Jangle Pop

New album: High Sunn || Flawless Recollections

Bay Area’s Justin Cheromiah started in 2014 with his solo project High Sunn. He was only 14 years old at the time, but that didn’t stop him from uploading countless home recordings, that gradually evolved from wild garage rock ideas to more coherent lo-fi guitar pop, always jangly. The Hopeless Romantic EP (PNKSLM, 2017) was his first full-band recording, and the first time I heard from High Sunn – standout track Ramen Waitress has never left my favorites playlist. Missed Connections (PNKSLM, 2018), the successful full-length studio album that followed, ended up at no. 11 on my year-end list. When I look at the Bandcamp discography, a lot more has been released since then, but I’m only now hooking up again thanks to the new LP Flawless Recollections (Spirit Goth Records). These are 10 songs that will appeal to fans of dreamy jangle pop and hypnotic shoegaze. A bit more mature, but still melody-focused and with great hooks. Flawless indeed.

Flawless Recollections is out now digitally through Spirit Goth Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Man Behind Tree || 3

Man Behind Tree are a jangle power pop four-piece based in Berlin. This week, the band dropped 3, the follow up album to Man Behind Tree (2011) and Snoqualmie (2015). In between those three albums, several band members also wrote and recorded music as Seaside Stars, Mincer Ray and most recently Hanemoon – read our post on the latter here.

Like Hanemoon, Man Behind Tree has its fair share of Teenage Fanclub influences. Expect fuzzy guitar-driven powerpop with subtle yet convincing melodies that are gentle to the ears. But whereas Hanemoon sounds lighter and brighter, Man Behind Tree has a more punchy sound and darker melancholic vibe that juxtaposes nicely with the sunny harmonies.  Dennis and I are seeing Teenage Fanclub live next week and this feels like the perfect warm up record. If only Man Behind Tree were the support act, that would be even more perfect.

Recorded by Tad Klimp of The Notwist, 3 is full of well crafted songs that get better with each play. 3 is out on CD and Tape through Subjangle (South Africa) and Twaague (Germany). Want!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Colt Wave || You Already Know

Remember Knapsack? Knapsack founding member and drummer Colby Mancasola currently plays in Colt Wave, a long distance project with Ken Lovgren. Both are long time friends and played together in Downtime before Mancasola formed Knapsack. In Colt Wave, Lovgren writes the songs and takes on most of the instruments, with Manascola responsible for the drums.

I totally overlooked Colt Wave’s 2021 debut Radiotelegraphy, but I plan on revisiting their new record You Already Know frequently this year. It’s full of short and understated jangly indie rock songs that are easy on the ears and calming to the nerves. The record gently flows from song to song, and it’s easy to miss where one song ends and the other begins. Only two of the 15 tracks on You Already Know surpass the 2-minute mark, and just barely. Most songs have no clear verses or choruses, but I believe that lack of clear structure actually benefits the record. The excellent guitar work and strong melodies of Lovgren will hold your attention even in the absence of massive choruses. Before you know it, you have escaped reality for 24 minutes.

To my ears, Colt Wave sounds like a concoction of Ultimate Painting, Connections and The Stevens, if that makes sense. Colt Wave has that same talent for writing songs that sound spontaneous, effortfless and flawless. Give Colt Wave a try: You Already Know is a special kind of record.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: C Alley || Fake Flowers

C Alley is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He processes the feelings that he finds difficult to talk about in his music, in the hope that his listeners will benefit from this. On his debut EP Fake Flowers you’ll hear 5 songs with jangly bedroom pop — pleasant vocals, warm melodies and soundscapes that are indeed therapeutic.

Fake Flowers is out now digitally. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Jeanines || Don’t Wait For A Sign

Jeanines are Alicia Jeanine and Jed Smith; the latter making his second appearance on ATW this month. Don’t Wait For A Sign is Jeanines’ second album, and like their self-titled debut from three years ago, it is an instant indie pop classic.

At its core, Don’t Wait For A Sign builds on the best parts of the previous record. If you like that one, you’ll love this one. The high pitched choir like vocals give the scrappy indie pop a folky vibe, and even though you’ll find no loud distorted guitars in the sound of Jeanines, the simple upbeat instrumentation gives Don’t Wait For A Sign a level of punch I appreciate a lot. There almost is a punk simplicity and directness to Jeanines. They waste no time on detours, their songs are concise by design. In its 20 minute playing time, you’ll get 13 hits and an insane amount of earworm melodies.

Alicia Jeanine explained Jeanines’ formula for succes last year in a fun interview at Chickfactor: “I always say I write sad folk songs and Jed turns them into indiepop gems. So yeah, I handed them to him as simple acoustic things, and he transformed them into pop hits!” It’s a match made in heaven, just like Slumberland Records is the perfect fit for the band.

