Tags: Barboza, Close Lobsters, Go-betweens, Neil Young, Orange Juice, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Seattle, Sub Pop, Tenorio Cotobade, The Bats, The Clean, The Feelies, Zebra Hunt
One thing about Melbourne, Australia’s Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever is that I can never seem to get their name right. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, you know. How many bands have four word names these days? People are lucky enough to be able to remember two word band names. It seems that their US label Sub Pop realizes this, shortening the band’s name for their US debut to Rolling Blackouts C.F. I don’t know if this is better though. It isn’t a whole lot easier to remember, and it gives the impression that there is already a band named Coastal Blackouts and these Blackouts are from some country with the initials C.F.
Another thing about Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever is that they jangle. You hear the likely suspects (Bats, Clean, & Feelies) in their sound, but their jangle comes from a more classic rock corner of the universe. Their sound can best be described by the Close Lobsters‘ cover of Neil Young‘s Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black). They sound like they’ve done their time on the bar circuit, and taken their lumps winning over hard drinking, blue collar fellows in dungarees.
One more thing about Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, they’re show this past Tuesday at Barboza here in Seattle was a lot of fun. The five piece band featured three guitarists and singers, but their secret weapon, which all great bands will attest to, was their rhythm section. Every song was anchored by some great bass riffs which was really apparent live. That firm mooring allowed the guitarists to really go into their hyper-manic-riff mode trading licks and often vocal spots. This band seems to be very well oiled machine.
One final thing about Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, they do a mighty fine cover of the Orange Juice classic Blueboy!
Seattle’s designated openers for all Australian jangly type bands, Zebra Hunt did just that. On this night I found out:
- In Australia, zebra is pronounced with a short ‘e’.
- Zebra Hunt’s second LP is coming out May 19.
- The band now seems to be a permanent four piece.
- They have got a brand new set of songs that rivals the ones the made me fan in the first place.
- They just keep getting better!
- They might actually be Australian judging from their ace cover of the Go-Betweens‘ Was There Anything I Could Do?
Tags: Black Tambourine, Deranged Records, Gun Club, Shop Assistants, Spacemen 3, The Chameleons, The Primitives, UV-TV
Gainsville, Florida’s UV-TV obviously have great taste. Side one of their debut LP Glass bounds from Shop Assistants to Primitives and Black Tambourine. It doesn’t let up from the gas pedal once forcing its blissed-out sonic assault down your throat. Singer Rose Vastola has a saccharine sweet voice that easily breaks through the shards of noise put down by guitarist Ian Bernacett. Every song is a heart attack.
Side two stretches their pallet beyond the saccharine noise pop of side one. The songs are longer, more brooding and go for a different pop jugular. The Chameleons, Spacemen 3 and the Gun Club all pop into the frame of reference. No matter how you like getting your pop fetish tickled, I highly recommend tuning into this record!
Glass is out on Deranged Records, the same label that released Wildhoney‘s Sleep Through It.
Tags: Bus Stop, Dream Boys, Felt, Glaciers, Mertorio Records, Ocean Blue, Railway Children, Sea Urchins, The Church, The Pastels
Here’s to the folks who scour the internet for hidden beauties like this album from Melbourne, Australia’s Glaciers! Living Right is a fine piece of jangly goodness that deserves a wider audience. It came out last year on bandcamp, but has recently been released on vinyl by new Spanish label Meritorio Records.
The eleven songs on Living Right evoke the Railway Children and early records by their fellow countrymen the Church. The songs have an easy, mellow vibe that is slightly melancholy but brilliant and breezy. With only one record, these youngsters have plunked themselves right into the long lineage of shimmering jangle pop bands, many of which are long forgotten by most folks. Thankfully there are bands in far off corners of the world who still make this beautifully sublime kind of thing and others who feel it necessary to press it onto vinyl.
Buy a download or record of the Glaciers’ Living Right from Meritorio Records.
Tags: Secret Identity Records, Space Case Records, Talbot Adams
I have been a bad blogger lately, neglecting this page even more than usual. I got the new Talbot Adams album sometime last year, played it a bunch, loved it, and then buried beneath a bunch of other records. In my attempt to organize, I was filing records this weekend and was reminded of my remiss when Community/Recession Era popped up from behind a stack of LP’s sitting on the floor. I immediately pulled out the orange disc and played it.
