New album: Dany Laj And The Looks || Ten Easy Pieces

It’s the NHL playoffs and when I noticed Dany Laj rooting for the Habs aka the Montreal Canadiens, I had this voice in my head saying “I am definitely not writing about this dude’s new record.” You see, I support the historical rivals of the Habs, and am basically programmed to hate anything Habs related. But then I actually listened to Laj’s new record, and suddenly that sports rivalry felt kinda petty and trivial.

Ten Easy Pieces, out now on We Are Busy Bodies, is Laj’s third record with The Looks and his very best yet. It’s a well chosen title, because the music is an highly accessible mix of different forms of upbeat pop, including powerpop, ’60s, Paisley Underground and even some country influences. Ten Easy Pieces is a sympathetic and carefree record full of hook filled and punchy sunshine pop that evoke images of some of the best music of the sixties, seventies, eighties. The videos provide some old school entertainment as well – watch You & Me, and one of my favorite tracks on the record; Don’t Keep Me Guessin’.

So congrats Dany Laj on a great record. And on the Habs making it to the Semi-Finals whereas my team got beat by the freakin’ Islanders. Okay, gonna watch this video of the Bruins beating the Habs in Game 7 overtime on repeat now.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Quivers || Golden Doubt

It’s perfect timing when a pre-ordered album arrives on the day of its release. It’s even better when you discover that the full album exceeds the high expectations raised by the previously released singles. Truly, Golden Doubt by Melbourne jangle masters Quivers is quite the achievement. Musically, this is beautiful indie pop, with great harmonies and group vocals. All of the best qualities of Quivers are on full display in Gutters Of Love, and that is only the first song on the record. It’s the kind of song that starts slowly and keeps building up tension ultimately ending in cathartic release. It’s the ultimate show closer that will leave  audiences elated and with goosebumps.

To fully appreciate Golden Doubt, note that the band describes it as “life-damaged but hopeful jangle pop”. It is a record born out of grief – two band members lost their brothers. But the record is also an appreciation of how friends, music and the occasional laugh can help us get through even the darkest times.  Quivers will break your heart with their songs but also mend it, putting the pieces back together one at a time. For example, listen to songs like Nostalgia Will Kill You (“It’s a poisonous dart / It will slow you down / If it reaches your heart”) and You’re Not Always On My Mind (“Just mostly all the time / And I miss you”). Golden Doubt is a gorgeous record that is given me the feels. Get it now at Ba Da Bing (US), Bobo Integral (Europe) & Spunk Records (Australia).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: The Shine || The Shine

Tetryon Tapes strikes again! In April they released an awesome tape by Danny’s Favorites. This week, they released another project by the two members that make up Danny’s Favorites, multi-instrumentalist Trevor Lake and drummer Aaron Mika. Together with Lake’s brother Brendan (bass/vocals) and Derek Sapienza (guitar/vocals) they are were * The Shine. Two years ago, the band recorded an album of lo-fidelity throwback rock-and-roll-and-soul-and-garage. I totally missed this 2019 self-release on Bandcamp, so thank you Tetryon Tapes for giving this self-titled album a second life.

On the album, The Shine essentially take you on a tour through rock-‘n’-roll history. They open the record with Give Us Some Credit, which is as close to a classic r-‘n’-r sound they get on the album. Reconcile, however, with Les Greene on guest vocals, has the heart and soul of a Reigning Sound track. And then there are songs like Same Song, Smooth Operator and Lucky One, which have a serious late ’70s powerpop vibe and sound like they come frome the vaults of Paul Collins, Jack Lee and/or Peter Case. Oh, and let’s not forget Give It To Me Straight and When I Think Back. Those are beautiful classic ’60s pop songs with hints of the Beach Boys. You get the point, I like this one a lot!

*Unfortunately, The Tetryon Tapes tape of The Shine marks the first and, most likely, last physical release of The Shine. The band is no longer around. Fortunately, Lake and Mika have a new band together with Lake’s two brothers. They are called Televisionaries, and their sound builds on what they try to do with The Shine. Make sure to check Televisionaries’ video for their standout track Over And Out.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Buildings || Heaven Is A Long Exhale

Some records instantly grab you but dove out quickly. Other records grow slowly on you, and get better which each play. Here is one from that second category: Heaven Is A Long Exhale is the second album of The Building from Manila (Phillipines). The band plays a classic kind of indierock and indiepop with fuzzy guitars, and have an ace in singer Mariah Reodica who takes these songs to another level. My favorite tracks may be the most pop-oriented ones, like Room So Small, Don’t Cry At The Movies, and January 10. But like I said, this one is a grower. Out now on CD on Tokyo-based Call And Response Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Freedom || Freedom

There’s no shortage of hard-to-google bands on this blog, but we have a new leader on the board that will be hard to beat. The name of the band? Freedom. The title of the new record? Freedom. So yeah, my information about the release is limited to this: Freedom are from Stockholm and this is their first LP. It’s currently digital only, but will be available on LP this summer; order directly through the band on Bandcamp or contact them at their Facebook page.

