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.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sailing Imaginary Seas: My Review Of The New Cleaners From Venus (Martin Newell) Record

My first thought on re-immersing myself into the marvelous world of Mr. Martin Newell was:
How did I never know that he shared the same birthday as me?

I can finally stop citing Paula Prentiss as the famous celebrity who was also born on March 4. Newell-y buries the one-time Mrs. Richard Benjamin, am I right?

My next thought was:
How fast can I get my hands on this new Cleaners from Venus record?

And your next thought should be exactly the same. Well, the good news is that the fine folks at Soft Bodies Records will be releasing it in July and you can go here to pre-order it now. And supposedly the equally fine folks at Burger Records will be putting it out on cassette too.

In the meantime, you can also head over to Martin's official website to read more about Return To Bohemia.

Now, on to the actual tracks, all 12 delightful ones.

"Cling to Me" opens with a keyboard sound like something out of an old Tupac joint but the guitars crash in like Black Sea-era XTC. Martin Newell's vocals recall the Beatles on tracks like "Rain" but this tune is overall more rustic and less a psychedelic jam than a spin on English whimsy a la Hitchcock and his Egyptians.

"He's Goin' Out with Marilyn" is more chiming guitars -- think Peter Buck circa 1985 set down in Merry Olde England -- and romantic angst -- jealousy? -- in Martin's catchy tune.

"The Days of May" is a beautiful and contemplative song that reminds a listener of why Martin Newell is a somewhat overlooked genius. The way he sings "...on a half-remembered town" is sublime and it's a moment -- like the way the piano enters this cut -- that just warms the heart. Classic songwriting here on this one that somehow bridges the long lineage of British rock with something new. The sound of a man caught between a bright future and a look back over his shoulder at those passing "...days of May".

"The Royal Bank of Love" is aching, plaintive, and beautiful. Martin's guitar squalls behind his voice and the axe briefly roars like the Buzzcocks backing up a folky troubador.

"Mrs. Gale and Her New Lover" opens with some organ straight out of a mid-1960s beat era group, the keyboards anchoring Martin's tale of a lady whose love-life inspires gossip in the town.

"A European Girl" has a folk-y shuffle underpinning Martin's tale of a trip to Europe by rail.

"Welcome to Bohemia" is a near-spoken word, sort of funky, tour of Martin's world. It is admittedly odd to hear Martin mention "Facebook" and the like. I always thought Martin lived in some decidedly quaint English town -- the real place The Kinks' "The Village Green Preservation Society" was about -- stuck in an era before those webby things invaded our lives. The guitar solo here is awesome, by the way.

"Time We Talked" matches lovely backing vocals up against a melody that McCartney wishes he had penned.

"The King of the Sixties" has a hook that makes me think of XTC's "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" but the melody here is lovelier and the tune more intimate. Make no mistake: it's catchy like that XTC cut but Martin is introspective even as his guitar chords ring and slash.

"She took the sun for a lover and used the moon for her cover..."

And that is a fantastic line, isn't it? Part Partridge, Part Costello, and all new Newell.

Which all brings us to the absolutely haunting "Imaginary Seas". With nature sounds from some Virginia Astley-esque English countryside, and piano chords left over from Lennon, Martin purrs his ode to those "imaginary seas" and "summer love". Just a sublime and perfect cut that immediately brought a tear to this old Yank's eye.

I mean, if Brian Wilson had been born an Englishman he'd have been writing stuff like this, you know?

"The Band Plays Deliah" is a stately march up the keys. The sound of nostalgia, bottled and aged to perfection. The sound of a memory being reflected upon.

Album closer "I Wanna Stay In" is a worthy partner to the similarly themed "I Wanna Stay Home" from Jellyfish. Again, Martin Newell draws upon imagery of summer. It's the sound of the end of summer and a looming autumn in front of you. The guitar-work here is a joy -- Newell unfurls a beautiful solo that sounds like a relaxed Richard Thompson (for lack of a better comparison).

