Thursday, February 22, 2018

"Receiver" by Firestations

As fans of London's Firestations, we are thrilled to pass on to our readers that they have a new album titled The Year Dot in the pipeline.  And to remind you why we care, here is album track "Receiver" -- an ace pop song swathed in taut rhythms, punchy riffs and brooding colors.

Firestations are Mike Cranny, Laura Copsey, Martin Thompson, Giles Littleford, and Tom Hargreaves.  "Receiver" is available now on streaming platforms, and The Year Dot will be available April 6 via Lost Map Records.

Lost Map

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Television Personalities - Beautiful Despair

In some quarters there has been a resurgence in appreciation for British band Television Personalities, and we find it a very welcome development, indeed.  Last July, Fire Records reissued the band's first four albums, spanning the period 1980-1984 and bringing to new and old fans some of the finest lo-fi indie pop or the '80s.  Also last fall, Canadian label The Beautiful Music released a double CD collection of covers of Television Personalities' songs, which we commend to any fan.  Alan McGee credited Television Personalities as his inspiration for starting Creation Records, and a small list of the many bands whose lineage can be traced to Television Personalities as an include MGMT, the Libertines, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts, and The Mantles.

Television Personalities released Privilege, their sixth full length, in 1989.  But main man Dan Treacy had written a couple of albums of material and Treacy and co-conspirator number 1, Jowe Head, kept  recording in Head's apartment.  The resulting material was release only as a cassette entitled Beautiful Despair, and then sadly seemingly lost in the mists of time.  However, fulfilling their self-appointed and much needed role of saving worthy music from the dustbin, Fire Records has made Beautiful Despair available again in vinyl, CD and digital formats.  We think it is vital, timeless music that no fan of indie pop should be without.  And it is a great companion to the other TP albums, which no indie fan should be without.  We like it a lot -- can you tell?

Bandcamp for Beautiful Despair

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

"Stay Disappointed" by Wax Chattels

Say hello to Wax Chattels, the Auckland, New Zealand trio comprised of Peter Ruddell, Amanda Cheng and Tom Leggett.  Their sound is a refreshing twist on the power trio format with keys, drums and a bass.  Yes, that's right, a power trio without a guitar.  But you can trust our recommendation that their new single "Stay Disappointed" is worth your ears.  Or you can trust Flying Nun and Captured Tracks, both of which have signed the band.

Bandcamp for "Stay Disappointed"
Captured Tracks
Flying Nun Records

Friday, February 16, 2018

Lowtide - Southern Mind

Dreamy shoegaze, or gazey dreampop?  You can ponder that essential question while getting lost in Southern Mind, if you want.  But you know the answer doesn't matter.  The album is a beautiful panorama of swirling, layered dream pop with a steely rhythmic core, and to give it a chance means giving up hours of your life to getting lost in its wonders.  Consider yourself warned -- we have played it 15 times in the last 36 hours.

Southern Mind is the sophomore album by Melbourne's Lowtide.  It's nine tracks have no weakness, just a succession of treats.  Our favorites are the dreamy pop of "Alibi", the sprawling jangle of "A. C", and "Fear", which has a J&MC/Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (Howl Sessions) vibe with a dreamy wrapper.  Ask us tomorrow, and we may have a revised list.  The artistry shows in the intricate textures, the careful pacing and floating vocals.  But in the end, the standing ovation is owed to the virtuoso songwriting of remarkable consistency and quality.  It would be a shame if Southern Mind were to fly under the radar -- don't let it out of your sight.

Lowtide are Gabriel Lewis, Lucy Buckeridge, Anton Jakovljevic, although former member Giles Fielke participated in recording this album, as well.  Southern Mind is out today, February 16, via Rice Is Nice and Opposite Number.

Rice Is Nice Bandcamp page for Southern Mind (Aus/NZ, & US orders)

Superchunk - What A Time to Be Alive

This feature of What A Time to Be Alive isn't going to spend time on the long, distinguished resume of Superchunk, or pat the band on the back for still toiling in the musical trenches.  While that would be an easy approach, it would be unfair to the album and its creators.  Because the fact is that What A Time to Be Alive would be a stellar album if it came from a quartet of previously unknown teenagers fighting for their first record deal.  It is everything we want in an indie rock album.  It is loud, fast, passionate, very-well written, and hook-filled.  It also is political and very angry, and we think that just adds more to the "plus" column.  The lyrics are bitter and accusatory, with touches of humor, and are spit out is perfectly bratty, punk style.  And each track is played as if the band thought the venue manager was going to turn off the power any second.  The result is music that is as visceral and immediate as anything you are going to hear.  As a protest album, What A Time to Be Alive is a thematic triumph.  As and indie rock album, is is masterful.

Superchunk are Mac McCaughan, Laura Ballance, Jim Wilbur, and Jon Wurster.  Additional vocal performances are credited to Sabrina Ellis (A Giant Dog), Katie Crutchfield (Waxahatchee), and Stephin Meritt.  What A Time to Be Alive is out now via Merge Records.

Bandcamp for What A Time to Be Alive
Merge Records

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Holy Motors - Slow Sundown

Sad love songs for driving down the desert highway under the stars, surrounded by the reverbed and twanging of three guitars and understated female vocals, that is Slow Sundown.  It oozes longing, desire, and rejection.  It will remind you of the American West, and it may remind you of Mazzy Star or Canada's Cowboy Junkies.  What it probably won't remind you of is Estonia, the eastern Baltic country that happens to be the home of Holy Motors.  The five-piece is atmospheric as hell and a bit sexy, in a post-Valentine's Day rejection sort of way.  We like it and recommend it for your ears.

Slow Sundown is out now via Brooklyn's Wharf Cat Records.

Bandcamp for Slow Sundown
Wharf Cat Records

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

"Rio Grande" by Vive La Rose

Charming and compelling, "Rio Grande" is the new single from Vive La Rose, the solo project of Edinburgh's David Luximon-Herbert.  The song is a warmly shaded tale of a couple who yearns to travel, but can't seem to break free of the security of home.  It is taken from the artists upcoming album, For She Who Hangs the Moon.

"Rio Grande" is out now via Gestation Records.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

"Old Town" by Say Sue Me

Since South Korea is hosting the Winter Olympics, we think this is an excellent time to introduce you to Korean surf pop band Say Sue Me.  The song is "Old Town", which is taken from Where We Were Together, their upcoming LP.  The album will be available on April 13 via Damnably, but you can pre-order it now at the Bandcamp link.

Say Sue Me are Choi Sumi (vocals/guitar), Kim Byungkyu (guitar/chorus), Ha Jaeyoung (bass), and Kim Changwon (drums).

Bandcamp for album
Damnably page for Say Sue Me