It’s February Already, What Happened?

I must admit, I’ve been distracted of late. I’m sure you all have been as well to some extent. Sometimes you just can’t bring yourself to write about this great new song you’ve heard, because you realize how unimportant it is in the grand scheme of things. That doesn’t mean I don’t save them up, and it doesn’t mean that I have stopped listening to music. If anything I’ve listened to more music lately. It’s a distraction and provides escape, hope and pleasure. So here are a couple handfuls of records that have gotten me through the first month of 2017.

In the it came out in December, who releases a record in December category.

Uranium Club

Minneapolis smart ass punks released album number two at the end of 2016. Minutemen/Firehose genius combined with Devo hyperactive geekiness. Too weird to be cool for some but right up my alley.

In the I totally missed it category

Quantic & Flowering Inferno ft Hollie Cook

Hollie Cook has album number three on the docket for this year, but at the tail end of last year the brogues hipped me to this little number she did with Quantic & Flowering Inferno. So good!

Gurr

The album In My Head by this Berlin duo was on a few best of lists and for good reason. Great indie pop that reminds me a little of the Blake Babies and the Breeders.

In the 7-inch single is not dead and they even sell out category
Field Route

We are only one month in and Field Route have already released one of the best 7″ singles. Bring it on!

Creation Factory

Another classic sounding 7″. Yeah I know the 45 is on its deathbed, but quality over quantity is the rule of the day. I think both of these records are sold out, but each can be purchased as a download.

In the who releases a record this good in January category

Rose Elinor Dougall – Stellular

Former Pipette took six years to follow up her solo debut, but it is worth the wait.  It’s swirling blend of the Horrors, Goldfrapp and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Rose doesn’t look very goth, but she certainly leans in that direction ever so slightly.

Priests – Nothing Feels Natural

This record has two personas. The A-side is funk-punk that is a cross of Pylon and the Big Boys, the B-side is the post punk cool down that gets moody and melodic. Thankfully the band put an Interlude to divide things up for those of us who can’t always be in front of our turntables.

Proper Ornaments – Foxhole

Album number two from this trippy Velvet/Chills loving band. Not sure they’ve ever surpassed that first EP, but I love to hear them keep trying.

In the genre bending category

Group Doeh & Cheveu – Dakhla Sahara Session
French punk weirdos Cheveu team up with Western Sahara guitarslingers Group Doueh in an unlikely match. It’s crazy and out there and one of the best records I’ve heard this year.

In the buried treasure gets reissued category

workshy

Animals that Swim

Back in the day when you had to read about records and decode whether or not it was something you might want to spend money, I read a review of Animals That Swim debut album and decided to take a leap. I instantly fell in love with their quirky little songs that painted imaculate pictures in my head about the downtrodden, mundane and odd things in life. Pink Carnations, Madam Yvonde, How to Make a Chandalier are all essential. With this reissue you get the original album as well as genius b-sides and unreleased tracks to boot.

I think they might have finally broken the US as you can buy a copy of this reissue from Target, though I’m not sure I’d recommend it.

Another Pop Overload (This One Goes to 11)

It’s been a crazy week over here at Finest Kiss central.  The fiber has been clogged with ace songs piping from various points of dissemination.  Keeping up is a pain and a blast at the same time.  To quote one of those 80’s teen movies: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. So in a futile attempt to keep up, let’s stop and look around.


This has been out since sometime in March, but it just showed up in my mailbox this week.  Ireland’s Girls Names do something that only Irish bands can do, and that is make gritty, anthemic indie rock.  They just sold out of the second pressing of their EP that’s out on Tough Love, but you can still get the superior Captured Tracks four song 12″.  They’re a little bit of A House some Power of Dreams and a whole lot of bombastic, reverbed goodness.

mp3: Girls Names – Graveyard (grab the EP from Captured Tracks)


Joining the PENS in the post post riot grrrl UK are Trash Kit.  Like the PENS they are a trio that bring to mind Huggy Bear, Skinned Teen and looking even further back the Raincoats and the Slits. Fame is a minimalist, hand clapping umm, riot.

mp3: Trash Kit – Fame (grab the album from Upset the Rhythm)


Moving back over the US of A, Frisco to be exact.  Wet Illustrated were born stoked.  California-speak for indie-rock surfers.  Their debut 7″ was recorded by Fresh & Onlys‘ Tim Cohen (where does he find the time?).  Wet Illustrated use to be a Television Personalities cover band.  I bet they know the Art Museums.

mp3: Wet Illustrated – Born Stoked (click here to buy their record from Corvette City Records)


This Many Boyfriends single I Don’t Like You (‘Cos You Don’t Like The Pastels) could be the trainspotters’ single of the year.  Sounding like a meld of the Pooh Sticks and Art Brute and reinforcing the notion that in today’s society it’s not what you’re like, it’s what you like!

mp3: Boyfriends – I Don’t Like You (‘Cos You Don’t Like The Pastels) (pre-order from Thee SPC and be the first on you block to own it.)


