It’s been almost five years since we’ve heard anything new coming from Sweden’s the Electric Pop Group, but dammit if they aren’t aiming to wrap up our year with some delicious indiepop. It’s the classic sort, at least on this song, with jangling guitars pushing the melodies to the max, then kicking out some warmth in the vocal aspect. This song is from the group’s new record, Integration, which will see a release early next year courtesy of the ever-reliable Matinee Recordings.
It’s always nice to get a little energy boost of delightful happiness through the music you listen to, which is why you should sit back and start your day off with this little sampler from the new album from The Popguns. Pop Fiction has been in the works for the last year or so, with the band releasing a few singles from their label, Matinee Recordings, but now we get to hear a little bit more from the band. There’s melodies, hooks and that classic indiepop sound that makes guys and girls swoon. The album hits stores on December 2nd, but you can pick it up now if you’d like to get your hands on it early. Seems like the best gift for your friends before the holidays.
It seems like it’s been far too long since our friends at Matinee Recordings have unleashed something new on the masses, but they’re now ready with the much anticipated return of The Popguns. The Brighton act had largely been quiet until the last few years, tweaking their line-up a tad, and writing their first new material in 18 years. This single below is the feature on the group’s Lovejunky EP; the shimmering guitar work has this attraction you can’t deny and Wendy’s voice has this matured innocence to it that’s inescapable. You’ll be able to get your hands on one of the rare cherry red 7″, numbered by hand, but you better act quick because songs like this get a lot of love.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/01-Lovejunky.mp3]
Download: The Popguns – Lovejunky [MP3]
The Austin Town Hall posse has been pretty absorbed in this World Cup. So far we’ve watched every match (even Nigeria vs Iran, sadly), but we also love a good dosage of indiepop, or at least I do. Which is perfect, because the Popguns (UK jangle pop greats) have offered up this nice bit of a World Cup treat, which you can download below. It’s a nice tribute to one of the greatest sporting events in the world. Also, they’ve got a brand new Lovejunky 7″ coming out soon via Matinee Recordings, so I tossed that in so you’ll plan ahead.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Red-White-and-Blue.mp3]
Download: The Popguns – Red White and Blue [MP3]
The welcome return of Matinee Recordings in 2014 comes with the announcement that has me pretty excited over here; the label will be releasing a full-length album from The Steinbecks…the band that features the Meadows brothers of Sugargliders fame. Kick to Kick with The Steinbecks is the name of the album, filled with jangling goodness that is likely to make any indiepop fan swoon. There’s a solid little bit of bounce on the track below, while the vocals seem to take on the notion of longing for personal change, adding a serious touch to an otherwise peppy song. You’ll be able to get the record on April 22nd everywhere, but it’s available exclusively from the label HERE.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/08-Trying-To-Be-Someone.mp3]
Reading over these pages I’ve written about Northern Portrait too many times to count, and as long as music keeps coming my way, I’ll keep that up. I was really excited over the weekend when Matinee Recordings announced they’d be putting together a compilation album of the band’s sold out Eps, singles, and rarities; it’s titled Ta!. A lot of these I wasn’t able to get my hands on, so I’m happy that I’ll have some way to hold onto such great tunes. Fortunately for you, this might be your introduction to the band, which will make you revisit everything the band has accomplished to date.
Some records come into your life without fanfare or expectations; they exist simply as a statement by an artist. Whether or not the band, Bubblegum Lemonade in this case, has received acclaim or accolades isn’t important, but what matters is the strength of said statement. In the case of Some Like It Pop, I don’t care what anyone has to say, this album is brilliant from start to finish.
“This is the New Normal” winds its way carefully into the opening moments, with a bit of strings and a tinkering bit of bells. Before you know it, you’re swept away in this gorgeous sensation of warm pop. The melody stands out instantly, but the mood of the song is greatly affecting; Laz adds a nice “ba ba ba baaa” to the mix to really emphasize a musician at the top of his game. And hits just keep coming. “It’s Got to Be Summer” again opens with a bit of playful tinkering, but at the 18th second of the track, you won’t find a musical sensation more compelling. What’s striking to me about Some Like It Pop is the attention to detail at every turn. Where the group went for straight indiepop on their last outing, this one is filled with touches and brushstrokes of genius songwriting that ultimately reward the listener, like when this tune trails off in its closing moments.
And things don’t always go as one would expect from Bubblegum Lemonade. On “Don’t Hurry Baby,” there’s a lush arrangement, leaving you with this dreamy balladry that will leave a lasting impression. There’s even a chugging guitar riff beneath the mix that adds a bit of rock n’ roll propulsion to the affair. And it moves into the album’s standout, “Dead Poets Make Me Smile.” The title of the song alone wins, but dammit if the song doesn’t win on every single level, rolling along with the back beat of the drums and the jangling guitar. Other songs like “First Rule of Book Club” have this wry sense of humor, but they also seem to be timeless pieces of music; it’s not draped in nostalgia or boasting some new direction, it’s simply perfect.
The closing statement from Some Like It Pop, “Mr Dreaming’s Bland House,” is the album’s longest tune, and also a final statement that serves as the perfect summation for the record. Melodies swirl throughout. Drums are spot on with their emphatic punch, though never over-intrusive. And the vocals have this perfect wash of fuzzy coating, including a nice dose of backing vocals. It all fits together so well, that you almost immediately start the record over. It’s understated in the perfect way, making the entirety so much more endearing. You’re not going to find a better pop album out there; they just don’t exist, so follow my lead to the blissful land left to us all by Bubblegum Lemonade.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/01-Have-You-Seen-Faith.mp3]
Download: Bubblegum Lemonade – Have You Seen Faith [MP3]
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.
Christmas has come early! And so has the new Bubblegum Lemonade record! The band has been hard at work on their next LP, and while we expected it at some point this year or earlier next, news came today that their new LP was already in from the plants, so why not share the great tune with you all? Laz has been working effortlessly, and each new release sees his music grow; it’s great to see a musician progress so wonderfully. If you’re not digging the guitar work here, then you’re probably not an indiepop fan. And that’s okay, but you should really spend just a short bit of time with this tune. Like all tunes from the act, you’ll find it hard to ignore the splendor of a songwriter at the top of his craft. Some Like it Pop will be available next week from Matinee Recordings.
If you read the pages of this site from time to time, you’ve surely come across my adoration for Matinee Recordings and all the work the small label has been able to release. From the Lucksmiths to Bubblegum Lemonade…and so many more, they’ve continued to provide indiepop fans with a growing catalog of hit after hit after hit. The label celebrates their 15th Year this month by releasing A Sunday Matinee CD, which includes rare songs, unreleased tracks and covers (including Lucksmiths covering Jonathan Richman). It’s a great accomplishment to run a label successfully for so long, so join me in celebrating the label (and ordering the CD). You can stream the entire thing below.