New album: Connie Cunningham and the Creeps || Going, Going, Going Gone – The Rare Recordings of Connie Cunningham and The Creeps, Vol. 1

Method actors aren’t that uncommon (Joaquin Phoenix, Daniel Day-Lewis come to mind quickly), but what about method musicians? Here is one: Nick Kinsey, a veteran musician who played with the likes of Waxhatchee, Kevin Morby, AC Newman, Hand Habits, and Cold War Kids. For his latest project he took on the persona of “fictional weirdo and failed session musician” Connie Cunningham. It wasn’t just a way to escape writer’s block, it was a purposeful move to create something special, a way to satisfy his dream of stumbling, in his new farmland house, on lost recordings from some eccentric artist who’d previously lived there.

The approach pays dividends in full. Going, Going, Going Gone is a quirky record full of songs that are timeless, yet sound like they were recorded in the fifties or sixties, or perhaps even earlier. It all sounds dreamy and orchestral, like Tom Waits meets Sufjan Stevens, going from latin to beach boys, from jazz to girl group – How delightful are those backing vocals by The Creeps (Cassandra Jenkins and Annie Nero) on title track Going, Going, Going Gone? Nick Kinsey has created something magical with this project, something to dive into and wrap yourself around with. So much to unpack!

The Vol. 1 in the album title suggests that there are even more Cunningham treasures lying around in Kinsey’s attic. I can’t wait to find out.

Going, Going, Going Gone – The Rare Recordings of Connie Cunningham and The Creeps, Vol. 1 is out now on LP at Earth Libraries. Also involved in the recordings: Josh Kaufman, Mike Irwin, Oliver Hill, and Jared Samuel.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Earth Libraries

New album: Just Friends || Gusher

Throwing an eclectic party, leave that to Just Friends aka JF Crew. The sound Avijit Dey, Benjamin Cole Donlon, Brandon Downum, Brianda Estefania Goyos Leon, Kevin Andrew Prochnow, Matthew Yankovich and Samuel Jerome Kless accumulate together can’t really be pigeonholed. One thing’s for sure: the Californian besties will take you from one surprise to the next. Their new (fourth) album Gusher starts with some uplifting rap-rock tracks that wouldn’t have been out of place at the end of the 90s, but then they take off in all directions, with influences from groovy funk, alternative rock, tough hip hop, catchy pop punk, contemporary R&B and even candy-sweet pop mixed in an inimitable fashion. The combination of genres and vocal styles is as idiosyncratic as it gets, but it pays to let the full 43 minutes roll over you before deciding which two or three tunes to skip.

Gusher, produced by Brett Romnes, is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Pure Noise Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Pure Noise

New single: Steve Adamyk Band || Drunk Dial #11

Whatever ethical concerns you may have with the Drunk Dial approach- get bands to spend some time in the studio, feed them intoxicants and let them write and record a new song and a cover, I am sure that participation until now has been completely voluntary and that no serious harm was done. I am even more certain of the quality of the series. We are up to #11 and no duds were discovered yet. Episode 11 features the mighty Steve Adamyk Band. That name comes with certain expectations, and Adamyk does not disappoint. Perhaps it’s the high level of previous installments that sets a bar that successive bands want to achieve. I mean, who wants to be that band to break the certified freshness of an awesome series. Or perhaps, it’s just the musical talents of Steve Adamyk, who was joined for this session by David Forcier.

Drunk Dial #11 in some ways is a departure in approach for the Drunk Dial series. It wasn’t born out of intent nor force had to be used by the label. The backstory is pretty straightforward. In the Summer of 2021, Adamyk and Forcier split a case of Corona and then made the spontaneous decions to record two songs. A month later they offered it to Drunk Dial Records who gladly accepted the gift. Installment #11 is also different because it is the first in the series to feature two covers and no original. Not a problem of course, because everything Adamyk touches starts to sound like a Steve Adamyk Band song right? The A-side is a cover of Do You Wanna Know by Belgian punk legends The Kids. The flipside has Slip Away, a new version of a song Adamyk wrote and recorded in his Sedatives years.

Another one in the books for Drunk Dial Records, and #12 has already been recorded. Wanna guess who the next artist is? Drop it in the comments. I won’t give any hints, but I for one am excited!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Hobby || Nombre Parfait

Hobby are a slacker indie rock outfit from Paris. Following their self-titled EP, Nombre Parfait (Perfect Number) is the band’s latest output. It was born out of accident rather than intent: Hobby was working on writing and recording a full length that for several reasons became a struggle. With the full length shelved indefinitely, Hobby turn the page with the Nombre Parfait EP, featuring 6 songs that were written in a short period of time and recorded mostly live. Judged on the spontaneity an creativity of these songs, it appears that Hobby have managed to revive the band and reinvent themselves.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Summer Break!

Hi. We are offline for a summer break. We’ll return in a couple of weeks with recharged batteries.

Still thirsty for new music? Check out our Recommended New Music (2022) and Dusted (featuring the finest covers of 2022) playlists on Spotify. Or check out awesome blogs like Faster and Louder, Janglepophub, & onetwoxu.

See ya soon. Have a great Summer!

