Friday, May 25, 2018

"Someone New" by Smokescreens

"Someone New" is the something new from Los Angeles quartet Smokescreens.  Founded on a love of '80s New Zealand guitar pop, the band now reflects a wider array of influences, all of which resonate with our ears, brains and hearts.  Used to Yesterday, their second album, is scheduled for a mid-July release via Slumberland Records.  But because it would be very cruel to announce the album and not let you hear a bit, they have provided "Someone New" -- a truly great bit of indie rock to start your weekend!

Smokescreens was founded by Chris Rosi and Corey Cunningham, and now includes Brice Bradley and Jenny Moffett.

Bandcamp for Used to Yesterday
Links for pre-order of Used to Yesterday

"Snakes" and "The Islands" by Pale Green Things

Manchester's Jack Traynor records as Pale Green Things, crafting reflective, folky pop songs of quiet grace and beauty.  His debut album is titled The Beast in the Hearts of Men, and is due in late June.  But you can meet his music now via album tracks "Snakes" and "The Islands", which have been released as singles.  Both songs are worth your attention, but we are particularly fond of "Snakes".

Bandcamp for "Snakes"
Bandcamp for "The Islands"

Thursday, May 24, 2018

TV Girl - Death of a Party Girl

TV Girls is a Los Angeles collective headed by songwriter/musician Brad Petering.  We have been fans for years, enjoying their crisp synth pop and warm, hook filled arrangements.  The lyrics can be bittersweet, or even dark, at times, but the music never fails to hit the spot.  Their latest offering, wisely timed to coincide with their active summer touring schedule, is Death of a Party Girl.  You can score a vinyl version via pre-order at the Bandcamp link, but you can get a free digital download right now.  We recommend it highly, and have already added the ten songs to our permanently available TV Girl playlist.  This album provides a chill soundtrack for your summer, and if you are a vinyl collector, the digital will keep you happy until your disc is ready later this year.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

High Sunn - Missed Connections

Every year as summer approaches we search for music to provide our summer soundtrack.  You know, music for driving to the beach, music for backyard parties, music for late nights on the deck under the stars.  And a prime contender this year comes courtesy of 18-year old San Francisco musician Justin Cheromiah.  Recording and performing as High Sunn, Justin has followed his well-received 2017 EP Hopeless Romantic with Missed Connections, containing some of the most infectious, guitar pop we've heard in a long time.  We note that Justin is not a rookie when it comes to recording his songs, as he has been recording his own material since he was 14.  But now he is working with a full band and, while still lo-fi, his material is polished, hook filled, melodic, and highly accessible.  Unsurprisingly, the themes run to coming-of-age and teenage angst, but we old guys are fine with that if the music is this good.

Missed Connection commences with the sunshine surf pop of "Summer Solstice", followed by the '90s alt rock "I Thought You Were There" and the upbeat power pop "Those Last Words", with oohs and swoops in the choruses.  And for our money, those aren't even the best songs.  What are the best songs?  Well, the run of songs from track four through the closer, track 10, presents a wealth of choices so consistent that we can't decide for you.  We've presented three candidates below, but we encourage you to stream the album on Bandcamp and decide for yourself.

For this album, Justin's band includes Joe Jensen (drums), Freddy Rivera (lead guitar), and Arianna Vazuez (bass).  Missed Connections is out now in digital, vinyl and CD formats via Stockholm's PNKSLM Recordings.

Bandcamp for Missed Connections
PNKSLM Recordings

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Color Dolor - Love

Love is the third album by Finland's Color Dolor.  Offering elements of dream pop, electronica, R&B, industrial, and club music, it is a delectable showcase for the craft of Stina Koistinen (vocals) and Nicolas "Leissi" Rehn (instruments and programming).  Adventurous and dynamic, yet intimate, the album looks at love at several levels and from several perspectives, but never fails to delight and entertain.  It is a new musical approach for Color Dolor, but we think that it should provide them with a chance of gaining a major audience.

Love is out now in digital, vinyl, and cassette formats via Helsinki's Soliti Music.

Bandcamp for Love
Soliti Music page for Love

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Cleaners From Venus - Star Cafe

Another record by Martin Newell, AKA The Cleaners From Venus, isn't really a surprise, although it is thoroughly welcome.  The new Star Cafe even has a bit of a twist as it is a concept album, or perhaps a play waiting for a troupe of willing performers.  It is packed with great storytelling, loosely based on Cinderella and set in a cafe (with the thought that the audience can be the customers).  It offers family drama, hopes and dreams, and the awakening of second chances.  Musically, it boasts the sort of timeless folk pop arrangements that the British do so well.   The recording is lo-fi, but the execution execution and sincerity are top of the range.

