Jangle Pop

New album: The Yellow Melodies || Pleasant Dreams

The well of inspiration the Ramones provide is everlasting. I don’t think there’s a band that’s been covered more, at least in terms of full album tributes which we see a couple of each year.  Often these renditions stay true to the originals, like recent tributes by Brad Marino (Subterranean Jungle) and K7s (Mondo Bizarro). Here’s a completely different approach though by Spanish indie pop band The Yellow Melodies. They celebrate the 40th anniversary of Pleasant Dreams (1981) by transforming it into a heartfelt indie pop record. I can’t help but smile while listening to the orchestrated twee pop versions of songs like The KKK Took My Baby Away, You Sound Like You’re Sick and 7-11. For now, the release is available on cd and digital only, but a vinyl co-release by Hurrah! Música, Old Bad Habits, Discos Imprescindibles and Snap!! Records will follow later this year.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Concrete Jane || Sole Mio

Contrary to what you might expect from the name Concrete Jane, this is the work of a man called Julien Zumkehr in everyday life. Together with his bandmates Cédric Gerfaud, Antoine Crettenand and Léon Boesch, the musician from Geneva (Switzerland) just released the lo-fi folk mini-album Sole Mio, containing six pleasantly languid songs that fans of Mac DeMarco and RF Shannon will appreciate. Out now digitally and on vinyl 10″ through Le Pop Club Records / Urgence Disk​. Summery psych pop with wonderful guitar playing. 

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Concrete Jane

New album: Torrey || Something Happy

Please pay attention if you like bands like Alvvays, The Umbrellas and Fazerdaze. Meet Torrey, a four-piece indie pop band based in the Bay Area (San Francisco, California), fronted by songwriters and siblings Ryann (vocals / bass) and Kelly (rhythm guitar), and supported by close pals Eric (drums ) and Adam (lead guitar). In their own words they make sweetly melancholic, hook-heavy pop tunes and there is nothing to argue with. Their debut album Something Happy has ten joyful jangly guitar songs, sung clearly and with a clear sound. As welcome cold snacks on lazy hot days. Stream below.

Out now digitally. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Eggs On Mars || Brighter Now

Eggs On Mars are from Kansas, Missouri. But, they may have just as well been from Australia, New Zealand or Scotland, because the sound of the band clearly is inspired by all the good jangle and underground guitar music from around the globe, anything from Flying Nun to Slumberland Records, and from the Pastels to the Velvet Underground. On their latest EP (Brighter Now) EP, Eggs On Mars effortlessly combine these influences. The songs are not overly produced, and Eggs on Mars infuse their songs with the kind of joyful energy and ramshackle charm that makes this kind of music work even better. Out now on Subjangle.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Telephone Numbers || The Ballad Of Doug

It’s always a gamble when you pre-order a record after hearing just one song. The Ballad Of Doug by The Telephone Numbers is an example where that gamble pays off. The San Francisco jangle pop band (featuring members of The Skygreen Leopards, The Reds, Pink and Purples, The Lovebirds, The Umbrellas) is firing on all cylinders on their debut full-length. Like the colorful album art, the nine songs on the record are vibrant, exciting and a joy for the senses. I usually highlight certain songs in my posts as an easy entrance point for our readers. The Telephone Numbers set such a high bar in their songs however, that I find it near impossible to do. The Ballad Of Doug has no fillers and is best experienced in full. Just press play on album opener You’re Nowhere and let The Telephone Numbers take you anywhere.

A while back, I wrote how I was underwhelmed with the number of quality jangle pop releases in 2021. But with this record, and the ones by Quivers, Massage, Gap Year, Roselawns etc I have to take that back – browse our archive for more jangle goodness. All of a sudden, it’s starting to get crowded in the AOTY jangle, and it is not even July.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Paisley Shirt Records

New album: Massage || Still Life

In our Gimme 5 feature with Massage, the band shared 5 albums that influenced their sophomore album Still Life. Today marks the release of the record, and although I sorta kinda already reviewed it in the Gimme 5 (“There is a warmth, vulnerability and delicateness to the music of Still Life that, in combination with the band’s songwriting chops, gives these songs that little extra that helps to distinguish a lovable record from a likeable record…I have no doubt Still Life will end up in many AOTY lists.”), I’d like to add some words if only to remind you of the sheer quality of this one.

