Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Spinning Coin - Permo

Supposedly, if you watch the hypnotist's spinning coin, you will enter a dream state, and no matter what happens, you will have no bad memories of what transpired while hypnotized.  The founding members of  Glasgow's Spinning Coin spied an advertisement for the standard hypnotist aid in a comic, and chose it for the name of their band.  And while we can't promise a dream state, we assure you -- and we are experts -- that the music conjured by the five-piece on Permo is hypnotically sublime and leaves only positive memories.

All veterans of other bands, the members of Spinning Coin possess the enviable ability to craft melodic gems that are unassuming, but intriguing.  They can be intense and noisy or simple and dreamy, and can be appealingly inventive in either mode.  The band writes about what interests them, but the passion is sincere without being preachy.  There is a bent towards escapism in the vibe and lyrics that may reflect the songwriters' response to current events, and perhaps that sentiment is echoed as well in the album's title, which references a permanent drug trip.  Permo is one of the most charming albums we've heard this year, and reflects a band that is both hitting its stride and promising great things for the future.

Spinning Coin are Cal Donnelly, Chris White, Jack Mellin, Sean Armstrong, and Rachel Taylor.  Katrina Mitchell also provides the vocals on track 8.  Permo is out now in digital, CD and vinyl formats via Domino's Geologic Music imprint.  Eight tracks on Permo were recorded and engineered by Stu Evans at Green Door Studios in Glasgow, and six tracks were recorded by Edwyn Collins and engineered by David Henderson at Crashnarrow Studios in Helmsdale.











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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Kaveh Kanes - Capital

As we ease into the week, our frayed nerves demand some dreamy jangle pop.  And we are willing to travel for it.  And travel we did -- to Indonesia.  Well, truthfully the legwork is attributable to Chris, the CEO of Jigsaw Records, who discovered Capital, an album from Indonesian band Kaveh Kanes.  The original release date was a few years ago, but the album didn't get the wide audience of indie pop fans it deserves, so we're happy to help the band, and Jigsaw, give it new life.  The band's sound reminds of of late Seattle favorite Seapony, although several of the songs on the latter half of the album also echo early work by New Zealand's Surf City.  It is delicious stuff and well worth your time.  Also note that the band will have an album of new material out in the new year.

Kaveh Kanes are Asad Gibran (vocals), Zaimmudin Mukarrom (guitar), Muchammad Najib (drums), and Hafid Alattas (bass).  Capital is out now in CD and digital formats via Jigsaw Records.  See the Bandcamp link below.







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"Mario Lanza" by Paddy Hanna

We always are happy to hear the Dublin musician Paddy Hanna is releasing more music.  Today we can provide you with a stream of his new single "Mario Lanza", and news that Paddy's Frankly I Mutate LP will be out February 16.  Both releases are via Strange Brew.

The single has an upbeat, even jaunty vibe, although its roots are in found in Paddy's feelings about his father's recent serious illness.






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Monday, November 20, 2017

Razz - Time Frames

In providing us with the dose of pure energy we need to get a week's worth of work done in three days so we can enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday, Razz demonstrates on Time Frames the art of the perfect punk-smeared power pop song.  The album features eight tracks that deliver their message with shredding guitars and pounding rhythms, leaving you breathless.  And they usually accomplish all that in under three minutes. With public spaces starting the holiday music assault already, we need a band like Razz now more than ever.  Perfect timing, we say.

The Bay Area quartet joins together members of Talkies (Phillip Lantz and Joel Cusamano), Pets (Dan Wood) and Reptoids (Andy Human).  Score a digital copy at the Bandcamp link, or hit the Emotional Response Records link for vinyl.







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Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Wedding Present – George Best 30



With all the bad things going on the world, we are especially grateful when the Universe's Central Planning Committee decides we can have good things.   One such good thing was George Best.  Well, I guess that was two things, George Best, the dazzling attacker from Northern Ireland who played for Manchester United and partied with the Beatles, and George Best, the debut album from David Gedge's The Wedding Present.  In all my many decades listening to pop music, this 1987 release is one of the finest debut albums.  A full on holiday feast of crunching guitars, frenetic energy and masterful songwriting, it lives well beyond its time and the associated UK groups of the era.  But perhaps because we all now need good things more than usual, we are presented (no pun intended) with George Best 30, which is no less than a complete, live re-recording of the original album by The Wedding Present with Steve Albini at the controls.

