New album: Linda From Work || Burnout

Your daily life is a lot more fun when you have nice colleagues. Courtney From Work said Do It Yourself last summer, Brian From Work serves Cold Coffee, from Stu from Work you don’t get your wages, and Mick From Work speaks a different language. You will understand: Linda From Work is the one you should listen to.

Linda From Work is an alternative / garage rock trio from Seattle, with a powerful, energetic sound. On their debut album Burnout, songwriter Hillary Tusick (vocals, guitar), Sam Nowak (drums), and Mary Robins (bass) agitate against the nine-to-five lifestyle. In the 11 compelling songs you can feel the exhaustion, rage, and anxiety, but you and I can’t afford a permanent vacation. So let’s try to make the most of it: pour yourself a cup of hot coffee, put on your headphones and listen to some good music. Before you know it, it will be five o’clock again.

Burnout is out now digitally and on CD. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Violet Cheri || Sölvesborg

Towards the end of the year there are still new records worth sharing. Please meet Violet Cheri. This Swedish indie rock band – Daniel Hoff (vocals, lyrics (in English)), Kimie Valentin (guitars), Melker Höckert (drums), Robin Wiksander (bass), and Hugo Wiggman (guitars) – have released a debut album to cherish. They have poured all their blood, sweat and fear into the 11 songs on Sölvesborg for four years, and they are justifiably proud of the end result. It has everything that often makes first albums the best: an outburst of unbridled fresh eagerness and slightly naive creative ideas, with clearly audible pleasure in playing together. It’s rattling rock with expressive, jangly guitars, convincing (harmony) vocals with irrepressible whoo-hoos and pa-pa-pas, and original melodic structures. The enthusiasm of the band is contagious, this is music that makes you long to be able to jump along live.

“A thousand days has passed // Since we held hands // Still I can’t help but wonder // How life turned out for you // Do you still paint? // Do you still write? // ‘cause I still sing those silly songs // About the days gone by”

Sölvesborg is out now digitally through Svart Kaffe Records, a vinyl LP will follow soon.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Violet Cheri

New single: Thee Baby Cuffs || You’re My Reason

The monthly overview of most expensive items sold on Discogs often contains 50-year-old soul singles. For example, Jonathan Capree’s Gonna Build Me A Mountain (Way Up High) (1970) recently did $2,500.00. At the same time, new 45 rpm 7″ records are being released that imho are just as good. Listen to You’re My Reason by Thee Baby Cuffs backed by Cold Diamond & Mink, and you’ll see what I mean. Joe Narvaez (sweet talking), Gilberto Rodriguez (in Spanish), Dave Herrera, and Reality Jonez (incredible falsetto) try to convince the woman to whom the song is addressed that there may be a million girls in the whole wide world, but she’s the special one: “Without you, there’s no me.” It’s the classic Chicano Soul sound, produced by J.M. Valle, with dynamic vocals, bilingual lyrics, harmony and a skilled rhythm section. It’s yours for just € 7.50 (or € 10 for limited edition magenta-colored vinyl), a good investment in every way.

You’re My Reason is out now digitally and on 7″ vinyl through Timmion Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Ryan Hamilton || 1221

