New album: The Long Ryders || September November

Some 40 years after their debut and 4 years after their previous album, American rock ‘n’ roll outfit The Long Ryders return with their new full-length, September November. According to guitarist/mandolinist Sid Griffin it is “two thirds the distilled alt-country genre we helped found back in the 1980s, one third Paisley Underground adventurism yet seasoned with a dash of our own crazed soulfulness thrown in” and that should be enough recommendation to listen to it. Two other founding members, guitarist/pedal steel player Stephen McCarthy and drummer Greg Sowders are also present, but due to the unexpected passing of bassist Tom Stevens his role has been partly taken over by Murry Hammond (Old 97’s). D.J. Bonebrake (X) and violinist Kerenza Peacock (Coal Porters) guests too. The LP contains the instrumental Song For Ukraine (with howling violins), and two heartfelt tributes to the late bass player, but the other ten tracks also hit the spot.

September November, produced by Ed Stasium, is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Cherry Red Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Cherry Red

New album: Brix Smith || Valley Of The Dolls

Singer/guitarist Laura Elisse Salenger, better known as Brix Smith (Brix as a tribute to The Clash’ Guns of Brixton, Smith from her ex-husband Mark E. Smith), played with The Fall, The Extricated and the Bangles, but she also stands her ground solo. On her full-length album Valley Of The Dolls you’ll hear hear ten powerful songs that are reminiscent of the work of Hole, The Breeders and Liz Phair. Youthful but strong sounding vocals over melodic guitar rock with a 90s feel, that still works pretty well in 2023.

Valley Of The Dolls is out now on CD and vinyl LP through Grit Over Glamour Records. Featuring guest appearances from Susanna Hoffs (Bangles) and Siobhan Fahey (Bananarama, Shakespeare’s Sister).

Add to wantlist: Discogs || Music Glue

New album: The Nude Party || Rides On

With their first two year-end list worthy albums – the self-titled debut (2018) and Midnight Manor (2020) – and numerous live shows, New York-based 7-piece The Nude Party has shown that there’s still a need for 70s-driven bluesy folk ‘n’ roll. Provided it’s done as well and infectiously as Patton Magee, Shaun Couture, Connor Mikita, Zachary Merrill, Alec Castillo, Austin Brose and Jon “Catfish” Delorme do of course. Everything on their self-produced third full-length Rides On shows how much fun they have in their playing, as if a masterpiece like this can be created without any significant pressure if you have the time and a relaxed atmosphere in your own studio space. The 13 new songs here, including outstanding lead single Ride On and a sympathetic cover of Dr. John’s Somebody Tryin’ to Hoodoo Me, are anything but naked and they’re not exactly party tunes either, but they certainly make for a very entertaining listen.

Rides On is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through New West Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || New West

New album: Eyelids || A Colossal Waste Of Light

American supergroup Eyelids – Chris Slusarenko (Guided by Voices), John Moen (The Decemberists), Victor Krummenacher (Camper Van Beethoven), Jonathan Drews (Sunset Valley) and Paulie Pulvirenti (Atomic 61) – are back with a new full-length album, A Colossal Waste of Light, produced by Peter Buck (R.E.M.). So you know what to expect: quality guitar pop with captivating melodies and mesmerizing vocal harmonies, in the jangly tradition of Flying Nun and Paisley Underground. Past performance is no guarantee for the future, but the 13 powerful songs here easily live up to the high expectations.

A Colossal Waste Of Light is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Jealous Butcher Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Jealous Butcher

New EP: Surf Cult || Beach Noir

Now this is a disturbing glimpse into the near future. According to the listing on Bandcamp, this EP will release on March 3, 2028*. The cover art is beautiful, but literally and figuratively quite dark, and the six instrumental tunes are just as haunting. We’re talking about Beach Noir by North Carolina (US) outfit Surf Cult, written and produced by Ward Picklesimer. This is heavy and angry but melodic music, which evokes a restless feeling extremely well.

Beach Noir is out NOW digitally via Future Light Records. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

*Update: That the release date was set for 2028 turned out to be a small mistake (not a deliberate one, as I thought/hoped), which has since been adjusted to 2023. Quite reassuring, that this simply concerns the current situation, right? When asked, the band indicates that the future of surf rock is taking on elements of modern rock and metal. We’ll keep an eye on it.

