Pale Lights Brighten the Room

July 24, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Posted in Albums, Music | Leave a comment
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paleLights

The Pale Lights debut album Before There Were Pictures was recorded by at Marlborough Farms by Ladybug Transistor’s Gary Olson. Head Pale Light Philip Sutton who has been in Comet Gain and more recently the Soft City, employs the help of Crystal Stilts bassist Andrew Adler to play guitar and solicits the talents of the Stilts Kyle Forester for some keyboard flourishes. Come to think of it, is is nearly a Cinema Red and Blue reunion minus Comet Gain’s David Feck.

Sutton who was also the Cinema Red and Blue drummer gets out from behind the drums and is front and center with his jangly guitar and friendly croon. The album picks up where their four song self-titled EP from 2012 left off. The album breezes into the room like a long forgotten friend. The elegant maudlin pop that the band excels at evokes bygone classics like Felt, Brilliant Corners, Lloyd Cole and Biff Bang Pow! Like an old friend, you feel like you already know these songs and you kind of do if you are a fan of these other bands. If you don’t it’s time to make a new friend. Say hello to the Pale Lights!

stream & buy: Pale Lights – Before There Were Pictures

In the Middle of It – Part III

July 17, 2014 at 9:20 pm | Posted in Lists, Music | Leave a comment
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You guys probably thought this was over. Nah, I was just giving everyone a day of rest. So now we are at the end of the middle of it. A little longer but packed full of worthwhile stuff. I left a few out, because…because why? Because I’m tired and I want to get back to listening to records.

holliecook

Hollie Cook – Twice (Mr. Bongo)

Hollie Cook who is the daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook has mastered it on album number two. Her brand of tropical/pop/reggae/dub sounds so fresh that you will wonder why nobody has come up with this elixir before. Twice has lush orchestration, obscure samples, phat beats and always Ms. Cook’s simmering voice bringing everything to brilliant life.

stream: Hollie Cook – Ari Up

woodentops

You’ve heard it before. Band reunites, makes album after 20 year hiatus. Album sucks. It’s enough to make you ignore your glory days. The Woodentops are here to show you that old people don’t suck. After calling it a day 22 years ago the band are back with a new album. Yes they’ve aged, but they’ve made a record that holds onto the manic energy of their first incarnation, while adding a gravitas that makes up for any spring they may have lost in their steps.  Granular Tales surely isn’t’ the record they would have made as follow up to Woodenfoot cops on the highway 20 years ago. It’s most likely much better.

stream: Woodentops – Third Floor Rooftop High

ramonalisa
Ramona Lisa – Arcadia (Terrible)

Ramona Lisa is Caroline Polachek of Charilift. Her first solo album Arcadia is entirely and electronic affair, but it doesn’t sound cold or stilted at all. It is spacious and playful with a similar aesthetic to a Kate Bush or Goldfrapp record.  She’s also brought an A list of songs so this is anything but some throw away indulgence solo album.

stream: Ramona Lisa - Backwards & Upwards

talbotadams
Talbot Adams – Talbot Adams (Space Case)

Talbot Adams self-titled solo album is wall to wall quality. What kind of quality you ask. Quality in the caliber of Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello and Wreckless Eric. Thing is, it came out on a tiny label and got no press. People complain all the time that music sucks these days. It doesn’t suck you just need to dig because Columbia Records is not bankrolling artists anymore, so you are not going to hear this stuff on the radio or read about it on your favorite indie music web site. Shame.

stream: Talbot Adams - Nashville Avenue

carsickcars
Carsick Cars – 3 (Maybe Mars)

If you hadn’t heard China is rising. The sleeping dragon has awoke so it is only a matter of time before the country moves beyond exporting smart devices and cheap toys and starts exporting rock n’ roll. At the forefront of the invasion and hailing from Beijing, this Chinese trio make noisy grooving kraut influence rock. It certainly isn’t a homegrown sound, but they do it very well. Three (coincidentally their third album) was co-produced by the Clean’s Hamish Kilgour and former Spaceman Sonic Boom.

stream: Carsick Cars – 15 Minutes Older

peoplestemple
The People’s Temple – Musical Garden (Hozac)

