Throwback Thursday: S K Y T O N E || Taking Our Time (JangleWaves)

Last week I got into a discussion about underrated songs. In my opinion such a conversation shouldn’t just be about well-known songs that don’t get the appreciation they deserve, because there is also a lot of good music that is simply never heard; ignorance equals unlovedness by the general public. That’s one of the main motivations for starting this website: to dig up hidden gold nuggets and give them attention too. Anyway, if I had to name one underrated song, it’s Taking Our Time, from the album JangleWaves (2017) by S K Y T O N E. It’s carefree, relaxed indie / jangle / synth pop created by Rodney and Darius Doddridge (from Ottawa, Canada), but most of all it’s the perfect track for a sunny summer day, both musically (the guitar melody is addictive) and lyrically (“… nothing sounds pretty good to me”). Unknown? Probably. But how would you rate this?

If I ever get to put together a soundtrack, this one won’t be missing, but until then I’ll put it on all my holiday playlists. By the way, the rest of the album is fine too. JangleWaves is available digitally and on CD.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Falconet || Magic Potion

“We drink and play indie pop music and don’t really know things,” according to the short bio of Falconet. Still, the Californian duo – Sally Jati (vocals, guitar) and Ken Aki (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard, drums) – managed to deliver a strong debut album. Magic Potion has 8 songs of 3 minutes or so each, songs about nearby subjects such as a Falling Star (temper your expectations), the Unbearable Friend (everyone has one), and Summer (waiting for summer love to bloom). The vocals are dreamy, the guitars jangling, the hooks enchanting – a perfect sound for this time of year. Too bad this bottle of Magic Potion is empty so quickly, more of this please. Listen to standout tracks The Train Song (about being used) and Goodbye (when enough is enough) below. RIYL Alvvays, Beach Fossils, Strawberry Whiplash.

Out now digitally. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New Album: Chubby And The Gang || The Mutt’s Nuts

Speed Kills, the debut album from Chubby And The Gang, was a pure adrenaline rush. Perhaps there is some recency bias on my part, but I have trouble recalling a more exciting debut in the past decade – it was my favorite record of 2020. How do you follow up a record that special and that succesful? Chubby And The Gang seem less interested in that question than the serious music critics, because on their sophomore album the band does whatever they feel like. The Mutt’s Nuts is a different beast altogether while still very recognizably Chubby And The Gang. The band did not try to replicate Speed Kills, although The Mutt’s Nuts has that same violent threat of street punk and the agressive rush of hardcore: The first couple of tracks on The Mutt’s Nuts would have fit perfectly on Speed Kills. The rest of the record shows that the band has more to offer and is unafraid to create their own path. Try sitting still to the Malcolm Youngesque guitar riff over a thumping bass in Coming Up Tough, or the pub rock’n’ roll of Life On The Bayou and Lightning Don’t Strike Twice. There is even some tasteful soulful balladry in songs like I Hate The Radio and Life’s Lemons.

If Speed Kills was a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart, The Mutt’s Nuts is more like a surprise seven course meal where you never know what is coming up next. Ultimately, it offers a more diverse rush that likely is healthier in the longer term for mind, body and soul. This is one hell of an album.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Bambies || Summer Soon

My summer was pretty good, but right now my return to work and blogging feels like one giant game of catchup and I am getting no way close. This may explain why Summer Soon by Canadian three piece Bambies is such a welcome record. Uncomplicated and upbeat, Bambies play the kind of garage pop punk’n’roll that mixes bubblegum goodness with Heartbreakers swagger. From the one-two opening punch of Dirty Taint and Summer Soon, through the glam hit Tear Off My Face, it’s clear that Bambies is a band that sounds fun because they are having fun. It’s exactly what I need right now. Add Bambies to an already long list of cool Canadian bands. There was a time I associated Canada with its beautiful nature. Nowadays, my first association with Canada is great garage and power pop.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Wanda (EU) || Spaghetty Town

Gimme 5! Natalie Sweet Shares Her 5 Favorite Go-Go’s songs

With ‘Gimme 5!’ we take a peek into the collections of artists we admire. The premise is simple: artists WE like share 5 records THEY love.

The Go-Go’s arguably are one of the most succesful all-girl bands of all time. It’s kinda crazy how quickly the band catapulted from the LA punk scene into having a #1 record. By writing their own music and unapologetically rockin’ out on stage, The Go-Go’s inspired kids around the globe to pick up an instrument and get at it themselves. To celebrate the LA band, Sympathy For The Record Industry will soon release a massive 24-track tribute called If You Gotta Go-Go, Go-Go Now. Featured on the album are powerpop royalty (Paul Collins, Josie Cotton, Holly & The Italians, Fastbacks, Nikki Corvette & Mike Skill of The Romantics), and contemporary pop punk and power pop legends (and Add To Wantlist faves) like The Yum Yums, The Suitesixteen, Pale Lips, Baby Shakes, Juniper and Natalie Sweet – this Facebook page offers the full track list and artist profiles.

