Indie Pop

New single: Sillicone Values || Streaming TV b​/​w Nothing Wrong With Me

Bristol (UK) postpunk/indiepop hybrid Sillicone Values make a deliberate attempt of showing how little they care on their latest single. They don’t care if they sound like other bands. And, they explicitly mention that they recorded the two songs “without due care or attention.” They probably could care less if anyone listens to these songs, let alone write about them. I am not sure whether the four-piece is too cool to care or whether it genuine disinterest. Unfortunately, I like these two too much not to share. Streaming TV and Nothing Wrong With Me are a time capsule to the underground pop scene in ’80s UK. The only reason I’m sure this is in fact a present day band is that they sing about only feeling safe when they are streaming tv.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Dummy || Mandatory Enjoyment

Busy day at work yesterday, and a perfect opportunity to catch up with some of the advanced streams I’d been receiving lately. I grabbed a coffee and pressed play on Dummy’s Mandatory Enjoyment. After releasing two EPs in 2020, both of which I liked, it’s the L.A. band’s debut full length and first release for the ever reliable Trouble In Mind Records. Somehow, I found myself still listening to it three hours later – the stream automatically restarts after finishing the album. Not sure if I was in a state of flow due to the nature of my work or because of the music, perhaps a bit of both. Sure to say, Mandatory Enjoyment offered a perfect backdrop to a productive morning.

When I paid a little more attention to the music, I started to see how Dummy draws you in, hook their tentacles in your skin, unwilling to let you go. Their music blends noisy guitar pop with sonic influences ranging from jazz, to synth to drone to showgaze to new age. The songs on Mandatory Enjoyment have a lot going on, tender a great deal to discover, but also leave ample space for reflection and mind wandering. H.V.A.C may be the best example of this, with his hypnotic and repetitive rhythm and the broad soundscapes. Ultimately, Mandatory Enjoyment works on a subsconscious and conscious level.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Trouble In Mind

New EP: Veps || Open the Door

“Her fingers wrapped around in all her secrets // Tearing down the walls is getting frequent // She’s the kind that’s always insecure // She’s lonely so she never shuts the door.” These are the beautiful opening words of Girl on TV, the opening track of Open the Door, the debut EP from Norwegian four-piece Veps. Words that won’t let you go, words you want more of. Impressive, especially when you realize that the four girls of Veps (translated: Wasp) are only 17 years old. Laura (guitar), June (bass), Maja (drums) and Helena (keys/piano) have been playing together since they were 14, which probably explains their mature sound and strong synergy. Their six first songs are varied, authentic and convincing – powerful indie pop/rock with bursts that prove they know how to use their instruments and vocals for maximum impact. Music you want more of.

Open the Door is out digitally and on 12″ vinyl through Kanine Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Gimme 5! Stephen Steen of Megadose Shares His Five Favorite Records

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.

It’s been a while since our last Gimme 5. Stephen Steen must have thought so as well, because out of nowhere he sent me his five favorite records. How did this happen? Well, when you release a superb record with the potential to cross over to a major audience, you get a lot of requests and e-mails all of a sudden. And it’s easy to mixup requests from different music sites. Our win! That superb record by the way is Wild & Free by his band Megadose (our review here). It’s a record that slowly wins you over; a record on which Megadose put their own spin on ’00s indierock. If you are a fan of acts like Bands of Horses, The Shins, Fleet Foxes, The War on Drugs and Frightened Rabbit, I believe you will like this band a lot. Recently, Megadose released its first video ever which should give you a good sample of their music. [post continues below]

New EP: Slack Times || At The Blue Melon Rendezvous

If you like The Feelies, garage pop that is upbeat and jangly, or the Athens indie sound of the early ’80s, Slack Times may well turn out to be your new favorite band. Slack Times are Chris McCauley, Will Stewart and Stuart Norman who, in different cross-links play(ed) together in The Blips, Bad Hops, and Holy Youth. The band name is a nod to the pandemic lockdowns. The trio started recording in the fall of 2020 and released their first EP last spring. That EP already showed a lot of promise, but their new EP is even better *. And with better I mean all killer, no filler. Lead single Can’t Count On Anyone alone is worth the purchase of this EP that is out now on Earth Libraries.

What about that weird title for their EP? Apparently, it’s a reference to an art gallery in downtown Water Valley the band frequently encountered during their walks across the city.

* On the EP, Slack Times is helped out by producer Bronson Tew on drums on the recordings, and Matt Patton on bass.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Wolf Willow || Old Guitars & Shooting Stars

Wolf Willow is a band from Regina (Saskatchewan) that makes me want to dust off the old country tag – arguably the least used genre tag on our site. To be more specific, Wolf Willow play countrypolitan, a subgenre of country characterized by a smooth sound with weeping steel guitar, strings, and sweet background vocals. The band is not afraid to dive into other genres though. They start their new record Old Guitars & Shooting Star with the surfrock instrumental Lovers Lane, and other songs sound more like classic country (An Old Guitar & A Shooting Star) or honkey tonk (Heaven Didn’t Seem So Far). Oh and don’t forget the tasteful addition of jazzy trumpets in certain songs, or the hints of Belle & Sebastianesque indie pop (All I Can Say, Love Letters Left Unsent). This is a sophisticated and delicate record full of pleasant surprises.

