Niek

New single: Sillicone Values || Streaming TV b​/​w Nothing Wrong With Me

Bristol (UK) postpunk/indiepop hybrid Sillicone Values make a deliberate attempt of showing how little they care on their latest single. They don’t care if they sound like other bands. And, they explicitly mention that they recorded the two songs “without due care or attention.” They probably could care less if anyone listens to these songs, let alone write about them. I am not sure whether the four-piece is too cool to care or whether it genuine disinterest. Unfortunately, I like these two too much not to share. Streaming TV and Nothing Wrong With Me are a time capsule to the underground pop scene in ’80s UK. The only reason I’m sure this is in fact a present day band is that they sing about only feeling safe when they are streaming tv.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Dummy || Mandatory Enjoyment

Busy day at work yesterday, and a perfect opportunity to catch up with some of the advanced streams I’d been receiving lately. I grabbed a coffee and pressed play on Dummy’s Mandatory Enjoyment. After releasing two EPs in 2020, both of which I liked, it’s the L.A. band’s debut full length and first release for the ever reliable Trouble In Mind Records. Somehow, I found myself still listening to it three hours later – the stream automatically restarts after finishing the album. Not sure if I was in a state of flow due to the nature of my work or because of the music, perhaps a bit of both. Sure to say, Mandatory Enjoyment offered a perfect backdrop to a productive morning.

When I paid a little more attention to the music, I started to see how Dummy draws you in, hook their tentacles in your skin, unwilling to let you go. Their music blends noisy guitar pop with sonic influences ranging from jazz, to synth to drone to showgaze to new age. The songs on Mandatory Enjoyment have a lot going on, tender a great deal to discover, but also leave ample space for reflection and mind wandering. H.V.A.C may be the best example of this, with his hypnotic and repetitive rhythm and the broad soundscapes. Ultimately, Mandatory Enjoyment works on a subsconscious and conscious level.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Trouble In Mind

New album: Zoo || No Man’s Land

Zoo is the brainchild of Cincinnati-based songwriter, Cory Pavlinac. Pavlinac used to major in Jazz guitar at Belmont University (Nashville) but then switched to creative writing – a logical step after many late-night drives studying the words and music of Bob Dylan and Patti Smith. That backstory is relevant for two reasons: One, the musicianship of Pavlinac has a level of complexity and depth that is marvelous. There are hints of The War On Drugs and Kevin Morby, but Zoo sounds less bombastic and more nuanced than the former and more diverse and complex than the latter. Above all, No Man’s Land is highly accessible, and full of well written folky indie rock.

Two, Zoo is the kind of record where it pays off to take the lyric sheet out, and fully experience the record while reading the lyrics. The album deals with the challenges of dealing with intimacy, isolation and empathy as an introvert, and getting married and becoming a father. The personal and heartfelt lyrics create a synergetic experience while listening to the music. Conversely, the music sets the right tone and atmosphere for the words to hit even harder. Worry is a good example of this. Pavlinac: “I wrote this song at 2a.m., laying in bed one night with all these thoughts flying around my head, unable to sleep. The song took shape immediately when the first line popped into my head (“Staring At The Ceiling In The Middle Of The Night // I Got Worry On My Mind”), and I snuck out of bed to go record it.” But there is also the anxiety of political and societal polarisation in the album’s best song Sleeping Dogs. “There is maybe a little of myself in the caricature of this person who is waiting it out, while complaining about the state of the nation all the while, and day dreaming of societal fallout,” Pavlinac explains.

