Indie Rock

New album: Teddy’s Hit || Painters

I regularly miss Mozes and the Firstborn, the Dutch rock band that stopped (temporarily?) In 2019. Fortunately their music lives on, but I would have liked to hear a lot more from them. Today I discovered a great alternative: I listened to Painters, the debut full length by Teddy’s Hit (also from the Netherlands), and that reminded me at times of the work of Mozes and the Firstborn. For example, listen to Liquid Juice (check out the entertaining video below; an ode to the first time), and you’ll know what I mean. I could also name Parquet Courts, Vampire Weekend, or a combination of slacker rock and 90’s indie as influences, but these comparisons don’t really do the indie rockers justice. Their songs are very strong, melodic, energetic and catchy, performed with nonchalanche and humor. The LP is out now through I Love My Label. I can enjoy myself with this for a while.

Stream: Spotify. Add to wantlist: Discogs || Excelsior Recordings || I Love My Label

New album: Kiwi Jr. || Cooler Returns

I’ve been looking forward to this day: January 22nd, arguably the first great release day of 2021. Plenty to write about this week. First up: Cooler Returns, the new Kiwi Jr record. The band already leaked a couple of great songs last year, which is kind of standard practice nowadays to hype upcoming releases. A practice that often results in disappointment once the album arrives. Not in this case, far from it. From album opener Tyler, it’s clear that Kiwi Jr. have not been messing around in 2020. Kiwi Jr. still play the jangly indie rock of their debut we all fell in love with, but on Cooler Returns they upped their game in almost every way. The subtle addition of a saloon piano, organ and harmonica creates a fuller and more mature sound. And with mature, I don’t mean “well they developed their songwriting skills but now sound kinda boring.” This record is fun as hell, and the songwriting is great. Trust me, you can skip adding it to your wantlist, just buy it ASAP. Kiwi Jr. sets the bar high for other bands that are planning to release a new record this year. By the way, kudos to the band for picking the perfect title for a sophomore album that exceeds its predecessor without losing any of the appeal of their debut.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New single: Don’t Worry || As If By Magic

Indie rock band Don’t Worry from Essex (UK) released the new digital single As If By Magic, out now through Specialist Subject Records. Reportedly it’s “about feeling dissatisfied in the present moment and how we often try to remedy this by looking backwards. Social media can often exacerbate these feelings. The song is a reminder not to swim too long in the warmth of nostalgia and to recognize the value in all experiences.” In terms of music and vocals, this song is much lighter than their previous album Who Cares Anyway? (2018), it could be a radio hit. Do I hear handclaps there?

‘Dive into the rat race // Chop of the top of my head // Find whatever meaning in that which presents itself // I’ll find the time to look inside’

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp 

New compilation: Various Artists || Fakes

I’ve always had a weak spot for cover compilations, particularly when the originals are classics and the recreations sound faster, angrier of weirder. So thank you, Drunk Dial Records for asking some of today’s best punk and garage acts to cover their favorite song of fictional artists from movies and tv shows. The result is a highly entertaining compilation. What about Pavid Vermin covering The Beets from ’90’s cartoon Doug? Or Jiffy Marx & kcar doing a delightfully weird version of Sugar Sugar? Or Berwanger doing Welcome to the Dollhouse? What about Careful making this Mitch & Mickey song actually sound good? And bless Charlie Continental for changing Wet Wet Wet’s Love is all Around into Covid’s All Around (“there was a start, there will be an end”). Though I hope this will ultimately get a physical release, it’s currently digital only. There are worse ways to spend $5. And if you need any further encouragement, all proceeds will be divided between the bands and four charities.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Subsonic Eye || Nature Of Things

Straight from Singapore comes a new Subsonic Eye record. Nature Of Things is their third full-length, but I don’t recall listening to their previous work. The new one has my full attention though. It’s a diverse record. The kind that draws you in upon first listen, but leaves plenty to discover. The guitar work and vocals are particularly strong in the sound of the band, which balances between indie rock and indiepop – Snail Mail comes to mind in several songs. Standout tracks are Fruitcake, Further, Spiral and Unearth (video below).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Fastcut Records

GIMME 5! || Scott Davis (Virginia Trance) Shares 5 Records To Listen To in 2021

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.

We are absolutely thrilled to present this week’s curator of Gimme 5!: Scott Davis. Scott is the main man behind Virginia Trance, who released Vincent’s Playlist last year – Niek’s favorite indiepop record of 2020. Scott also played in the psychelic rock band Psychic Ill’s. In his list, Scott challenges us to wander off the beaten path, and discusses the importance of an eclectic listening experience – which we love, and probably should do more often.

Click below to read and listen. Scott added short explanations for each pick. He even throws in his top 5 Lou Reed albums for good measure. We added YT video’s and Discogs links so you can add these records to your wantlist. Thanks a lot Scott!

New album: Henrik Appel || Humanity

Swedish musician Henrik Appel played in the bands Martin Savage Gang and Lion’s Den and released his first solo record Burning Bodies in 2018. Now there is the strong successor Humanity, guitar music that automatically moves your feet. The LP evokes all kinds of associations and influences without being able to pinpoint exactly which ones (does the artist’s pleasant sneering voice sometimes really remind me of Noel Gallagher?), but that makes it a captivating listening session. The album is out now through PNKSLM Recordings, both digitally and on vinyl.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || PNKSLM Store

New album : Petite League || Joyrider

Petite League released Joyrider today, their fifth record in six years. I enjoyed their previous outings, with their last one only just missing out on my 2019 AOTY list. New York Girls is still among my favorite songs of that year though. On Joyrider they have retained their distinct brand of catchy lo-fi indierock, but they are not afraid to try out new things and take the foot off the gas every now and then (pun not intended). Upon first listen I am intrigued by this one. So put it on, and while you’re at it, I recommend reading this sincere instagram post from Lorenzo of Petite League on creating the record. Let me finish with the band’s own introduction to the record: “Enjoy the ride! What else is there to do???”


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Billy Conquer || Garage Hits

Since 2021 is slow to get underway in terms of new releases, this is a last one that came out in 2020 (on the last day of it, so we can still call this new). In the spring Billy Conquer already made the track Covid – 19  (‘There’s a little virus coming out / I wanna tell you all about’), but the situation hasn’t improved much since then. And what do you do when you are quarantined together as a band for a while? Right, you drink cheap beer, smoke cigarettes, and make music (not necessarily in that order). Joined by Yoshinobu on organ / piano / synth, the American 3-piece wrote and recorded six new songs, with which they say they make the transition from 90s indie rock influences to the garage rock revival category. Garage Hits was mixed by Gordon Raphael, producer of The Strokes’ Is This it and Room on Fire. Listen below to my favorite track 1984, an ode to the 80s (‘What’s that sound / I want more’) with a delicious organ part.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Looking Back || Niek’s Overlooked Records of 2020

I’ve been checking out several 2020 AOTY lists in the past couple of weeks and have to admit: I missed a few. It happens, right? Perfection is overrated anyway. Here are 20+ releases from all kinds of musical directions that I either overlooked or was too quick to dismiss in 2020. They are on my wantlist now, that is all that matters. Click below to check them out. As always, I’ve included links to the purchasing locations for these releases. ICYMI also check out my favorite 2020 albums, singles and EPs, 2020 playlists and Dennis’ 2020 AOTY list. Happy new year!

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