Every once in a while you stumble into an album you were looking forward to, and you’re proven right…every note hits, every track wins you over. Time Catches Up with Milk Teddy, the new album from the Aussie outfit is one such LP. I’ve already posted gems like “Rock n’ Roll Cretin” and “Sweet Bells Jangled,” but there’s not a misplaced tune on this record; it’s honestly some of the best guitar pop I’ve heard come out this year. If you’re searching for a record that’s going to impress your friends with your great taste, then introduce them to Milk Teddy. The LP is available now from Lost and Lonesome!
I think anyone that was fortunate enough to catch the Ocean Party on tour this past Spring would agree that the band is a full-on tour de pop. Every member is a gifted songwriter, which allows for a great bit of diversity…both live and in the studio. They’ve just released Beauty Point, and I can only revel in the joy that you’ll get by spinning this LP on repeat all day. It’s filled with bouncing rhythms, synth stabs and vocal accompaniment in all the right places. Honestly, while I’ve loved the band forever, this might be their most complete record to date…not a single song misses its mark. It’s available now from Emotional Response (US) and Spunk Records (AUS).
As always, Jigsaw Records quietly releases another gem into the world: Joy Cleaner‘s Total Hell. This brand new album is filled with fuzzy guitar riffs a la Teenage Fanclub or GVB, but there’s an innate playfulness that gives a lifting spirit to listeners. When you boil it down, it’s really just a great collection of guitar pop songs that slip into your subconscious as you attempt to sing along hours later. My favorite track at the moment is “Disposable Outcome,” but I haven’t skipped a single track, so that’s saying something! You’re free to grab the new album over at Jigsaw.
You look around the Internet these days and the landscape looks very similar; it all feels the same. But, enter Office Culture and their album, I Did the Best I Could; it opens the door to a blend of pop music that’s as refreshing as it is nostalgic. “Molly” is a jam reminiscent of early Jens Lekman, focusing on the vocals, while letting the music fill in the space behind. Other tracks like “Fool” pull in barroom crooner vibes, though they layer backing vocals and guitar stabs to build the pop sensibility. I’m looking around, browsing my musical library, and there’s nothing quite like the listen I lay before you. This is where pop music succeeds. This is where you’ll find your happy place. The LP hits this Friday.
For the last few months, I’ve been raving about the new music of Romantic States, and since Friday, I’ve spent a lot of time spinning their latest LP, Corduroy in Italy. While the singles have been great at teasing what was to come, opener “In My Arms” illustrates just how far the band has come, perfect blending elements of slow core and fuzzy indiepop. Ilenia and Jim switch singing roles throughout, but I think theIlenia’s performance on “Half Your Life” might just steal the show. Seems cliche, but there’s honestly not a bad song on this entire LP. Go grab it from Gentle Reminder Records; it won’t disappoint.
Debate Club has been on my radar for a bit now, as I closely follow their label, Beko Disques, who do a great job of discovering gems abroad I probably wouldn’t ever hear about. The band release the Fish Fry EP today, and it’s a noisy number of heavy pop songs that will surely find room in your listening rotation this week (and beyond). Fans of new psych stylings will find that the darkened style of the group is entrancing on its own, though be warned of the slight pop sensibility that becomes apparent the more you listen to the EP. Standout track “Depeche” is one of my favorite tracks of the month thus far, especially as the vocals are stretched and the rhythm section pounds in your ears. Go grab the EP today!
With all the nods to pop music, you very rarely find something as endearing (and creative) as Edmonson‘s Strange Durations. Through ten songs, the brothers from Gainesville build layer upon layer of extravagant harmony, experimenting with various flourishes throughout. Songs like “Turnings” see the band experimenting with balladry, with a bouncing piano that moves into a more elegant territory as the vocals reach for angelic tones. I love how the lyrical content reflects the changes in the mundane, such as on “Mobius Strip;” it’s a thematic element that allows every listener a chance to find their own phrase to latch onto in the end.
Don’t rush through your listening of this stream, as it is not an album you can fully absorb without giving attention to the finer details within its confines. There’s such care to every movement, and every note that you’ll quickly find yourself lost deep within Strange Durations. It’s out today via Elestial Sounds Records.
Before there were blogs and music streaming there was the Black Watch. Now, 15 albums into their career, the band have crafted what I’m going to say is their best work yet. Each time I play it, I’m struck by something that has me scrambling to press repeat, to tune into a note or an element I didn’t hear the first run though, even now as I speak, I’m doing just that. If you’re a fan of pop music and poetry, stream The Gospel According to John. And if you want my two-cents on the track by track breakdown, skip beyond the jump. Otherwise, pick up the album tomorrow courtesy of The Eskimo Record Label and Pop Culture Press.
Life got you down? No energy? Well, Skittle Alley is here to make the world a little bit better. They’re spritely indiepop is precisely what’s needed to uplift the spirits. “When She Dance” immediately had me smiling with its ringing guitar chords working over tight percussive lines. Or, you can jump to the end to find a dreamy dose with “They Can’t Cast a Shadow,” allowing your soul to float into the world with a warm grin. Indiepop might not be for everyone, but I promise you can’t turn away from End of a Story; I suggest downloading it immediately!
Slack Capital 2 is a compilation of music by 27 of the most exciting bands in Austin. All proceeds go to SafePlace, which provides support for victims of domestic and sexual violence. We’ve been unveiling one song per day until the the release party on April 14, which is today!
Song of the day: SLUGBUG — “When The Words”
If you live in Austin and care about music– and by music I mean good music– and by good music I mean weird music– you haaaaaave to know about SLUGBUG. SLUGBUG is the longtime musical project of synth ber-wizard Paul D. Millar, who truly forges his own path with his songs of prime neurotic pop bliss. Like a more German-influenced Ariel Pink, or Devo on a hallucinatory trip, SLUGBUG is built quite efficiently to groove you– think Robocop on speed at a disco– but also, even though (but kind of especially because) Millar is never not straight-faced, to make you laugh. “Bread bowl/ I don’t want to eat that” is a phrase you hear at the beginning of the song, a robotic coo spoken into the spheres. SLUGBUG takes its energy from the punk sensibility of protest, and in this case, he’s protesting meaning itself. “Words come out of your mouth/ Can I tell that they say one thing and really mean the opposite?” And “Words come out of my mouth/ Can you tell that the words were/ Nothing more than filler text.” He seems to be saying, none of us know what we’re talking about. Which is the wisest it gets, probably. –Eric Braden
Stream Slack Capital 2 in its entirety here, and download it, or come pick one up tonight at Barracuda for the Slack Capital 2 official release party. $5, doors at 9 PM. Come have fun and help us support SafePlace!