Musical Garden might be the best People’s Temple record yet. The Lansing, Michigan band’s brand of heavy psych-gararge- punk hits the right nerve sounding raw, unhinged and just about to take a sip of Kool-aid.

stream: The People’s Temple – Smooth Move

posse
Posse – Soft Opening (BADH)

Posse’s second album Soft Opening is just about perfect in lonely, melancholy and druggy kind of way. It will likely remind you of great records from the likes of Galaxy 500, Versus and Acetone. Its sharp guitar and vocal interplay between co-singer-guitarists Paul Wittmann-Todd and Sacha Maxim compliment each other as if they’ve been playing together all their lives.  It’s a record with a measured confidence giving you the impression that Posse are wise beyond their years.

stream: Posse - Interesting Thing No. 2

asdig
A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Sea When Absent (Lefse)

Every good band evolves of course, and A Sunny Day in Glasgow have progressed from being an airy shoegaze band whose songs sometime floated by without anyone taking notice to being a band that has retained its shoegaze roots but with a major focus on out and out pop. Singers Anne Fredrickson and Jen Goma combine their voices to create powerful attention grabbing songs while the rest of band provide big swirling and sweeping frameworks to hang their voices.

stream: A Sunny Day In Glasgow - In Love with Useless (The Timeless Geometry in the Tradition of Passing)

quilt
Quilt – Held in Splendor (Mexican Summer)

Quilt pluck strings from psychedelic era Beatles, unearth dusty jangle from the Byrds and sprinkle misty mountain vocal harmonies from Crosby Stills and Nash all over the place.  The  Boston band’s second album surpasses their good debut with a batch of psychedelic circle dances that sparkle and shimmer, effortlessly creating their own brand of psych with one foot in the past and other in the next star system.

stream: Quilt – Tired & Buttered

Katerine

Katerine – Magnum (Riviera)

Katerine started out making indiepop, then moved onto electronic, got really weird somewhere in there, became an actor, started his own girl group and now has gone disco. Over here in the states there is a large group of folks who worship Serge Gainsbourg. His records get reissued on a regular basis, and he gets tribute records made to him. I can only imagine that after Katerine passes away the same thing will happen to his records. In the meantime you have to call France to buy any of his stiff. His latest Magnum is loads of fun and slightly ironic based on the cover, but it also has some great beats and more than its share of excellent songs.

stream: Katerine - Les Dictateurs

alpacasports
Alpaca Sports – Sealed With a Kiss (Luuxury/Dufflecoat)

Is it possible to like both the angry Sleaford Mods and Protomartyr and happy Alpaca Sports? Maybe I like too much stuff but in my house there is a place for both. This Göteborg, Sweden duo explore the unbearable lightness of being twee on their debut album. It’s full of sunny harmless sounding fun, but underneath there is pain, hurt and anger. Sounding sweet and harmless isn’t as easy as you think and neither is making a record this intelligent and catchy.

stream: Alpaca Sports – He Doesn’t Even Like You

pow
Pow! –  Hi Tech Boom (Castle Face)

Hi-Tech Boom sounds like it was recorded in the 80′s, but it is a commentary on the current state of affairs in the Bay Area. High cost of living and high salaried tech workers pricing everyone out and vanillafying the place. Pow! sound numb,  robotic in their outrage. Like everyone these days they are desensitized to the absurdity of reality. Let this record numb you so you feel no pain as the rich eat you.

stream:  Pow! – Fire Hose

metronomy
Metronomy – Love Letters (Because)

This Metronomy might not be what you’re expecting. It’s full of downbeat bedroom pop. It takes a few listens to adjust to it being so low key and understated, but the rewards are long lasting. Aquarius is the immediate one, but Love Letters soon grabs you with it’s piano riff and then Factory sounding instrumental Boy Racers hits you unexpectedly. Reservoir soon follows and before you know it you even like the most difficult ones.

stream: Metronomy – Aquarius

dougetuttle
Doug Tuttle – Doug Tuttle (Trouble In Mind)

Former Mmoss guitarist strikes out on his own into New Hampshire’s White Mountains  and conjures a brilliantly understated psychedelic masterpiece. Sometimes he sounds like he’s been listening to some West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, but he never goes off on the benders that that band did. The psych with a strict adherence to pop.

