New album: Teen Line || Collecting To Collect

An Australian band that names itself after one of the greatest should-have-been-chartopping power pop singles of all time? Well, if you want to know how high my expectations were for Teen Line’s debut LP, imagine standing on your toes and raising your hand as high as possible. I am pleased to report that this Geelong band featuring members of The Floaties, Vintage Crop, Luke & The Typicals and The Sues do the name justice.

Teen Line’s debut album Collecting To Collect showcases a raw and dynamic blend of power pop’n’roll characterized by lively guitar slinging, energetic drumming, and infectious honesty. The recordings exude a sense of spontaneity, almost like they’re first takes with no need to polish any imperfections. Teen Line doesn’t adhere strictly to a classic power pop blueprint; instead, they knead, pull, and twist the genre in their preferred direction. The result is something hearty and nourishing—not overly sugary or radio-friendly, but refreshingly authentic. Get ready to hit repeat!

Collecting To Collect is out now at Weather Vane Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Poison Boys & Jonesy || Split LP

A couple of months ago, Ghost Highway Recordings released a split LP by Poison Boys (Chicago) & Jonesy (Montreal). Although we covered these two bands before (here and here) I held off on sharing my thoughts until I had heard both sides of the LP, and now I have finally checked that box, it’s an instant add to the wantlist.

That these two bands would one day team up for a split LP seemed inevitable as they are complementary in their approach to keeping the spirit of ‘70s glamrock’n’roll alive. Of the two, Jonesy leans slightly more towards classic rock whereas Poison Boys have a rougher edge to their sound. But, at the bottom line, both bands like their guitars loud and sleazy, their choruses anthemic and hooky, and their drumsticks smoothly rolled between fingers. Each band covering a song from the other underscores the natural and genuine connection between Jonesy and Poison Boys.

This is music from a bygone era, proudly unfashionable—and thank goodness for that!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp (Poison Boys) || Bandcamp (Jonesy) || Ghost Highway

New album: The Baron Four || Outlying

British garage beat quartet The Baron Four return with LP number three, titled Outlying. We get twelve new songs with cheerful guitar melodies, fabulous sun-kissed harmony vocals and that characteristic 60s freakbeat sound. The musicians have mastered the genre down to the last detail, making this a rock-solid record. Forty minutes of hip-shaking music that never goes out of style. Standout track That Beat When You Walk in particular brings everything together, a sure highlight of your next dance party or holiday road trip.

is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Beluga Records / Soundflat Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Beluga || Soundflat

New album: Las Los || Las Los

Fancy some psychedelic indie soul? The self-titled debut LP from Las Los is at your service. It’s a new project by Paul Schalda (Paul & The Tall Trees, The Sha La Das) and Max Shrager (The Shacks), who first met as members of late Charles Bradley’s touring band ten years ago, here assisted by a rhythm section featuring members or Thee Sacred Souls, The Shacks and Kane & James. The record consists of ten dreamy songs, skillfully played and amazingly produced. The atmosphere is largely hazy and sultry, but by incorporating elements from other genres we’re surprised again and again. Lead single All Through The Day preceded the album a year ago, but could easily be one of the upcoming summer hits.

The self-titled Las Los album, produced/engineered/mixed by Max Shrager, is out now digitally and on vinyl LP (self-released). Featuring Paul Schalda (lead vocals) and Max Shrager (guitar, keys, background vocals, percussion), with Alex Garcia (drums, guitar), Sal Samano (bass), Ben Borchers (drums, percussion), Kane Maraday (bass) and James Maraday (guitar). Additional musicians on selected tracks: Billy Aukstik (trumpet, flugelhorn), Cassandra Dalí (background vocals), Joe Harrison (keys), Evan Heinze (keys), Tiffany López (background vocals), Tim Mcnalley (strings), Sasha Ortiz (background vocals), Anant Pradhan (saxophone), Gabriel Rowland (percussion) and Shannon Wise (background vocals, bass).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: twisted teens || twisted teens

Here is a mysterious record by a mysterious project that simply is too much fun not to share despite me having next to nothing to report about it. Twisted teens is comprised of Cas P. ian, Razor Ramone, CPN Hollywell and C-SPAN which my intuition tells me may not be their real names. After a little extra investigation, I am now fairly certain twisted teens is actually C.P.N. (Blackbird RaumChardonnayPale Robin) and Ramon Joseph Santos – those two persons on the front cover? It’s them.

Perhaps it’s best to let the band do the introducing. By the time they kick off the chorus of the catchy and high octane garage rockin’ album opener, you will be bought and sold. “I don’t need a reason to be here i got twisted dream and that’s why they call us the twisted twisted twisted teen,” they howler. Good luck trying to stop listening to this record after that first track. Mixing elements of folk, punk, blues, garage and rock’n’roll and everything between, twisted teens hit fast, hard and often. The eleven songs cover a lot of bases, but each of the songs sounds raw and real and original in multiple ways and honestly, that voice of C.P.N. is sheer awesomeness.