Enjoy the album, and if you are tempted to stage a play, Martin has said he may even be willing to offer a bit of scriptwriting.

Bandcamp for Star Cafe

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Those Unfortunates - Two Songs About Football

Once again for your listening pleasure, London's Those Unfortunates.  The London band, which released an excellent album last year (link), has followed their recent bus-themed single with a single about football (or soccer, for those otherwise inclined to confuse things).  Consisting of two songs celebrating the beautiful game while showing two sides of jangle pop -- the energetic "Hornsey Automatic FC" and the folky "King of the Lane".  This record is a great way to get into the mood for this summer's world cup.

Those Unfortunates are Ben Brill, Magnus Alanko, Henry Bird, and Seb Brennan.  Two Songs About Football is out now in digital and cassette formats via Gare Du Nord Records.

Bandcamp for Two Songs About Football

Thursday, May 17, 2018

"Make Your Own Mind Up" by The Firestations

In early April we featured The Year Dot by UK band The Firestations.  To say that the album impressed us is an understatement, and I believe we referred to it as "a musical fireworks show" (link to WYMA feature).  The band is now releasing the shimmering, layered, standout album track "Make Your Own Mind Up" as a single with three added remixes by Bit Cloudy, Grasscourt, and The Nameless Book.  Check out the video or stream below and make your day better.

"Make Your Own Mind Up" is available as a digital release via Lost Map Records, which we expect is the only record label on the Isle of Eigg, an island off the coast of Scotland.

Bandcamp for "Make Your Own Mind Up"
Lost Map Records

"Sunday Roast" by Courtney Barnett

The answer is "yes, of course!"  The question was "do you want more Courtney Barnett.  We get a lot more Courtney tomorrow when new LP Tell Me How You Really Feel is released.  But we have a video for a song Courtney wrote when she was 13.  The seemingly effortless lyricism of her songwriting and sincerity of her performance slays us.  Being competitive guys we figured that we would write the great stuff we accomplished when we were 13, however, when viewed in print it was obvious that some things don't need to be shared.  And I am reminded, and comforted, that there is a statute of limitations applicable to most of it.

Tell Me How You Really Feel is out tomorrow, May 18 via Mom + Pop Music (US and Canada), Milk! Records (Aus and NZ), and Marathon Artists (UK and Europe).

Courtney Barnett Website
Website (for album orders)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

"An Air Conditioned Man" by Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

We still are about a month away from the release of the debut LP from Melbourne's Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, but the good lads don't want us to suffer too much while waiting.  Accordingly, we have another album track to enjoy while we wait for Hope Downs to drop.  Indie rock heaven, folks.

The album will be out June 15 via Sub Pop.

Bandcamp for "Mainland"
Sub Pop

Monday, May 14, 2018

Death and the Maiden - Wisteria

We have a wisteria growing alongside our front steps.  It winds up the pillars of the overhang and overhead trellis, and then spreads up, out and across, creating a virtually impenetrable tangle of branches and leaves that is eight feet high, 10 feet front to back and 14 feet side to side.  At this time of year it blossoms, and the visual effect is stunning.

And with our own foliage in mind, we think that Wisteria is an apt name for the new album from Dunedin, New Zealand's Death and the Maiden.  Its nine tracks present dark, tangled pop, full of mystery and unease, but always propelled forward by an insistent, inspired polyrhythmic beat.  The synths and reverbed guitars create an enveloping sound, like a dense aural fog.  The overall effect is hypnotic, evocative, and addictive -- at the same time claustrophobic and liberating.  And frankly, after listening to it we find it hard to turn directly to other other music.

Death and the Maiden are Danny Brady, Lucinda King, and Hope Robertson.  Wisteria is out now via Fishrider Records and Occultation Recordings.

Bandcamp for Wisteria
Firshrider Records
Occultation Recordings

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Famous Problems - Hey! It's Raining!

