New album: Elli de Mon || Countin’ The Blues

Last year Elisa De Munari published Countin’ The Blues. Donne Indomite, a book about the blues queens of the 1920s. The author also makes music under the moniker Elli de Mon – see our Gimme 5! feature from 2 weeks ago, in which she shares her influences – so it was a logical choice to also record a soundtrack to the book. Elli de Mon lives the songs of Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Alberta Hunter, Lucille Bogan, Victoria Spivey, Freight Train, Elizabeth Cotten, Lottie Kimbrough, Memphis Minnie, and Bertha Chippie Hill, breathing new life into these names and their music. The Italian one woman band translated the originals into intense versions, adding a folk or garage feel to the old blues basis, but the album sounds more varied, modern and enchanting than you would expect from this description. This soundtrack was not only a good idea, it’s also very well done.

Out now digitally, on CD and on vinyl LP through Area Pirata Rec. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Joe Bourdet || Meadow Rock

Meadow Rock is not a forgotten Americana treasure from the 70’s, but the brand new debut album from Californian singer / songwriter Joe Bourdet. “Sometimes I read a picture like a book, then I close my eyes and take a second look // The images take on a strange new life, colors flying in the moonlit night,” he sings in Morning Light. Something similar happens when you listen to the music on this record, you hear something different every time: a surprising poetic phrase, female backing vocals or one of the vintage instruments (Hammond organ, double bass, pedal steel, mandolin, Moog Rogue, Fender Rhodes or Wurlitzer piano, etc.) that complement the drums, bass and various guitars (in the video for El Capitan you can see the musicians in the studio). This is beautiful, quiet folk rock, with an authentic sound and optimistic lyrics. Experiencing the nine songs on this album is like a journey through a virgin alpine meadow: “Wide awake lost in a dream.”

Out now digitally, on CD and 12″ vinyl LP. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Neckscars || Don’t Panic

Neckscars is what happens when four veterans of the NYC indie scene (including former members of Gameday Regulars and The Connection) start a new band without a specific formula or musical direction in mind. Apparently, the band’s North Star pointed towards a punk sound that is melodic, anthemic, multilayered and with a strong rock vibe. Add some gruff vocals and cool harmonies and Hot Water Music, Leatherface and Off With Their Heads become likely benchmarks for Neckscars. Don’t Panic is a strong first outing with few to none weak spots and several highlights in songs like Born Sick, Jarring, and Not Enough JPM’s.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Jack Droppers & The Best Intentions || Dad Rock

Based on the title Dad Rock and accompanying cover photo you could conclude that the third independently released album by Jack Droppers & The Best Intentions is a gimmick, but this is actually one to take seriously. Frontman Jack Droppers has become a father (on the back of the record sleeve he has his first child Naomi in his arms; the tenth song on the record bears her name and the eleventh, closing song was written for her: Welcome to the Party). Anyway, along with The Best Intentions (Laura Hobson, Devin Sullivan, James Kessel, Garrett Stier, and Josh Holicki) he’s recorded a collection of strong songs with compelling lyrics that will appeal to fans of Butch Walker, Jesse Malin, and Bruce Springsteen. This is infectious true American rock ‘n’ roll that deserves packed stadiums. I enjoy the album so much more than I expected based on the cover art, but I’ll pass on the limited edition Dad Rock patch they offer for sale. Listen below to the opening and closing song of the record.

Out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP.  Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Floodlights || The More I Am / Overflowing Cup

With their debut full length From a View, Melbourne band Floodlights made it to the top of my Music Year-End List of 2020. Now Louis Parsons, Ashlee Kehoe, Joe Draffen and Archie Shannon are back with a new 7″ that I might like even more. A-side The More I Am is a jangly rock song that bursts with despair, B-side Overflowing Cup slows down a bit and surprises with an intense harmonica solo, both are great again in terms of interplay, vocals and structure. It may be clear that more attention has been paid to the sound than to the cover art, but who cares when the music is so good?

“Perspectives and opinions // Have obscured my view // As I look through my window // I can only see half of what I used to”

Out now digitally and on 7″ vinyl through Tiny Town Records. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Stephen’s Ruin || Runaround

International poprock hunters Big Stir Records have uncovered another gem for their single series. Stephen’s Ruin are five lads in their early twenties from Düsseldorf (Germany) who clearly are inspired by all the good stuff from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. With a mix of beatmusic, classic powerpop and rock-n-roll, and some sweet vocal harmonies for good measure, Stephen’s Ruin approach pop perfection on this single. Runaround  is the kind of song I could play all day. It’s energetic, full of hooks and melody, and the final 30 seconds give me butterflies. Tonight is a bit more mellow in comparison, but a worthy flipside nonetheless. If you like The Reflectors single I wrote about yesterday, I guarantee you will like this as well.

Oh and you know what’s crazy? This is the second coming of Stephen’s Ruin. For a short period in the ’80s Stephen’s Ruin created a fun blend of beat, psych and mod/punk. 30 years later two sons of original band member Stephen Leech decided to breathe new life in the band, together with three friends.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Kronstadt || Quai De L’ouest

The punk rock of Kronstadt on their latest album Quai De L’ouest is layered, diverse and melodic. The songs are in French and to fully appreciate the band’s sound, it’s worthwhile to put their lyrics through a translator. They are personal, heartfelt, have a dark edge and communicate a sense of desperation. But even if you don’t understand the lyrics, Quai De L’ouest sounds like it’s made by a band of true believers who deeply care about the music and about our society.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Destructure || Une Vie Pour Rien 

New EP: Green Mohair Suits || Sink or Sing

Green Mohair Suits are a country / folk outfit from Sydney, Australia. After their last album Evans St (2016) it remained silent, but now there is suddenly the (digital) EP Sink or Sing with four new songs. Jason Mannell, Brian Campeau, Richard Cuthbert, and Ben Romalis have outdone themselves. Especially opening track Don’t You Mind is a very beautiful song. The country of Gram Parsons is a little further away, here it is as if The Byrds meet Brian Wilson. as if it has always been there. Nice that new classics are still being made.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: The Reflectors || All Made Up

The Reflectors’ debut album made it to #7 in my Album top 50 of 2020. You bet I get excited when I discover a new record is coming. So excited in fact, that I almost forgot to write about All Made Up, which is the first single from that new record. All Made Up is a classic ’80s powerpop single with infectious palm muted guitars and a catchy vocal melody that seems directly taken from Bruce’s Dancing In the Dark. The B-side to the single, Every Time I, won’t be on the new album, but shows the punchier side of the Reflectors and could just as well have been on the A-side as well. If these two songs are any indication, the new Reflectors record will be pretty pretty good. The album title is Faster Action and the release date is as of yet TBA.  Cant wait!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Time For Action Records

New single: Otts || One Two Three Stand

Otts are a three-piece from New-Zealand who effortlessly blend alternative rock with punk attitude and pop sensibilities. The band released two singles last year called Old Tree Tire Swing, and Over There To Shake. Their latest single again is made up of the letters of the band: One Two Three Stand. Both songs on the single rock like crazy, and the louder you play them, the better they will sound. I am keeping an close eye on Otts: Outstanding Teamwork Tremendous Songs.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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