We are drawn to Glasgow band The Just Joans by their sharp-eyed and witty songwriting, twee sensibility and melodic sense. Any band that can make us laugh and sigh, often in the same song, is a band to keep in your playlist. Later this year we will be graced with For Those About To Weep, their new LP. However, we don't have to wait that long for a bit of The Just Joans, as the single "No Longer Young Enough" will be released tomorrow. Consisting of the title track and "Breakfast for Our Tea", it is just what we needed to hold us over until the album is available. Check out the title track below, which offers girl-group vocals pointing out that for all of us, there is a time when Friday nights/Saturday mornings in the clubs becomes reading at home in our PJs and an early lights out.
Both the single and the album are to be released via Fika Recordings.
Renee Barrance and Tim Player are OV PAIN, a band that dwells in the musical landscape of Gothic darkwave. On their new self-titled album the keyboards create thick layers of swirling sound over pounding percussion, with haunting vocals partially hidden in the fog. The effect is claustrophobic and dissonant, but ultimately vital and majestic. Through earphones, late at night, this album has become a first choice way to end the day.
How many things in your life achieve "I'd hate to live without it" status? For me, in addition to my family, there is coffee, my running habit, good books, good beer, any beer, and, of course music. And speaking of music I'd Hate To Live Without, my gaze turns to The Complete Loma Singles: Vol. 1. Why? Well, I really love '60s R&B and soul. But like many of us, when we turn to our personal collections or find an oldies station on the radio or internet, we tend to have a limited range of standards. Don't misunderstand, I'm a big fan of the Motown and Stax/Volt hits. But life demands variety and adventure. Don't we R&B fans deserve the raw energy of the striving talents who never made it to more or less identical loops of oldies hits? I think so, and thank Odin, Real Gone Music thinks so as well.
On The Complete Loma Singles: Vol. 1 Real Gone Records collects a generous 50 songs from the Loma label. A Warner subsidiary, the label only existed from 1964-1968, and while it wasn't known for producing hits, its releases have long been sought by soul music collectors. And a spin through this two disc collection tells you why that is so. You can feel the passion and your mind's eye can see the sweat, joy and tears. If anyone every asks you what soul music is, just offer to sit them down and play this compilation. Do not, I repeat, do not lend them the discs because you might not see them again. And as we said at the top of the post, this is a 'can't live without item'. When You Motor Away blog, and its officers, directors, employees, shareholders and camp followers will not be responsible for self-harm by those who do not take care of their The Complete Loma Singles: Vol. 1.
Oh, and save your pennies, because this is the first of a planned four album release of Loma material. See, we have a lot to live for!
Robin Cederman and Penelope Esplin have graced these pages before as members of Dunedin's The Prophet Hens. As a duo, they have launched folk pop project Grawlixes, and, after touring in Europe, they have released debut full length record Set Free. The album's melodies are delicate, intricate, and sweet, while the themes tend toward melancholy and clear-eyed realism, and particularly clear-eyed realism about melancholy-inducing relationships. Restrained acoustic guitar provides most of the instrumentation, but accordion, violin and occasional electric guitar provide notable sonic depth. Both Penelope and Robin sing, sometimes in unison, sometimes with one lead and one in the background. Their voices compliment each other well, and the material is enhanced by the varied approaches. Infectious and intelligent, Set Free is a real treat for your quieter moments. And if you don't regularly have quieter moments, this album makes a strong argument for making time for them.
Set Free is out now via Home Alone. You can stream the entire album at the Bandcamp link below. The lyrics are provided, and we found them quite worth reading while listening. By the way, the band helpfully points out that a "grawlix" is a spiral-shaped graphic used to indicate swearing in comic strips.
When we last listened to Stephen McLaren he was in Edinburgh dream poppers Collar Up. Now the talented gent is launching a solo project, and his first offering is "No More (Say Yes)". Opening with an insistent thumping beat and anthemic vocals, it is the perfect platform for a song about the Scottish independence vote. We'll add that it also translates well to the dance floor, the running trail, or speeding down the highway. Kind of like a valuable and soon-to-be-treasured musical utility tool. In case you hadn't noticed, we love it.
