Indie Rock

New album: Pkew Pkew Pkew || Open Bar

The music of Pkew Pkew Pkew (Toronto) is tailor made for the weekend. It’s loud, it’s fun and perfect for hangouts and singalongs with your friends. In terms of songwriting, the band has made quite the leap from the sheer bluntness and obnoxious of their debut LP – which I absolutely loved. On the band’s latest record (Open Bar), and helped out by Craig Finn (The Hold Steady), Pkew Pkew Pkew succesfully incorporates classic rock influences in their powerful punk sound. In that sense, Open Bar shares several of the strengths of last year’s excellent Sam Coffey And The Iron Lungs’ Real One: anthemic punk rock that will set smaller venues on fire but will also work on a larger stage. It’s Pkew Pkew Pkew at their boldest and most creative yet – the result of a lacking hard deadline and a producer (Jon Drew) down to trying new stuff.

Open Bar is out now through Dine Alone Records. It’s a new Pkew Pkew Pkew record! It’s the weekend. All is good!

Add to wantlist: Dine Alone Records

New album: Roku Rousu & The I.O.N.S. || The Imaginary One-Night Stands

Roku Rousu (vocals, guitar) has been around in the Finnish indie scene for a while, but with his new band The I.O.N.S. – Joo Karjalainen (drums, keys), Mikko Siven (bass) and Sussu Ketola (keys) – imaginary ambitions could just become reality. The quartet has mastered an interesting combination of styles: influences from early 60’s pop, late 60’s psych and 90’s alternative rock are cleverly mixed with contemporary folk, power pop and indietronica. On their full-length debut album The Imaginary One-Night Stands (in case you were still wondering what I.O.N.S. means, here’s your answer), you’ll hear eight genre-transcending tracks – diverse and mind-boggling, always melodic, upbeat and surprising. Let’s hope The I.O.N.S.’ passion for music beats the temptations of Video Games & Heroin.

The Imaginary One-Night Stands is out now digitally via Kynsinauhat.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: The OK Nines || Sunwoofer

The OK Nines are a new band from Berkeley (California), who play a brand of ’90s mid-fi indie rock and altpop that is delightfully jangly and slightly twee. Songs like I Am A Dog and 1,000,000 Treats show a lot of potential and hint upon great things to come for The OK Nines.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Mr Gé & The Crazy Drivers Of The Nowhere Road || Les Grands Enfants

Based on the band name you’d expect that this is a large gypsy-punk band, but Mr Gé & The Crazy Drivers Of The Nowhere Road turns out to be a solo project. The Frenchman who calls himself Mr Gé does all the songwriting, recording, production and art work. Everything you hear on his new album Les Grands Enfants he sang and played himself (besides drums, bass and various guitars, he also used a harp, a drum machine and analog synths sequences, keyboards, a Tunisian oud, a zither and kitchen tools – he could be the one Tom Waits is talking about in What’s He Building?). That’s impressive, but was it worth it? The answer is yes (otherwise we wouldn’t write about it), but it’s an idiosyncratic and theatrical record that takes a while to grasp what’s going on. It’s dark indie folk with French lyrics, intense vocals, complex structures and cinematic soundscapes, but also with appealing tempo changes and guitar solos. It rocks and it creaks, to slowly intoxicate you. The 14 DIY songs feel like a musical imagination of a trip on the Nowhere Road (I guess Tom Waits lives around there somewhere), fascinating in every way.

Les Grands Enfants is out now digitally and on a limited edition CD with original paintings (Home & Away).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Stroppies || Levity

I know the city of Melbourne is overrepresented on our site, but believe me when I say we’re not paying geographical favors, it’s all about the music. And The Stroppies are not just any Melbourne band, they are yet another GREAT Melbourne band.

On Levity, The Stroppies’ latest record, they sound more experimental than before, taking their jangly indierock into different territories. Part of this is due to the pandemic and writing music individually and in isolation, whereas previously the song ideas were build in collobaration. Underneath the increasingly complex instrumentation remains the pop sensibility of The Stroppies and the slack guitar work. The end result is a strong mix of growers and instant hits. If you are looking for quick rewards, listen to songs like The Perfect Crime, Up To My Elbows and Figure Eights. If you like to be challenged and be rewarded for your patience, listen to songs like Material Condition or Caveats. Or even better yet, listen to the whole thing!

Levity is out now through Tough Love Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Night Court || Nervous Birds! Too

Last December we proudly premiered Night Court’s debut album Nervous Birds! One, just in time to crack my favorite records of the year. We explained back then, and it’s kinda self-explanatory from the title, that Nervous Birds! One was always meant to be followed up and is in fact part of a duology. Now, within 6 months, part two is already here. Given the sheer awesomeness of part one and the fact that Night Court recorded all songs of the duology in three manic, hyperfocused and creativity bursted sessions, the only way part two would suck is if they’d put all their best songs on Nervous Birds! One.

