Indie Rock

New album: Joyride! || Miracle Question

With Easter 2022 in the books, let’s kick of the work week by injecting a high dose of energy and melody. San Francisco indiepunks Joyride! went on hiatus in 2016 – finishing school, starting professional careers and all that, but kept on writing songs throughout the years. When the band decided to finally make a comeback, they had plenty of songs to pick from.

And that shows. Their new record Miracle Question is all killer, no filler. It’s full of life and heart, it’s scrappy and super catchy. Its scope should appeal to a broad audience, from indie rock aficionado’s to fans of pop punk and even twee. What makes Miracle Question such a tight and effective record is that Joyride! have mastered the art of trimming songs to their best parts only. The 86 second jolt of energy that is Flyover States is probably the best example of this. Routine Maintenance is another example. Why waste time on intro’s, when you can  seduce listeners from the get-go?

With Miracle Question, Joyride! come eerily close to indiepunk perfection. If you’re looking for 28 minutes of uncomplicated fun, look no further. Out now through Salinas Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Salinas Records

New album: Shake Some Action! || Wide Awake

Named after The Flamin’ Groovies’ 1976 masterpiece, Seattle-based power pop band Shake Some Action! set the bar high, and 15 years after debuting they’re still going strong. Now a duo, singer-songwriter James Hall (vocals, guitars, bass, keys) and Corey Knafelz (drums, guitars, keys), have put out their new album Wide Awake, featuring 10 modern classics. Opening song Paint You a Picture immediately grabs you, then you don’t get the chance to let your attention slip. This is half an hour of powerful music that approaches perfection. You’ll hear diverse, summery indie rock with well-crafted melodies – guitars that alternately jangle and scream – interspersed with elements of shoegaze and psych. RIYL Ash, The Posies, Nada Surf, The Stone Roses.

Wide Awake is out now digitally. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: The Bug Club || Two Beauties

Six months ago South Wales trio The Bug Club – Tilly Harris (bass, vocals), Sam Willmett (guitar, vocals), and Dan Matthew (drums) – released their amazing mini album Pure Particles. It ended up high in our year-end lists of 2021, and we’d like to emphasize that a vinyl repress is very much needed. At the beginning of this year, the single Intelectuals followed, which initially raised questions due to a playing time of 10:42, but when listened to it turned out to be 5 new tracks, recorded back-to-back in one take. And now the band shares Two Beauties, 2 new songs: Lay Down Your Roses is a typical catchy Bug Club hit that you’ll immediately love, Pretty as a Dog in the Light proves that the band can also write beautiful acoustic ballads. It is the prelude to a full-length LP that should be released later in 2022 – something to look forward to!

Two Beauties is out now digitally via Bingo Records. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Forests || Get In Losers, We’re Going To Eternal Damnation

2022 is turning out to be quite the year for fans of twinkly mathy emo. We recently covered the excellent Carly Cosgrove record, and I’d now like to direct your attention to the new Forests record Get In Losers, We’re Going To Eternal Damnation. It is the Singapore band’s third record, and I think it’s their best yet.

The band self-describes as mathpop, which is probably a more apt description of the band’s sound than the emo label often associated with this kind of music. The new batch of songs are no sad bangers or introspected jerkers, but sound jubilant, cathartic and anthemic. Above all, on a superficial level, Get In Losers… sounds absolutely FUN. A closer inspection reveals the intricate and awesome instrumentation – no small feat for a band of three. I also love how Forests effortlessly switches from pop punk (Saint Loser) to alt pop (At The End Of The Day, It’s Night) to emo (Value Dollar Fire Sale) to math (Resting Peach Face); from song to song…and often within songs. And as these song titles show, Forests do not take themselves too seriously. They do take their music seriously though.

Get In Losers, We’re Going To Eternal Damnation will be released on vinyl through Dog Knights Productions (hopefully in May), which is a guarantee that the record will not only sound good but will look great as well – make sure to check out that label if you are into special color variations. By the way, Dog Knights simultaneously released a compilation solo LP of Forests singer/bassist/lyricist Darell Lazer. Give that one a try as well!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Dog Knights 

New album: Good Looks || Bummer Year

On their full-length debut album Bummer Year, Austin, Texas based 4-piece Good Looks share seven beautiful, honest 4-minute songs with smart lyrics that contribute to a better world. Tyler Jordan (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Jake Ames (lead guitar), Robert Cherry (bass), and Phil Dunne (drums) captivatingly blend political folk and blue-collar indie rock into extended tracks that sound layered and bright at the same time – compliments to producer/engineer Dan Duszynski. The music is texturally very interesting, and although there’s even room for guitar solos, it’s striking how well the instruments and vocals complement each other. The LP offers half an hour of hypnosis that hits you hard in a pleasant way, a powerful and mighty debut.

“All my friends from high school // They all bought motorcycles // Joined up with a bike gang, supported Donald Trump // I don’t think they’re evil // Even when they’re awful”

Bummer Year is out now digitally, on cassette, CD and vinyl LP through Keeled Scales.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

PS The band announced that lead guitar player Jake was struck by a vehicle after a show last Friday night. He’s still in the hospital, let’s hope he recovers soon. The rest of the April tour has been cancelled.

New album: Oceanator || Nothing’s Ever Fine

Last month, in anticipation of the new Oceanator record, Elise Okusami did a Gimme 5! feature with our site. She was kind enough to send us an advanced stream which we’ve been playing a lot at ATW HQ. Here’s a friendly reminder that said record (Nothing’s Ever Fine) is out now, and worthy of your time and hard earned money.

