New album: Bones Owens || Bones Owens

Bones Owens‘ self-titled full-length debut album is out now via Thirty Tigers, and while you might expect this to be a country album based on the cover photo or the fact that he’s from Nashville, it’s not. This is all about swinging rhythms and swaggering riffs, inspired by ’60s garage rock, Hill Country blues, and swampy roots rock. Uplifting songs with great guitar work and brooding vocals (the cool background vocals of legendary gospel singer Regina McCrary are also worth mentioning).

I actually wanted to post this quick review tomorrow, but this is definitely not Monday music. This is music for a sunny road trip or a party with beer and a barbecue. Music for a good day! RIYL: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Everest Cale, The Black Keys.

Add to wantlist: Discogs ||  Bones Owens Merch Store 

New album: The Umbrella Puzzles || A Slowly Dawning Realization

The Umbrella Puzzles are a lo-fi indie pop project by Ryan Marquez (Apple Orchard, Golden Teardrops, Sodajerk). Under this moniker he released a self-titled EP at the end of 2019, the extra time afforded by lockdown last year enabled him to also record a full-length album. Ten new, addictive songs about dreams, realities and frailties. Delicious jangle pop. It’s Perfect as it Stands in particular is a great track, but that title actually sums up the album quite well. Out now, digitally and on CD, through Subjangle. RIYL: Nap Eyes, Pete Astor, Nah…

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Black Twig || Was Not Looking for Magic

Finnish four-piece Black Twig say they play fuzzy pop songs, shoegaze, folk and droning rock songs. They can compete with the better jangle pop bands from Melbourne, but their work is a bit darker (the influence of the colder climate?), and the chance that an Australian band will name a song Puuhastelu is a lot smaller (this instrumental track shows how the band members work: they start out with improvisation and spacey jams, but somehow compositions and thought-out structures begin to build up). Their new album, recorded during 2017-2020, is out now through Soliti. Apparently they weren’t looking for magic, but they found it. RIYL Felt, Tracy Bryant, Razorcuts.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Western Threads || Cowboys in Montmartre

Western Threads sounded “too country” for the indie labels and “too indie” for the country labels, as the band’s singer / songwriter Jacob Lewis told us earlier in a GIMME 5 post about the inspiration for their debut album Cowboys in Montmartre, that has finally been released. The ten songs about love, death, sex, murder, and friendship don’t have the sharp edges of The Vaselines’ music (one of the main influences), and are therefore somewhat easier on the ears. While listening, my feet unconsciously moved continuously with the rhythm of the drums and screeching guitar. The fact that the voices of Jacob Lewis and Ainsley Richter alternate and then come together again creates a pleasant balance. For what it’s worth, for Add To Wantlist the band from Austin, Texas sounds just right.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Nuevos Hobbies || Monstruoso

New Hobbies! Is there are more positive and concise way to frame the past 12 months? It makes for a great bandname as well. Nuevos Hobbies are from Pamplona, Spain. They named their latest record Monstruoso, an even more concise (and more truthful?) way to describe the past year. The ten song on Monstruoso were recorded right before the first lockdown. It was inspired by the tension its band members experience between personal hapiness and not wanting to harm the planet. It’s something most of us can relate to, and even though I don’t speak Spanish, I quite enjoy what I am hearing. Nuevos Hobbies play indiepop with a capital P, with dashes of sixties pop, jangle, and the occasional hint of northern soul. Monstruoso is the perfect soundtrack to starting this saturday slowly, drinking coffee and reading the paper. Out now on Hurrah! Música.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Randolph’s Leap || Spirit Level

Randolph’s Leap sometimes is a solo project by Adam Ross from Glasgow (Scotland), but on the just released Spirit Level, Randolph’s Leap are a collective of eight. The songs on Spirit Level sound upbeat and joyful, despite being written in a turbulent time in Ross’ life. Part of that joyfulness comes from the occasional horns, keyboard, violion and sugarsweet nananana backup choirs in their indiepop sound. The other part comes from Ross’ voice, which is pleasant yet vulnerable and not unlike Ramesh Srivastava of Voxtrot. Ross is a prolific songwriter; he released over 40 home-recordings last year. Based on the songs on Spirit Level, he has yet to come across the bottom of his well of creativity. Put simply, Spirit Level is a joy to listen to. The sun is out today. I am no weather man, but it may be due to this release. Check out their video for Moment Passed, which offers a reminder of the importance of taking your music seriously, but not taking yourself seriously. Out now on Fika Recordings (UK).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Jax Hollow || Underdog Anthems

