Living in the Past or I’m Still In Love With 2017

Those pesky end of year best of lists should really not come out until March, but that’s not likely considering that internet lives in future tense. It’s the end of February, 2018 but I’m still discovering records from last year that could have easily been included on my best of 2017 list. In my futile attempt to not be ruled by the hurry up what’s next mantra, here are a handful of releases from last year that I’ve discovered on the wrong side of the calendar for the internet.

Paul Messis

Paul Messis is a busy guy. He runs the Market Square record label and fronts the punk rock Suburban Homes. In his free time, he squeezed in some time to released his third solo record at the end of last year on Austin’s 13 O’clock record label.  Songs of Our Times is a 12 string drenched , late 60’s tour of folk-y protest rock. The songs have a raw feel with lyrics inspired by these upside down times of the current day

The Tahitian Sons

While your friends are spending over thirty bucks a pop to reaffirm their love of Felt, you can go the cheaper route and download the two latest EP’s from Manchester’s Tahitian Sons. I hope that is all I need to say about this band to pique your interest. The seven song Blackpool Peppers and six track Dice Dance slipped out in December as download only EP’s on Bandcamp.  Both are name your price on bandcamp so there’s no excuse!



Forever Pavot

Fifty Years from now I can see a label like Finders Keepers reissuing Forever Pavot’s records. The second album by Emile Sornin’s ensemble features a move soundtrack feel than the previous Rhapsode. Nevertheless, it still features a 60’s sci-fi feel that bands like Broadcast and Stereolab borrowed from Peter Thomas. I

Joshua Abrams

One of my favorite Stereolab songs is Soop Groove #1, a b-side on the Fluorescences single. It is 13 minutes of a hypnotic groove that doesn’t really go anywhere but is capable of placing you into another state of conscious. Chicago jazz guy Joshua Abrams has taken that 13 minutes and expanded it into an entire album. It’s absolutely brilliant. But you shouldn’t take my word for it, because I’ve been under hypnosis since hearing it.

Helta Skelta

I really hadn’t paid too much attention to Australia’s Helta Skelta’s hardcore act up to now. Their Nightclubbing single (no association with Iggy Pop song) which came out in October has a very Eddy Current Suppression Ring feel to it, and since I doubt that we’ll ever hear another ECSR record, this record deserves a posthumous single of the year award.

Total Control

Speaking of ECSR, guitarist Mikey Young’s other band Total Control released their third album at the tail end of last year. The hard core set found it disappointing because it had too much melody and not enough aggression. Not being a real punk, I found it delightful. They’ve obviously been listening to Microdisney and Fatima Mansions and have bent their songs into subversive melody while keeping the tension at a high level, just a little differently than before.

Telepathic

I should pay closer attention to the Third Uncle label, also home of Honey Radar. From the ashes of Bleeding Rainbow, Telepathic have emerged with a stronger sense of being and set of really tight set of fuzzy lo-fi songs that sound best when they bleed into the red.

Les Filles de Illighadad

If you dig the hypnotic effects of Joshua Abrams, take a trip to the Sahara. Named for their village Illighadad, in the Tahoua region of Niger, Lilles de Illighadad’s second album Eghass Malan is just the thing. The humming rhythm combines with lullaby-like vocals and sublime guitar to create higher states of being.

Swim Team – Lazeritis split 7-inch

This split single between two Melbourne bands is an all girl win-win. Swim Team’s Positively Hopeless reminds me of a Marine Research – Tiger Trap combination that will make the 90’s feel like yesterday. Lazeritis’ Little Sister is more punk, but not of the riot grrl style. The chorus of ‘We’ll shake shit up till they all turn blue” is a real fist-raiser.

New Flower Power Pop from Talbot Adams

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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).

Midway and Buried in Records – Part 5

Part five of five of the mid 2013 album round-up is finally here. A little late as the this year’s National IPA day took precedence yesterday to actually putting this final installment online. Rest assured though, I was of very sober mind when considering all of these records.

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Dick Diver – Calendar Days (Chapter Music)

“Blue, laid-back, playful and breezy. They will make your heart ache. In fact, they could have put a sticker on the cover stating: Warning. May cause slight bouts of melancholia.” Feeling this bad never felt so good.

stream: Dick Diver – Calendar Days

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The Shivas – Whiteout (K)

The Shivas can stretch from Thee Oh Sees style romps to shimmering surf rides to Freakwater style country numbers. Whiteout is a wonderfully varied and accomplished album from a group of young Pacific Northwest punks.

stream: The Shivas – Thrill Yr Idols

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Eat Lights Become Lights – Modular Living (Great Pop Supplement/Rocket Girl)

Every now and then I like to put on a record that makes me feel like I am floating in space. Ladies and gentlemen, this record creates zero gravity with its motorik grooves that you will put it on repeat to avoid re-entry.

stream: Eat Lights Become Lights – Modular Living

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Useless Eaters – Hypertension (Jeffery Drag)

Seth Sutton finally decides to stop recording into a boombox and the results are more than satisfying. It’s not just sound quality, he’s also upped his songwriting. Hypertension a huge leap in quality and already a classic punk record in my book.

stream: Useless Eaters – Hypertension

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Woolen Men – Woolen Men (Woodsist)

Portland’s Woolen Men are only a three piece, but they pack the power of four or five. All three members sing which leads me to believe they all write songs, but they’re all well versed in the same school of rock.  Their songs can sound like early REM, Wire, the Clean and dB’s.

stream: Woolen Men – Mayonnaise

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Paul Messis – Case Closed (State)

Paul Messis is an obvious fan of the Dovers, West Coast Experimental Pop Art Band, the Who and the Squires, but instead of doing covers, he’s creating his own future classics.

stream: Paul Messis – Nickels And Dimes

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Wimps – Repeat (End of Time)

“Wimps songs  adhere to the  three chords and a cloud of dust rule. They’re raw, immediate, self-deprecating and fun. And who doesn’t need humorous odes to naps, intoxication, bad jobs, and the general banality of life to crank up when you need to forget about your sucky life?”

stream: Wimps – Slept In Late

Messis On the Go

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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 DoversWest 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.

stream: Paul Messis – Cased Closed (available from Paul’s bandcamp page)

 

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