There are no major changes to the album, nor should there be.  But Albini, who recorded The Wedding Present's superb Seamonsters in 1991, is the right man for the recording.  And Gedge and his bandmates manage the tough feat of delivering the material with warmth and understanding, without losing the immediacy that these songs demand.  I make the rules around here, and while these songs may be 30 years old, the recording is new, so this a going to be one of my top albums of 2017.

George Best 30 is released via Scopitones, with vinyl available in North America from HHBTM Records (limited pressing of 1,000 copies) and CDs in Japan via Vinyl Junkie.













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Friday, November 17, 2017

"When You're Mine" by Fascinations Grand Chorus



We highlight "When You're Mine" because it is a great song, but also because it heralds the December 8 arrival of Anglesea, a new album from NYC duo Fascinations Grand Chorus.  The song has elements of power pop and bubblegum.  The lyrics are sweet and yearning, but with a hint of uncertainty.  This is a band that was good "out of the box", but our ears tell us they are getting even better.

Anglesea will be released on Silent Stereo Records, and can be pre-ordered at the link below.




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"Useless" by Declan Welsh & The Decadent West

Around WYMA offices we know Declan Welsh & The Decadent West as reliable and fierce anti-fascists.  But today we are showcasing the Glasgow quartet's talents with respect to the personal side of life, as today is the release day of their new single, "Useless".  Passion, vulnerability, and longing are on display in fine fashion; check out your favorite digital outlet.

The band are Declan Welsh (vocals/songwriting), Duncan McBride (guitars), Ben Corlett (bass), and Calum Murray (drums).




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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Bed Wettin' Bad Boys - Rot

Well, well, well -- here is a big load of rot.  Specifically, the 11 tracks of heavy, hooky, aggressively-jangling garage rock which comprise Rot, the new album from Sydney's Bed Wettin' Bad Boys.  Introspection can come at you a number of different ways, and a listener can choose his or her poison.  But we have a weakness for well written songs crafted by musicians with enough experience to know what they are talking about (and know what they don't know) and uncompromising, full-bore performances.  And that is exactly what you get with Bed Wettin' Bad Boys.  This is a face-melting treatment with a pop-glaze, and that is hard to find and treasured when you have it in your hand.  Go ahead and ignore the band's name, but don't ignore this music.

Bed Wettin' Bad Boys is Joe Sukit of Royal Headache (vocals/guitar), Ben Warnock (guitar), Nic Warnock (bass), and Doug Gibson (drums).  Rot is out now via R.I.P. Society in CD, vinyl, cassette and digital formats.  The point of purchase depends on where you hang your hat; see the links below.








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"One Rizla" by Shame


Today's word is Shame, but don't worry.  We aren't addressing what you said at the pub last night, or your snitch of the last cookie (although that was bad form, indeed).  We are talking about South London's Shame.  The five-piece's debut album Songs of Praise (given the title, we anticipate some sincere devotional numbers that really make us think) will be released by Dead Oceans on January 12.  The ten songs promise grit and post-punk energy, but we will have more on that later.  For now, listen to album track "One Rizla", or watch the video below.

Shame is Eddie Green, Charlie Forbes, Josh Finerty, Sean Coyle-Smith, and Charlie Steen.






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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mt. Doubt - Moon Landings


Certain bands have the unique ability to punch you in the gut while soaring melodically.  The Twilight Sad has been such a band, and more recently, Mt. Doubt has proven themselves in that channel.    Perhaps the Scots are predestined to thrill in this manner, but whatever the source, we are big fans.  If you are a regular reader, Mt. Doubt needs no introduction.  For those who are less familiar, know that the Edinburgh-based project was founded in 2014 by Leo Bargery.  Prolific of late, Mt. Doubt has released the new Moon Landings EP.  On this effort, Leo is joined by Ryan Firth and Annie Booth.  You will find the expected mountain of doom, heralded by Leo's baritone, but also rays of almost sunny pop tones.  It is a winning combination and a welcome expansion of the band's sound.

Moon Landings is out now via Scottish Fiction.