The album is a low key affair, consisting of Adams and his guitar (mostly acoustic with a handful of electric ones), but it has this subtle psychedelic quality to it that gives you something to keep coming back. It’s a little Doug Tuttle, Bert Jansch and Richard Davies. Adams’s songs provide a grounded perspective to life in general and seem like an open book into his tender soul. In the hands of a lesser artist it could become a mundane trudge, but Talbot Adams is a tower of song that demands to be heard.
Tags: Animals That Swim, Cheveu, Creation Factory, Field Route, Group Doeh, Gurr, Hollie Cook, Priests, Proper Ornaments, Rose Elinor Dougall, Uranium Club
I must admit, I’ve been distracted of late. I’m sure you all have been as well to some extent. Sometimes you just can’t bring yourself to write about this great new song you’ve heard, because you realize how unimportant it is in the grand scheme of things. That doesn’t mean I don’t save them up, and it doesn’t mean that I have stopped listening to music. If anything I’ve listened to more music lately. It’s a distraction and provides escape, hope and pleasure. So here are a couple handfuls of records that have gotten me through the first month of 2017.
In the it came out in December, who releases a record in December category.
Minneapolis smart ass punks released album number two at the end of 2016. Minutemen/Firehose genius combined with Devo hyperactive geekiness. Too weird to be cool for some but right up my alley.
In the I totally missed it category
Quantic & Flowering Inferno ft Hollie Cook
Hollie Cook has album number three on the docket for this year, but at the tail end of last year the brogues hipped me to this little number she did with Quantic & Flowering Inferno. So good!
The album In My Head by this Berlin duo was on a few best of lists and for good reason. Great indie pop that reminds me a little of the Blake Babies and the Breeders.
In the 7-inch single is not dead and they even sell out category
We are only one month in and Field Route have already released one of the best 7″ singles. Bring it on!
Another classic sounding 7″. Yeah I know the 45 is on its deathbed, but quality over quantity is the rule of the day. I think both of these records are sold out, but each can be purchased as a download.
In the who releases a record this good in January category
Rose Elinor Dougall – Stellular
Former Pipette took six years to follow up her solo debut, but it is worth the wait. It’s swirling blend of the Horrors, Goldfrapp and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Rose doesn’t look very goth, but she certainly leans in that direction ever so slightly.
Priests – Nothing Feels Natural
This record has two personas. The A-side is funk-punk that is a cross of Pylon and the Big Boys, the B-side is the post punk cool down that gets moody and melodic. Thankfully the band put an Interlude to divide things up for those of us who can’t always be in front of our turntables.
Proper Ornaments – Foxhole
Album number two from this trippy Velvet/Chills loving band. Not sure they’ve ever surpassed that first EP, but I love to hear them keep trying.
In the genre bending category
Group Doeh & Cheveu – Dakhla Sahara Session
French punk weirdos Cheveu team up with Western Sahara guitarslingers Group Doueh in an unlikely match. It’s crazy and out there and one of the best records I’ve heard this year.
In the buried treasure gets reissued category
Animals that Swim
Back in the day when you had to read about records and decode whether or not it was something you might want to spend money, I read a review of Animals That Swim debut album and decided to take a leap. I instantly fell in love with their quirky little songs that painted imaculate pictures in my head about the downtrodden, mundane and odd things in life. Pink Carnations, Madam Yvonde, How to Make a Chandalier are all essential. With this reissue you get the original album as well as genius b-sides and unreleased tracks to boot.
I think they might have finally broken the US as you can buy a copy of this reissue from Target, though I’m not sure I’d recommend it.
Tags: Crater, Erik Bood, Gazebos, Hotels, Lisa Prank, Soucher, Tacocat, The Exquisits, Vats, Versing
Is it too late for a list of my favorite hometown albums from last year? Probably, so go ahead and send a letter to the editor if you are feeling list fatigue. Otherwise continue reading and I promise this is the last one till next year.