I inadvertently saw Cloud Nothings at this year’s SXSW and was kinda smitten.   The Cleveland band’s  first album Turning On came out earlier this year and already the band is moving on.  A super limited 7″ came out on Group Tightener a few months ago and now Old Flame is about to unleash the Cloud Nothings next super jangly affair.

mp3: Cloud Nothings – Even If It Worked Out (per-order this from Old Flame, but hurry it’s limited to 300)


After three singles, former Pipette Rose Elinor Dougall is ready to release a full length album.  Going against the grain of her first three upbeat dancy singles she’s opted for a paranoid ballad.  Will her beau find her out as a uninteresting fake or figure out that Rose is the best thing to happen to him since, well, since forever?  We all know the answer to that, no?

mp3: Rose Elinor Dougall – Find Me Out (the single is up for order)


Shark Toys are from SoCal but remind me of the Intelligence albeit a much less blown-out Intelligence and one that grew up on Shrimper Records instead of  Wire the Urinals and Cabaret Voltaire.  Their first single came out earlier this year on Felter Skelter and it contains a song to live your life by…Stayed up all night and I listened to records…Yeah, I kinda know about that.

mp3: Shark Toys – Stayed Up (this 7″ is orderable from the venerable S-S records)


Oh man, is it good to hear the Vaselines again!  Last year when they played Seattle they did a couple brand new songs which gave us hope that a new album would eventually appear. Prayers have been answered, Sex With an X comes out in September on Sup Pop.  Amazingly this is their first new record in 20 years.  Now don’t get me wrong, I liked Eugenius and Suckle, but this new Vaselines’ song confirms the fact that they should have never broken up. Yeah the 80’s were shit, but at least they had the Vaselines.

mp3: The Vaselines – I Hate the 80’s (eventually buy-able from Sub Pop)


Oh my (Talula) Gosh, The new single from Amelia Fletcher’s Tender Trap is Heavenly.  Not only that, Do You Want a Boyfriend? is smart, cute(does he have to like the Jesus & Mary Chain?  Yeah, that would be heaven!), packed full of harmonies and sees the band swinging back towards a more guitar oriented blast of sound reminiscent of Fletcher’s two earlier bands.    The single comes on white vinyl and is out now, with a full album entitled Dansette, Dansette to follow soon.

mp3: Tender Trap – Do You Want a Boyfriend? (get your copy direct from Slumberland)


Aias answer the question: What happens when a C-86, lo-fi, girl group goes to Spain?  Answer, nothing really new, except it’s sung in Catalan.  That’s not really a gripe because these three chicas from Barcelona not only have the sound down but know how to write a song too.  It’s not really ground-breaking, that’s fine by me though, pushing the envelope is overrated.  Their debut 7″ recently came out on Captured Tracks 7″.  This song ain’t on it (but is still bueno).  It’ll be on their forthcoming album due any day now on Captured Tracks.

mp3: Aias – La Truita (take a leap and get the 7″ from Captured Tracks)


We have Bubblegum Lemonade to thank for making this post go to eleven. Their new single on Matinée is buzzing barrel of hooks and reminds me of a young Teenage Fanclub.    The A-side is a preview of the Scottish band’s upcoming second album.  It’s an ode to pirate radio, that uses the Beach Boys’ Caroline Knows for some kind of double entendre.  The single comes on red vinyl with two b-sides one of them Stalling and Laughing, alludes to hometown heroes Orange Juice, and is limited to 500 copies.

mp3: Bubblegum Lemonade – Caroline’s Radio (get some from Matinée)

SxSW: Day One

I was going to cover my trip down to Austin, Texas for this years SxSW in a single post, but quickly realized it would be way too long.  This is easily the most live music I had ever packed into three and half days.  While I got to see everything that I put on my short list, there were literally four to five bands playing at any one time I would have liked to have seen.

This was my first ever time at SxSW.  I had some rules I wanted to follow: keep the number of garage bands I saw to a minimum, avoid chill wave, and try to see bands  that don’t normally make their way up to Seattle.  Here’s what went down, the abridged version, or as abridged as I can make it.  I arrived Wednesday afternoon with my friend Andrew picking me up from the Austin airport.  We dropped my bag off at his place and then headed out to grab some dinner.  SxSW being what it is, you can’t go anywhere without a band playing, and so we had pizza and beer and watched the Republic of Ireland’s So Cow do their thing while we ate.  They finished with a great cover of Tall Dwarf’s Meet the Beatle.

After checking out the Hozac thing at Trailer Space Records and leaving because there was no one who knew who had played or who was going to play, and then trying and failing to catch Austin shoegazers Ringo Deathstarr we headed over Cheer Up Charlies to meet up with my friend Bill.  When we arrived as Fluffy Lumbers were setting up.  Cheer Up Charlies was called Mrs. Bea’s last year, and is essentially a vacant lot with two small wooden stages and a couple taco wagons.  The place was full of rustic charm, a common trait among the numerous Austin music venues.  While I’m a fan of a couple Fluffy Lumbers songs, their entire set sounded like a tape getting eaten as it played through a boom box.

From Cheer Up Charlies on the east side, be made our way over to downtown Austin to check out Norway’s Megaphonic Thrift (who share a drummer with the Casio Kids) in the basement of Habana Calle 6. The band excel in creating quite a maelstrom of noise part influenced by the heavier side of shoegaze and more than a little bit of Sonic Youth.  It was all right, but they could have added some actual songs to their juggernaut sound.

After Megaphonic Thrift, we moved across the street to the Galaxy Room to catch the sole performance of ex-Pippette Rose Elinor Dougall.  The place was full of boys, not surprisingly since Ms. Dougall has a bag of catchy pop songs and she’s easy on the eyes.  She didn’t disappoint,  looking and sounding great in her black leather jacket.  Her songs took on a more Cocteaus/Siouxsie sound to them than their recorded version. No complaints from me.

Not content with staying in the same place for too long we headed over to the Brooklyn Vegan show at Club Deville to see Serena Maneesh. We got their and Califone had just started who I didn’t really pay attention to, opting instead to grab a beer and converse.  Serena Maneesh didn’t come on until about 1:30 and I’m trying to pace myself, so I stayed for a couple songs and then headed for bed.