stream: Doug Tuttle - Forget the Days

TheeOhSees

Thee Oh Sees – Penetrating Eye (Castle Face)

It’s a brand new Thee Oh Sees. Dwyer decided to split with the rest of his band, but when it comes to records that doesn’t really matter since he usually records everything himself. As far as Thee Oh Sees albums go this one veers towards the more mellow psych side of things, like a sister of the Casstlemania record. Except that it isn’t quite that simple since there are few corkers in this batch of songs as well which contributes to the nice balance between hot and cool which is something new for this band.

stream: Thee Oh Sees - Encrypted Bounce (A Queer Song)

Cheatahs-Cheatahs
Cheatahs – Cheatahs (Wichita)

Cheatahs come from London, but the four guys in the band are from Canada, Germany, the US and the UK. There are obvious similarities to Swervedriver on their debut album as well as Buffalo Tom, My Bloody Valentine and Dinosaur Jr. You may have to pinch yourself as you reach for your copy of Melody Maker to make sure that you haven’t warped back to the 90′s. Nope, you haven’t, but this is good enough to make you think you might have just for a minute.

stream: Cheatahs - Geographic

In the Middle of It – Part II

July 15, 2014 at 9:22 pm | Posted in Lists, Music | Leave a comment
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Welcome to day two of the second annual Finest Kiss midyear record round up. You are nearly in the middle of the middle of it. It’s like the eye of the storm, isn’t it? Records in a vortex flying around you as you try to reach and grab a few. It should be easier from here on out, because here are ten more excellent records to put your paws on.
sleaford

Sleaford Mods – Divide and Exit (Harbinger Sound)

Last year this Nottingham duo released the jaw dropping Austerity Dogs album. It was jaw dropping, combining bleakness, humor, profanity and beats to create a rampaging, take no prisoners record. Part John Cooper Clark, Dr. Ocatagon and the Fall the latest Sleaford Mods keeps the boot to the throat with Divide and Exit. Half the time I have no idea what Jason Williamson is going off about, but inevitably he leaves enough bread crumbs on the trail for me to get it, and then it hits like a ton of bricks.

stream: Sleaford Mods - Under the Plastic and N.C.T.

lunchbox
Lunchbox – Lunchbox Loves You (Jigsaw)

Oakland, California’s Lunchbox fluctuate between calling themselves Birds of California and Lunchbox. Who cares what they call themselves when they make records this good. Lunchbox Loves You is full of sugary pop that is guaranteed to put a skip in your step. They hit a number of classic 90′s indiepop reference points including Stereolab, Apples in Stereo, Rocketship and Sprites while sounding still sounding fresh and new.

stream: Lunchbox – Die Trying

coldbeat
Cold Beat – Over Me (Crime On the Moon)

With Grass Widow on ice, bassist Hanna Lew started Cold Beat and since Lew sings and plays bass in both bands Cold Beat has similarities to Grass Widow. But where Grass Widow had a folksier sound, Cold Beat look to the more austere sounds of punk and post punk luminaries like Wire, Tubeway Army and Devo for inspiration.

stream: Cold Beat – Mirror

CHEVEU
Cheveu – Bum (Born Bad)

There’s no getting around the fact that this is a weird album. So if you don’t like weird keep scrolling. If you do appreciate the absurd and catchy then these French tricksters may be right up your ruelle. Burn is full of prog-y art school rock that is hard to ignore.

stream: Cheveu – Slap and Shot

slushy
Slushy – Pastime Gardens (Grabbing Clouds)

Chicago duo Slushy make fuzzy lighthearted pop in the vein of the Bay City Rollers and early Pooh Sticks and Pop Will Eat Itself. Pastime Gardens is packed full of two minute pop songs that are full unbridled enthusiasm and are certified to provide a good time in any situation.

stream: Slushy – Good Luck Charm

soundcarriers
The Soundcarriers – Entropicalia (Ghost Box)

The Soundcarriers mine similar earth as Broadcast and Stereolab. Entropicalia, their second album, is full of space age grooves and psychedelic meanderings. Part spy movie soundtrack, part Free Design tribute and part deep space exploration. All good.

