If you are still lamenting the demise of Long Blondes, or maybe you still pine for the sounds of Kleenex/LiLiPUT or Girls at Our Best.  If you answered yes to any of the above you should definitely check out Pang. The Oakland, California band has just released its second 7-inch single Young Professionals. The single is really an EP since it has five songs. All of them are packed full of umbrage,  intensity and punk glamour. The title track and companion So It Goes especially are guaranteed soon to be classics.

stream: Pang – Young Professionals (from the 7-inch single available on Grazer Records)

Don’t Miss Blooper

Blooper on Manic Pop Records

Seattle’s Blooper are back with a near-perfect slab of white vinyl. It’s out now on the plucky new Minnesota upstart Manic Pop! Records. Four songs that don’t let up off the pedal. The lead track You Won’t Miss Me When I’m Gone is a buzzing blast of Razorcuts, Buzzcocks and Jason Falkner that is as vital sounding as anything that’s ever come out of this city.
The band had their record release party this past weekend at Heartland and blasted through a sugar coated adrenaline fueled (it was all ages) set that included a cover of Beat Happening‘s Teenage Caveman. A killer good time. If you’re in Seattle you can get on the good times because Blooper has some upcoming shows:

Feb 07 at Sunset Tavern with Zebra Hunt and Detective Agency
Feb 21 at Columbia City Theater with Neighbors, Chastity Belt, & Marvelous Good Fortune

Everyone else, grab that new 7-inch!

Blooper at Heartland

stream: Blooper – You Won’t Miss Me (buy it from Manic Pop! Records)

Single of the Week: The Girls – Not I

I should start calling this single of the fortnight, but that sounds pretty dumb.  So it’s The Girls with the single of the urm, week.   The Seattle band just released their second album titled Yes No Yes No Yes No a few weeks ago. The Girls have been accused of being a one trick pony, that trick being tightly wound 80’s new wave, but in small doses it hits all the right buttons.  Singer Shannon Brown has a voice that may instantly remind you of Howard Devoto, so those Buzzcocks and Magazine comparisons make sense.  For some reason though, the Girls remind me of John Fox era Ultravox, even the album cover reminds me of their album ha! ha! ha!.  Brown’s voice which seems to have an English accent, like Fox’s has a similar waver where you think he could lose control at any moment.   Not I starts off with a spaceship like keyboard and then Brown starts emphatically claiming he didn’t steal your bicycle which you know damn well he did, and then he starts singing about raining martian babies and testing for rabies.  I have no idea what he’s on about, but with a buzzing guitar riff and thumping bass the Girls take it to the Maximum!

mp3: The Girls – Not I (from Yes No Yes No Yes No – CD | Vinyl)

See the Girls out on tour:

Oct 22 @ The Funhouse          Seattle, WA*
Nov 7  @ Piano’s         Manhattan, NY
Nov 8  @ Abbey Pub         Boston, MA
Nov 9  @ Don Pedro’s         Brooklyn, NY
Nov 10 @ Brighton Bar         Long Branch, NJ
Nov 11 @ JC Dobbs         Philadelphia, PA
Nov 12 @ Side Bar         Baltimore, MD
Nov 13 @ Now That’s Class     Cleveland, OH
Nov 14 @ Reggies Rock Club      Chicago, IL^
Nov 15 @ Reggies Rock Club     Chicago, IL^
Nov 22 @ Wildrose!         Seattle, WA
* w/ Human Eye
^ w/ Ben Weasel

The Return of the Single of the Week and the Legends

Buying a Legends album is a proposition that require some degree of a leap of faith. Reason being, is that you can pretty much guarantee that it will sound nothing like the previous record. Their first album Up Against the Legends was a slice of C-86. Second album Public Radio was all minimalist, deep, and dark with melodic bass like early New Order, Cure and Felt. Then album number three, Facts and Figurines went all light and synthy euro disco. So if you’ve followed the legends at all, you can pretty much guarantee that the album number four is not going to sound like the last one.

So what can you expect from the Legends for their next album?  According to sources, main legend Johan Angergård is in desperate need of noise and  is holed up in the studio surrounded by effects pedals and broken amps creating new kinds of distortion for the next Legends record. As a primer, they have a new single called Seconds Away which is being offered up on 5 November from Labrador records. It’s a welcome return to familiar territory of the first record. Pop songs honey drenched in squealing feedback like the Jesus and Mary Chain made de rigeur on Psychocandy specifically,  Never Understand and Living Inside Me. Ear piercing feedback will fill your head throughout most of the song, but there’s a point mid way in it where the distortion falls away and gives way to a melodic bass line like the ones Adorable use to do.  With Seconds Away, The Legends have dialed it in to near perfection.

mp3: The Legends – Seconds Away (from the upcoming Single on Labrador)

No Synthesizers, No Drum Machines

When we last heard from Luleå, Sweden’s Park Hotell they had just released their Guest Who Stayed Forever ep. On that outing they were using synthesizers and sequencers. That was over a year ago, and it seems in the interim the band have gone totally organic, emphatically stating that their new album contains no artificial ingredients as in synthesizers and drum machines. They’re about to release their first album on Ultra Radio Records. It’s produced by Jari Haapalain who, when he’s not playing guitar for the Bear Quartet, produces albums by the likes of the Concretes (S/T first album) and Ed Harcourt (Strangers) and Camera Obscura (Let’s Get Out of this Country). Haapalain not only is twiddling knobs for Park Hotell, but he’s also plays drums on the record in lieu of a drum machine.

