Scotland’s Close Lobsters never quite fit in with any scene. Sure, they were on the C-86 compilation put out by the New Musical Express, and they recorded their records at indiepop central Leamington Spa with John A. Rivers. I suppose all of those references might give you an idea of what they might sound like. Their guitars certainly jangle and they sound earnest, but I would never suggest that they’re indiepop or C-86 (whatever that is). Their records have an uplifting brightness to them and dare I say it they even rock out a bit. That juxtaposition sets them apart in my mind.
The band stopped being a band back in the late 80’s after the release of their second LP Headache Rhetoric. Fast forward 20 or so years, sometime after appearing at 2013’s New York City Popfest the band decided to start making records again. Eventually two 7-inch singles containing new songs appeared, one in 2014 and another in 2016. Now finally, a third album was released in February. The title is a mouthful, Post Neo Anti: Arte Povera In the Forest of Symbols. The cover might give the impression that they’re a metal band and the title suggests that they’re into prog rock. Neither is the case. In fact, the album picks up right where Headache Rhetoric left off. Songs like All Compasses Go Wild, Now Time, and New York City In Space sound like older and wiser brothers of classics like My days are Numbered, Nature Thing, and Foxheads. The band have John Rivers back in the producer’s chair and the album generally feels like they never broke up. I always thought that The Close Lobsters sounded timeless because they never really adhered to any scene or sound. They continue that streak and stick to their unique sunshine drenched jangle while stretching and bending it ever so slightly to keep it interesting.
When you think of bands from Halifax, Nova Scotia, if you don’t draw a blank, then you probably think of the 90’s grunge era bands like Sloan, Superfriendz and Thrush Hermit. You probably don’t think of jangly neo-psychedelic music and you most certainly wouldn’t think of bands like the Church, the Dylans, the Dentists, the Sneetches or Ultra Vivid Scene. Well, Monomyth are here to re-put Halifax on the map and change any previous ideas about what goes on up in the Canadian Maritime provinces.
The band have just released their debut album Saturnalia Regalia! on Mint records. It’s an accomplished record with great some great song featuring lush harmonies. The band features three songwriters in Seamus Dalton, Josh Salter, and Graeme Stewart, but they have a similar aesthetic and high quality which keeps the album engaging and interesting. Since this record arrived in the mail last week it’s been on constant rotation. Its bright songs and nods to obscure psychedelic bands without sounding too obvious make this one a keeper.
Los Angeles’ Dream Boys remind me of time not long ago when the first Tyde album came out. I was surprised how a band from Los Angles were able to sound like direct descendants of Felt. Back then when record stores were the only place you could buy music there was what’s called an import section and a certain American record buyers would search that section out because that was where all the best jangly pop stuff came from.
I doubt that Dream Boys peruse the import section of their local record store. Is there a record store these days that even has an import section? In fact you could argue that they don’t need an import section for their influences. Their own back yard is overflowing with potential inspirations. The Paisley Underground scene of the 80’s and of course the ground zero of everything that is jangle the Byrds. Dream Boys have two songwriters one favoring the UK flavor, the other seems to prefer the LA flavor. So you get the best of both worlds here.
Whether you dig the sounds of the Tyde, Bif Bang Pow, Long Ryders, the Bluebells, Close Lobsters, Felt, the Three O’clock or the Byrds there is something for you on this album. It will remind you of any of the above, or it may make you search out some of those bands to find out how Dream Boys got here. No matter the direction of your approach, this exceptional album will satisfy. Guaranteed!
Remember when the Church consistently pumped out great record after great record in the early 80’s and got little to no acclaim? Then Under the Milky Way came out and suddenly everyone was like, “The Church!”
Roanoke, Virgina’s the Young Sinclairs continue to pump out the paisley in 2013. You Know Where to Find Me is their fourth 7-inch single this year and there is no let-down in quality found here. One of these days they’re going to release their Under the Milky way and everyone is going to be all, “The Young Sinclairs!” The songs are there, but they don’t tour much and they’re from the backwater or Roanoke so consequently not very many people hear about them.
You Know Where To Find Me is a near perfect four song single from the band. Records like these seem to roll off their backs like water from a duck, and by my count they’ve got at least three Under the Milky Ways already. I think that if they decided to really start to tour extensively people might start to take notice of this Roanoke band hiding out underneath the stars in Virginia.
A a small tour of the East Coast is in the works for fall 2013, here are the dates. No Seattle date yet. Bummer.
Sep 13 – Bazaar Consignments, Roanoke, VA
Sep 20 – The Well, Richmond, VA
Sep 21 – Kung Fu Necktie, Philadelphia, PA
Sep 22 – Cake Shop, New York, NY
You know what I like about the Purrs? Among their many charms, they have cars in their songs. Cars to take you to the place where everything’s going down and cars to escape after you’ve had enough. Out here in the wide open west, contrary to the current political winds, you need a car. It’s big out here and things ain’t getting any closer together. If you want to feel connected you’ve gotta get in the car and drive. If you want to disconnect from everything, you also need a one, and the Purrs understand that. They know when to cruise and they know when to put the pedal to the floor.
The Boy With Astronaut Eyes is the Purrs’ sixth album and it may be their best since The Chemistry That Keeps Us Together. Bassist and songwriter Jima has come up with a great batch of songs that rivals Chemistry’s top shelf stuff. The songs are dusty, gritty, cosmic and road-ready. They feel like futuristic wild west space tales. Jason Milne’s interstellar guitar solos propel the songs into the nether realms. New rhythm guitarist Liz Herrin provides some angelic backing vocals to counter Jima’s road-worn ones, while drummer Craig Keller is the designated driver that keeps the songs on the road or at least on a trajectory to intersect with the next outpost.