New album: Ben Woods || Dispeller

Some releases you have to experience in a live setting to fully “get.” I’ve been at countless shows where I left with a better appreciation or understanding for a new record. This also applies to Ben Woods sophomore album Dispeller which is out today, although I haven’t seen him perform in real life yet.

When I received the advanced stream of the record, I did not know what to think. It simply was too far from what I normally listen to. But then Woods released a short film with three live performances that changed how I feel about the record – watch the 15-minute video below, I particularly like the middle song (Hovering At Home) starting around 6:52. It starts slowly and timid, but explodes at the 8:08 mark in the coolest way.

The short film is beautifully directed and showcases the complexities, the layers and labour of love that went into the songs on Dispeller. Having watched the video, I’m listening to the record with fresh ears. I still don’t know how to describe it though. The press release talks about the New Zealand artist leaning “comfortably into intuition and abstraction,” and “experimenting with the disparate and the disharmonious.” But I’m not sure if that helps. I think Ben Woods’ music is just meant to be experienced – in the morning with some coffee, or during late night walks.

Dispeller is out today via Shrimper Records (U.S.), Meritorio Records (Spain/EU), and Melted Ice Cream (N-Z).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Meritorio Records

New album: Abel Natürlich || Smug

Geertruida, a record label from the Northern coastal province in the Netherlands, provides the perfect metaphor for Abel Natürlich’s debut record Smug: “A restless theme park ride.” It’s probably the weirdest thing I actually enjoyed lately.

THERE IS JUST SO MUCH GOING ON! That was my first impression. Smug is a kind of record that intentionally overstimulates. And musically it’s all over the place. There is a chiptune element to most of the songs, there are egg punk parts, there definitely is some baroque pop to the record – the vocal melodies strangely remind me of The Zombies’ Odessey And Oracle.

About that theme park metaphor. Smug sounds more like a really dense theme park than a specific ride. Let’s say each of the songs has a lot of rides that are all hectic and unpredictable. The waiting time in between? Minimal.

Bring your own food and drinks. Smug is out now through Geertruida Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Ross Storm || The Meridian

Instrumental music that is a blend of “prog & math rock, with notes of jazz and post-punk” is not something I expected to like. But somehow I’ve been enjoying The Meridian by Storm Ross quite a lot. Apparently, it’s already Ross’ fourth release on Already Dead Tapes, but relative to previous releases it’s more of a team effort. On The Meridian, Ross is joined by Yuma Uesaka on tenor sax and Skeleton Birds bandmates Jeremy and Jonathan Edwards on bass and drums respectively.

According to Ross, this is some of his best work to date. And although I’m unfamiliar with his previous output, I’m taking his word for it. The Meridian is as exciting as it is hypnotic, and as vibrant and colorful as the album art. These are no bedtime instrumentals to make you fall asleep, nor will they provide a relaxed start to your day. But I expect the songs on The Meridian to keep you fully awake at work. In fact, I’m pretty sure A/B testing will show The Meridian will significantly raise your focus, productivity and quality of your day.

The Meridian is out now on Tape at Already Dead Tapes.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Gus Englehorn || Dungeon Master

The album title and cover photo should have been a warning, but I listened to Gus Englehorn’s new LP Dungeon Master without prejudice. It turned out to be the strangest and most disturbing release of recent times, but in a good, mesmerizing way that won’t let you go. As the label states: “An outsider opus that sparkles with Dada spirit — a playful juxtaposition of isolation, alienation and mildish OCD. Surprising, paranoid, and studded with synths and strings, deeper than a cellar and blunter than a club.” The Alaskan singer-songwriter/guitarist, based in Montréal, Québec, plays avant-garde garage pop, surreal and dark but also captivating and intriguing. I assume recording these 10 songs was an adequate way for Englehorn to deal with his ups and downs, great that he’s sharing that musical process with us. If you don’t want to dream restlessly, you shouldn’t play this just before going to sleep.

Dungeon Master is out now digitally, on cassette, CD and vinyl LP trough Secret City Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Secret City

New EP: The Pagans S.O.H || Le Coq EP

And now for something completely different, something for which the term eclectic was coined. The Pagans S.O.H (Shepherds of Humanity) fuse elements of hip-hop, funk, punk, ska, metal, jazz, gospel, and reggae to create a cool and fun vibe, somewhat reminiscent of the crossover sound of bands like OPM, Jaya The Cat, and Dog Eat Dog 25 years ago. They rock, but also show their funky and psychedelic side. The UK 4-piece – Marcus Lesycsyznski-Hall (vocals), Daragh Guest (guitar), Conor Hodgkiss (drums), and Nathaniel Hellier-Allport (bass) – released Le Coq EP, featuring 3 previously released singles – Banananah (2018), Pagan Pilgrimage (2019), and The Pagans Are Alive (2020) – plus brand new song Cocky. All great tracks, with delicious raps and danceable riffs – a little crazy, but above all energetic and exciting. Want more of this too? The next EP will follow in the fall.

Le Coq EP is out now digitally, on cassette and CD trough Rare Vitamin Records. “Music to actually hold in your hands and take possession of” – not available on Spotify. (Coincidentally, I was listening to 1986 compilation Buried Alive by US punk band Pagans earlier this week, but as far as I know, despite the naming similarities, it’s unrelated.)

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

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