I’ve really enjoyed the early listens from We Show Up on Radar; they’ve been vibrant and clever, but this new track gives us a slightly different viewpoint of the artist. This track is all about the storytelling, all about the map being made in hopes that Erin will come home. The arrangements behind the voice, from the horns to the gently strummed guitars adds this forlorn emotional vibe…that is until the synth lines in the final thirty seconds, giving us a bit of upbeat promise as the song fades to black. Zanzibar Whip Coral, the album on which this song appears, drops on March 22nd via Fika Recordings.
The last time we heard from Mammoth Penguins was back in 2017 when they were bringing in their friends to help complete their concept album, John Doe. Today we have the band narrowed back down to a three piece, fronted by Emma Kupa, with a new LP on the way via Fika Recordings. It all kicks off with fuzzy guitar riffs opening the scene for Emma to jump in with her voice; her lyrical content is one of infatuation/love and a willingness to “fuck it all, fuck it all” in the name of love. But, what’s interesting to me, is the way the song winds down, ever so slightly for a musical interlude to flex musicianship, just before bouncing back into the swing of things emphatically. There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win will be out April 26th.
I’m really stuck on We Show Up On Radar, especially as the singles from the forthcoming Zanzibar Whip Coral continue to roll out. There are times when I hear bits of Flaming Lips in what Andy Wright is doing; it sounds like he’s throwing every sound into the mix, yet still capturing pop sensibility. Other times, the song gets more simple, just Wright’s voice and minimal instrumentation; even simpler it still some of the most uplifting pop I’ve heard going down this week. The entire album will finally be released on March 22nd via Fika Recordings, bringing us another great pop opus.
I seem to be continuously charmed by the Smittens, and here we are again with another brilliant pop song to adore. It’s got a steady cadence, filled in with wonderful harmonies between various members of the group; the group stretch out the song in the latter half, allowing for a more thought provoking element to the tune. That makes sense, as Dana says he penned the number as ‘a coming out/transition anthem,’ encouraging us to all ‘find the spaces in which we belong.’ City Rock Dove will be out via Fika Recordings on August 3rd.
We’ve already written about the forthcoming Mikey Collins LP, but I’m here to encourage you to look into this new single. It opens with light little keyboard dance, with a teasing bass line just underneath…soon the cymbals and snare get a work out as Collins enters the picture. All this is really to set up the listener for the sublime chorus, where Mikey’s joined by a female counterpart; it’s not far off from the hook-laden work Mikey pulled off behind the kit in Allo Darlin. I like how he stretches himself just a bit before the 3 minute mark, elongating the syllables to maximize melody. You can grab his new solo LP Hoick right now from Fika Recordings.
Having written about the Smittens recently, I figured I should offer you another track from their forthcoming release to entice you further. The band takes on the definition of love in the lyrics, a concept that’s vital to any indiepop release, or so it might seem. If you’re looking for your own definition for the word, then listen closely. Musically, the song is pretty light and airy; I do particularly like the final message that “love is an action word/its a verb.” Also, the contrast between Missy and Max in regards to their vocal tones is pretty special. Look for the group’s City Rock Dove to drop on August 3rd via the esteemed Fika Recordings.
Over the last few years, Stanley Brinks and Freshcard have been one of my favorite duos. They craft a blend of playful indiepop and folk that fans of either genre will find endearing; they even manage to capture that playful air in their performance in the video for this single. Musically, the song’s pretty simple, with the selling point being the juxtaposition of Brinks’ and Freshcard’s voices set over a steady percussive beat and gentle guitar strum. The two will release their new collection of songs, Midnight Tequila, will be released on June 29th via Fika Recordings.
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.