Thursday feels like a good day to visit a Slumberland release, so why not begin with a band on the meteoric rise in the jangling pop realm, Chime School. So far, the singles from Andy Pastalaniec’s project are perfectly defined, but I feel like this is one where you really get the feeling that this could just be the beginning of something huge. There’s little bits of layering in this that sort of walk a fine line between nostalgic 70s 12-string guitar ballads and the hazy underbelly of early 90s Britpop, though spinning that kaleidoscope still hints at the purity of classic indiepop. No matter which way you spin Andy’s songs, it’s like unwrapping a gift individually wrapped for each listener’s experience. Chime School is out on November 5th.
We’ve been pretty supportive of Rural France in regards to their forthcoming RF LP, and today they’re sharing another single to tease us along before next week’s official release. According to the band’s Tom Brown, the riff had been bouncing around in his head for years, until one day he hit upon just the right line to tie it all together, leaving us with ‘one of those nostalgic, sad summer songs.’ Brown alludes to the Beach Boys, but in looking at more modern iterations, you can faintly hear the Wrens in this; things sound like they’re jumbled, stacking layer and layer, then all of a sudden your ear locks into the melody and you’re swept away. If ever a song encapsulated the dictionary definition of sunny wistfulness, this has to be the one! Look for RF next Friday via Meritorio Records.
When I first heard BODEGA a few years back, I was completely thrilled; they had this brand of post punk that was musically sharp and filled with biting criticism. But, that sound gets easy to pigeonhole, so its great to seem them sort of move into some new territory with the announcement of a new LP: Broken Equipment. This round, they don’t shy away from social critique, taking aim at the world’s necessity to entirely push output as the endgame. Musically, there’s still a rhythmic pulse beneath the surface, but it feels like there’s this openness that allows Ben Hozie to work his distinctive delivery into the mix. I love how the guitar seems to tip-toe around him, ringing out during the chorus. Tunes like this only have one home…What’s Your Rupture drop the LP in March of next year.
I’m sort of hooked on the sounds of Astral Brain; they seem to have hit upon a sound that sounds both present and slightly nostalgic. You can certainly hear the psychedelic construction in the guitars and the seductive steadiness of the vocal delivery; it lets you melt into the imagery of the video, which is perfectly suited. But, just as you felt comfort in a familiar sound, the track hits the 2:10 mark and takes on this jazzy bounce that adds an uplifting nod to the track’s heavy nature, allowing the tune to gallop towards a dreamy, yet energetic, close. Their album the Bewildered Mind is now available via Shelflife.
You didn’t think 2021 would finish off without another LP from the Black Watch, did you? Fortunately for us, John Andrew Fredrick has never seem fully satisfied with his work, so he’s constantly evolving, and he’s done so through the course of 19 releases. But, now we come to the latest, Here & There, where’s he aimed to add a little more of an untraditional approach to his pop repertoire. John wanted to move away from songs that had ‘proper bridges or pre-choruses,’ thus giving more space in the songs for movement…and the added string arrangements of Ben Eshbach (2 time Emmy winner!). Below you can still hear the textured layers of guitars working in unison to create towering cliffs of noise, crumbling to reveal his velvety pipes. But, where he’s historically had some immediacy with the vocal/lyrical structure, that’s stripped away, leaving the song with this vast bit of space, letting the guitars create their own musical journey for the listener. Here & There will drop on November 12th via Atom Records.
If you haven’t been keeping an eye on Friday, it’s going to be a pretty hectic schedule; there are just too many releases to keep an eye on. But, one that’s been on my radar is the new LP from Cong Josie, the alter ego of Nic from No Zu. He’s crafting this dark synth pop that feels part Las Vegas entertainer and part deep house techno orchestrator. At times, he seems to be poking fun at the listener, throwing in these little kitsch elaborations to catch your ear. Still, you can’t help but feel that he’s got his finger on the pulse here, tapping into our desire for high octane synth pop madness. Cong! drops Friday via It Records.
We recently announced that our label arm, ATH Records, would be stepping outside of Austin this year; we were stoked to announce we’d be working with Swansea Sound, featuring members of Heavenly, Pooh Sticks, Catenary Wires, etc. Well, now we have another fresh video from the band’s forthcoming Live at the Rum Puncheon. It’s the opening track on their LP, with Hue starring in the front of this tune, in both song and video. It’s good to see that Amelia’s catching up on her reading, particularly as there’s a great Felt/the Servants/Talulah Gosh flier right behind her for a show I wish I could have attended. Speaking of shows, if you’re in the UK, the band have a handful of shows to celebrate the release of the album. There’s tons of folks involved here (Skep Wax, etc), but if you’re in the US, you can grab a tape HERE or an LP HERE.
We’ve been on board the Dummy train since their first EP, and let me tell you, you’re in for a real treat when you unwrap your copy of their debut Mandatory Enjoyment. On the last single before the record drops, the band have chosen to release an instrumental jam…but one that ties this LP to their first EP. When we first heard EP 1, you were getting the feeling that the band was just finding their footing, sampling a collection of sounds. But, in retrospect, and seeing how “Atonal Poem” fits into the new record, it feels more purposeful. It’s like they sat down to create a 7 course (or 12 song) meal, and in it, there are supreme highs, and subtle treats, and there are palate cleansers, like the closer we have below. Coming across like an instrumental sonic exploration, this tune caps off the record, allowing you the space and time to reflect on the whole of your experience. Mandatory Enjoyment hits on October 22nd via Trouble in Mind.
Seeing as I love Screaming Females, I was super excited to hear that Marissa Paternoster would be releasing her debut solo effort; we got news today that Peace Meter will be out via Don Giovanni on December 3rd. On the opening single, we get Marissa marching through a cemetery as she repeats the chorus of “your feathers soaked in blood.” The imagery is striking, but what really hits home is the construction of the song as a whole. There’s this patience that’s evolved in Pastnoster’s songwriting, based on this calmed guitar strum, allowing her to maximize this huge wall of emotion; it’s buoyed by the production and added arrangements from Andy Gibb (of Thou). It’s a pretty powerful opening statement from a record we’re sure to adore.
I’ll admit, my interest has been piqued by Cumgirl8, but it wasn’t until the band dropped “Bugs” today that I officially was way on board. While the band’s output has swirled around the dance pop world, this one takes the dance, but spins that in a very post-punk passion; there are moments when I can hear remnants of Life Without Buildings, or maybe even some of Chk Chk Chk at their most exciting. This is the sort of rock blending with pop that I want to hear, energetic and yet frantic and earnest all at once; this could be a real force live too, especially if you give the latter half’s breakdown moment so proper volume. RIP Cumgirl8 will be out on October 22nd via DERO Arcade.