New EP: The Cracks || Oliver’s Bath

We’ve said it before, but musically the pandemic has also brought great things. The four-track EP Oliver’s Bath by The Cracks is a very good example of this. Brothers Wesley (guitar, vocals) and Cole Bergersen (drums, vocals) began making music as a duo when their ska band (Irrational Consumers) could no longer rehearse due to the lockdowns. Together they wrote songs in which they combined their love for indie and punk in energetic garage rock with great hooks and a Stones feel. Assisted by Ian Torres (bass), and Ricardo Sasaki and Colonel Medusa (keys), they recorded these four songs, of which the first two in particular make you jump like you haven’t been allowed to do for the past year and a half. Moonlight‘s hoo-hoo-hooo’s are irresistible, and Wallet Chain is an anthem for these times – shout out along to the awesome lyrics (including a reference to Hotel California): “It’s not you! // It’s not me! // It’s everything!”

Oliver’s Bath is out now digitally. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Gimme 5! Lake Artifik Shares His Five Favorite Albums

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.

One of my favorite discoveries of 2021 is Lake Artifik. This is the moniker under which Swiss musician Carlos E. Cordero writes and records beautiful, dreamy acoustic guitar songs. His debut album Dream Park consists of nine layered, mysterious and slightly sad tracks about past memories, a very suitable soundtrack for Sunday mornings. In the meantime he has also released the EP Bloom, with three new songs that are a bit more straightforward, pop oriented, and positive. Landgraaf in particular caught my attention, because I went to Pinkpop there a few times. The lyrics are about the fantasies that Carlos and his best friend at the time had about playing at the festival; as teenagers they dreamed of ‘making it’ with their band, thinking they were the coolest kids around since they performed gigs for their 60 fans (“For all the times we saw the sky // Thinking that we could fly // Jamming our songs through the night // Waiting for our time to shine”).

This seemed like a good reason to ask Carlos about his sources of inspiration. The explanations of his favorite albums make it clear that we are dealing with an artist who is a good listener, who also knows how to describe it well.

New album: Power Supply || In the Time of the Sabre​-​Toothed Tiger

After the demise of Melbourne’s eclectic rock band Ooga Boogas (most popular track: Sex In The Chillzone – just saying), the four band members went separate ways. However, the paths of Leon Stackpole (vocals), Per Bystrom (drums), Richard Stanley (bass), and Mikey Young (guitar) converged again in the concert venues, and they decided to continue under the fresh moniker of Power Supply. Back on stage, jams became songs, jokes became lyrics, and voila: here’s their full-length debut album In The Time of the Sabre-toothed Tiger, with ten rhythmic songs for those who have ever wondered how a cheerful version of The Velvet Underground would have sounded. This is energetic and bewitching jangly guitar rock with a strong sense of melody and groove. Watch the video for standout track Let’s Do This and Let’s Do That below: “Back here again // It’s been too long” – great to see and hear these four guys together again.

Stream the full album below.

In the Time of the Saber​-​toothed Tiger is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Anti Fade Records (Australia) and Goner Records (USA).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Belaver || Lain Prone

If you’re not yet familiar with the music of Ben Godfrey aka Belaver, I suggest you start by watching the video of his song Driver (from his full-length debut album True Love of Crime), imho one of the best of 2019 (how is it possible that this only has 734 views?) – that gives an idea of the intimate, smart and mysterious music of the NYC-based songwriter. Pretty good, but slightly alienating – it could be a soundtrack from a movie starring Bill Murray. Belaver has now released his sophomore LP Lain Prone, again produced by Robert Ellis. The 14 beautiful new songs form a coherent whole, both in terms of theme and sound. “They say the world is gonna end” is the first line of the opening track (Here It Comes). “Take my cyber lyfe, take my megabytes, make it all go away” is the last line of the second track (In The R L). Next lyrics look back on better times: “We could have a 70s adventure slash comedy” (70’s Adventure). And so on. The cover art actually says it all: isn’t it best to stay cool as the misery of the world rages by? Yet this folky indie pop is more melancholy than gloomy, in a way similar to conversations you have with a good friend in the middle of the night about the meaning and purpose of life, and that the next morning you wonder what clever things you said then. Belaver helps you remember. RIYL Gold Star, Daniel Johnston, Refrigerator.

Lain Prone is out now digitally. Add to wantlist : Bandcamp

New album: The Surfing Magazines || Badgers of Wymeswold

The self-titled debut album by The Surfing Magazines, a rock band with members of The Wave Pictures and Slow Club, made it to the top 10 of my year-end list in 2017. The London based four-piece now have released their sophomore LP Badgers of Wymeswold, with 16 bright, fun new songs. The cover art is a collage with cut out photos of badgers, and actually the music is also a kind of collage – of styles and influences. You’ll hear experimental rock, catchy power pop, vintage folk, sun beaten harmony pop, surf-noir, and polished garage rock, incorporated into both guitar rockers and softer ballads, tracks that also include free form saxophone parts, eerie violins and melancholic piano playing. David Tattersall (lead guitar, vocals), Charles Watson (rhythm guitar, keys, vocals), Franic Rozycki (bass, vocals), and Dominic Brider (drums, vocals) provide a characteristic sound, not at least thanks to the distinctive vocals. Listen to standouts Pink Ice Cream (irresistible six bar blues with wistful lyrics relating to the childhood of the band members), and the title track (drawn from Tattersall’s nightmare vision about his home town’s population of self governing people; he also depicted his referenced dreams in the album artwork). Summer is back for a while.

