New EP/album: Slack Times || Carried Away

Slack Times are Chris McCauley, Will Stewart and Stuart Norman who have a shared past in The Blips, Bad Hops, and Holy Youth. With Slack Times they try to capture the mood and feel of Yo La Tengo, R.E.M., and the Feelies. I think those are solid reference points of the band’s sound, though I would describe Slack Times as more punchy and lively. Today, they dropped their third release Carried Away.

I’m in doubt whether to describe Carried Away as the band’s third EP or as a compilation. That is, Meritorio Records decided to press Carried Away together with the band’s previous two EP’s, something I wish more labels would do with bands that have a strong back catalogue. The Carried Away LP contains the first Slack Times EP Up Here (2020), which I liked and is now available for the first time on vinyl. Their second EP At The Blue Melon Rendezvous (2021), which I loved, is also included. But the 6 new songs included on the LP (i.e., the Carried Away EP) may very well be the best thing Slack Times have recorded so far.

The title track is the first song on the EP/comp, and it’s like I’m hearing Big Star for the first time. It’s a gorgeous track that gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it. The second track is Look At You. On this track, Slack Times play jangly powerpop over a catchy bass riff and the result somehow reminds me of the garage pop of bands like Harlem, Jacuzzi Boys and Jaill. Put these first two songs on a single, and you’d have about the perfect 7″.

But that would mean you would miss out on the delighful jangle hits I’m Trying and Bad Move.

With so many releases out every week, it’s quite the feat when a band makes you want to order a record after the first play. That’s exactly what Slack Times achieved with Carried Away. Pre-order the vinyl now at Meritorio Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Meritorio Records

New album: Classic Traffic || Classic Traffic

You know what is even better than discovering a great new band? That band dropping their debut full-length just one week later. The best part though? The 8-song 24 minute effort fully living up to the expectations.

Classic Traffic (New Jersey) finds its origins in Puddle Splasher and features Andy Altadonna (Guitar, Bass, Vocals) & Dante Fotino (Drums, Lyrics). I compared Classic Traffic to The Lemonheads, Nirvana, Nada Surf and The Replacements in my previous post on the band. That was based on the first two songs I heard, both of which are included on the full album. Now that I’ve heard the whole thing, Lemonheads and Nada Surf particularly still come to mind – listen to True Blue for example. I would add Teenage Fanclub to the list based solely on the enchanting Ten Minute Window. Classic Traffic combines a strong sense of melody with a joy for rocking out.

Written and recorded in just a couple of weeks to take advantage of Guitar Center’s return policy, Classic Traffic is a smooth ride with few detours and zero blockages.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: The Sound Station || Wild One

Nakia and Simon Black are a prime example of how great musical taste and talent can result in great tunes. In their Gimme 5 feature on our site, they revealed their impeccable taste, and the only negative thing I can say about their band The Sound Station’s output is that I wish they were a bit more prolific.

But scarcity makes the heart grow fonder – or something like that, and their new EP Wild One was worth testing our patience for. The four songs on the EP are The Sound Station’s love letter to the outcasts of ’50s and ’60s music, to the earliest punks, the greasiest rockers, and the grooviest R&B lads and ladies. It’s an exhilerating brand of garage rock that sounds particularly combustible on the title track and Late Night Snack.

The Wild One EP is out now on 7″ single at Chaputa! Records. The quality of the songs and the great by João Pimenta should make this one a can’t lose purchase.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Chaputa!

New album: Various Artists || Welcome To Oakland

Should we pack our bags and just move to Oakland? If that decision would solely depend on the quality of bands germinating from the fertile grounds of that area, it would be a no-brainer. Just take a listen to the Welcome To Oakland comp.

Curated by Dandy Boy Records, quickly becoming a go-to source for underground pop excellence, Welcome To Oakland compiles the cream of the crop of the Oakland scene. That includes ATW favorites like Sob Stories, Yae-Ming and The Rumours, The 1981, Blue Ocean, R.E. Seraphin, but also bands currently not on our radar but we can’t wait to hear more from like Throwback Party, Fast Execution, and Shutups.

Welcome To Oakland is the kind of comp you play front-to-back without skipping any of the songs, striking the right balance between familiar hits and new discoveries. It is out now on Cassette at Dandy Boy Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Life Forms || Life Forms EP

In the mood for something frantic yet melodic? An adrenaline rush? Something to activate you? Then give Charlie Murphy’s (of Freak Genes, Murph & The Gazorpos, The Red Cords and The Hipshakes) latest project Life Forms a spin. Their debut EP has only 5 songs, all relentless punk tracks sharing the melodic DNA of Marked Men, the pace of Radioactivity and the sci-fi weirdness of Mind Spiders.

