Indie Rock

New album: Band of Young Saints || Misadventure

Misadventure, the new album by Band of Young Saints (B.O.Y.S.) from Brooklyn (NY), is a welcome surprise. The cover art caught my eye, the music wouldn’t let me go. The four band members look cool, and that’s how they sound. A lot happens in the seven uptempo songs, the instruments challenge each other but are in balance, the vocals are exciting. Very nice.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: S:Bahn || Queen Of Diamonds

Can you still call it a sophomore album when there is a 25 year gap between a band’s debut and second full-length? I am not sure, but I am glad that Melbourne based indie rock band S:Bahn came out of a long hibernation. The band’s second record sounds varied and inspired and is called Queen of Diamonds. Songs like Sync or Swim and We Move will appeal to fans of the postpunk of Fontaines D.C and Ought, whereas songs like Exhaustion, The Tide That Pulls Me Away From You (my personal favorite ) and Pulse are more melodic and straightforward indie rock. Vinyl orders available through Polaks Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Genevieve & Hemmy || Last One For The Road

The photos stand out on the website of Genevieve & Hemmy.  Two travelin’ street musicians, two guitars, one kickdrum, one open guitar case with a cardboard note (“anything helps”), two dogs. The three songs that make up The last One For The Road EP sound nothing like those from their previous act, the loud grunge/blues outfit Beneath Trees. These days, Genevieve & Hemmy opt for a garage take on folkrock. Usually, I am not that into folkrock, but the band incorporates a variety of influences that make this a compelling EP. The opener is the most rocking song on the EP, with an organ giving the song a seventies rock vibe. Stillness, the second track, is a well executed jangle pop song; it’s my favorite track. And finally, Sisters is a tad slower, more dreamy. G & H’s music is inspired by travel, love, nature & spirit. I look forward to find out where Genevieve & Hemmy are off to next.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: The Reytons || May Seriously Harm You and Others Around You

The Reytons will have heard the comparison with that other band from South Yorkshire (UK) too often, but the music that that other band made 15 years ago they don’t make anymore and there is still a need for it. So good news that the “right ones” are here, even better news that they have released a new EP – good album title, good cover photo, good songs. Let’s hope we can see them live soon, so that we can roar along: ‘Tie up your laces, this city is ours!’

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || The Reytons Shop

New album: The Spires || Era Was

The Spires are from California. They play timeless guitar pop that is pleasant to the ears, soul and mind. Era was, I believe, is the band’s fifth full-length, which “started off as a full band live record then ended up a bedroom headphone jammer.” Recommended if you like your indie rock understated, subtle, and well executed.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Throwback Thursday: Soccer Cousins || Lazy Bones

In the recent past I have added many songs to my “Favorites” playlist that in my opinion should have become big hits, but unfortunately have not reached an audience as large as they deserved. It’s quite possible that my taste isn’t hit-sensitive, but now that we have this website as a platform, I’m free to share one of these overlooked nuggets with you every now and then. Watch and listen below to Lazy Bones (Gentle Reminder Records, 2018) by New York trio Soccer Cousins. I particularly appreciate how the song slowly increases the tempo, so that the music amplifies the lyrics. If I understand correctly, Jon, Brendan, and Josh did their final show not long after, which is a shame as I would have loved to hear more from them.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: FRITZ || Pastel

There has been no shortage of fuzzy dream pop projects in the streaming age. This makes it hard for artists to truly stand out from the pack. An additional challenge with this genre is that although a lot of artists sound instantly likeable, that appeal often is short-lived or limited to individual songs rather than full-length albums. Two positive exceptions this past decade, at least to me, were Alvvays and Say Sue Me. I am going to add FRITZ to that list, who kind of sound like a combination of the two but with an emphasis on their faster work. FRITZ is Tilly Murphy from Newcastle (Australia), backed up by Cody Brougham (guitar) and Darren James (drums). Murphy cites Alvvays, Pains Of Being True At Heart and Best Coast as her main influences, and you can tell. Pastel is the sophomore album by FRITZ. It’s a major step up from their debut, and I’m all in.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Billy Cobb || Zerwee, Pt. 2

It is not uncommon for artists to sound eerily similar to other artists. However, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who is so explicit on this matter than Billy Cobb. On Zerwee, Pt. 2, the resemblance to Weezer is fully intentional. Hence the album title Zerwee, hence the Pinkerton like album art, though I am not sure whether this, like the Pinkerton cover, is a Hiroshige painting as well.  Soundwise, Billy Cobb relies on the first half of Weezer’s career, with Pinkerton as the strongest reference. The record was released in 2020, but Needlejuice Records recently pressed it on three varieties of aesthetically pleasing colored vinyl.  Make sure to visit their site if you are a vinyl aficionado: they have so many good looking records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Rat Columns || Pacific Kiss

Disclaimer: two songs in, I was convinced that the latest record by Rat Columns would end up in my collection rather sooner than later. It’s hard not to love these two international jangle pop underground gems, which (coincidentally? purposefully?) are titled Hey! I Wanna Give You The World, and It’s your Time To Suffer. Track 3 is another winner (video below), almost sealing the deal. But then, the Aussie band starts to widen their sound, incorporating different instrumentations, rhythms and musical influences. It’s there where I am starting to have my doubts. The execution is convincing though and it will depend on your personal taste how you will react to the remainder of the record. There are elements I am less enthusiastic about, particularly the more danceable parts and, surprise, the parts where the band drops the pace. Conversely, there are elements that work well, I especially dig how the band opens up its sound with well-timed taps on guitar pedals adding some kickass guitar licks. All of these elements likely will pay off on bigger stages and festivals. Arguably, despite the diverse musical directions on the record, Rat Columns has never sounded so accessible without losing the appeal of their previous work. I am keeping this in rotation in the next couple of week, not unlikely that this record will be grower for me. No doubt that I will play those first three songs often this year.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Tough Love Records

New single: Grandmas House || Always Happy / Small Talk

Did you already know Grandmas House? They are an all-female, queer punk trio that play fast and raucous guitar riffs, thumping bass lines and aggressive drums. For the A side of their new single – Always Happy – this video has been released that I don’t want to keep from you. Intriguing in every way: those vocals! those lyrics! that facial expressions! How cool would it be if a full festival meadow in due course chanted “You can’t wipe the smile off my face.” My first thought was that this song made me happy, but my gut tells me to worry about what’s next.

Out March 12. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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