First things first. We need to talk about how perfect of a pop song Made Of Moods is. Remember how Bill Murray woke up to I Got You Babe every day in Groundhog Day to his increased frustration? If that alarm clock song would have been Made Of Moods, he at the very least experienced three and a half joyful minutes each day. It’s one of those songs that I enjoy each and every second of, with it’s jangly guitars and hushed vocals that almost have a Beach Boys vibe, especially in the verse. Truly, it’s a song for the ages. But the best news about Still Life is that it offers eleven additional underground pop gems. If I had to list everything I like about this record, I would get no work done today. But let me randomly point out two other highlights as a quick sample. Sticks & Stones has a great chorus with lyrics that warm your heart (“And I know || There is nothing I can say || There is nothing I can do || There is nothing I would change || About you”). And then there is Michael Is My Girlfriend, a song that has everything I liked about the first Massage record – still rooting for a repress of that one by the way. It’s a short and simple and straightforward delightful jangle pop hit. Okay, final thought: this record keeps getting better with each play. So make sure you do at least a couple of spins before you make up your mind about it.

Half Life is a co-release between Mt. St. Mtn., Tear Jerk and Bobo Integral Records and is out now!
Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: James Constable || Tui

Who thought that teenagers only like electronic music: think again. Take, for example, James Constable, a 17-year-old singer / songwriter from New Zealand, who keeps the spirit of The Smiths alive. Since 2016 James has been sharing productions on his YouTube channel. Ten of the best songs have now been collected on the (digital) album Tui. James is responsible for the lyrics, vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, and drums, with just a little help from friends. This is appealing jangly indie pop, authentic, fresh and more mature than you’d expect. Listen to the album’s opening and closing track below. “A computer screen is where I first saw your face // I couldn’t see it in any other place // Yet what we had was ours and ours alone // Though you live over half a world away,” James sings on I ‘ll See You Sometime Later. For me, New Zealand is also the other side of the globe, and I discovered the musician through my laptop screen, but I don’t want to keep the discovery that teenagers still make good guitar music to myself and myself alone.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Gap Year || Flat Out

Gap Year are a 5-piece from Perth. Their debut-album Flat Out offers an intriguing mix of ’80s jangle pop and modern breezy guitar pop bands. Flat Out open strongly with Dot And Tarlene which sounds like a hybrid of Real Estate and The War On Drugs. Bon Soir is another great track and sounds like the best song The National wrote in the past decade. What a strong and pleasant debut this record is. It is like a cool breeze after months of simmering heat.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Blue Grey Pink

New album: Roselawns || Songs For Christina Argentina

Remember that Strum and Thrum compilation by Captured Tracks full of American underground guitar pop? If you liked that one, here is a new band to dive into. Roselawns is a duo (Sam Setzer and Antonio Gualco) from California who play the kind of jangly powerpop that is all about the music and less about the rock-‘n’-roll attitude. On Songs For Christina Argentina, Roselawns almost effortlessly churn out understated pop gems. I know they wrote this album for Miss Argentina, but they make it so easy to fall for this record with instant classics like Mexico Breath, Pretty Bad, and This Way. And those are just the first three songs on the record. It’s not just American underground pop, I hear a lot of British ’80s and ’90s influences, like the standout nods to Teenage Fanclub in You Miss Me and The Same, and the very britpopesque Next Week In Capitola. Roselawns also reminds me of the Waltones, a late ’80s Manchester band I really like. Clearly, Setzer and Gualco have great taste in music. Oh, and they expertly managed to channel those influences on their debut LP. More of where this came from, please!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Leopardo || Malcantone

If you have some time to spare for a record that upon multiple listens will ultimately grow on you and get under your skin, would you be interested in such delayed rewards? I am talking about Malcantone from Leopardo, which is a delightfully weird yet strangely accessible record. It’s the kind of record I did not expect to write about, but somehow I keep returning to. It’s also the kind of record I lack the vocabulary for to explain in full. Leopardo are from Schwitzerland, but they may just as well reside in the Chelsea Hotel (NYC) in the seventies. Comparing Leopardo to Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground is kinda lazy, but it also kinda makes sense. Malcantone is an eclectic mix of styles, including folk (Malcantone, Bitter Man), psych (Country Side Love, Hardship), punk (Tell Me, I Belong To You), garage (Put Me In Jail), and rock-‘n’- roll (Throwback in The Snow). I was quick to dismiss this record and I was wrong.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Feel It Records || SDZ Records || Le Pop Club 

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