Chris from Jigsaw Records has been super kind to us over the years, and super kind to you all with his wonderful label. I reached out and asked for a list for 2019, no rules, no nothing…so he came back with his Best Selling Jigsaw releases…most of these were making waves at his brand new brick and mortar record shop in Portland, My Vinyl Underground.
I’m glad the musical world hasn’t stopped just because year end listing is in full swing, as we wouldn’t have been gifted this glorious pop number from the Just Joans. For me, this song’s all about the vocal constructs that give the tune success. Don’t get me wrong, the track has the right musical punch where necessary, but it’s definitely the delivery of the lyrics. They definitely have that sort of disaffected youth or perhaps that sort of deadpan melancholy, but the “wee guys” choral backing track really makes the song something more than memorable. Just imagine if Arab Strap wanted to be a proper rock band. The Private Memoirs and Confessions of the Just Joans will be out on January 10th via Fika Recordings.
The indiepop scene in Austin has its ebbs and flows, but over the last few years, Fanclub have been keeping it going, pretty much on their own. Today they share their newest tune, another propulsive guitar pop number with Leslie’s voice offering that textured softness pop fans fawn over. As always, they employ a fair amount of synth samples in their work, which add that energetic pulse, building in layers sound to avoid the banal pitfalls of the genre. As always, they’ve nailed the perfect balance in this tune, and let’s hope that another single and news of an LP follow in the very near future.
There’s a whole lot of alliteration in that headline, but there’s a whole lot of reasons to listen to Chicago’s The Hazy Seas too. For one, you can’t tell me that as soon as those guitars start dancing their way into the scene that you’re not just tapping your toes incessantly. The rhythmic pulse adds extra bounce too, giving this song great energy to push things forward. Interestingly, there’s nice juxtaposition with the vocals, coated and cloudy, kind of this dark solemnity, which matches up with the song’s lyrics taking on the subject of making tough decisions and feeling lost while others look on at your life. The group will release their debut LP in early January of next year, so keep your eyes peeled.
If there’s one thing I love supremely, it’s the dreamier side of guitar pop. Luckily, there’s a new act in Austin playing about by the name of ThunderStars. It’s a pretty heavy guitar tune, kind of like taking great bits of Galaxie 500 and filling in the edges with even more fuzz. The rhythm section seems to exist mostly to provide the song with a natural heartbeat, only erupting when called upon to take a little bit of a musical excursion to build some texture into the tune. It’s all the bits of all the sorts of good stuff, be it dream pop or shoegaze or just alternative; the fuzz here just curls my pop toes. They’ll be releasing their album Number Stations on January 10th.
Our friends in Chill Russell love to brandish their pop rock licks all over our town, and tonight they’re going to be doing so with a new set of tunes beneath their belt. They’ve got a show tonight at Hotel Vegas, and they’re very likely to play this brand new single off their forthcoming EP (recorded with Frenchie Smith). They toss out some solid alternative riffs and attitude for the verses, but this track definitely gets its punch in the chorus; it almost sounds like they were listening to The Breeders “Cannonball,” with just a hint more venom in there. They release the single and celebrate in style over at Hotel Vegas at normal adult hours, doors are at 7 PM.
I knew without even listening to this great Fortitude Valley tune that it would rule. The project stems from the mind of Laura Kovic, who played keys in Tigercats (a band that rules), but she grabbed members from Martha and Night Flowers (more bands that rule), so you knew, knew…it was going to be good. I was absolutely right, as the song starts slow, building in the natural movement over Kovic’s warm voice; I love how the fuzzy guitar shoots off in the distance behind the more purposeful licks in the very front. I was charmed right away, but the big hook comes around the 2 minute mark when extra backing vocals are included to really pull on your pop strings. As of right now, the band are wrapping up their debut, so here we are on proverbial pins and needles.
I can’t get enough of this new tune from Catholic Action; it’s every bit as serious lyrically as it is fun, as a track. Taking notes from Eno and Byrne, building artistic messages into these delicious pop numbers. I’m super into the band’s propulsive vibe on this track, almost as if you’re on some sort of treadmill jogging in place while the vocals are blasted at you from afar. And the vocals, they have this off-kilter delivery almost 90% of the time, but their natural hook comes with the “d-d-d-d-despise” stutter line; it’s superb. The group are set to release Celebrated by Strangers on March 27th of next year via Palo Santo Records.
In a blogosphere long ago, I once gave All the Pleasures of the World a 4.5/5 rating…that was back when I had the freedom to write full on album reviews. I stand by that rating, and if anything, I might just round it up to a 5/5. Lucky for the rest of the world, the Crayon Fields and their label Chapter Music are going to reissue the LP in a deluxe format, accompanied by some rarities, including a bunch of covers the band had stored away. The plus side for me is that this gives another reason to share the title track, now accompanied by a brand new video from the singer/guitarits, Geoffrey O’Connor. You can grab the reissue on February 7th!
I don’t know if you’re ready for this new tune from Pintandwefall; it might just be the sweetest tune you’re going to hear this week. The Finnish supergroup have been at it for over a decade, and here you can hear how the years have developed fine craftsmanship. The musical elements are kind of low in the mix, which is perfect, as the track is really all about the vocal elements. I love the lightly angelic tones of the lead voice here, but it wouldn’t be nearly as successful if you didn’t have the chorale atmosphere behind it; its vocal texturing at its very best. Such a powerful number; it will be on their new effort, Your Stories Baby, which is being released by Soliti Music on January 17th (apparently in honor of my birthday).