This batch of Purrs songs are doused in gasoline and then lit up with guitars. Cemetery Johnny is a blast of feedback over a killer bass groove that feels like Love and Rockets gone bad. They also can take you on strung out road trips down lonely west coast highways with acid rain pelting the windshield and if there is a bar on the roadside you can be sure that they are stopping. Fade Away may be thee strung out power drive to end all trips. Both sides of their single from last year re-appear here as well, which if you already have it may come as a disappointment instead of something else, but both Rotting On the Vine and You the Medicine and Me are more than worthy if you don’t do singles.
So the question is: Is this new Purrs album worth the road trip? The first time I heard the Purrs I was in a car. It wasn’t a wide open road. I wasn’t driving to nowhere and there wasn’t a trail of dust in my wake, but when that song came on the radio, I felt like like I could bypass the grocery store and speed off towards the horizon. This record will have you reaching for the keys.
The Purrs play this Thursday, May 30th at the Comet Tavern. They’re currently in the studio with Erik Blood recording their next record that’s bound to be killer.
A few of you probably remember the Pop Art Toasters, the one-off project where Martin Phillips and David Kilgour made an EP that showcased the brilliance of the Dovers, West Coast Experimental Pop Art Band, the Who and the Squires. Paul Messis is an obvious fan of these bands, but instead of doing covers, he’s creating his own future classics.
Mr. Messis hails from Billingshurst, West Sussex, 2013 but he sounds like he’s from some time-warped 60’s town. Back then guitars jangled more brightly, harmonies mattered and a turntable was in every home. Case Closed is Messis’ s second solo album. He’s also a member of the Higher State, has released a slew of other singles, collaborated with the Sufis as the Market Squares and has a single he released with Jessica Winter. The guy is prolific with his 12 string jangliness, but the quality of Case Closed doesn’t lead you to believe he’s spreading himself too thinly.
Not only does the guy write tons of songs, but he has his own label as well. It’s called Market Square Records. The excellent Market Squares 7-inch was the label’s first release earlier this year and their next release is a 7-inch by Roanoke, Virgina’s Young Sinclairs who are every bit as jangly and Who-loving as Mr. Messis himself.
Every time Sam Lunsford releases a record I give thanks. Super talented and pretty much unknown, the guy seems to be perfectly content releasing records as internet downloads. This is fine, but listening to his band the Young Sinclairs on vinyl lends a bit more gravitas to the music, not to mention it just feels better listening to his paisley colored songs when they spin around at 33 and a third or 45 revolutions per minute. Thanks to the French labels Requiem Pour Un Twister & Croque Macadam there are two brand new singles from Lunsford’s Young Sinclairs. Hurt My Pride is the single with attitude. It sounds like Lunsford has been listening to Love and Them. It’s full of spite, antipathy and of course tons of melody. Second single New Day is softer sounding and jangles like early Church and REM. Perhaps it’s trying to heal the wounds inflicted by its mate.
I think if Lunsford ever really decided to go for it: tour like crazy,and get a PR person that has friends at certain web sites. The Young Sinclairs would no longer just be this cool secret among pop geeks. For now file the them next to your Allah-Las, White Fence, People’s Temple and The See See records.
For more Lunsford goodness check out his ‘solo’ record that was released late last year. It’s less psychedelic and more straightforward 70’s tinged pop.
Man I love the kind of psych that Seattle’s Purrs deal in. Their strung-out deep vein vibes are the good stuff that will break apart any coagulation in your overly tense stressed out body. The problem though is that they’ve been hard to hook up with lately to get a fix of new Purrs songs. It’s been over two years since their last EP. Consequently I’ve been tensing up more, my blood pressure has been rising and I fear there may be some deep vein thrombosis setting in.
Just in time, the Purrs are back with a new 7-inch single that serves as a cocktail for their upcoming album. I already feel the blood flow being helped along by the medicine delivered via this two song single. Rotting on the Vine injects itself quite nicely. It’s a boost of pop with cool vocals and soaring guitars. B-side You, the Medicine and Me is more the slow release kind of med. It trickles into your being like ice in the veins. God, I feel so much better now. Thank you Dr. Purrs!
When we last visited the Vancouver, BC garage scene the Dead Ghosts had just released their self-titled debut album that hinted at country and rockabilly but was mostly straight ahead garage. Indian Wars have just released their own debut and have upped the ante in the country garage sweepstakes. Sounding like a less paisley, more cactus and tumbleweeds Long Ryders these cowboys from British Columbia gallop through 13 songs on their debut entitled Walk Around the Park. It’s a dusty stampede of a record that will either have you replacing your garage door with swinging ones or just wholesale trading in your garage for a stable. Hee-haw!!!! Hope these guys ride down to Seattle one of these days, border crossings and barbed wire be damned, because when I saw them here last year at the Funhouse they proved they could bring it live as well.
In related news the Long Ryders just had their first album Native Sons re-issued and is well worth checking out, especially side one which doesn’t let up.
In geographically related news, another Vancouver band Manic Attracts which have ties to Dead Ghosts, Shimmering Stars, Time Copz and Chains Of Love have just released their first album Eyes Wide Shut and is recommended if you dug that Myelin Sheaths record from last year.