A fitting end to this splendid Return to Bohemia record from Martin Newell and his Cleaners from Venus.

Martin Newell is one of the treasures of British music. It seems decidedly unfair to work Andy Partridge into the review but if that gets people to listen to Martin's music, then it's worth it. In my case, perhaps I had read about The Cleaners from Venus back in the States decades ago but I never actually heard them. But then I saw Partridge's name on a Newell CD and I picked it up, listened, and was hooked.

So if that Partridge connection gets Martin new fans so it's not necessarily a bad thing. And for a writer, it makes it easier to describe this sort of music. If I say "If you like Mummer and Skylarking, you'll like this", it makes sense to you, right? I've aroused your interest, assuming you might be one of the unlucky ones who's not heard Martin's music before.

Return to Bohemia stands completely on its own as a tribute to quality English song-craft. A collection of tunes that should please long-time fans of The Cleaners from Venus and Martin Newell as well as a set that should serve as an easy entry-point for new listeners.

Go to Martin Newell's official website to read more about the Cleaners from Venus and Return To Bohemia.

And keep an eye on the Bandcamp page for Soft Bodies Records as they will be releasing this on CD in July. You can pre-order it here and stream a few tracks below.

This YouTube clip of Martin Newell on his quest to write a Eurovision tune also features new tune "The Days of May" starting at around 2:02.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Quick Review Of The New Black Bananas Record

Well, well, well, looks like the 2 long years since the release of Rad Times Xpress IV are over and the new disc, Electric Brick Wall, is here to rock our socks off.

Jennifer Herrema and her crew of radical compatriots are back with 11 tunes of fuzzy, scuzzy glory. More than once a listener will be forgiven from exclaiming "What the hell am I listening to?" as genres and influences jostle like folks trying to get into Studio 54 in 1979.

From the Parliament-meets-Jermaine Jackson wickedness of "Physical Emotions" to the Rockwell-with-guitars charm of "Eve's Child", Electric Brick Wall is, somehow, more of a wonderful hodgepodge of styles than its predecessor.

And yet, somehow this one feels more coherent. On Black Bananas' new record the band sounds more comfortable. While Electric Brick Wall might sound like 3 records playing at once -- not that that's a bad thing, mind you! -- the band's reliance on funk tropes has loosened things up and tightened them simultaneously. Less of a genre-hopper than Rad Times Xpress IV, 2014's Electric Brick Wall is funky-fresh, you know?

Follow Black Bananas on their Facebook page:

Electric Brick Wall drops out of the sky on June 24 from Drag City.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Play Delightful New Video From Spain's Deers Here

The gals in Deers are back with a new video for that infectious track "Bamboo" and you can play it here. Since I first posted about this band and song back in April it seems like Deers are getting more and more popular.

Now it's just waiting until they record more!

For now, follow Deers on their Facebook page:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Download Some Awesome Tunes From The Yetis Here

These dudes are from Allentown, Pa, and they are named The Yetis. And I think these tunes are pretty special.

NME referenced Girls but I hear early Pavement here, a little Jonathan Richman, and a bit of the Feelies.

Thankfully, you can download a bunch of tracks from these guys from their Soundcloud page. Start with "Little Surfer Girl" and go from there.

Follow along on their official Facebook page:

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Download One Of My Favorite Robyn Hitchcock Tracks Here!

It's with some dismay that I must report that Robyn Hitchcock's Globe of Frogs and Queen Elvis are both out-of-print (OOP). Perspex Island from 1991 is too but I never really liked that album much beyond this single.

There is a really good 'best of' available, as well as another that covers the Soft Boys era too.

I've been thinking of Hitchcock a lot this week. I wrote a post before about when I met, and was terrified of, Robyn at Lisner in 1989. The "Close Talker" from Seinfeld mixed with a giant squawking bird.

