Jangle Pop

New album: Green/Blue || Offering

Green/Blue made some waves with their self-titled debut in 2020. This week, the band dropped the follow-up called Offering. It’s a must hear if you like music that doesn’t suck.

Green/Blue consists of three veterans of the Minneapolis underground scene: Jim Blaha (Blind Shake/Shadow In The Cracks), Annie Sparrows (Soviettes/Awesome Snakes), and Dan Henry (Sgt 6 Assault/Dummies/France Has The Bomb). Green/Blue finds synergy between their sound and their art direction. Both are collages, a mixture of different styles where the look and sound of its parts may sound familiar, but the whole becomes its own new (and improved) thing. In the case of Green/Blue’s music there are parts of lo-fi jangle, gbv-fi, post punk, garage rock and a whole lot more. It’s hard to pinpoint any of the songs on Offering to a specific period or genre. All I know is that I’m blown away by this record.

Offering is a beast of a record. It is both subdued and exuberant, both complex and accessible, both instantly likeable and a grower. I am definitely buying this. Offering is out now on Hozac Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Tampopo || Magic Noodles

And now for something completely Twee…Magic Noodles by Danish three piece Tampopo. Most, if not all of the songs were written and recorded solo by Kasper Clemmensen in 2017 and 2018, and you can find the early versions of these songs on Bandcamp. On Magic Noodles, Clemmensen rerecorded the songs with the latest version of Tampopo including Ditte Duus and Morten Hougaard.

To my ears, the rerecorded songs are a major upgrade over the originals. Released on the final day of 2021, Magic Noodles is a great jangle pop/twee pop/C86 record full of sweet and catchy underground pop songs. I could reference comparables, but why not listen for yourself? You’ll know within a minute if this is for you. For me? Yes! With a capital Y, that is!

Make sure to also read Janglepophub’s post on the record – if you like this record and haven’t bookmarked that site yet, you are in for a treat.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Throwback Thursday: The Groove Farm || Only The Most Ignorant Gutless Sheep​-​Brained Poltroon Can Deny Them Now

Raving Pop Blast! is a small DIY label specialized in garage-punk, pop-psych, lo-fi pop, and guitar based indie rock. Six weeks ago, they dropped a Groove Farm single from 1987 on Bandcamp that features a song I can’t stop playing. I am talking about Couldn’t Get To Sleep. What A Corker!

The Groove Farm 7″ was was recorded & mixed in 8 hours. It was the second release on Raving Pop Blast! and sold a not too shabby 1,500 copies – different times, right? According to the label, the songs were “inspired by listening to ‘Pebbles’ albums and The Barracudas.  It managed to annoy the so called ‘music critics’ of the time, which was pretty much the whole point of its existence.”

Talk to you later, I’m diving into a Groove Farm rabbit hole on Youtube.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: ABC Gum || Woodshed

I have to admit I forgot about Bloomington (Indiana) based ABC Gum. The band released a highly enjoyable record a couple of years ago on Let’s Pretend Records. It was called The New Arcade, and was full of scrappy underground bubblegum pop tunes straight from the garage.

Apparently, ABC Gum recorded a followup shortly after, supposedly slated for release by Classic Trash. That never happened, but now, seemingly out of nowhere the record (Woodshed) has surfaced on Bandcamp. Is it any good? YES! I continues on the path of The New Arcade, but the songs and instrumentation are more diverse and layered. It’s still very much underground bubblegum pop though. Hits!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: World Series Hangover || Giants! Bombers! What A Sight!

Given that each Autumn hundreds of thousands of disappointed baseball fans experience World Series hangover, it’s impossible to find any info on the band World Series Hangover. Believe me, I tried, but I can’t tell you anything about this band. I have to assume that their Giants! Bombers! What A Sight! EP, released mid-November is their first release.

I’ll just let the songs speak for themselves: if you like your garage pop lo-fi and with fuzzy and jangly guitars, you won’t mind World Series Hangover at all.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Music Year-End List || Niek’s Favorite Singles and EP’s of 2021

Our last 2021 wrap-up list showcases my favorite singles and EPs of 2021. ICYMI, Dennis posted his short format favs last week. Previously, we posted our Album top 50s here and here.

For me, 2021 had an abundance of great music to offer, and I believe this applies to singles and EPs as well. To avoid decision anxiety, I’ve listed them alphabetically. I’ve excluded some killer EPs and singles because (some of the) songs would later appear on the artists’  full lengths.

