New album: Golden Apples || Shadowland

I am at the point of the pandemic where my brain automatically associates album titles with the state of the world. In case of the new Golden Apples record, my brain may actually be right for once. The title of the record is Shadowland and the album cover has a map of the home where it was recorded. Clearly this has to be about the anxiety and ultimate acceptance of being isolated, but also the safety and comfort of being home. With Shadowland, Golden Apples (formerly known on the moniker Cherry) have created an album to those longing for new indie rock that recalls the good old days without sounding derivative.

The album opens strongly with Theme From Shadowland, which is somewhere in the middle of Fleet Foxes and Beach Boys. Forever Hollow matches the slacker rock vibe of Pavement with fuzzy guitars. Tamara Lee is another highlight, but Shadowland is best experienced in full. It’s the kind of record capable of reviving human beings who are cynical about the current state of indie rock.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Lame-o Records

New EP: Rick The Loser || Combat Boots

Rick The Loser is a low key side-project of Novia Scotia based singer/songwriter Eric Stephen Martin. Under his real name, Martin appears to adopt a more traditional singer/songwriter indiefolk sound. He will release his new record in a couple of weeks on his own (smartly titled) label Three First Names Records, and the first two teaser tracks are quite beautiful, particularly When I Get Back To My Feet.

But let’s talk about Martin’s other project, the one he doesn’t want us to talk about. As Rick The Loser, at least on the Combat Boots EP, Martin chugs out four classic timeless pop songs disguised as slack indie rock and garage pop. When I first heard Strange Dreams, I was blown away by how good of a song it is. It probably is my favorite recent discovery. Just My Luck is another instant favorite, but the other two tracks on the EP are far from fillers. The Bandcamp page of Rick The Loser features more recordings from the pandemic months, most of which is more mellow and more experimental than the songs on the Combat Boots EP. There is also a cover EP with a great deconstruction of Last Caress by the Misfits. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind a physical release of Rick The Loser’s lockdown recordings at all.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Drinking Boys And Girls Choir || Marriage License

Deagu City, Korea will make a first appearance on the wantlist in 1,2,3,4. Meet Drinking Boys And Girls Choir, a punk threesome that released their debut album in 2019 but only now popped on my radar with their short but sweet sophomore album Marriage License. The band is inspired by Sum41, NOFX and the hardcore/punk/indiescene of Deagu in the ’90s and ’00s. I am not sure whether you can pinpoint those influences on Marriage License though. There is a lot of variety on the record, and the band’s sound ranges from speedy hardcorepunk (Hit The Corner, Grab The Chance) to dreamy indierock (My Second Universe, Time). The band toured with fellow Koreans Say Sue Me, and I hear touches of that band in these latter songs. For me, the band shines brightest when they play the kind of indiepunk of bands like Martha, Joanna Gruesome and Radiator Hospital (on their early albums) excel in. I am referring to songs like There is No Spring and Odoby. Listen below. And while you are listening, make sure to read more about the band and their struggle for LGBTQ acceptance back home, which will help to understand the title of record.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp 

Gimme 5! Geoff Palmer Shares 5 Albums That Influenced Charts And Graphs (Out 7/23)

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.

If I had a paper calendar, there would be a big red circle on Friday July 23rd. That date marks the release of the highly anticipated new Geoff Palmer record Charts And Graphs. I’ll write a review on it later this week, but I can already say that if you are a fan of Geoff Palmer’s previous solo album Pulling Out All The Stops, but also his work in The Connection, New Trocaderos, and Kurt Baker Band, you are guaranteed to like the new record as well. And yet, Charts And Graphs sees Geoff expanding his sound in different directions. Geoff recently discussed this with the excellent powerpop blog Sweet Sweet Music: “I love change. One thing that has always been a judge of success for me with a record or a band is doing something new, playing new places, trying new ideas for writing styles, new production ideas, anything we haven’t done before.” [post continues below]

New song: Televisionaries || Charlotte Beach

We seldom post teaser tracks to new albums. The reason why I am breaking this rule is my infatuation with this surfrock-‘n’-roll song by Televisionaries. Televisionaries features three Lake brothers (Austin, Brendan and Tevor) and Aaron Milka. Trevor and Aaron also play in The Shine and Danny’s favorites, two additional projects we featured. Full album expected this fall on Hi-Tide Recordings.

C-H-A-R-L-O-T-T-E, let’s go!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Greg Antista And The Lonely Streets || Under The Neon Heat

Greg Antista And The Lonely Streets exceed expectations. The band consists of four veterans of the Southern Californian punk scene: Greg Antista (lead guitar, vocals), Frank Agnew (lead guitar, vocals), Warren Renfrow (bass, vocals), and Jorge E. Disguster (drums). The list of bands they played in is long and includes Joyride, Foxy, Adolescents, TSOL, Manic Hispanic and Mink Daggers. Who would’ve expected back in the eighties that these punk kids would still be making music in 2021? And, more importantly, who would have expected that music to actually sound really good?

