New EP: Radio Free Alice || Radio Free Alice EP

They are based in Naarm/Melbourne (Australia), the band name is a nod to R.E.M.’s debut single, and influences mentioned are Talking Heads, The Cure, The Smiths, The Go-Betweens, Parquet Courts and The Strokes. That sounds promising, right? Radio Free Alice is a young new wave/post-punk outfit featuring Noah Learmonth, Jules Paradiso, Lochie Dowd and Michael Phillips, and their self-titled debut EP is everything you’d hope for. It’s a collection of three previously released singles, with the exciting earworm Paris Is Gone as the biggest hit, plus new song Waste of Space. Original dynamic guitar melodies and unique versatile vocals, conveyed with eagerness and self-confidence, what’s not to like?

The Radio Free Alice EP is out now digitally trough Double Drummer.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Cartwrights || Years At A Time

Obviously American singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Greg Cartwright (Reigning Sound, The Compulsive Gamblers, The Oblivians) is a hero of ours. Nice to see that his work has inspired Mike Fraser (vocals, guitar), Wayne Marcin (bass, guitar, vocals) and Stu Rankin (drums, vocals) to start a band and eventually borrow his name. Cartwrights’ new full-length album Years At A Time contains nine tracks that fuse garage rock and indie folk, without shying away from big gestures. Vibrant guitar riffs, thundering drum rolls, raw vocals and even a whoo-hoo-hoo sing-along chorus (in King of Tonight) – the musicians from Thunder Bay, Ontario (Canada) hand over a solid and heartfelt roots rock record.

Years At A Time, written by Mike Fraser and arranged by Cartwrights, is out now digitally, and soon on CD and vinyl LP, through Lost Dog Records. Also featuring guitarists RJ Little and Casey Laforet on selected tracks.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Music Year-End List || Dennis’ Favorite Albums of 2023

While Taylor Swift emerged as the top artist of 2023 (26+ billion global streams on Spotify alone), I mainly sought refuge in the long tail of the continuous stream of releases (not a favorable position: from 2024 tracks must have reached at least 1,000 streams to get royalties from Spotify’s money grubbers – all the more important that we’ll support these artists in other ways). Of the 2,600+ new albums I listened to, I added 130 to my longlist of wantlist-worthy releases – the ones I liked and played the most are in the Top 50 below. What struck me? Besides the usual themes – life and death (and the search for meaning), love and loss (and longing), fun and sadness (and anger), sex and drugs (and rock ‘n’ roll) – songwriters seem to struggle with time and place more than before. There is a kind of conflict going on in society between people who want to move forward or want to hold on to the past, but many songs reflect the realization that we live in the here and now. Tristan Peach from The Small Intestines dreamed that George Harrison and Tom Petty were on motorcycles circling one of the huge roundabouts in Canberra (Australia), their long hair blowing as they sang “You can’t hide in time” – it became the title from their debut album. It’s just one of the many references to this intriguing theme in my favorite albums from last year. Floodlights’ On The Television, one of the standout tracks from their Painting Of My Time LP, probably puts it most powerfully: “The time is now!” Let’s listen.

New album: Pop Filter || CONO

Our friends at Janglepophub deliver the most concisely correct statement about the new Pop Filter LP CONO : “Laconic Aussie reflections at their absolute finest.” Slacker indie rock vibes? Yes! But not in a haphazard manner but rather in a casual, “let’s hang out with my closest friends and see where it leads” fashion.

Pop Filter consists of members who at one point in time have all played in The Ocean Party. This likely explains why they sound like a well-oiled machine on their new LP. Listen to the first three songs, and you find yourself transported back to the zeroes, where suddenly indie rock found its way on MTV and hit TV shows. The album’s remaining tracks promise hidden indie gems waiting to be unearthed, making CONO yet another great record to come out of Australia.

CONO is out now on Bobo Integral, Osborne Again and Spunk Records

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: David Christian || Rekkords!

British singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist David Christian (Comet Gain) is accountable for this week’s quirkiest album, a noisy 13-track solo tribute to vinyl records: “Not enough time and not enough money and they keep releasing them and finding them, so here’s some songs about them and the people who make them.” A premise we can only applaud, and although the execution is wobbly and the sound lo-fi, every word and note come from the heart, and that’s what really matters. It’s a pleasant fan lesson in music history, with a lot of name-dropping (do yourself a favor and read the explanation the artist gives for each tune on Bandcamp, pure poetry), and reportedly there is still enough material for parts 2 and 3. “The circle willl never be unbroken!”

Rekkords! is out now digitally (self-released). Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Update (December 8): As a kind of addition – similar in concept and sound – Comet Gain has put the (I Hate) Christmas Records! EP online.

