Friday, December 15, 2017

Various Artists - From Olive Us to Olive You

Here is your end of the week holiday deal that lets you simultaneously give and receive.  While paying a relatively modest amount for 11 seasonal tracks from friends and family of the fine Glasgow label Olive Grove Records, you enjoy the music knowing that all profits go to charity.  Sweet!  The title is the obvious pun From Olive Us to Olive You, but we aren't going to  get critical when all profits are getting funneled to charity, are we?

So, start our your Christmas season by giving and receiving, without even leaving your chair.  With your smart phone you can even do it from the pub or bistro while waiting for a refill, and feel oh so very sophisticated.

Bandcamp for album

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Keep Left Signs - Tomorrow

To answer the first question nearly everyone will have - no, I don't know the explanation behind the name. Perhaps they were driving and decided to name the band after the next man-made object they saw, but your guess is as good as mine.  If you figure it out you can tackle the story behind Car Seat Headrest.  But, no more distractions.  We are here to tell you what a wonderful discovery The Keep Left Signs should be for all of you.  A Swedish project bringing together members of The Electric Pop Group and The Mare, the band plays the sort of glistening guitar pop that often seems to have "Made In Sweden" stamped on the label.  There is a '60s tinge to the melodies and two part harmonies, but their execution is so flawless that it all seems more timeless than retro.

The band recently released the seven-track Tomorrow.  As you would expect given their lineage, there is no shortage of jangling and chiming guitars, but the rhythm section is satisfyingly robust and the songs have a confident, forward push.  We were so impressed with this album that we decided that the minimum number of songs for a record to be considered for our year end list of favorite albums would be no more than seven, because we aren't going to leave Tomorrow off of our list.  We've provided two slices of guitar pop heaven below, but we suggest you stream the entire album.

Tomorrow is out now as in digital and vinyl formats via Spanish label Kocliko Records and US label Shelflife Records (see the Bandcamp link below).

Kocliko Records page for Tomorrow
Shelflife Records page for Tomorrow
Kocliko Records page for vinyl
Soundcloud link to stream Tomorrow

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"Song" and "Rose" by Dante

Beautiful, brooding, atmospheric folk rock is what you can expect from Scottish band Dante.  The songwriting is mature and nuanced, and the performances will thrill fans of Frightened Rabbit, Idlewild, and The National.  Dante's second LP, I Wear Your Weight With Mine, is due on March 9, 2018, but two tracks, "Song" and "Rose" are available now.

Bandcamp for pre-order of I Wear Your Weight With Mine

Crepes - Channel Four

Crepes are no longer just a treat for brunch.  They also are, in fact, a delightful indie pop band based in Melbourne.  Their debut LP, Channel Four, bubbles with irresistible melodies and clever hooks, reminding us of the stylish indie pop of Voxtrot and Spoon, as well as a number of '70s soft rock favorites.  The five-piece is equally adept at upbeat bangers and laid-back mid-tempo tunes.  But the lasting impression is that this is the rare band with a highly polished gloss to go with their considerable substance.  We have too many favorite songs here to mention, so hit the links and choose your own.

Crepes are Tim Karmouche, Nick Robbins, Pat Robbins, Jackson Dahlenburg, and Sam Cooper.   Channel Four is out now via Australia's Spunk Records and Deaf Ambitions.

Deaf Ambitions page for Channel Four
Spunk Records page for Channel Four

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Legendary House Cats - Greatest Blips, Vol. 1

We now present the greatest blips ever.  How do we know that they are the greatest blips ever?  It says so right on the label.  And blips that are the greatest ever are just what we would expect from the top cat in The Legendary House Cats, John Girgus.  Girgus' past associations are Aberdeen, Languis, and Ultra Non Joy, so you know that you can expect electronic dreampop, soaring soundscapes and deft hooks. The man knows his way around a soundboard, but more importantly, he knows how to make sweet love to your ears.  This album may be the most inspiring and life affirming electronica you can afford.  Go ahead, you deserve it.

Greatest Blips, Vol. 1 is out now in digital and CD formats.

Twitter (The Legendary House Cats)
Twitter (John Girgus)
Bandcamp for Greatest Blips, Vol. 1

"King of the Last Calls" by Unlikely Friends

D. Crane (Boat) and Charles Bert (Math and Physics Club) bill themselves as Unlikely Friends.  And while we will take them at their word regarding friendship, it is clear that the duo are well matched musically.  Some writers were very impressed with their first LP, Solid Gold Cowboys.  Take for example, the following words:
"The appropriate references here are the crunchy lo-fi indie rock of Guided By Voices and the hook-filled power pop of Teenage Fanclub. It isn't glossy and it isn't twee. But it is top flight songwriting from musicians that know their craft and are focused on fun."
 Good stuff, right?  Thanks, we wrote it.  So we are thrilled to learn that the Seattle band that claims to be hardly known and under-practiced have recruited Mark McKenzie of BOAT and Ethan Jones of Math and Physics Club to help them record a second LP titled Crooked Numbers.  The album will be out on January 12 via Swoon Records, and we anticipate that it will deliver a full load of scruffy, energetic, melodic guitar pop.  And it likely will give us the chance to create another blurb that we can lazily quote when referring back to Crooked Numbers when we discuss their third album.

Meanwhile, enjoy album track "King of the Last Calls" which, just based on the title, may be about me in my college years (when cheap beer was even cheaper).  And if you see these guys, buy them some pizza.  They love pizza.

Swoon Records

"Dig" by Seazoo

Well, well, well, this is a cracking pop tune that makes the start of the day shoot from intolerable to "I think I'll make it" to "I'm on top of the world" in a four minute span.  Hell, the stuff I took in college to write term papers all night didn't work that well.  So lend your ears to "Dig" by Welsh five-piece Seazoo.  There have been comparisons to Super Furry Animals, but we think they fall in the middle of a musical stew with that band, fellow Welsh musicians El Goodo, Yo La Tengo, and Pavement.

"Dig" is out now in digital format.  See the Bandcamp link below or your favorite digital outlet.

Bandcamp for "Dig"

Monday, December 11, 2017

Fascinations Grand Chorus - Anglesea EP

After two days rest, we continue our westward march from Belfast to New York City, where pop duo Fascinations Grand Chorus has released their Anglesea EP.  Combining the formidable songwriting talents and sharp performing chops of Stephanie Cupo and Andrew Pierce with Cupo's vocal prowess, the EP demonstrates the band's knack for creating irresistible, retro-tinged melodic nuggets.  The record begins with the upbeat, '60s girl group influenced "When You're Mine".  The following title track demonstrates the band's versatility, with a moody atmosphere reminiscent of Bristol's Fear of Men.  "Hereford Inlet" then steps in with the sassiest vocal of the bunch.  It is the kind of song that puts a bounce in your step as you conquer the day.  "Sundown" and "Wait" complete the set with energy and style, leaving us wanting more, and expecting that the duo will deliver it in the future.

Anglesea EP is out now as a digital release.  See the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for Anglesea EP