SmartGuy records, the ones who brought you singles by Total Control, the Boomgates and Rat Columns have a new single. Leon Stackpole of Ooga Booga‘s fame using just plain old Leon has just released a four song 7-inch.

The Ooga Booga’s were some weird combination of garage, kraut and disco, but here Leon strikes out down a more pastoral introspective road. Where the Ooga Booga’s sounded like a party band, Leon’s new four song EP is like the comedown. He gets some help on guitar from Ooga Booga’s cohort Mickey Young. All four songs have a Velvet Underground feel to them. Angry Again is dissonant VU, Sentimental Stranger is the sleepy Sunday morning country VU and Eat Sleep and Spy is the pop single buried in the rough. Quality stuff!


New Flower Power Pop from Talbot Adams


Mississippi’s Talbot Adams quickly follows up last year’s self-titled album with a new single on Market Square Records. Green Girl is strummed psychedelic bliss over a melodic bass line that swirls into your being like a warm summer breeze. The flip side I Love You So has a Phil Specter wall of sound that gently leans into you with its sha-la-la’s and Adams’ easy southern tenor. Pretty pop for your turntable.

Vinyl and download available from Market Square Records (or Goner if you’re in the US).

Couple From France

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.


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

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




wildhoney Does the cover to Wildhoney‘s debut 7-inch single look like something that could have come out on Slumberland Records back in the late 80’s or what? The crazy thing is, it sounds like it too. This Baltimore dreampop/shoegaze rookies sound like veterans dishing out three noisy gems. The record is out now on the brand new Seattle label Nostalgium Directive. If you missed the chance to make your ears bleed when those Lilys, Swirlies, and Black Tamborine singles first came out, then this your chance to get in the ground floor of some essential noisy pop.

stream: Wildhoney – Like Me (out on Nostalgium Directive)

Zebra Hunt Go To Spain


Seattle’s kiwi loving popsters Zebra Hunt return from the ashes of the crash and burn of their former label with a brand new record. Luckily the Spanish upstart label Tenorio Cotobade has bellied up to the Zebra Hunt bar for another round of killer pop. So all you have to do is scour the internet for a buy link to put this pretty thing into your hands. And why would you want to pay exorbitant overseas shipping for a piece of plastic you ask? Because when you hear the A-side Only Way Out with its rubbery guitar lead and catchy chorus you will be helplessly reaching for your credit card. B-side Get Along is a rawer bar room romp that sees these big game hunters going for the jugular with a single shot.

Zebra Hunt are two for two in the record game. Could an album to solidify their unsung greatness be in the offing in the not too distant future? I’ll take that, or more singles like this one to feed the hungry pop beast inside me.

stream: Zebra Hunt – Only Way Out (order the 7-inch from Tenorio Cotobade)

Talbot Adams Takes Europe & Canada by Car


I loved Talbot Adams‘ single that came out on Douchemaster almost three years ago. It was an understated affair that had elements of Guided by Voices and Simon and Garfunkel. After the break-up up his  garage rock/power pop band the Black and Whites, Adams decided to go completely solo, writing and recording everything himself. He also dialed down the volume and sweat a little and recorded a set of acoustic based psychedelic pop.

Space Case records has just released two more fruits of Adam’s solo effort that acts as kind of a travel log. The A-side Red Diamonds finds the singer traveling across Canada and reminiscing about secret spots he’s come across in the great white north. Not Even Europe goes to the old world rhyming the sights in verse as he attempts to forget a bad relationship. His phrasing and slightly English singing accent brings to mind the Moles’ Richard Davies. No doubt, this is classic pop on par with some of the greats.

If you are not the record buying type you can get an entire album of Talbot Adams’ songs called Weekend that contains both songs from his new single, a couple from his previous one and a few more over at his bandcamp page.

stream: Talbot Adams – Red Diamonds (from the new Space Case 7″)



“When You Lie” from Flowers first 7″ sounds like the band have a stash of Shop Assistants and Mary Chain records.  It’s got big echoing drums, cool distant female vocals and noisy guitars that will have you thinking that they must be from Scotland.  According to the internet the band reside in London and are on the fast track to indiepop fame and glory (whatever that may be). You can still order the trio’s debut single from Cloudberry. They have a single coming soon as part of Odd Box’s 100 series (which is sold out) and another one due out on Fortuna Pop’s singles club. Hopefully they won’t continue to make themselves obscure and release some more easily getable records in the very near future.

