“New” compilation: The Dogmatics || EST 81

Rum Bar Records just released EST 81 by The Dogmatics in digital format, a collection of the songs of the Boston garage / pub rock band from the 80’s. Not really a new compilation, because available on CD in 1998 as Dogmatics 1981-86, but very welcome. Now, over 30 years later, the band is back, with the excellent single She’s the One (2019), singer-guitarist Jerry Lehane released an equally excellent self-titled EP (2020) and more new music is expected to follow in the new year, but it’s cool to hear the old work again. They are still great songs! What would be even more welcome than these downloadable tracks, is a vinyl version of EST 81. Please!?

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New Compilation: The Young Sinclairs || O.P.P.

The Young Sinclairs have been releasing excellent indiepop records since 2007. Throughout the years, they’ve recorded several cover songs, which they’ve recently wrapped up and made available as a name your price download as their Christmas present to the world. It’s worth checking out, and not just because you’ve always wanted to know what a jangle pop version of Sweet Child O’ Mine sounds like.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New song: Space Cadet || Forever For A While

If you, like me, have fond memories of Boston punkrockband The Explosion, then you are familiar with Matt Hock’s powerful and distinct voice. Imagine my excitement when I found out that Matt has started a new project with his former bandmate David Walsh, and that Wiretap Records will release their debut a couple of months from now. Here is the first song, which is a pleasant surprise. It’s a departure from the high-octane and tight punkrock of The Explosion. It’s guitar-driven and loose, and influenced by postpunk, britrock and new wave. It’s the kind of song that intrigues and gets under your skin upon first listen.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Wiretap Records

New album: Savoy Motel || Love Your Face

It’s tempting to label Savoy Motel as a retro glam revival group, but with the Sorry People video of their self-titled debut album (2015), the American rock band made it clear they don’t want to be seen as such: ‘We aren’t trying to revive anything. We play southern rock in a modern tradition. We try to create music that is all-inclusive escapism.’ Anyway, there is now a second full-length (click here for the commercial promoting Love Your Face) – ten new songs arranged and produced by Ryan Donoho (drums), Tina Norwood (piano), Jeffrey Novak (bass) and Dillon Watson (guitar). They are songs that go in all directions (they remind me of Foxygen at times, but I’m probably not allowed to say that either), songs that indeed allow you to escape the news of last year for 33 minutes.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Slaughter Beach, Dog || At The Moonbase

This is another album that wouldn’t have been out of place in my year-end list. In this case the fact that it’s missing is not because I overlooked it, but because it was only released last Friday. I think it ties in well with the mood of the last days of 2020. At The Moonbase, the new LP from Slaughter Beach, Dog (in this interview the band name is explained), is the follow-up to the excellent Safe And Also No Fear (2019). The music was written, performed and produced by Jake Ewald during the corona pandemic. He received help from several guest musicians, of which Wil Schade’s contribution is particularly striking: saxophone solos as heard on records in the 80’s. Apart from that, it is especially the lyrics that are intriguing. Lyric videos were made for all 11 songs, give it a try (you can see one of my favorite tracks, Do You Understand (What Has Happened To You), below).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Lame-O Records

Overlooked album: Kyle Lacy || The Road To Tomorrow

Every year it happens again: you have published your album of the year list and then you discover that you missed LPs that you really didn’t want to miss. Today I listened for the first time to the music American singer-songwriter Kyle Lacy released in 2020: his first full-length solo album The Road To Tomorrow (released February 14, CD on Dala Records; listen to stand-out tracks Low and Slow and Hangin’ On below), his EP Bad Bad Days (May 1, independently available from Bandcamp), his EP in collaboration with Warren Malone Lunchbox Special (August 7, Bandcamp) and his EP No Better Me (October 1, Bandcamp). All worth checking out. A fine mix of soul, blues, gospel and rock ‘n’ roll that deserves a larger audience (why isn’t this dude as famous as Eli “Paperboy” Reed and Nick Waterhouse?). Kyle Lacy may be missing from my year-end list, but it’s never too late to discover such good music.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Dala Records

“New” album: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard || Teenage Gizzard

What a pleasant surprise from King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard! The Australian rock band released Teenage Gizzard, a compilation of their first songs, recorded in 2010 and 2011. Very cool to hear how they started: short rock songs with surf influences, in which the characteristic singing style and hypnotic guitars are already central, but less complex and drawn-out than in their later work. The ten tracks are available as a digital album, but you can also bootleg the album yourself (like seven other albums – live shows or demos). The audio master files and cover art can be downloaded for free by anyone who wants to release this album (in 2017 they did something similar with Polygondwanaland, now 288 different versions have been made). I look forward to the creative outbursts this new challenge will yield and I want to have at least one of them in my collection.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New song: RECKLING || Spiders

Early this year, RECKLING (Kelsey Reckling) recorded 24 Hours for the Burger Records Quarantunes compilation series. I liked that song enough to start following her on Bandcamp. She released her debut full length on cassette in 2018, which is worth checking out if you are into garagepop/rock. Last week she released another great tune, Spiders. This garagerock track has a strong ’90’s alternative music vibe. It’s the kind of song MTV would have played to death in the nineties, and I wouldn’t have minded that at all. The song features Max from Fidlar on drums, who also produced the song. Fingers crossed RECKLING will release her sophomore album in 2021.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Best of 2020 Playlists || Niek’s Favorite Songs of 2020

At the start of each year, I create a playlist to keep track of newly released songs I like. Then, at the end of the year, I pick out the best song from this list to create a year-end mixtape, a playlist I like to return to every now and then, and revisit or rediscover songs and memories of a specific period of time. The thing is, I am not a very efficient person. So basically I drag songs to the playlist for 350 days resulting in quite the mess – the playlist currently has 1944 songs, almost 92 hours of music. Then, with the year coming to its close, I frantically go to work trimming down the playlist to its essence. That’s the hard part, because I am way better in adding stuff than throwing things away, or so I am told.  I usually end up with a playlist around 300-400 songs, in spite of my good intentions to keep it shorter. This year is no exception. What I did do differently this year however, is split up the songs in two playlists that reflect my two musical taste buds: a playlist with more straightforward punk, powerpop and garage hits from 2020, and one playlist with a little less distortion (i.e., indiepop, jangle, twee, but also postpunk, and more fuzzy and surfy popsounds). As always, one song per artists. Click read more to check them out. Hope you’ll like ’em, and will uncover some new favorite tunes! BTW, in case this is my final post of the year, take care, be well and see you in 2021!

New album: Neil Brogan || Weird Year

Anyone who likes jangle pop is probably familiar with the Irish band Sea Pinks (otherwise listen to Art Imitating Life, for example). Neil Brogan, their founder / songwriter / singer / guitarist, has now also released a (digital) solo album. Weird Year is a song diary of the weird year 2020. It was recorded at home as the months slipped away, a period of cancellations, miscommunications and garden visits. Fortunately, this alienating time has resulted in a nice retrospective. However, let’s hope 2021 will be less weird and indeed brings some cheers.

‘The inverse of what’s real and within touching // is what’s there to fear // not for nothing // do I hold you // So dear.’

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Scroll to Top