New album: Johnny Tramuntana || Carreau Plein Fer

Perpignan in the south of France is not only a beautiful historic city with countless sights, high mountains and a sunny coastline, it is also the pleasure-oriented lifestyle and Catalan atmosphere that forms the sound of Johnny Tramuntana. The enthusiastic four-piece – Johnny Tramuntana (vocals, guitar), Johnny Cotine (guitar), Jonnie Boum Boum (drums) and Johnny Christmas (bass) – plays rock ‘n roll with country, surf and yé-yé influences. On their debut album Carreau Plein Fer you’ll hear 13 varied songs, instrumental or sung in French, that have a few things in common: they all scream summer, fun and craziness, and they make you smile, dance and speed. Here’s the soundtrack for your upcoming summer holidays.

Carreau Plein Fer is out on vinyl LP through Soundflat Records.

Add to wantlist: Soundflat

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of June 2022

Not all new music is really new, as many artists cover songs. Sometimes these are songs by their favorite artists, eg as a tribute to such a musical hero for a special reason, or they simply feel that a song deserves to be dusted and polished to reacquaint fans with great songs from the past. Other times, bands cover songs as a parody. Regardless of intent, some of those cover versions are so good or so much fun, we’d like to put a spotlight on them. Chosen from a wide range, here are – in random order – ten of our favorite covers from last month – links to the pages where you can add them to your wantlist included.

In June we heard some covers on the soundtrack of Baz Lurhmann’s biopic film ELVIS, The Routes’ did a surf rock Kraftwerk tribute, Elvis Costello celebrated Paul McCartney’s 80th birthday, a project of Disclotch Records contained 27 home recordings to pay homage to Daniel Johnston, and previously we wrote about releases from Thee Escapees, Mikey Erg, Reverendo Band, Runaway Lovers and Townies with some successful cover versions. Below we list the 10 best that we haven’t mentioned yet.

Hound Dog || Cover: The Record Company || Original: Big Mama Thornton
The iconic rock ‘n’ roll track Hound Dog was written by Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, first released by blues singer Big Mama Thornton (1953), and made famous by Elvis Presley (1956). The ELVIS soundtrack features an honorable cover by Shonka Dukureh, but as a fan of American roots rock band The Record Company, it’s their version that you see here (not related to the movie). It’s not a Thornton or Presley imitation: as always The Record Company gives it its own twist. In case you don’t know: they previously worked on Beastie Boys’ So What’Cha Want, still one of my favorite covers ever.

New album: The Yodees || Comic Books

In a world full of serious troubles to seriously worry about, is there one genre offering better escapism than bubblegum pop punk? Enter The Yodees from Brazil who clearly have other worries on their mind than climate change, polarization, or pandemics: GIRLS! They are he subject of most of the songs on their sophomore album Comic Books. The Yodees sing about girls with bad musical taste (“Believe me, I tried every song I know It’s all juvenile and unsophisticated for her, though,” in The Girl I Like (Hates Every Song That I Listen To)), about girls that are out of their league (“The girl is outta sight / But I want to be her man /I know I’m a solid five / Oh no and she’s a perfect, a perfect ten,” in Perfect 10), only want to be friends (Easy Kill), are non-existant (Fairy Tale) or NSFW (Emanuelle). And then there is a song about comic books, in which they sing “I wish my reality could be as half as cool as my comic books.”

Reality became a lot cooler recently since Mom’s Basement Record decided to release Comic Books. It’s not on Bandcamp (yet?), but take a quick sample below or stream in full at Spotify here. Comic Books takes you on a half hour respite to an alternative ’90s where The Queers and Mr T Experience rule the airwaves. Sometimes that’s all you need.

Add to wantlist: Linkt.ree

New album: Marco Busato || Night Of My Times

Marco Busato is a Brazilian-born, London-based singer-songwriter / multi-instrumentalist (please don’t confuse him with canceled artist Marco Borsato from the Netherlands), who is just in time to make your summer a bit better with his first solo album Night Of My Times. You’ll hear nine original, sunny guitar pop songs rooted in the 70’s, inspired by the psych, surf, soul, mod and tropicalia greats (the entertaining “influences” playlist includes Kevin Ayers, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Os Mutantes, Love, Allah-Las, Chris Bell, etc.) – perfect tunes from a sympathetic music maker that make you forget your worries for a while. “Be high and low, not right or wrong”, he sings in Sunken Ships, and for someone who likes to be right, I’ll think about that again when the sun goes down. Anyway, if only the beach clubs would play these tracks instead of the usual electronic noise pollution, how right would that be?

Night Of My Times is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Bickerton Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Bickerton || Discogs

New album: High Sunn || Real. Connection. Acquisitions.

Less than three months after the release of his album Flawless Recollections, Californian one man band Justin Cheromiah is back with another High Sunn LP. He describes Real. Connection. Acquisitions. as “eleven poems featuring the pure heart of comfort, written and recorded in 16 days in the bedroom.” It’s lo-fi indie rock leaning towards garage psych, with attractive guitar melodies, intense harmonized vocals and screams, and personal lyrics. A nice one, again.

