New York duo Petite League has been pumping out their fuzz-pop jams since 2014. Their newest release, Rips One Into The Night is their strongest effort yet – featuring 10 tracks of warm, bedroom pop meets fuzzy, garage pop goodness.
Chicago’s The Safes play sugar-sweet garage pop tunes that are a sure cure for any sour mood. Their new album, Tasty Waves, is 22 minutes of warm, summery-pop bliss – a perfect remedy for the cold, winter-like weather we’ve been having in my neck of the woods.
Tasty Waves is available now on vinyl and digital from Hidden Volume Records. I highly recommend it.
Fronds is the solo project of former Mallard drummer Dylan Tidyman-Jones, Cold Across My Skin is his second release as Fronds.
Cold Across My Skin was recorded at Dylan’s home back in 2015. It’s shimmering, stripped-down arrangements shine throughout the album and blend well with Tidyman-Jones’ smooth, almost hushed vocals.
Give the album standout “Phantoms” a spin below. You can pick this up on vinyl from Gold Robot Records or digitally from Fronds’ Bandcamp page, and I highly recommend that you do – it’s steadily climbing up the list of my favorite releases of the year. Enjoy.
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!
Nova Scotia’s Booji Boys play a grimy brand of punk rock that’s right up my alley. Their solid, self-titled, LP is 12 tracks in under 20 minutes of snotty, distorted punk rock goodness. Give “Dear Donny” and “Bad Boy Blues” (below) a spin, you’ll be glad that you did. You can download this bad boy from their Bandcamp page, or snag it on wax from Drunken Sailor Records. Enjoy.
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.]
Better late than never. Here are 20 tracks to end May with.
1. The Cardigans – Iron Man (Black Sabbath Cover)
2. Alias – Resurgam
3. Hanni El Khatib – Freak Freely
4. Adolescents – LA Girl
5. Misfits – I Turned Into A Martian
6. Wooing – In Colour
7. Ha The Unclear – Big City
8. The Cure – Grinding Halt
9. Soft Limbs – Out There
10. No Sun – Honey Chain
11. Lubec – Failed Pilot
12. Jawbox – Jackpot Plus!
13. Prefuse 73 – Return From Home
14. Cohenbeats – Daily Affirmations (feat. Quelle Chris)
15. Thundercat – Show You The Way (feat. Michael McDonald & Kenny Loggins)
16. Thievery Corporation – Firelight (feat. Lou Lou Ghelichkhani)
17. Trementina – Please, Let’s Go Away
18. Queue – Frontier
19. RUMTUM – Coastal Hustle
20. Monster Rally & RUMTUM – Forest
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.]
Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover. Everything you need to know about the latest Homeboy Sandman album is right there: the stark black & white cover photo of our hero throwing a long shadow and – on the flip – the conspicuous absence of guest artists next to the song titles. This time around Boy Sand clears away any distractions and focuses on his fierce – and fiercely personal – flow. It pays off in spades. On Veins, you’re witnessing one of the best contemporary MCs at the top of this game. If you’re new to Homeboy Sandman, start here.