Whenever I hear Park Hotell I can’t help but be reminded of the under appreciated Close Lobsters, and Dead Ringers, the first song they’ve released from the new record is no exception. The song starts off with singular pounding drums that quickly builds into a ringing anthem. The soaring vocals and sharply jangling guitars are nicely topped off with backing vocals from Taxi Taxi! twins Johanna and Miriam. You think that the dizzying chorus is going to be the best part of the song, but just before the end the manic jangle of guitars turns into a Big Country type e-bowed guitar solo that will have you reaching for the repeat button, like I have done so many times with this song. Bring on the album!

mp3: Park Hotell – Dead Ringers

Singles of the Week: Powerpop FTW

Did powerpop ever really go out of style, or come to think of it, was it ever in style? It seems like music history is littered with great bands and songwriters too numerous to mention, that wrote short catchy juiced-up songs that should have been hits. The two bands with killer singles this week are both named after two other great bands. So they’ve not only got great songs buy great pedigree too. I’m partial to bands naming themselves after songs of their favorite bands, as you might have guessed based on this blog’s name.

Single of the week number one comes from Shake Some Action who are named after a Flamin’ Groovies song. The Seattle band have just released their second album entitled Sunny Days Ahead, and it’s a corker. Especially the lead track Get It Together, James Hall’s voice booms over crunching, screaming guitars urging someone to get it together, and with a song this convincing how you not Get It Together?!

mp3: Shake Some Action – Get It Together (buy: Sunny Days Ahead)

Single of the week number two is by a band named for an Undertones song. Washington, DC’s Julie Ocean is fronted by Jim Spellman of Velocity Girl/High Back Chairs/Piper Cub fame and Terry Banks of Tree Fort Angst/Saturday People/Glo-Worm fame. All of those bands knew their way around a good song and Julie Ocean is no different. Teenage Fanclub and the afore mentioned Undertones have got nothing on these guys with their jangly Rickenbackers and ooh-ooh and ahh-ahh choruses, it’s saccharine sweet. Half the songs on their debut album could be hits in that powerpop netherworld, but #1 Song is the standout. And yes, it should be a number one song, Casey Kasem, Rick Dees, et al be damned!

mp3: Julie Ocean – #1 Song (buy: Long Gone and Nearly There)

Single of the Week: Boat – Topps

BOAT return with a slab of vinyl and it’s just about the perfect thing to start your summer. It’s got songs, baseball cards and bubblegum, and I bet if you buy it from them at one of their shows they’ll autograph it too. When D. Crane sings I’ve got a wife, I’ve got a job, a record store that knows my name, I can’t help but love him. Plus the fact that BOAT are pop geeks that learned to read from Baseball Cards and Comic Books, well it just hits a little too close to home. Are they singing about me? No, they don’t even know me! This is the catchiest BOAT has ever sounded, starting off with echoey keyboard, and ahh-ahhs, and then comes the killer guitar hook that really clinches it. Easy, single of the week!

mp3: BOAT – Topps(buy the record)

You can buy the record from Magic Marker or directly from them on their upcoming tour. It really does come with bubblegum and baseball cards, hand drawn ones at that! I wonder if the gum is hard, crunchy and stale like the sticks that came in packs of baseball cards? And if you want autographs, they’ll be making their way across the country to a town near you. Here are the dates for the ‘We Jam Super Econo and a Bit Cramped’ Tour:

July 5th–Showbox w/ Long Winters and Cops–Seattle, WA
July 12th–Sunset Tavern w/Tullycraft and Fishboy–Seattle, WA
July 13th–Club POW–Sacramento, CA
July 14th–Sue’s Java Lounge–Redding, CA
July 15th–The Knockout–San Francisco, CA
July 16th–Mr. T’s Bowl–Los Angeles, CA
July 18th–Biko’s Garage (All Ages)–Santa Barbara, CA
July 19th–TBA–Oakland, CA
July 20th–The Someday Lounge–Portland, OR
July 31st–Neumo’s–Seattle, WA
August 15th–Johnny Brenda’s–Philadelphia, PA
August 17th–The Cake Shop–Brooklyn, NY
August 18th–PA’s Lounge–Boston, MA
August 20th–Union Hall–New York, NY
August 21st–The Lantern–Blacksburg, VA
August 22nd–TBA–Pittsburgh, PA
August 23rd–TBA–Chicago, IL