn from his bands like Yo Ya Tengo, Velvet Underground, Luna, The Bats, and Bill Callahan to make an album of evocative melodies and satisfying guitar textures. But Harrison isn't just making a patchwork quilt of worthy influences. He is blending them together to make his own statement via a warm and instantly familiar set of songs. Sometimes sounding recalling New Zealand post-punk, sometimes The Feelies or Galaxie 500, and sometimes a bit of dusty Americana. And then, there are the vocals. Ben has a gravelly but melodic baritone that brings to mind DIY godfather Calvin Johnson. When paired with the female vocals from Cindy Yogmas, the result is magic. You don't have to have been a fan of Beat Happening to celebrate this pairing, but it will make your appreciation that much greater.
In addition to Yogmas, Harrison fleshed out the songs with Jeff Baron (Essex Green/Ladybug Transistor) on guitar. Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500/Luna/Dean and Britta) also contributed guitar for the recording. The recording band included Sean Finn (drums), David Horn (bass), who with Harrison, Yogmas and Phil Jacoby (guitar), form the band for live shows.
Stutter Steps is released via Pittsburgh label Wild Kindness Records.
Wild Kindness Records
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
And for those hoping that the meaning of "goon sax" would be smutty and outrageous, be advised that the term is slang for the shiny plastic bag inside cask wine. Although I suspect that its mention could still get you slapped in some places with the right inflection.
Chapter Music page for "Boyfriend"
Bandcamp for "Boyfriend"
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
link) a little EP from a Scottish band named Cherri Fosphate, suggesting that they were a band to watch for the future. However, since we know what lazy slackers you all are, I expect that most of you haven't really been watching. Well, that's your mistake, because the band has released their debut full length, We Didn't Come Here To Say Goodbye, and it is even better than I would have predicted based on that fine earlier record. With vocals that recall Frightened Rabbit and a bit of Maximo Park and The Futureheads (if the latter two had been from a bit further north and west), guitars that evoke The Strokes in their prime, and pace and energy that recall Dogs Die In Hot Cars, this is a bundle of melody and muscular energy with a heavy Scots accent. The band proves more than adept in a few songs with a more relaxed tempo, but if you are like me it is the up-tempo songs that will keep a smile on your face and We Didn't Come Here To Say Goodbye on your playlist for quite some time.
Bandcamp for album
Bandcamp for album
Sea Pinks is Neil Brogan, Davey Agnew, and Steven Henry. Soft Days will be released by the Brogan's own CF Records.
Bandcamp link for digital order of "Depth of Field"
Bandcamp link for pre-order of Soft Days
Monday, November 23, 2015
While refining my list of notable albums for end of the year awards, I discovered that one of the albums in my likely top 20 list had not been featured. I suspect the reason is that I received my copy while recovering from an accident, but I nevertheless feel that the omission should be corrected, so here it the belated feature for White Men Are Black Men Too, by Young Fathers.
With a wide scope concept of pop music, versatile compositions, tons of ability and an insistence on delivering their art on their own terms Young Fathers are, in my opinion, one of the more exciting bands indie music. Previously, the Edinburgh trio released two EPs (Tape One and Tape Two) and an LP, Dead, which won the Mercury Prize. White Men Are Black Men Too finds the band continuing to tighten their musical expression while testing boundaries, both musical and thematic. The lyrics are clear-eyed and direct. The breadth of possible musical cousins, if not influences, such as TV On The Radio, Arcade Fire, Dirigible Planets, R&B and neo-soul illustrate why Young Fathers confound those who would put them in a genre box and try to explain their music from a single perspective. It seems to me that all one can do is let the music wash over you and tell the world what you hear.
And what you hear are strong pop melodies, aggressive bass and percussion and plenty of frills filling in at the higher register. Each song is like unwrapping a present, unraveling at its own pace and in its own unique way. As a whole, it is a big sound born of big ambition teamed with breathtaking talent. The best pop music is made by having something to say, and then saying it well. Based on this album, Young Fathers are near the head of the class in pop music.
For those unfamiliar with the band, they call themselves Young Fathers because each of them is named after his father. Based in Edinburgh, Graham 'G' Hastings was born in that city, while Alloysious Massaquoi is from Liberia via Ghana, and Kayus Bankole grew up in the United States, but his parents were from Nigerian.
Friday, November 20, 2015
The Wildness is an album made by a man who loves rock and roll, for listeners who love rock and roll. What more do you need?
Bandcamp for The Wildness
This Is American Music