New album: The Hepburns || Only The Hours

Welsh indie pop outfit The Hepburns return with Only The Hours, their 14th album since they started making music in 1985. This record almost didn’t see the public, because the recordings from 2018 ended up in the freezer for one reason or another. But when Estella Rosa joined the band and thawed the tracks, she suggested releasing the LP – “it was such a thing of beauty” – with her vocals added to the work of Matt Jones (rhythm guitar, vocals), Mike Thomas (bass, melodica), Les Mun (drums, percussion) and A.D. Clement (lead guitar), who were assisted by Marcus Tilt (keys), Sue Reece (flute), Cris Haines (flugelhorn) and Awen Gravell (clarinet). They call it “a soundtrack to a bleak 60s spy film with the likes of John Barry and Ennio Morricone as an inspiration,” and indeed the 13 understated songs between the classic overture and epilogue are quite cinematic and nostalgic. Expect poetic lyrics, heavenly vocals and atmospheric tunes, in which the sound of and a reference to a table tennis ball provide light in the darkness.

Only The Hours is out now digitally, on cassette and CD through Lavender Sweep Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Tide Lines || An Ocean Full of Islands

And here’s album number three from Tide Lines, the Glasgow-based folk-rock band featuring Robert Robertson (vocals, guitar), Alasdair Turner (guitar), Ross Wilson (keyboards) and Fergus Munro (drums). On An Ocean Full of Islands you’ll hear twelve well produced 3-minute songs that are able to enchant a large audience. Driving rhythms, distinctive vocals, escapist lyrics and stirring “woo-hoo” sing-alongs – everything to score radio hits and fill concert halls.

An Ocean Full of Islands is out now on CD, cassette and vinyl LP on Tide Lines Music.

Add to wantlist: Discogs || Tide Lines

New album: Spirit Ghost || Melting Right Before Your Eyes

Very nice, a new full-length album from Spirit Ghost is floating out of your speakers. In ten years, this project by American songwriter Alex Whitelaw (vocals, guitar) has grown from solo bedroom music exercises to a venerable garage pop band featuring Billy Hickey (drums), Guitar: Tim Zoidis (guitar) and John Bergin (bass, violin). The nine tracks (there are also two interludes) on Melting Right Before Your Eyes are richly orchestrated and sound amazing, with influences ranging from folk and crooners to surf rock and garage psych – as if Bryan Ferry has taken care of Mystic Braves. Somehow that combination works wonderfully, and a moody and jangly chamber pop song like single I Prayed turns out to go well together with infectious and energetic neo-psychedelic tunes like Got a Feeling, Walk Back and No Future. And although most of the lyrics are on the gloomy side, this record still has an uplifting effect.

Melting Right Before Your Eyes is out now digitally (self-released).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Ron Gallo || Foreground Music

If you’ve called a previous album Heavy Meta, you really have nothing left to prove. But American singer/songwriter/guitarist/cool kid Ron Gallo simply transcends himself on his new full-length Foreground Music, also a telling title. This is a strong and urgent record for so many reasons: it’s versatile and complete, it’s raw and rocking, with lyrics that are full of humorous observations and big life questions, disturbing and relatable but also personal and sensitive, totally in line with our life in 2023. From the title track: “I take my life pills one day at a time // My favorite thing to do is lie awake and panic // Is it supposed to feel like this? // Is it me or is it all of it? // I’m a forward person in a backwards world // This is foreground music, you don’t need a background.”

Foreground Music is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Kill Rock Stars.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Kill Rock Stars

New single: Frankie || Als Sneeuw Voor De Zon

We knew Frankie ‘Fuzz’ Lamberts from bands like The Colour Collection and The Ballet Bombs, so we realized that the Dutch singer-songwriter has something to offer, but what he now has cooked up solo is quite remarkable. His debut single Als Sneeuw Voor De Zon works like a time machine that takes us back to the psychedelic 60s. The cheerful Nederbeat song is listened to from Helsinki to Miami, and although people over there probably don’t understand the lyrics, the sound evokes both emotions and images that everyone feels. The B-side shows another side of the artist: The Babel Library (inspired by the book by Jorge Luis Borges) and You Won’t Let Down Your Hair (a fairy tale about an unworthy prince) are dreamy psych-folk songs that recall the baroque pop of Jacco Gardner’s first album.

“Als sneeuw voor de zon” translates as “like snow In front of the sun”, an expression to indicate that something disappears without a trace. However, something tells us that Frankie has created a classic that we will enjoy for a long time to come.

Als Sneeuw Voor De Zon, recorded by Arjan Spies, is out on yellow-white splatter 7″ vinyl through Soundflat Records.

Add to wantlist: Soundflat Mailorder

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