We aren't the type to wish problems on anyone.  But if you are going to have problems, why not famous problems?  You could ponder that question, but frankly that seems like work.   We suggest as an alternative listening to Famous Problems.  The collection of talented musicians, including all of the special guests, consists of Jeffrey Green, Peter Whitney, Neil O'Brien, Scott N. Amore, Alison Cotton, David Feck (Comet Gain), Pam Berry (Black Tambourine), Mark Flunder (Cee Cee Beaumont), John Panos, and Delia Sparrow.  They all have a story, or rather many stories. And some of those stories, autobiographical or not, become songs for our ears on Hey! It's Raining!  And what do our Famous Problems offer here?  Fuzzy indie pop, jangle pop, and slow burning piano ballads - and that's just the first three tracks.  And then they give you even more.  This gang are master pop tunesmiths, and they deliver the goods.  But instead of blathering on by ourselves, we offer the comment by David Feck: "So open your ears, children, to the sound of bleeding wounds, of paperback legs, of dirt road sailors, of prison poets and hairy, hairy hearts."  You must admit, it is worth listening just to discover the sound of a hairy heart.

Hey! It's Raining! is available now in vinyl and digital formats from London label WIAIWYA.

Bandcamp for Hey! It's Raining!

"Future Me Hates Me" by The Beths (video)

A few days ago we celebrated the release of Warm Blood EP by Auckland's The Beths (link).  But time doesn't stand still, and the band now is preparing to release the full length Future Me Hates Me.  You can sample the title track in video format right here, right now.

The Beths are Elizabeth Stokes (guitar/vocals), Jonathan Pearce (guitar/vocals), Benjamin Sinclair (bass/vocals), Ivan Luketina-Johnston (drums/vocals).  The album will be released via Carpark Records.


Friday, May 11, 2018

For Scott Hutchison

We cover a lot of Scottish indie music here, and our interest therein is due in no small part to the quality of the songwriting of Scott Hutchison, the frontman for Frightened Rabbit.  We are very sad to learn that Scott died this week, a likely suicide, and a likely victim of depression.  While we usually don't continue to cover our favorite bands if they sign with a major label (not because we are oppose such signings, but because we focus our volunteer efforts on artists with fewer resources), we continued our interest in Frightened Rabbit and Scott's Owl John project even after FR signed with a major.  He was a singular talent and his music brings us great joy.

We commemorate Scott's sad passing with a few songs from his impressive catalog, beginning with the first song many outside the UK heard from the band, "Head Rolls Off" from their second album, Midnight Organ Fight.  The band was preparing a massive tour to commemorate the tenth anniversary of that album.

Website (Frightened Rabbit)
Facebook (Frightened Rabbit)
Twitter (Frightened Rabbit)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Flying Fish Cove - Flying Fish Cove EP

Flying Fish Cove is the main settlement on Australia's Christmas Island.  It also is the name of a Seattle indie pop band.  What the two have in common, if anything, is unknown to us (as, admittedly, are many other things), but as this is an indie music blog rather than a travel blog, I think you can guess which Flying Fish Cove we will address herein.

Flying Fish Cove is a relatively new band, probably not having celebrated a second birthday yet, but they have a distinct summery, jangling sound that should draw comparisons to Heavenly.  And as far as we are concerned, that sound is just ... well ... heavenly.  Their introductory self-titled EP consists of four tracks showcasing the band's bouncy indie pop style, with plenty of vocal swoops and changes of pace.  Based on the evidence here, this is a band that can take a venerable and well-established genre and invent their own delightful twists.  The EP is a true delight, and we look forward to more from Flying Fish Cove.

The members of the band are Dena, Jake, Sean, Chris, and Jacob, augmented by Star, Lydia, and Jade in the studio.  Flying Fish Cove EP is out now in digital and CD formats via Jigsaw Records.

Bandcamp for Flying Fish Cove EP

"Toy" (official video) by Young Fathers

Two months ago we expressed our love for Cocoa Sugar, the latest album by Edinburgh trio Young Fathers (link to feature).  Frankly, we think that any reason to remind you of the record is good enough, but today we bring you the excellent video for album track "Toy".  If you haven't checked out Cocoa Sugar, this is your reminder.

Bandcamp for Cocoa Sugar
Ninja Tune page for Cocoa Sugar

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Beths - Warm Blood EP

We don't know about you, but we are not happy that we learn about  a terrific record that escaped out attention when released a couple of years ago.  And it is even worse when that record has become difficult to find.  We have to admit that this specific lack of professionalism occurred with respect to Warm Blood EP, which was released in 2016.  However, Carpark Records has bailed us out by signing the ace creators of that EP -- Auckland, New Zealand's The Beths -- and re-releasing Warm Blood.