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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Cleaners From Venus - Martin Newell's Jumble Sale


Variously termed rummage sales, yard sales, garage sales, jumble sales, among other terms, when someone clears out their attic, basement, closets and other collection points, the rest of us have an opportunity to find treasure.  In the case of the UK's Martin Newell, recording as The Cleaners From Venus, a long career in music has produced a bumper crop of outtakes and other musical odds and ends.  And in a fit of housecleaning, he has assembled 17 tracks from 22 years of work and packaged them as Martin Newell's Jumble Sale.  So this will be one of your easiest jumble sale shopping excursions -- one stop shopping for a pre-selected set of songs.  There is no need to sort through boxes of crockery, loud holiday sweaters, or vintage roller skates.  Even with odds and ends of a recording session, Martin's keen observational skills, melodic sensibilities, and deft wordsmithing produce gems that others in the business should envy.  Welcome to the jumble sale!

Martin Newell's Jumble Sale is out now as a digital release, as well as a limited run of CDs.  Check out the Bandcamp link below or visit your preferred online store.










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Monday, November 13, 2017

Sob Stories - Sob Stories EP

We aren't the maudlin types around here.  In fact, we tend to be quite cheery in nearly all circumstances.  Nevertheless, we are going to start out the week with Sob Stories.  And what a great set of sob stories they are -- six tracks of chunky riffs, snarling leads and tales of failed love, dark observations, and dessert.  Yes, we wrote "dessert", deal with it.  The songs are concise and energetic, featuring frontman and songwriter Joel Cusumano's baritone growl and a band that sounds more like mid-career Clash than any band deserves to.  It isn't every day you can find sob stories that make you happy.

Sob Stories EP is out now via Emotional Response Records in digital and vinyl formats.  In addition to Cusumano (ex Talkies and Terry Six), Sob Stories includes member of Razz and Cocktails.







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Saturday, November 11, 2017

"The Day I Die" by Island




A slinky rhythmic intro to a gritty, soulful vocal.   Indeed, this is the way to end the day.  The song is "The Day I Die", and it is excellent.  While allegedly no man is an island, apparently Londoners Rollo Doherty, Jack Raeder, James Wolfe and Toby Richards are Island.  The song is from the band's debut album Feels Like Air, which will be released via Frenchkiss Records on April 6, 2018.  We're going to look forward to that one, and we suggest you do so as well.




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Friday, November 10, 2017

The Zephyr Bones - Secret Place

Secret Place is a special place, a place where melodic, upbeat psychedelia and warm, intimate lyricism meet.  According to the lyrics, those places could include various planets and the surface of the sun, but there is nothing wrong with some imaginary traveling supported by a killer soundtrack.  With elements of dreampop and psychedelia -- the band calls it "beach wave", the ten tracks on the album present a hazy celebration of the inner space of both the performers and the listeners.  It is sweet, sunny and playful, all qualities which pop music should have more of.

The Zephyr Bones are Brian Silva (guitar/vocals), Jossip Tkalcic (guitar/vocals/synth), Marc Lopez (drums), and Carlos Ramos.  The band is based in Barcelona, which is the hometown of Marc and Carlos (bass).  Brian and Jossip originally are from Chile.  Secret Place is out now in CD, vinyl and digital formats via La Castanya.






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Thursday, November 9, 2017

"Swim Deep" by Steve Buscemi's Dreamy Eyes

As casual fans of film and television, we spend very little time thinking about Steve Buscemi's admittedly dreamy eyes.  However, as indie music fans we are very excited about Steve Buscemi's Dreamy Eyes.  The Stockholm quartet will be releasing an EP titled Four Waters on November 24, but have provided a taste of the goods via closing track "Swim Deep".  Shimmering, propulsive and richly layered, it suggests very good things for this band.

The members of Steve Buscemi's Dreamy Eyes are Tilde Hansen, Siri Sjoberg, Elias Mahfoud, and Edvin Srleskar.  Four Waters will be available via the usual digital outlets, and as a limited vinyl release via Rama Lama Records.



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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Last Leaves - Other Towns Than Ours

One of the first impressions a listener may have upon listening to Other Towns Than Ours is how confident the band sounds on their first LP.  And of course, the listener is correct, although the amazement may be tempered a bit upon learning that Last Leaves includes three members of the long-running and beloved Lucksmiths.  The three are long-time songwriter and guitarist Marty Donald, who also is lead vocalist for this band, guitarist Louis Richter, and bassist Mark Monnone.  The non-Luckie is drummer Noah Symons of Great Earthquake.