But no, you need only one round trip of Nervous Birds! Too to realize the band has spread the wealth evenly. That round trip only takes 15 minutes or so, in which Night Court treats us to 13 additional sweet lofi indie/punk/pop nuggets. With most songs recorded in one or two takes at most, the spontaneity of Night Court is contagious and one of the band’s biggest assets. It certainly helps that the band throws a hook at you every few seconds and restrain their songs to the interesting parts only. I wish more bands took that approach. Night Court is always soaring, never boring.

In short, if you’ve liked Nervous Birds! One, you will like Nervous Bird Too (too). If this is the first time you hear Night Court, I sorta envy you. There is such a joy in discovering this band. Below are some portals to the Night Court universe, arbitrarily picked because, let’s face it, most of them are hits.

Nervous Birds! Too will be out on Cassette through Snappy Little Numbers and Debt Offensive. Fingers crossed that 1) Night Court’s duology ever gets pressed on vinyl (or CD at the very least), and 2) this won’t be the last release by the magic combination of Jiffy Marx, David Soul, and Emilor Jayne.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Debt Offensive || Snappy Little Numbers

Gimme 5! Evan Seurkamp (The Laughing Chimes) Shares 4 Classic Inspiration Albums And 1 Newer One More People Should Hear

With ‘Gimme 5!’ we take a peek into the collections of artists we admire. The premise is simple: artists WE like share five records THEY love.

Evan Seurkamp is a young but ambitious and prolific singer/songwriter/guitarist from Southeast Ohio (US). I guess that he himself doesn’t realize yet how talented he is: in no time he has built up a high-quality body of work that would have made him a big name if he had lived in the 80s. Evan (pictured right) and his brother Quinn (left) together make up The Laughing Chimes, one of our favorite discoveries last year. Their addictive debut LP In This Town – tuneful jangle pop – ended up high on our year-end lists, and on the single Laurel Heights Court that followed they manage to maintain that level. Evan also started the project Patches (along with RKC and Aaron Griffin), which released their debut full-length Tales We Heard From the Fields – noisy post-punk – early 2022. And then he also has quite a bit of songs to his name solo, most recently the album Cruising In Your Bliss Car – folky indie pop – in 2021.

We’re talking about a rare artist with a good ear for melody, who knows how to convert everyday observations and abstract thoughts into relatable lyrics. Recorded lo-fi in his small bedroom studio space, his musical stories about life in a small town, the adventures of the house cat or the feelings that come with growing up, continually leave us in amazement. We wondered what Evan himself is listening to, and he was kind enough to answer that question in detail.

New single: Saloon Dion || Pressure b/w Hey Hey

The UK delivers another exciting post-punk act. Please meet Bristol five-piece Saloon Dion! With their new single, Dave Sturgess (vocals, synth), Tom Simpkins (guitar, vocals), Taryn McDonnell (guitar, vocals), Luke Mullins (bass) and Ben Molyneux (drums) are breathing new life into the punk-funk / dance-punk genre. Angry A-side Pressure rocks hard and is quite strong, but rhythmic B-side Hey Hey is the real hit here. What a great groove they put on the dance floor, with memorable hooks and powerful harmony vocals. And perhaps the most appealing: more cowbell!

Pressure / Hey Hey is out now digitally and on limited (signed) vinyl 7″ through Nice Swan Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: High Sunn || Flawless Recollections

Bay Area’s Justin Cheromiah started in 2014 with his solo project High Sunn. He was only 14 years old at the time, but that didn’t stop him from uploading countless home recordings, that gradually evolved from wild garage rock ideas to more coherent lo-fi guitar pop, always jangly. The Hopeless Romantic EP (PNKSLM, 2017) was his first full-band recording, and the first time I heard from High Sunn – standout track Ramen Waitress has never left my favorites playlist. Missed Connections (PNKSLM, 2018), the successful full-length studio album that followed, ended up at no. 11 on my year-end list. When I look at the Bandcamp discography, a lot more has been released since then, but I’m only now hooking up again thanks to the new LP Flawless Recollections (Spirit Goth Records). These are 10 songs that will appeal to fans of dreamy jangle pop and hypnotic shoegaze. A bit more mature, but still melody-focused and with great hooks. Flawless indeed.

Flawless Recollections is out now digitally through Spirit Goth Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: PasMort || Pas Responsable Des Accidents

Melodic punk rock four-piece PasMort are from Quebec in Canada and make their full length debut with Pas Responsable Des Accidents. The band features members of Tree At Last, Albatros, Lost Love and Striver and have only been together for two years. They sound like a well-oiled machine though, and the many group vocals in their songs suggest that the member’s bonds are as strong as their vocal chords.

PasMort namedrops bands like Joyce Manor, Dead To Me, D4 and The Lawrence Arms as influences, and that should tell you what to expect. The twelve songs on the record are full of energy and quite diverse, and the French lyrics somehow give the songs a little extra.

With Pas Responsable Des Accidents, PasMort may deny responsibility for any accidents, but it’s hard to deny their songwriting prowess. Really solid stuff.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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