stream: Soundcarries – Low Light

verticalscratchers
Vertical Scratchers – Daughter of Everything (Merge)

Although this album came out major indie Merge, I feel like it flew under the radar of almost everyone. Vertical Scratchers is the brainchild of John Schmersal  who was in Brainac and Enon. The album is chalk full of fractured pop that is part Elephant 6 Collective, Cheap Trick and the Kinks. Killer stuff that deserves more attention.

stream: Vertical Scratchers - Pretend U Are Free

LP.jkt.template
Klaus Johann Grobe – Im Sinne der Zeit (Trouble In Mind)

This Swiss duo combine disco, kraut and prog to come with a ton of fun. This is viscous stuff that sticks in your brain even if you don’t understand the lyrics. The lucid spacey production sounds like they’ve been listening to Peter Thomas and Bertrand Burgalat records.

stream: Klaus Johann Grobe – Between the Buttons

nun
Nun – Nun (Aarght!/Avant!)

Total Control seems to get all the attention for being the Australian punks gone coldwave, but Melbourne’s Nun do piercing, dark and synthy just as well and maybe better. Their debut album sounds so authentic that you will be check to see if it’s a reissue of some lost first generation coldwave band.

stream: Nun – Suppress Electricity

parquetcourts
Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animals (What’s Your Rupture?)

I was prepared not to like this album after last year’s pretty average stopgap EP Tally All the Things That You Broke but they won me over by not repeating themselves. Sunbathing Animal pulls back a little bit and lets some space in to positive effect. Everyone compares them to Television and Pavement, but on this album I hear Spoon in their use of space and percussion and that makes this second Parquet Courts just as good but slightly different from their first one.

stream: Parquet Courts - Always Back In Town

In the Middle of It – Part I

July 14, 2014 at 10:13 pm | Posted in Lists, Music | Leave a comment
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I did a mid-year round up of my favorite records last year, so I guess I started precedent. Suffering from lazyitis, there are many records this year that I really like that I’ve somehow neglected tor write about on this blog. So without further ado, here is part one of the second annual Finest Kiss mid-year round-up. Hee-haw!

pheromoans

Pheromoans - Hearts Of Gold (Upset the Rhythm)

Hearts of Gold is the Pheromoans sixth album and oddly enough the first time I’ve really taken notice of this UK band. This is certainly not straightforward rock. It’s more like maze rock. They combine the eccentricities of Syd Barrett, Chris Knox, and the Fall to come up with their own weird blend of greatness.

stream: Pheromoans – Hearts of Gold

tacocat
Tacocat – NVM (Hardly Art)

Sadly all of the original Ramones are now in the CBGB’s in the sky, but don’t be too sad. The original punk aesthetic is alive in well in Seattle. Tacocat’s second album is all basic riffs and simple melodies that are immediate and unforgettable.

stream: Tacocat – Crimson Wave

GoldBears
Gold-Bears – Dalliance (Slumberland)

Atlanta’s Gold-Bears write big crunchy emotional indierock and on their second album they’ve perfected the formula that puts them at the same level of their forebearers like the Wedding Present, Boyracer and Superchunk.

stream: Gold-Bears – Yeah, Tonight

protomartyr
Protomartyr – Under Color of Official Light (Hardly Art)

Endlessly inventive guitars combined with Joe Casey’s half spoken half sung narratives give this record pretty good odds of being my favorite record of the year come December. These Detroit dudes make big sounding anthems that sound like they salvaged from the gutter.

stream: Protomartyr – Tarpeian Rock

Fear-Of-Men-Loom
Fear of Men – Loom (Kanine)

Fear of Men debut has an aloofness to it that might strike some as too cold and studied, but singer Jessica Weiss has a effortlessly cool delivery that is like a lifeline into another world. Loom is a dreampop record that more often uses space instead of guitars for chilling effect.

stream: Fear of Men – Waterfall

EatLights
Eat Lights Become Lights – Into Forever (Great Pop Supplement)

This is in the more of the same but slightly different category. Last years Modular Living was excellent krautrock inspired electronics that could easily hypnotise you. Into Forever continues this feat and is even more consistent filling out the peaks and troughs from Modular Living.