The band just played the NYC Popfest and have one more US date in Chicago at the Beat Kitchen on 12 June. If you are a resident of that midwest town consider attending, otherwise you can still order their Cloudberry single, or head over to their bandcamp page to download it for free.

stream: Flowers – When You Lie

Zebra Hunt Go To the Beach


When you need to get away, what do you do? If you have the means you physically get away. Get in a car and drive, or take plane to somewhere even further. If you don’t, can I recommend a little piece of vinyl that will take you down to the beaches of LA for a virtual spring break?

Zebra Hunt, hailing from Seattle have just released their first 7-inch single via Manic Pop! Records. In its tiny grooves contains the power of escape. The A-side Beaches of LA may have you skeptics thinking oh no not another beach-y surf song, but Zebra Hunt know you’re tired of the regular indie run of the mill and deliver a plaintive sad beauty that muscles in on Shins territory with its shimmering guitars and falsetto chorus. Last year’s killer Half Right makes an appearance on the flip side along with a new Nerves-y rocker Tomorrow. The little is record is packed full of killer pop.

If you don’t even have the means for the 7-inch or just like winning stuff, we’ve teamed up with Zebra Hunt and Manic Pop! Records to give away a copy Zebra Hunt 7-inch. Drop a line in the comments section to put your name in the drawing.  We’ll announce a winner on Saturday, April 13, the same day that Zebra Hunt play their record release party at the Rendezvous here in Seattle along with Posse and Detective Agency.

stream: Zebra Hunt – Beaches EP (Order a copy of the 7-inch from Manic Pop! Records)

Manic Pop Dreams Become Manic Pop Thrills


I have this recurring dream where I walk into a record shop and go over to their 7-inch singles section and discover 20 brand new records that I had never heard of. Each of them is lovingly designed with eye catching sleeves. I gaze at the display and each one is  like glistening piece of candy that the pop kid in me cannot ignore and must have. Resistance is futile. Restraint and logic flies out the door and I grab all of them. I dig in and each one I pick up I cannot put down. Eventually my arms are overflowing with records as I head to the cash register to quickly purchase my new finds and take them home and listen to them.

I feel like that dream came into being when Minnesota label Manic Pop! Records came on line at the end of last year. The inaugural release was the Candy Strypers.  It was jangling Byrds-ian harmonic love at first sight. After that first release the records seemed to come fast and furiously. The Mini Dresses from Austin levitated me with their Sunday’s inspired pop. Blooper’s bone-rattling garage pop single was a constant on the turntable for weeks. The fragile and simply beautiful pop of London’s Choo Choo Trains made me swoon.  The fractured and sparse pop of Manchester’s Gorgeous Bully hit me right where it hurts.  The nocturnal dreampop courtesy of Minneapolis band Gloss put me in state of bliss.  The blippy-synth pop from Greece’s Plastic Flowers had me reaching for my Flowchart and Holland records. In short it has all been pop and it has all been good. I left a few out mostly because I can’t keep up with the pace, and there are more great singles on the way from the likes of Zebra Hunt, Males, Forest, Death of Pop and who knows who else this young exciting new label have planned. Head on over to their store and fill you’re sweaty pop parched hands with a swill of manic pop singles…and sweet dreams.

stream: Males – So High


stream: Gloss – Front Porch


stream: Choo Choo Trains – The Most Beautiful Boy


streamMini Dresses – Post Office Girl


stream: Gorgeous Bully – M.A.W


stream: Death of Pop – Don’t Hang Around


The Stevens Moving Into the Fast Lane

Even Stevens

Pop lovers who love melodic dissonance (aka jangle-pop) on vinyl rejoice. The fine folks at the Melbourne based Chapter Music are set to release the Stevens eponymous six song EP. In case you missed last year’s Finest-Kiss-Melbourne-Extravaganza, the Stevens are pure pop brilliance smack dab in the middle of that current brilliant Melbourne pop scene.

The band self-released the EP last year on on homemade cassettes, CD’s and downloads, but now it’s about to get released as a seven-inch single. That’s not all, the band are putting the finishing touches on an album they are recording with the ubiquitous Mickey Young which they hope to have out before the end of the year.

If you’re a Stevens freak (like I am) be sure to pick up  a copy of the the Vacant Valley compilation Rough End of the Stick which contains an additional Stevens song Turpin Falls.

Stream: The Stevens – I Look Back (The EP is available now from bandcamp and in April on vinyl from Chapter Music)