Jangle Pop

New single: Sillicone Values || Streaming TV b​/​w Nothing Wrong With Me

Bristol (UK) postpunk/indiepop hybrid Sillicone Values make a deliberate attempt of showing how little they care on their latest single. They don’t care if they sound like other bands. And, they explicitly mention that they recorded the two songs “without due care or attention.” They probably could care less if anyone listens to these songs, let alone write about them. I am not sure whether the four-piece is too cool to care or whether it genuine disinterest. Unfortunately, I like these two too much not to share. Streaming TV and Nothing Wrong With Me are a time capsule to the underground pop scene in ’80s UK. The only reason I’m sure this is in fact a present day band is that they sing about only feeling safe when they are streaming tv.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Slack Times || At The Blue Melon Rendezvous

If you like The Feelies, garage pop that is upbeat and jangly, or the Athens indie sound of the early ’80s, Slack Times may well turn out to be your new favorite band. Slack Times are Chris McCauley, Will Stewart and Stuart Norman who, in different cross-links play(ed) together in The Blips, Bad Hops, and Holy Youth. The band name is a nod to the pandemic lockdowns. The trio started recording in the fall of 2020 and released their first EP last spring. That EP already showed a lot of promise, but their new EP is even better *. And with better I mean all killer, no filler. Lead single Can’t Count On Anyone alone is worth the purchase of this EP that is out now on Earth Libraries.

What about that weird title for their EP? Apparently, it’s a reference to an art gallery in downtown Water Valley the band frequently encountered during their walks across the city.

* On the EP, Slack Times is helped out by producer Bronson Tew on drums on the recordings, and Matt Patton on bass.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Emma Russack & Lachlan Denton || Something Is Going To Change Tomorrow, Today. What Will You Do? What Will You say?

Emma Russack and Lachlan Denton are prolific songwriters from Melbourne. Somehow, between recording with their respective bands (Snowy Band, The Ocean Part, Pop Filter and others), they find time to write records together. Something Is Going To Change Tomorrow, Today. What Will You Do? What Will You say? is their latest collaborative project, their fourth (!) in three years. How do they do it? Well, combine friendship, a desire for writing honest pop music, and efficiency – the record was recorded in about 12 hours on tape.

The result is 26 minutes of laid back indiepop tunes with beautiful melodies and harmonies (listen to Long Road for example). Some have an old timey country feel to them (Still Life), some are more folky (Oh Alice, Authenticity), whereas SIGTCTT and WWYDWWYS provide slacker rock mirror images to start and close the album. And then there is Grass Is Greener, which is 100 seconds of indie pop perfection.  SIGTCTTWWYDWWYS  is out now on Bobo Integral (EU) and Spunk Records (AUS).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Spunk Records

New album: Andrew Taylor and The Harmonizers || Andrew Taylor and The Harmonizers

What did you do during the lockdowns? Did you hybernate bingewatching series all day? Did you work out more? Read more books? Took a lot of walks? For some of us, the restrictions hindered our well-being and proactivity. For others, the lockdowns unlocked opportunities, time and energy to get creative. Count Andrew Taylor in the latter category. The Scot, who also fronts the indie pop powerhouses Dropkick and the Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness, started turning the randomly recorded audio clips, melodies and chord progressions on his phone into actual songs, which he recorded solo in his garage. Soon after, more songs were recorded with the help of his brother Alastair, Ian Grier (also of Dropkick) and long-time collaborator Iain Sloan. They called themselves The Harmonizers.

Within a couple of months, Taylor had about 40 songs which he originally planned, depending on their musical direction, as blueprints for a new solo record, or a Dropkick or Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness record. Early 2021, Taylor decided to pick the best songs from the previous year for a proper vinyl, CD and digital release – with The Harmonizers re-recording and improving the songs that had none of their prior input. I’m grateful he did. The 14 songs on the self-titled record are warm and pleasant, and you have to admire Taylor for being so prolific without making any concessions to the quality of the songs. The melodies are smooth yet jangly, the harmonies are gorgeous, and the balance between more uptempo tracks and more subdued ones is about perfect. It’s classic indie (power)pop for fans of Teenage Fanclub and Wilco.

Andrew Taylor and The Harmonizers is available for streaming on Bandcamp. The CD and LP will be available early December. Pre-orders are up now.
Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Ducks Ltd. || Modern Fiction

With the release of the expanded re-issue of their debut EP Get Bleak, we expressed our hope that more music from Toronto’s Ducks Ltd would soon follow, and look: here’s the full-length album Modern Fiction, with ten new original jangle-pop songs. Tom McGreevy (lead vocal, guitar, bass, keyboards) and Evan Lewis (guitar, bass, drum programming) sound even more confident than before, and that’s completely justified if you know how to write and perform one standout track after the other. The duo is standing on the shoulders of the genre’s pioneers – bands like The Clean, The Chills, The Bats, Television Personalities, and Look Blue Go Purple paved the way – but this record sounds as fresh and clear as possible in 2021 (hence the title – nerd alert – taken from a university course called Gnosticism and Nihilism in Modern Fiction, influenced by Graham Greene novels). Anyway, this is an LP that provides a warm feeling, that more than lives up to my expectations, with melodies to cherish. Labelmates The Beths do backing harmonies on a few songs, and a string quartet can also be heard here and there. Highly recommended for fans of Rolling Blackouts CF.

