Indie Rock

New EP: Pomegranate Tea || Life Is Getting So _______

Life Is Getting So _____? Pomegranate Tea lets you fill in the blanks on their (I think?) debut EP. Matt Baillargeon, Reece Ashley Adam “squid” Chenier describe their sound as “new wave emo-pop pop-punk whatever.” Fortunately, I’d listened to the EP before reading that, because Pomegranate Tea definitely does not sound like the overproduced boyband version of poppunk I associate with that description. Life Is Getting So _____ is definitely melodic, but does not sound polished at all, and there is a contagious energy to the six songs on the EP. Pomegranate Tea do not limit themselves to genre boundaries, and in this case that pays off in a very diverse yet coherent (and very layered for a threepiece) sounding collection of songs. I am finding it hard to come up with comparisons for Pomegranate Tea. Perhaps they sound a like a more mathy version of Alkaline Trio? A more straightforward version of Braid? A more accessible version of Cap’n Jazz? A more dynamic version of Promise Ring? I’ll let you fill in the blanks. The cassette for this release is already sold out at Baron Tapes, but I am pretty sure this is not the last we’ll hear of Pomegranate Tea.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Century Egg || Little Piece Of Hair

“Do you want to dance? Do you want to smile?” The rhetorical questions posed by the Canadian-based indie rock band Century Egg are answered by their uplifting music. Shane Keyu Song, Robert Drisdelle, Matty Grace, and Meg Yoshida form a colorful band boasting a diverse range of influences and artistic traditions. They wrote songs that blend garage rock, mandarin pop and post-punk, sung in an intriguing way, to urge you to be free. Their EP Little Piece of Hair is out now digitally and on 12″ vinyl through Forward Music Group. Listen to the two standout tracks, Do You Want To Dance? and Ring A Bell (a cover of き ゃ り ー ぱ み ゅ ぱ み ゅ). They make you dance, they make you smile.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New EP: Minus Hero || Songs About Leaving

Minus Hero are from Italy (w/ members Nofu, Twister, Bravo, Nappies, Daire, Think About), but they sound like an obscure ’90s US bands in the vein of Superchunk, Archers Of Loaf and Knapsack. Their new 10″ EP is part of the Blue Feelings collection of Flamingo Records. It’s called Songs About Leaving and the four songs on it deal with “melancholy, disappointment and alienation.” The record is far from a dread though. Minus Hero sounds inspired and heartfelt on the EP. It’s perfect music for a grey day.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Gebre || Riu Amunt

Gebre is a foursome from Spain including Aleix Ferrús, Adrià González, Dani Cervera and Llorenç Coca. For these four hombres, music has a therapeutic power helping them to deal with the problems and difficulties of modern life. Gebre’s debut full-length (Riu Amunt) sounds far from difficult or troubled though. Gebre plays the kind of guitarpop Teenage Fanclub would play if they lived in a country with better weather. Call it sunshine pop if you will.  Some well timed jangle guitars and high pitched backing woohoos add to that summer feeling (e.g., listen to Me Van Salvar). Plenty of hits on this one! Grab the CD at Barcelona label The Indian Runners.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || The Indian Runners

New album: Danny Carney Chainsaw Symphony || Blizzard of ’82

I was unaware of Blizzard of ’82 until a recent Instagram endorsement by Stateline Records pointed in its direction. It’s the solo debut of Danny Carney, who used to play in Roll The Tanks, but now operates under the moniker Danny Carney Chainsaw Symphony. Hard not to be intrigued by that name, and the same applies to his music. Press play on opening track Maraschino University and you’ll discover that this is not your average record. That song stays under 3 minutes, but it is layered and catchy despite its lack of a clear chorus. It even has a intense sax solo. And that’s just the first song. The second song (VCR) does have a clear chorus that is massive  and absolutely pop oriented, but the song also have the feel of a punkrock tune. Track 3 Glomar Blues somehow moves into ’80s hardrock territory, not unlike the direction A.F.I. took  mid-career. I could go on, but the surprises keep coming and I am not sure if I have the words to explain the sound of Danny Carney Chainsaw Symphony – nor do I want to spoil the record. It’s definitely indie rock, but it very much is its own thing. It’s diverse and eclectic but not incoherent. It’s loaded with hooks. It’s an exiting record to dive into and explore in full. Basically, I have no idea what Danny Carney is up to, but it works and I want more.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Danny Carney Chainsaw Symphony

