New EP: Wah Wah Wah || Oh, Wow!

Here are my notes on Oh Wow!, the debut release of Wah Wah Wah from Seoul in chronological order. One: there are a lot of cartoonesque exclamations in the bandname and album title. Two: This has a psychedelic King Gizzard vibe to it. Three: This is not bad at all. Four: Is that a flute? This is insane, but it’s pretty cool. Five: Is that a harmonica? What is going on here? Rock’n’roll! Six: This may not be the kind of music I usually go for, but I am intrigued. Seven: Wah Wah Wah deserves to be heard, I’m going to write about it.

Wah Wah Wah is an one man project by Suhyun Kim. Everything your hear on this EP, and that includes vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, flute, synth and drum programming, is done by Kim. Except the harmonica, which Gunny Jojo Lee provides. Oh, Wow! is out now on the tiny South Korean label Good Boy Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Velvet Starlings || Technicolour Shakedown

Fans of the Teenage Shutdown! compilations should pay attention now. With their 60s infused garage rock ‘n’ roll, you could have found Californian four-piece Velvet Starlings on one of those great LPs, but that’s not the case, this is brand new music. The band was formed a few years ago by young lead singer, guitarist and organ player Christian Gisborne, and rounded out by Foster Poling (drums), Hudson Polling (bass), and Ashton Minnich (second guitar). You really should see these guys live, but due to the fact that they couldn’t tour during the lockdown, they recorded their new LP Technicolour Shakedown (although they already released an album in 2019, they see this one as their official debut, and there’s also already news about their next one, Pacific Standard Time, which you can expect Summer 2022). These ten tracks carry everything that makes the genre – fuzzy garage rock, flooded with a wave of psych – so enjoyable: a raucous sound to jump on and crowdsurf to, gritty vocals, and enthusiastic lyrics (from the title track: “It don’t matter now if you’re Beatles or Stones // Not the style of ya hair or your colorful clothes // All the kids are alright in the crowd down below // Louder their shoutin’ // Turn it up and turn it on”) . This is your new favorite band, enjoy!

Technicolour Shakedown is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP via Sound x3 Records, Symphonic Distribution, Golden Robot Records, and Kitten Robot Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Semihelix || Recoil

Austin, Texas singer/guitarist Geannie Friedman played in hardcore band Kite Flying Society, and in two pop bands Saving Twilight, The Weak Ends, and the Wonderers, before starting Semihelix. Initially it was a solo project, but now Kevin Martin (bass), and Valdemar Barrera (drums) are part of the lineup. The trio plays fuzzy dream psych pop with melodic yet loud sounds. Their full-length debut album Recoil is about resilience, love, depression, uplifting others, and bouncing back. I can imagine that the band members are gazing at their shoes one moment, and staring into nothingness the next, but in between look at you defiantly. The ten songs on this record are light and dark at the same time, mixing emotions, and enchanting you slowly but surely.

Recoil is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP via Mariel Recording Company. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Daffodil Pill || Yup

The danger of making eclectic music is that it doesn’t make sense, because if you want to be everything, it can just turn out to be nothing. Polish four-piece hippie rock band Daffodil Pill know how to make it work. Filip Dudek (vocals, piano, percussion, special effects), Dawid Stawiarz (guitar), Mateusz Wróblewski (bass), Adam Chmura (drums, percussion, djembe) mix surf music with psychedelic acid trips, elements of progressive rock and a variety of other musical styles. The four tracks on their debut EP Yup, however, are an organic whole, with four tracks that are strongly constructed, intensely sung, with fascinating combinations of instruments. It’s a trip that lasts 18 minutes, a trip that is accessible but also exciting, surprising, compelling and funky. This certainly makes sense.

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

New album: The Smallgoods || Lost In The Woods

Good news: after almost ten years of radio silence, Melbourne four-piece The Smallgoods return with a new full-length album, Lost in the Woods. Not being able to find the way is in itself a good reason not to make music for a while, but luckily the wandering has provided fresh inspiration, because Lachlan Franklin, Gus Franklin, Ben Mason and Ben Donnan have written and recorded ten beautiful new melodies and lyrics. The song titles alone are appropriate and poetic at the same time: Where’ve You Been All This Time, On With the Show, Hurry Up & Slow Down, A Month of Sundays, Settle Down, etc. This is dreamy indie pop mixed with psych and folk rock influences, a wonderful autumn soundtrack. This comeback couldn’t be much stronger.

