Thursday, December 21, 2017
As we resign ourselves to the onset of winter, we could use some upbeat tunes, couldn't we? Today's single suggestion is "Build A Building" by London's Firestations. This track sparkles like sunshine and rippling waves of a summer lake (and that is an image I need as I huddle in my sweater and look at the sun trying to decide whether it is even going to bother today). You can stream it or watch the fun video for the song created by Emily Scaife. Or you can do both, like we did.
The single is out now as a digital release from Lost Map. The release includes The Firestations' original version plus remixes by Bit Cloudy and Ed Dowie.
Firestations are Mike Cranny, Laura Copsey, Martin Thompson, Giles Littleford, and Tom Hargreaves. The band's next album, The Year Dot, will be out February 1 via Lost Map.
Lost Map page for single
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Eric sings and plays guitar, Greg plays bass, and Pete drums. At The End Of The World is out now as a digital release. See the Bandcamp link below.
Bandcamp for At The End Of The World
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
For Lotta Sea Lice, Courtney and Kurt received assistance from Mick Turner, Jim White, Stella Mozgawa, Rob Laakso, Mick Harvey, Jess Riberio, Jade Imagine, Bones Sloane, Dave Mudie, and Alex Landragin.
Lotta Sea Lice is out now via Milk! Records and Matador Records.
Website for duo
Bandcamp for Lotta Sea Lice (Milk! Records)
Matador Records page for Lotta Sea Lice
Facebook for Courtney Barnett
Facebook Kurt Vile
Kicking Giant only lasted a few more years before Carns moved on to other musical projects and Yu focused on the visual arts, but the music they left seems to us as a prime example of the art that can be created by fearless, DIY spirit and inspiration, rivaling Johnson's own Beat Happening. It was music of hard surfaces and vigorous, even aggressive performances, with not much vulnerability (but see "Cry Baby Cry" below for a stunning exception). But it also was vital, inspiring and often quite danceable. As a small town Wisconsin boy who earned a degree and eventually took up residence in the Puget Sound area, I also have a soft spot for Carns' journey, but our choice of this album is about the music. And this is music that we keep playing daily around the office despite having lots of other music to cover.
This Being the Ballad of Kicking Giant, Halo: NYC/Olympia 1989 - 1993 is out now in vinyl and digital formats via Brooklyn-based label Drawing Room Records.
Bandcamp for album
Drawing Room Records page for album
Monday, December 18, 2017
Last night's guitar pop treat was from the East coast of the United States. Today, we showcase a fine West coast band - Sacramento's Arts & Leisure. The four piece has a firm grasp of the intersection of power pop and retro guitar pop. The chiming and jangling guitars evoke the 60s and C86. The scrappy energy and robust rhythm section could slot in with worthies from Glasgow, Dunedin or Seattle. And the sunshine of their California home is never far away. The band includes members of the late English Singles and Baby Grand, and impressed us four years ago with Choose Your Adventure, but had been quiet on the recording front since then. So the arrival of Rescued Objects was a surprise as well as a thrill.
Actually, this album is packed with thrills. Arts & Leisure is a band that buys their hooks in bulk, and they deploys them generously. The songs are well written, with plenty of depth if you want to dig in, but more than enough surface joy if you don't have the inclination. And the performances are exceptionally tight, allowing vocalist/songwriter Gerri White to effectively work as a one-woman girl group. The quality and consistency of the record could lead listeners new to this band to wonder whether they have stumbled on a hits compilation. Not so, they just have stumbled onto Arts & Leisure.
Arts & Leisure are Gerri White (vocals/guitar), Tim White (bass), Cory Vick (guitar), and Ed Carroll (drums). They also received contributions from Allen Clapp, who recorded the album and runs Mystery Lawn, the label that released it. Rescued Objects is out now as a digital release via Mystery Lawn. See the Bandcamp link below.
Bandcamp for Rescued Objects
Mystery Lawn page for Rescued Objects
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Pale Lights are Phil Sutton (vocals/guitar), Andy Adler (lead guitar), Lisa Goldstein (drums), Maria Pace (bass guitar), and Suzanne Nienaber (vocals), the various resumes of whom include Comet Gain, Crystal Stilts, Knight School, Cinema Red and Blue, and Great Lakes. There also were guest appearances by Hamish Kilgour (The Clean) and Kyle Forester (Crystal Stilts/The Ladybug Tansistor). The Stars Seemed Brighter was released December 15 by German label Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten.
Bandcamp for The Stars Seem Brighter