Monday, March 27, 2017
The band has a wide sweet spot, with indie rock tracks such as "Feelin' Alive" living harmoniously with Americana gems such as "Cycle Home Drunk" piano-driven indie pop such as opener "Break My Fall" and the lovely "Folding", ballads such as "Braced Against The Cold" and "Let The Wolves Roam", and delicate folk such as closer "Ribbons". In addition to thoughtful and incisive songwriting, The State Broadcasters benefit from multiple vocalists and an instrumental palate that encompasses brass, accordion, double bass and strings, as well as more traditional pop/rock tools of the trade. The result is vibrant music with every track sounding fresh and distinct. Yes, indeed, there is pretty strong wattage to this sunshine.
A Different Past is out on March 24 on vinyl, CD and Digital formats via Glasgow label Olive Grove Records. See the Bandcamp link for details. The State Broadcasters are Pete MacDonald (piano/trombone/vocals), Gillian Fleetwood (harp/accordion/vocals), Cameron Maxwell (double bass/trombone/electric bass/vocals), David McGinty (guitar/vocals), and Susan Appelbe (cello/vocals).
Bandcamp for A Different Past
Olive Grove Records
Friday, March 24, 2017
We weren't able to discover much information about the band, but we can tell you that Secret Meadow are Ricardo Taufano (Guitar/Vocal), Jaro Petang (Guitar/Synth), Arief R. Wijaya (Bass), and Mulyana A. Viqry (Drums).
Bandcampfor Same Old Fear EP
Let Go speaks to endings, beginnings, survival and hope. And it does so with wide-scape guitar pop that soars and inspires. The styles range from the Teenage Fanclub-esque "It's Not Who You Are", "Black Ice", "Best Things" and "Phases", to the more pop oriented "Sound of Darkness" and "Hum", to the rumbling indie rock of "Blame It On The Snow" and "It's Not Who You Are", to the a bit of dreampop of "Hope". We've been living with this album over the past month or so, and if we have been posting less it partially is due to reaching for Let Go rather than another record on the stack waiting for attention. My current favorites are "Black Ice", "Phases", "Best Things", and "Pale July", but such a list is subject to change with my moods, and there are many worthy contenders on this album. If you go to the Bandcamp link you can stream the entire album, and it will be time well spent.
Delay Trees are Rami Vierula (vocals/guitar/keys), Lauri Järvinen (guitars/keys/backing vocals), Sami Korhonen (bass), and Onni Oikari (drums/percussion/guitars/backing vocals (lead on "Hum")). Let Go is released today via Helsinki's Soliti Music
Soliti Music page for Let Go
Bandcamp for Let Go
Thursday, March 23, 2017
The album commences with a Gothic tone and static fog, but as it unspools we are treated to increased dynamics (e.g. the spacey, funky "Space") and lighter moments, such as on "Janina", break through like rays of sunshine. Èlan Vital seem to have a strong sense of what they want to do, and the ability to execute their ideas. Impressively, they stay within their desired groove while keeping the compositions accessible to the listener. I chose a few representative tracks below, but I recommend the final stream, which will give you the full album. To my ears, the songs on the last half of the record are especially recommended, but it is all good.
If we understand correctly, the genesis of the band was in Berlin, where two of its members resided. A following stop was Auckland, on New Zealand's north island, and then a relocation to Dunedin. The band's current rehearsal space is the None Gallery which, before it became an artist-run creative space served time as a pharmaceutical factory and then a strip club.
Èlan Vital is Renee Barrance (keyboards, vocals), Danny Brady (synths, drum machines, effects, vocals) and Nikolai Sim (bass). Shadow Self is released on vinyl, CD and digital formats via Fishrider Records on March 24, and by Occultation Recordings in UK/Europe on May 12.
Bandcamp for Shadow Self
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
So today we bring you Forever My Sparring Partner by Alabama band Bunch. Founded by ex El Cantador Heath Underwood, this is guitar-oriented rock that is earthy and soulful -- elements which characterize our favorite southern rock. More specifically, the album is a collection of gospels of red dirt, full blooded lives, travails, lessons, persistence and triumphs, told with a keen eye, a poet's tongue and an artist's flair. The performances are tight, and fully do justice to the material. And don't read too much into the "southern" tag. The music is un-mistakenly regional, but is in no way country.
You may note at the Bandcamp link below that Forever My Sparring Partner was released in mid-November, and we are just getting around to writing about it. News travels slowly to us in the North, and other events in November had captured our bandwidth for a while. Check out some tracks below, and if they hit the spot, go to the Bandcamp link and play the entire album. You will note that the lyrics are available, and I suggest displaying them while listening. Then buy the record like good little boys and girls.
All songs on Forever My Sparring Partner were written and arranged by Heath Underwood, who also provided the vocals, as well as guitars, pedals and effects, and vibe-bells. Additional players and vocalists were Paul Kimsal, Joe Dickey, Allan Castleberry, Simon Roper, Matt Prince, Maria Kowalski, Bruce Bouton, Lesley Jones-Smith, Amanda Smolinski, Victoria Noll, and Samantha Harlow.
Bandcamp for Forever My Sparring Partner
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Danish duo First Hate will be dropping their debut album A Prayer For The Unemployed on May 12, and you can get your first listen of the electro pop excellence via "Copenhagen". The album will be released by Copenhagen label Escho.
It is rare to hear an album that suggests influences as varied as Syd Barrett, Big Star, Gram Parsons. And even rarer, I suspect, would be an album that shares that influences by nevertheless presents a coherent style. But The Band is such an album, presenting nine varied songs of smeared psychedelic pop that delights from open to close. We've provided a few tracks below, but we urge you to hit the Bandcamp link and listen to the entire album.
The Band is released on Brian's own Long Live Death Records, and Emotional are in the midst of a US tour. We've provided dates and venues below (although we personally believe that if you don't come to Seattle, you aren't trying very hard). In creating the album, Wakefield received contributions from Alex Brettin, Danny James, Sarah Bethe Nelson, Simi Sohota, Emmet Moskowitz, Geoff Morris, Ole Haarstad and Joel Robinow.
Bandcamp for The Band
Death Records' page for The Band
Monday, March 20, 2017
Bandcamp for split single
Friday, March 17, 2017
Ben Harrison is a curator at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. He also is the frontman for Stutter Steps, which released one of our favorite debuts of 2015. The core sound is a jangling guitar pop that would fit well in the catalog of some of our favorite southern hemisphere bands. The project soon will release a six-song EP titled Floored on Blue Arrow Records. The title track is available now as a single, and you can enjoy a stream below.
Blue Arrow Records