"No More (Say Yes)" is out now via Errant Media. Stephen's debut LP, We Used To Go Raving, will be released by Errant Media on September 29.
Minneapolis' Real Numbers blew us away last year with Wordless Wonder, their debut LP released via Slumberland. But now they prove that it only takes two songs to remind us just how good they are. Please welcome "Frank Infatuation" and "Leave It Behind" to your record collection. That is, welcome it if you act quickly. It is a limited edition vinyl single from British label Market Square Records. Buy a copy and get unlimited streaming and a digital download. What a deal!
Guitars, guitars, wonderful guitars. On Rival Party they chime, jangle, and layer over each other, riding a pulsating rhythm section, and the result is aural euphoria. Austin band She Sir has been known as a dreampop and shoegaze band, and those elements remain dominant on this album. But there also is that aforementioned robust rhythm section and many uptempo songs, so to our ears this band has stepped outside the lines to great effect. With ten songs in a bit over a half hour, Rival Party is like a pleasant daydream in the sun, and one you try it, you may find yourself reworking your schedule for more frequent naps.
She Sir are Russell Karloff, Matthew Grusha, Jeremy Cantrell, and David Nathan. Rival Party is out now via Shelflife Records.
This will be a busy week for the blog, with a large number of recent noteworthy releases to cover. But we are starting out with a demo. Yes, that's right, a demo. Jetstream Pony is just too exciting to ignore, and "Self Destruct Reality" is a good way to kick off Monday.
Today is Life Model's lucky day. Or, more precisely, their Lucky day, because their new EP with that title has been released. The band has been known for their dreamgaze (dreampop + shoegaze), but this record finds them muscling up with a touch more rocking, and it is a sound they do very well. Opener "Skin and Bones" rumbles and threatens like something seeping out of the Seattle underground in the early '90s. Title track "Lucky" brings the melody in a noise pop charmer. The lovely "4ever" and "Together" hint at and build upon the band's dreampop roots. Take it for a spin below -- if you are looking for good, new music, this may be your lucky day as well.
Life Model is Sophie Evans, Chris Smith, Joanne McCafferty, and Michael McDonald and they are based in Glasgow. Lucky is out now in cassette and digital formats via Frux Tapes.
We started out the day with some R&B, so we'll continue with an electronic R&B/future pop track from up and coming American artist Teflon Sega. Keep your ears open -- we are sure you will hear more from him.
Today is almost the end of the week. Almost. What is needed is a shot of energy to help us make it to Friday. And where will we get it? We will get it from "Do You Want My Love?", the new disco-tinged R&B song from Melbourne's Harpoons. Put it on repeat, and make it through the week. And then send the band a thank you note.
Harpoons are Henry, Jack, Bec, and Marty. Their second album will be released later this year.
Let's be honest here - we all find ourselves feeling a bit lazy at some point. For example, every now and then I think I should make a new playlist with my favorite recent songs, favorite songs overall, favorite songs of a certain genre, or whatever. But then I sit down, open a beer, and let the moment pass. True, it sometimes takes two beers for the moment to pass, but I'm not a quitter so I stick with it. And that's all fine, except that after the moment passes I don't have the hits compilation I had intended to make.
However, once again Jen and Stew at Emotional Response Records have saved the day. Emotional Response Records releases a lot of records, in a lot of styles, by artists from lots of places around the globe. As a public service for us lazy types, they are offering 23 Bangers - The Casual Lurkers Guide to Emotional Response (2017). As the title suggests, the record contains 23 songs selected from the label's 2017 releases. It is a no effort, no fuss and quite low-priced way to get a hits compilation of indie rock, punk, psychedelic, electronic, and indie pop songs well worth collecting. Try some songs below and then visit the Bandcamp link.
