New album: Joe James & The Pariahs || The Secret Lives Of Susan Blythe

The new record from Joe James & The Pariahs tells the story of Susan Blythe and her escape from the world of 9-to-5. With this approach, the four band members are targeting fans of The Village Green Preservation Society (The Kinks), SF Sorrow (Pretty Things), and Ogdens Nut Gone Flake (Small Faces) – a good frame of reference to manage your expectations. These are 11 pop songs with R&B, freakbeat and above all psych influences, each of which tells its own story in terms of sound. Intriguing and captivating. Stream the full album below.

Out digitally and on (raspberry coloured) vinyl LP through Raving Pop Blast! Recordings. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Alex Rex || Paradise

UK singer/drummer Alex Neilson has played with Trembling Bells, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Shirley Collins and Current 93, and under his solo moniker Alex Rex he has now released his fourth full-length. Paradise is a good one, with 13 psych-folk songs of life, love and loss. Musically it goes in all directions, but Neilson’s versatile gritty voice keeps things together. This LP is an Eldorado for music lovers who like to name influences and genres. For example, watch the video for one of the standout tracks, What’s Shouted In The Dark (The Dark Shouts Back), which lyrically nods to New York Dolls and Nick Lowe.

Stream the full album below.

Out digitally and on vinyl LP through Neolithic Recordings. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Juleah || Stoked On Planet Summer

Back at my laptop after a three-week vacation, I work my way through a huge pile of new music that came out during this period. The first great find, the fourth album by Austria’s one-woman band Juleah aka Julia H. (Julia Hummer), is aptly titled Stoked On Planet Summer. These are ten psychedelic pop songs, bright but atmospheric, with hints of surf rock and jangle pop. These are songs that will make you dream away to better places: “If life granted me a wish // I’d say // Stay forever like this // Forever like this.” These are songs with captivating melodies and shimmering guitars, with hooks and sounds that keep you on your toes while you laze around. This is a watercolor cocktail with flashy fruit for a bite. Thanks to Juleah I’m still holding on to my holiday feeling.

Out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Little Cloud Records (US) and Konkord (elsewhere).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Onesies || Sub-Urbia I

When I use a word like eclectic or mention that I’m intrigued by a band’s sound, it usually means I like the music but I don’t really understand it nor have the words to explain it. Both terms apply to Sub-Urbia I, the new (first) album by Charlotte (Carolina) band The Onesies. The band plays an experimental form of sunshine and jangle pop. Their songs sound like they cut cool parts from different songs by different bands, put them in a blender, and pasted them back together in short songs – the album is only 18 minutes long. There are no clear endings to most of their songs and often it’s like they skip all introduction and start somewhere in the middle. The result is a sound that is within a triangle of The Byrds, Beach Boys and Guided By Voices. Yeah, I’d call this electic and I AM definitely intrigued!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Pony Hunt || VAR!

VAR! is the second album by Pony Hunt. The press releases describes the sound of the band as psychedelic folk, which makes sense I guess, but it understates how varied the soundscapes are on VAR!. The album opens strongly with Pulse, a mesmerizing song that seems to come from a different era. It’s the first of many standouts, like the gorgeous Stardust, the dreamy Rise and the modern indie rock oriented Stardust and That Feeling.

In terms of its direction, VAR! is an outlier in my musical diet, but one I find myself returning to. Most likely, this is due to the power, honesty and vulnerability in the voice of Jessie Antonick, who truly takes these songs to a different level. Her voice goes beyond mere talent. I like to believe that her life experiences and travels add an additional emotional layer to her voice – at different times, Antonick lived on a sailboat and in a chevy van. Antonick’s identity struggles, a central theme on the record, likely also factor in

The second main draw of VAR! is Pony Hunt’s ability to create something fresh and exciting out of the many different generations of American music. Pony Hunt makes you get lost in the woods and then drops crumbs of doo-wop, folk, country, indie rock, blues, soul and punk to help you claw your way back; It’s quite the adventure. VAR! is out now on Wing And Wing, including a limited edition with a handmade lyric book.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Wing And Wing

New album: Heavy Illusion || Reality TV

Heavy Illusion is an American psychedelic rock band, led by brothers Ricky (vocals / guitar / keyboards / bass / trumpet) and Tyler North (drums). They’ve just released their seventh (digital) album, Reality TV, a quest for how we view the world through the lens of the media: what’s our reality? Ricky wrote great lyrics like “See…our progress in motion // Hear…our endless devotion // When we build ourselves a future we can thrive in // Feel…a live imagination” (from Carry On). The music sounds sunnier and less hallucinatory than what you would expect based on this theme. These are progressive rock jams that have a clever and varied structure, surprisingly entertaining. Stream the full album below.

Out now digitally. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp 

New album: Mutaciervo || La Segunda Luz

Fasten your seat belts for La Segunda Luz (translated: “the second light”), the sophomore album by Mutaciervo, Leroy Starlight’s space prog / hard rock project full of synths, As it goes in a space full of black holes, these aren’t sunny sounds. This is music that you have to experience like you undergo a science fiction film. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, you’ll understand what it’s all about. La Segunda Luz is hypnotic and addictive, and isn’t that what good psychedelic rock is supposed to do?

Out now digitally. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Tashaki Miyaki || Castaway

Contrary to what their Japanese sounding name might suggest, Tashaki Miyaki is an indie rock band with “California kids” who have been playing dreamy, hazy, melodic shoegaze / psych pop for 10 years. Their new album, Castaway, has 11 original songs about love, memory and time. “Give me a reason to cry // It’s been so long since I had feeling // I don’t remember why I do anything // What am I doing here” – those are the first lines you’ll hear in the title track with which the record opens, lyrics that say a lot about this record. The band members search for meaning, as we might all do in 2021, and that doesn’t lead to unambiguous findings; when they sing about Good Times there is a dark edge to it, and doubts are expressed with I Feel Fine. The cinematic songs seem sweet and soothing at first hearing, but turn out to be exciting and ominous at the same time. Although they are dreamy, they are never dull; before your attention can wane, there’s a guitar riff or vocal harmony that will keep you on your toes. This album is a cool one, stylish in every way, an image enhanced by some videos. Watch and listen below to convince yourself.

Castaway is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Metropolis Records. RIYL Still Corners, Mazzy Star, Dum Dum Girls. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Metropolis

New album: Las Penas | Sin Dolor

Las Penas are a trilingual (Spanish, French & English) 5-piece from the San Sebastian region in Spain. The band’s psychgarage sound is informed by a love of ’60s and ’70s music. The eleven cuts (10 originals and one cover of No Exit by the Grassroots) on Sin Dolor are short, sweet, and make it near impossible to sit still. What makes Las Penas particularly stand out is their knack for writing strong melodies and memorable choruses.

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 

Scroll to Top