New singles: gremlin || same fate​/​bliss & 1​-​800​-​GREMLIN

Seemingly out of nowhere, Cincinatti’s Gremlin have popped up, releasing two singles within the last three weeks. I have zero information about the band, but it appears this is the first music the band puts out.

Sonically, gremlin reside in the egg punk multiverse – Cherry Cheeks fans should take note. Gremlin are no copy cats though, and they have already carved a niche for itself though. It’s one that implies musical talent and broad musical tastes, and a talent for writing hits. The four-song 1-800-GREMLIN was released first and it’s nothing short of a blast. I mean, Soft Violence? Wow! Why Fight? Yes! Those warped gang vocals get me everytime.

It is insane to say this, but the same fate/bliss single may be even better. Gremlin rules!

Both singles out now at Softail Recordings

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Harmonica Lewinski || Super Hot

Anyone who encounters the band name for the first time won’t be able to suppress a smile, but Rochester, New York-based rock ‘n’ roll outfit Harmonica Lewinski has been in business for more than a decade. Their new full-length album Super Hot – named after the Super Hot Grocery & Deli from their hometown, as seen in the cover photo – is actually one for sultry conditions. Docks Bushen (guitar, synthesizers), Joe Bushen (guitar, bass), Luke Bushen (bass, guitar, organ), Anna Leibel (drums) and Alex Patrick (percussion) deliver twelve spicy tunes (partly instrumentals, including a cover of Los Beltons’ Baja Rosa), with semi-nonchalant melodies and cool gritty vocals. Laid-back garage rock suffused with indie surf and exotica influences, delicious. We’ll take this with us to next summer.

Super Hot, produced/engineered/mastered by Alex Patrick, is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Super Hot Sounds. RIYL: The Growlers, Dope Lemon, Allah-Las.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Monsieur Paul et Les Solutions || Surrealiste & Fantasmagorique

Two and a half years ago we were introduced to French garage rock outfit Monsieur Paul & Les Solutions, and their phenomenal debut single Plagier Dutronc ended up in the top half of my year-end list of favorite singles & EPs. Last year the tune was released on a vinyl 7″, as part of the must-have Dans Mon Monde EP, and anyone who still doesn’t have it now gets a new chance, because the hit can also be found on Surrealiste & Fantasmagorique, the band’s first full-length album. However, there are many more reasons to add this record to your wantlist, because all thirteen psychedelic garage beat tracks here offer an exciting combination of irresistible melodies and catchy choruses, full of hooks, fuzz, reverb and yé-yé, rooted in the 60s. Among the standout tracks we have to mention the original Hey Léonard, Christmas surf tune Surfin’ Santa, and great covers of Antoine’s Un Éléphant Me Regarde and Richard Berry’s Louie Louie. Although there are already over 5,000 covers of the latter, this feminized French version as Louise is easily one of the best.

Surrealiste & Fantasmagorique is out now on vinyl LP through Soundflat Records.

Add to wantlist: Soundflat

New EP: Emmett Morris || Emerald

Emmett Morris is not the first veteran of hardcorepunk (you may know Morris as the guitarist of throwback hardcore act Wild Side) who becomes a creator of country music.  It is more common that you’d perhaps expect. Despite the stark sonic differences between these genres, their cultural roots intertwine, both emphasizing authenticity, championing underdogs, and narrating everyday challenges. But while most punk artists keep it simple when they switch to country or americana – a guitar and a gravelly voice, will go a long way thank you very much, Emmett Morris plays old school country with a full band, making the contrast much starker.

Listening to his new EP Emerald, I am pretty sure Emmett Morris has country music in his genetic makeup. He sounds like one of country’s brightest stars on the four songs. This is country nostalgia that rocks, and is fully authentic yet easy on the ears. Pedal Steel? Check! Organ? Check! As good a reason I can think of to re-embrace often overlooked country tag on our site.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Nick Frater || Bivouac

Nick Frater crafts radio-ready contemporary powerpop infused with influences from iconic artists like Bacharach, Tillbrook, McCartney, and Rundgren. His latest album Bivouac pulsates with ’60s and ’70s vibes, occasionally embracing orchestral and theatrical elements.

Bivouac has no less than 23 songs, but most of the songs stay well within pop length. Included are several instrumental interludes that make the transition between song seamless. Frater also returns to certain parts (The Town Of Opportunities), presenting them in a different style throughout the record. Those are just two of many reasons why Biviouac is best played as a whole, in its original sequence.

Clocking in at 45 minutes, Bivouac isn’t the briefest album, yet Frater expertly balances conciseness with ambition. Clearly, he knows how valuable your time is, and he wants to make sure you get the most out of listening to his music.

Bivouac is out now on CD at Think Like a Key.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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