Even with three members of the former group, Last Leaves isn't just a continuation project, but rather a new take on the members' guitar pop vision.  There is plenty of melody, but this band also embraces their guitars' fuzz and rumble as much as the jangle.  Take for example, the grit and swagger in "Love and the World Well Lost" and "The World We Had".  There is a bit of The Posies or Teenage Fanclub here, and you'll never hear us complain about that.  Donald's songs are superbly drawn, with a look back on relationships as well as some peeks forward to the future, resulting in a lyrical atmosphere that is both sentimental and hopeful.  This is great stuff for the folks down under anticipating summer, and for those of us up north trying to hang on to the last vestiges of ours.

Other Towns Than Ours is out now via Matinee Recordings in North America and Lost and Lonesome Recording Company in Australia.










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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Deportees - The Birth of Industry

Crafted with care and performed with passion, The Birth of Industry is the triumphant culmination of three years of inspiration and hard work by Aberdeen's The Deportees.  The album reflects intelligent songwriting and dynamic arrangements, combining elements of Celtic roots, folk, Americana, and indie rock.  The songs whisper then soar grandly into exploding soundscapes while the Scots-inflected vocals infuse the tracks with drama.  While the five-piece can give a song space when needed, allowing a solo piano riff to carry the line, their inclination is to layer instruments into the song until is resembles a well-appointed musical Christmas tree.  Of course, in the wrong hands that could be a hot mess, but The Deportees are a well-oiled machine and you can't find a note out of place.  And it must be said that the lads aren't shy about noise -- this album rocks more often than it whispers.  The Birth of Industry is a fine autumnal gem, and a welcome counterbalance to most of what one finds these days.

The Deportees are Duncan Dallas, Adam Keenan, Adam Morrice, Diarmaid O'Gallagher, and Ricky Osborne.








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Monday, November 6, 2017

"Tell" by The Ocean Party

We are so much more than international music people here at WYMA.  We also are keenly interested in science.  And pursuing this interest, we recently asked our science department to run a saturation test to determine the saturation point for music for certain bands.  Our hypothesis was that the saturation point is a function not only of quantity of music and lapse of time, but also of the quality of music.  We are happy to report that our hypothesis was proved over the course of exhaustive testing.  To give you just a taste of the results, the Guns and Roses saturation point was 45.  No, not 45 songs, 45 seconds.  And we had left the room to get a beer for most of that time.  Early Rolling Stones doesn't hit saturation until two albums have run; later Stones saturate the listener more rapidly.

However, at the other end of the spectrum is Melbourne's The Ocean Party.  Considering the relatively short period of time (in terms of music production) of calendar year 2017, the prolific band has released a collection of B-side type material (our feature here), a tour tape (our feature here), the massively impressive LP Beauty Point (our feature here), and soon the Guilt EP.  This material was played to our test subjects in addition to other projects involving band members, such as Ciggie Witch, and attending The Ocean Party's show earlier in the year.  And despite all of that music, not one of our test subjects hit saturation point for The Ocean Party.  In fact, they all begged to hear the upcoming  EP.  Of course we didn't allow them to do that, because "upcoming" has to mean something, and even we have ethics (unless procurement of beer is involved).  But we can share with you one of the six EP tracks, "Tell".  The song underscores the band's ability to provide introspective lyrical content in a universally relatable manner and wrap it up in a glistening pop song.

Guilty will be out in early December via Spunk Records.



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A Certain Smile - Fits & Starts

A Certain Smile distills their influences with perfection.  Presumably devouring the catalogs of Sarah, Creation, Heavenly, Slumberland and the various noise pop and dream pop bands that make us sigh and smile that certain smile, the Philadelphia-to-Portland band has released Fits & Starts, a nine-track dissertation of their genre that deserves a much, much wider audience than it appears to have garnered so far.  From start to finish, the album displays a knack for melody, driven by a twin guitar attack that soars, jangles and dances with authority, and super sweet hooks.  The sound is confident, and the arrangements robust, but detailed.  Fans of Aberdeen, Rocketship, and The Clientele will find this release especially welcome, but it should be a delight to all.

