Indie Pop

New album: The Yellow Melodies || Pleasant Dreams

The well of inspiration the Ramones provide is everlasting. I don’t think there’s a band that’s been covered more, at least in terms of full album tributes which we see a couple of each year.  Often these renditions stay true to the originals, like recent tributes by Brad Marino (Subterranean Jungle) and K7s (Mondo Bizarro). Here’s a completely different approach though by Spanish indie pop band The Yellow Melodies. They celebrate the 40th anniversary of Pleasant Dreams (1981) by transforming it into a heartfelt indie pop record. I can’t help but smile while listening to the orchestrated twee pop versions of songs like The KKK Took My Baby Away, You Sound Like You’re Sick and 7-11. For now, the release is available on cd and digital only, but a vinyl co-release by Hurrah! Música, Old Bad Habits, Discos Imprescindibles and Snap!! Records will follow later this year.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Pony Hunt || VAR!

VAR! is the second album by Pony Hunt. The press releases describes the sound of the band as psychedelic folk, which makes sense I guess, but it understates how varied the soundscapes are on VAR!. The album opens strongly with Pulse, a mesmerizing song that seems to come from a different era. It’s the first of many standouts, like the gorgeous Stardust, the dreamy Rise and the modern indie rock oriented Stardust and That Feeling.

In terms of its direction, VAR! is an outlier in my musical diet, but one I find myself returning to. Most likely, this is due to the power, honesty and vulnerability in the voice of Jessie Antonick, who truly takes these songs to a different level. Her voice goes beyond mere talent. I like to believe that her life experiences and travels add an additional emotional layer to her voice – at different times, Antonick lived on a sailboat and in a chevy van. Antonick’s identity struggles, a central theme on the record, likely also factor in

The second main draw of VAR! is Pony Hunt’s ability to create something fresh and exciting out of the many different generations of American music. Pony Hunt makes you get lost in the woods and then drops crumbs of doo-wop, folk, country, indie rock, blues, soul and punk to help you claw your way back; It’s quite the adventure. VAR! is out now on Wing And Wing, including a limited edition with a handmade lyric book.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Wing And Wing

New EP: Polar Image || The Ballad of Cowboy Logan

OK, just for fun a quick little post about a (digital) EP outside our usual territory. The Ballad of Cowboy Logan contains four short acoustic guitar songs as an ode to the character Logan (aka Wolverine), as seen in cowboy look in the comic series Uncanny X-men. The cinematic instrumentals tell a story: the hero rides, falls in love, is chased, and dies, all in just over five minutes. Nice and well executed idea from the Californian songwriter who goes by the name Polar Image, don’t you think?

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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: Kodah || The Apocalypse

Here at Add To Wantlist HQ we try to listen to as much new music as possible. Often we know after half a minute whether we want to pay more attention to a release or not. Sometimes that takes a lot more time, and Kodah’s (digital) LP The Apocalypse is a good example of that: not a sound you hear every day, but so intriguing that you keep coming back to it. Kodah is the alternative pop-rock indie project of American singer / songwriter / producer / audio engineer / composer Dakoyta. She does everything a little differently than usual: alienating lyrics through distinct, dreamy vocals on a bed of hypnotic electro-rock. These aren’t songs that open up to you quickly, but they’re intriguing enough to make the effort to do so. Stream the album below and judge for yourself.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Concrete Jane || Sole Mio

Contrary to what you might expect from the name Concrete Jane, this is the work of a man called Julien Zumkehr in everyday life. Together with his bandmates Cédric Gerfaud, Antoine Crettenand and Léon Boesch, the musician from Geneva (Switzerland) just released the lo-fi folk mini-album Sole Mio, containing six pleasantly languid songs that fans of Mac DeMarco and RF Shannon will appreciate. Out now digitally and on vinyl 10″ through Le Pop Club Records / Urgence Disk​. Summery psych pop with wonderful guitar playing. 

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Concrete Jane

New EP: The Vovos || Jana

The Vovos are from Melbourne. Named after an iconic Australian biscuit that is covered in pink fondant and raspberry jam filling, it makes sense to expect the band to sound extremely sugary. But, although there is plenty of melody to the music of The Vovos, this is no bubblegum. On the 8-song Jana EP, The Vovos play DIY garagepop and indiepunk with ramshackle charm and youthful energy that sounds like a throwback to the eighties. Their songs about being lost in IKEA, schoolyard crushes, teenage drama, and climate change are a lot of fun, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this band inspire a new wave of riot girls to pick up instruments and create something of their own.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Roolette Records

New album: Recreational Mouthwash || If That Means Anything

I am not sure how I stumbled upon If That Means Anything , the debut album by Recreational Mouthwash. The queer indiepop four-piece from New York plays a kind of music I don’t usually go for. But yesterday I had it on my headphones while walking in a summer drizzle, and for some reason, it just clicked. I was drawn in by album opener Everything But You, a minor masterpiece with soulfully sung deeply personal lyrics, wandering instruments, cool guitar licks and a slow buildup to a cathartic release. The sheer musical talent and the willingness to travel different musical paths in the song distantly reminds me of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s II album. Everything But You essentially offers a blueprint of the music of Recreational Mouthwash, a band that takes their time in building up tension in their songs and play around with delayed rewards for listeners. The emotional edge, sense of urgency, the stellar guitar work and pop sensibilities in the music of Recreational Mouthwash sets the band up for a bigger stage, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this band explode rather sooner than later. If That Means Anything is quite the leap from my usual musical diet, but I like it a lot.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Torrey || Something Happy

Please pay attention if you like bands like Alvvays, The Umbrellas and Fazerdaze. Meet Torrey, a four-piece indie pop band based in the Bay Area (San Francisco, California), fronted by songwriters and siblings Ryann (vocals / bass) and Kelly (rhythm guitar), and supported by close pals Eric (drums ) and Adam (lead guitar). In their own words they make sweetly melancholic, hook-heavy pop tunes and there is nothing to argue with. Their debut album Something Happy has ten joyful jangly guitar songs, sung clearly and with a clear sound. As welcome cold snacks on lazy hot days. Stream below.

Out now digitally. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Andrew Bryant || A Meaningful Connection

“What is this feeling that I have // ​​Like I’m caught between the here and the now? // Just some shitty midlife crisis // That would bore even the steadiest crowd?” — the first lines of the track Reality Winner capture very well what Andrew Bryant’s new album A Meaningful Connection is about. Here’s a man confused about time and truth, needs and fears. What is a meaningful connection? What is real? What story haven’t I told yet? What if the supposed truth turns out to be a lie? How will I go when my time comes?

The cover photo recalls John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Bed-ins for Peace, but we don’t see flowers but a smartphone. Opening song Private Window explains: “Folk singers on Twitter // You know they’ve got all the answers // They’re all at the tips of your fingers // In that pale blue light // You can lay down in your bed // Hang your hat on every line that you’ve read // While your lover is dreaming // You are waking to that blue bird song.” The American songwriter / musician struggles, but manages to capture his quest in poetic lyrics, with many topical phrases worth remembering. He wrote, recorded, produced, performed and mixed all the music himself, an impressive achievement. “I sing all my songs and feel them // Staring at the back of my eyelids // And we call this a meaningful connection”, he sings in Birmingham, with a voice that is vulnerable and powerful at the same time. I feel the songs too. This is a beautiful indie pop record.

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

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