New album: The Goa Express || The Goa Express

Wednesday January 13, 2021, at 10:25 PM. That was the moment I discovered The Goa Express. The young five-piece from Northern England played at the Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) showcase festival – an online edition due to a certain lockdown – and although their performance lasted less than thirteen minutes, it was the indisputable highlight for me. A few singles have been released since then, but it has been a long wait for the self-titled full-length album, which has now finally arrived (they say themselves that it not only captures their long lasting friendship together, but also a universal and shared feeling of growing up – hence the cover art). The band, featuring James Douglas Clarke alongside his brother Joe and best friends Joey Stein, Naham Muzaffar and Sam Launder, has only become closer and better through many, many hours of playing together over the last ten years. They deliver a dynamic mix of indie and garage rock – influences from Oasis meet those of The Strokes – that is gripping and inspired. The ten songs here (none from the ESNS show) are guitar-driven, with unstoppable melodies and charismatic vocals with a ragged edge. More than a few earworms, the best thing I never had.

The album isn’t on Bandcamp or Soundcloud in full yet, and I don’t like Spotify embeds, so I’ll leave you here with two of their videos – you can listen to the whole thing on all streaming services.

The Goa Express’ self-titled album is out now on vinyl LP (self-released).

Add to wantlist: The Goa Express

New post: Beans on Toast || The Toothpaste And The Tube

Where we ordinary people say ‘it is what it is’, a creative and prolific singer-songwriter like Beans on Toast aka Jay McAllister translates that as ‘you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube’. It’s a saying that fits well with the thirteen pure ‘acoustic punk’ songs on the newest LP by the London-based cult folk artist. We get a quite diverse album that doesn’t shy away from heavy and personal subjects, but above all evokes a warm and comforting feeling, not least thanks to the charmingly gritty vocals and surprising elements (from children’s voices to bagpipes). Whether it’s an uplifting sing-along about the AI revolution (AI) or a sensitive ballad for those we’ve lost along the way (Send Me A Bird – below is the video with a sparse and touching live version), this is a very entertaining listen.

The Toothpaste and the Tube, recorded with blues duo Ferris & Sylvester, is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP (self-released on Beans On Toast Music). For fans of Billy Bragg, Frank Turner, Gambles.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Beans on Toast || Discogs

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of November 2023

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 November there were cover releases from Cat Power (Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert), Juliana Hatfield (Sings ELO) and Joecephus and The George Jonestown Massacre (Call Me Animal: A Tribute to the MC5), but otherwise it was a slow month cover-wise. Yet we can once again list ten successful ones.

Enjoy the Silence || Cover: Iron Chic || Original: Depeche Mode
New York punks Iron Chic are back with the new digital single Ancient Pistol (self-released), featuring a heavy version of Depeche Mode’s 1990 synth-pop hit Enjoy The Silence on the virtual flipside. Dark, atmospheric and intense.

New album: The Jasmine Minks || We Make Our Own History

Forty years after their birth and more than twenty years after their last album, Scottish indie pop band The Jasmine Minks return with a new LP, appropriately titled We Make Our Own History. Although they already had earned their place in the hall of fame through their work on Creation Records, these eleven fresh songs are a welcome addition. Melancholic music close to perfection, driven by jangling guitars and the charmingly distinctive vocals of frontman Jim Shepherd (you may remember last year’s solo debut The Circle). Standout tracks She Knows and Never Been Lucky immediately sound like modern classics, but actually all 38 minutes here are heart-warming and timeless.

We Make Our Own History, recorded & mastered by Pat Collier, is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Last Night From Glasgow / Spinout Nuggets. Featuring Jim Shepherd (vocals, guitar), Martin Keena (bass), Dave Musker (organ, synths, theremin, electric piano), Tommy Reid (vocals, drums, guitar), Wattie Duncan (guitars) and Chris Narayan (tambourine).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Last Night From Glasgow || Spinout Productions

Throwback Thursday: The Plastic Fish Factory || Come Inside

Most of the time we look ahead, but we are very aware that there is still much to discover in the past. Such as the music of The Plastic Fish Factory, an indie folk-pop band emerged from the live scene of Ghent, Belgium, featuring Kurt Vanpeteghem (vocals, guitar), Luc Waegeman (bass, foot percussion), Bart Westerduin (guitar, bass) and Kristel Eggers (accordion). The three songs from their CD single Come Inside, with which they made their debut in 1997, have now been re-released by Wagonmaniac, a beautiful and rightly tribute to frontman/songwriter Vanpeteghem, who died far too young last year. The tracks are bluesy and melancholic and have stood the test of time effortlessly – beautifully orchestrated and with goosebump-inducing vocals. The Plastic Fish Factory’s full-length album Get Out will also be available again, in January 2024.