Time flies when you are having fun, they say. Well this record makes time soar!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Josie || Demo 2024

If you are into ramshackle budget garage pop, these are excellent times. That Itchy & The Nits record is something else, and the emergence of CB Kiddo (aka Emily Williston of Phone Jerks) is pure ear candy. Copenhagen’s Josie is the latest addition to the mix. Each of these acts brings a different sound to the table, and it’s telling that Josie have tagged themselves as twee punk and C86 on their Bandcamp. Their new 4-song demo is super sweet and catchy, embodying their motto: One, Two, Twee! I’ve mentioned this before, but punks playing pop is such a winning concept.

Josie is Charlotte Fischer (Vocals & Guitar), Dawn Bruce (Bass & Vocals), and Martin Herskind (Guitar & Jangle)  – typical Danish names, huh?

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds || That Delicious Vice

For That Delicious Vice, their fifth studio full-length of their nineteen-year recording career (and their first in eight years), Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds have been reduced to a trio, featuring Kid Congo Powers (guitar, vocals), Mark Cisneros (guitar, bass) and Ron Miller (drums, percussion, vocals). It’s a record with two faces, with primal rock ‘n’ roll drenched in psychedelic blues on side A, and more subdued, atmospheric tunes on the B-side. The first five songs roll along a straight road under a bright sun through the desert, starting with the cinematic instrumental East Of East and a duet with Alice Bag in the exciting lead single Wicked World. The last five songs reach more dense territory as night falls, slowing down the tempo and leaving room for exotic influences. Be sure to listen to the cowbell-thumping Latinate rhythms and the distorted guitar groans in the amazing acid/cumbia title track (the title is translated into Spanish as Ese Vicio Delicioso), a highlight in the band’s career. It’s followed by a few ballads, closing with extended soundscape Murder Of Sunrise (almost eighteen minutes long), which Kid claims is meant to be his ‘Barry White song’. Somehow it all works in this tasteful trip.

That Delicious Vice, recorded & mixed by Jim Waters, is out now on CD and vinyl LP through In The Red Records.

Add to wantlist: Discogs || In The Red

New EP: Heavy Denim || Cereal Dreams

Heavy Denim is an indie rock band from Durham, North Carolina, featuring Greg Arent (vocals), Blake Courlag (guitar), Daniel Weiss (guitar), Matt Clayton (bass) and Steve Weunch (drums). Cereal Dreams is their second EP, featuring four original songs that are thoughtful and memorable. The rhythm section is rightly confident, the guitar riffs are passionately compelling, the vocals are magnetically charismatic, but it‘s the powerful storytelling that makes the tunes hit-sensitive, especially in the two irresistible songs below.

Cereal Dreams is out now digitally (self-released).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: James Sullivan || Vital Signs

Just because James Sullivan pulled the plug on his band More Kicks, doesn’t mean he’s stopped being an artist. His sophomore solo LP Vital Signs, written and recorded in his home studio in 2022, is out today (on CD & LP) via Stardumb Records. It broadens both the artist’s and label’s horizons, and I am all in!

Freed from the confines and expectations of his former band, Sullivan now has a blank canvas to draw on. Like its album art suggests, Vital Signs is a vibrant and colorful record, blending various styles and influences. Despite the minimalistic percussion and instrumentation, the LP sounds surprisingly rich.

Even more so than on his solo debut Light Years, Sullivan distances himself from the catchy garage power pop he played with Suspect Parts and More Kicks – although songs like Best Friend and Day Late Dollar Short are easily reimagined as songs from said bands. The remainder of the record is full of surprising touches and decisions.

The record opens with It’s Good to be wrong, which carries an almost hymn-like feel yet maintains suspense. My Right Boot, anchored by a groovy bass riff and steady electronic drumbeat, will make you want to get up and move. In contrast, All I Wanna Do (Is Do Nothing With You) with its beautiful finger-picked acoustic guitar, draws you back in your seat. The track is followed by La Rochelle, an emotional heavy song featuring Sullivan’s voice accompanied by a captivating string arrangement. The two songs allow for a natural rest point on the record, quickly followed by the designated hit Day Late Dollar Short – watch the fun video below. Guilty as Charged is another highlight for me. If you have a soft spot for singers weaving stories over hypnotizing music, this one will be right up your alley.

Vital Signs showcases a liberated and inspired James Sullivan finding his groove. Alex Chilton, Paul Westerberg, Robyn Hitchcock, and Jonathan Richman would (or will) be bobbing their heads in approval.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Stardumb Records || Discogs

New EP: Softjaw || Softjaw

A Big Star pin on the jacket of Tanner Duffy (Justus Proffit, Hilary Chilton) made Dustin Lovelis (The Fling) reach out. The shared love of power pop marked the birth of a new Long Beach super group that also includes Vinny Earley (Vaguess, Diode) and Daniel Michicoff (Tijuana Panthers). The name of the band? Softjaw!

The band debuts with a 5-song self-titled EP of nod-your-head and tap-your-feet sunny and nostalgic power pop that channels classic (Beatles, Byrds, Big Star, and Nerves) and more modern (Teenage Fanclub) influences. It’s the kind of EP that can only be the product of shared passion, equity of talent and record collection overlap. I definitely want more of where this came from!

EP out now through Dream Machine Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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