Sometimes you have to open all windows and let a breath of fresh air in. Or, in the case of this Life Forms EP, a tornado.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Abel Natürlich || Smug

Geertruida, a record label from the Northern coastal province in the Netherlands, provides the perfect metaphor for Abel Natürlich’s debut record Smug: “A restless theme park ride.” It’s probably the weirdest thing I actually enjoyed lately.

THERE IS JUST SO MUCH GOING ON! That was my first impression. Smug is a kind of record that intentionally overstimulates. And musically it’s all over the place. There is a chiptune element to most of the songs, there are egg punk parts, there definitely is some baroque pop to the record – the vocal melodies strangely remind me of The Zombies’ Odessey And Oracle.

About that theme park metaphor. Smug sounds more like a really dense theme park than a specific ride. Let’s say each of the songs has a lot of rides that are all hectic and unpredictable. The waiting time in between? Minimal.

Bring your own food and drinks. Smug is out now through Geertruida Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Young Harts || All I Got

Young Harts is an indie(punk)rock band from France. Their new record All I Got starts strongly with 1+1=11, a contagious poppy punkrocktrack that raises high expectations.

It’s not a prototypical Young Harts song though. On the remainder of the record, Young Harts reveal themselves as indie rock rather than punkrock. But I can’t help believing that the four members of Young Harts (Chris, Julien, Nico, Yohan) grew up as punks who are expanding their sonic boundaries out of an appreciation of The Jealous Sound, Jets To Brazil, and Midtown. Solid stuff, and I love the art direction featuring the photography of Brian Agnes.

All I Got is out now in different formats through a bunch of labels including Eternalis Records, Crapoulet Records, APB Records, No Way Asso, Inhumano, Bad Health Records; Fireflies Fall, PPandM / Opposite Prod, Ganache Records – pretty cool to see many labels unite to make the release of this one possible.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Young Harts

Album Premiere: Townies || Meet The Townies

Today, we proudly premiere the debut LP from Townies. It’s called Meet The Townies and will be out June 24 on Snappy Little Numbers.

The Townies are from an unlikely place of origin. “The Townies came about by virtue of these old punkers landing in Trinidad, a small working class rural town (pop. 8100) on Colorado’s southern border. Trinidad didn’t have a punk band. Now they do, whether they like it or not,” the band explains.  Like any self-respecting punk band, Townies write mostly about stuff they dislike. In doing so, Townies are unafraid to step on toes. I Don’t Like The Beatles, one of the standouts on the record is a good example of this; Jazz Is For Assholes another. Cops and Texas weed tourists are also targeted, and it makes sense the band covers I Don’t Care About You by Fear. Don’t be put off by that supposed negativity though. “Yeah, it’s a pretty negative album. Most of that is significantly tongue in cheek though. What can we say? This life, these times, etc. I Like the Beatles is a song that’s been done a million times, ya know?” [post continues below]

New album: Healees || Healees

Born out of a shared love for guitar pedals and new wave bands, Healees (from Paris) started out in 2015. It took them some time to release their official debut, but it’s finally here: an 8-song cassette filled with easy-on-the-ears tunes in a bandwidth ranging from janglepop to shoegaze and everything in between. Healees not only have more nationalities than most indie pop bands (four!), they also sound more punchy, unafraid to turn up the volume knob of their amps. Their melodies are nuanced and subtle though, and Healees leave it up to you how to experience the record. Whether you desire to be entertained, mesmerized or just a unobtrusive soundscape to your work or commute, Healees will deliver on all fronts.

The Healees cassette is out now through Hidden Bay Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Class || Class EP

Is nowthatsclass dot bandcamp dot com the best spot to start your week at? Yes! It has my favorite short format release of late. It’s by a band from Tucson (Arizona) called Class featuring members of Rik And The Pigs, The Resonars, Brown Sugar and The Green Teas.

The magic formula that makes Class’ sound on their 5-song self-titled debut EP so great? Equal doses of ’70s rock, powerpop and punk. More specifically, Class mix ’70s NYC punk attitude with the musicianship and sense of melody of Big Star. It’s really something special, and if you’d told me that the Class EP is actually a lost classic from the ’70s I’d believe you. Into The Night and Oh! The Nerve are particularly catchy, but a major strength of Class is that none of their songs are alike, and all of them are interesting.

The cassette is already sold out (Revolver, Sorry State, and Torn Light may have a couple left), but supposedly a 12″ 45rpm LP is coming out later this year through Feel It Records. It should come with a sticker warning that this may very well be your new favorite band.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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