Having just written about Mikey Collins yesterday, it seems only fitting that I turn my attention to another act on Fika Recordings, The Smittens. Having been fairly quiet for a couple of years, they return with a new single (and a new album). Immediately noticeable are the Stephin Merritt-esque vocals through each of the various verses, but be forewarned, there’s a little something special beneath the surface. For instance, take the change in the chorus, accompanied by several backing vocal tracks and a slight change in the tempo. It’s clear after several repeat listens that the group are intent upon layering their brand of pop music, and we’re all going to be better for it. Look for their new City Rock Dove LP to drop in August.
I’ve made no apologies in my undying love for the now defunct Allo’ Darlin. Recently we were alerted to a new project that’s spun out of the ashes of said band; it’s the project of drummer Mikey Collins. As one’s likely to suspect, this is definitely a pop song from start to finish; there are some added flourishes you might not have found on an AD track though. Personally, I really like the vocal delivery of Collins here; it lives somewhere in the realm between Norman Blake and Matthew Caws…both voices I adore. Plus, it never hurts to have a natural bounce provided by the rhythm section. His debut solo LP is titled Hoick and it drops on August 17th via Fika Recordings.
Fresh off a new Jessica’s Brother tune, Fika Recordings are right back at it with a tune from Stanley Brinks. He seems to always be writing, having released an album with Freshcard title Midnight Tequila late last year. This track offers newcomers the best glimpse of what Brinks is all about; his songs have this innate joy that’s akin to someone like Jeffrey Lewis. Sometimes, the songs seem humorous, but the subject matter always wraps up on the endearing side of things. You’ll be able to enjoy yourself throughout this listen, and I assume throughout the entirety of the new LP, Peanuts; it’s going to be released by Fika on May 11th.
Having previously written about Jessica’s Brother and the band’s first single, it seems vital to share with you their second foray into the single realm. This number feels like great things are on the horizon; the track combines elements of folk with clever wordplay, all aided by the perfect accompaniment. The violin that appears throughout almost gives the song a ghostly quality to the track, setting the tone for the band’s dark folk. No one’s crafting this brand of folk at the moment, so I’ll gladly take something outside the rest. Expect a full length LP to drop later this Summer via the band’s label, Fika Recordings.
Feel like its been a slow start to 2018 for indiepop fans, but luckily it looks as if Math and Physics Club are ready to give us a cure. Today, the band shared 3 songs, 2 which we haven’t heard yet to tease their latest effort, Lived Here Before; its being released by Matinee in the US and Fika in Europe. The first thing I notice about the two new songs is that they carry a softer tone, almost akin to early Death Cab stuff. I think of the three songs we’ve gotten to hear, “Dear Madeline” is definitely the one keeping my attention this morning. I hear its cold out there, so hopefully this dosage of pop will keep you warm until its release on January 26th.
Jessica’s Brother is a recently formed act, featuring Jonny Helm of The Wave Pictures; they’ve just released their first single, recorded by none other than Darren Hayman. The song seems to draw inspiration from a style akin to simple folk troubadours, but it’s the added instrumentation that elevates the number; I’m personally taking a liking to the light string arrangements haunting the backdrop. This song was released by the band’s label, Fika Recordings, who always have reliable hits; there’s promise of a full-length later in 2018 coming your way.
After teasing me all day yesterday with hints of new music, I woke up to this glorious new single from Math and Physics Club. You’ve likely seen the band hit these pages before, and they’ve only continued to impress as more time passes. Here, it only takes a few mere moments before the band bound off with energy that captivates. As the band maneuvers back and forth between casual and energetic, they begin to remind of early Death Cab or Nada Surf. The layered details from backing vocals to distant guitar work display a great deal of confidence…letting the band stake their claim to the finest pop purveyor of the day. They’ll be releasing Lived Here Before via Fika/Matinee on January 26th.
I’m going out on a really short limb here, and I’m going to say that the duet album from The Hayman Kupa Band is going to spend a lot of time on my record player for the duration of this year. The two have some of the more distinctive voices this side of indiepop, and they trade such voices back and forth, until eventually they unite in unison. It’s a spectacular bit, and its quite possibly some of the purest pop I’ve heard in 2017. Pretty sure this might be my favorite musical thing going on at the moment, so I can’t wait for the LP to drop via Fika Recordings on July 21st.
Two distinctive voices wrapping around each other isn’t always a success, unless its done by The Hayman Kupa Band. Darren and Emma tend to trade back verses on this new single, with a huge chorus really executing their united powers. Musically, you’re running through the fields on a sunny day, stopping from time to time to revel in the company of a great friend. Chugging chords help push the band’s pop objective with little percussive bits sneaking into the party from behind. Thanks to Fika Recordings we’ll all be able to relish the joys of life when they release the band’s LP on July 21st.
Those of you still mourning the loss of Allo Darlin can rejoice in the fact that Bill Botting is still out there writing great tracks. Now, that being said, don’t lost in the idea that he was an indiepop star, as his new music has a slightly different taste. He’s writing songs rooted in pop traditions, though he’s bringing in a bit of country to his craft; he sort of sounds like he was listening to a lot of Old 97s in this tune. There’s a new album coming from Bill Botting and the Two Drink Minimums titled Better Friends; it’s being released on March 10th via Fika Recordings.