While Ryan Hamilton was busy making other plans, the pandemic meant that a touring life couldn’t happen. The prolific singer-songwriter isn’t very good at sitting still though, so he went for a plan B: releasing one song a month in 2021, on the 12th of every month, all year long. Such a musical tear-off calendar is easier said than done, but he succeeded, recording in isolation at his home studio in Texas, working remotely with go-to producer Dave Draper who added his magic from the UK. Although the 12th month has yet to begin, all 12 singles have now been brought together on the physical album 1221. It’s 12 pieces of excellent power pop – as we’ve been told personally: influenced by Tom Petty, Weezer, David Bowie, and Oasis – varying in tempo and rock ‘n’ roll level, but always really appealing, thanks to the well-found hooks, balanced instrumentation, relatable lyrics, and above all those distinctive, pleasant vocals. The first track in January was a cover of Spin Doctor’s How Could You Want Him (When You Know You Could Have Me), and we got two other covers that the musician made his own: Catherine Wheel’s Satellite (in April) and The Refreshments’ Banditos (in September). In addition, Bob Schneider and Chuck Prophet & Kurt Lipschutz provided previously unreleased original songs for this record, Babies and Big Man respectively. The self-written songs, however, are at least as strong. Standout track Deja Vu I Love You should be a radio hit, but actually so are Shots Fired, Do The Damage, and If Life Was A Movie. And we can already hear that the December tune, Ready To Love Again, is a beautiful piano ballad that leaves you hopeful for a new start. Will this finally be the big, worldwide breakthrough for the sympathetic, hard-working musician? If anyone deserves it, Ryan Hamilton is the one.

“A Soundtrack with all your favorite songs // A smile and some tears // A feeling like forever // And that damage disappears”

1221 is out now digitally and on CD through Wicked Cool Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Tacoblaster || Automate

French musician Tom Caussade aka Tacoblaster had a lot of inspiration this year. With his solo project he launched a first LP called Not Now in August, and after the release he immediately worked on a second one that he called Automate. Not only did he write ten damn nice songs twice, but he also did the drums, bass, guitar, synth, and vocals himself. He plays radio-friendly indie pop/rock with a garage feel, songs that aren’t too complex on first hearing but turn out to be well structured on closer inspection, with short but powerful lyrics that are repeated just enough times to get stuck in your head, in combination with appealing hooks. Very fine discovery that deserves a wider audience, and who knows… Anything can happen…

“Wherever you’ll go, take heed of ’em // Whatever you’re going through, anything can happen // Before you know it, anything can happen”

Automate is out now digitally. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Raccoons || Panic

Here’s an Tasmanian four-piece that values the American dream and British Teddy Boy music, and releases their music through an Austrian label. We’re talking rockabilly veterans Raccoons – Dave “Rocky” Hughes (vocals), Phil Grinham (guitar), Sandy Campbell (bass), and Grant “Wocko” Watkins (drums) – and their new album Panic, which features 16 original fast-paced tracks to dance to. The skilled musicians bring the sound of classic rockabilly into the modern age, guaranteeing happy smiles and enthusiastic toe-tapping. Put on your dancing shoes, pour yourself a cocktail, and press play.

Panic is out now digitally and on CD via Plan 9 Trash Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Schnitzel Billy

New single: The Fleshtones || Mi Engañaste Bien b/w Decimos Yeah!

Prejudices are stupid, I’ve noticed again. Since my mother* was a Cliff Richard fan when she was young, I never really got into the English singer, because I had to have a different taste, right? Wrong assumption, it turns out. I just saw an awesome video of a We Say Yeah performance (1961) with The Shadows, and it made me quite happy. We are 60 years later and it’s still cool. Another “discovery” courtesy of New York four-piece The Fleshtones. The mighty garage rock heroes mark their 45th(!) anniversary with a limited edition 7″ single, featuring a Spanish language cover of We Say Yeah on the B-side, in their inimitable “super rock” style. A-Side Mi Engañaste Bien is a groovy Peter Zaremba original, which only increases my joy. Two great party tunes to celebrate this momentous anniversary or any other celebration!

Mi Engañaste Bien / Decimos Yeah! is out now digitally and on 45 single (1,000 copies worldwide) through Yep Roc Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

*Update: It turned out she had the original single in an old record case. Now it’s mine. 😉

New album: Swansea Sound || Live At The Rum Puncheon

Here’s another indie supergroup that has spent time in lockdown very well. We’ve heard songwriter Rob Pursey (bass, guitars), Ian Button (drums), and Amelia Fletcher and Hue Williams (shared lead vocals) previously in cool bands like Heavenly, The Pooh Sticks, Talulah Gosh, The Catenary Wires, Tender Trap, etc, but together – under the moniker of Swansea Sound, named after (and a requiem for) a lost radio station – they have created some incredibly catchy new songs. The UK four-piece stand certainly in the C86 tradition with its discordant, jangly, and jittery guitar rock, but that statement actually falls short. The 13 tracks on their full-length debut album Live at the Rum Puncheon – the title is somewhat misleading as this isn’t a concert registration – are completely present-time, with clever references in the lyrics where rebellion and fun alternate, well-found hooks and vocals that complement each other in a great way.

