Indie Rock

New EP: GhostDog || Così Parlò Fitzcarraldo

Italian musician and author Manuel Lieta was already active in the Milanese indie underground in the late 90s, first playing in Pranxter, then in the ’00s as founder of Stardog. Eventually he got sick of the scene there, the years of struggle and the infantry of the people involved. Now, based in Berlin, he’s back with newfound energy and new music, as GhostDog. Here’s the debut EP Così parlò Fitzcarraldo under that moniker, featuring five original tracks not only sung in Italian but also sounding as if they are descended from an arthouse film that takes place there. This is cinematic indie rock with touches of post-punk and psych, dark and thrilling, with sensual or ominous lyrics. Not for everyone, but well worth it.

Così Parlò Fitzcarraldo is out now digitally via Gelo Dischi.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp 

New EP: Austin Albright || Living Room Life

Austin Albright is a singer-songwriter who makes music in the woods of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, inspired by artists such as Parquet Courts, Modest Mouse and Kevin Morby. His tunes are better than he probably realizes himself. On his new EP Living Room Life, you can hear five exciting indie rock songs to which a handful of post-punk, garage rock and jangle pop have been added. Albright (vocals, bass, guitars, keys) is supported by The Nephews – David Skovron (lead guitar, acoustic guitar, percussion), Dan Shade (guitar) and Tyler Carmody (drums, percussion, saxophone, guitar) – which explains the full sound. Clever structures, cool vocals, amazing riffs.

Living Room Life is out now digitally via Sven Jorgenson’s Jolly Jams.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: The Laughing Chimes || Zoo Avenue EP

From the moment we discovered the music of Southeast Ohio’s The Laughing Chimes, we’ve been fans of teenage brothers Evan and Quinn Seurkamp. They now follow up their convincing debut full-length album In This Town with the Zoo Avenue EP, which is released by the never-disappointing Slumberland Records – a great combination. You’ll hear six fresh jangle pop tunes that would all be hits in other times. Opening track Ice Cream Skies immediately grabs you with an irresistible guitar melody and “pa-da-pa” harmonies, only to embrace you even more tightly with Laurel Heights (which we already knew as a single, then Laurel Heights Court). The title track is another highlight that won’t let go, but really there are no weak moments here. This is perfect pop that brings back the summer.

The Zoo Avenue EP is out now digitally and on cassette through Slumberland Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Slumberland

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 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 EP: Dan Webb And The Spiders || Hey Guys

Just because Dan Webb is on a touring hiatus to spend quality time with his loved ones, doesn’t mean he stopped writing great tunes. Hey Guys is his second EP of the year, and another fine one. Dan Webb is pushing all of the buttons on the Hey Guys EP, from writing to playing all the instruments and singing, and from recording to mastering -with a special shoutout to Shawn Higgins who did the gorgeous art work.

Webb opts for a varied sound on the EP, effortlessly mixing ’90’s alternative and punk rock. The approach pays off. Before you know it, passing through a noisy one, a catchy one, a slow burner, an acoustic driven one, you’ve arrived at the final track of the EP, the standout Stranger To Failure. The Hey Guys EP is another W in the DWatS discography.

“But I’m no stranger to failure
I’ve been doing it my whole life
And I’ve gotten so much practice that I’m
Finally doing it right”

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: S.C.A.B. || S.C.A.B.

Scab won’t be the first thing that comes to mind when you have to come up with a band name, but in the case of New York City-based four-piece S.C.A.B., it’s simply the first letters of the band members’ names – initially a working title, but you know how it goes once you get used to it, especially if you can see it as a metaphor for protection and healing for a a tight-knit group of best friends who’ve always been there for one another. Sean Camargo (vocals, guitar, lyrics), Cory Best (guitar), Alec Alabado (bass, synth) and Brandon Hafetz (drums) just released their sophomore, eponymous full-length album (self-produced), pairing street-smart poetry with a New York sound. “Found another way into a world I wanna see and find out about”, that’s how opening song Why Do I Dream Of You begins, and from which everything that follows seems to flow from. A track like C86 may reveal their influences, but with Six Songs Into Your Spotify Playlist they make it clear that they live in the present. This is melodic indie rock with vibes of assertive post-punk and dreamy shoegaze – jangling guitars in the foreground and nostalgia in the background – and as restless as the city that never sleeps.

S.C.A.B. is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Grind Select. RIYL: Beach Fossils, DIIV, Ducktails.

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

New EP: Yeah Maybe || Yeah Maybe

Yeah Maybe is the second EP by Tacoma (Washington) duo Yeah Maybe. It’s also the second EP the band released this year – the first was called Ok, Sure. For a band with such a non-committal name, they sure are productive and take their music serious. They’ve already planned a 6-song follow up EP, after which they intend to promote to full length format. I hope labels are taking note, because here is a band I think could make some waves in the indie scene. Equal parts indie rock, grunge and punk rock, Yeah Maybe combine loud guitars and drums,  with pretty sweet melodies.

The band went with an old school approach while recording this new EP, using analog equipment in different stages of detoriation. The band explains: “We went with a very spontaneous on the fly recording process. You could say this EP is a very big homage to the garage rock and punk rock I grew up listening to. You might hear recording errors, hiccups, or other stuff, but that’s whatever I need to stop being a perfectionist anyways. Its lofi rock, so I guess I get a free pass on the mistakes?”

I haven’t found anything wrong yet with this EP yet. Keep em coming, Yeah Maybe.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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