Sunday, July 27, 2014

Download Free New Single From Pulco (Ash From Derrero)

Recorded in 2012 for BBC Wales, these 2 new Pulco songs are lovely little gems from Pulco. But what else would they be? Aiming for title of "busiest musician in Wales", Ash Cooke, one-time frontman for Derrero, is plugging away as Pulco and he's kindly given away these tracks as he preps another new record.

"Hardships" and "Kings" both sound a tiny bit like Derrero to me. And that's a good thing of course.

Follow the many adventures of Ash Cooke on the Pulco website and be sure to check his recent Poundstore Riot project as it's just aces too!

Best Thing I've Heard In Ages: Ultimate Painting (Mazes/Veronica Falls)

Sure, it's got a Velvet Underground vibe to it but it's also got a Feelies vibe to it too. Take that VU sound and filter it down through the generations of bands that copied it and you get the delightful "Ultimate Painting" by Ultimate Painting.

The band is James Hoare from Veronica Falls and Jack Cooper from Mazes. This single will be released soon from Trouble In Mind Records.

In the meantime, you can spin it a dozen times via the link below.

Quick Review Of The Debut LP From Woman's Hour

As others have pointed out, the members of Woman's Hour come from the same town as Wild Beasts. That's a plus in my book.

Woman's Hour make stately and subdued pop that recalls the best bits of Everything But The Girl (before they went dance-y), Dubstar, and Saint Etienne. The tunes are warm and relaxed and the sound overall is thoroughly well conceived and presented.

Lead single "Conversations" takes a hint of Christine McVie and mixes it with expert production and a catchy chorus. It's an insinuating and captivating track.

From the Blue Nile-isms of "To The End" to the perfectly titled "In Stillness We Remain", the cuts on Conversations glide by on the strengths of Fiona Burgess' vocals. But to praise her significant talents is not to diminish the rest of the band. "Her Ghost" is a shimmering bit of pop business that showcases all the pluses of this quartet.

Conversations from Woman's Hour is out now via Secretly Canadian.

Follow the band on their official Facebook page.

New EP From Skytone Is Out Now

Here's the perfect thing to soundtrack the waning days of July: it's the new EP from Ottawa's Skytone. Beach Ball And The Silver Frog is a 4-track burst of lovely harmonic pop.

"Jackie O" kicks things off in a spritely fashion. The Gram Parsons-inflected "Red Wine Black Coffee" takes things in a more somber direction briefly. The thoroughly delightful "The Summer Never Ends" is an instantly catchy gem. It's like late period Teenage Fanclub mixed with a bit of The Proclaimers. The title cut of the EP is a wisp of an acoustic guitar-based tune that uses the real sounds of a summer morning to great effect.

Check out the Skytone website at TheBeautifulMusic.com for more details on the band.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Dig Wicked New Video From Connections: Beat The Sky

You know, I actually like these guys even more now that I've seen their "Beat The Sky" video. More regular Joes than insufferable hipsters, Connections are every bit as good as the perhaps overhyped Parquet Courts.

Not trying to start a battle of the bands but just sayin' that Connections take the same GBV/Pavement template and crank out some wicked and direct tunes and do so while apparently having a good ole' time. Getting set for the release of Into Sixes in a few weeks on Anyway Records, Connections are here to share their new video.

"Beat The Sky" feels like that dude from Kings of Leon fronting a classic lineup of Guided By Voices and churning through a hooky riff-rocker. The bar-set video -- in the band's home-base of Columbus, Ohio? -- is breezy and chill. I want to have a beer with these dudes and bop my head along to their many, many, many marvelous cuts (they are remarkably prolific).

I dig it and thoroughly recommend that you all follow the band on their Facebook page and then prep yourself for Into Sixes on August 19 from Anyway Records.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Fall Forever: A Quick Review Of The Rockin' Debut From Honeyblood

Well cats and kittens, it's here. Yes, the self-titled debut from Glasgow's Honeyblood is out this week! Shona McVicar is on the drums and Stina Marie Claire Tweeddale is on guitar and vocals and these 2 ladies have made a fantastic record.

