For the 8 or so people who read this blog on the regular, you’ll likely be aware of my affection for all things Oceanic, primarily New Zealand and Australia. So, with year end lists in mind, I thought I’d offer up my personal takes on the best tunes to come out of the area in 2017. There’s no particular order, just my sixteen favorites of the year.
There’s even a fun little playlist at the bottom for you to enjoy!
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.
We’ve previously discussed how excited we are for Last Leaves debut full length; I’m hoping it fills the void the Locksmiths left when they called it a day on that project. Better news, especially for vinyl heads is that the band’s labels, Matinee/Lost and Lonesome are releasing a very limited 7″ with the below gem being the star. The front end of this song has a jangling shuffle to it, but as the track progresses, it takes on a melodic groove that rides to the end. This is going to be a super limited release, so just be forewarned that it’s going to go real quick!
Sometimes you can’t explain the hit cycle and why some of the more deserving bands don’t end up on the hype machine. For me, I’m personally putting some hype onto Last Leaves (a predominantly Lucksmiths super group). They’ve just released this stand alone single via Matinee Recordings, adding to the earlier hit from Matinee Idols Comp; it’s a fuzzy bit of beautiful guitar pop. Vocals have this gentleness, calm and warm, and layers of guitars work on top of each other, only barely fighting against another to create enough tension to seduce listeners. This song will featured on the group’s Other Towns Than Ours, which is slated to arrive early this fall. You can also see a video accompanying this new tune right HERE.
This Friday, indiepop fans will surely delight in the release of Matinee Idols, a compilation from Matinee Recordings, celebrating 20 years of incredibly hard work (and a huge catalog of hits). The label recently uploaded the entire listen to their soundcloud before its release Friday, June 23rd. One great reason to fall in love is the new signings to the label appearing: Last Leaves, The Royal Landscaping Society and Tinsel Heart. Plus, you’ll find brand new songs from label favorites like Math and Physics Club and The Electric Pop Group. Sit back and revel in the joy of pop music; grab a copy from Matinee!
A few weeks back we brought you the latest from legendary indiepoppers The Popguns, and why not share another ditty with you today. Listening myself, I’m not sure there are many acts out there writing pop music this good, or even in this manner anymore. It’s got a natural energy that moves the song forward, but the way the vocals take on the melodies provides the perfect balance…and builds the release pop fans all long for! They’ve titled the next release Sugar Kisses, which is fitting considering the band’s propensity for crafting ear candy. Look for the new release from our favorites Matinee Recordings this Friday.
Yes! Today you indipoppers will rejoice in the 20th Anniversary of Matinee Recordings…and with that, they’re also bringing you a brand new compilation…including some new tunes from our favorites like The Electric Pop Group. Plus, the comp also features a gem of a tune from Last Leaves, the new group formed by ex-Lucksmiths Marty Donald. Swinging guitar licks, steady beats and soaring harmonies are sure to abound when the Matinee Idols comp is released into the world on June 23rd. I’d write about the songs, but the label has tossed up a sample (including the two tracks I just mentioned), so stream and adore.
I was beginning to worry that one of our favorite purveyors of indiepop had gone too dormant, but as luck would have it, looks like Matinee Recordings have gotten their hands on another new album from the Popguns. The band has been going at it for thirty years, yet Wendy Morgan still has the pipes to make all those indiepop fans swoon; her performance here is definitely the star of the show. She turns melodies atop the band’s sharp jangles and steady beats, washing over you with emotion tugging notes. Look for Sugar Kisses, the new record, on June 14th.
Just when things looked bleak, indiepop came in to save my day…and of course, it had to come from Matinee Recordings. They’ve just announced a new album from The Perfect English Weather, the duo made up of Simon and Wendy Pickles from The Popguns. We’ve got two tracks from the band’s Isobar Blues, telling two different sides of the band’s pop adoration. The first offering is a more traditional upbeat number, filled with harmonies and brightly ringing guitar lines. On the latter tune you get to hear the softer underbelly of the group’s sound…now with even more soulful vocals! You can grab the new release on November 25th.
How are you feeling about yourself today? Concerned with the impending doom of the USA election? Well, Laz and Bubblegum Lemonade want to make you feel better, they want to make your world better…and in order to do that they’re dropping this delightful new indiepop gem. You’ll get a steady little bounce, Laz’s warm vocals and infectious melody that keeps you spinning the song again and again. I’m worried about the future, but for three short minutes (and the 27 minutes where I played it on repeat) I was able to forget, lost in song. You’ll hear this tune on The Great Leap Backward, the newest release from the band…out this month via Matinee Recordings.