stream: Eat Lights Become Lights – Time Enough

hauntedhearts
Haunted Hearts – Initiation (Zoo)

It strange how Dum Dum Girls and Crocodiles don’t really do it for me, but when Dee Dee and Brandon who are husband and wife in real life get together on record they surpass both of their primary bands. This is a concept album about S&M, but you don’t have to go through any pain to get this pleasure.

stream: Haunted Hearts – Johnny Jupiter

tbunsBAREBONES
Tunnabunny – Kingdom Technology (HHBTM)

As Elvis Costello once and, “accidents will happen” Athens, Georgia’s Tunabunny found a synthesizer in the garbage heap and infused their indierock with some art school blips and bleeps and came up with one of the catchiest, funnest sounding records of the year.

stream: Tunabunny – Save It Up

universe
Univers – L’estat Natural (Famèlic)

I may not know what Catalan crooners Univers are singing about, but their brand of fuzzy, cascading guitars and moody vocals is so infectious I’ve found myself singing write along. I have know idea what I’m singing, but then I never know what the Crystal Stilts  are singing about either.

stream: Univers – Estàtua En Moviment

ratcolumns
Rat Columns – Leaf (RIP Society)

Nothing really prepared me for how bright and shimmering Rat Columns second album would be. The Australian by way of San Francisco band. Leaf is part Wire 154 and part Of Skins and Heart by the Church which in my book is a delicious recipe.

stream: Rat Columns – Another Day

A Sunny Day In Seattle or Not Sighing, Singing

July 13, 2014 at 6:19 pm | Posted in Crocodile, Dreampop, Music, Seattle, Shoegaze | 1 Comment
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A Sunny Day in Glasgow at the Crocodile, Seattle | 12 July 2014

asdigA Sunny Day In Glasgow are not from any single place as the band’s six members are split between Philadelphia, New York and Sydney, but funny enough not Glasgow. They are also a very different band than the one that made Scribble Mural Comic Journal back in 2007. Ben Daniels is the only surviving member of that first album. Daniels is the band leader and writes most of the songs. His band’s fourth album Sea When Absent still sounds like a Sunny Day In Glasgow, but it is also is quite different.

Every good band evolves of course, and A Sunny Day in Glasgow have progressed from being an airy shoegaze band whose songs sometime floated by without anyone taking notice to a pop band with shoegaze roots with songs that capture your attention. Previously the vocals mostly consisted of a lot of sighing, but that has been drastically changed. Singers Anne Fredrickson and Jen Goma with their strong, passionate vocals power the band and are its focal point.

The Crocodile’s back bar was full for this early show on one of the sunniest and hottest days of the year. For the opening band Oh! Pears the garage door was up, keeping the place relatively cool. Unfortunately they pulled the door closed before the start of A Sunny Day In Glasgow causing the mercury to rise in the packed room (the pizza oven in the back didn’t help either). No matter, the band incorporated tribal rhythms, washes of guitars, subdued electronics and earnest and soulful vocals to send breezy waves of pleasure out into the room nearly making forget the beads of sweat.

The biggest change and best thing about the current incarnation of a Sunny Day in Glasgow is how they have rethought the vocals in their music. They still like a lot of guitars but Fredrickson and Goma both have strong voices and their performances last night made me think that this band could take shoegaze beyond the niche genre that it is. One of my nieces who likes stuff like Aaliyah, Kelly Rowland and Beyoncé often laughs at some of the music I listen to saying that they sigh instead of sing. Sunny Day in Glasgow aren’t sighing any more. They are making big pop songs that threaten to break into the mainstream.

stream: A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Bye Bye Big Ocean (the album Sea When Absent is available from Lefse) Records)

Endless Bummer

July 10, 2014 at 9:47 pm | Posted in Music | Leave a comment

blooper

If you are one to judge a record by its sleeve, the grey beach photo of Blooper‘s new So Very Small EP might give you the idea that this is downer surf pop. That’s not far off. Think Jack Nitzsche‘s the Lonely Surfer, a little Hoodoo Gurus and some Smithereens. This is a downer surf pop record made under the grey skies of Seattle.