1. Erik Blood – Lost In Slow Motion (Home Skillet)
Blood was involved in a lot of records this year, including recording two others on this list (Tacocat & Hotels). For his third album Erik Blood is still a solo act, but it’s mostly in name alone. Irene Barber provides additional guitar and singing throughout while it is book-ended by guest vocal appearances from Ismael Butler and OCnotes. He transcends any shoegaze pigeonhole he may have had and broadens his horizons to wide screen cinematic pop.
2. The Exquisits – Home (Asian Man)
The Exquisits have a sweaty punk sound that brings to mind Van Morrisson, the Hold Steady and Buffalo Tom. I also love the way they deftly incorporate horns into their powerful pop making it even more exciting.
3. Tacocat – Lost Time (Hardly Art)
Album number three finds Tacocat with no shortage of inspiration, Seattle, working on the weekend, X-Files and dealing with idiots on the internet. It is immediate and bright and speaks to you whether you are 14 or 40.
4. Versing – Nude Descending (Youth Riot)
Reason number 99 for why I don’t own a record label: When I first saw Versing they played with the then unsigned So Pitted. A few months later So Pitted signed to Sub Pop and released record. Versing put their dissonant Pavement meets Swell Maps record out about a year later on the tiny Tacoma label Youth Riot.
5. Vats – Green Glass Room (End of Time)
On the radio station that plays in my head, any song from this record would be played in a set that included Gang of Four, Lithics, A Frames and the Pheromoans. With its bony elbows, Green Glass Room makes its own space in the dissonant,/angular/punk room.
8. Hotels – Night Showers (Self-released)
Hotels have been knocking around Seattle for years, and have released a number of albums and singles but none as good as their latest. Enhancing their atmospheric guitar based songs with luscious doses of horns and strings makes Night Showers really pop!
10. Gazebos – Die Alone (Hardly Art)
Recorded by former Fastbacks guitarist Kurt Bloch and fronted by a couple Seattle indierock linchpins – T.V. Coahran who runs Gorgonzola Records and Shannon Perry formerly of Butts and Katharine Hepburn’s Voice. This record feels like it was made by a band of roving minstrels who found some wagons full of amplifiers. It’s loud with a slightly unhinged feel that keeps you on your toes .
Sorry about the wait, numbers one to twenty have been stewing all week. I’m sure there were ample lists on other blogs to satiate you list-craving folk in the meantime. Here are my top 20 seven inch singles of the year. If you missed numbers 21-40 you can catch up here.
1. The World – Managerial Material (Upset the Rhythm)
This was the debut from this Oakland, California band that was formed from members of Pang and Andy Human. Sounding like some long lost post punk band that was left off of one of those Akron/Cleveland Soul Jazz comps from a few years ago, the four songs on this single were lightening hot. You can skank, slam, shimmy or just plain old freak out to this.
2. CC Dust – Shinkansen No. 1 (Night School)
CC Dust is the side project of Mary Jane Dunphe from Olympia punk band Vexx. Here, she takes a slightly goth sounding approach to DIY synth and hits pay dirt on both sides.
3. Hate Week – Nights By the Lake (WIAIWYA)
A couple former Faintest Ideas guys form a new hyper jangle band and take my world by storm. Part Wedding Present and part Smiths and informed by innate Swedish pop sensibilities, this single has no weak parts.
4. Dos Santos Anti-Beat Orquesta – ¡Cafeteando! (Electric cowbell)
Chicago anti-beatniks take the blueprint of weird latin funk originated by Esquivel and bring it into the present adding some dub and lo-fi elements. Couldn’t get enough of this single and had to reach for my Esquivel records.
5. Uranium Club – Who Made The Man? (Static Shock)
Minneapolis punks who’s snotty attitude is akin to the Replacements while their off kilter take on punk reminds me of the Minutemen, but that doesn’t even come close to describing how great this record is.
6. Soft Candy – Bizarre Luv Pyramids (Hozac)
Soft Candy are from Chicago, but their hazy psychedelia sounds like it came from the L.A. Paisley Underground.
7. Cut Worms – Don’t Wanna Say Good-Bye (Randy)
Too few bands these days sound like the Everly Brothers or Buddy Holly. Probably because kids want to hear the soothing sounds of autotuned pop. I’ll take this classic old-timey sounding pop any day.