From the crunchy, Lush-like "Fall Forever" to already-familiar indie anthems like "Killer Bangs", the record shows an impressive range of tones and moods. The uptempo fuzzy riff-rockers work better for me than the slower tracks but there's no denying the slow burn of something like "Super Rat" with its Rilo Kiley-meets-Veruca Salt build-up.

"Biro" shows a hint of both The Pixies and spin-off act The Breeders but Stina's vocals are altogether sweeter -- think Bjork's Sugarcubes if the lass had been Scottish.

"Choker" has a trace of The White Stripes to it while "Joey" is like Jenny Lewis sitting in with Belly. Full of melody, a track like that and the faster and familiar "Killer Bangs" have a full sound. Honeyblood manage to do with 2 members what bands with 5 can't. Not only that but the songs here are strong, sometimes hook-filled, and excellently produced. It's hard to believe that this is the first record of a new band.

"Fortune Cookie" reminds me a bit of Juliana Hatfield's Blake Babies but "All Dragged Up" has a near-ska beat that recalls early Arctic Monkeys tracks. The nearly angry refrain of "Why won't you grow up?" would have sounded perfectly normal coming out of Alex Turner's mouth a few years ago and the loping rhythms of the cut made me think favorably of "A Certain Romance" and I can think of no higher praise than that comparison.

Honeyblood is a wonderful debut. Coming out a week after the new magnificent Manics record, and on the same day in the UK as the sublime Childhood album, as well as the new Morrissey, music fans are being richly rewarded in July 2014.

After a few plays of "Bud" and "Killer Bangs" a few months ago, I was hooked on Honeyblood and I highly recommend this album. Stina and Shona have made an awesome and lovely racket here out of a basket of disparate influences. Spin the two cuts below and you'll see what I mean.

Follow Honeyblood on their official website or follow them on their Facebook page.

In the United States, you can get the album on iTunes here.

In United Kingdom, you can get the album from their home label, FatCat Records.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Let's Talk About Gulp (Guto Pryce): A Review Of The Debut Album

I've had this album and been grooving on it for nearly 2 months already. I think I blogged about a single from it and now that the release date is near, it's time to share a secret with you: Gulp's Season Sun is one of the most pleasant surprises of the summer.

Guto Pryce, bass-man in Super Furry Animals, has crafted something remarkable here with vocalist Lindsey Leven. Season Sun warms the heart with nods in the direction of bands like Broadcast and Black Box Recorder but it's a wholly unique set of tunes. When I hear Lindsey Leven sing on any cut on this record it's like hearing Sandy Denny sitting in with the cats in Stereolab. And every song that gets a little spacey, or that threatens to spiral off into the ether, is grounded by the solid playing of Pryce and band-mates Gid Goundrey on guitars and Gwion Llewelyn on drums. "Let's Grown" is early Broadcast and "Clean and Serene" is late period Stereolab but the cuts seem like something new and not just homages to those worthy bands. "Vast Space" has Lindsey's vocals ride a sinister riff that recalls Siouxsie and the Banshees or VU organ figures, while "Seasoned Sun" goes in an altogether different direction with its echoes of Jefferson Airplane of all things. "Hot Water" bears (instrumental) traces of SFA's best (more mellow) moments but it's also got a touch of High Llamas about it. "Everything" recalls that glorious 2nd album from Sing-Sing (the post-Lush band from Emma Anderson, don't you know?) and "I Want To Dance" recalls a more playful Ladytron or Long Blondes.

Season Sun deserves a wider audience than just guys like me (inveterate long-time SFA fans).

(I should here admit that my best friend and I cornered Guto at a SFA gig in D.C. back in 1998 or so. For us in that era, it was like chewing the ear off one of the Beatles before a set in 1966. A few months later my friend and I were watching SFA and Clinic raise the roof in Wolverhampton at one of the best gigs I've ever seen...and I've seen The Pixies in 1989 and Nirvana in 1990 and on and on.)

But back to Gulp. This lot are good. Electronic tunes that are full of human warmth, the songs on Season Sun are carefully crafted little masterpieces. Doubt me? Spin some below.