Have a taste of Any Day Now – video produced by a member of Artsick, another band we like a lot at ATW. Then press add to cart and order.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Slumberland

New single: The Holiday Crowd || Party Favours

Canadian-English indie pop outfit The Holiday Crowd released two pretty good full-length albums in the past decade – Over The Bluffs in 2012 and a self-titled one in 2016 – and finally they’re back with two new songs, two new highlights. Standout A-side Party Favours is a groovy hit like David Bowie could have made in the 80’s, amazingly constructed, danceable and addictive. B-side Bullet Train shouldn’t be skipped though, especially because of the melodic jangly guitar lines. Both are rhythmic, clear and sparkling, with sultry melancholic vocals, as we are used to from Imran Haniff (vocals, guitar) and Alex Roberts (bass). A glorious return. Let’s get the party started!

Party Favours is out now digitally and on limited edition 7″ vinyl through Shelflife Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Shake Some Action! || Wide Awake

Named after The Flamin’ Groovies’ 1976 masterpiece, Seattle-based power pop band Shake Some Action! set the bar high, and 15 years after debuting they’re still going strong. Now a duo, singer-songwriter James Hall (vocals, guitars, bass, keys) and Corey Knafelz (drums, guitars, keys), have put out their new album Wide Awake, featuring 10 modern classics. Opening song Paint You a Picture immediately grabs you, then you don’t get the chance to let your attention slip. This is half an hour of powerful music that approaches perfection. You’ll hear diverse, summery indie rock with well-crafted melodies – guitars that alternately jangle and scream – interspersed with elements of shoegaze and psych. RIYL Ash, The Posies, Nada Surf, The Stone Roses.

Wide Awake is out now digitally. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Stephen’s Shore || Green

The five members of Stephen’s Shore (Sweden), arguably one of Europe’s finest janglepop bands of today, share a love for California, skateboarding, moody pop songs and jangly guitars. You can tell from their sound that pop music is in their DNA – kind of a common theme in the country of Sweden. Stephen’s Shore play a special kind of pop though.

The band’s newest release is a 4-song EP called Green, which follows the Brisbane Radio EP (2021) and the September Love LP (2018). To be fair, I loved the Brisbane Radio EP and would have been happy if the band had just kind of copied that EP song-for-song. But now that I’ve heard the Green EP, I’m amazed by the growth of the band. Stephen’s Shore sound more confident, patient and in fuller posession of their powers than before. Unafraid to let their strong melodies simmer and their guitars jangle, Stephen’s Shore will slowly break down your defenses and let their songs find a permanent home in the reward centre of your brain.

The first song to find its way? Probably Ocean’s Calling, which I think is the best Stephen’s Shore song to date. I could play that one all day, and immediately feel like I’m taking a beach walk during a gorgeous sunset.

The Green EP is out now through Meritorio Records – on green vinyl of course.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Meritorio

New album: No Frills || Downward Dog

Therapists are expensive, but writing songs is free, so Daniel Busheikin (vocals, guitars, synth, album art) uses music to confront his neuroses. No Frills evolved from a solitary bedroom project to a full band, also featuring Mike Searle (bass), Maddy Wilde (vocals, synth), Jon Pappo (drums), and Matt Buckberrough (guitar). On their debut DIY album Downward Dog you’ll hear 14 wobbly lo-fi songs about depression, defeat and death, without getting heavy or dark. The “bummer pop” of the Toronto-based 5-piece is appealing and straightforward, thanks to the relatable and comforting tragicomic lyrics, but even more so because of the earworm melodies – jangly guitars and moody synths – and melancholic vocals. This is a sound that you can easily embrace, that somehow doesn’t let you go when you immerse yourself in it. Therapeutic, heart warming and addictive. RIYL: Badly Drawn Boy, Refrigerator, EELS, Mac DeMarco.

“Honestly // It’s all just a matter of time // But I love a long goodbye”

“Every moment gained is // A moment gone”

“Just an idea I could stay home alone tonight // You go ahead, I’ll be fine”

Downward Dog is out now digitally (self-released). Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Mick Trouble || It’s Mick Trouble’s Second LP

So here we are. After It’s The Mike Trouble EP, Here’s The Mick Trouble LP, we arrived at It’s Mick Trouble’s Second LP. And like the difference in release titles is minimal, so too is the difference in Mick Trouble’s sound on the three releases hardly noticable. For which I’m grateful, because Mick Trouble (aka Jed Smith of My Teenage Stride and Jeanines) already is possession of the winning formula for creating underground pop hits.

It’s Mick Trouble’s Second LP offers more of the jangly chiming guitars, crisp bass work, hyperactive drums, pop hooks, and Television Personalities worship we’ve come to associate with Mick Trouble. Most of the record is vintage British underground pop that sounds authentically ’80s, but there also some fun exceptions like the Zombiesesque ’60s hit The Bleeding Downs. Currently, my favorite track is Top Of The Flops, a song I’m not ashamed to admit having played five times in a row just now.

It’s Mick Trouble’s Second LP is out now through Emotional Response. You should get it, probably, really, surely.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

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