Michael Nau’s latest solo LP, Some Twist, is a chilled-out, reverbed, groove-psych effort with Nau’s vocals as the key ingredient that ties this magic all together. Give “Oh, You Wanna Bet?” (below) a spin, it’s all you need to get hooked. Oh, and if you’re a tad slow like me, Michael Nau is from Page France and Cotton Jones/Cotton Jones Basket Ride. I love the Cotton Jones albums!
24-year-old New Zealander Amelia Murray writes, produces, and sings as Fazerdaze. Her debut full-length Morningside is an impressive collection of spunky, sun-drenched jams and soaring dream pop. Her songs are tight and her vocals outta sight, with lyrics that get right at it (“I’m trying not to try so hard for you”). Soak it in and make your summer more summer-y.
I wasn’t a fully committed goth in high school but I listened to my fair share of goth music, and sometimes dabbled awkwardly in goth fashion. The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle – nowadays known for his storytelling skills, as a lo-fi turned hi-fi musician and awarded novelist – spent his teen years as a “goth kid”, though I reckon we shared a similar awkwardness. So when Darnielle directs an entire album’s worth of songwriting to the genre/culture, it’s because he has enough material to work with.
Whether the Sisters of Mercy-esque strains of “Rain in Soho” or their tribute to the SoM frontman himself, “Andrew Elritch Is Moving Back to Leeds”, Darnielle and company deliver each track with a clear knowledge of and empathy for its subject matter. On “Stench of the Unburied” Darnielle sings, as someone who suffered his way through SoCal summers in all black: “Outside it’s 92 degrees/And KROQ plays Siouxsie and the Banshees”. In typical Mountain Goats fashion, it’s followed by a narrator’s wink and nod: “Ice chest full of Corona and Pineapple Crush/It’ll take 20 years for the toxins to flush.” It’s this tension that makes Darnielle’s songwriting so authentic, endearing, and surprising.
Goths avoids the trappings of a concept album. Musically it wanders, however coherently, from ominous minor key anthems to loungey new wave to flute-driven baroque pop to an entire bonus record of ambient mixes “for the all-night goths who need to reply to the dawn with total darkness.” The thread remains, but Darnielle trusts his listener to figure it out in their own way.
To me, Goths is about the sometimes tragic, sometimes humorous struggle of adolescent identity (which continues to plague some adults). The search for identity often chased by self-doubt and self-consciousness gets summed up in the album’s best line, the chorus to “The Grey King and the Silver Flame Attunement”: “I’m pretty hardcore, but I’m not that hardcore.”
Even without explanation, Goths is a great album. “We Do It Different on the West Coast” – while relevant here – would fit on any Mountain Goats record, with it’s perfectly Californian brand of self-deprecating coastal pride. It’s followed by “Unicorn Tolerance” which is just plain adorable. Do yourself a favor and listen to Goths, regardless of how much black eyeliner, white foundation, red lipstick, and hair spray you have on your person.
[Buy the deluxe edition of Goths on “vampire red” vinyl with the aforementioned bonus LP of ambient mixes in the 3hive Co-op Shop, while supplies last.]
My introduction to Timber Timbre was back in 2011 whilst perusing the goods at, the now extinct, Slowtrain Records, and their latest release (at the time), Creep On Creepin’ On was playing in the store. Timber Timbre’s wonky, psychedelic groove mixed with Taylor Kirk’s smokey vocals hooked me instantly, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Their recently released, Sincerely, Future Pollution, still checks all those boxes that hooked me 6 years ago. Timber Timbre keeps getting better and better. It’s time to let their psychedelic groove hook you too. Enjoy.
[Buy Sincerely, Future Pollution on shiny black vinyl in the 3hive Co-op Shop – while supplies last.]
Woods’ latest album Love Is Love was written and recorded in the first few months following the election. It’s not necessarily a protest album as much as it’s a “…meditation on love, and on what life means now”. Love is Love is a 32-minute chilled-out, psychedelic, folk-rock effort. It is the perfect antidote for any bad feelings caused by the current mess we are in. Check out the awesome trumpet and flute play in standout track “Bleeding Blue” below.
[Feel the love and snag this on black vinyl – the way it’s meant to be listened to – from the 3hive Co-op Shop. While supplies last.]
Just when I thought Doug Tuttle couldn’t outdo his incredible 2016 solo album, It Calls On Me, the former MMOSS frontman takes that thought and stomps it into oblivion with the release of his new LP Peace Potato. Not only does Mr. Tuttle’s songwriting keep getting stronger with every release, the way he constructs his songs gets stronger as well. The 15 tracks on Peace Potato weave in and out of each other or abruptly stop before taking off again with such precision it’s easy for the listener to get carried away into the lush landscapes of Mr. Tuttle’s “downer pop melodies”.
Give the George Harrison-esque “Can It be” and the way to short “It’s Alright With Me, Ma” a spin below. You won’t be sorry – I promise.
[Buy a copy of Peace Potato on limited edition clear vinyl in the 3hive Co-op Shop. While supplies last.]
Bent Shapes‘ Luke Reed has been writing and recording solo material over the years, amassing a large collection of unreleased bedroom pop songs. In July of 2016, without any publicity or even album art, Reed quietly released his solo debut, Won’t Be There, on his Bandcamp page.
Won’t Be There is 13 (now 16) tracks of everything from lonely bedroom pop to jangly indie – all soaked in that lo-fi warmth of home recordings. In March of 2017, the good dudes at The Native Sound rereleased Won’t Be There with 3 additional songs and album art too. Give “Won’t Be There” and “Watching TV” a spin below and head over to the Native Sounds Bandcamp page for a copy. Be sure to send some money their way so hopefully, one day, Won’t Be There can be pressed to vinyl, as it deserves to be.
Oakland’s RAYS play a catchy brand of new wave/punk or “next wave” (as they like to call it), reminiscent of bands like Television, Wire and Gang of Four. These guys and gal are no copycat act either; their debut, self-titled, release (recorded by Kelley Stoltz and mastered by Mikey Young!) is eleven tracks of fresh sounding, jerky, hook-filled post-punk. Hit play on ‘Lost In A Cage’ and ‘Made of Shadows’ (streaming below), crank up the volume, and get your pogo on!
We have RAYS available on tasty yellow vinyl in the 3hive Co-op Shop! Get one before they’re gone.
Boston indie-pop rockers, Lilith, slay it on their new cassette release Apology Plant. It’s 6 tracks of fuzz-pop goodness hits me where it counts. Give their stomper “Rated R” (below) a spin to see what I mean.
Fuzzed out head-bobbing bassline. Yes.
Thumping floor tom. You betcha.
Falsetto harmonies. How could it not?
8-bit video game sounds, ’cause the song is actually a video game. Duh.
Catchy as all get out. Yep.
Robert Schneider of the Apples in Stereo and James Higgins of Elf Power/Of Montreal. Ah yeah.
Available as an online-only RSD release.