Jangle Pop

New album: The Lost Days || In The Store

Singer Songwriters Sarah Rose Janko (Dawn Riding) and Tony Molina together make up The Lost Days, a project where they mix jangly indie pop with folkrock. To  give you an idea, Janko and Molina count Bill Fox, The Byrds, and Dear Nora as some of the infuences for their new record In The Store.

If you are familiar with the music of Tony Molina, who is the principal songwriter in The Lost Days, you won’t be surprised by the conciseness of the songs on In The Store. Staying well below a total playing time of 15 minutes, the record has ten songs that flow by quickly and gently: Timeless guitar pop in bite-size nuggets, with sparse use of percussion. Janko’s vocals have an angelic quality that fits the music particularly well. In The Store is close to flawless, you can play it front-to-back repeatedly and it never bores, every song is a treat. This one is essential listening for fans of jangle pop. Buy the LP through Speakeasy Studios SF.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Whitney’s Playland || Sunset Sea Breeze

If you’d like to know what the fuzz is with Whitney’s Playland (San Francisco) and their debut LP Sunset Sea Breeze, I don’t have a direct answer. Whitney’s Playland is Inna Showalter and George Tarlson. Their work in acts like Grandma’s Boyfriend, Blades of Joy, Modern Charms helps to partly explain why this is an anticipated project. But are the songs any good? The first couple times I played Sunset Sea Breeze my mind drew blank. I didn’t know what to think, had no clear recollection of most of the songs, the music slipping away like water between my fingers. I knew one thing only. There is something here, this is a special record. So I kept at it. I’m still doing that. I’m enjoying the process, digging the songs more and more. Here’s where I am at right now: Sunset Sea Breeze is an understated gem of an indie pop record, with gorgeous melodies and beautiful dreamy vocals by Inna Showalter. It makes me feel things. Like I said, I don’t have a direct answer. Other people have put their thoughts on Sunset Sea Breeze way better than I am capable of. Read the reviews at our friends of Janglepophub and RSTB, for example.

I do know this. Sunset Sea Breeze is a must listen if your are into indie pop and classic indie rock. Even if it doesn’t click right away, keep playing it. It is like a whisper, and those are easy to miss in our attention demanding society. Give Sunset Sea Breeze a chance, and it may very well end up as one of your favorites of the year. Buy the LP through Meritorio Records and the Tape through Paisley Shirt, although the latter may be sold out already.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Meritorio || Paisley Shirt

New album: Various Artists || Lower Than Underground Vol. 1

Do you like underground pop and punk? Do you like cover songs? Do you like fanzines? Do you like music festivals? Old Bad Habits Label and Shambotic Recordings have got you covered! The first volume of the Lower Than Underground series fanzine has exclusive interviews and articles “by and for Nick Godfrey and his Precious recordings taken by Jim of the Jasmine Minks, Rocker Rosehip, Damo Suzuki of Can, Darren & Caroline of Next phase Normal records and The Manhattan Love Suicides, Kissamatic Lovebubbles, Tim Wells, I, Ludicrous, politics in music by Tim Rippington, record store day by Darren Lockwood, connection between punk and indie pop by Dimitris Patsonis, 1st interview of the next big thing of Greek pop The Secret Postcards,” and much more.

It comes with a 22-cover song cd, 6 of which are exclusive to the comp. It’s the kind of cover compilation that is perfectly balanced between well known hits and deep cuts, and with a variety of approaches and styles by the covering artists. Highly recommended, and if you need an additional reason to purchase this: Proceeds of the sale of the fanzine and comp will help fund the 1st Athens Pop Underground fest & convention, happening in Athens, Greece, at the end of spring (19-20 of May 2023). Lower Than Underground Vol. 1 is a win win win win!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Eyelids || A Colossal Waste Of Light

American supergroup Eyelids – Chris Slusarenko (Guided by Voices), John Moen (The Decemberists), Victor Krummenacher (Camper Van Beethoven), Jonathan Drews (Sunset Valley) and Paulie Pulvirenti (Atomic 61) – are back with a new full-length album, A Colossal Waste of Light, produced by Peter Buck (R.E.M.). So you know what to expect: quality guitar pop with captivating melodies and mesmerizing vocal harmonies, in the jangly tradition of Flying Nun and Paisley Underground. Past performance is no guarantee for the future, but the 13 powerful songs here easily live up to the high expectations.