The EP kicks off with the fretful Go Outside that reminds me of the Smithereens Blood and Roses. Track number two Tinted Windows pumps up the adrenaline quite a bit and is a chip off the same block from which last years You Won’t Miss Me came. Bummer, the third track, sees Blooper in full on Link Wray mode. It’s got tons of reverb and twang, is loads of fun and no surf mix tape should be without this classic sounding instrumental. The final song Coming Home buzzes and crackles with British Invasion vibes and West Coast sun rays, effortlessly blending anxiety and repose. 

So Very Small may not blast into your pleasure center as quickly as Blooper’s first couple singles, but it shows a new more complex face of the band and I think it might be their best one yet.

stream: Blooper – So Very Small (You can buy the download them this link too, or buy the CD from Jigsaw Records)

Couple From France

June 22, 2014 at 10:11 pm | Posted in 7 inch, La France, Mods, Music, Psychedelic Pop, Punks, Singles | Leave a comment
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As the 7″ single seems to fade into the sunset, it’s nice to see some labels haven’t given up on the format. France’s Croque Macadam and Requiem Pour Un Twister are still believers and they’ve just released a couple beauties.

foreverpavot

Psychedelic tricksters Forever Pavot are lead by Emile Sornin, based in Paris and have much in common with Jacco Gardner and Soundcarriers. Their first single is cinematic, bucolic psycheldia that rustles the leaves and bundles the hay and makes birds chirp all on a widescreen. It has great organ swirls and galloping bass that will have you seeing a kaleidoscope of dusty colors. It’s a wonderful record and it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that a label like Trouble in Mind would be interested in putting out their next record over here in the States.

stream: Forever Pavot – Le Passeur d’Armes

cheapriot
Cheap Riot are also from Paris, but their debut single is all about punks and mods. They owe a dept to the Television Personalities and the Buzzcocks. Part Time Vacancy has a great little riff and a pithy chorus that you can’t get out of your head. I also love the punky bridge with ooh-ooh’s. It’s a a fun record that should be required playing at any part, even a party of one.

stream: Cheap Riot – Part Time Vacancy

http://croquemacadam.bandcamp.com/album/crm012-cheap-riot-sp

 

Universe People In a Pin Ball Brawl

June 18, 2014 at 5:25 am | Posted in Music, Post-punk, Seattle | Leave a comment
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Last year Seattle’s Universe People released the very high quality Go To the Sun. Since then Universe leader Jo Claxton has seen her entire rhythm section change. In this new space time continuum Universe People feature drummer Min Yee (Dreamsalon, and A-Frames) and bassist Kimberly Morrisson (Dutchess and the Duke). Their second album is called Universe People Are Coming To the Dance.

Above is the premier of the video for The Modern Girl. It is directed and edited by Claxton and filmed by Kelly Burton who worked with the band on their two previous clips Vampire Prison and Druids. The Modern Girl a clinic in how to do minimal sharp pop right with dissonant elements of early Fall and the Intelligence but with always an eye towards melody. Claxton writes sparse angular songs that will elbow you in the ribs with their sharp riffs, and then continue to keep you off balance with their wry humor. The video is a pin-ball epic in which Claxton attacks Yee and brawls with Morrison. Thankfully they both survive which is more than I can say for former bassist Kellie Payne who was killed in the Vampire Prison video.

Universe People’s second album Are Coming To the Dance is available now digitally on bandcamp.  For you vinyl enthusiasts,  there are plans for a vinyl version on Dragnet Records later this summer. You can also catch them live next month in Seattle, and Portland.

7/10 ­ Sunset Tavern w/ Amen Dunes
7/19 ­ Foggy Notion (Portland) w/ Appendixes
7/22 ­ Chop Suey w/ Magik Markers

Rat Columns Emerge From the Murky Depths

June 13, 2014 at 9:21 pm | Posted in Albums, Australia, Music | Leave a comment
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ratcolumns

How many sweet spots lie between Wire‘s 154 and Of Skins and Heart by the Church? By my estimation there are at least a few hundred and Rat Columns second album hits a good many of them. The San Francisco by way of Australia band have just released their second album Leaf on Australia’s RIP Society records. It was recorded in San Francisco at Kelley Stoltz‘s Electric Duck Studios. Main Rat David West employed the aid of both Stoltz and Mikey Young (Total Control & Eddie Current Suppression Ring) to make the record.