We generally make up our own minds around here. In fact, we are quite comfortable with our enviable position as one of the premier tastemakers in indie music . But that doesn't mean that we ignore the opinions of other worthies in searching for good new music. And when T. Bone Burnett and Jack White, among others, recognize a band's talent, we are content to be followers for a day. And that brings us to The Americans -- a band whose interest in pre-war Americana roots music has broadened into an appealing brand of roots rock. A brand that reflects rockabilly, country, blues, Americana, roots rock and swaggering rock and roll. We featured the band's The Right Stuff EP a couple of months ago (link), and were pleasantly surprise that a full LP -- I'll Be Yours -- is available so soon. Energetic stompers, roadhouse anthems, and slow-burning ballads showcase a band with deep understanding of their influences and formidable talent and commitment. The songwriting is as strong as the performances are sincere. And while the album impresses from the opening notes of the upbeat "Nevada", it still manages to be a 'grower', revealing depth with repeated listens. The Americans have landed. The Americans are Patrick Ferris (vocals/guitar), Jake Faulkner (bass), and Zac Sokolow (guitar). I'll Be Yours is out now in vinyl, digital and CD formats via Loose Records.
Here at WYMA World Headquarters, we are very fond of oceans and parties. So it won't surprise anyone reading this post to learn that we also are very fond of The Ocean Party. The Melbourne six-piece has been a favorite here for the last several years, and we even hauled ourselves out to see their show here in Seattle a few month ago. Despite being at the end of a long overseas tour, they managed to be very entertaining and charming, and the memories still linger pleasantly in our minds.
But enough of the past, because The Ocean Party is ready to release another LP. Beauty Point is coming to our ears and hears on August 18 via Spunk in Australia and New Zealand and Emotional Response Records in the US. Well have more on the new album in the coming weeks, but here is a very tasty hint of what is to come.
Out in the Storm, the fourth Waxahatchee album from Katie Crutchfield and company, takes everything that has been good and true about Waxahatchee albums past, and almost impossibly makes it better. Crutchfield's approach is raw, honest, and at times lacerating. But she never forgets that a song's impact is also dependent on its ability to entertain, and entertain she does. This album is ten songs, and a bit over a half hour, of crunchy, '90s-influenced indie rock and power pop, and a few simmering indie pop ballads, laying out Crutchfield's dissection of a breakup, with the spotlight on both the other party and herself. Unlike previous Waxahatchee albums, Out in the Storm was recorded with a full band, including sister Allison lending her own vocal prowess to Katie's. And those elements, in addition to excellent production, show to good effect. The album as an epic feel. Moreover, despite the "breakup album" theme, the overall mood is defiant and fierce, rather than weepy and downtrodden. One of my favorite songs is the soaring "Sparks Fly", but there are sparks on a broader scale as well, because throughout the album Crutchfield displays the ability to make lyrical points as if live electric wires were embedded in them. This is the sound of a formidable songwriting talent clearing the decks for the next chapter, and it is glorious.
Out in the Storm is released in vinyl, digital, CD and cassette formats tomorrow, July 24, via Merge Records.
Yes, it has been a long, long time since the last album from Melbourne's The Stevens. But take it easy on them. If some young men are finding the cure for dread diseases, building safe, diverse and inclusive communities, and negotiating lasting peace, you can't expect them to churn out guitar pop on demand. Admittedly, there is no evidence that the members of the band were engaged in any such activities, but we don't know that they weren't, so perhaps we should cut them some slack. I'm sure they were doing very important things since the release of their debut LP in 2014.
And one of those things is crafting 18 lo-fi gems that we find on Good, their new album. This record is a heady brew of crunchy Guided By Voices-styled indie rock, Flying Nun-style jangle, '70s prog rock, and Television Personalities arty guitar pop. Or, to put it in simple terms that don't make those of you two drinks into your evening try to sort through the influences, this is varied, melodic, eclectic, soaring, thrilling music with heart, humor and brains. The Stevens find pop bliss in every corner of their music and burnish it brightly it for their fans. I suppose that it isn't earthshaking news to say that a 18-track album has some good songs. But Good is rich in really good songs, and suffers no weak ones. In fact, if I were to compile a list of my favorite 30 songs of the year so far, Good would have several entries. Try a few below, and then ask yourself, should I deny myself pop bliss? I expect you will answer the question correctly. We trust you, we really do.
