In less than two weeks, Lunchbox will be dropping After School Special, their enchanting new LP. But, in listening to this brand new single, I think the world over is going to have some strong feelings to the track’s thematic message; it’s set “against the backdrop of the ever-changing Oakland cityscape,” with a friendly ghost frolicking about town to emphasize that all the things we love and hold dear, “nothing can ever stay the same.” Of course, two decades of pop from Tim and Donna definitely feel familiar, giving off a sense of comfort amidst the harrowing theme. I love how the horns sort of burst through those jangling guitar stabs and push the pop envelope just a bit more. There’s no such thing as too much pop! After School Special will be out on October 30th via Slumberland Records/Lost Sound Tapes.
It’s been a gift that continues to give me things I love, with Slumberland’s SLR30 Series wrapping up with its final singles on December 4th! It looks as if we’re going out with a bang, with one 7″ from UK’s Flowers and the other a new 7″ from one of my personal favorites, Neutrals! We’re treated to the A-Sides for both singles, and man, pretty sure we all win with these being added to the fold. The Flowers track is more powerful than I remember the band from some of their earlier releases, though it still hones in on the band’s penchant for melodic pop. Neutrals on the other hand do what they do best, buzzing through 2 minutes with infectious power pop punk; I think this might be the best recording from the band, with Allan’s voice spitting the lines out with this incredible sharpness. If you didn’t get the subscribe to the SLR30 Series, don’t worry, you can grab your own copy from Slumberland Records shop!
We’re getting to the home-stretch of 2020, and dammit if it hasn’t been a slog. Luckily, there some really shining moments hanging on the horizon, like A Strange Dream, the latest LP from Smokescreens. David Kilgour of The Clean produced the record, so its gotten a lot of buzz, but the album is so much more than that. On this single, the band sort of bounces back and forth with this sort of hard jangle sound, spun around these psychedelic gusts of melodic wind that breeze through the verses. I was already on board, but the euphoric choral moment around the 1:36 minute just warmed my heart enough to make it through a Texas winter. A Strange Dream will be released by Slumberland Records on October 30.
Let’s face it. The world is shit. Absolute. But, instead of giving up hope and or going through every day with that chip on my shoulder, I’ve decided its best if I just find these little breadcrumbs to a better life. Today, I share one of those with you in this new Lunchbox single. Blasting horns set me off, immediately. Maybe it was my affinity for 3rd wave ska, or something about a good brass section that just livens your day, but mix that in with those scuffling indiepop guitar sounds and Donna’s melodic performance, and I’m following this band to a better day. After School Special will definitely be a silver lining to 2020; it drops on October 30th via Slumberland Records.
I’ll be the first to admit, this new Smokescreens LP might be the gift I most needed this year, yet didn’t actually know it was on its way. Sure, throw in David Kilgour (the Clean) on production duties and you’ve already got my attention, but I’m just enamored with this latest single. Immediately, the song just builds on textures, guitar strum and a thin beat work in unison with a tinkering bit of keys, awaiting the vocals; that voice comes in a bit of a sort of devil-may-care, matter-of-fact manner, perfectly fitting the song’s vibe. All that said, I wasn’t head over heels until the swelling of backing vocals that began to brim just before the 1 minute mark; it’s a sublime pop moment that stuck with me when the song came to a close. A Strange Dream is out via Slumberland Records on October 30th.
The last time I covered Lunchbox was over five years ago with their Smash Hits EP for Jigsaw Records, but, with a new LP on the horizon, it’s high-time we return to an ATH favorite. It doesn’t take long for the chairs to kick in here either, offering up that swirling jangle and steady drum bop from the get-go. Donna gets the front of the vocal mix, but Tim’s support adds a nice textural layer to the melody; it’s what makes us pop fans wilt and fall to our knees in praise. We get an added bonus with some horns from Gary Olson (who dropped a fine LP on his own earlier this year). It should come as no surprise then that this After School Special is coming your way on October 30th via Slumberland Records.
Los Angeles’ outfit Smokescreens are definitely a group that we can get behind, especially after you consider how much I enjoyed Used to Yesterday. So, today, we get double the good news (and really triple)…first, the band have a new album coming out on Slumberland Records and second we have that new single below! But, the icing on the cake, aside from the excellent new music, is that it was produced by David Kilgour of the Clean; he also designed the album art work. There’s definitely a very Go-Betweens nod, particularly in the way the song opens with that guitar line. I love how the vocals sort of wash over you, much like the waves of the ocean repeatedly crashing upon you as the sun beats down upon your skin; its joyous and warm. We’ll keep you posted as the A Strange Dream‘s release date draws near.
Hopefully the Slumberland Records compilation of the Wolfhounds‘s John Peel Sessions reminded those of us out there about the talent from one of the original C86 acts. They’ve been releasing new music here and there, and now we’ve got news that they’ll be releasing Electric Music later this year. This song is chock-full of swirling guitars and bounding rhythms; they fit perfectly into the visual presentation from David Janes. Callahan’s voice has this steadying vibe throughout, even when he stretches it through the chorus, balanced by the backing vocals. I love the guitar ringing out around the 3 minute mark as the tune pushes towards it brooding close. The new LP will be out on July 3rd via A Turntable Friend Records.
Obviously, today is all about giving a dollar or two towards your favorite artists and labels, and trust us, that’s what we should be doing all year long. But, let’s not forget the music world still must go on too…and there’s a few releases today I wanted to turn your direction towards…maybe say a few words with some links for buying and what not. Check the jump and pick up some stuffs.
First, Devon Williams drops A Tear in the Fabric today after a six year hiatus; it’s a great collection of pop songwriting that’s unrivaled by most; you can stream it HERE, or buy it from the revered Slumberland Records. But, right now we’re here to share the video from one of the album’s standouts (they’re all standouts in my ear), “Borderline.” For many, this will be one of the easily accessible tunes, akin to Wild Nothing; it’s drenched in this wash of pulsing synth work and sharp guitar riffs, with Williams’ voice dancing around the track in unison with the pounding drums. Mike Cullen’s video matches that mood with these bright visual images, fading in and out of your screen; it’s like a kaleidoscope of pop sketches…kind of matching the collection of Devon’s work throughout the years. Love the song? Be sure to pick up A Tear in the Fabric today.