Where the first Rat Columns album was murky and dense, album number two sheds opaqueness for sunnier realms and glistens in the pop sun. The first song Straight to hell with its shinny and shimmering guitar immediately lets you know that this Rat Columns album is a more immediate infectious beast than its predecessor. The second song Another day with its Cure-like synthy intro and bouncing bass reinforce the fact. You can just imagine Kelley Stoltz swinging by the control room while the band were recording and yelling ‘more pop’ and then sneaking in and dialing up the pop knob just a tad on each of these songs. There were hints and traces of pop genius on the previous album Sceptre Hole, but Leaves goes far beyond anything I was expecting. It still has some mystery to it and can be obtuse in parts the way Wire pushed the boundaries of art and punk on 154, but at its heart it’s in love with jangly bittersweet pop that the Church excelled at on Of Skins and Heart. A great unexpected record.

stream: Rat Columns – Another Day

stream: Rat Columns – Fooling Around

You can stream and buy the download of the album from Rat Columns’ bandcamp. If you’re in the US, Goner has vinyl copies for sale, or if you prefer you can order from RIP Society in Australia. Also, don’t miss Rat Columns on tour later this summer:

29-Aug FRI – SAN FRANCISCO w/ COLD BEAT
30-Aug SAT – OAKLAND
31-Aug SUN – SACRAMENTO
3-Sep WEDS – PORTLAND w/ RUBY PINS
4-Sep THURS – VANCOUVER w/ RUBY PINS? GET IN TOUCH!!!
5-Sep FRI – OLYMPIA w/RUBY PINS
6-Sep SAT – SEATTLE w/RUBY PINS
7-Sep SUN – BOISE w/ RUBY PINS
10-Sep WEDS – ST PAUL
11-Sep THURS – CHICAGO
12-Sep FRI – ANN ARBOR/DETROIT
13-Sep SAT – PITTSBURGH
14-Sep SUN – NEW YORK CITY
16-Sep TUES – BOSTON
17-Sep WEDS – PHILLY
18-Sep THURS – RICHMOND @ GALLERY FIVE
19-Sep FRI – LEXINGTON w/ IDIOT GLEE
20-Sep SAT – MEMPHIS w/ IDIOT GLEE
21-Sep SUN – HOT SPRINGS? w/ IDIOT GLEE
22-Sep MON – DALLAS w/ IDIOT GLEE: Three Links – Deep Ellum, TX, 2704 Elm St
23-Sep TUES – AUSTIN w/ IDIOT GLEE
26-Sep FRI – TUSCON / PHOENIX-TEMPE??? GET IN TOUCH!!!
27-Sep SAT – SAN DIEGO
28-Sep SUN – LOS ANGELES? GET IN TOUCH!!!

Close Lobsters Give Us Something To Smile About

June 9, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Posted in C-86, Jangle-pop, Music, Singles, Things You Thought Would Never Happen | Leave a comment
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LIFE112_Cover

“Things will never will be the same” sings Andrew Burnett on the A-side of the Close Lobsters‘ new single. Maybe not quite the same, but the more things change the more they stay the same. The seminal C-86 compilation that the band appeared on has just seen a reissue that extends that cassette into a three CD set and Paisley, Scotland’s Close Lobsters who have been dormant for some 20 odd years (their final album Headache Rhetoric came out in 1989) have just released a brand new 7″ single on Shelflife records here in the US.

Time has not altered the sound of their bittersweet wall of jangle an iota, nor has it diminished their knack for writing adroit pop songs. The two on this single sound like they could have come from the lost follow-up to Headache Rhetoric. Now Time is a six minute epic that walks a fine line down memory lane without really looking back. The flip side is something of a love letter to the United States with Burnet landing in the canyons of NYC in ridiculous heat then setting out on the road on a bus to Chicago. The dusty guitar solo in the middle almost makes you feel the hot breeze in your face.

Who knows if this single is one-off thing or the start of  Close Lobsters phase II? I’m just still pinching myself that this new single even exits.  Welcome back fellows!

stream: Close Lobsters – Now Time (The 7″ single is available from Shelflife Records)

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