Wednesday, May 27, 2015

"Cry At Your Leisure" from Skittle Alley


Some bands are so good that we happily play their demos.  You think we're kidding?  Cast your eyes below to the clip for "Cry At Your Leisure" from Skittle Alley.  Yes, it clearly is marked "demo", and it isn't the first demo from France's Skittle Alley that has featured on these pages.  This one is a lovely song with chiming guitars and achingly sweet vocals.  You'll find more to love at the Soundcloud link at the bottom of this post.  Our prior posts for Skittle Alley are here and here.




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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Video for "Dead Fox" by Courtney Barnett


Here is one of my favorite videos of the year so far, for "Dead Fox". one of my favorite songs from the stellar Courtney Barnett debut Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (our review here).  Courtney mulls over the worth of organic vegetables, the dangers of highway driving (for humans and animals) and mortality.  The artists put it all on the screen vividly, and graphically.



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REVIEW: Mikal Cronin - MCIII

Mikal Cronin is a master at crafting powerpop songs, with hooks and melodies that make you feel good.  On his third album, the rather directly titled MCIII, he continues to widen the scope of his offerings.  He provides multiple layers of sounds with keys and strings in the mix, and swells that tickle the rafters.  And the swells sound even bigger when contrasted with the occasional dips in volume.  This is well-conceived and well-executed pop music that is cinematic and energizing from the initial strains of opener "Turn Around".  The following "Made My Mind Up" is top class power pop of The New Pornographers variety.  "Say" and "Feel Like" continue to pump out the big sound.

The pace and tone changes beginning with the fifth track, "Been Loved", a nuanced balled and, for my money, the best quiet moment on the album.  It also provides the transition to the six linked coming of age pieces that comprise the remainder of MCIII.  "(i) Alone" is one half whisper and one half noise pop; at the moment, I prefer the latter.  "(ii) Gold" combines power pop and garage in a fashion similar to Cronin's work with his old partner Ty Segall to highly satisfying effect.  And just as I was putting a "+" in my notes for the preceding track, "(iii) Control" jangles in to steal my heart; that one could be a single as well.  A more garagey version of power pop is on offer with "(iv) Ready", again recalling Cronin's earlier San Franciso days.  "(v) Different" brings back the strings for a languid ballad.  The closing "(vi) Circle" is a fitting closer, combining mid-tempo jangle pop with reflective lyrics and piano.

MCIII is a very satisfying album from a songwriter and musician who is accomplished by still growing.  This is one of the highlights of his journey.







MCIII is out now via Merge Records in digital, CD, cassette and vinyl formats.

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Merge Records page for MCIII

Monday, May 25, 2015

Video for "The Legend of Chavo Guerrero" by The Mountain Goats

The Mountain Goats' new album, Beat the Champ, has been out for about two months now, and we still are enjoying it.  But we now have even another way to celebrate one of its great tunes, as there now is a video for album song "The Legend of Chavo Guerrero", which includes Chavo himself.  The song is very good, and this video is quite special.




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Merge Records page for Beat the Champ


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Introducing: West Thebarton Brothel Party

Here is your introduction to West Thebarton Brothel Party.  You don't need a personal invitation to attend this one.  Just have ears, a love of rock music and the ability to navigate yourself to whatever garage these guys have taken over to start the party.  There doesn't appear to be much recorded output available, but the Adelaide band will have an EP out soon via Mirador Records.  One of the songs from that record, "Misophonia" is out as a single, and it is too good not to share.  In fact, it is so good that we'll give you the stream and the video.  If there were an interpretive dance, we'd give you that too.

The song has just the right combination of musical chops and just-about-to-fall-apart chaos.  And you can feel the fun floating in the airwaves.

 




 

West Thebarton Brothel Party are Ray Dalfsen, Josh Battersby, Josh Healey, Tom Gordon, Wil Spooner-Adey, Al Christophel, Brian Bolado, and Nick Horvat.

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Mirador Records

"Fire Burning" from Kevin Hunter

I needed some help getting going this morning.  And our new LA friend Kevin Hunter had just what I needed.  Kevin, who is an experienced hip hop/electronic producer, is releasing his Wild Things EP one track at a time, and giving fans the opportunity to download them for free.  The current song is "Fire Burning", which is a blend of house, reggae 'fast chat' dancehall and EDM.  This stuff could replace coffee, although I still recommend both.  Listen below, and check out the download opportunity here.



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Friday, May 22, 2015

Andrew R. Burns & The Tropicanas - Dreamslop EP


There is so much to like here -- the name, the sub-genre, and most of all, the songs.  The name is Andrew R. Burns & The Tropicanas, hailing from that well known tropical hot spot, Livington, Scotland.  We've heard three of the quartet previously in their guise as alansmithee, but sometimes a change in perspective is needed, and so, with an additional member, they are Andrew R. Burns & The Tropicanas.  As for the genre, the lads call it "dreamslop".  You might call it a blend of dream pop and reverby lo-fi, played with a certain casual relaxed attitude, but dreamslop seems quite adequate and has the benefit of being a shiny new term.

Now for the songs in their debut record, Dreamslop EP.   The three tracks combine exactly the right elements of old and new, and massage my ears like the most skilled courtesan from ancient Rome (there is a bit of license here as even I am not old enough to have been of legal age in ancient Rome).  "Coming Back Down To Erf" begins with thumping percussion, then adds exuberant instrumentation and crooning vocals.  Does the reference to error function in the title have a connection with the repeated chorus?  I don't know or care -- it is a terrific song.  "Stinking Ship" has a sweetly voiced vocal over a shuffling, '60s flavored rhythm and sunny melody.  The final song, "Slackjaw (Sdfk)" is simultaneously wonderful and frustrating.  Wonderful, because it has the most appealing melody of the lot, and a cool vocal that sounds like lead singer for The Lettermen finally broke down and smoked some good weed.  Frustrating because it abruptly ends at the 1:43 mark, just as it was building.  Hey, Tropicanas, you owe me one half of a song!  The proceedings are all a bit woozy and deliberately damaged, but the frayed edges can't obscure that talent and quality.

We have the video for the lead track here, and a Soundcloud embed for the entire EP.  So dive in and enjoy the dreamy slop.  It is great stuff, and if moved to own it, hit the Bandcamp link.






The band is Andrew R. Burns, Joe Murty, Ruaridh Macpherson, and Joe White. They are releasing Dreamslop EP at the end of the month via Glasgow label Flowers In The Dustbin.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Video for "The Departure" from Cats of Transnistria


Cats of Transnistria are Tuomas Alatalo and Henna Emilia Hietamaki.  The Helsinki, Finland duo makes dark and dreamy atmospheric pop.  Their debut record, an EP titled Away for Helsinki label Soliti Music, was released in January.  The band's multi-faceted compositions balance experimental and gentle elements that easily hold the listener's interest.  I highly recommend that you stream all four songs of the EP at the Bandcamp link below.  But first watch the enchanting video for EP track "The Departure".



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Soliti Music page for Away EP

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

"All the Stars" from The Shifting Sands

Mike McLeod is a Dunedin, New Zealand musician recording as The Shifting Sands.  His debut LP, Feel, featured here a little over two years ago (review here).  Mike's style adeptly intertwines classic New Zealand guitar pop and his own updated sensibilities, and we like it quite a lot.  Accordingly, we're happy to report that album number two, Cosmic Radio Station, will be released this year.  Meanwhile, we have the record's first single, "All the Stars".  The song is wonderful, but the video is excellent as well.  Enjoy!



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Fishrider Records