I can’t get the opening track Rock n Roll Void out of my head for days, what a hit it is (when a record starts with words like this, you know it’s meant for you: “Went to the Ramones // When I was thirteen // They’re the coolest thing // I had ever seen”). The criticism in I Sold My Soul on Ebay is obvious (“I sold my soul on Spotify // Get a doctor, someone get a doctor // I’m earning 0.000000000000001p // But several thousands follow me”) – a sign of the time that a one-off 7″ lathe cut single of this song was auctioned on Ebay (with a £400 winning bid). The Pooh Sticks is a heartfelt tribute to the band that Hue and Amelia were in. And so we could go on and on to indicate how many appealing and smart things have been incorporated into this album (that also applies to the videos). The Swansea Sound can grow into a genre in itself.

Live At The Rum Puncheon is out now digitally, on cassette (via Lavender Sweep Records (UK, Europe), Austin Town Hall Records (North America), and Shiny Happy Records (Indonesia)), and on CD and vinyl LP (via Skep Wax Records (UK, Europe), and HHBTM Records (North America)). The album doesn’t stream on Spotify, Apple Music, or other corporates.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

Gimme 5! Ryan Hamilton Shares 5 Albums That Influenced ‘1221’

With ‘Gimme 5!’ we take a peek into the collections of artists we admire. The premise is simple: artists WE like share 5 records THEY love.

When I ordered Ryan Hamilton‘s solo debut album Hell Of A Day (2015) at the time, he wrote a personal thank you note, which shows how sympathetic this guy is. Since then, the Texan singer-songwriter has been continuously releasing new music, with a new LP every year: The Devil’s In The Detail ‎ (2017) and Traitors Club Year 1 (2018) by Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors, and This Is The Sound (2019) and Nowhere To Go But Everywhere (2020) by Ryan Hamilton And The Harlequin Ghosts. Little Steven heard it right (again): this is a cool musician who creates cool songs, an artist that deserves a cool label and more appreciation. During 2021, when touring was not possible due to the pandemic, Ryan has been releasing a new single the 12th of each month via Wicked Cool, for his project 1221. They include originals of his own as well as some covers, including The Refreshments’ Banditos.

The 2021 standalone singles will be bundled as one full album, titled 1221. Prior to its release this Friday, we asked Ryan about his sources of inspiration for all those great songs, and he was kind enough to answer in detail. His choices make perfect sense if you are familiar with his sound, but they give a new dimension to listening with his explanations.

New album: The Vernes || Nuclear Winter

“Dead // Sleeping on the floor // Blame it on the weather // A nuclear winter.” The lyrics of the closing title song of the new full-length album by Philadelphia four-piece The Vernes doesn’t really paint an attractive picture, and that goes for more of the songs here. Quite a contrast with the sound of the garage pop / indie rock band, which is vibrant and uplifting. Compelling synths and restless guitars are kept in line by the rhythm of the drums, while you wander around in a dystopian world. There’s more music been made about the contradiction “Everything is going wrong // But we’re so happy“, but The Vernes add a successful slacker rock chapter to it. For example, listen to standout track Time (Cool Version): you hear “When the weight // Of the world’s // Crushing down // On your skull // Overload // Gravity // Sensory,” but an irresistible organ makes you dance on the table instead of sitting under it. Suddenly, radioactive energy doesn’t seem so bad.

Nuclear Winter is out now digitally, on cassette, CD and vinyl LP. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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