The Stevens are Travis MacDonald, Alex Macfarlane, Gus Lord, and Matt Harkin. Good will be released by Chapter Music in digital, vinyl and compact disc formats on Friday, July 14.
What can be better than some music from The Popguns? More music from The Popguns, of course. On the heels of Sugar Kisses, their stellar new album for Matinee Recordings (our feature here), the band has released an EP of late '80s demos. The five-track record was available in CD and digital formats, but you all are late to the party and will have to be content with the digital download. But content, I suspect we all will be.
We assure you that Pittsburgh's Stutter Steps was not created specifically to attract our attention. But followers of the blog could readily conclude otherwise after listening to the band's new EP Floored. Fronted by songwriter Ben Harrison, who is a curator at the Andy Warhol Museum, Stutter Steps offers EP six tracks of jangling, melodic guitar pop that simultaneously recall the so-called Dunedin sound and West Coast guitar pop, with a touch of the Velvet Underground. The lyrics are intelligent and poetic, and Harrison's vocal delivery, ably supported by Cindy Yogmas, is warm, sincere, and appealingly gruff. Four of the six songs are up-tempo, chugging nuggets of perfection. The other two, "Identical Eyes" and closer "Encino" display the band's adept hand at slower arrangements, with the latter boasting a bit of countrified charm and the former reminding me a bit of Chicago's Bare Mutants from about five years ago. Obviously, the selling point isn't that Stutter Steps is doing something new, it is that they are making perfectly crafted music in a timeless genre. It you are a fan of The Bats, Galaxie 500, Luna, Zebra Hunt, The Mantles, and Expert Alterations, you will find Floored to be a shiny new treasure.
In addition to Harrison (vocals/guitar), Stutter Steps are Sean Finn (drums), David Horn (bass), Phil Jacoby (guitar), and Cindy Yogmas (vocals/keys). Floored is out now via Cleveland's Blue Arrow Records.
The song "You Push I'll Go" has been rattling around for about a decade, but apparently was never released. Moreover, Baby Dayliner (Ethan Marunas), although still working as a DJ, had retired from performing music, making a proper release unlikely. However, this story has a happy ending, as the song and three siblings have been released. Enjoy the slinky delights of the title song below and then check out the remainder of the EP at the Bandcamp link or your alternate favorite digital platform.
We are big fans of Jimi Charles Moody, and we also like modern dance. So we are happy to bring you the dance-oriented video for Moody's "Only You". A treat for the ears and eyes, and we expect it does your soul some good as well.
Lost World indeed presents a world to get lost in. Filled with anthemic shoegaze and dreampop, with perfectly meshed boy/girl vocals infused with sticky sugar floating above hooky melodies and chiming and jangling guitars. The drums slash with abandon and the bass has free rein to infuse a muscular bounce to every track. The result is a sound that seems effortless, buoyant, youthful and celebratory. And we certainly can use that. Hell, the whole world can use much more of that. We were loathe to pick favorites, just as we try not to have favorites among our children. But our publishing standards (yes, we have a few that don't involve beer) require us to provide representative songs, and so we have. If you are fans of '80s guitar pop -- The Cure, C86, Sarah Records, New Order -- or more recent bands such as Veronica Falls and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, it will probably take just a few bars to sell you. But if you want to be coaxed, and we all like a bit of coaxing every now and then, go to the Bandcamp link and play the album. Then buy the album and improve your weekend with a few mouse clicks. Life really can be that simple sometimes.
Star Tropics are Scott Hibbits (guitar), Loren Vanderbilt (bass/vocals), Dan Julien (drums), and Nikki Navarro (guitar/vocals). Lost World is out now in digital and vinyl formats via Shelflife Records (United States) and Fastcut Records (Japan).
An acquaintance of mine once tried to convince me that punk music is all about violence. Of course, I disagreed. On the other hand, the last time I listened to Eurgh!, the third album by Glasgow's Breakfast Muff, I was energetically swinging a pickaxe into a firm but yielding target (there is no audio evidence of whether I was shouting "eurgh" with each strike, but that isn't important right now). However, in my defense the activity was due to my beloved spouse's desire to plant a vegetable garden rather than any specific aggressive tendencies. But where was I? Oh yes, Eurgh!. This album is a 13 song joyride consisting of keenly drawn observations of the lives of young adults, raucously (and at times sweetly) rendered by three musician who artistic ethos is get it down fast, and with conviction (this album was recorded in four days, which is the longest they have taken to record and album). And their talent as songwriters and sincerity and passion as performers makes it all work out.
