Indie Rock

New album: Classic Traffic || Classic Traffic

You know what is even better than discovering a great new band? That band dropping their debut full-length just one week later. The best part though? The 8-song 24 minute effort fully living up to the expectations.

Classic Traffic (New Jersey) finds its origins in Puddle Splasher and features Andy Altadonna (Guitar, Bass, Vocals) & Dante Fotino (Drums, Lyrics). I compared Classic Traffic to The Lemonheads, Nirvana, Nada Surf and The Replacements in my previous post on the band. That was based on the first two songs I heard, both of which are included on the full album. Now that I’ve heard the whole thing, Lemonheads and Nada Surf particularly still come to mind – listen to True Blue for example. I would add Teenage Fanclub to the list based solely on the enchanting Ten Minute Window. Classic Traffic combines a strong sense of melody with a joy for rocking out.

Written and recorded in just a couple of weeks to take advantage of Guitar Center’s return policy, Classic Traffic is a smooth ride with few detours and zero blockages.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Various Artists || Welcome To Oakland

Should we pack our bags and just move to Oakland? If that decision would solely depend on the quality of bands germinating from the fertile grounds of that area, it would be a no-brainer. Just take a listen to the Welcome To Oakland comp.

Curated by Dandy Boy Records, quickly becoming a go-to source for underground pop excellence, Welcome To Oakland compiles the cream of the crop of the Oakland scene. That includes ATW favorites like Sob Stories, Yae-Ming and The Rumours, The 1981, Blue Ocean, R.E. Seraphin, but also bands currently not on our radar but we can’t wait to hear more from like Throwback Party, Fast Execution, and Shutups.

Welcome To Oakland is the kind of comp you play front-to-back without skipping any of the songs, striking the right balance between familiar hits and new discoveries. It is out now on Cassette at Dandy Boy Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Abel Natürlich || Smug

Geertruida, a record label from the Northern coastal province in the Netherlands, provides the perfect metaphor for Abel Natürlich’s debut record Smug: “A restless theme park ride.” It’s probably the weirdest thing I actually enjoyed lately.

THERE IS JUST SO MUCH GOING ON! That was my first impression. Smug is a kind of record that intentionally overstimulates. And musically it’s all over the place. There is a chiptune element to most of the songs, there are egg punk parts, there definitely is some baroque pop to the record – the vocal melodies strangely remind me of The Zombies’ Odessey And Oracle.

About that theme park metaphor. Smug sounds more like a really dense theme park than a specific ride. Let’s say each of the songs has a lot of rides that are all hectic and unpredictable. The waiting time in between? Minimal.

Bring your own food and drinks. Smug is out now through Geertruida Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Young Harts || All I Got

Young Harts is an indie(punk)rock band from France. Their new record All I Got starts strongly with 1+1=11, a contagious poppy punkrocktrack that raises high expectations.

It’s not a prototypical Young Harts song though. On the remainder of the record, Young Harts reveal themselves as indie rock rather than punkrock. But I can’t help believing that the four members of Young Harts (Chris, Julien, Nico, Yohan) grew up as punks who are expanding their sonic boundaries out of an appreciation of The Jealous Sound, Jets To Brazil, and Midtown. Solid stuff, and I love the art direction featuring the photography of Brian Agnes.

All I Got is out now in different formats through a bunch of labels including Eternalis Records, Crapoulet Records, APB Records, No Way Asso, Inhumano, Bad Health Records; Fireflies Fall, PPandM / Opposite Prod, Ganache Records – pretty cool to see many labels unite to make the release of this one possible.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Young Harts

New album: Hazy Sour Cherry || Strange World

Japanese four-piece Hazy Sour Cherry released their successful debut album Tour De Tokyo in 2019, which they are now following with the new LP Strange World, again very nice. Tsuzumi (vocals), Jun Ham (guitar), Karin (drums), and Poppo Professor (bass – now replaced by Chiba) play rattling indie rock, with 60s girl-groups, 50s doowop and older traditional influences, that sounds contemporary. The twelve new songs are energetic, infectious and uplifting. We may live in a strange world, but these sympathetic twenty-somethings keep their spirits up. And so do we, thanks to them.

Strange World is out now digitally, and soon on vinyl LP, through Damnably.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Classic Traffic || Solo Show / I Am A Dream

Well hello Classic Traffic. Where did you come from all of a sudden? Do you mind if I place you on the top of my bands-to-watch list?