8. Chupa Cabra – My Girl (Too Pure)
I love records from bands that sound unhinged. Chupa Cabra sound like they’re going to explode on this single.
9. Mercury Girls – Ariana (Slumberland)
Ariana is wonderfully stylized, lush pop with lots of guitars and soaring vocals to give it some teeth.
10. Honey Radar – Ignore the Bells (Chunklet)
As evidenced from their LP also from this year, Philadelphia’s Honey Radar seem to have piles of these killer lo-fi jams. A huge hit in my alternate universe.
11. Peaness – I’m Not Your Problem (Kingfisher Bluez)
This UK trio delivers a sprightly and cheerful brand of indiepop that is now at a premium with the demise of Allo Darlin’.
12. Primetime – Going Places (La Vida es in Mus)
Primetime take their time as single number two from the band comes two years after their debut. They again deliver top shelf, cocky Wire influenced punk rock.
13. Seafang – Motorcycle Song (Elephant Stone)
This single is an undeniable combination of the Bangles, Shop Assistants and Primitives. Pop that goes straight to the pleasure center of the brain.
14. Vital Idles – My Sentiments (Not Unloved)
Glasgow’s Vital Idles give us a hot and cool side on their debut single. My Sentiments rollicks like the Fall while In the Garden soothes the burns inflicted from the A-side.
15. The Beginner’s Mynd – Singing Man (Hidden Volume)
DC psych rockers continue to mine gold to seemingly little recognition. Similar in style to Young Sinclairs, this record will have you seeing many colours.
16. Lake Ruth – The Inconsolable Jean-Claude (The Great Pop Supplement)
Pulsing with baroque-kraut vibes, The Inconsolable Jean-Claude sounds is a rich combination of Left Banke meets Stereolab that makes its mark.
17. Boys Forever – Poisonous (Fooone)
Another Veronica Falls spin-off band, Boys Forever is lead drummer Patrick Doyle (he was also in Sexy Kids and the Royal We). Poisonous has a familiar indie pop Veronica Falls sound that is super immediate and sticks to your insides. Extra points for the b-side which is a cover of Kirsty MacColl’s They Don’t Know.
18. The Shifters – Creggan Shops (It Takes Two)
Creggan Shops was on the Shifters debut cassette from last year, but the astute folks at It Takes Two recognized its Fall-like genius and saw fit to release it as a 7-inch single.
19. Dreamin’ Wild – Doncaster Shadow (Moontown)
Best mellow single of the year, Melbourne’s Dreamin’ Wild deliver a cocktail jazzy ditty that is part Harry Nilsson and part Clientele. Lovely!
20. Sloucher – Certainty (Turntable Kitchen)
Seattle’s Sloucher cooked up a great single which is taken from their debut LP that also came out this year. Very Elliot Smith like, or maybe Heatmiser, anyway you get the picture.
It’s the end of the year and the Finest Kiss top 40 seven inch singles count down is back bigger better than ever in spite of there being fewer and fewer of these records getting released. Admittedly, it’s a dying genre, especially when you often have streamed a single 10-20 times and killed it by the time if finally arrives in the post. Nobody likes to wait these days, so without further ado, here is the first part, numbers 21-40.
21. Close Lobsters – Under London Skies (Shelflife)
Scotland’s OG jangle popsters are still at it. This is their second single since reforming and they haven’t lost a step. This high quality justifies an LP.
22. The Jeanies – Amilee (Hozac)
Take a trip back to the 70’s when the hair was frizzy and wild and power pop was on the airwaves.
23. Stephen’s Shore – Ocean Blue (Cloudberry)
Swedish pop makes a come back with this Mary Onettes inspired beauty.
24. Perapertú – Palmas bajas (Discos Walden)
This bouncy single answers the question, what if Orange Juice were Spanish?
25. Patience – The Church (Night School)
It appears that Veronica Falls are no more, but I cannot be to downtrodden since we get this first single from Roxanne Clifford’s new synth based project.