Enjoy reading and listening. See you all next year! If you’re looking for a convenient playlist of most (43 of 50) of the songs, check here. [post continues below]

Alvilda || Négatif 
Alvilda, a jangly powerpop sensation from Paris, mix ’60s girl group with ’70s Good Vibrations pop punk influences and je t’aime it a lot.

Music Year-End List || Dennis’ Favorite Singles and EP’s of 2021

You’ve already seen our lists with favorite albums – here‘s Niek’s list and there‘s mine – but also many shorter format releases were wantlist worthy. Below you can listen to an overview of the Top 50 singles and EPs that I thought were the best from 2021. I’ve excluded releases with songs that also appear on my album list. Links point to Discogs or Bandcamp (the headings), and to previously posted reviews (in the body text) – add to your wantlist (or collection) what you like!

1. Noah C Lekas || Sounds From The Shadow Factory
[Beat Poetry, US || Blind Owl] To be honest I haven’t been able to give this one as much attention as I would have liked. Not only because I mainly spent my time on full-length albums, but also for practical reasons: only two songs are shared on Bandcamp, YouTube, Soundcloud and Spotify, and unfortunately a physical copy wasn’t available in Europe (and sold out quickly in the US). Still, I didn’t doubt for a moment whether this should be at the top, simply because this was the most impressive release of the past year in all respects. Poems and rock music form a great combination here: “It’s jazz for the mind // It’s blues for the soul.” It’s Art!

Music Year-End List || Niek’s Favorite Albums of 2021

Okay, time to look back and reflect on the musical year that was 2021. Even though I’ve always spent most of my listening time on new music, I don’t think I’ve ever spent this much time browsing, scanning, and prowling for it as I did in 2021. I did not keep track of the exact numbers (Dennis is our stats guy as he showed in his Top 50 of 2021 post last week – make sure to check that one out if you haven’t already!), but trust me, it was a lot. The focus on new releases came at the cost of not spending as much time as I may have liked with some 2021 records which are decidedly great. The list below reflects the records I ultimately played and enjoyed the most.

Overall, I think 2021 was a really strong year for music, with many of the bands in my list releasing their best work yet. Like always, my list is heavy on punk, powerpop, garage and indie rock. But I’ve also included many indie and jangle pop records, a genre that had a particularly strong year. My number one album of 2021 in some way is an outlier, but I believe it is a modern classic.

Final thought: while working on this list, my mind frequently wandered to Jan Kooi who suddenly died this year. Jan was a record store (co)owner who had impeccable taste in anything music related and whose taste I, and I speak for Dennis as well, blindly trusted. I didn’t know Jan personally, but his curiosity and generosity in sharing new music was one of the main inspirations for starting Add To Wantlist. His top 31 records of the year list was consistently great and his legacy will not be forgotten. So long Jan, and thank you for the tunes.

Check out my Top 50 records (and 50 additional notable records!) below. Here is a convenient playlist with my favorite tracks of the 100 albums (98, because two records are not on Spotify).

Music Year-End List || Dennis’ Favorite Albums of 2021

All year long we look forward to this moment of looking back, escaping the continuous flow of new releases for a while, taking the time to recap what really stood out these 12 months. In 2021 I took my FOMO more seriously than ever: I’ve checked out 2,200+ new albums, twice as many as last year (this hobby is getting out of hand). The disadvantage of this is that you don’t get any sleep, but still it isn’t possible to give anything that looks promising the attention it deserves. Anyway, along the way I built up a longlist of 120+ LPs that are wantlist-worthy, which I now have brought down to a Top 50.

In any post on this website, we try to put into words which artists are involved, how their instruments and vocals sound, whether their songs are catchy or dreamy or energetic or dark, where their inspiration for lyrics came from, etc., but I have my year-end list compiled as I always have, simply in order of what I loved and played the most – personal taste preference as the debatable deciding factor. My choices are all about guitar-driven, authentic indie rock, power pop, garage rock, roots, and jangle pop, plus a little bit of soul, country, folk, and alternative rock.

New EP: Bridge Dog || Going South

Bridge Dog are a boy-girl duo, based in Sydney, who, after a few separate tracks earlier this year, have now released the 6-track EP Going South. Their music is an interesting mix of dream pop and fuzz rock, with jangly guitars and sweet, sunny vocals. The title track could easily become a classic, thanks to the driving melody, but even more so because of the memorable lyrics – phrases like “I drove to the end of the road // Just to see how far it goes” and “Try not to wear it on your sleeve // A vicious circle by design” are too well-found to forget. If we had a label, we’d want to sign this band today. RIYL Alvvays, Chime School, Falconet.

The Going South EP is out now digitally. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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