My first impression of the record, which I shared in the Gimme 5! post, hasn’t really changed. If anything, Nothing’s Ever Fine has grown on me even more. So hope you don’t mind me copy pasting snippets from the previous post on the record, here we go: “Nothing’s Ever Fine showcases Okusami at her brightest and boldest yet. Oceanator sounds bigger than ever, and given the size and frequency of the hooks on the record, I fully expect Oceanator to reach even bigger crowds while making her existing fanbase ecstatic. Highlights aplenty on Nothing’s Ever Fine. What about Bad Drain Daze, a song that perfectly fits the mold of the sad banger. Or the super catchy one-two punch of The Last Summer and Beach Days (Alive Again)?”

Nothing’s Ever Fine is out now (on sweet looking colored vinyl) on Polyvinyl.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Polyvinyl

New EP: Cut City || Rage At The Badlands

When Manchester label Box Bedroom Rebels asked Norwegian Swedish postpunkrockers Cut City to do a release with the label, they had no idea the band was on a long term hiatus with no intention to return to playing music together. Then, the pandemic happened. The band decided to play their final album one last time and do a live stream of it. Surprised by the ecstatic response of fans all over the world on their living room broadcast, Cut City found renewed energy to reset and restart their band.

The result: a third full length (upcoming at Garagerock Records) and an 8-song EP at Box Bedroom Rebels that has just been released on Box Bedroom Rebels called Rage At The Badlands. I am tempted to call Rage At The Badlands a full length though. Despite its brevity (slightly over 16 minutes), all 8 songs are fully formed and all hit hard. If you, like me, have a strained relationship with the postpunk label, I am happy to say Rage At The Badlands is more punkrock than postpunk, with crazy catchy choruses, awesome drumming, and cool new wave-ish guitar work. Slamma II and Speed Freaks – listen below, are just two of the many standouts on the EP. Make sure to also check out closer Have You Seen Him?

Perhaps the postpunk label associated with the band is why I overlooked Cut City previously. The new stuff make me want to take a deep dive in the band’s discography. But for now, I think I will put Rage At The Badlands on repeat. It’s out now on a 33rpm 7″ through Box Bedroom Rebels. I am definitely going to buy it.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Angry Silence || Strange Times Call For Strange Measures

When a band receives the support of nine labels to release their new record, it must be something special. Strange Times Call For Strange Measures by France five-piece Angry Silence is exactly that.

Musically, Angry Silence – such a great bandname by the way, operate somewhere between underground pop, punk, indie rock, emo, noise and ’90s alternative. Their sound transcends (sub)genres, and the sonic direction of the record is pleasantly varied. One consistency throughout: the realness and heartfelt quality of the music. You need not read the lyrics to know that Angry Silence is a band that cares. About their music, but also about the state of our society.

Strange Times Call For Strange Measures is the kind of record that will take multiple plays to fully appreciate, and patient listeners will reap the rewards. Below I provide two gateway songs that I hope will pique your interest.

If you need any more reason to buy this record, know that it is dedicated to the father of one of the band members. Upon his travel to Peru, the father (Michel) became outraged by the condition of people with disabilities over there. In response, Michel managed to get a collective back home to collect wheelchairs and transport them to Peru in the ’80s – the first of many. It’s Michel that you see from behind on the front of the record cover. The back cover shows the opening of a container full of wheelchairs upon arrival in Peru. So yeah, a social heart is part of the DNA of Angry Silence.

Strange Times Call For Strange Measures is out now on LP for a budgetfriendly price and through nine (!) labels. Find links to the labels through the band’s Bandcamp page (click below).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New EP: Pomegranate Tea || In Contrast

Eleven months ago, I became a fan of Massachusetts trio Pomegranate Tea due to the sheer quality of their EP Life Is Getting So _______. The band reinforced my fondness with their new six-song EP In Contrast.

On In Contrast, Pomegranate Tea kinda sound like an early ’00s pop punk band. But instead of overdosing on autotune and overdubs, the band adds awesome mathy and twinkly guitar work and pretty sweet dynamics in the rhythm department. With their previous EP I couldn’t decide how to describe the band. I did try though: “A more straightforward version of Braid? A more accessible version of Cap’n Jazz? A more dynamic version of Promise Ring?” With In Contrast, I would say: a more mathy version of Midtown. Even more so, on standout track Margaret, Pomegranate Teas sounds like Midtown meets Los Campesinos.

Rad stuff from a pretty cool band.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Gentlemen Rogues || Francy b/w I’ve Got A Match

Coolest song in the world (and ATW’s best singles of 2020) alumns Gentlemen Rogues (Austin, Texas) return with a brand new two song single. Gentlemen Rogues is a band that follow a formula to succes that can be summed up with the two letters P & Q. They take Quality over Quantity, and their Powerpop is Poised, Precise, Pure and Persuasive.

The band display the robustness of that formula on their new single. The band’s sound on both songs is huge, with powerful and crisp sounding guitars that are an accumulation of rock history. Francy is destined to become another Coolest song in the world (or year perhaps?). It’s a kickass rocker of a track. Flipside I’ve Got A Match, which has the heart and soul of vintage Fountains Of Wayne, quickly won me over as well.

There is only one thing I don’t like about this release: it’s not a full length. Seriously, we need more Gentlemen Rogues and we need it fast! Out now through Snappy Little Numbers, who pressed 200 on black, and 50 on supersweet looking tri-colored vinyl. Want!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp 

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