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.
Unlikely Friends are a pop group; they first came to my attention because of Charles Bert’s participation (he also plays in Math and Physics Club…D Crane from BOAT is the other core member). Today we’re excited to bring you this fresh single from the group’s forthcoming LP, Crooked Numbers. It opens with this distorted guitar, moving into a slight static vocal before pulling back the effects to reveal the song’s pop underbelly. You’re intoxicated, sure, but you’re not fully hooked until the falling melodies of the chorus are dropped on you; it’s like a sugar cube for pop aficionados. You’ll come back time and time again, and as you do, you’ll hear more vocal melodies surfing through the song, taking you on one hell of a pop rollercoaster. Crooked Numbers will be released on January 12th via Swoon Records.
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.
A lot of friends are making podcasts, playlist and whatnots, so I figured I should go the imitator route. Wanted to start off this week with a little indiepop for you all…so I made a podcast of hits, most of which come from 2017…and a few oldies added in for fun. Enjoy some upbeat numbers today…there’s a tracklist after the jump!
I came across the band while looking into the current status of Math and Physics Club (one of my faves). Unlikely Friends is a band made up of its members, as well as those of BOAT, specializing in hook-laden indie rock. There’s a bit more distortion than one would expect, but you can still hear the jangle ring of the guitars, as well as the warm tones of the vocal delivery…so I’m hooked. Solid Gold Cowboys, the band’s new album, will be out this week courtesy of Jigsaw Records.
Making our year-end list of Top Albums is never something we take lightly. We realize that it’s rather arbitrary in the grand scheme of things, but we realize that our role is to at least toss out our opinion, however meaningless it may be. In the long run, we had to take the tastes of several people, and whittle it into a list of 50 great albums that we think are vital to your listening experience. We know it’s a matter of personal tastes, but the records below are reflective of our tastes and our site, so don’t get mad, they’re just opinions. But, feel free to tell us where we went wrong, or what we might have missed. If you click on the album titles, you can also read our full reviews of each album, save the ones that we didn’t get to in time. Sorry we don’t like Kanye.
50 – Wampire – Curiosity
49 – Dot Dash – Half Remembered Dream
48 – Mantles – Long Enough to Leave
47 – The Appleseed Cast – Illumination Ritual
46 – Bad Sports – Bras
45 – Part Time – PDA
44 – Dick Diver – Calendar Days
43 – Math and Physics Club – Our Hearts Beat Loud
42 – Veronica Falls – Waiting for Something to Happen
41 – Eat Skull – III
40 – The Lonely Wild – The Sun as It Comes
39 – The Love Language – Ruby Red
38 – Gun Outfit – Hard Coming Down
37 – Cate Le Bon – Mug Museum
36 – Daughn Gibson – Me Moan
35 – Andre Obin – The Arsonist
34 – Arp – More
33 – Gap Dream – Shine Your Light
32 – The Black Watch – The End of When
31 – Ty Segall – Sleeper
30 – The Stevens – A History of Hygeine
29 – Of Montreal – Lousy with Sylvianbriar
28 – Mirror Travel – Mexico
27 – Local Natives – Hummingbird
26 – Girls Names – The New Life
25 – GRMLN – Empire
24 – Small Black – Limits of Desire
23 – Audacity – Butter Knife
22 – Mikal Cronin – MCII
21 – Chelsea Wolfe – Pain is Beauty
20 – Foals – Holy Fire
19 – Radical Face – Family Tree: The Branches
18 – Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse
17 – Terry Malts – Nobody Realizes This is Nowhere
16 – Shout Out Louds – Optica
15 – Kurt Vile – Waking on a Pretty Daze
14 – Braids – Flourish//Perish
13 – Crystal Antlers – Nothing is Real
12 – Typhoon – White Lighter
11 – Ski Lodge – Big Heart
Admittedly, this album makes nods to folk troubadours of Christmas’ past, but what grabbed me from the moment I heard this record was the sincerity in what’s being created. In leaving us with a stripped down listen of folk tunes and incredible poetry, we’re asked to look into the history of American songwriting tradition; it’s been awhile since it was executed so well.
9 – The Growlers – Hung at Heart
I’d put this album on any list for one song alone, “Someday.” But, it just so happens that the rest of the album maintains the sensation that’s established on the opening track. I’ve heard it referenced as a surf-psych opus, but what’s been assured in my mine is what an incredible listen we’re all be treating to when we put Hung at Heart on our record players.
Hether Fortune seems to scare people. Her work is in your face, never making an excuse for who she is or what she believes. That attitude carries on into her music, allowing listeners to experience a musical world void of any pretense. The songs on this album are angular, dark and abrasive; the vocals have Hether dominating the scene of modern lady rock warriors. If you don’t dig it, she doesn’t care, but I do because this record rules.
