In quiet circles around the Internet, folks are on the edge of their seats waiting to hear the new Monnone Alone LP; the former Lucksmiths guitarist is held in high regard, and Summer of the Mosquito largely lives up to those expectations. The record is fill with mostly sunny numbers, apt for an LP with such a title…though you might find a melancholy tune hanging about. Regardless…people will fawn over this for some time, so I wanted you to be one of the first to hear it all the way through. Stream it or Buy it from these folks: Lost and Lonesome (Australia), Meritorio (Spain), Emotional Response (US), and Royal Mint (Finland). For an added bonus…you can click after the jump and read my thoughts on each track!
We alluded yesterday to new music from Monnone Alone, the latest project of Mark Monnone of Lucksmiths fame; today we have one of those new tracks to share with you. Surprisingly, it’s a pretty rocking number, almost like a barroom brawl with fuzzy guitar chords. But, it is Mark Monnone, so he’s going to spin everything he does with the best pop sensibility around. Just listen to the breakdown around 1:22 mark, building this swelling roll of poppy guitars that bring the song right back home to a sense of exuberance that seeps through your speakers. This track appears on the very limited lathe-cut 7″ being released by Emotional Response/Lost and Lonesome/Meritorio on February 22nd.
Mark Monnone penned albums take up a great deal of space in my personal collection, so as he ventures out on his own again under the name Monnone Alone it seems like the only appropriate way to end a Friday. Whether or not you fawned over the Lucksmiths, I think any fan of pop music would have a difficult time turning their ear away from these two gems. The A-side on this new 7″ definitely has its way with melody, though the volume is quite forceful, allowing the rock n’ roll underbelly to surge through your walls. On the B-side you get more of a playful charm, a touch more light-hearted, though equally as emotively striking. Luckily, these two tracks come with a promise of a new LP in 2019.
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.
This word doesn’t get thrown around so much in relation to Tangible Excitement, but my record collection is definitely calling these guys a supergroup: 1/4 Summer Cats, 1/4 Boyracer and 1/2 Lucksmiths. Need I say more? Indiepop fans are already clamoring to get their hands on this ridiculously fun release. I like the upbeat jam, “Puzzle Pieces;” it’s the best jangling pop tune you might not have heard yet…feel that groove. For those of you not familiar with the participating acts, just spend about 12 minutes indulging in the delightful pop waiting at the click of a button. Then, be a good human, and go grab the 7″ from Emotional Response!
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.
It wasn’t too long ago that Being There released their debut record, but several spins into Breaking Away and you’ll see the growth in the London four piece. The guitar playing is tighter, and the recording maximizes the pop sensibility of the group. If you’re in need of a good pop rock record, then your best bet for 2013 is to begin here.
“Allen Ginsberg” gently begins things, with nothing more than the quieted vocal and a gliding guitar track. While it’s the first track on the album, it’s also one of those that dictates the sincerity of the group. But, they’re not eager to lay down an album’s worth of mellow pop tunes, jumping immediately into “Back to the Future.” For me, the drumming wins out on this track, providing the backbone for the guitars to dig their way into your auditory heart. Slight bits of twang during the chorus serve to bring the melody back into focus.
While I definitely appreciate the presence of upbeat numbers on Breaking Away, there’s a soft spot for the mellower tunes, like “Infinity.” The ringing guitars accompanied by acoustic strumming are reminiscent of some of my favorite tracks by The Lucksmiths, so it’s easy to see why I gravitate towards such moments. Perhaps their brightest moments though come when they combine both elements, such as Being There does on the six-minute killer, “Silent Runner.” You’ll hear a jingling tambourine steadying the track, with a nice melody warmly sung atop it all, but they play with the tension levels too. There are bits of atmospheric guitar noise that swells midway through, making it more than just an average pop ballad.
Hints of a modern indie pop-gaze influence appear in songs like “Tomorrow” or “The Radio,” but I suggest you hold up to one of the more special songs that awaits near the end. “17” is perhaps the hidden gem that many people with attention disorders might skip, due to its late presence. I like the tonal changes in the mix for the vocals, but I also appreciate the steady pacing of the drums that work together with cascading guitar chords. It’s a special moment that I’ve continuously played outside of my review purposes.
