Creating a minimalist, and exceptionally direct, style of pop music, Glasgow's Vital Idles have earned our interest, respect, and anticipation of their debut album, Left Hand. And while the album is not yet in our hands, we have tracks "A Premise" and "Solid States" to justify our attention to the band. Vital Idles' art is a bit warped, a bit angular, and a bit brutal, but shaped with clear inspiration and intelligence. It is punk music, not in the commercial smash and scream sense, but rather in the all-important conception, and we early await more of it.
Vital Idles are Jessica Higgins, Matthew Walkerdine, Nick Lynch, and Ruari MacLean. Left Hand will be released June 1 via Upset the Rhythm.
Malmö, Sweden's Kluster are celebrating the announcement of the June release of Civic, their debut album, with a new single. "In My Hometown" showcases the five-piece's signature sound, feature complex but accessible arrangements with noise pop elements. Intriguing and exuberant, we find it an excellent way to begin our day. The single is available digitally on all the usual platforms.
Kluster are Sebastian Hegedüs (guitar), Adam Jonsson (guitar), Pontus Örnstrand (keys/synth/bass), Andreas Pollak (drums), Linnea Hall (vocals). Civic is out June 15 via Rama Lama Records.
We present your summer soundtrack for relaxing under the stars enjoying a warm breeze - Lio canta Caymmi. The title reveals the nature of the work - Belgian/French vocalist Lio sings the songs of Brazilian singer songwriter Dorival Caymmi, but appreciation requires your ears and heart, as well as a bit of background. The genius behind this album is attributable to five individuals: First, Mr. Caymmi himself, the beloved and influential Brazilian singer songwriter and Bossa Nova visionary who died in 2008; Second, Jacques Duvall, the French lyricist who conceived of the project; Third, musician Christophe Vandeputte, who arranged the songs; Fourth, Lio, whose vocal talents and interpretive artistry lent new life to the songs while honoring the composer; and Fifth, Crammed Discs honcho Marc Hollander, who appetite for quality music regardless of origin has enriched music fans globally.
The twelve songs curated for this record lie in the space where French cafe meets Samba, Bossa Nova and other forms of Brazilian pop. The atmosphere is relaxed and romantic, with the focus appropriately turned on the singer and composer, with sparse but artful accents from the instrumentation. Lio, born Wanda Maria Ribeiro Furtado Tavares de Vasconcelos in Portugal, has spent her career singing in French, but turns to her native tongue for Caymmi's creations. On this album, she has cast a spell that will last all spring and summer, and whenever you want to remember the good times. And none of us will complain a bit about being bewitched.
Time for our patented, highly secret and never filmed happy dance. Why? In honor of Do Xao, the new album from our favorite band from Turku, Finland. We have followed The New Tigers enthusiastically for many years, and they have always rewarded our faith by releasing good music. The latest edition, which to our ears is their best ever, is a joyous, glistening guitar pop triumph. Eminently danceable, with shimmering arrangements and robust bass lines, it features the best of '90s and '00s indie pop influences (and sly veins of '70s soft rock and '80s new wave). The band dove into studio based production and multi-tracking, resulting in a Crayola box of musical colors and layers. And just when you think this is the most structured set of songs from these cool northern cats, they bust out a track like "Three Shadows", which makes one suspect that The Beta Band invaded Turku. This is music saturated with joy and fun, which makes it just about irresistible.
For Do XaoThe New Tigers are Appu Jasu, Janne Kauppinen, Valtteri Virtanen, with some contributions on drums from Waltteri Katajamaki and Leif Elverstig. The album is out today in CD and digital formats via Soliti Music.
After earlier today making the point that life is too short to listen to crap music, we are being extra careful to ensure that all our recommendations meet our lofty quality standards (regrettably, we are not responsible for lower quality standards after happy hour tomorrow). Thus we have carefully chosen as the subject of this following post When It Ends, the new album by Emma Russack and Lachlan Denton. Denton is familiar to regular readers as a member of The Ocean Party, a band that appears on these pages whenever the prolific Melbourne outfit releases one of their frequent gems. Emma Russack is a gifted vocalist and storyteller who has fronted the band Lola Flash and released several solo albums in this decade. Together, Russack and Denton have crafted ten songs that artfully merge a breezy, melodic simplicity with remarkable subtlety and grace. The volume is restrained, instrumentation economical, and the delivery relaxed. Thus, the focus can rest on the lyrical content and sincerity of the performance. Projecting an atmosphere of warm acceptance of what life offers, these are songs that you will wear repeatedly like your favorite sweater, with a new spark of joy with every repeated listen. For the last week I have ended every day with at least one complete play of When It Ends, and I don't think that practice will end any time soon.
When It Ends is out now as a digital download via Melbourne label Osborne Again Music. See the Bandcamp link below.
In a world in which leaders deliberately spread false messages, we need to value statements that are inescapably truth. One such statement forms the title of the latest compilation from Flagstaff's Emotional Response Records: Life's Too Short To Listen To Crap Music. The label has released a wealth of excellent music lately, and they've curated a set that will become your go-to collection for indie rock you really want to hear. Of course, the underlying albums by the artists also are available.
At $7 for a digital download of 21 songs, you can't afford not to own this record.
The Lookout is a beautiful album with an important message. The message is pay attention to the special, beautiful things in your life because you cannot rely on them being there forever. The delivery consists of 12 folky pop songs that serve as an exquisite example to anyone who seeks to write music. Knowing indie fans have long known of the special art of Laura Veirs, but this is a great opportunity for everyone else to learn as well. Veirs' songs are confident, detailed, emotionally rich, and perceptive. But most of all, they are incredibly pleasing to the ear. By the way, the excellent production is by ace producer, and Veirs' husband, Tucker Martine.
The Lookout is out now in vinyl, CD and digital formats.
One of our favorite New Zealand bands is the trio known as Death And The Maiden. Combining reverbed guitars and synths with enchanting and darkly colored vocals, they weave a spell which is seductive, although slightly unsettling. Wisteria, their latest album, will be available soon but they have provided a glimpse of the gems within via album track "Ooooh Baby In The Chorus". "Ooooh Baby in the Chorus" is available now as a digital download. Wisteria is available April 27 in New Zealand and Australia via Fishrider Records, and UK and Europe on May 11 via UK label Occultation.
Death And The Maiden are Lucinda King, Hope Robertson, and Danny Brady.
Black Gold Buffalo entered our consciousness in early February, and we immediately told our readers about it because that is what we do with great musical discoveries (link). The London quartet now has released their self-titled debut album, and to be perfectly honest, it is even better than we thought likely -- and we expected quality. Our only concern was whether the band's previously released material was far above the remainder of the album. This is an understandable concern because that sort of thing happens often in the music world. However, we are here to assure you that Black Gold Buffalo is excellent, darkly-shaded, pulsating dance rock crafted to the same high standards as the singles. This is a keeper of an album, folks. Black Gold Buffaloare Keziah Stilwell (vocals), Hannah Holland (rhythm/production), Joy Joseph (rhythm/production), and Marc Hayward (guitar). The album is available via the band's own Buff Rekkids label. Check your preferred digital sources.