A Certain Smile consists of Thomas (vocals/guitar), Casey (bass), Zach (guitars/keys), and Ian (drums).  Additional performances provided by Ryan, Lisle, and Kitt.









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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Allah-Las - Covers #1


We have been dedicated fans of Los Angeles' Allah-Las for several years.  In fact, our first post about them appears to have been in 2011.  While we always are thrilled to be able to bring you new music from the band, their distinctive sound is welcome on treatments of other artists' work, as well as their own compositions.  While working on their next full length, Allah-Las have recorded Covers #1, a 10" consisting of songs by George Harrison ("Fish On Sand"), Television ("Hard On Love"), Further ("JO. Eleven"), and Kathy Heideman ("The Earth Won't Hold Me").  The record is available via Mexican Summer in a high quality vinyl package and as a digital download.  In choosing a format, note that the cover of Further's "J.O. Eleven" is only available on the vinyl version.

Allah-Las are Miles Michaud (vocals/rhythm guitar), Matthew Correia (drum/vocals), Pedrum Siadatian (lead guitar/vocals), and Spencer Dunham (bass/vocals).




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Friday, November 3, 2017

The Jazz Butcher - The Wasted Years


At least on the surface, it may seem perverse to reissue music by an artist that noted that pop music was a disposable product.  But appreciation of art is a matter of emotions, not logic, so when The Wasted Years reached our ears, we felt like we hit the lottery.  The four CD collection (plus booklet) is assembled from four records -- Bath Of Bacon, A Scandal In Bohemia, Sex And Travel, and Distressed Gentlefolk -- by The Jazz Butcher.  The project, also known as the Jazz Butcher Conspiracy and other, similar, names, was founded in the late '70s by Oxford student Pat Fish (Patrick Huntrods).  Fish, often with a rotating cast of collaborators has been prolific over the years, creating music that reflects melody, wit, and an incredible genius for expressing pop music in just about every format possible.  Lo-fi indie pop? Of course. Soft rock with tones of jazz? Got it covered.  A bit of country? You don't need to ask.  Alternative folk?  Plenty of the best.  Rockabilly? Dance away! Oddball pop? See stage left. Cabaret?  Have a seat, your waiter will be along momentarily.

The four constituent records were released between 1983 and 1986 by Glass Records, a small outfit that also released records by the Pastels, Spaceman 3, and Teenage Fanclub. This is music constructed from pop components, with pop widely defined and the songs adventurously created with a punk attitude.  But don't assume that it was hastily made or carelessly performed.  The players are excellent, the arrangements detailed and the vocals layered.  The listener is treated to the cascading delights of 41 varied and invariably interesting songs running two and a half hours.  In our opinion,  The Wasted Years is disposable art that deserves to live forever.

The Wasted Years is out now as a four CD box set (plus booklet with an essay by Mr. Fish, himself) or digital download via Fire records.





















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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Stroppies - The Stroppies

Hey, we want to spend more of your money.  It may seem a burden, but you'll thank us.  Today's suggestion is the self-titled album from Melbourne's The Stroppies.  Given our admiration for many of the other bands in which its members ply their trade, we are inclined to consider it an indie super group.  But regardless of whether you agree with that designation, we think you'll find the quality of the music quite compelling.  If you are fans of Guided By Voices and Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, this will hit your sweet spot.

The Stroppies are Angus Lord, Claudia Serfaty, Stephanie Hughes, Rory Heane and Adam Hewwit, who are members of various bands, including Dick Diver, Boomgates, The Stevens, Primetime, Possible Humans, White Walls, and See/Saw.  The self-titled album is out now via Tough Love Records.  The vinyl is sold out already, but digital versions are available.








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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

David West with Teardrops - Cherry On Willow


David West is a formidable pop talent, participating in several musical projects concurrently and producing high quality recordings.  Just this year has seen a fine album Candle Power for his Rat Columns, as well as the just released Cherry on Willow by David West with Teardrops.  And these are just the latest additions to a prolific young career as a solo artist and participant in Total Control, Lace Curtains and Rank/Xerox. 