For some reason, I keep associating the songs on Old Guitars & Shooting Star with movie soundtracks. Perhaps it’s the orchestral sound, but there are songs on the record that would work in a Tarantino movie, whereas others would fit perfectly in a classic Western, and still others in a James Bond flick. Wolf Willow are a guilt evoking kind of band for not listening to this kind of music more often.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: First Boy On The Moon || First Boy On The Moon

Listen, here’s the self-titled debut album from First Boy On The Moon — one giant leap for Californian singer/songwriter David Pedroza, now based in Sweden. I asked David about his moniker: “It was a song that I wrote a few years ago for my young son. He had been having a tough time adjusting at school, so I was trying to sooth him with something fun to hear. When I played it for some musician friends of mine, one of them suggested that the song title should be the name of the band.” Besides David (vocals, guitar), the band consists of Julius (lead guitar), Jens (bass), and Johannes (drums). On their LP you’ll hear nine captivating alternative pop / rock songs, in which I mainly detect influences from later U2, but also from early Bowie and contemporary The War On Drugs. The music doesn’t seem so special at first, but slowly but surely you discover more and more irresistible hooks and appealing lyrics — it gets under your skin and in your heart. A track like Pretty Vicious could easily become a radio hit, but actually that goes for every tune. Not unimportant, the artwork is pretty cool too – David was a graphic designer before he moved to Europe (a good one, as you can see). In every way this will be a gem in your record collection.


First Boy On The Moon is out now on limited transparent blue vinyl through Manic Records, available in select record stores. On Bandcamp, YouTube and streaming services you’ill find the individual songs. The album as a whole is exclusive to vinyl.

Tracklist: Drown It Out // Straight Up With You // The Truth // First Boy On The Moon // All Right Already // Grim Reaper // If This Isn’t Love // What Alice Was Talking About // Pretty Vicious

New album: Emma Russack & Lachlan Denton || Something Is Going To Change Tomorrow, Today. What Will You Do? What Will You say?

Emma Russack and Lachlan Denton are prolific songwriters from Melbourne. Somehow, between recording with their respective bands (Snowy Band, The Ocean Part, Pop Filter and others), they find time to write records together. Something Is Going To Change Tomorrow, Today. What Will You Do? What Will You say? is their latest collaborative project, their fourth (!) in three years. How do they do it? Well, combine friendship, a desire for writing honest pop music, and efficiency – the record was recorded in about 12 hours on tape.

The result is 26 minutes of laid back indiepop tunes with beautiful melodies and harmonies (listen to Long Road for example). Some have an old timey country feel to them (Still Life), some are more folky (Oh Alice, Authenticity), whereas SIGTCTT and WWYDWWYS provide slacker rock mirror images to start and close the album. And then there is Grass Is Greener, which is 100 seconds of indie pop perfection.  SIGTCTTWWYDWWYS  is out now on Bobo Integral (EU) and Spunk Records (AUS).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Spunk Records

New album: Semihelix || Recoil

Austin, Texas singer/guitarist Geannie Friedman played in hardcore band Kite Flying Society, and in two pop bands Saving Twilight, The Weak Ends, and the Wonderers, before starting Semihelix. Initially it was a solo project, but now Kevin Martin (bass), and Valdemar Barrera (drums) are part of the lineup. The trio plays fuzzy dream psych pop with melodic yet loud sounds. Their full-length debut album Recoil is about resilience, love, depression, uplifting others, and bouncing back. I can imagine that the band members are gazing at their shoes one moment, and staring into nothingness the next, but in between look at you defiantly. The ten songs on this record are light and dark at the same time, mixing emotions, and enchanting you slowly but surely.

Recoil is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP via Mariel Recording Company. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Andrew Taylor and The Harmonizers || Andrew Taylor and The Harmonizers

What did you do during the lockdowns? Did you hybernate bingewatching series all day? Did you work out more? Read more books? Took a lot of walks? For some of us, the restrictions hindered our well-being and proactivity. For others, the lockdowns unlocked opportunities, time and energy to get creative. Count Andrew Taylor in the latter category. The Scot, who also fronts the indie pop powerhouses Dropkick and the Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness, started turning the randomly recorded audio clips, melodies and chord progressions on his phone into actual songs, which he recorded solo in his garage. Soon after, more songs were recorded with the help of his brother Alastair, Ian Grier (also of Dropkick) and long-time collaborator Iain Sloan. They called themselves The Harmonizers.

Within a couple of months, Taylor had about 40 songs which he originally planned, depending on their musical direction, as blueprints for a new solo record, or a Dropkick or Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness record. Early 2021, Taylor decided to pick the best songs from the previous year for a proper vinyl, CD and digital release – with The Harmonizers re-recording and improving the songs that had none of their prior input. I’m grateful he did. The 14 songs on the self-titled record are warm and pleasant, and you have to admire Taylor for being so prolific without making any concessions to the quality of the songs. The melodies are smooth yet jangly, the harmonies are gorgeous, and the balance between more uptempo tracks and more subdued ones is about perfect. It’s classic indie (power)pop for fans of Teenage Fanclub and Wilco.

Andrew Taylor and The Harmonizers is available for streaming on Bandcamp. The CD and LP will be available early December. Pre-orders are up now.
Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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