No Man’s Land sounds tailor-made for the season of falling leaves, rain and wind, and the occasional indian summer day. For those shelving their records in alphabetical order, you could do much (much!) worse than having Zoo as the outer bookend of your collection. Another strong release by Good Eye Records who brought us that acclaimed Spud Cannon record earlier this year.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Dirty Flix || Set Your Radio On Fire

Set Your Radio On Fire is the debut full length of Dirty Flix. That title could either be read as a command or as a warning, because a) the music of Dirty Flix is clearly out of step with what gets played on the radio nowadays, and b) if you play this one loud your radio may in fact catch on fire. That is, Dirty Flix’s mix of glam, sleaze, rock’n’roll, powerpop and punk is highly combustible, full of energy and contagious as hell. Underneath the sleazy guitars there is a lot of pop, which should come as no surprise. The members of Dirty Flix used to play in bubblegum pop punk outfit The Lettermans and cite Cheap Trick as one of their primary influences. Dirty Flix sounds much louder and faster than Cheap Trick though. I see The Cry! and Barreracudas as more recent reference points of the band’s sound – the band also namedrops The Rolling Stones, The Replacements, and New York Dolls.

Speaking of the radio, the band’s lead single Hollywood Dreamgirl already received airtime by legendary dj Rodney Bingenheimer on the underground Garage. Not all radio sucks right? That song is a major hit, but that applies to A LOT of songs on Set Your Radio On Fire, including a fun cover of The Jags’ Back Of My Hand. Perhaps my favorite track on the record is the kickass anthem Dying Of Boredom – by far the longest track on the record but still one I have on constant repeat right now.

Set Your Radio On Fire is a hook-filled high octane rock’n’roll party that will test your speaker system and your neighbors’ patience. Stream the record now, buy later: LPs in different colors coming soon at Punk Head Records.



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Punk Head Records

New compilation: Various Artists || Heroes Of the Night – Punk, Pop, And Wave From The UK Underground ’79-’83

We recently wrote about The Go-Go’s, one of the first all-female bands to write their own songs and have a number #1 hit record. But they were not the only female pioneers trying to break barriers. Heroes Of The Night is a new compilation that pays tribute to a specific group of boundary movers: frontwomen in the U.K. and Irish Punk, Powerpop, New Wave, Hard Rock and Synth-Pop underground of the late ’70s, early ’80s. The compilation features 12 artists including The Russians, Cheap Cinema, Vermillion and the Aces, The Chevrons and Teachers Pet. Three Phase provide the closing track, exclusive to the vinyl release.

The compilation features some of the coolest and rarest singles of that scene and era. As separate 45s, these songs are either impossible to find or will cost you a fortune. Thanx to Brooklyn label Reminder Records, conveyors of quality punk, glam & powerpop reissues, we can finally own all these underground classics on one convenient platter. It’s not like we needed a reminder (pun not intended) that this was probably the best era for this kind of music, but I’m grateful for compilations like this one. Three-word review: Must own compilation.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Reminder Records || Discogs

Gimme 5! Stephen Steen of Megadose Shares His Five Favorite Records


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.

It’s been a while since our last Gimme 5. Stephen Steen must have thought so as well, because out of nowhere he sent me his five favorite records. How did this happen? Well, when you release a superb record with the potential to cross over to a major audience, you get a lot of requests and e-mails all of a sudden. And it’s easy to mixup requests from different music sites. Our win! That superb record by the way is Wild & Free by his band Megadose (our review here). It’s a record that slowly wins you over; a record on which Megadose put their own spin on ’00s indierock. If you are a fan of acts like Bands of Horses, The Shins, Fleet Foxes, The War on Drugs and Frightened Rabbit, I believe you will like this band a lot. Recently, Megadose released its first video ever which should give you a good sample of their music. [post continues below]

New EP: Slack Times || At The Blue Melon Rendezvous

If you like The Feelies, garage pop that is upbeat and jangly, or the Athens indie sound of the early ’80s, Slack Times may well turn out to be your new favorite band. Slack Times are Chris McCauley, Will Stewart and Stuart Norman who, in different cross-links play(ed) together in The Blips, Bad Hops, and Holy Youth. The band name is a nod to the pandemic lockdowns. The trio started recording in the fall of 2020 and released their first EP last spring. That EP already showed a lot of promise, but their new EP is even better *. And with better I mean all killer, no filler. Lead single Can’t Count On Anyone alone is worth the purchase of this EP that is out now on Earth Libraries.