Lost in the Woods is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Lost And Lonesome.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Joshua Powell || Skeleton Party

American singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist Joshua Powell celebrates a Skeleton Party on his new album, his first truly full band composition. That means that we have to introduce the band: next to Joshua Powell himself (vocals, guitars, synthesizers, programming, coins) they are Adam Shuntich (guitars, theremin, mutant koto, death star laser beam), Jacob Powell (drums, percussion, vocals ), and Josh Townsend (bass, programming) – each band member has songwriter credits. Their psychedelic / progressive indie rock music is no easy feat – layered in instruments, versatile in styles, kaleidoscopic in lyrics – and an Auto-Tune-esque experiment even somewhat disturbing, but that there’s so much to hear is also fascinating and intriguing. Anyway, listening to these eight songs – 46 minutes – is an impressive journey, a hallucinatory experience, and especially the guitar playing is great. As Powell warns in standout track Sad Boy at the Skeleton Party: “I can’t protect your delicate sensibilities // It happens how it happens when you get into it with me.” It will depend on your taste: are you joining this party or not?

Stream the full album below.

Skeleton Party is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Romanus Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Romanus Records

New album: The Garrys || Get Thee To A Nunnery

With no prior knowledge of The Garrys, I listened to their new album, enjoyed it, and thought it would sound like this if Allah-Las and Alvvays would made music together: psychedelic surf rock that provides the perfect soundtrack for the transition from summer to autumn. When I then started to look into the band, I realized that my first impression was a bit too sunny: if you listen more closely, you’ll discover a dark underlayer that provides an ominous feeling.

The Garrys are a trio of sisters – Erica (guitar, keys, vocals), Julie (bass, vocals), and Lenore Maier (drums, vocals) – from the coldest part of the landlocked Canadian prairies, who in their own words make “doom-wop on morphine.” Like previous releases, Get Thee To A Nunnery (their fourth long player, this one produced by Dallas Good (The Sadies)), pays homage to their familial roots and the isolation and decay of rural life, but is also inspired by stories of their mother’s high school years at an all-girls Catholic boarding school and convent in a small town 60 years ago. It only makes the new record more fascinating: the nostalgic background, the warm sound coming from a cold area, the cinematic lyrics, the intriguing harmony vocals – the making of this record would be a great documentary.

“Baby you’ve been bad bad bad bad, so bad // Girl you’d better pray, before they put you away”

Stream the full album below.

Get Thee To A Nunnery is out now digitally, on CD, cassette, and vinyl LP through Grey Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp 

New EP: Pleasure Island || Pleasure Island

“We are Pleasure Island. We are from Pleasure Island.”

Pleasure Island use little words to introduce themselves. For a more informative introduction of this new band, that is actually from Carolina Beach (North Carolina), take a listen to their self-titled debut EP. Pleasure Island play a melancholic and nostalgic form of garagepop that incorporates elements of psych and surf. The songs are quite mellow, which allows the band’s great vocalist to shine. When We’re Together is a prime example. What a tune! But there’s an edge to the band as well, and the band’s not afraid to up the tempo and intensity, particularly in EP closer Cut Me Loose. Don’t know about you, but I’m keepin an eye on Pleasure Island.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Melin Melyn || Blomonj

Now this is fun and intriguing, extraordinary and eclectic at the same time. Or actually: this is fun and intriguing because it’s extraordinary and eclectic, but – different than usual with this description – also accessible, catchy, summery, and light-hearted. Welsh six-piece Melin Melyn (translated: Yellow Mill) is a psychedelic country pop band that naturally blurs the line between folk, rock, pop, surf, psych, and jazz, singing about weird tales of colorful characters and magical worlds in both English and Welsh. The music is just as eye-catching and exceptional as the cake in the cover photo, but also just as carefully constructed, cheerful and tasty – respecting the virtues of the past but determined to throw a party in the present. The six songs on debut EP Blomonj are all different, but all hits in their own way. Like they say: “Mwynhewch!” Enjoy!

Blomonj is out now digitally and on 12″ colored vinyl through Bingo Records. RIYL Kaizers Orchestra, The Zutons. The Golden Dregs.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp 

New album: Black Light Animals || Playboys of the Western World

As noted earlier this week: strange can be good. Playboys of the Western World, the debut album from American psychedelic soul group Black Light Animals, is another solid proof of that finding. They describe their music quite adequately as a sprawling, decadent examination of what it means to be a human being through the lens of horror movie organs, spaghetti western guitars, hip hop grooves, psychedelic sojourns, and ballads crooned to lovers in the night, although that list is not complete, because you’ll also hear rock, dub, and glam influences. It sounds like Isaac Hayes, Portishead, Ennio Morricone, and Portugal. The Man were experimenting together — that shouldn’t work, but it does. These are trippy, cinematic and mysterious songs that come into their own after dark when you’ve had a drink or two. Great work by Cole Bales (vocals / guitar / bass / piano / keyboards / synth / organ / percussion), Cody Calhoun (guitar / percussion), Zach Harris (drums / percussion / synth), Branden Moser (bass / guitar / keyboards / synth / organ / percussion), and some friends who added piano, viola and violin. Watch the video for standout track Halo.

Stream the full album below.

Playboys of the Western World is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Groove King Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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