In recalling that story, I remembered that I saw Hitchcock earlier, opening for 10,000 Maniacs. I took my revenge on the crowd who didn't appreciate the genius of the opening act by coughing loudly during a very precious Natalie Merchant piano-monologue.

"Ultra Unbelievable Love" is hard to find online but here is a rough mix. I have no idea who this user is, but I thank him or her.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dot Dash Perform Live On Jack Rabid's Radio Show!

Dot Dash did a session for DJ Jack Rabid's The Big Takeover magazine and the episode is now online here and on iTunes.

The band whip through a few favorites, debut a new song, and you hear cuts played from the bands the guys were in before they were in Dot Dash (Danny Ingram gets Swervedriver, Ultracherry Violet, Youth Brigade, Strange Boutique, Steve Hansgen gets Minor Threat, and Terry Banks gets St. Christopher, Glo-Worm [with Pam Berry of Black Tambourine], The Saturday People [with Archie Moore of Velocity Girl], Julie Ocean [with Hunter Bennett of Dot Dash], and Tree Fort Angst).

It's a good listen and a sort of crash course in Dot Dash.

As always, follow Dot Dash on their Facebook page:

And on their label's site:

Refresher course before you listen to the show...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Best Thing I've Heard In Ages Is This: Pale By Young Romance

The NME nailed it when they threw young Kate Bush and The Jesus and Mary Chain references at this London two-piece. Within seconds of Claire's vocals meeting Paolo's fuzzy-guitar rush in the song "Pale" and I was -- pardon the play on words -- in love with Young Romance.

What a glorious cut! The sort of song that soars and makes the hairs on this jaded old music fan's arms stand up again.

Young Romance have got an upcoming gig in London for those of you in the UK. Details here.

In the meantime, play the videos, spin the cuts, and look for the out-of-print single. Details here.

Follow along on the band's Facebook page:

Saturday, June 7, 2014

New Video From TeenCanteen Plays Here!

What a wonderful single!

Sounding like early New Order being played by Altered Images, "You're Still Mine" is a lovely single that makes this old curmudgeon feel all warm-and-fuzzy inside. Oh, I hate that!

Still, it's not exactly a sappy tune and it has an edge amid the sweetness-and-light.

Follow TeenCanteen on their Facebook page.

"You're Still Mine" is up for pre-order here.

Dig Trippy New Tune From The Soft Walls Here!

Sounding very much like those early Childhood singles, but with more...noisy bits, "Guided Through" is a nice taster for the upcoming album from Brighton's The Soft Walls.

There are a lot of bands who get labelled with the "sounds like My Bloody Valentine"-tag but. at least on this track, The Soft Walls sound like the MBV of the Tremolo EP and not a more obvious part of that seminal band's back catalog.

No Time will be out in late July on Trouble in Mind Records. Until then, follow The Soft Walls on their official Facebook page.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Dot Dash Covers The Sound: Play It Here Now!

This is awesome!

Dot Dash have contributed a cut to the upcoming tribute to The Sound, soon to be released on TheBeautifulMusic, the label of Dot Dash.

I've got to say that this cut rocks hard and not least because I'm pretty sure that drummer Danny Ingram was probably listening to The Sound quite a bit when he was in Strange Boutique or Swervedriver.

The former Youth Brigade kit-pounder is joined by Terry Banks (of St. Christopher and Glo-Worm and Tree Fort Angst), Hunter Bennett (of Julie Ocean), and Steve Hansgen (Minor Threat, Government Issue, The Meatmen, and Emma Peel).

This song is the first thing Dot Dash have recorded with Steve Hansgen and it's the band's first cover version.

Find out more about Dot Dash here:

And find out more about the upcoming tribute to The Sound here:

Monday, June 2, 2014

Silver Screams Are Doing It Right: A Quick Review of Creep Joint Scratch

You know what sold me on these Boston punks? This bit from their Facebook bio:

"How about three aging punkers playing the best music they know how to nobody, with no career aspirations, zero street cred, and no greater point whatsoever. It’s a power trio screaming into a void before they die, because they’re not dead yet."