Modern Fiction is out now digitally, on CD, and vinyl LP through Carpark Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Sweet Nobody || We’re Trying Our Best

Life’s not perfect, and human beings are the opposite of infallible. The best we can do is try our best, a mantra my mom programmed in my brain ages ago, and still becomes active whenever I have to do something that is new or scary or filled with uncertainty. It helps to explain why I instantly sympathize with Sweet Nobody’s second album which is titled We’re Trying Our Best. The circumstances in which this album came to live were far from ideal. There was of course the curse of the pandemic: We’re Trying Our Best would have been released 12 months ago in a pandemic free world. More importantly, singer/lyricist Joy Deyo had to cope with chronic pains caused by a hard-to-diagnose ilness while writing the record. And yet, rather than a dark or sad record, We’re Trying Our Best sounds more like a celebration of life. Press play on Five Star Diary and let the indie pop of Sweet Nobody wash gently over you. It showcases the gorgeous and melancholic qualities of Deyo’s voice and how it complements the jangly and breezy guitar licks perfectly. It’s not the only standout track on the record; uptempo songs like Rhoda and White Lies are instant attention grabbers as well. I am also intrigued by Other Humans and If I Should Die Tonight, two emocountrypoppowerballads that pull at the heartstrings. [post continues below]

New EP: The Pre-Amps || Four by Four

Nowadays, some music is still made as in the good old days, as is once again underlined by UK four-piece The Pre-Amps. The 1960s-influenced pop / rock band made some name for themselves by covering their heroes (The Box Tops’ The Letter, The Beatles’ Nowhere Man, The Beach Boys’ Sloop John B, and so on), but are now also writing their own songs. At the end of 2019 they released their debut single Doesn’t Change, followed by Hard To Say b/w With My Baby in early 2021, and those tracks are now bundled together with new tune Learn To Love You on the EP Four by Four. Robert William Gray (bass), Scott Charlton (drums), Lyndon William Philliskirk (keyboards), and Kelvin Banks (guitar / harmonium) can all call themselves songwriter and singer, and here they show that perfect jangle pop songs with captivating melodies and great vocal harmonies are still being created these days. We look forward to a full-length album with more of these gems.

Four by Four is out now digitally, and next week also on 7″EP, through Spanish label Hurrah! Música.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The BQs | Tentatively Escaping

At Add To Wantlist, we love to post about bands that fly under the radar. Raleigh (North Carolina) band The BQs are a good example. Their new record Tentatively Escaping immediately grabs my attention, and yet I can’t find any info on the band. I have to assume the band is named after its frontman and main songwriter Brian Quast. Here is another guess: The BQs are big fans of the fuzzy powerpop of Teenage Fanclub and the guitar magic of War On Drugs: The songs on Tentatively Escaping sound like a hybrid of both those acts, and it works surprisingly well. I know nothing about the BQs, but they deserve to be more than a blip on the radar.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Motorists || Surrounded

The Motorists debut album Surrounded evokes an immediate sense of nostalgia, particularly to the jangly powerpop of the ’80s but also to the postpunk and other guitar-oriented genres from that era. Craig Fahner, Matt Learoyd, and Jesse Locke make up the band from Canada. They started three years ago, although the member have a history of being in bands together going back to their teenage years. Past bands of Fahner, Learoyd and Locke include Feel Alright, Leather Jacuzzi, Tough Age, Simply Saucer, We Knew and Chandra.

Motorists first caught my ears with their excellent 2020 EP From The Wreckage. Its follow up Surrounded is by no means a perfect album, and the fact that Motorists do not try to hide their imperfections is part of their charm. It gives the song an authentic rough-around-the-edges feel and I’m pretty sure the band will sound more or less like this at their live shows. Fahner (guitar) and Learoyd (bass) alternate and complement each other well, and in combination with the steady beat of Locke, they give each song a distinct vibe. The power pop oriented songs are my favorites, and Through To You is the kind of underground hit that wouldn’t look out of place on any powerpop lost hits compilation from the 70s or 80s. The more postpunk oriented songs like title track Surrounded work as well, particularly because Motorists has a talent for offsetting angular riff heavy verses with catchy and straightforward choruses. I am definitely buying this co-release by We Are Time, Debt Offensive and Bobo Integral Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

Throwback Thursday: S K Y T O N E || Taking Our Time (JangleWaves)

Last week I got into a discussion about underrated songs. In my opinion such a conversation shouldn’t just be about well-known songs that don’t get the appreciation they deserve, because there is also a lot of good music that is simply never heard; ignorance equals unlovedness by the general public. That’s one of the main motivations for starting this website: to dig up hidden gold nuggets and give them attention too. Anyway, if I had to name one underrated song, it’s Taking Our Time, from the album JangleWaves (2017) by S K Y T O N E. It’s carefree, relaxed indie / jangle / synth pop created by Rodney and Darius Doddridge (from Ottawa, Canada), but most of all it’s the perfect track for a sunny summer day, both musically (the guitar melody is addictive) and lyrically (“… nothing sounds pretty good to me”). Unknown? Probably. But how would you rate this?

If I ever get to put together a soundtrack, this one won’t be missing, but until then I’ll put it on all my holiday playlists. By the way, the rest of the album is fine too. JangleWaves is available digitally and on CD.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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