Monday, May 21, 2018

The Cleaners From Venus - Star Cafe


Another record by Martin Newell, AKA The Cleaners From Venus, isn't really a surprise, although it is thoroughly welcome.  The new Star Cafe even has a bit of a twist as it is a concept album, or perhaps a play waiting for a troupe of willing performers.  It is packed with great storytelling, loosely based on Cinderella and set in a cafe (with the thought that the audience can be the customers).  It offers family drama, hopes and dreams, and the awakening of second chances.  Musically, it boasts the sort of timeless folk pop arrangements that the British do so well.   The recording is lo-fi, but the execution execution and sincerity are top of the range.

Enjoy the album, and if you are tempted to stage a play, Martin has said he may even be willing to offer a bit of scriptwriting.










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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Those Unfortunates - Two Songs About Football


Once again for your listening pleasure, London's Those Unfortunates.  The London band, which released an excellent album last year (link), has followed their recent bus-themed single with a single about football (or soccer, for those otherwise inclined to confuse things).  Consisting of two songs celebrating the beautiful game while showing two sides of jangle pop -- the energetic "Hornsey Automatic FC" and the folky "King of the Lane".  This record is a great way to get into the mood for this summer's world cup.

Those Unfortunates are Ben Brill, Magnus Alanko, Henry Bird, and Seb Brennan.  Two Songs About Football is out now in digital and cassette formats via Gare Du Nord Records.







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Thursday, May 17, 2018

"Make Your Own Mind Up" by The Firestations


In early April we featured The Year Dot by UK band The Firestations.  To say that the album impressed us is an understatement, and I believe we referred to it as "a musical fireworks show" (link to WYMA feature).  The band is now releasing the shimmering, layered, standout album track "Make Your Own Mind Up" as a single with three added remixes by Bit Cloudy, Grasscourt, and The Nameless Book.  Check out the video or stream below and make your day better.

"Make Your Own Mind Up" is available as a digital release via Lost Map Records, which we expect is the only record label on the Isle of Eigg, an island off the coast of Scotland.






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"Sunday Roast" by Courtney Barnett


The answer is "yes, of course!"  The question was "do you want more Courtney Barnett.  We get a lot more Courtney tomorrow when new LP Tell Me How You Really Feel is released.  But we have a video for a song Courtney wrote when she was 13.  The seemingly effortless lyricism of her songwriting and sincerity of her performance slays us.  Being competitive guys we figured that we would write the great stuff we accomplished when we were 13, however, when viewed in print it was obvious that some things don't need to be shared.  And I am reminded, and comforted, that there is a statute of limitations applicable to most of it.

Tell Me How You Really Feel is out tomorrow, May 18 via Mom + Pop Music (US and Canada), Milk! Records (Aus and NZ), and Marathon Artists (UK and Europe).



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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

"An Air Conditioned Man" by Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

We still are about a month away from the release of the debut LP from Melbourne's Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, but the good lads don't want us to suffer too much while waiting.  Accordingly, we have another album track to enjoy while we wait for Hope Downs to drop.  Indie rock heaven, folks.

The album will be out June 15 via Sub Pop.






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Monday, May 14, 2018

Death and the Maiden - Wisteria

We have a wisteria growing alongside our front steps.  It winds up the pillars of the overhang and overhead trellis, and then spreads up, out and across, creating a virtually impenetrable tangle of branches and leaves that is eight feet high, 10 feet front to back and 14 feet side to side.  At this time of year it blossoms, and the visual effect is stunning.

And with our own foliage in mind, we think that Wisteria is an apt name for the new album from Dunedin, New Zealand's Death and the Maiden.  Its nine tracks present dark, tangled pop, full of mystery and unease, but always propelled forward by an insistent, inspired polyrhythmic beat.  The synths and reverbed guitars create an enveloping sound, like a dense aural fog.  The overall effect is hypnotic, evocative, and addictive -- at the same time claustrophobic and liberating.  And frankly, after listening to it we find it hard to turn directly to other other music.

Death and the Maiden are Danny Brady, Lucinda King, and Hope Robertson.  Wisteria is out now via Fishrider Records and Occultation Recordings.










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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Famous Problems - Hey! It's Raining!

We aren't the type to wish problems on anyone.  But if you are going to have problems, why not famous problems?  You could ponder that question, but frankly that seems like work.   We suggest as an alternative listening to Famous Problems.  The collection of talented musicians, including all of the special guests, consists of Jeffrey Green, Peter Whitney, Neil O'Brien, Scott N. Amore, Alison Cotton, David Feck (Comet Gain), Pam Berry (Black Tambourine), Mark Flunder (Cee Cee Beaumont), John Panos, and Delia Sparrow.  They all have a story, or rather many stories. And some of those stories, autobiographical or not, become songs for our ears on Hey! It's Raining!  And what do our Famous Problems offer here?  Fuzzy indie pop, jangle pop, and slow burning piano ballads - and that's just the first three tracks.  And then they give you even more.  This gang are master pop tunesmiths, and they deliver the goods.  But instead of blathering on by ourselves, we offer the comment by David Feck: "So open your ears, children, to the sound of bleeding wounds, of paperback legs, of dirt road sailors, of prison poets and hairy, hairy hearts."  You must admit, it is worth listening just to discover the sound of a hairy heart.

Hey! It's Raining! is available now in vinyl and digital formats from London label WIAIWYA.










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"Future Me Hates Me" by The Beths (video)


A few days ago we celebrated the release of Warm Blood EP by Auckland's The Beths (link).  But time doesn't stand still, and the band now is preparing to release the full length Future Me Hates Me.  You can sample the title track in video format right here, right now.

The Beths are Elizabeth Stokes (guitar/vocals), Jonathan Pearce (guitar/vocals), Benjamin Sinclair (bass/vocals), Ivan Luketina-Johnston (drums/vocals).  The album will be released via Carpark Records.




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Friday, May 11, 2018

For Scott Hutchison


We cover a lot of Scottish indie music here, and our interest therein is due in no small part to the quality of the songwriting of Scott Hutchison, the frontman for Frightened Rabbit.  We are very sad to learn that Scott died this week, a likely suicide, and a likely victim of depression.  While we usually don't continue to cover our favorite bands if they sign with a major label (not because we are oppose such signings, but because we focus our volunteer efforts on artists with fewer resources), we continued our interest in Frightened Rabbit and Scott's Owl John project even after FR signed with a major.  He was a singular talent and his music brings us great joy.

We commemorate Scott's sad passing with a few songs from his impressive catalog, beginning with the first song many outside the UK heard from the band, "Head Rolls Off" from their second album, Midnight Organ Fight.  The band was preparing a massive tour to commemorate the tenth anniversary of that album.









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