All in all, Being There have done an exceptional job of upping the ante from their first effort. Sure, there are some derivative pieces here, but the overall feeling of the record more than makes up for that. There’s enough mixture in the placement of songs to dictate repeated pleasure for listens all the way through, yet there’s also stand-out tracks that you can include in your mixes for friends. Breaking Away is your chance to enjoy the simple pleasure of good pop music, and hopefully go on and share it with the world.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/The-Radio.mp3]
Download:Being There – The Radio [MP3]
Bart and Friends is an Australian supergroup of sorts, fronted by Bart Cummings. The group features members of the Shapiros and the Lucksmiths, to name a few, so you’re probably going to have some lofty expectations. Luckily for us all, There May Come a Time lives up to those expectations, and in fact, it surpasses them.
Opening the EP is “There May Come a Time,” which features the wonderful Pam Berry on vocals. She’s talking about writing songs, but suggests that there are some words/songs she’ll always remember (those of a love when she was young). I love the brightness of the guitar sound here, not to mention the precision drumming which helps accentuate the depth of the track. You’re going to be hard pressed to find a better album opener on a pop record than this one. But, then they move into some extremely familiar territory with the much covered track, “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” I know the song was originally done by Elvis, but as a kid of the 80s, I think back to UB40 (unfortunately). However, twenty listens into this EP, I will forever think of Berry’s performance here; her voice seems to be perfectly crafted to sing this track. Definitely a special song.
From here you’ll get into the middle of There May Come a Time, featuring two of my favorite tracks, though one is the record’s shortest. “A Kiss You Won’t Forget” encompasses everything I’ve come to love about the sound of pop music that’s been carried over from Australia. Sharp dueling guitars, careful bass work, and some of the best vocal performances. It’s one of those songs you want to put on a mixtape and play for all your friends. There’s only one thing wrong with “There Are So Many Things I’d Like to See,” and that revolves around the 50 second song length. It’s a completed track by Bart and Friends, but I completely wish they’d have pushed it even further; it’s got the makings of becoming one of my favorite tracks every. I’m just going to loop it over and over on my own to reach the desired effect. The group does approach similar territory on “These Words Are Too Small,” but Berry seems a bit more rushed here, so it doesn’t have that drama in it.
Closing out the EP is “A Summer’s Dream,” the most chilled out track on There May Come a Time. Here, while Berry again sounds great, it’s the sound of the guitar that really shines. It’s as if each note was carefully picked for maximum melodic power; there’s a carefree mood created by both the band and Berry. It’s a relaxing feeling, the way every summer dream should be. The ending is perfectly fitting for this EP, as the band have bookended both sides of the EP perfectly. But, don’t think that the middle is just filler; you’re likely to find some of the most special pop moments of the year hiding in there. Go see for yourself.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/There_May_Come_A_Time.mp3]
Download: Bart and Friends – There May Come a Time [MP3]
There May Come a Time is available now from Matinee Recordings.
The single for Cinderpop’s newest album has been floating around for quite some time, but I hadn’t really given it too much of a listen until I started spinning Manic Sparkles repeatedly on my player. It’s an album that’s chock-full of wonderful pop tunes that recall all sorts of influences, from the Lucksmiths to Sloan to Nada Surf. These are the sorts of influences that make me swoon, so I’m happy to have re-discovered the band and their classic pop sound. I feel like more people should be writing music like this, but if they’re not, I’ve always got great bands like this to enjoy.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/03-Florentine.mp3]
Download:Cinderpop – Florentine [MP3]
How many bands have you heard of from Prince Edward Island? Well, if you haven’t, you need to mark Boxer the Horse down on your list as band to adore. The quartet are back with their second album, French Residency, and it’s a gem. A lot of the record really harkens back to the innocent pop of the Lucksmiths, but I couldn’t resist throwing this number out there, as it’s definitely one of those you can play over and over. You might also find a bit of Pavement in the vocals/lyrics, just as the guitars cascade with bliss, grabbing you by the ears and rocking you out. I’ve been jamming this one all day long.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Boxer-the-Horse-French-Residency-03-Rattle-Your-Cage.mp3]
Download:Boxer the Horse – Rattle Your Cage [MP3]