While the pop tag certainly isn't misplaced -- witness the three songs embedded below -- it certainly isn't a comprehensive description. "Arms Brain", "Magic Carpet", among others, are straight up indie pop songs, and the latter half of the album is decidedly more post punk than punk. In our view, while those songs may not have the immediate punch of the punk songs, they leave a more lasting impression. Breakfast Muff is one of those bands that makes a stunning initial impression, but also suggests great promise for a longer haul.
Breakfast Muff is Cal Donnelly, Eilidh McMillan, and Simone Wilson. They all sing and trade off on the various instruments. Eurgh! is out Friday, July 7, via Amour Foo. See the Bandcamp link below for details.
On Hurry Home, the sophomore album from The Deslondes, we find the band broadening their country rock palette to embrace more electrification and some R&B. And it suits the New Orleans quintet very nicely. Make no mistake, the "country" remains in evidence throughout, and the loose arrangements and drawling vocals emphasize the bands roots. But we expect that the broader and more robust sound will do nothing to alienate existing fans and may well earn them an expanded audience.
One of the strengths of The Deslondes is having five songwriters and four lead vocalists, giving the band a variety of perspectives and approaches. Overall, the album doesn't prompt foot-stomping as much as involuntary head nodding and appreciative smiles. Anyone who spends time away from home, family and friends, and longs to get back, will appreciate the gospel inflected title track. But once that gem is appreciated, the listener will want to dive into the delicious break-up song "She Better Be Lonely", the bubbling "Nelly", the rollicking "Hurricane Shakedown", the vamping "Many Poor Boy", or one of the other songs. There is something for everyone here, and we think it goes down well for any picnic or backyard gathering. BYOB.
The Deslondes are Sam Doores, Riley Downing, Dan Cutler, Cameron Snyder, and John James Tourville. Hurry Home is out now via New West.
I don't think there is anything related to music that Mikey Young could do that would surprise me. Well, upon reflection, if some future performance, recording or mixing work was sub par, I would be surprised, but that isn't a surprise that is likely to happen. Whether it is his work as a musician with Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Ooga Boogas, and Total Control, among others, or his recording and mixing for numerous projects on several continents in recent years, Young has proved himself to be adventurous, talented and inspired. He is wedded to no specific genre, but rather seems to seek out challenges wherever he sees an opportunity.
For Your Move Vol. 1, Young becomes an electronic producer, creating five spacious instrumental tracks that are upbeat, sunny and cinematic, with a solid core of pop smarts. Young is a Jedi master of aural seduction -- catching your ear and rubbing it where it produces the most pleasure. And if we weren't all consenting adults here, there could be some codes violated. But happily, we are adults and can sit back and enjoy one of the premier left-field standouts of the year.
Your Move Vol. 1 is out now in digital, vinyl and cassette formats. It is the first of a series of synth pop albums by different artists that will be released by Moniker Records in the ensuing months. The unusual name has an interesting explanation. Each artist will make a move on a chess board when the artist's album is released. Then Moniker will make a move, followed by the next artist, and so on.
After a long holiday weekend, we are going to start off with something a bit quieter than usual. Specifically, we present Portraits by Chicago's Pygmy Tribe. Featuring delicate, earnest vocals and subdued but interesting arrangements, it has brought a welcome calm to our hectic Wednesday. We also appreciate the band providing lyrics with the stream. A few of our favorites are below. If you like them, you can stream the entire album at the Bandcamp link.
Pygmy Tribe is Sal Plan, Daniel Lyter, and Jon Westbrook. Portraits is available as a digital download.
Sweden is justifiably known for pristine indie pop, but talented Swedish musicians play other styles as well. Principe Valiente, for example, paints a darker pop picture, akin to The Cure or Echo and the Bunnymen. Their recent self-titled EP is available for download, so you can evaluate their music at leisure.