Real. Connection. Acquisitions. is out digitally, on CD, cassette and vinyl LP through Daydream Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Daydream

New album: Mega X || New Mythtakes

Mega X may sound like a name for a console or computer game, but is in fact an indiepunk band based in Tokyo. The four members count Weezer, The Muffs, Sheer Mag, Wavves, Mates Of State, Best Coast and Superchunk among their many influences. Mega X open their new full length New Mythtakes strongly with Find Your Toy and Deadhead. Both songs are reminiscent more of UK indie punks Martha than the bands mentioned above, though in the bridge of the album opener Mega X go full Mates Of State. Other highlights include Sweet8beat and What I Do (a song reminding me more than a little of Discount).

There is a ramshackle looseness to the songs on New Mythtakes which fits this style of music perfectly. The youthful energy and interplay between the male and female vocals further adds to the appeal of Mega X.

Thanx to Dennis for attending me to this one. New Mythtakes is out now through KiliKiliVilla

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: KITIMOTO || Vintage Smell

I’ve been enjoying myself all week with Vintage Smell, the full-length debut album by Phoenix-based indie rock quartet KITIMOTO, but I still can’t quite grasp it. As if you’ve seen a movie that won’t let go, you’re convinced it’s very good and something special, but you’re aware that you did’t understand all the metaphors and references.

Jonathan Marion Douglas (guitars, vocals, keys), Zane Gillum (bass), Cavan Noone (drums, percussion) and Jason Woodbury (guitars, vocals) have known each other for over 15 years, and reportedly the 10 tracks here came slowly but surely into being, took long shaping and refining. It was worth the time and effort. All the songs – there are no weak moments – are bewitching and addictive, color outside the lines of genres and expectations, with intense guitar duels, poetic lyrics and convincing vocals. This is an ultimate example of a record that has to grow, that continues to fascinate, one with a past but for sure also with a future.

Vintage Smell out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Fort Lowell Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Tijuana Panthers || Halfway to Eighty

We’ve been following Californian garage / surf rock trio Tijuana Panthers for a long time, have their LPs in the collection, saw them perform live, and regularly mention them as an influence on new bands (recently: Toothpicks, 3LH, The Cave Arcade), so it’s exciting whether a new release lives up to its reputation. To be honest, Halfway to Eighty didn’t click with me right away. However, on second listen I really started to like the 11 new songs, at the next spin I heard hit after hit. Longtime friends Daniel Michicoff (bass, vocals), Chad Wachtel (guitar, vocals), and Phil Shaheen (drums, vocals) continue to develop themselves and their sound is a bit more mature, but they still know how to write humorous, varied and catchy tunes. The cover art may be a nod to that of The Nerves’ One Way Ticket, but think I also hear influences from from Ty Segall, Rolling Blackouts CF and maybe even The Smiths. Ultimately, Tijuana Panthers still sound as cool, unique and irresistible as Tijuana Panthers always did – we’re adding LP number 6 to our wantlist.

Halfway to Eighty is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Innovative Leisure.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Ex-Gold || We Are Good

Here’s another that got lost in the mix and I should have written about sooner. Ex-Gold’s awesome new record We Are Good, a record originally released in March only to turn up online a couple of weeks ago. What’s interesting about the sound of this Knoxville band is that they combine two distinct styles: the stop start rhythms, angular guitar riffings of Aussie bands like Pinch Points and Vintage Crop, and the frenetic hooky pop punk/powerpop of North American bands like Steve Adamyk Band, Sonic Avenues and Marked Men.

Ex-Gold provides a masterclass in how well these two styles match. On We Are Good,  energy and melody are in perfect synergy. It is loaded with hits and just plain fun and the first four songs alone are worth the purchase. They will leave you breathless between pogoing and singing along to the repetitive lyrics. “You’re doin’ it wrong. You’re doin’ it wrong. You’re doin’ it wrong. You’re doin’ it wrong. You’re doin’ it wrong. You’re doin’ it wrong. You’re doin’ it wrong.” Ex-Gold keeps exclaiming in Doin’ It Wrong. But on We Are Good, the band does about everything right. Out now through Pig Man Records!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Zells || Ant Farm

Here’s one that’s been out a couple of weeks already, but I only now got to spend some time with: Ant Farm by The Zells, a three guitar slinging indie rock quintet from Pittsburgh.

Ant Farm is an exciting collection of songs. There is a lot of variation, in part due to all five member taking on vocal duties. But sonically, The Zells show a lot of ambition as well. There are short bursts of aggression that barely make the two-minute mark (e.g., The Joyce Manoresque Dummy), there is some Guided By Voices (Hell Car) and Pavement worship (Finnerty’s Dream), but also a 5+ minute suspense builder (JME). There even are acoustic songs (The Upside, Call It Early). You don’t need to look hard to find something (or a lot) to like about Ant Farm.

Ant Farm is out now on Cassette and CD through Crafted Sounds.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Crafted Sounds

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