Come Inside is out digitally through Wagonmaniac Music.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: The Drowns || Just the Way She Goes / 1979 Trans Am

Aaron Rev-Peters (guitar, vocals), Andy Wylie (bass, vocals), Simon Short (guitar) and Jake Margolis (drums), the Seattle, Washington-based street punks of The Drowns, are back with a double A side single featuring two pretty cool three minute songs. Just the Way She Goes is a catchy and uplifting pop-punk anthem that features sing-along lyrics and handclaps, with a video that suggests that life on the road is a constant party. Equally infectious is 1979 Trans Am, a glam rock stomper with gritty vocals en irresistible guitar licks, more in line with their take on The Sweet’s Ballroom Blitz that we shared earlier this year in our monthly overview of the best covers.

Just the Way She Goes b/w 1979 Trans Am is out now digitally and on 7″ vinyl through Pirates Press Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: No Waves || Postcard

No Waves is a young nu-punk trio from Montreal, Canada, formed in 2017 when they were in their early teens. You should actually see Angel Parra Vela (guitar, vocals), Cyril Harvin Musngi (bass) and Sam Sussman (drums, vocals) live on stage, because you won’t find it much more energetic elsewhere. However, their new EP Postcard captures the spirit of their performances quite well. We get six original tracks in which indie rock and garage punk merge, always dynamic and raw, sounding completely contemporary. The lyrics of standout track Dumpster Fire are a good reflection of what we are witnessing: “This song, I won’t show it to my friends // They could never understand what’s going on inside my head.”

The Postcard EP, produced & engineered by Ryan Battistuzzi, is out now digitally through Stomp Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Bloodshot Bill || Psyche-O-Billy

“My music is for weirdos. I want ‘em to feel good…or bad… Whatever way they wanna feel.” Do you also feel attracted? More than 20 years into his career, and countless releases and performances later, Canadian rock ‘n’ roll hero Bloodshot Bill knows exactly which ratio of rockabilly, R&B, garage punk and antique folk to put into the blender for optimal effectiveness. On his new full-length album Psyche-O-Billy, he pours the raw brew over us in fits and starts – in 14 new tunes we hear the singing, guitar playing and drumming of the one-man band, but also his mumbling, stuttering, howling, cackling, yodeling and hiccups, in line with the sound known from the Songs The Cramps Taught Us compilations. Classifications like primitive, vintage or peculiar are not far from the truth, but the rhythms, hooks and wordplay are too original and infectious to just dismiss it as such. At least it makes me feel good.

Psyche-O-Billy, recorded at Bloodshot Bill’s home studio in Montréal, Québec, is out now trough digitally and on vinyl LP through Goner Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Goner

New album: Thee Irma & Louise || Year Zero

Swiss garasz punk band Thee Irma & Louise have been around for over twenty years, yet they called their new album Year Zero. Tomi Ballmer (vocals, guitar), Oliver Ruch (bass), Miriam Wolf (keys) and Philipp Mühlemann (drums) dedicate the record to singer/songwriter/guitarist Olifr M. Guz aka Oliver Maurmann, frontman of Die Aeronauten and involved in countless other projects. A cover of his song Monitor opens the LP, followed by ten originals, with standout track Five Years Behind My Thyme being eagerly inspired by The Third Bardo’s 1967 classic I’m Five Years Ahead Of My Time. The tunes vary from menacing synth-surf-punk and psychedelic post-punk to raw garage rock and melodic popcorn (influences for which we have to go back much further than five years), partly instrumental and partly vocal, always exciting, still appealing in 2023.

Year Zero, recorded, mixed & mastered by Micha Loosli, is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Little Rebel Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Little Rebel

New EP: Åskväder || Electric Tide

Action Rock. The title of the infectious opening track – “Woo-hoo!” – of the new release by Swedish four-piece Åskväder gives a pretty good indication of what to expect. Albin Sörenson (vocals), Martin Gut (guitar), Kammo Olayvar (bass) and Tim Ferm (drums) play dirty rock ‘n’ roll with mean guitar riffs, a high-energy rhythm section and charismatic vocals. The other four songs on the Electric Tide EP, heard as singles earlier this year, are just as exciting, but three times longer than the one minute they kick off with. This sound may be old school, but it will always remain fashionable in our world.

Electric Tide is out now digitally through for The Sign Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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