Principe Valiente is Fernando Honorato (vocals/bass), Jimmy Ottosson (guitar), Rebecka Johansson (keys), and Joakim Janthe (drums). The EP is out not via AF Music.
And here is a third excellent, and yet again different, song for your weekend playlist. Thrill to the guitar pop sounds of "Out Or Reach" by Brighton's Jetstream Pony. I don't have a lot of information about the band, but it may include Beth Arzy (Trembling Blue Stars, The Lexembourg Signal, and The Fireworks), Matthew Rimell (The Fireworks), Kerry Boettcher (Turbocat), Sara Boyle (drums), and Shaun Charman (The Wedding Present, The Popguns. and The Fireworks).
Another, and very different, song for the weekend is "Love" by Finnish band Cats of Transnistria. With lovely, haunting vocals over a minimalist arrangement, it is going to make get repeated plays from yours, truly.
We have long harbored high expectations for Kane Strang. The young Dunedin musician's debut LP, Blue Cheese, impressed us enough that we covered it twice -- upon its initial release and when it was re-released. So we won't pretend to be surprised at the quality of Two Hearts and No Brain, his new album for Dead Oceans. We are, however, even more impressed that we expected. Building on his strength as a songwriter, and matching his droll wit and observational skills with a deadpan delivery, it seems to us that Strang has grabbed '60s psychedelic pop melody by the scruff of the neck and lovingly given it an infusion of '90s indie rock -- all sharp edges and guitar notes with a hint of anger and danger -- and dressed it up in sensibilities for the current decade. And it all works because the execution is so good, with the muscular guitar-oriented arrangements providing an apt platform for the musings of a young man in 2017.
Of course, all that makes for a good listen, but we also think this is an album that has staying power. The hooks and melodies will please your ears for as long as you play the album. Moreover, Strang has the ability to craft songs that each stand apart as concise anthem, albeit and inward looking anthem. In fact, the ability to cast his and the listeners' gaze inward may be one of the best long-term attributes among many for Two Hearts and No Brain.
We'll start out the day with a wonderfully chill, late night delight from Copenhagen producer Vera. We love the melody, the vibe and, of course, the sax. Recalling other recent artists we've featured, including Goss, with whom Vera has worked, we'd have to say the music scene in Copenhagen is in good health.
An album like Tora's new Take A Rest invites a music writer to engage in word association. In my case, I close my eyes, open my ears and come up with dance, lush, layers, chill, R&B, pop, travel, dance, and sunshine. And music like you find on Take A Rest invites the listener to follow the direction of the title, and hit the beach, the park, or even the back yard, and relax. The band composed the songs on this album while touring the world in support of their previous EP, and their experiences and emotions are embodied in the album tracks. Both the themes and the arrangements are varied, but the album provides a "letting go" soundtrack equally useful for a sunny afternoon or a late night.
Tora is Jo Loewenthal, Jai Piccone, Thorne Davis, and Shaun Johnston. They are from seaside town Byron Bay in New South Wales, Australia. Take A Rest is out now via Lustre.
Evoking sun-dappled drives to the lake on a summer day or wine-on-the lawn evening with good friends, and leavened with jangle and hints of '70s soft rock, JangleWaves is a welcome addition to the summer playlist. The album is the latest from melodic indie pop band Skytone, which is comprised of brothers Rodney and Darius Doddridge. While the Canadian duo does, indeed, pack a lot of jangle in their compositions, dream pop, power pop and a liberal dose of beach pop all live harmoniously, melodically, and pleasingly, in JangleWaves. Good vocals, good guitars, and good times. Summer is here, and JangleWaves is coming along.
Ville Hopponen is a veteran of two of my favorite Finnish bands, Cats on Fire and The New Tigers. While staying with the Soliti Music family, Ville's restless musical muse has inspired his new project, named Verandan (apparently, feline-based names are out of fashion). The first offering is the digital-only "Gold In The Hills", which will be followed by an EP later this year. A large scale pop tune with soaring synths and a robust bass, it has a slightly '80s feel and absolutely makes our day better with each spin.
