Thursday, June 8, 2017

"Pulling All The Facts Together" by The Stevens

Well, you all probably were hoping that the next post about The Stevens was going to discuss their new album.  After all, a month ago we teased you with "Chancer" the first song from Good.  But the release date is still five weeks in the future.  However, not all is doom and gloom, because the Melbourne quartet has released another album track - "Pulling All The Facts Together".  Stitching together observations about electronic snooping with snippets of morning TV, the song embodies the band's melodic brand of lo-fi indie rock, which wouldn't be out of place on a Guided by Voices stage.

The Stevens are Travis MacDonald, Alex Macfarlane, Gus Lord, and Matt Harkin.  Good will be released July 14 available via Chapter Music.



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Beach Fossils - Somersault

Somersault is a very welcome return by Beach Fossils.  Four years between albums is long time for an indie band, and such extended hiatuses don't always signal good creative juices.  But we are happy to report that Beach Fossils return in extremely good shape.  In fact, we are joking around here that the title of the album may be a nod to the somersaults of barely restrained joy that fans will execute upon hearing this great set of songs.  At least we think it is a joke, but maybe not.

The opening chords of "This Year" suggest that we are in familiar Beach Fossils territory -- intimate guitar pop with hooks and harmonies.  But as the track, and the album, reveal themselves we are treated to a richer arsenal of ideas and sonic tools, and a more precise execution. The variety is impressive, with lush, hazy songs offset by more urgent tracks and robust rhythms. And the band expands their reach even further with guest vocalist Rachel Goswell of Slowdive on "Tangerine" and Cities Aviv on "Rise". The songwriting is crisp and focused, and the band plays with confidence. The songs are layered, but not fussy, and the vibe is perfect summery warmth. Clearly, Beach Fossils have used their 'down time' very wisely, and that is great news for us fans.

Beach Fossils are Dustin Payseur, Tommy Davidson, and Jack Smith. Somersault is out now via Payseur's own Bayonet Records







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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Introducing: Poolshop

We feel in love today.  No, it isn't our first time, but it feels real, and right.  With whom?  A musician from Brisbane, Australia named Jaimee Fryer.  Jaimee is lead guitarist and vocalist for Major League, which alone could result in "crush" status.  But now Jaimee also launched a solo project as Poolshop.  Building on her talents as a singer and guitarist, Poolshop treks in the shoegaze/guitar pop/dreampop in particularly delightful fashion.  Check out our new love with the the dreamy "How Long", which is available as a 'name your price' download, and the excellent "You're Alright Alone".

We can't wait for Valentines Day!





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Aquaserge - Laisse ca etre

If you have adventuresome musical tastes, Laisse ca etre may be your delight of the month.  The latest work from Aquaserge, a collective from southern France, blends together ideas from jazz, French films, folk, Krautrock, psychedelia, progressive rock, vintage pop and other elements from around the globe.  With a cinematic feel that would slot in nicely as the soundtrack for an indie film, the songs sprawl generously with a variety of concepts and plenty of delightful left turns.  But despite the rapidly shifting rhythms, time signatures and instrumentation, the band has a breathtaking ability to perform with absolute precision.  This is pop music with a brain, a heart, and the spirit of a global backpacker.  Climb on, it is a wonderful ride.

Including members of Tame Impala, Stereolab and Melody's Echo Chamber, Aquaserge was founded by Julien Barbagallo, Julien Gasc and Benjamin Gilbert, and now includes Audrey Ginestet and Manon Gilbert, among others.

Laisse ca etre is out now via Almost Musique in France and Crammed Discs in the rest of the world.










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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Mt. Doubt - The Loneliness of the TV Watchers

Leo Bargery's Mt. Doubt project is back to bring us their latest set of indie rock ballads, and the material is a little bit as before and a little bit different.  On The Loneliness of the TV Watchers Leo's expressive baritone remains, and the themes remain dark.  But the arrangements and, at times, the tempo, inject a welcome dose of pop smarts and energy.  The result is a five song set that is the most consistent and accessible of the band's two year career to date, and presents a very solid case for following Mt. Doubt as it continues to grow.

The EP commences with the sprawling "A Natural Swimmer", on which Leo balances the fatalistic subject with a decidedly uptempo. pop-oriented arrangement.  "Tourist" follows with a dose of humor, as well as providing the most indie pop moments of the EP.  Not wanting us to start pigeonholing the band as 'former rockers', "Reference Books" arrives next to remind us that the '80s and '90s did exist, and we enjoyed grunge.  "Purity" then provides a nice change of pace, both down-tempo and a bit downtrodden; life is like that sometimes, and Leo doesn't want us to forget it.  The grand finish is provided by "Soft Furnishings", a sprawling piano track that builds nicely as we are warned to avoid the temptation of giving up and getting all too comfortable not trying.  In our view there isn't a weak track in the set, but you can test that below and at the Bandcamp link.

The Loneliness of the TV Watchers is out now in digital and CD formats via Scottish Fiction.






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Monday, June 5, 2017

Australian Popfest Compilation

One of our favorite little labels, Emotional Response Records of Flagstaff, Arizona, continues to delight us with unexpected treasures.  Most recently they released an Australian Popfest Compilations.  Punk, indie pop and electropop coexist on 16 tracks you won't find together elsewhere.  The backstory is that label bosses Jen and Stew lived in Australia for a while, and in 2002 organized a pop festival at Melbourne's Empress Hotel.  This artifact of selected portions of the proceedings in now available at the Bandcamp link below.  A few tracks are here for your listening pleasure -- one punk, one indie pop, and one electro pop.  We like balance.







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Young Guv - Traumatic 7"


We wants to start our the new week of musical musings with a sure winner, so we proudly present the Traumatic 7" from Toronto's Young Guv.  Young Guv is the solo project of Ben Cook, whose musical talent wears several guises.  The punk Ben thrills as a member of Fucked Up.  The hardcore Ben gets in your face with No Warning (this sentence worked our better than I expected).  And the power pop, '80s-loving Ben is a Young Guv.  It is also my personal favorite version of Ben, if anyone cares.

A few years ago Young Guv released a fine 8-song album called Ripe 4 Luv (our feature here).  He now has given us "Traumatic" and "It Could Be Me".  The lead track is a bouncy sugar rush of synthy rhythms, guitar and dramatic vocals.  It sounds great at the first listen and gets better with each repeat.  The B-side is smeared power pop with helium vocals and should give you enough energy for the next several hours of whatever activity you have planned.  This week is looking (sounding) pretty damn good already.

Traumatic 7" is available in vinyl and digital formats via Slumberland Records.  See the Bandcamp link for details.







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