Underdog Anthems, the debut album from singer / songwriter and “shredder” Jax Hollow, is a blend of classic rock, blues, and Americana, with soulful vocals and raw storytelling. The LP is recorded and produced by Michael Wagener, and is recommended if you like the bands he collaborated with before (Skid Row, Extreme, White Lion, etc.). ‘No one found my weakness’, she sings confidently in Say My Name. Based on this album I can endorse that.

Add to wantlist: Jax Hollow Shop

New album: Mikey Erg || Mikey Erg

Almost all features on Mikey Erg mention the crazy amount of punk bands he plays in – basically all of them. It’s not just that his musical output is insane, Mikey also is a passionate fan and student of music in general. He is the kind of person who flies to London just to hear an biographer give a two hour lecture on the Beatles’ Abbey Road. Still, the true north of his songwriting usually points toward pop punk or punk rock, although his superb recent solo records Tentative Decisions and Waxbuilt Castles tilted more towards early Elvis Costello and Superchunk.

Today, Mikey released his third solo record. With a visual homage to The Clash on its cover, the record sounds like a continuation of his 2020 Bon Voyage EP (one of my favorites of the year). If that EP was his self-proclaimed “love letter to pop punk,” this self-titled full length is another dispatch from his pop punk heart to our ears. At Punkrock Theory, Mikey explains how he had the titles of the songs before actually writing the songs – make sure to read his track-by-track commentary on that site. I am jealous how effortless Mikey’s songwriting feels on this record. He’s the kind of artist that inspires you to pick up your guitar and write your own songs, only to discover that it really takes skill to write songs this well. Just listen to the 1-2-3 punch of Rubin Hall, Hey Marissa, and Rumblestrip and you’ll see what I mean. I also love how Mikey on Can’t Be Too Careless and Going To Pasalacqua makes me reconnect with the feeling of hearing Green Day for the first time. Purchase now at Rad Girlfriend Records. You get seven insanely catchy modern pop punk classics, one solid Pearl Jam cover, one moody bathroom slow burner and one overly long noisy one.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Rad Girlfriend Records

New single: Bandicoot || Dark Too Long

Welsh krautrock / post-punk band Bandicoot have released their new digital single Dark Too Long (Radio Edit), a song they describe themselves as a ‘frenzied cry of desperation from the depths of excess and loneliness, influenced by the driving rhythms of NEU! and Can’ (a previous cover album also reveals other influences). The song is an anthem for these times: recognizable lyrics that we would like to sing along (we’ve all been in the dark too long, so come on!) and a saxophone solo that takes the audience to a climax. Out now via Libertino Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Mary Anne’s Polar Rig || Makes You Happy

Are you ready for some fuzzy alternative slacker rock from Sweden? Make sure to check out the debut by Mary Anne’s Polar Rig. It’s called Makes Me Happy and it is kind of a mess, and I mean that as a compliment. It’s a chaotic record, with a lot going on. The band immediately draws you in with album opener Something About Your Way. It is short, fast and catchy. It is followed by Your House, which starts tenderly before erupting in an infectious chorus. It is not the only track where the band effectively uses soft loud dynamics. Liar Liar for example, another standout track, starts with an thunderous bass riff and ends explosively, but also has a quiet yet intense interlude where singer Malin Hofvander wails “i want to feel sexy || i want to feel sure || i don’t want to be rejected || i want to be adored”. Hofvander’s voice gives Makes You Happy an edge, but ultimately Mary Anne’s Polar Rig sounds like a well oiled collective. This is quite the debut. Out now on Please Like it & Feverish. RIYL: Evans The Death and Joanna Gruesome.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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