In addition to Hopponen, Verandan is Aleksi Peltonen (of Puunhalaaja), Aki Pohjankyro (of Black Twig and Love Sport), Kaarlo Stauffer (of Black Twig), and Sampo Seppanen (of Sofa Pets, Kynnet).
Our research division revealed that millions of people woke up wondering the same thing we were wondering, which is -- what can be better for an indie pop fan than a new record from Matinee Recordings (we excluded the country of New Zealand from our calculations because they woke up wondering whether today was the day that they would vanquish the US holder of America's Cup and take the prize back to New Zealand, and obviously they are all very happy and, quite likely, no longer sober.). Of course, the answer is that nothing is better, but there are various gradations of 'better'. And at or near the top grade is a compilation of songs from Matinee Recordings. And the timing of our research is exquisite, as we have now been graced by just such a compilation, the wonderful Matinee Idols. The occasion is Matinee Recordings' 20th birthday. And not content to wait and see if someone did something special to mark the event, Matinee made their own special compilation of Matinees artists, both long-standing and spanking new. Just for the record, Matinee, we baked you a cake, but tasted it to make sure it was OK to eat and, well, one bite led to another. Maybe for your 30th birthday we'll have more control.
The album consists of 14 rare, exclusive or unreleased songs, all of which are more than worthy to be released as singles. Some of our favorite bands, bands which have graced these pages more than once, are represented: The Popguns; Strawberry Whiplash; Bubblegum Lemonade; Math and Physics Club; and The Hermit Crabs among them. So to demonstrate the quality of the record we've selected offerings from bands who have rarely or never been on these pages. So thrill to the superb "Postcard" and "Talk" from Swedes The Electric Pop Group and Tinsel Heart, respectively. "Something Falls" by Last leaves may remind the listener of The Lucksmiths, and since three quarters of that defunct band are in Last Leaves, it is perfectly understandable. Also included below are notable offerings from English band Catenary Wires and The Royal Landscape Society from Spain. We aren't waiting for the marketplace to decide, there is no need. Matinee Idols is a pop classic right out of the gate.
Matinee Idols is out now in CD and digital formats.
Assembling talent from several beloved projects, Luxembourg Signal looks on paper to be one of those "can't miss" groups. According to our ears, the paper is correct. Following on their debut album for Shelflife Records in 2014, the band looks to issue Blue Shield, the sophomore LP, via Shelflife later this year. But just to make sure we all still have them on our radar, Luxembourg Signal has released an excellent two-song 7" titled Laura Palmer. Consisting of the title track and a welcome cover of Close Lobsters "Let's Make Some Plans", the record finds the band bold, confident, and reading to bring their brand of delightfully dense dreampop to a wider audience.
The Luxembourg Signal is Beth Arzy (vocals), Betsy Moyer (vocals), Johnny Joyner (guitar), Brian Espinosa (drums), Ginny Pitchford (keys), Kelly Davis (guitar), and Daniel Kumiega (bass). Laura Palmer 7" is out now via Shelflife Records.
Of all that we've known in our lives, the Suss Cunts are the finest, sussiest, C..... WAIT, STOP ... Ok, that may be the last time we let one of our interns write the lead in for a feature. Yes, this Sydney/Melbourne trio is sex-positive, but we we aren't going to win the Pulitzer Prize if we toss around words like "cunt". Oh, I did it. Never mind -- we can always aim for the prize next year.
OK, personal hopes and dreams dashed, what can we do for a promising young indie band? Well, we can tell you that their self-titled five-song record is clever, danceable, and full of attitude (but only towards guys that deserve it, we're sure). And it also walks the pop side of pop punk in a way that makes it a worthy consideration for any summer party playlist. Certainly more worthy than our Pulitzer dreams, apparently. So in our expert opinion as curators of summer tunes for decades (yes, we are that old individually and collectively) you need this little record and you need it now. And think of that great moment when it is time to cue up some music, and you say 'lets play the Suss Cunts'. You'll probably have more attention than you had the entire day up until that point. You can thank us later. Suss Cunts are Nina Renee (guitar/vocals), Tahlia Eastman (drums), and Helena Holmes (bass/vocals). The record was originally released as a cassette, but now is available in vinyl and digital formats via Emotional Response Records.