For Cherry on Willow West collaborated with "Teardrops", a collection of friends including, but not limited to, Mikey Young, Bob Jones, Louis Hooper, Raven Mahon, and Griffin Harrison.  Recorded in David's current home in New York, Glasgow, and his place of origin - Western Australia - the album boasts a spontaneous, 'recorded live' feel, and offers a dizzing array of '70s and '80s guitar and synth pop with glammy swagger, surging rhythms, and a soulful heart.  And yes, that means we get some guitar solos, thanks for asking.  This is bold pop painted in bright colors by a group of musicians who clearly enjoyed the sessions.  Around WYMA headquarters these days, when we want to feel good and listen to something with a swing that makes you want to move, we are playing Cherry On Willow.

Cherry On Willow is out now via Tough Love Records.








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Monday, October 30, 2017

Seafog - Dig It On Up

This mini album isn't a particularly recent release.  In fact, it dropped in April.  But having become aware of it via the PopLib blog, we quickly decided that our readers needed to know about it.  Consisting of six tracks of urgent, loose-limbed post punk with frontman and songwriter Robin Sharma's talk-sing vocals, Dig It On Up is exciting and wonderfully different.  Fans of Melbourne's Boomgates will note some similarities, and we think that is a very good thing.  But a deeper background may also detect some inspiration from Joy Division.

Seafog are Robin Sharma (vocals/guitar), Nigel Waters (guitar/effects), and Marty Sadler (drums).  The album is released via Autria's Zelle Records, but you can score a digital copy via the Bandacamp link below.







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The Occasional Flickers - Sleep And The Time In Between

Occasional Flickers is a long-running Edinburgh band that plays the kind of jangle pop and indie rock for which the Scottish indie scene is justifiably respected.  They have just released the fine Sleep And The Time In Between, which is a worthy addition to their catalog.  Listen to the free-wheeling jangle of "Sparrow", the Belle & Sebastian echoes of "Half Know" and the title track, or try the pastoral folk jangle of "Before You Break A Mirror".  Other highlights are the breezy "Myself", the country-tinged "Visions of Geraldine", and the grand conclusion of "Winter Waltz".   This album is a very rewarding listen, and will deliver pleasure for a long time.

The Greek/Scots line-up of Occasional Flickers consists of Panayotis Baras, Giorgos Bouras, Fraser Hughes, and Robin Campbell Oliver.  Sleep And The Time In Between is out now via Jigsaw Records.







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Sunday, October 29, 2017

TheYellow Melodies - Life


One of the modern masters of brightly colored power pop is Spain's The Yellow Melodies.  Helmed by songwriter Rafa Skam, the band keeps the flame of The Teenage Fanclub, Big Star, The Pastels, Superstar, and BMX Bandits burning brightly.  Whether playing their own compositions or covering other bands (covers of Television Personalities and BMX Bandits are fondly remembered around here), they always deliver melodies and charm.  The band's new album is simply titled Life, and it is a good choice for a set of songs that affirm the joys of living from start to finish.  This is music to accompany a drive with a loved one, time with the children, a family picnic, or perhaps just a hug.  We can all think of a number of reasons to listen to music, but one of the best is that it makes us feel good.  If you want to feel good, choose Life.

In addition to Rafa Skam, The Yellow Melodies are Pilar, Carlos Abrisqueta, and Jose Angel, although others contribute with keys, percussion and horns.  Life is out now via the band's own label in Europe and Ottawa's The Beautiful Music in North America.










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"Three Shadows" by The New Tigers

The New Tigers is one of our favorite Finnish bands.  And yes, we follow so may Finnish bands that we have favorites.  The band is preparing to release their third album, and has decided to share a single to let us all know what they've have been up to.  The answer, according to "Three Shadows", is that they have been crafting delectable pop music.  And here it is!

The music of The New Tigers is released via Helsinki's Soliti Music.




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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Worriers - Survival Pop


Punk rock with melody, insight and passion -- damn this is good stuff.  If you aren't familiar with Brooklyn's Worriers, you have some catching up to do.  But start with their recent album Survival Pop.  The band's focal point is vocalist Lauren Denitzio, who also is an author and visual artist.  She relies an a fluid supporting case, including Mikey Erg, Lou Hanman, John McLean, Rachel Rubino, and Audrey Zee.  Which of them play on Survival Pop is unknown to us, but WYMA gives major respect to everyone involved.  The music and performances are first rate, and as for the politics, large and small, Joe Strummer said something like 'without politics, punk is just noise'.  We assure you, this album is far more than just noise.

