Friday, December 8, 2017

Sea Pinks - Minimum Wage-BBC Sessions (& Others)


So far in our end of the week flurry of new music posts we have traveled westward from Norway to Scotland.  We now cross the Irish Sea to Belfast to laud the most recent offering from WYMA favorites Sea Pinks.  Whether you are looking for an introduction to the band, or are a Sea Pinks fan excited about the prospect of a band-curated set of songs from their catalog, you need to check out Minimum Wage-BBC Sessions (& Others).  The songs represent the band's output since their 2011 debut, tracing their slight evolution from scrappy jangle pop to a still jangling Creation Records-meets-California-guitar-pop vibe.  The recordings capture the songs live, so there is an appealing rawness and immediacy that gives new life to even the songs familiar to the listener.  The set has character to the extent that studio albums often don't.  It isn't that one approach is good and the other band, they are just different.  Thus, even if you have the studio version of some of these songs -- and you are unlikely to have them all -- this is an essential compilation for fans.

Sea Pinks are Neil Brogan (guitar/vocals), Steven Henry (bass/backing vocals), and Davey Agnew (drums/backing vocals).  For now  Minimum Wage-BBC Sessions (& Others) is a digital release only, although a vinyl addition might be available in the future.  You can find it on all the usual digital platforms, but we recommend the band's own Bandcamp link.










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"Bang The Drum Slowly" by The Little Kicks


After beginning our end of the week run of posts in Norway, we cross the North Sea to Aberdeen on the northeast coast of Scotland to celebrate the new single from local favorites The Little Kicks.  Taken from Shake Your Troubles, their album of earlier this year, "Bang the Drum Slowly" is an upbeat and fully charged slice of swaggering indie pop.  Turn it up loud and proud for your Friday morning pick me up. The B-side is the moodier "You and Someone Like Me (Night Version)", and you can test drive it at the Bandcamp link below.

The single It  is out now via Loosen Up Records, and can be found at the Bandcamp link below and the usual digital sources.  Vinyl can reach your hot little hands directly from the band, which can be contacted via their website.

The Little Kicks are Steven Milne, Andrew Corse, Adam Morrice, and Scott Kelman.





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Thursday, December 7, 2017

"Tailwind" / "Dreaming With Our Feet" by Elva


To celebrate the end of the week we are intending to feature several releases that deserve your attention.  We are going to being in Norway and head west, probably ending in Australia with several stops in between.  First on our journey is the debut single by Elva, a pop band from Moss, Norway, featuring (among others) former members of Allo Darlin' and Making Marks.  The two-song record features a shimmering - and slightly scrappy - guitar pop gem titled "Tailwind", and the lovely acoustic "Dreaming With Our Feet".  Of course you want it, so we'll crush your spirit by advising you that the vinyl probably is sold out.  Contact them now to find our.  However, you can still buy the lovely little electrons at the WIAIWYA Bandcamp page.



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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Modern Studies - Swell To Great


How are things around the When You Motor Away headquarters today?  Thanks for asking, things are swell to great.  Yes, all day so far we have been listening to Swell to Great, the lovely album from Scottish chamber pop/alt folk quartet Modern Studies.  The album reveals itself shyly, with a relaxed pace and a generous 13-track collection of melancholy but richly detailed gems that sparkle a new way with each listen.  The atmosphere is redolent of rural autumn landscapes, isolated seacoasts and the flood of memories.  The vocals are hushed, even delicate, while the melodic arrangements are precise and derive a cinematic vibe via a harmonium and a cello.  We recommend giving this album your ears, preferably with earphones and time to let the album seep into your life.  The rewards are worth your time.

Modern Studies are Emily Scott, Rob St John, Pete Harvey, and Joe Smillie.  Swell to Great is out now on vinyl, CD and digital formats via Fire Records.  This is a re-release, as the album originally was put out by Edinburgh's Song By Toad Records in 2016.  By the way, the title of the album reflects the name for a stop on an organ rather than one's attitude.  However, we aren't the type to eschew the chance of making a weak joke.










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Monday, December 4, 2017

Drahla - Third Article EP


A warm When You Motor Away welcome to a new talent from the UK, Drahla.  The introduction comes by way of their debut Third Article EP, which is released via their own Blank Ad label.  Not a band given to tentative hellos, the EP's four tracks crackle with energy and aggression, driven by furious guitar and an uncompromising rhythm section, and underlying deadpan, but affecting, vocals.  There is plenty of youthful rumble and crash, but solid melodic currents and obvious intelligence.  This is a fine set of songs, and gives us a new band to follow.

Drahla are Luciel Brown, Rob Riggs, and Mike Ainsley.