While many of the songs on this effort leaked out before under various EPs, the whole masterpiece exists in the way it was tied together as a complete work. It’s operatic and grand at every corner, but it’s also undeniably a pop record. The emphasis might revolve around the more artful spectrum of pop music, but this is an album you can play for everyone in your family, and they’ll all find themselves swept up in the wonderment of Privilege.
What else really needs to be said about The National. They consistently make great albums that are lauded then often overlooked, but we didn’t want to do that to one of our favorite acts. I mean, if they played 8 shows in 8 days, we’d be at every one, and the DJ set after party. Their accolades and recognition are warranted, and it’s especially clear on this, their latest release.
When listening to Pass the Ringo, I thought of one thing: this is the sort of record that makes a small label, like Loglady Records, a household name. It’s spun around garage rock and psych rock structures, whilst still maintaining an accessibility that few people working in that genre achieve. Some albums can play in the background of your house, and might be happy to do so, but Legs created something that made me stop and listen at every turn; I’m thankful for that.
Someone For You came our way in January. On my record player, it hasn’t left since. This is one of the most rewarding power-pop records I’ve gotten my hands on, and trust me, I’ve gotten my hands on a lot of great records. Each song is filled with innate hooks and garage rock grit, encouraging you to tap your toes for the entirety of the record. You’d think after a full year our interest would have waned, but with time we’ve only grown to appreciate the record even more.
At the moment, there’s not too many people releasing music that’s the quality of Mathew Cothran and Coma Cinema. There are elements of the bizarre, similar to the work of early Elf Power, yet there’s this intimacy that artists like Eliott Smith were able to create with their listeners. You wrap that up and put it in a package of pop sensibility, and you have an album that can’t be ignored.
In today’s musical climate, we buy into the fact that artists have to be doing something strange, or something that’s vastly different from their peers. But, in the grand scheme of things, we often forget what it’s like to take enjoyment out of the music. This album was one of the many reminders that music, when it’s good, can be quite special. Every song here is a single, and worth your time; it’s the best thing Laz has done, and I feel like he’s just really getting started.
This album is about Devon Welsh. From the first instant I heard his voice, it took hold of me. Throughout the year, Impersonator, consistently played on my radio. His voice was mesmerizing, captivating audiences on several occasions in Austin, convincing us to be as quiet as a mouse, so as to hear every note. The unique quality of the album will reward listeners for years to follow. It made us believe in great music again.
Man, seems like almost five months since I’ve written about Math and Physics Club, and that’s precisely the perfect time to reintroduce you to one of the greatest indiepop acts bouncing around at the moment. The band is readying the release of Our Hearts Beat Out Loud, and this is their second single off the album. It’s got a steady bounce from the get-go, and the casually soft delivery of the vocals are precisely what we’ve come to expect from the band. I’m digging the way the guitar has a tendency to move back and forth between the bass and the drums, seemingly snaking its way for maximum pop effect. You can grab the CD from Matinee Recordings…it’s a must have for the end of the year.
I’ve already brought you one great tune from Matinee Recordings this week, and as promised, the label has more great music to share with you all. The latest song comes via Math and Physics Club; it’s easiest one of the catchiest tracks the band has composed to date. The song opens with some drum work accompanied by hand-claps, just before the rest of the act joins in with infectious guitar lines. Personally, aside from the clapping, I’m really finding myself attached to the lyrical delivery on this tune. You’ll be wise to order the Long Drag 7″ straight from Matinee Recordings, and browse while you’re there…you’ll find tons of hits to order from one of our favorite labels.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/01-Long-Drag.mp3]
In my opinion, there’s only one festival that would be seriously worth my time this summer, and that’s the Indietracks Festival in Derbyshire this July. Unfortunately, I can’t quite afford the trip, but I can enjoy this great compilation you can grab too put out by Make Do and Mend Records. It’s like the best sampler ever, with 40 jams, some exclusive, from some of the best bands around, including those I’ve admired on there here pages, like Milky Wimpshake, Crystal Stilts, and Math & Physics Club. If you can’t go, head over HERE, and check out the sampler. Don’t forget to donate, as it goes to a good cause! Seriously, it’s 40 incredible pop songs, including the one below![audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/03-Trying-To-Say-I-Love-You.mp3]
Download: Math & Physics Club – Trying To Say I Love You [MP3]
You know how much we love Matinee Recordings, one of the best, if not the best, small labels around right now. They’re releasing a special gift for their fans, The Matinee Holiday Soiree EP, and its filled with exclusive holiday tracks from five of the bands on their roster, including my personal favorite Math and Physics Club. You also get to hear this new Strawberry Whiplash track, which despite having a holiday theme, doesn’t sound too far off from the splendid pop this label has been churning out for some time. You can preview it Here, then head over the the Matinee site to get your hands on your very own copy. This is the perfect gift for your pop loving friends; its reasonably priced, and filled with good tunes.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/straw03.mp3]
Download: Strawberry Whiplash – Santa Needs a Holiday [MP3]