Badgers of Wymeswold is out now digitally, on CD and double vinyl LP through Moshi Moshi Music.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: She/Beast || Violent Tendencies

When the pandemic prevented Katja Nielsen from touring with her punk outfit Arre! Arre!, the Swedish singer / guitarist used the free time to develop her own identity as a singer-songwriter. Her isolation writing sessions led to the moniker of She/Beast, and the release of two EPs – In the Depths of Misery (December 2020), and This Too Shall Pass (March 2021) – with lyrics about the struggle with her bipolar disorder over a 80s synth vibe. Now here’s her debut full-length, Violent Tendencies, for which Nielsen fished from the same pool of 60s garage rock / girl group influences as Shannon and The Clams. This vintage sound, which is also somewhat reminiscent of the music on the Slow Grind Fever compilations, appeals to us a bit more than the goth pop of the earlier EPs, which were also interesting. The popcorn noir feeling – very well produced by Joakim Lindberg – fits perfectly with the crime theme of the new album; each of the ten tracks looks at a different female murderer. The cool, distinctive vocals of the artist convey the sinister stories in an immersive and convincing way – listening is literally an exciting experience.

Violent Tendencies is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through PNKSLM Recordings.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || PNKSLM

New EP: Almost Lovers || Almost Lovers

You probably never wondered what happens when you put influences from Teenage Fanclub, Together Pangea and Oasis in the blender, but the result would sound something like this fun self-titled debut EP – including nice minimalist cover art – from new French-Belgian power pop band Almost Lovers. Nini Mathy (vocals), Aurélien Gainetdinoff (bass, vocals), Fab Couz (guitar), and Clignotant Hugo (drums) play or played in several other bands (Annabel Lee, Crusaders of Love, Okay Monday, Departure Kids, etc.) , but from a shared taste for the same music and beers they wrote these six original songs together in no time. Listen to standout tracks 2 Good 2 Be True (a garage rock hit that lives up to its title) and So Gone (one that will become a live favorite). Reportedly, more is on the way, and that’s good news.

Almost Lovers is out now digitally and on cassette through Howlin Banana Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Red Pears || You Thought We Left Because The Door Was Open But We Were Waiting Outside

A cover photo with a clown out of focus, a long album title –You Thought We Left Because The Door Was Open But We Were Waiting Outside – that tells a story in itself, music that is somewhere between The Strokes, Allah-Las, The Subways, and SadGirl:- listening to the eight songs on the new (third) LP by Californian indie / alternative rock band The Red Pears is an exciting adventure. The sound of Henry Vargas (guitar, vocals), Jose Corona (drums), and Patrick Juarez (bass) evokes feelings of nostalgia, but sounds quite urgent in 2021 though. Fuzzy guitars, dynamic melodies, screaming vocals, and haunting lyrics (fron standout track House of Mirrors: “I don’t know if this was for attention // Whether your mind plays the games I should mention // I could take it away just for this time // I just want to be me if it’s alright” ). A lot can happen in 23 minutes, as it turns out.

Out now digitally. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Ike Reilly || Because The Angels

American singer / songwriter / guitarist Ike Reilly offers that rare combination in which everything is right: he is a great storyteller, has a distinctive voice with an attractive gritty edge, and his experienced band knows exactly how to create the necessary greasy sound. On the new full-length album Because The Angels you’ll hear ten perfectly produced rock ‘n’ roll songs with sharp observations. The ten songs vary in tempo and instrumentation, the poetic lyrics are always captivating, and the hooks and harmony vocals provide nice surprises. This is rebellious punk rock in a country blues package, dark and uplifting at the same time. The opening track Little Messiahs sets the tone: “Who will sing these working blues // For the working poor // Whose souls are oozing // Solvent as each day it passes on // And after the candidates are gone // And everything is said and done // Who will sing these working songs” – it should be clear who fulfills that role from an intrinsic motivation, and in an authentic way. Besides Ike Reilly himself (guitar, vocals), the band (The Ike Reilly Assassination) consists of Phil Karnats (guitar), Dave Cottini (drums), Pete Cimbalo (bass), and Adam Krier (organ). On the previously released single Trick of the Light, the front man trades lines with his sons Shane, Kevin, and Mickey, asking questions about faith, hope, family, money, and fate. We could describe song by song in this way, but in fact everything about this LP is beautiful, right down to Tony Fitzpatrick’s cover art.

Because The Angels is out now on CD via Rock Ridge Music. You can listen to the full album on all streaming services.

Add to want list: Discogs || Ike Reilly

New EP: Grandmas House || Grandmas House

When I listened to Grandmas House’s cool single Always Happy / Small Talk last spring, I was curious what else the English punk trio would have to offer. With the five new tracks on the just released self-titled EP, they live up to the high expectations. As soon as you hear the heavy guitar sound, pounding drums, and growling vocals, you know you’re in the right place. “I’m still full of wonder // Sometimes I wonder // Do you believe in miracles // Do you believe in anything, anything at all”, they ask in the opening track Golden. If you gasp 10 minutes and 55 seconds later – each song takes about two minutes – you can’t help but reply that you believe in screaming out loud. This is indie rock / post-punk that continuously leaves you balancing between smiles and awe. I suspect the band members had a lot of fun recording their music and videos, but their facial expressions are too menacing to be sure. They are now touring the UK. Do you dare to visit Grandmas House?

Grandmas House is out now digitally and on limited edition 7″ vinyl through Brace Yourself Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Scroll to Top