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Even As We Speak - Yellow Food: BBC Sessions

One of our more popular posts in the past few months featured a new EP from Australian band Even As We Speak (our feature here).  The Black Forest EP marked the band's return from a 25-year hiatus, and finds them in peak form.  But while we are waiting for more new songs from the well-rested and obviously rejuvenated band, we wondered whether we could get our hands on some of their past work.  Well, we didn't have to wonder long as Emotional Response Records, the mighty little label that released The Black Forest also gifted the world with Yellow Food: BBC Sessions, a compilation of recordings Even As We Speak made for John Peel and Mark Goodier at the BBC on four occasions in 1992 and 1993.  The compilation contains a generous 16 songs of wide ranging indie pop that demonstrates why the band was one of the darlings of the Sarah Records stable.  You can get it from the label at the Bandcamp link below.  Act fast before the electrons are all purchased and there are no more.











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Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Ocean Party - Guilt

Perhaps the holidays seems like an odd time for us to encourage you to embrace guilt (an emotion that usually infuses us after the holidays).  But Guilt, the new EP from The Ocean Party, is not an ordinary record, just as its Melbourne-based creators are not just an ordinary band.  The final offering of the year from a sextet that has enjoyed a cornucopia of productivity in 2017, the six-song set underscores The Ocean Party's ability to voice the fabric of their, and perhaps our, lives and dress their word-portraits up in some of the sweetest, shimmering guitar pop we have ever heard.  Their observations are concise but poignant, sentimental but clear-eyed  And they don't always have the answers, but they ask the right questions.  The songs on Guilt are intimate and immediate -- they could be a conversation with a mate as easily as a voice over your earphones.  Of course, unless you happen to be a friend of one of the six songwriters and singers that comprise the band, you will have to settle for listening over your earphones.  But that shouldn't stop you.  In our view The Ocean Party are one of the finest guitar pop bands in the world, and Guilt does them proud.

Guilt is out now via the fine Spunk Records in digital and cassette formats.  Their previous releases this year consist of an album of B-sides and outtakes, a tour tape, and the excellent Beauty Point LP (our review here).  The members of the band are Jordan Thompson, Liam Halliwell, Curtis Wakeling, Lachlan Denton, Zac Denton, and Crowman.








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Friday, December 1, 2017

The Just Joans - You Might Be Smiling Now ...

Indie pop with wit and bite to go with the melody is a very special delight, and any artist or band that can deliver such music is to be treasured.   One such treasure is Glasgow's The Just Joans (I'm sorry, did you think this was about Taylor Swift?).  Named for a long-running newspaper advice columnist, the band's themes focus on the normal, mundane aspects of their -- or maybe your -- life, and specifically growing up as recollected a decade or more down the line.  But the genius is in the irreverent, self-depreciating storytelling.  The songs on their new album, You Might Be Smiling Now..., vary among sentimental, lewd and rude, but are always funny and entertaining.  Even the song titles hint at the humor to be found (e.g. "You Make Me Physically Sick (Let's Start Having Children)", "Someone Else You Might Like More Than Me", and "Johnny, Have You Come Lately?").  There is a bit of The Magnetic Fields here, but a Magnetic Fields lubricated at the pub and in a rude mood.  It is hard to imagine listening to You Might Be Smiling Now... and not smiling over 95% of the time.  The only criticism I have is that The Just Joans take a long time creating albums (unlike Taylor Swift).  But when you can deliver an album that combines resigned cynicism and melodic sunshine like this one, you don't need swift.

The Just Joans are David Pope (vocals/guitar), Katie Pope (vocals), Chris Elkin (lead guitar), Fraser Ford (bass), Doog Cameron (keys), and Jason Sweeney (drums).  You Might Be Smiling Now... is our today via Fika Recordings.






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Fika Recordings page for album (stream and purchase)
Fika Recordings

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Half Forward Line - The Back of Mass

Our second offering today is from Irish band Half Forward Line.  The trio consists of the type of guys who can be found at the back of Mass on a Sunday morning, coming in late and noisily, leaving early and equally noisily, and perhaps either not singing or singing a bit too loud.  So quite appropriately their songs hit with a blast and don't stay too long.  But like the lovable lugs at the back of mass, the songs are charming and fun, and you can enjoy 12 of them on their debut album.  Oh, the title?  Quite appropriately, it is The Back of Mass.

If speedy power pop, poppy punk and buzzsaw pop is your thing, get out of your pew and head to The Back of Mass.  A change of perspective is a good thing, and so is this album.

Half Forward Line is Brian Kelly, Hiall Murphy, and Ciaran o Maolain.  The Back of Mass is out now in digital and CD formats.  North American fans can source through Jigsaw Records.  European fans can buy it in cassette form as well.








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Jigsaw Records' Bandcamp for The Back Of Mass
Bandcamp for The Back Of Mass

"Candy Man" by Cats of Transnistria

We start out today's musical pleasures with "Candy Man", the latest single from Opium, the forthcoming second LP from Finland's Cats of Transnistria.  The song is presented via a video edited from the 1931 film Svengali, showcases the band's talent for shadowy, atmospheric soundscapes and soaring melodies.

Cats of Transnistria are Henna Emilia Hietamäki, Tuomas Alatalo, and Sanna Komi.  Opium will be released February 2 via Soliti Music.




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Soliti Music page for Cats of Transnistria