My friend Wally at The Beautiful Music recently turned me onto James Clarke Five, as he knew that I’m a sucker for a good pop tunes of any sort. Apparently James Clarke aka Jimmy Hughes has been banging around since the 1980s with The Cherry Boys, but he’s recently been bopping about with his own work. It’s interesting, at times he’s got one hell of an operatic voice, as is apparent in “Married;” it lends itself to that sort of broad pop from classic groups like the Zombies. Though there’s an obvious nostalgia, many of the tracks on Parlour Sounds are so wonderful they fit right along side the various pop LPs in your collection; I mean, check out the move at the 40 second mark in album closer, “Just a Smile.” Indulge in this LP, then thank me and TBM later.
In quiet circles around the Internet, folks are on the edge of their seats waiting to hear the new Monnone Alone LP; the former Lucksmiths guitarist is held in high regard, and Summer of the Mosquito largely lives up to those expectations. The record is fill with mostly sunny numbers, apt for an LP with such a title…though you might find a melancholy tune hanging about. Regardless…people will fawn over this for some time, so I wanted you to be one of the first to hear it all the way through. Stream it or Buy it from these folks: Lost and Lonesome (Australia), Meritorio (Spain), Emotional Response (US), and Royal Mint (Finland). For an added bonus…you can click after the jump and read my thoughts on each track!
One of our favorite labels at the moment, among the many is Forged Artifacts; they just announced that they’ll be jumping back into the vinyl game by reissuing Stunner by Scrunchies…an album they tossed out on cassette last year. It’s a collection of 9 powerful pop rockers, some toying with pop sensibility while others have a touch more abrasiveness driving the record. I know that “Stunner” is the obvious hit, but I’ve always been partial to “Double Vision;” I just love that bass line opening things up. Take a listen to the whole of the album, then grab a copy from FA right away!
We’ve been operating the label here now for half a dozen years, and each year, I’m forever grateful to the bands that let me put myself behind their music. And for years, I’ve fawned over She Sir, one of Austin’s most underrated acts; I bugged them enough until they finally agreed to let me release their new Ways a Season EP. You can grab a copy of the limited orange vinyl HERE, but I also wanted you to be able to stream the EP with a little bit of commentary by yours truly. There are not enough words to say how proud I am of the label and this release, so please go down and listen to everything below.
Austin folks can catch the band at End of an Ear on March 31st for a free in-store performance.
We love putting out really amazing albums, really amazing ones. Just this week we’ve got the Hermits self-titled album dropping on a beautiful green cassette! It’s filled with these scuzzy pop songs that are bound to get stuck in your head from the minute you press play. You don’t believe me? Listen to “Ruby Red Summer,” a song so good it will ruin the rest of your day…as you’ll likely listen to nothing else. The band celebrate the release of the new LP this Thursday over at Cheer Up Charlies with The Oysters, Nevil and Being Dead. But, if you’re not in Austin, then by all means, stream the LP below…and head HERE to grab it from ATH Records. If you miss the album release, they’ll also be part of our ATH vs SOTO party on Sunday, March 10th at Hotel Vegas.
Austin’s Flesh Lights have been rocking this city almost as long as we’ve been running this blog; I’ve loved listening to the band every step of the way. When they reached out to see if we could help with the release of their new album; I jumped at the chance to be part of their history. Never See Snow is a straight forward rock album, filled with hooks and huge riffs ready to tear through your stereo. But enough of my fanaticism. Just stream the LP below, and if you’re interested in one of their rad blue Cassettes, grab that HERE. The group have a release show on March 1st over at FSG with Dregs and Werewolf.
Just a week or two ago, The Boys with the Perpetual Nervousness teased their debut LP with “Close the Doors;” I wrote about the churning pop magnificence. Now, Dead Calm isn’t officially out until March 1st, but Pretty Olivia Records is already streaming the record in its entirety. If you missed the crystalline guitars of the Lucksmiths, with the occasional power-pop pep, then this is where you belong today. I’ve been playing “Southern Words” on repeat for some time today, and also happy to see that “Nervous Man” found a home on the LP. Dammit, I’m going to go down into the worm hole that is this entire album; join me, won’t you!
Sometimes you’ve got to slide into the week, and I can’t really think of a way to do that better than encouraging you to listen to that Lens Mozer album that just dropped Friday. The album definitely has some upbeat vibes, though I love how they’re sort of subdued behind this haziness, like in “Sometimes.” You’ll also find these delightful slow burners such as “Such a Drag,” which really reminds me a lot of Papercuts, crafting this haunting pop vibe. Don’t Stop feels like a collection of really huge bedroom pop sounds, as if they were knowingly written to reach out into the galaxy to make everyone’s lives better.
We started off this year focusing on small labels and their side hustles, and one such label was Citrus City, so I wanted to revisit the label and their most recent release, Heater by True Blossom. It’s a pop album from start to finish, but one that avoids stereotypical genres. There’s the slinky synth pop of “Me and U,” moving right towards the melancholia of “Grave Robbers,” and trucking forward to the disco-flavored “Heater.” It’s a wondrous adventure from start to finish, and a must listen for those willing to flex their pop muscles. It’s available right now fro Citrus City, but only a few physical copies remain, so you better hurry!
We were really happy that Indigo Bunting jumped on the Austin music scene, rising from the ashes of our faves Tiger Waves. Over the weekend, they quietly dropped their first L,P Clip Show, and boy are you in for a surprise. Opening track “Circus Circus” sounds just like the title, a collage of pop moments layered atop each other in an organized fashion. The whole album has the group at their most playful, and yet the most contemplative; take a listen to “Celia” for a perfect example on that note. You also won’t want to miss the standout tune, “Solitaire,” which might be one of my favorite tracks to come out of Austin this year! It sounds like Animal Collective just hung out with the Flaming Lips getting weird while listening to Coma Cinema…so you know I think it’s a win.