26. Couteau Latex – Hostile Environment (Goner)
Seth Sutton still has his Useless Eaters, but takes a step into minimalist synthetics with Lise Sutter.
27. My Favorite – Christine Zero (Death Party)
My Favorite write a beautiful tribute to Prefab Sprout. So good, I think Paddy McAloon was in the studio when they recorded this.
28. Jessica & the Fletchers – Marble Fountain (Market Square)
Noisy, blissed out songs in the vein of the Shop Assistants and Strawberry Switchblade.
29. Heavy Times – Dancer (Randy)
Chicago’s Heavy Times add some synth to their guitar attack and sound just as menacingly great.
30. Oslo House – Plateau (Trendy Feelings)
I loved that Omi Paloni record from a few years ago. Singer Philip Serfaty is now in Oslo House which is more subdued, but no less vibrant.
31. Posse – Perfect H (Wharf Cat)
Seattle’s Posse kept a fairly low profile this year, this being their lone release. They continue their Galaxy 500 influenced vibe here and it’s more than good enough to keep me anxiously awaiting what is next for them.
32. The World – Loser (Play Pinball)
Hot stuff from this bay area band that sounds a little ska, a little post-punk and a whole lotta goodness. This record probably would have charted higher if it wasn’t a flexi.
33. Exploded View – No More Parties In the Attic (Sacred Bones)
Formerly a solo act, Anika has a full time band now. Not sounding very different from her solo LP, this single pins the cold and disaffected meter in the red to sound even bleaker. Perfect for these times.
34. Spinning Coin – Albany (Domino)
Spinning Coin have a little bit of everything. A ramshackle feel akin to their countrymen the Pastels, a bit of the Tyde’s chilled out version of felt and some big old power chords recalling Slade. A lot to like here.
35. The Sha La Das – Those Years Are Over (Daptone)
The falsetto and backing vocals on this single will remind you of the Beach Boys. When someone tells you they don’t make them like they used to, hand them a copy of this beauty.
36. Tangible Excitement! – Muddled Whine (Emotional Response)
Undeniable sunny sided indie pop courtesy of Stewart Anderson, Scott Stevens, and Mark Monnone who collectively have more years of experience in the genre than just about anyone.
37. Patience – The Pressure (Night School)
Single number two from former Veronica Falls front woman Roxanne Clifford. Depeche Mode would be proud.
38. UV-TV / Shark Toys – Only When It Matters (Emotional Response)
As a rule I generally despise split singles, but Florida’s UV-TV are so good they have me making an exception this year. Killer Shop Assistants style of buzzing pop!
39. Romantic States – Take My Hand and Run (Nebraskan Coast)
Slightly grungy guitars juxtapose with Jim Triplett’s sensitive vocals to make a sprightly single from this Baltimore band that kind of reminds me of the Sprites.
40. Catholic Action – Rita Orca (Luv Luv Luv)
Crunchy second single from these Glaswegians is 100% fun. Their combination of Art Brut and Ash is one that could go wrong, but hasn’t yet.
Tags: Monomyth, Sloan, Superfriendz, Teenage Fanclub, The Weather Prophets, Thrush Hermit, Velvet Underground
With climate change you gotta wonder if there some Laurel Canyons blooming with succulents and bougainvillea up there in the formerly great whit north. For record number two Halifax, Nova Scotia’s Monomyth swap out their rhythm section, keep the psychedelic pop hooks and come up sporting their best paisley. The songwriting duo of Seamus Dalton and Josh Saltzer continue to split the vocal duties and their admiration of local heroes like Sloan, Superfriendz and Thrush Hermit while adding from Teenage Fanclub harmonies and the erudite pop sensibilities of the Weather Prophets.
Happy Pop Family is a wonderful tour de force and one of the best pure pop records of the year. The cool and beautiful Palpitations features a pristine melody interrupted by grungy heart attack chords. Aloha with its airy Teenage Fanclub harmony that kicks off the record isn’t even the best song here. That honor goes to the infinitely catchy Re:lease life (Place 2 Go) which plays like a travel log and has an off the cuff feel to it that reminds me of the Go-Betweens’ Darlinghurst Nights. Did I overdo it there? No, it’s that good!