Survival Pop is out now as a digital download.  See the Bandcamp link.










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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Those Unfortunates - In Lavender and Other Stories

Since everyone reading this blog is accomplished, successful and in every respect a "fat cat", we urge you to spare a little time for the unfortunates in life.  Which unfortunates, you ask?  Well, our recommendation is Those Unfortunates.  Yes, those, the musical Londoners who are witty, melodic and, lately, appealingly prolific.  Their latest offering is the recently released In Lavender EP, which has been playing here in headquarters all morning.

The EP consists of seven numbered tracks, but the first and last are brief spoken-word bookends for the songs.  And what songs they are!  Beginning with the jangling gem "In Lavender" from their recent LP Nothing Isn't Beautiful (reviewed favorably in the most influential blogs, such as here) and continuing with four songs recorded in the sessions for that album, the record showcases the band's ability to thrill with tempo and flair, and please with more pastoral approaches.  "Druid Lane continues the uptempo atmosphere of the title track in fine fashion.  Following songs "Woodlouse" and "Mirror" slide into the band's alternative sweet spot of folk pop.  The final musical offering is the delightful "Fountayne Road", a shaggy folk rock tune.  Any of the previously unreleased songs could have held their own with the songs included in the album, so we applaud the wisdom of the band in releasing them now.  Of course, if that leaves them four songs short for the next album, they will live up to their band name, and the LP will become an EP.  But other than that potential problem, these guys are just about perfect.  Enjoy!

In Lavender is available as a highly limited cassette and digital download via the band's own Midnight Bell label.  See the Bandcamp link for details.





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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Luxembourg Signal - Blue Field

Now seven members strong, everything about the current iteration of Anglo/Yankee band The Luxembourg Signal suggests a continuing upward trajectory.  From the top quality pop vocals of Beth Arzy and Betsy Moyer to the richly textured and dynamic arrangements that define their anthemic brand of Creation Records-meets-2017 brand indie pop, the focus is on loading the listener's aural pleasure sensors to maximum levels.  With veterans of Aberdeen and Trembling Blue Stars, and a lineage that leads back to Sarah Records, there is a wealth of experience in crafting delectable hooks and smile-inducing melodies.  But even knowing that background may not prepare the listener for the treats on Blue Field, the band's new album.  The album offers swirling guitars and synths, forward pushing percussion, soaring and cascading harmonies, and evocative expressions of joy and unease.  And in doing so represents one of the finest combinations of pop and dreampop you will find.  Certainly one of 2017's musical gems.

The Luxembourg Signal is Beth Arzy, Betsy Moyer, Johnny Joyner, Brian Espinosa, Ginny Pitchford, Kelly Davis, and Daniel Kumiega.  Blue Field is out now on vinyl, digital and CD formats via Shelflife Records (North America) and Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten (Europe).










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Monday, October 23, 2017

Wireheads - Lightning Ears


Lightning Ears is compellingly weird and a whole lot of wonderful.  The latest album and fourth overall from Adelaide country punks Wireheads, it is loose-limbed in construction and wide scope in inspiration.  For this venture band leader Dom Trimboli gathers Harriet Fraser-Barbour (Workhourse), Luke Kenny (Men With Chips), Vic Conrad (The Garden Path), Daniel Heath (IDK 2.0) and Liam Kenny (Workhorse).  As with the prior album, the plan was to record for Calvin Johnson (K Records, Beat Happening) at his studio in Olympia, Washington.  Calvin mislaid his studio so the proceedings moved north to a deconsecrated church in Anacortes, on an island in Puget Sound.  So at the time of recording, we had a band that just recently became a band and which is still learning the songs, a half world of travel, and an enigmatic producer in a new studio.  You might guess that this is a recipe for chaos.  And of course it is, but chaos appears to be the yeast for Wireheads bread.