The Beths are comprised of four jazz students who love pop punk so much that they formed the band to play it.  The result is Warm Blood, which apparently was recorded soon after the band received an extra large shipment of pop hooks from Acme Pop Hook Company.  Combined with their natural musical talent, punk energy, and delicious vocals (all four members sing), the resulting record may have the catchiest five songs you have encountered in a long time.  The band will release full length album Future Me Hates Me in August, also via Carpark Records, but that is no reason to not get this EP.  Right now.

The Beths are Elizabeth Stokes (guitar/vocals), Jonathan Pearce (guitar/vocals), Benjamin Sinclair (bass/vocals), Ivan Luketina-Johnston (drums/vocals).

Bandcamp for Warm Blood
Carpark Records page for Warm Blood
Various links to obtain Warm Blood EP

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Boys - Rest In Peace

Rest in peace is a fine sentiment, but our advice is to take no rest until you have acquired a copy of Rest In Peace.  The album is the creation of young Swede Nora Karlsson, who writes and performs as Boys.  Karlsson, who also is the guitarist for Swedish band HOLY, possesses an angelic voice, but the triumph of the album doesn't rest on the quality of the vocals alone.  Her songcraft is exceptional, and her brand of dream pop is sprightly, dynamic and substantial.  Lyrically, she shows a sharp insight for the world around her and the successes and failures that are part of growing into adulthood.  Rest In Peace reflects ambition and rare talent.  We will be interested in the next chapter for Boys, but we can be patient and enjoy this album for a long time.

The album is out now via Stockholm's PNKSLM.  See the links below.

PNKSLM store for Boys

Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders - Blue Poles

On Blue Poles, Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders mines a deep vein of dark pop, with doses of surreal stories and sardonic humor.  This isn't the kind of singer-songwriter dark pop that travels the same narrow channel and identical tempo, song after song.  Yes, there is melancholy in abundance, but the arrangements have elements of funk, R&B and rock, and there is a dark romanticism to the proceedings that is quite appealing.  And then there is the atmosphere provided by the mournful baritone of nearly seven-feet tall Tim Rogers, aka Jack Ladder.  Invoking comparisons to fellow Australian Nick Cave and American Bill Callahan, but richer in tone than the former and less morose than the latter to our ears.  The melodies are solid, and the storytelling exceptional.  We can think of no better reason to wallow in sorrow for a while.

The Dreamlanders supporting Jack Ladder are Donny Benet, Laurence Pike, Kirin J Callinan, and Ben Hauptmann.  Blue Poles is out now -- see the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for Blue Poles

Monday, May 7, 2018

"That's Not Me" and "Love and Sex" by Beach Skulls

Pay attention here, because you are about to learn something ...

OK, that may be an example of over-promising.  But there is something we wanted to point out, and that thing is that a certain Stockholm record label is putting out great stuff.  The name of the label is Punk Slime Recordings, but is often referred to (even by the label), as PNKSLM.  We have featured their music from time to time over the past few years, but probably will be bringing you three albums from the label in the next five weeks.  That is a sign of their quality, because we wouldn't even give that kind of coverage to our mothers, if our mothers released music, and it is almost Mother's Day.

However, today isn't an album feature, but a hint of an album feature to come.  The band is Beach Skulls, and they reside in Manchester and Liverpool in the UK.  The name suggests head-banging, loud riffs, and dreary topics.  In fact, Beach Skulls is a guitar pop band with surf and jangle tendencies.  Of course, this means we love them.  Two tracks from Las Dunas, their upcoming album via PNKSLM are below.

Beach Skulls are Ry Vieira, Jordan Finney, and Dan West.  Las Dunas is out June 1.

Bandcamp for ordering Las Dunas
Punk Slime Recordings

Brazilian Girls - Let's Make Love

Let's Make Love - as titles go, it is hard to quibble with that sentiment. But that is fitting, because the music offered in the album under that title is pretty damn wonderful as well.  Brazilian Girls has been with us for over a decade, but this album is only their fourth.  While the sparse production is understandable, as the members all have lives and don't, at this point, even live in the same city, it is unfortunate as the band is excellent.  Their sweet spot is energetic dance music painted with a broad palette of jazz, electronica, South American and Caribbean influences.  Thirteen years after their debut album, the music world finds the members of Brazilian Girls with a bit of maturity and perspective, and perhaps even more confident and subtle.  But make no mistake, this band was born and nurtured in the New York City club scene, built on talent, improvisation and fearlessness, and happily those attributes remain core elements of Let's Make Love.  Released in April, this album could be your feel-good party album for the entire summer and beyond.

