Shelflife Records down in Portland has been quietly and consistently releasing quality records for the past 15 years. There’s no let up in sight, and the recent handful of releases sees them continuing to do it. Here’s a rundown of those recent releases, all of them worth checking out.
White Wishes are from St. Petersburg, Russia and have an obvious thing for records that came out on 53rd & 3rd. They write slightly noisy yet tuneful pop songs. Come Say Hello is their first physical release. It has a noisy jangle and the singer sounds like a more tuneful Stephen Pastel or Steve Kilby on those early (and great) Church albums. I don’t know what the scene is like in St. Petersburgh. Are White Wishes part of a scene tucked away in the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic or an anomaly? They sing in English, cover Orange Juice songs and don’t sound remotely Russian so I’m assuming anomaly. The iron curtain came down years ago, but it still seems to exist in the indiepop world since you don’t hear of too many bands from Russia. Shelflife and White Wishes are bringing down the indiepop iron curtain one 7 inch at a time.
Balloon Magic are from Denmark. Between Balloon Magic and Northern Portrait one might assume that Denmark has a thing for the 80’s UK indie charts. The Queen is not dead and this case it is the queen of Denmark, Margrethe II. I wonder if she’s a fan of Balloon Magic? Seems like a pretty safe bet given their wispy and fully formed pop songs. Put away your sponges and your rusty spanners and head down to the record store for this CD EP.
For a while Pains of Being Pure at Heart drummer Kurt Feldman had a thing for shoegaze with his other band the Depreciation Guild. I assume he still has a thing for shoegaze, but his new band Ice Choir has nothing to do with that genre. He’s gone back a little further in time, to the 80’s to be precise and Scritti Politti (anyone remember Perfect Way?). If you lived it, you most certainly remember it (and may not want to relive it). Not to fear, Feldman does it with style and doesn’t go over the top. Two Rings even has a little bit of a Prefab Sprout feel to it. I wonder if Thomas Dolby has signed on to produce the album?