Alternative Rock

New album: Jack Droppers & The Best Intentions || Dad Rock

Based on the title Dad Rock and accompanying cover photo you could conclude that the third independently released album by Jack Droppers & The Best Intentions is a gimmick, but this is actually one to take seriously. Frontman Jack Droppers has become a father (on the back of the record sleeve he has his first child Naomi in his arms; the tenth song on the record bears her name and the eleventh, closing song was written for her: Welcome to the Party). Anyway, along with The Best Intentions (Laura Hobson, Devin Sullivan, James Kessel, Garrett Stier, and Josh Holicki) he’s recorded a collection of strong songs with compelling lyrics that will appeal to fans of Butch Walker, Jesse Malin, and Bruce Springsteen. This is infectious true American rock ‘n’ roll that deserves packed stadiums. I enjoy the album so much more than I expected based on the cover art, but I’ll pass on the limited edition Dad Rock patch they offer for sale. Listen below to the opening and closing song of the record.

Out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP.  Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Otts || One Two Three Stand

Otts are a three-piece from New-Zealand who effortlessly blend alternative rock with punk attitude and pop sensibilities. The band released two singles last year called Old Tree Tire Swing, and Over There To Shake. Their latest single again is made up of the letters of the band: One Two Three Stand. Both songs on the single rock like crazy, and the louder you play them, the better they will sound. I am keeping an close eye on Otts: Outstanding Teamwork Tremendous Songs.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Patty PerShayla & The Mayhaps || Cheap Diction

Singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist Patty PerShayla has a beautiful name, but more importantly, she has a great powerful voice that she knows how to use in the right raw way. After her solo EP Oracle Bones (2019) and many cover requests, she has now released the full length debut album Cheap Diction, together with guitarist Lucas Powell and drummer Alec Klinefelter. Here the power trio plays ten energetic songs, inspired by blues and classic / progressive rock, with a nostalgic feel (there are even guitar solos) but completely contemporary in terms of lyrics and sound. “I’ll lose my balance if I // Tiptoe around your feelings // You might have the floor, sure // But I’m dancing on the ceiling”, PerShayla sings on opening track Walking on My Hands. Like I’m upside down from this music.

Out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Fred Lee & The Restless || Sleepwalking In Daylight

Fred Lee is the alter ego of Swedish musician Fredrik Lindkvist, who in the past 20 years played in several punk bands (Knugen Faller, RIWEN, Royal Downfall, Sista Brytet, Totalt Jävla Mörker). Now he follows the path Frank Turner (with whom he has a great voice in common) also took, from hardcore to folk-rock. He wrote some narrative, soulful songs, put together backup band The Restless, with whom he recorded this strong, powerful debut album Sleepwalking In Daylight. The ten new tracks may not be as fast and loud as in the punk days, but they might hit harder (and will appeal to a wider audience). This sound can make festival fields go wild.

Out now digitally and on vinyl LP via Lövely Records. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Freight Train

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

Gimme 5! Stella Maxwell Of Stella And The Very Messed (And Cruiserweight) Shares 5 Records That Influenced The Marigold EP

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.

There was an instant familiarity when I first heard the Marigold EP by Stella And The Very Messed. It all made sense when I found out that Stella Maxwell of Cruiserweight fronts The Very Messed. Cruiserweight was a pop punk band from Austin that had a great run in the first decade of the 2000s, and the distinct voice of Maxwell was (is!) one of the draws of that band. Together with Cruiserweight alumn Dave Hawkins, she started this new project which is not pop punk, but semi-acoustic and equal parts indie pop, ’90s alternative and americana. It’s more layered and, for lack of a better word, more mature than the music of Cruiserweight, but just as accessible an enjoyable. It’s the kind of music Maxwell’s voice seems made for. In addition to Maxwell and Hawkins, the band also includes Chris Nine (Karaoke Apocalypse, Manhole) and Donnie Adkinson (The Letters Organize, Whores), with Nik Snell (The Cutaway) and Sam Rich (Black Books) recent additions for live shows.