Cartoons? Who doesn't love cartoons? We all have our favorites, and finding a new one is a treat that makes us feel young again (a feeling more valued every year, we admit). And now we have a set of musical Cartoons, courtesy of Hollow Everdaze. Australia's reservoir of guitar pop bands appears to be deep and wide, and this band is the latest to wow us. It seems to us that these guys simply love music. They aren't locked into a narrow channel of expression, and are equally adept at woozy psychedelic pop (check out the title track below), psychedelic Beatlemania ("Poisoned by Nostalgia"), lush dream pop (for example, "Running Away"), and retro '60s psyche pop (prime example, the totally wonderful "Warcry"). The songwriting is excellent and varied, the lyrics incisive. And with a violin and cello in their arsenal, the arrangements are never lacking in sonic heft. All around, the craftsmanship on this debut is stunning. Every time we play this album (and we play it so much that at this point the guys in the next office suite sing along), we discover another detail that we hadn't fully appreciated before.
We know that there is a lot of music demanding your attention, but ignoring Cartoons would be a loser's choice. Don't be a loser. Besides, just think of the psychic lift you'll get when the guy next to you on the bus nudges you and when you pull out your ear bud and he asks you what you are listening to, you simply answer "Cartoons", and replace your earbuds and stare into the distance with a smile on your face.
Hollow Everdaze are Daniel Baulch (vocals/guitar/drums/keys), Myles Anderson (violin), Jackson Kay (bass/keys), James Turner (drums), and Dylan Young (keys). Additional contributions on the album came from Tim Karmouche, John Lee, Zachary Schneider, and Chriss Monn. Cartoons is out June 23 via Melbourne label Deaf Ambitions.
Hymn to the Night, by London/Berlin duo Lea Porcelain, is constructed of cinematic, swirling soundscapes, alternating with intense, almost claustrophobic periods of intimacy. Periods of balladry are bracketed by industrial walls of sound, Joy Division-style intensity and post-punk introspection. The atmosphere is weighty, and the perspective a bit grim. But more often than not, the music soars on a wave of synths, and satisfies on the strength of dynamic arrangements and appealing melodic coherence. This is a very solid debut, and promises very good things for the future.
Lea Porcelain is Julien Bracht and Markus Nikolaus. Hymn to the Night is out now.
We've become quite enamored of Crammed Discs, the Belgian label that finds all manner if interesting, and not infrequently off-kilter, music that thrills us, and usually prompts us to start dancing. One of their most recent additions is Matias Aguayo & The Desdemonas, formed by Berlin-based Chilean musician Matias Aguayo. According to press reports the music is inspired by music Aguayo listened to as a teenager. The band's debut LP for Crammed Discs, Sofarnopolis, will be out in October, but we have peek into the works with the throbbing psychedelic electro pop track "Nervous". Supposedly it is about a nightly encounter with a girl floating in purple light. While it may cause one to wonder just what Matias was listening to as a teenager, the song is a keeper. Take a listen and decide whether it makes you nervous.
In addition to Aguayo (guitar and vocals), the band is Henning Specht (keys), Gregorio Gomez (guitar), and Matteo Scrimali (drums)
I'll admit that we spent some time here at WYMA headquarters discussing why a band from Japan would call themselves Cattle, but like we do with most tough questions, we gave up and ordered pizza when an acceptable answer wasn't readily forthcoming. However, neither our ruminations nor our subsequent admission of defeat interrupted our repeated plays of Slow Sailor, the five-song EP that Cattle has released via Jigsaw Records. On what is their second EP overall, this band displays a deft hand with combining dreampop and noise pop. It is melodic, crunchy and hook-filled, with soaring female vocals. With four original songs and a smashing cover of Ride's "Twisterella", it will give you an energy jolt that will make your next Starbucks run unnecessary.
Stream a few songs below, and stream and buy the entire Slow Sailor EP at the Bandcamp link. Jigsaw Records keeps finding gems, and we love them for it.