Indie Pop

New album: Tamara Luonto || Honeymoon

The Finnish four piece Tamara Luonto started around five years ago, steadily building a live reputation in their homeland. This week, they dropped their 8-song debut LP Honeymoon (on Humu Records / Hillotehdas / Lempi & Sylvi Discs), and it’s an extremely fun listen, even though I truly have no idea what these songs are about. Tamara Luonto operate on a continuum between punk and indiepop, constantly incorporating influences from powerpop, garage and rock’n’roll. Their songs are charming and full of pop. If you liked that Teini-Pää LP we wrote about a while back, make sure to check this one out as well, or vice versa.

Add to wantlist: Humu Records

New album: Model Shop || Love Interest

There is no shortage of motivational quotes about endings and new beginnings. Likely, many of these quotes apply to the Math & Physics Club who released their last  LP (final?) in 2018. In these past seven days, two M&PC related releases were dropped, and it’s definitely an ‘one and one makes three’ kind-of-deal. Singer Charles Bert released his solo debut as Field School last  Friday. And this week marks the debut of Model Shop (Seattle), a new project by M&PC members Kevin Emerson and Ethan Jones together with bassist Jen Fox (Julep, Way South, These People Here).

Like Field School, Model Shop impress from the get go. Album opener Lucky is just one of many highlights on Love Interest. The record is varied and strays further from the M&PC mold than Field School. Model Shop have no issue switching between slow and moody song to upbeat and uplifting tunes. Thoughout it all, Model Shop deliver top of the class indie pop that they generously shower with lush and memorable melodies and delightful harmonies.

Love Interest is out now through Meritorio Records – what a year for that label!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Meritorio

New EP: The Lunar Towers || Hurry Up And Wait

Last summer we were introduced to UK four-piece The Lunar Towers – songwriters Rory Moore, Joe Richardson, Rob Sewell and drummer Bradley Hillier Smith – through their infectious single Happy as Larry. With four new nice tracks, brought together on their debut EP Hurry Up And Wait, they prove that they have more to offer. They call their music garage pop, but it actually sounds too good for that. You’ll hear bright melodies by jangly guitars, and relatable lyrics by brilliant vocal harmonies. Energetic, sunny and lovable.

Hurry Up And Wait is out now digitally and on CD through Colorama Records. All profits will go towards recording new tunes, so you know what to do.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Field School || When Summer Comes

Charles Bert (of Math & Physics Club and Unlikely Friends fame) returns to the top of the indie pop class with his new solo project Field School. When Summer Comes, as the collection of songs is called, is another example of how, despite its devistating and distrupting effects, the global pandemic inspired some great art. Bert used the period of lockdowns and social isolation to start writing and recording new songs, playing every instrument “learning on the fly.” Ultimately, that experimentation resulted in When Summer Comes.

When Summer Comes is indie pop bliss. The ingredients are familiar: jangly and chiming guitars, Summer melodies, a sense of melancholy and longing. The LP wraps around you like a warm and comfortable blanket, and lets you simply enjoy the moment. No distractions, no worries, just good music. The percussion on most of these songs is sparse, but somehow that feels natural, and only further draws you attention to the delightful guitars, the lyrics and the delicate voice of Bert. Add Field School to the ever growing list of amazing contemporary jangle pop bands like Massage, Umbrellas, Chime School, Quivers, The Laughing Chimes and The Umbrella Puzzles.

When Summer Comes is the kind of record that would not look out of place in the K-Records, Sarah Records or Slumberland Records catalogue. But Bobo Integral is just a perfect fit as well.  Buy it there now.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Dumb || Pray 4 Tomorrow

In a musical landscape overloaded with new music each week, an 18 song 40 minute record can be a lot to digest. However, in case of Dumb’s new record (Pray 4 Tomorrow) it’s a thrilling adventure that provides as many detours as rewards. At its core, Dumb (Vancouver) play the kind of postpunk that brought fame to Parquet Courts. The average Dumb song is shorter though. There are more fast songs, and Dumb effortlessly switch groovy post punk, classic indie rock, slacker rock, stop-start punk, indie punk and even ska. Variety is a strength on Pray 4 Tomorrow and the cool guitar riffs and groovy bass lines are superfluous

Dumb’s previous records (Seeing Green (2018) and Club Nites (2019) both found their way into my collection, and Pray 4 Tomorrow will follow asap. It is out now through Mint Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Rainn Byrns || New In Town

Talented DIY musician Rainn Byrns has traded sunny Texas for rainy South London, but his music could have been made in Melbourne. From his home studio he translated his youthful and slightly worrisome or bored view on the world around him and his personal well-being into eleven summery songs, that have now been brought together on his full-length debut album New In Town. His guitar playing and vocals are at times reminiscent of Kurt Vile or Mac DeMarco, but the sound – courtesy of backing band The Byrnouts – is a bit fuller and looser at the same time. Although the lyrics cut dark feelings, they ultimately turn out to be optimistic, and the melodies are sweet and cheerful. This is melancholic jangle pop so bright that Byrns is understandably wearing sunglasses in the cover photo.