In anticipation of the album we reached out to massive Go-Go’s aficionado Natalie Sweet. Natalie, whose contribution to the tribute (He’s So Strange) we cannot wait to hear, was kind enough to to share her favorite five six Go-Go’s songs with us. Not an easy task: “There are just so many classics as far as I’m concerned and I’m a Libra….but I’ll give it my best shot anyways!” Read and listen below for a countdown of the songs. Natalie’s explanations reveal a love for the band that is contagious and we hope you get as excited about revisiting these songs as we did.  [post continues below]

New album: No Yonder || Autofocus

Do yourself a favor and meet American singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist Brad Gerke, who has just released his debut album Autofocus under the moniker of No Yonder. In his youth, his tastes evolved from alternative rock – he wanted to be the next Weezer or Foo Fighters – to folk and country – could he become a new Justin Townes Earle or Johnny Cash? – and he even had a latent emo-revival phase. You can hear those rock, country, and emo influences in his music, and although he wrote all the songs here himself, and takes care of vocals, guitar, and keys, the LP really is a band effort, with Tyler Key (electric guitar, pedal steel, keys), Ryan Moore (drums), Garrett Hibbs (bass), and Annie Leeth (violin). Most of the tracks deal with having high expectations for yourself and automatically doing what you feel you are supposed to do, about goals and dreams that don’t come to fruition in reality – stories from a state of autofocus, hence the album title. However, these ten songs don’t sound like they were made on autopilot, because the musicians deliver top quality work, the lyrics are intelligent, the lead vocals are captivating, and the backing vocals invite you to sing along.

Brad Gerke mirrors himself to bands like The Mountain Goats, Bright Eyes, and Wilco, and I wouldn’t be surprised if No Yonder also will become a big name in the folk-rock genre. This is a great discovery, with a beautiful debut album. Listen to standout tracks Dale Loses a Grand Tour – derived from the phrase “Delusions of Grandeur” – and Slow Poisoning.

“So who was I // To try and defy // The precepts of the powerful and wise // With glass held high // And my spirit running dry // I’ll make one final toast to my demise”

“You’re an open book with torn out pages // So I guess I could never read you anyway”

Autofocus is out now digitally. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Hello Darlins || Go By Feel

Vocalist/producer Candace Lacina and keyboardist/producer Mike Little and a few of Canada’s other popular roots music session musicians decided to make music together, to combine their skills and influences to forge a hybrid of country, gospel and blues, to create something new on their own. As The Hello Darlins they have now released their debut full-length album Go By Feel. In that context, opening track Catch That Train is significant, because it is about changing the direction of your life: “We wanted the music to reflect a sense of excitement that change brings, but also a heaviness that sometimes comes when you realize here are no other options and you have to leave things behind in order to ‘get on board’ with something different.” Thanks to this “supergroup”, the Americana genre is 11 timeless quality songs richer, tunes that are compelling and have an eye for detail.

Stream the full album below.

Go By Feel is out now digitally and on CD and vinyl LP through Continental Record Services.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || The Hello Darlins

New album: Cruzados || She’s Automatic!

American rock band Cruzados released their self-titled debut album in 1985 and their second LP After Dark in 1987, scoring hits like Motorcycle Girl and Bed of Lies. Some 30 years after their breakup in 1990, their co-founder bassist/songwriter Tony Marsico brings back Cruzados, with a new lineup featuring vocalist Ron Young, guitarist Loren Molinare, guitarist Mark Tremalgia and drummer Rob Klonel. They even have a third album out: She’s Automatic! is a collection of 11 new original songs, dedicated to the memory of fallen Cruzados members Chalo “Charlie” Quintana, and Marshall Rohner. Older and wiser, but just as enthusiastic as in the good old days. This is bluesy rock ‘n’ roll with gritty vocals, hard-hitting drums and heavy guitar riffs, which radiate the joy of playing.

Out now on CD and vinyl LP through Scamco Records. Add to wantlist: Cruzaodos || Discogs

New single: Sister Suzie || Don’t Want To

Straight from a garage in Edmonton (Canada) to your heart, here’s the latest single by Sister Suzie. Sister Suzie plays the kind of music that rocks and roll hard. The short and sweet Claws, with its Donnas/Runaways vibe, is my favorite track on the single. But the remaining pair of tracks  are from fillers. Don’t Want To and Are You Gonna (Give Me A Kiss) have a decidedly more bluesy and glammy sound, and plenty of swagger to get you head boppin’ and your foot stompin’.

Another strong joint release by Reta Records and Surfin’ Ki! Pre-order now to get the vinyl color and cover variant of your liking.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp ||| Discogs || Surfin’ Ki

New album: Eric Stephen Martin || Dreamlike

Eric Stephen Martin is a multi-talented artist from Dartmouth (Canada). I recently wrote about his side project Rick The Loser. Under that moniker he plays timeless pop songs disguised as slack indie rock and garage pop. Dreamlike is his first full length under his own name, and the record has a more traditional sound, somewhere between singer songwriter and folk. It’s the kind of music I seldom get excited about. Dreamlike is an exception to that rule. These songs are gorgeous in all their heartbreaking glory. Above all, they sound heartfelt and real and a strong support cast, including Joel Plaskett, Mo Kenney, and Bill Stevenson (the award- winning jazz and blues pianist, not the drummer of Descendents), take the songs to another level.

Unsurprisingly, Eric Stephen Martin describes the record the most meaningful and personal collection of songs he’s written in his life. I, for one, am grateful for Martin’s willingness to share these songs with the world.

Add the wantlist: Bandcamp

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