We've termed the music country punk here because we are accustomed to labels, but the breadth of influences is immense.  Trimboli's talk-sing and deadpan delivery of observations and questions about life and technology are transported by elements of fuzzy punk, college rock, post punk, country, glam and classic rock.  Oh, I almost forgot some Afro-pop and a children's choir (no, not in the same song, these people are civilized).  Nothing is lyrically straightforward, but on some plane it makes sense, you with an open mind you'll get there.  Everyone will find songs to love, and maybe a song or two that challenges them.  But we can't pretend to be objective because we've already put in on our draft list of best albums of the year.  And in our professional opinion, "Indian Pacific Express is one of the best songs we have heard in years.  Go ahead and play it over and over.  It won't wear out, and it won't wear out its welcome.

Lightning Ears is out now via Tenth Court Records.










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Mark Martyre - Rivers

Lyrical and suffused with emotional currents, Rivers is another stellar offering from Toronto songwriter and poet Mark Martyre.  Martyre possesses a voice seemingly drenched in smoke and whisky, and a breezy performance style that radiates warmth.  But as appealing as that combination can be, the star is the songwriting -- showcasing Mark's ability to turn his personal observations into stories that the listener may well mistake for his or her own.  Sure, Rivers is Martyre's album, but it is welcoming enough that a listener with some miles in the rear view mirror could think a story or two was borrowed from his or her own life.

This album is like a feel good prescription for you spirit.  And it refills endlessly.







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Friday, October 20, 2017

Strawberry Runners - In The Garden, In The Night

Deft songwriting with a perfect indie pop voice make Strawberry Runners a can't miss proposition for us here at WYMA.  The debut EP, In the Garden, In the Night, provides a five-song proof, but most music fans won't need that much to conclude that there is prodigious talent on offer.  We fully expect to see this EP on year-end lists of records that many people missed.  Of course, because you read WYMA, you haven't missed it.

The band is the musical alter ego of Emi Night, a young women who spins stories about the good and bad of growing up, and confidently delivers them in capsules of rich melody.  She has been making music for a number of years, but this is her first record.  Our conclusion is that this is wonder, and wholly addictive, pop music.  It is our loss that she waited this long.

The players on the album are Emi Night (vocals/guitar/mandolin/additional percussion), Davy Timm (trumpet/vocals/keys), Sam Kelley (guitars), Tyler Morse (bass/vocals), Max Barcelow (drums/vocals/additional percussion), and Rich Goldberg (keys).  In the Garden, In the Night is out October 20 via Salinas Records








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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"Not So Bad" by Johnny Kills

We keep our promises here, and we promised UK's Johnny Kills that we would feature their next single after posting the third of their summer trio of singles (Link to End Game here).  Now, some readers may wonder whether it was a cynical promise after assuming that Tim Lloyd-Kinnings (guitar/vocals), Lewis Lloyd-Kinnings (bass/keys/vocals), and Cameron Gipp (guitar/vocals) probably would have fled the country by now, one step of their girlfriends' angry, shotgun-carrying fathers.  But we assure you that our promise was entirely based on our respect for their music.  So here is the muscular, crunchy, totally rocking "Not So Bad".  And to each of the guys, if her dad caught you, we congratulate you on the upcoming nuptials.



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Pia Fraus - Field Ceremony

As all of us know, shoegaze is characterized by a dense and enveloping sound.  It is the genre's defining element and the critical draw for fans.  But the best shoegaze is created by artists who understand that the dense soundscapes serve best as a foundation for the other details.  And this brings us the the Field Ceremony, the delightful new album by Estonia's Pia Fraus.  Listen to album opener "It's Over Now" and appreciate the lower register rhythm riff capturing the listener.  Or to the indie pop vocals dancing over the sonic tapestry in the following "Never Again Land" and "Autumn Winds".  Nor does the band shy away from more pop arrangements, such as on "No Filter Needed".  In fact, while the band displays their sheer power frequently on this album, the overall effect to our ears was more dreampop than what we commonly regard as shoegaze.  From the adept balance of light and dark elements in the songwriting, to the thoughtful production, to the clear emotion in the performances, Field Ceremony is a work of art to celebrate.  And of course, to listen to over and over.

Pia Fraus is Rein Fuks (guitar/vocals/percussion), Eve Komp (vocals/synths/metallophone), Kart Ojavee (synths), Reijo Tagapere (bass), and Margus Voolpriit (drums).  Field Ceremony is out now via Shelflife (U.S.), Seksound (Eur), and Vinyl-Junkie Records (Japan).







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