Indie Pop

New single: Bubblegum Lemonade || Never Have I Ever

The good news: everyone’s favorite twee power poppers Bubblegum Lemonade have come out of pandemic hibernation with a new three song single. The best news: It is the lead-up single to a new full length called Jangleadelica that will be out later this year via Matinée Recordings.

Bubbblegum Lemonade sound in particular good shape on Never Have I Ever and non album cut At The Pool. Extremely infectious, positive mood inducing quality pop from Scotland that should put a smile on your  face if you long for the up tempo midcareer material of Belle And Sebastian.  The digital single is available for streaming in loads of places and out now through Matinée Recordings.

Add to wantlist: Matinée Recordings

Album premiere: Charlie Reed || Eddy

Today, we premiere a special record from a special band. Risen out of the ashes of Uh Bones, meet Charlie Reed aka the Chicago all-star cast that is Luke Trimble (Uh Bones), Colin Croom (Twin Peaks), Nick Beaudoin (Spread Joy), Nora & Nolan Chin, Tyler Bixby (Spread Joy), and Justin Vittori (Diviño Niño). Their debut LP Eddy is out tomorrow (July 21) through Earth Libraries. You can stream the record in full below.

New album: Aggi || Aggi Hates You (Completely)

If you, like me, have never heard of Aggi, you shouldn’t feel bad. The short-lived Indonesian band released just ten songs spread out over four singles between 2013 and 2016. All of the releases have long been out of print and hard to find. Fortunately, Jigsaw Records have released the complete output of the band on one handy CD.

Jigsaw Records head honcho Chris MacFarlane discovered the band when he was trading records with HeyHo! Records. “One of that label’s final releases in 2014 was the College Friend cdep from Aggi and the second I heard it, I was FLOORED, to say the least. I mean c’mon, three songs in under 4½ minutes that sounded exactly like vintage Henry’s Dress?! How have I NOT found my new favorite band??” I can totally relate to that touch of awe from first discovering the music of Aggi. Call it tweepunk, call it noisepop or call it C86-core, the indie pop of Aggi is primitively fun and sweet.

Buy the CD through Jigsaw Record, you won’t regret it.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Senseless Optimism || It Gets Better

Good vibes in hard times, that’s the motto of Massachusetts-based singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Brittany Tsewole. With her indie pop project Senseless Optimism – featuring Nate Leavitt (bass, guitar), Dan Cederholm (drums), Easmond Hoansi (keys), Matt Odabashian (keys), Brian Murphy (horns) and Dan Nicklin (percussion) – and their debut EP It Gets Better, she spreads a message of positivity, hope and overcoming obstacles. However, life is not without worries: the five tracks here span a lyrical spectrum across the various stages of grief, from denial (Give Me Time), to anger (Hater), to depression (Couped Up), and finally to acceptance (Nothin’ To Me and standout lead single Leave You Behind). They are basically pop songs, but with influences from jazz, rock, soul, R&B and psych. Groovy and warm music, wonderful vocals – the future is bright.

It Gets Better is out now digitally (self-released). Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Neil Brogan || Things Keep Getting In The Way

A solo record by Neil Brogan of Sea Pinks, Girls Names and Cruising fame? That doesn’t just sound good on paper. Things Keep Getting In The Way offers 30 minutes of smooth jangle guitars, laid back vocals, and simply great melodies. Admittedly, this isn’t the first solo release by Brogan – there is a lot to discover on his Bandcamp page, but to my knowledge it’s the first solo release with a physical (CD) release. That makes sense, because I think it contains the best of his recent recordings. Brogan has a knack for writing tunes that make you feel good. The combination of his voice and the clean jangle guitar riffs has a soothing effect.

Things Keep Getting In The Way is life summarized in six words, but Brogan makes it sound like the world is alright after all (or will be). There even is a song on here called I’m In A Good Mood. Same, Neil. Same!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Tchotchke || Tchotchke

New York-based trio Tchotchke – Anastasia Sanchez (drums, vocals), Eva Chambers (bass, vocals) and Emily Tooraen (guitar, vocals) – have released their self-titled debut album, produced by The Lemon Twigs. At first hearing these are simply nine indie pop songs with a 60s girl group sound, but surprising baroque, psych, folk and rock influences – guest musicians added cellos, horns and violins – make the album more unique, fascinating and eccentric than you initially expect. Wonderful arrangements, enchanting vocals. Actually, there are no weak moments here, but apart from the singles Ronnie, Dizzy and Don’t Hang Up On Me, in particular Oh Sweetheart, Come (featuring Jonathan Rado) is an addictive summer hit.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Martha || Beat Perpetual

As if I needed any more reason to love Durham (UK) indiepoppunks Martha, they recently started covering some of my favorite bands. On their last single, they included a fun cover of an Allo Darlin’s classic (covered in our Monthly Dusted feature). This time, they do Tenement’s Dreaming Out Loud, and it’s another good one that’s stays true to the original.

But what really stands out on their latest 7″ is the Martha original and instant pop punk hit Beat Perpetual. It may very well be the catchiest song I’ve heard lately. Its chorus is massive and glorious and perhaps the poppiest they’ve recorded in their already super melodic discography. Have I told you yet how much I love this band?

Beat Perpetual is out through Dirtnap Records, and available through Green Noise (USA) and Specialist Subject (UK/EU). It’s a must own.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Green Noise || Specialist Subject

New single: Parlor Hour || Demon Shuffle / Cute Song

Zoe, Noah, Nancy and Eli make up Parlor Hour, a slacker twee outfit from Portland, Oregon. This 4-minute single is my introduction to the band, and I sure hope we’ll meet again. The two songs are scrappy and infectious, just the way we like it at ATW.

“I sat down to write a cute song // But i have reality // on my shoulder // looking over.”

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Star 99 || Star 99

Last year, San Jose’s Star 99 dropped their excellent debut EP My Year In Lists. I almost forgot about that one, so I was happy to have Bandcamp notify me of new Star 99 material.

The new single has three songs: Born To Run (not a cover), Vegas, and Wyoming – The latter sounded so familiar, I was searching my brain for the original artist only to discover it’s a rerecorded version of a Star 99 original from last year’s EP. The new version strips away all instrumentation of the original except for the guitar and vocals. In doing so, it places a spotlight on the songwriting skills of Star 99.

The two additional tracks on the single (Born To Run and Vegas) further solidify my appreciation for the melodic indiepunk/altpop of Star 99. I have yet to hear a weak song from this band, and am curious to see where they go next.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: El Buen Hijo || Pasatiempo

Based on their amount of montly listeners on Spotify – just shy of 60k, it seems fuzzy and playful indiepoppers El Buen Hijo are making some serious waves in their country of origin (Spain). And deservedly so. I wouldn’t be surprised to see those waves reaching other coastal lines as well, because the four songs on the Pasatiempo EP are almost too easy to like.

Following up their debut LP ¡PAN PAN PAN! (2021), El Buen Hijo sound decidedly pop on their new EP but at a pace that suggests they are either punks in disguise or score high on a scale of hyperactivity. The summer time vibes are high on this one. 7″ out now through Sonido Muchacho.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Sonido Muchacho

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