New album: The Spaghetti Stains || Essential Ingredients

Last year, The Spaghetti Stains won a Level Up Grant from Triple J Unearthed. That money went into recording their self-released debut Essential Ingredients. The band members (Pantjiti, Emmah and Rose) grew up in GunaiKurnai Country (Gippsland), which (I Googled) is a gorgeous little region on the south-eastern coast of Australia. It’s easy to see a direct relation between that location and the sound of the band. Let’s call it surfy altrock, with straight up bangers alternating slower moody tracks. On their best tracks (No Wuckin’ Fay, Toast To The Coast, Caveman Diet), The Spaghetti Stains approach the level of acts like The Beths, Alex Lahey and Best Coast, and I have a sense The Spaghetti Stains are only going to get better. They have good taste as well, as illustrated in this entertaining 7 hour playlist of their musical influences on Spotify .

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Ruby Bones || Laser Tooth Tiger

Are you sick of pundits predicting what happens after the pandemic yet? I’ve seen some predicting a summer of love and partying, with more pessimistic others forecasting a seemingly neverending rotation of pandemics  and lockdowns. The thing is, who knows? As such, I can appreciate the direction self-proclaimed nostalgic indie rockers Ruby Bones took on their new record Laser Tooth Tiger. They opted to write a soundtrack for the aftermath of the pandemic, a celebratory record for friends and fans, a record about getting up and moving forward. They dove into their indierock record collections for inspiration and used that to write a hook filled record that has an immediate sense of familiarity and is instantly enjoyable. My  prediction? Fans of early zeroes indierock will appreciate this record a lot. Music fans who are looking for some uncomplicated fun when finally able to visit shows will do so as well. Out now on Mint 400 Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Gimme 5! Spud Cannon Shares 5 Albums That Influenced Good Kids Make Bad Apples

Spud Cannon photo by Juan C Quimper

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.

This week’s Gimme 5! is a full band effort by Spud Cannon from Poughkeepsie (NY), who will release their third album on June 25th on Good Eye Records. That record is called Good Kids Make Bad Apples and has quite the backstory. It was recorded in 2019, with the band close to calling it quits due to internal struggles.  At a late minute surprise show, the band serendipitously discovered the perfect location to record their third album: The Vassar College (NY) campus squash courts. And so they did, sneakily entering the courts after midnight, setting up their gear and recording their own wall of sound until 6 AM, before anyone could find out about their endeavours – check out the band’s Instagram for background footage of these late night shenanigans.

Fast forward two years, and we finally are able to hear the results. My early thoughts: 1) despite internal band struggles, this very much sounds like a team effort and like the band actually had a lot of fun recording these songs, 2) The squash court as a recording studio…actually  works? Good Kids Make Bad Apples sounds huge, and has a roomy feel to it. The band wanted to approach the sound and energy of their live shows. I haven’t seen the band live, but that raw energy and authenticity is definitely there. The record does not feel overproduced in any way, and yet it is very much a pop record. The band credits Chris Connors at Concrete Sound for his great work mixing and polishing the songs which were all recorded in one take as a full band. That is, the band allowed no editing, so they played a song until they were happy with the take and moved on to the next. Some songs took time. To the band’s estimate they had to play album standout Juno 70 (!) times before being satisfied with the result. And yet, despite the sleepless nights on the squash courts, none of these songs sound tiresome: Good Kids Make Bad Apples is high on energetic and celebratory indiepop’n’roll with plenty of bite. Get a taste of the record with early singles Supersonic and Juno. Pre-orders for the record are up now (on red apple red naturally) at Good Eye Records or on Bandcamp[continues below]

New EP: Eades || Abstract Education

UK five-piece Eades combine influences from new wave, post-punk and garage rock in six rock-solid new songs. To properly capture the energy of their live set and their rawest and most authentic selves, the instrumentals were recorded live in less than 12 hours. Where in this type of music normally the singer or guitarist steals the show, Eades’ drummer doesn’t let that happen: more cowbell! The Abstract Education EP is out now digitally via Heist or Hit. The song Present In The Moment stands out for me, but the other tracks are also hits.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Fresh || The Summer I Got Good At Guitar

The title of this 5 track EP evokes a world of stories and is worth mentioning for that reason alone. The music lives up to this promise: the UK punk / emo four-piece Fresh tells those stories in convincing, empowering songs. A band to take seriously, with catchy songs to embrace. The Summer I Got Good At Guitar is out now digitally, on cassette, and colored 12″ vinyl through Specialist Subject Records. All 5 tracks are worth listening to, but My Redemption Arc stands out for me.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Dead Broke (US) || Specialist Subject (UK)

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