Under The Neon Heat is the band’s second album and finds the band in perfect shape. Is it punk? Definitely not. Powerpop is probably the most apt descripion. These essentially are three minute guitar-driven and hook-filled pop songs. But the band’s sound has also been described as rock-‘n’-roll with a touch of americana and I get that as well. Fair to say, if you like the music Rum Bar Records usually puts out (e.g., Brad Marino), you will like this as well. The vocals of Antista and his vocal melodies is reminiscent of Mighty Mighty Bosstones, but without the ska and the horns. There is a familiarity to this songs which makes this record easy to get into, but there is freshness to it as well showing that the punk spirit in these four veterans is still burning bright. Like I said, the band exceeds expectations, including mine. I did not expect to enjoy this record as much as I would. Under The Neon Heat is out now on pink vinyl on Primal Beat / Smelvis Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Road Dog Merch

New single: Jenny || Trajinero b/w Kids Of Today

Jenny, the new powerpop project from Justin Maurer (Clorox Girls, Suspect Parts, Maniac), release their new single today. The Dirt Cult & Wanda Records co-release is the follow-up to the band’s highly enjoyable self-titled debut EP from last year. On the A-side, there is the catchy and bouncy Trajinero, which is fully sung in Spanish further adding to the summer feel of the song. Flipside Kids Of Today is classic powerpop in the Gentleman Jesse mold. Fingers crossed that Maurer will record a Jenny full-length in the near future. But for now, he is working on a very interesting and cool project called Falling On Deaf Eyes: a comedy based on his experiences as a “rambunctious teenage punk rocker living with his single Deaf mother and hearing siblings on Bainbridge Island, Washington in the 1990’s.”

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Ultrabann || Big Trouble In Little Haiti

It’s usually a good sign when you have to check if a new release is not some kind of reissue of a sixties or seventies garagepunk record. But no, Ultrabann is a new band born out of befriended musicians from different bands (Ghetto Blasters, Future Virgins, Vacation, Barrence Whitfield & the Savages, Cincinnati Suds) messing with their instruments from home during a pandemic. The result is a guitar worshipping, sleazy punkrock-‘n’-roll record, with the swagger of The Stooges and the thrill of a high-octane rollercoaster. Try sitting still to Tight But Loose. Try to keep your head from nodding to the beat and guitar riff of I’m Sick. I know I can’t. And those are only two of the many highlights on the record.

I didn’t see this one coming, and it’s hitting me hard. Out now on Let’s Pretend and Mondo Trasho Records and limited to only 200 LPs.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Let’s Pretend Records || Mondo Trasho Records

New single: Tee-Vee Repairmann || Patterns

Must own single alert! There is only one way to play the Patterns EP of Tee-Vee Repairmann and that is with the volume turned all the way up. Take the guitar riffs of Sheer Mag, throw in some snotty Aussie vocals, back it up with drum beats from either a human or a machine and you get the incredible contagious powerpop-meets-garage meets-punk mashup that is Tee-vee Repairmann.

Teevee-Repairmann is the latest project of Sydney native Ishka Edmeades, a human centipede who plays in a multitude of bands (Research Reactor Corporation, Set-Top Box, Satanic Togas, G.T.R.R.C, Gee Tee), has a record label (Wartmann Inc), a zine (TV Guide), and is a graffiti artist. Want to find out more about this artist? Go here.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Christopher Peifer || The Social Distance

Music is front and center in the life of Christopher Peifer. The New Yorker works as a producer and sound designer, and throughout the years has amassed an extensive discography with acts such as Kowalskis, Blockhouses, Sir, Frances Farmer My Hero, and Heavy Creatures. He released a more than solid solo record last year called Suicide Mission, which I enjoyed but ultimately got lost in the continous flow of new music. Now, less than a year later, Peifer has released the follow up, the appropriately titled The Social Distance. I have a feeling this one won’t get lost.

The Social Distance is 30 minutes of powerpop heaven. It’s how I imagine it would sound if Paul Westerberg and Nick Lowe started a band together. Sometimes this particular brand of powerpop can sound too glossy, or too dad rock like, but you don’t have to worry about that with Peifer. He infuses his songs with just the right amount of punk and rock-‘n’-roll attitude, and his sandpaper voice has the perfect grit size. The Social Distance truly is an outstanding collection of songs with guaranteed lifetime replayability.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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