That did the trick for me and when I heard "Mt. Rumpke" with its mix of early Killing Joke and Dischord-style punk, I was hooked.

These cats -- Snarly on drums, Edog on bass, and Niff on vocals and guitars -- are making an unholy racket. Their bio namechecks a lot of good bands and, yeah, you can hear hints of early Husker Du here, pummeling riffs from Fun House-era Stooges, and even a bit of Joy Division in the climbing chords of "The Evidence" or the opening riff of "Wash Away".

(And if you hear a distinct trace of Dischord harDCore it's not for nothing as the bass player was in a band -- Sleeper Agent! -- with John Stabb of Government Issue.)

Creep Joint Scratch is solid and formidable EP. These are 5 cuts of raw power and direct punk rock, played with passion and precision. Dig it!

After playing the cuts below, I urge you to follow along on the band's official Facebook page or on their website. Buy the CD or the cuts from the band's Bandcamp page.

Parquet Courts Drop Sunbathing Animal: A Quick Review

Is it 1992 again?

(And wouldn't that be freakin' glorious!?!)

Well, yeah, these cats sound like "classic era" Pavement so forgive me if I flash back to the days of the first Clinton campaign as I fire up Sunbathing Animal, the new one from Parquet Courts. Let me pull you out of your time-warp and hip you to the fact that this record drops this week on What's Your Rupture? and it's a beast. It's a clanking, rocking, creation of postpunk noise and furious indie rock.

We've reached a point where a band can pick and choose influences this disparate. Enough time has passed that the mingling of Fugazi and the Dischord template with the brainy Fall-isms of early Pavement seems totally normal now. What would have been an attempted mixing of two very separate indie camps in 1992 now makes perfectly wonderful sense. Parquet Courts look back to the other eras of rock's past, grab a few bits, dash forward, and create a masterpiece. Spin "Black and White" and see what I mean. Spin it and feel the hairs go up on the back of your neck. I have no idea what it's about but it's a monster cut meant to be played loud and often.

This new record is rough but full of heart -- the Jonathan Richman-ish "Dear Ramona" -- in places. There's passion here but not that kind of heart-on-the-sleeve-obviousness of something like U2. This is, instead, music of fury and a sense of urgency. The tunes have to get out -- "Duckin' and Dodgin'" and its Beefheart imperatives -- and they bang and crash around your head and then you hit the button and play each one again. Sunbathing Animal sounds like it's about to fall apart at any second -- "Always Back in Town" like a rough demo thrown down by Pavement as they tried to learn a Big Star song and butcher it at a fever clip -- but it's concise and direct. "Instant Disasembly" hints at things spiraling out and unraveling in the style of Built to Spill but "Into the Garden" adds a shade of color from The Fall's playbook to bring things to a nearly mellow close. It's an odd way to finish off the fairly spiky punk of this album as it's the rough edges of this ...Animal that work so well.

Sunbathing Animal is a remarkable record. It's a distillation of about a dozen other bands you know and love into something that somehow sounds new -- something that bears just traces of that other stuff. If these cats wear their Pavement love in big letters on their sleeves, they are at least taking a shared fondness for Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain as an inspiration and making new shapes out of the clay of that template. Many moments may make you recall Malkmus and the boys but there are just as many that are going to make you think of Rites of Spring, At The Drive In, and even Fugazi in spots.

Parquet Courts are pushing indie rock into a new direction while casting an eye backwards. Other bands would use this style and structure of indie rock to be lazy and let things get sloppy and mediocre. These dudes have instead produced one of 2014's most remarkably listenable albums.

Sunbathing Animal is out now on What's Your Rupture?.

Parquet Courts - Black and White [Live on Seth... 发布人 eidurrasmussen