A Colossal Waste Of Light is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Jealous Butcher Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Jealous Butcher

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of February 2023

Not all new music is really new, as many artists cover songs. Sometimes these are songs by their favorite artists, eg as a tribute to such a musical hero for a special reason, or they simply feel that a song deserves to be dusted and polished to reacquaint fans with great songs from the past. Other times, bands cover songs as a parody. Regardless of intent, some of those cover versions are so good or so much fun, we’d like to put a spotlight on them. Chosen from a wide range, here are – in random order – ten of our favorite covers from last month – links to the pages where you can add them to your wantlist included.

In February we saw tributes to David Bowie, Terry Hall, Bob Dylan and Tom Verlaine come by, and last week we wrote about releases from CTMF and Moron’s Morons with successful covers, but there was much more. As far as we’re concerned, these were the highlights.

1983 (A Merman I Should Turn To Be) || Cover: Tropical Fuck Storm || Original: The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Submersive Behaviour, the 5th full-length from Australian art-punk outfit TFS, is a 5 track cover album. Their version of Jimi Hendrix’ 1983 lasts almost 18 minutes, and is as alienating, bewitching and epic as can be. Out digitally and on vinyl LP through Joyful Noise Recordings.

New album: Various Artists || 14 (Prefect Records Jangle Pop Compilation)

ICYMI, we are amidst a jangle/indie pop rennaissance. Just click on the jangle pop and indie pop tags on our site and discover how, in the past couple of years, we’ve seen an onslaught of modern classics being released in the global underground pop scene. Well, perhaps onslaught is too brute a word for the sweet and often delicate melodies of bands (and ATW favorites) like Massage, The Telephone Numbers, Chime School, Semi Trucks, Mt Misery and EggS.

Now imagine all of these acts joining forces for a new compilation, how would that sound? UK label Prefect Records provides the answer with a compilation they dubbed as 14, a title I can only assume they chose because of the number of songs/bands on the compilation. Clearly, the 14 acts involved are all about the songs, conscientiously carving them to perfection for easy entrance in our ears and hearts.

In alignment with the best compilations in existence, 14 has unreleased songs by some of the best current bands around, while also acting as an introduction of new bands that make an immediate impression. The Kitchenettes (aka Morgan Stanley of The Umbrellas) particularly makes me curious for the future. Another strength of the 14 comp is its diversity. The 14 bands reveal the many faces of indie pop. From upbeat (Chime School), to punchy (EggS), to new wavish (Massage, New German Cinema), to twee (Kitchenettes, My Teenage Stride), to seductive (Blue Lupin), to percussion free (The Natvral, Cosial). And jangle, of course, as most of these bands have a jangle side to them. At the same time, if these bands show one thing it is that the different sides of indie pop are rather fluid. There is a communcal sense to this compilation, almost like the people involved are siblings from different  mothers and fathers.

Last best, whereas most compilations nowaydays are digital only, you can actually purchase14, on vinyl no less. Limited to 250 copies so best be quick. Trust me, you won’t be skipping songs on this one.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: The Telephone Numbers || Weird Sisters

There is something life affirming about the music of The Telephone Numbers. The Ballad Of Doug (2021) arguably is one of the finest jangle pop records of the Roaring Twenties, and with their latest 7″ single the Bay Area band further expand their reputation. Weird Sisters is the definition of a double A-side single. The eponymous track is one of those tracks that’s likeable straight from the opening seconds, with each new part building up the excitement. Its chorus with its glorious harmonies is particularly blissful. Flipside This Job Is Killing Me is a four minute indie pop anthem for the Great Resignation.

