One of the great things about the last 30 years is the ease with which we can dig out old files and tapes and give them a proper re-release, which is how I came upon The Variable Stars. Our friends over at Recorded Psychic Readings reached out to let us know they’d be dropping a tape from the Bay-area bands early recordings. Take a listen to either of the songs below and you’ll surely see where I fell in love here; it’s got the charm of the Pastels or Comet Gain, albeit with just the faintest hint of modern indiepop. Honestly, I love how the vocalist seem to perfectly compliment one another, particularly when they’re uniting for a nice melodic push. If, like me, you hadn’t heard of this band, well, spend some time streaming these bops! All Signs Point to Life will be out this Friday!
In a little over a month, Welcome Strawberry will release their debut LP via Cherub Dream Records, just adding to the great things going on in the Bay Area music scene. On the group’s latest single, they to you with you, bouncing back and forth between a traditional wash of shoegaze and a more stripped down blast of mellow pop. The shoegaze moments are heavy, swirling and feeding back, as you’d want, but it’s the almost-chorus where the noise gets teased into something almost childish; the vocal delivery sounds like a schoolyard cheer, while distortion bursts through in the distance. Another cool listen, if you ask me; the band will be dropping their self-titled album on September 2nd.
John Mark Lapham has teamed up with a bunch of our favorite vocalists to flesh out his latest Old Fire project, with participation from the likes of Adam Torres, Emily Cross…and as you’ll see below, Bill Callahan. While the song is a cover of the underrated John Martyn, I think the composition, film work and Callahan give the song a complete makeover. For starters, the black and white imagery leaves you emotionally naked while watching, as if it’s you being buried beneath the dirt in the video clip. The piano and string work add to the drama, but ultimately Bill’s voice just hits you. There’s something about those deep tones, a sweetness whose melody seems like a light turned on in the darkest of tunnels. I get the feeling we’re in for a moving collection when Old Fire releases Voids in November via Western Vinyl.
Back to the grind! I’m back at work, getting read to teach the kids and what not! But, looking back at last week, we covered a lot of rad territory I think that’s worthy of you easing into your work week, or just your day. I was stoked to hear Emma Kupa popping up on the latest track from Let’s Whisper, a band she’s joined recently. RayRay dropped new tunes from Sunfruits and Pale Blue Eyes, as well as threw some love towards the new Mall Walker EP. I know there was a lot of love and buzz on the new Peel Dream Magazine and Winter tunes, but personally, the track I couldn’t stop playing was the Enola jam inclued. Anyways, enjoy.
Austin’s Kay Odyssey have been relatively quiet since their excellent Knockout LP in 2020, and today it looks like the band is gearing up for another stellar release, sharing a fresh single with us. This new tune has a striking elegance to it, with Kristina’s voice majestically soaring over the baroque backdrop carefully crafted by the rest of the group. Subtle piano lines walk us along, with Liz Burrito’s careful drum work and Geannie Friedman holding the rhythm section in place to help build the song towards its delightful apex; it all comes together like a crash between indiepop and Medieval Times…and I mean that as a compliment. We’ll keep you posted as we hear more, but for now, relish this sweet jam.
It seems that ever since we got those Dolly Mixture reissues that Rachel Love has decided she was going to keep the torch alive. Having already released the beautiful Picture in Mind, she’s now shared Stories from Another Time. While only containing 4 tunes, you get two Love tracks, and then two tracks Rachel wrote with Martine Newell of Cleaners from Venus. The tune below was written in the 80s, but didn’t get properly recorded until this year. I think the striking thing is the perfect balance in the mix; it allows for the dreaminess of Rachel’s voice to remain the focal point, while the thump of the drums and twinkling nuances hang right behind her. That drum always seems like it should take off, so I love the restraint in this, never letting the tune carry off into cliche.
It’s been a hot minute since I’ve covered High Sunn, but Justin Cheromiah’s project has always reminded me of our good friends Letting Up Despite Great Faults. It’s definitely something that falls in the indiepop groove, driving rhythmic elements consistently pushing the song forward as those dreampop guitars swirl around each little syllable Justin’s dropping into the track. This song celebrates the band’s upcoming mini-tour along the West Coast at the end of July, as well as hints at something more to come later this year…or so we’re told, but reset assured I’ll keep you in the know there.
Obviously, I’ve been really high upon the forthcoming release from Let’s Whisper, but today, I’m even more amped, as the band has allowed new member (and one of my all time faves) Emma Kupa to pen a track and take the lead. It’s a mellow ballad, but this time Emma seems to be finding solace in letting things go, allowing yourself to find some closure. The instrumentation is really special, from little horn accents to an understated banjo working beneath Emma’s voice. As of yet, I’ve not heard anyone involved in the songwriting craft a bad song, so you can expect the In-Between Times to be a knock out; it’s out August 26th via Fika Recordings.
Having recently sung the praises of Birmingham, AL based label Earth Libraries, I am not surprised to once again be receiving some banging new jams from them in my inbox. Today they traveled all the way to Melbourne to bring a new single called “Made to Love” from the psych-pop outfit Sunfruits. Overall, I love the sunny, bright energy of the track with some hints of psych pop and totally rocking rhythm section. Think late 60s psych rock/pop like Spirit with a more modern and sleek approach. Hard not to hit repeat on this one immediately after it ends.
Earth Libraries will be bringing more from Sunfruits real soon. Stay tuned.
When we first heard new Nervous Twitch, I was impressed at how the band opened up their style, letting the first single come up as a slow-burn pop rock ballad. But, this new single is frantic, gritty, and hook-laden like a motorcycle gang rolling through with a bunch of balloons and streamers attached to their bikes. Erin Hyde’s delivery definitely has a bit of an old school punk nod to it, hanging on to a certain coyness that makes the lyrical delivery feel like you’re bouncing off the walls. The group will release their new Some People Will Never Change via Reckless Yes on October 7th.