Classic Traffic is a band of two from New Jersey featuring Puddle Splasher‘s Andy Altadonna (Guitar, Bass, Vocals) & Dante Fotino (Drums, Lyrics). If you like The Lemonheads, Nirvana, Nada Surf and The Replacements, I’m pretty sure that this band gets you as excited as I am. Hopefully a taste of things to come.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Savak || Human Error / Human Delight

Five records in, and Savak (featuring members of Obits, Holy Fuck, The Nation Of Ulysses, and The Cops) is still finding ways to keep their mid tempo indie rock interesting. Human Error / Human Delight is a subtle record, which makes it the perfect soundtrack for a busy work day. It’s the kind of record that offers an ebb and flow of attentional demand that feels natural. It’s the kind of record that keeps you moving forward, and where each of the songs have moments where you are pulled in without ever becoming too distracting. It’s a layered and diverse piece of work, intelligent but not pretentious, and well suited for multiple plays.

I’ve noticed several reviews of the record describing Savak’s sound as postpunk, which I guess reveals my ignorance about that genre. To my ears, there are definite ’80s influences but more from punkrock, powerpop and American underground pop. Above all, it’s quality guitar driven indie rock.

Give Human Error / Human Delight a couple of spins, it’s an understated yet rewarding record, and it keeps growing on me. LP available now through Peculiar Works Music, Ernest Jennings Record Co. and Geenger Records – the black and white splatter version looks particularly appealing and complements the stylish artwork very well.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Green/Blue || Paper Thin

Listen. We get it. There is a definite rebound effect to the pandemic. Records were shelved, tours were postponed. Bands and fans had to wait for what felt like forever to get reacquainted and celebrate their shared love of music. As such, we’ve seen so many releases this year that we’re struggling to keep up. But it gets worse when bands release not one but two great records a mere six months apart. So damn you, Green/Blue!

I’m looking at you, Jim Blaha (Blind Shake/Shadow In The Cracks), Annie Sparrows (Soviettes/Awesome Snakes), Dan Henry (Sgt 6 Assault/Dummies/France Has The Bomb), and Hideo Takahashi (France Has The Bomb/Sweet J.A.P./Nice & Neat Records). I know you are respected veterans of the Minneapolis scene, but you are turning us into spoiled little brats if you continue on this path. With your short and tight mid-fi mesmerizing new wavish, garagy, postpunky pop nuggets. With these ten tracks on Paper Thin that are just as great as the ten songs on Offering. Another reason to be kinda mad: how am I going to pick one of these records over the other in my AOTY list?

On Paper Thin, Green/Blue sound like a punkrock version of the Cure or like Arcade Fire on a diet of everything that is good about underground ’80s music, or like Jeff Burke (of Radioactivity/Marked Men fame) fronting either of these bands. It’s freakin’ great and out now through Feel It Records. But in all fairness,, it should be the last Green/Blue record for at least six months.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Feel It Records

New album: Deadly Cliffs || Deadly Cliffs

Please meet new alternative rock duo Deadly Cliffs from Bergen, Norway, which is best done by listening to the eight tracks on their self-titled debut album. The song titles are stories in themselves – Nowhere Then, No Hair now!, I Want a Secret That I Can Tell Everyone, Between Facebook and Shitting in the Woods – and so is their music. Vegard Wikne and Sondre Veland play wild, drawn-out rock music with hard-hitting drums, heavy guitars and captivating vocals. You could call it prog rock, but you also hear influences from psych, blues and garage – unpredictable, and catchier than you would expect. RIYL White Denim, Ron Gallo, Deerhunter.

Deadly Cliffs is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Apollon Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Teenage Tom Petties || Teenage Tom Petties

Tom Brown makes up half of Rural France, who last year released a quality record full of ’60s pop disguised as ’90s slacker indie rock. One of the songs on that record was called Teenage Tom Petty, and its plural is the name of Brown’s latest project. Under the moniker Teenage Tom Petties, Brown filled his Eastpak with his favorite ’90s slacker indie rock CDs, his ’80s underground pop 45’s, and some classic punk LP’s. He also took some primitive recording device along for the ride. Brown than recorded the eight songs that make up his self-titled solo debut in an abandoned shed somewhere around Wiltshire, all in one frantic and inspired take.

None of this is true (or is it?), but it’s how I like to imagine the birth of Teenage Tom Petties. Tom Brown banging away on his instrument, letting those creative juices flow, aiming for spontaneity and melody rather than polished perfection. I’d say mission accomplished. Play this one front-to-back. Repeat. What a blast!

Teenage Tom Petties is out now through Repeating Cloud and Safe Suburban Home Records.
Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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