We are living in uncertain and dark times, or so they say. The Telephone Numbers are here to lift some weight off your shoulders. Buy the Weird Sisters 7″ at Meritorio or Prefect Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New EP: TV Star || Hallucinate Me

TV Star finds its roots in the Seattle punk scene and feature members from Militarie Gun, Regional Justice Center, Shine, and Video Prick. As TV Star they take a whole different route sonically, playing an intriguing mix of psych, alt pop, college rock and jangle. Hallucinate Me is the band’s debut EP, and the title is chosen well. The songs on Hallucinate Me are dreamy, moody and angelic, and above all mesmerizing.

It’s easy to get sucked into the world of TV Star. TV Star’s talent for writing pop hooks definitely helps and the instrumentation simply is a treat to the ears. The voice of Ashlyn Nagel is perhaps the most noticeable part of TV Star’s appeal and a perfect fit to the music. I also love how relaxed and laid-back these songs sound. TV Star shimmer and chime with zero hurry and no restraint – listen to Leaving (You) for example or the standout Song 159 whose generic name is a classic case of underpromise and overdeliver. TV Star are also unafraid to rock out, like in the reverb-y Trigger Itch.

The Hallucinate Me 12″ EP is available now for pre-order through Painterman Records. If you are looking for quality pop music, TV Star’s got you covered.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Painterman Records

New album: Blues Lawyer || All In Good Time

To my recollection, Blues Lawyer have always been purveyors of short and sweet scrappy garage pop songs, criminally underrated and destined for obscurity. With their new LP (All In Good Time), they may very well head to indie pop stardom. You see, All In Good Time has all the markings of a modern classic. Blues Lawyer have never sounded this polished and focused, and while the band’s pop edge has always been present in their music, I don’t think it has ever been this razor sharp. The Evan Dandoesque and angelic voices of the band’s main vocalists contrast and complement each other at just the right moments. And yet, underneath all the altpop bliss, Blues Lawyer still sounds like a cool underground pop band that wears its influences on its sleeves. Those influences range from classic rock to jangle pop, from twee to ’90s altpop, and from powerpop to punk rock.

All In Good Time is out now on Dark Entries Records, but it would not have looked out of place on Slumberland, Sarah or Flying Nun. It may just have well been out on Matador or Merge Records. We seldom witness the birth of an indie classic, but when it happens, it’s pretty awesome.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Dignan Porch || Electric Threads

Ever since I discovered Dignan Porch’s Observatory LP (2014), I’ve had a soft spot for the eclectically melodic noise pop of the UK act. Essentially the brainchild of Joe Walsh (Manchester by-the-way of South London), Dignan Porch has built quite the discography in impressive DIY fashion. That spirit also applies to the new record Electric Threads, which Walsh mostly wrote, played and recorded himself. Walsh also made video’s for each of the songs on the record, which you can find here. Of course, DIY spirit is one thing, but can become particularly interesting and impressive depending on the quality of the output. Rest assured, from the opening strum of Pictures to the fading hiss of Ancestral Trail, Electric Threads is an interesting hunk of underground pop. I am choosing that broad description purposefully, because Dignan Porch has never been easy to bog down to one specific genre. Electric Threads has gorgeous heartbreakers, jangle, psych and noise poppers, and indie swooners as well. Meanwhile, the dreamy melodies have a timeless quality, kind of like a slow wave that lifts you up only to drop you off at the end with renewed energy and a fresh perspective.

Listening to Electric Threads brought me back to the excitement of discovering this band the first time round, it’s that good, it’s that inspired. Buy the LP through Safe Suburban Home (UK), Hidden Bay Records (EU) & Repeating Cloud (US).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Hidden Bay || Repeating Cloud

Scroll to Top