New In Town is out now on CD and vinyl LP through Futureproof Records.

Add to wantlist: Futureproof || Rough Trade

New EP: Sarah Mary Chadwick || Flipped It

Some music is so intimate, vulnerable, raw and heartfelt, that as a listener you almost feel burdened that you are witnessing it. Anyone who has seen Daniel Johnston or Conor Oberst live will understand what I mean. I now also have that experience when hearing Flipped It, the new single by New Zealand singer-songwriter Sarah Mary Chadwick. She recorded the track during the sessions for last year’s Me & Ennui Are Friends, Baby LP, but she couldn’t find a comfortable place for it on that record. She accompanies herself on the piano, but that is in the service of the lyrics – it is the vocals that hit hard. B-side All Those Things We’ll Never Do, from the Please Daddy sessions (2019) is almost as heartbreaking. Goosebumps and tears fight for priority.

The self-produced Flipped It EP is out now digitally (5 songs) and on vinyl 7″ (2 songs) through Kill Rock Stars.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Kill Rock Stars

New album: Breanna Barbara || Nothin’ But Time

Fuzz Club has another winner. Six years after her debut LP Mirage Dreams, Breanna Barbara is back with her second full-length album, called Nothin’ But Time. Although the New York City-based musician has been collaborating with trip-hop hero Tricky in the meantime (she wrote most of the new tunes while touring with him), for this new music you’ll have to look in a different corner of your local record store. The first part of the album delivers uptempo garage psych, for fans of The Limiñanas, Ghost Woman and The Paranoyds, but towards the end the artist slows down towards dark slowcore and dreamy indie pop that could have come from Portishead or Cat Power. The songs vary in tempo and atmosphere, but they are always full of blues, grand gestures and honesty – somewhat theatrical, held together by powerful vocals. Barbara explains: “I wanted each song to come from a genuine place. I’m very sensitive and emotional, and I’m at my best when I’m coming from a true place.” It proves to be a good starting point for an intriguing and exciting journey.

Nothin’ But Time is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Fuzz Club Records. Produced, engineered and mixed by Andrija Tokic, and with contributions from Ben Trimble (guitar, keys, back-up vocals), Charles Garmendia (drums, percussion), “Tall Juan” Zaballa (guitar, bass, keys, percussion, back-up vocals), Evan Heinze (guitar, keys, back-up vocals), Jack Lawrence (bass), Derry deBorja (keys, synth), John Palmer (organ, keys), Kyshona Armstrong (back-up vocals), Alexis Saski (back-up vocals), John and Liz Estes (strings), Jose Aybar (bass) and Ricardo Allesio (keys).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Fuzz Club

New single: Hidden Pictures || Randi

American musician Richard Gintowt has once again written and recorded two great new songs for his band Hidden Pictures, two tracks which I would include in my playlist if I had a radio station. In both Randi and Only Memories, the guitars jangle fine melodies under appealing lyrics (“You never cared much for power pop // Put on Big Star and your face would drop”), hand claps and “yeah’s” included. Such perfect pop music only takes two minutes to make a lasting impression.

Randi is out now digitally via I Love Doby. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Dogeyed || Hot For The Moon

Here is a bittersweet one: the second and final EP by Dogeyed (Bristol, UK). Recorded directly on tape two years ago, it is finally out on 7″ through Specialist Subject Records. It’s been a while since I’ve been this impressed by a pop record, although I’m not sure whether pop is the best decription of Dogeyed’s sound. They are a hard to categorize band who selfidentify as “sad lounge music for fans of misery.” To be sure, the four songs on Hot For The Moon have dark and moody undertones, groovy bass rhythms, and above all are heartbreakingly beautiful. Let’s call it altpop.

All four songs leave a lasting impression, but the standout track for me is True. It’s a song that lets each of the three members of Dogeyed shine, and where the amazing singer Harriet Elder gives me goosebumps when her voice breaks around the 1:12 mark. The sheer quality of this EP is impressive, and I can’t believe it marks the end of Dogeyed.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Specialist Subject

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