The music is pretty great though. Freedom plays blue collar music with soulful vocals – it’s hard not to think about Bruce Springsteen when listening to this record. Fans of Gaslight anthem and particularly Nato Coles And The Blue Diamond Band will go wild for the band’s sound. While Freedom opts for a slightly more authentic rock sound relative to those bands, they play their songs at sufficient pace to also draw in fans of punk, garage and powerpop. All in all, for an impossible to google band, Freedom are an awesome find.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Supreme Joy || Joy

Supreme Joy is a new project of Ryan Wong which allows him to be a bit more experimental than in his work with his main band Cool Ghouls. On Supreme Joy’s 8-song debut Joy, Wong expertly blends psych pop, surf and garage influences to create a record that oozes nostalgia and melancholy. Body Contact by Supreme Joy is a smash hit and given its topic an instant quarantine classic. It’s a perfect guitar driven garage pop track that I can keep on playing. RIYL Woolen Men, Sonny And The Sunsets.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Horseloverfat || Greetings From Nowhere

Horseloverfat is an unusual name. That also applies to their music, which is all over the place and kinda awesome. The band from Italy self-desribes as “a psichedelic (sic) krautrock group, a transnational and stateless parody that encompasses all without regards to purism and coherence.” On their new record Greetings From Nowhere, Horseloverfat goes from postpunk to psychedelic to protopunk to country to kraut to glam in their songs. Somehow, the band manages to pull it off without creating a unlistenable mess. They recorded Greetings From Nowhere in March in an old school fashion: as a live band, and with limited digital intereference. The result is a time portal to the music of the ’60s, ’70s and early ’80s. Step in, if you’d like!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Treetops || Rev It Up!

If you listen closely, you’ll hear a motor getting started in the opening seconds of the new Treetops album Rev It Up! The Florida band keeps that motor running throughout album opener Easy Street. It’s a fun pubrock’n’roll hit straight from the garage, and one of my favorites on the record. Hangin’ On is another fun old time rnr song, but The Treetops play a mixture of styles on Rev It Up!

The Treetops clearly are a band that in addition to rock-‘n’- roll, also love soul & disco (Something In The Air), blues, and boogie woogie. I think the lo-fi sound fits the band well, but ultimately, these songs likely are experienced even better in raucous live performances.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Cluttered || Accidents

Did you know there is an ongoing war against clutter? Writers are taught clutter is a disease of dullness and unclarity. And home owners increasingly go full Marie Kondo on their house, throwing away much of their belongings and keep the remainder organized. So yeah, clutter is something to avoid, which makes Cluttered such a great band name for a punk band. I am talking about Halifax queer pop punk band Cluttered, who just released a new EP called Accidents. The irony, of course, is that Cluttered play music that is in fact very economical and efficient: two-minute anthems that are somewhere at the midpoint of the classic pop punk sound from the Bay Area and the modern indie punk sound of bands like Radiator Hospital. Catchy and direct, with a healthy dose of quirkiness and dual (trial? quadral?) vocals that give the songs even more energy and melody.

Cluttered is somewhat of a supergroup of the Halifax punk scene, including Matty Grace (Future Girls, Weekend Dads, and of another quarantine project we wrote about a while back: Modern Cynics), Becca Dalley (Designosaur), Danny Bailey and Dylan Mombourquette (Jabber, Crunchcoat). And Cassia Hardy (Wares) sings on one of the tracks of Accidents,The Toll. I planned on writing about the band’s first EP, which contains one of my favorite songs that came out of the pandemic: Pandemic Year (Watching my fading youth // circle the drain // Waiting for tomorrow to start and today to end repeat again // Whats this about a finish line?). That EP is just as cool as the new one. Fortunately, both EPs are now conveniently available on one CD. Just want the tape? The band only made 69. Yep.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Bloated Kat Records

New album: Modern Haze || An LA EP

Let’s start this monday off right with a vintage psych pop banger from LA based Modern Haze. Grab some coffee or tea, and press play. Open your work mail, and let An LA EP be the soundtrack to your morning. With jangly guitars, soothing voice, pleasant harmonies, Modern Haze answer the age old question: What would The Zombies sound like if Mac DeMarco and Kevin Morby were in that band? Yes, this could be a pretty good week after all.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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