For the readers unfamiliar with the band, we will perform the public service of advising you that the band consists of New Yorkers Didi Gutman, Aaron Johnston, and Jesse Murphy, with European vocalist Sabina Sciubba.  That's right -- no Brazilians and only one woman.  But with the spirit of Brazilian party music infusing their music, no one can feel cheated.  I think we all can agree on that.

Bandcamp for album

Friday, May 4, 2018

Lanks - twentyseven

Will Coming is an Australian songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer.  He collaborates with other artists frequently, but also records and performs as Lanks.  After several EPs, Lanks has released a new album titled twentyseven, and in our view it is adventuresome, melodic, and hook-filled, while managing to be perhaps the most accessible electronic music on the scene today.  Coming builds tracks masterfully, injecting mystery and earworms in equal measure while the sonic landscape fills with intruiging, and at times unexpected, details.  He is equally adept at dancefloor staples, cinematic soundscapes, breezy pop, and late-night downbeat slow jams.  Sometimes for Christmas you may receive one big present.  Other times you might receive numerous packages of gifts both diverse and delightful.  twentyseven is like a multiple package Christmas, and it has become essential listening around here.

twentyseven is out now via THAA Records.

Links for purchase/stream of twentyseven

Thursday, May 3, 2018

"Less Than Positive" by Michael Nau

Michael Nau has provided us with a glimpse into his next album via "Less Than Positive", a bright slice of indie pop showcasing Nau's warmly weathered vocals.  If the rest of the songs on the album match this one, it will be a special album.

Nau's other projects have been Page France, Cotton Jones Basket Ride, Cotton Jones, as well as material released under his own name.  Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread will be released near the end of July and beginning of August (the Bandcamp page mentions both July 30 and August 3).

Bandcamp for album


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Beat Degeneration - Searching for Some Heaven

Say hello to your favorite Italian band.  Yes, Beat Degeneration deserves our time, our ears, and the few dollars it takes to own their new album, Searching For Some Heaven.  And while I cannot speak definitively about where the band was looking for a slice of heaven, you might find a bit of yours in these ten songs.  The first three songs are sufficiently strong that I'd probably want the album if the remaining tracks featured traffic noise.  But happily you don't need to engage in such analysis, as the remainder of the album buzzes, fuzzes, and jangles like a champion with sweet harmonies and soaring choruses.  And while the band spends most of its time here playing upbeat power pop, you only need to hear a song like "Pappelallee" to know that there are other facets to this talented group.

Our favorite songs are "Jamie Is Gone", "Feet in the Sand", "Playing Rock'n'Roll in the Dark", "Sunny Day", "The Way You Smile".  "Jamie Is Gone" may be the happiest sounding post-breakup song you have heard.

Searching for Some Heaven is out now via Jigsaw Records; see the Bandcamp link for details

Bandcamp for Searching for Some Heaven

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

"She Knows" by The Goon Sax

Good news, bad news, and good news.  The first good news is that young Brisbane talents The Goon Sax, who we have championed unashamedly from their first available recordings, will release album number two this year.  The bad news is that We're Not Talking doesn't drop into our lives until September 24.  However, remember that there is a second good news - album track "She Knows" is available now to satisfy your indie pop needs.

The Goon Sax are James Harrison, Louis Forster, and Riley Jones.  We're Not Talking will be released via Wichita Recordings and Chapter Music.

Wichita Recordings
Chapter Music page for "She Knows"
Bandcamp for NZ & Aus pre-orders for We're Not Talking

Monday, April 30, 2018

Forth Wanderers - Forth Wanderers

When still in high school in New Jersey, Ben Guterl and Ava Trilling formed the band Forth Wanderers.  Five years later, they are releasing a self-titled album via the venerable Sub Pop label.  We think that is a pretty impressive career arc.  We also think Forth Wanderers is a damn impressive album.  While it actually isn't their first record, it is a great introduction to the band.  Ben and Ava collaborate on songwriting from their different collegiate locales, but the separation doesn't seem to detract from the final product.  The band's creations are dynamic, lyrically and musically complex, and should be relateable for fans navigating the transition into adulthood.  As a lyricist, Trilling is intimate and bold (the opening line of the album is "I'm the one you think of when you are with her"), with knack for expression beyond her chronological age.  Trilling's bandmates match her lyrics and assured vocal delivery with a driving beat and probing guitar lines.  All in all, they sound like a band that has been at it for decades, and has earned the right to last that long.