Season Sun is out next week on Sonic Cathedral and you can follow along with the adventures of Guto, Lindsey, and the Gulp gang on their official website.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Play Single From The John Steel Singers (And Get Free Download)

These Aussie cats have worked with Robert Forster in the past and that's good enough reason for me to check them out.

The John Steel Singers are about to release their new album in a few weeks. Everything's A Thread is out at the end of July. In the meantime, head over to their official website and get a free download when you sign up for their mailing list.

And it's probably a good idea if you play the Lindsey Buckingham-meets-Gomez joy of "MJ's On Fire Again" below.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

New Album From Beverly (Frankie Rose) Drops Today!

Well, Frankie Rose is not in the band at the moment but she's on the record so that makes writing about Beverly an awkward dance. Bloggers like me want to hype the Frankie Rose angle 'cause that's probably how we heard of this band. The reality is that the band are so much more than just Frankie Rose and it's now largely a project under the lead of Drew Citron.

Careers is out today (July 1) on Kanine Records and it's a delight. The one-two opening punch of "Velouria"-echong "Madora" and Belly-ish "Honey Do" rewards a listener with the kind of indie pop joy that's a rare thing these days. I know others have made that Pixies comparison already but it's damn near impossible not to make on that cut. As for Belly: think of how the ex-Throwing Muses member made fuzzy, scuzzy rock in Belly (and on the first Breeders record) and you'll have a hint of what's going on here.

"All The Things", reminiscent of The Primitives and even Yankee bands like Velocity Girl, is a catchy riff-rocker that is instantly hummable, while instrumental "Ambular" rockets forward on a Iggy-like throbbing riff -- equal parts late-period Primal Scream and JAMC -- and that song leads into "Out on a Ride" which is all soaring harmonies and fuzzy guitars. A blast!

It's weird writing about "Hong Kong Hotel" 'cause I'm gonna guess that the song's title owes at least a little something to the time when Frankie Rose and Vivian Girls played Hong Kong, and I live not too far away on Lamma Island from the guy who arranged that gig. Still, a deeper analysis of the lyrics might reveal that the tune is about Edward Snowden hiding out in this city a year or so ago. The twangy guitars on this cut are great -- think Mazzy Star's first record but with more attitude in the vocals.

"You Can't Get It Right" is a fantastic cut -- all glorious harmonies on the verses and near-shouty vocals on the chorus. The song's got a near-surf guitar line and a wicked bass hook, like New Order playing The Ventures.

At nearly 4 minutes, album closer "Black and Grey" is the longest track on Careers and it's a languid and expansive slow-burner of a song that ends the record in fine fashion.

Careers from Beverly is out today on Kanine Records and I urge you to get it.

Follow Beverly on their official Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/wearebeverly

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Early Review Of The Awesomely Good New Album From Poundstore Riot (Ash from Derrero and Stu from BMX Bandits)

Only the kind of music junkie I am would make such a declaration but I'm gonna go for it 'cause I'm a crazy Yank:

"Green" by Poundstore Riot is quite possibly even better than some of the tunes from the bands these two guys were in earlier. And that's quite a statement to make considering the CVs of these two fellas: Stuart Kidd was in BMX Bandits, and he was the drummer on that awesome Jonny (Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake and Euros Childs from Gorky's Zygotic Mynci) album, and he's currently in The Wellgreen, while Ash Cooke was in Derrero, and he's currently the main guy behind Pulco, and that's not to mention his many other recent side-projects (all covered on this blog most likely).

These two have really done something special here. The full length from Poundstore Riot won't be out until probably early September via Folkwit Records but it's something you need to pencil-in on your calendars now.

Doubt me about this record? Spin the spiraling six minutes of "Hapless Writer" and hear the perfect blending of the legacies of Welsh and Scottish pop mingling in glorious fashion. Some years ago, as bands like Derrero and Super Furry Animals were roaming the hills of Wales, expanding their minds, and cranking out vaguely psychedelic pop in debt to The Beatles and The Move, acts like Teenage Fanclub and BMX Bandits were...roaming the hills of Scotland, expanding their minds, and welding feedback to the melodies of forefathers like Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, and Neil Young. A lot of lads in two places sifting through a lot of influences to push UK indie forward and into a new direction.