What about that weird title for their EP? Apparently, it’s a reference to an art gallery in downtown Water Valley the band frequently encountered during their walks across the city.


* On the EP, Slack Times is helped out by producer Bronson Tew on drums on the recordings, and Matt Patton on bass.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Wolf Willow || Old Guitars & Shooting Stars

Wolf Willow is a band from Regina (Saskatchewan) that makes me want to dust off the old country tag – arguably the least used genre tag on our site. To be more specific, Wolf Willow play countrypolitan, a subgenre of country characterized by a smooth sound with weeping steel guitar, strings, and sweet background vocals. The band is not afraid to dive into other genres though. They start their new record Old Guitars & Shooting Star with the surfrock instrumental Lovers Lane, and other songs sound more like classic country (An Old Guitar & A Shooting Star) or honkey tonk (Heaven Didn’t Seem So Far). Oh and don’t forget the tasteful addition of jazzy trumpets in certain songs, or the hints of Belle & Sebastianesque indie pop (All I Can Say, Love Letters Left Unsent). This is a sophisticated and delicate record full of pleasant surprises.

For some reason, I keep associating the songs on Old Guitars & Shooting Star with movie soundtracks. Perhaps it’s the orchestral sound, but there are songs on the record that would work in a Tarantino movie, whereas others would fit perfectly in a classic Western, and still others in a James Bond flick. Wolf Willow are a guilt evoking kind of band for not listening to this kind of music more often.



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Brothers Steve || Dose

Okay, let’s start with some background. The Brothers Steve is fronted by singers and guitarists Os Tyler and Jeff Whaler, helped out by Steve Coulter on drums, Jeff Solomon (bass), and Dylan Champion (guitar). It’s not the first time we covered some of these dudes on Add To Wantlist. Whaler, Solomon and Coulter played in the band Tsar, whose debut Rob Nesbitt of The Suitesixteen dubbed “a near perfect record” in his Gimme 5 feature. We covered the writing of Steve Coulter (under the pseudonym S.W, Lauden) in a post about the legendary Santa Barbara band Popsicko. The Brothers Steve debuted with in 2019 with #1. Today marks the release of the band’s second album Dose.

Listening to Dose, there is almost nothing to suggest that this is in fact a 2021 record. Rather, the sound of The Brothers Steve harkens back to different golden eras of guitar music, most notably ’70s powerpop and glam, late ’60s psychedelic rock, and bubblegum pop. In less capable hands, Dose could have been a hot mess of false sentimentalism and opportunistic revivalism. The hands (and feet) of The Brothers Steve seem perfectly fine though: Dose is a timeless record if ever. What stands out first is how authentic and well built the record sounds. But the real appreciation, at least for me, starts once you notice how much fun the record is. Sugarfoot and Better Get Ready are smile-inducing bubblegum pop classics in the making with instantly sing-alongable lyrics. Griffith Observatory is layered in harmonies and backing vocals and its chorus should come with a warning sign for risk of addiction. Oh, and don’t overlook the booty shakin’ glamrock’n’roll hits Wizard Of Love and Electro-Love.

In a world of short attention spans looking for the shiny and loud objects, Dose is the kind of record that will easily be overlooked. The qualities of Dose may be too subtle at first. I kindly recommend not giving in to that temptation and giving this a chance. The Brothers Steve will reward you for your patience, I promise.



Dose is out now on CD at Big Stir Records.
Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Jackson Reid Briggs || Fear / Move

Last April, Jackson Reid Briggs released a really strong record with his band The Heaters. This week, he returns with a surprise solo single, recorded right after the ending of the initial lockdown in Melbourne in November 2020. Joined by his mates Ryan Potter and Deon Slaviero, they recorded four soulful rockin’ punk bangers within a few hours – his mates hadn’t heard a second of the songs before. Potter also recorded the session.

Like his work with The Heaters, the songs on the single are loud and intense, removed of all polish, but still melodic. There are differences as well, most notably the classic punk feel I get throughout the single. Digital only for now I guess, but I wouldn’t mind having this on wax. Not at all.



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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