In addition to Ben (guitar) and Ava (vocals), Forth Wanderers are Duke Greene (guitar), Noah Schifrin (bass), and Zach Lorelli (drums).  The album is out now in all formats, see the Bandcamp link below for details.

Bandcamp for album
Sub Pop Records

Friday, April 27, 2018

"Wonder" by San Mei

San Mei, Australian recording artist Emily Hamilton, continues to refine her appealing combination of dream pop vocals and scuzzy indie guitars, and in doing so emerges as a performer well worth following.  With "Wonder", her second release since her recent Necessary EP, she supercharges the energy and strut and provides a tantalizing look at her continued progression.  Her sound is concise, bristling with purpose, and newly confident.  San Mei is a fresh voice, but seems to us to be ready for prime time.


Azure Blue - Whatever '18 EP

Friday's number one mission for us was to find a set of music to get lost in.  Music that is encompassing, absorbing, and provides an excellent reason to not bothering to finish the work that has piled up all week.  And we found exactly what we needed.  In fact, we found more than one, but we will start with Swedish musician Tobias Isaksson, who has gifted the world with another glistening jewel, the six-song Whatever '18.  Recording as Azure Blue, Isaksson has been thrilling synth pop fans for years, but 2018 looks to be more important than most.  In addition to the four original compositions and two covers (of "Justice" by Robert Forster and "747" by fellow Swedes Kent) on Whatever '18, he will be releasing the full length album Fast Falls The Eventide this summer.

Whatever '18 is lush, romantic synth pop with sparkling details and soaring melodies.  The title track will be on the new album, but the other five are only available on the EP (except for the few tracks that appeared on European-only releases in the past).  In addition to Isaksson, the songs boast contributions by Swedish artists César Vidal, The Land Below, Peter Morén, Charly A, and Bo.  Of course, there are reminders of the synth pop heyday of the '80s, including some direct parallels to New Order, OMD and (including on the title track streamed below), but adept reworking by Isaksson provides a musical statement that is not only vital and life-affirming, but very much up to date.  We loved it on the first listen, and our appreciation grows with every replay.

The CD format of Whatever '18 only is available via the Matinee Recordings website (see below).  The digital format is available via Matinee, as well as iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify.  The new album, Fast Falls The Eventide, also will be released via Matinee.

Twitter for Tobias Isaksson
Matinee Recordings page to order Whatever '18 CDEP
Matinee Recordings

Thursday, April 26, 2018

"Hemtjänsten" by Boys

Today's first musical enjoyment comes courtesy of Sweden's Nora Karlsson, who writes and performs as Boys.  Her new single "Hemtjänsten" is taken from her May 11 release Rest In Peace, a debut album that should earn her a wealth of new fans.  The song is warm and dynamic, showcasing her ability to provide intimacy or grandeur as the moment demands.

"Hemtjänsten" and Rest In Peace are available via PNKSLM.

PNKSLM store

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

"Run & Run" by Sea Pinks

We don't know what kind of weather you are experiencing, but we have bright sunshine and temperatures in the low '70s - a beautiful spring day!  So what better music than a song unabashedly redolent of springtime?  We present "Run & Run", by our Belfast favorites Sea Pinks.  It jangles, bubbles and bounces, and even has a bit of trumpet!  We can't get enough of it.

"Run & Run" is available as a digital single via CF Records.  Sea Pinks are Neil Brogan (guitar/vocals/bass) and Davey Agnew (drums).  Michael Barkley makes a guest appearance, because that trumpet isn't going to play itself, is it?

Bandcamp Run & Run

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

"Solid States" and "A Premise" by Vital Idles

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.

Pre-order page for Left Hand

"In Your Hometown" by Kluster

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.

Bandcamp for pre-order of Civic
Rama Lama Records

Monday, April 23, 2018

Lio - Lio canta Caymmi

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.

Lio canta Caymmi is out now via Crammed Discs.

Bandcamp for Lio canta Caymmi
Crammed Discs page for Lio canta Caymmi/

Friday, April 20, 2018

The New Tigers - Do Xao

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 Xao The 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.

Soliti Music

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Emma Russack and Lachlan Denton - When It Ends

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.

Bandcamp for When It Ends
Emma Russack on Facebook
Emma Russack on Twitter
The Ocean Party on Facebook

Various Artists - Life's Too Short To Listen To Crap Music

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.

Mick Trouble:


Even As We Speak:

The Ocean Party:


Possum Moods:

Bandcamp for album
Emotional Response Records

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Laura Veirs - The Lookout

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.

Bandcamp for The Lookout