The video for lead single, and my personal favorite on the EP, The Feeling premieres today. The video is an arts and crafts stop-motion piece of creative brilliance. Sonically, The Feeling is a song made for spring with its gently strumming guitars and catchy forward moving bass line. Lyrically and vocally, the song pulls at the heartstrings with its dark and deeply personal undertones. “And now I drink myself to bed and I cry myself to work,” Maxwell sings, and “How can you really miss what you never really knew? I get the feeling, I do ||  How can you really miss what you never really had? I know that feeling, I do.” [post continues below]


New album: Modern Amusement || Modern Amusement

If we were still living in the 90’s, American rock duo Modern Amusement could easily have been on the charts alongside Oasis, Weezer, Panic! At The Disco, Wheatus, etc. – you can hear a lot of those influences on the self-titled full-length debut album by Sam Black (vocals, guitars, keyboards, harmonica, bass) and Marco Milo (it’s not exactly clear what his role is, besides making comics to the music), assisted by OK Go’s Dan Konopka (drums, production). These are eleven original songs full of hooks and entertaining lyrics, sung by a distinctive voice that won’t appeal to everyone but captivates me – strong uptempo songs that I keep playing these days. Even 20+ years after the 90’s we can very well use some Modern Amusement!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Oh Condor || Emergency Psychic

In our forage for new music, I believe most of us drift towards music that sounds familiar, but has some elements of surprise. Dayton (Ohio) four-piece Oh Condor offer exactly that on their LP Emergency Psychic. Oh Condor play an exciting and brand of college rock with elements of emo, shoegaze, math and ’90’s alt rock. Those familiar elements draw you in, but the band keeps you on your toes, and maintains your interest with plenty of unexpected twists and turns in any sonic direction, within and between songs. Thoughout it all, the band somehow manages to create a coherent whole that sounds fresh and exceeds the sum of its parts. An impressive feat for a collective that has been making music together for 20 years. Emergency Psychic is out now on Blind Rage Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Blind Rage Records

Gimme 5! Massage Share 5 Albums The Band Listened To While Creating Still Life

Photo by Thaddeus Ruzicka

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.

You regret the things you didn’t do. It’s not just a beaten-to-death encouragement to those in doubt, there is actual research to support the claim. Basically, we are much better in recalling and regretting cases of inaction than action. And not buying the first LP by the LA based, impossible-to-google masters of jangle pop Massage is one example. That record, the 2018 Oh Boy, is a must add collection piece for any self-respecting fan of underground pop music. It also is impossible to find. Oh Boy is a heartfelt and messy record filled with pop gems inspired by The Feelies, the Go-Betweens,  and Twerps. Massage founder singer/guitarist Andrew Romano, calls Oh Boy an “anti-ambitious” record: “Nothing kills the kind of music we want to make faster than the sense that a band is trying too hard.”

Now, three years later, the band returns with their follow-up record. It’s called Still Life and it sounds less messy, more produced, and more deliberate without losing the charm and sincerity of their debut. There is a warmth, vulnerability and delicateness to the music of Still Life that, in combination with the band’s songwriting chops, gives these songs that little extra that helps to distinguish a lovable record from a likeable record. This may stem from the band’s strong intragroup connection: Massage is a collective of friends, inlaws and spouses. Anyhow, these qualities are on full display in two of the album’s early singles Made Of Moods (embedded below) and Half A Feeling. Slumberland Records already gave the record its stamp of approval, and that isn’t even the band’s record label. Mt. St. Mtn. (US), Tear Jerk (AUS/NZ) and Bobo Integral Records (EU) will co-release Still Life on July 2nd. Don’t sit on this one, like I did with the band’s Oh Boy. I have no doubt Still Life will end up in many AOTY lists.

Below, the band discusses some of their influences for Still Life. As you’ll discover, Massage is a band that not only loves creating the best underground pop imaginable, they also love obsessing about other bands from the genre.

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New album: Good Sleepy || everysinglelittlebit

The juxtaposition of band name and record label: coincidence or intentional? Not sure, but the debut full length of Massachusetts based Good Sleepy is indeed released by No Sleep Records. A similar contrast can be found in the music of Good Sleepy. It’s both full on pop and full on mathy emorock; it sounds both conventional and as a breath of fresh air, and although the songs are absolutely packed with suspense and variations in pace and dynamics while remaing parsimonious (only one song surpasses the three minute mark), none of the songs feel rushed. Together, these contradictions make everysinglelittlebit a marvel to listen to. It has that rare quality of a record that sounds like a grower, but offers immediate rewards. Out now on black with cream splatter vinyl (ltd to 300) and cream with black spatter vinyl (ltd to 200). This may sound eerily similar but in reality looks quite  different. Anyhow,  whatever variant you choose, No Sleep essentially guarantees a lack of buyer’s remorse with this one.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || No Sleep Records

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