"Cylinder Sound" is the sublime marriage of all that. Ash and Kidd seem like a natural match, the melody here lovely and crisp and the vocals warm and inviting. Still, this album is not all pastoral and mellow 'cause the title track is a noisy bit of biz in the fashion of unfortunately-forgotten Scots band Yatsura, while "Roll Tape" is a humorous spoken-word cut from Ash. There are traces of the experimentation of some Pulco projects on this album but it's the more tuneful and hummable moments such as those found on cuts like "Green", "Cylinder Sound", and "Bobby's Basement" that enchant.

My only complaint is that this record is too short. I am comforted by the fact that I know how prolific these two cats are. I am confident that we might have more from Poundstore Riot in the future.

But, for now, spin these cuts and check out the band's Facebook page, or their Tumblr site. And be sure to visit the Folkwit Records website as the release of this record approaches.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't remind you to follow Ash Cooke's adventures on the Pulco website or on the Derrero page on Bandcamp where all the Derrero albums are up for free (but you should pay something).

As for Stuart Kidd, follow him in The Wellgreen on their Facebook page or Bandcamp page.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

New Album From Brian Reitzell (Redd Kross) Is Out Now

The guy has done soundtracks and he's in Redd Kross but now Brian Reitzell is putting out a solo album...which sounds like a soundtrack to a film that needs to be made.

Auto Music is out now on Smalltown Supersound and it's worth your attention and money.

Enlisting help from Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine) and Roger Manning Jr. (Jellyfish, etc.), Reitzell has created a collection of warm, sinister, and expansive soundscapes. These tracks are the perfect accompaniments to a long drive at night, or a stroll through a bustling urban city at dawn. Nods in the direction of Japanese cinema ("Ozu") give hints that this is sort of a soundtrack but it's also near-ambient music that envelops a listener.

Still, it's not all mellow as "Oskar" is pretty noisy and "Ozu Choral" is a bit spooky.

Stream "Last Summer" below and then head over to Brian Reitzell's official Facebook page for more details on Auto Music.

A Quick Note About The Heaviness Of Young British Artists

Young British Artists are not exactly re-inventing the wheel but on tracks like "Everything in Front of You" these Mancs roar like they're out for blood.

There's something direct and ferocious here and that's to be applauded. Channeling some worthy if obvious influences (Joy Division, Editors, Interpol, Doves), these guys manage to take the most basic of templates and make memorably heavy music.

Things may get a tiny bit Coldplay-like on "Mirror Trail" but overall the effect is one of power. Even if that tune ratchets things down a bit, cuts like "A New Language" storm over a listener like a truck gone out of control. "Salad Days" uses a heavy, rolling beat to propel things forward and it's another standout number on Change By Any Other Name.

The album is out now. You should follow Young British Artists on their official website.

Thoroughly Rockin' Rich Kids Cover From Hard Left (Mike from Slumberland Records)

If I didn't already know that this guy has impeccable taste -- (Heck, I was at a house party in the old College Park house that he shared with some of my Record Co-Op co-workers back in 1989 and he had an amazing record collection then) -- here's proof.

Mike Schulman of Slumberland Records is in a new band, Hard Left, with Stewart Anderson of Boyracer and Timothy Scott Brown, and they are cranking out some smashing tunes in the style of the first glorious wave of post-punk and new wave.

And they've gone and covered one of my favorite singles from that era: "Ghosts of Princes in Towers" by ex-Sex Pistol Glen Matlock's Rich Kids.

Dig it here and then dig the Facebook page of Hard Left Hard Left.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Spin Fantastic New Tune From Mazes Here!

What a fantastic tune this is! The fuzzy Dream Syndicate-like guitar and the Feelies rhythms instantly won me over. Both a bit rough and a bit trippy, "Astigmatism" is aces -- that guitar solo!

Mazes are here to rock your socks off folks. The new album, Wooden Aquarium, won't be out until September but you can play "Astigmatism" now. After you do that, be sure to head over to the FatCat Records website and pre-order the fabulous new full-length record...or CD, or download.

Follow these dudes on their official Facebook page.