Thursday, 16 January 2020

Math and Physics Club - Indian Ocean (The End Of Everything)

Released: 13 Dec 2019
Label: Matinee Recordings
Listen on Spotify

The song Indian Ocean was my introduction to this band. It really moved me, despite not yet knowing the sad circumstances behind the song. This is the band's last ever single, after guitarist James Werle died of cancer in 2018. The remaining band members recorded these songs after his death. 

'Indian Ocean' is an amazingly beautiful and powerful song which paints a vivid picture in your mind. Melodically, it is stunning too and the vocals are so heartfelt. It is a timeless classic. The lyrics 'I can't even sing, the words won't come out of my mouth' are repeated at the end, so emotionally that its a struggle to hold back the tears.

Their sound is largely indie pop but with hints of folk which is demonstrated more in the next song. 'In Dreams' is a lovely ballad with R.E.M. vibes. Another sweet song tinged with sadness.

On the whole this is a very moving listen and there could not be a better way for the band to say farewell. 

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Emperor Penguin - Soak Up The Gravy

Released: 10 Jan 2020
Label: Kool Kat Musik
Listen on Bandcamp

This is Emperor Penguin's 4th album. I have been following this band for a couple of years now and was drawn in by their fun, slightly psychedelic brand of Power Pop. Their albums are never short of quirky lyrics and great melodies and this is no exception.  

The album opens with the anthemic 'Hello Picasso'. The sound is reminiscent of The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again, in places. There is lots of psychedelic goodness and skilled guitar solos. 

'What's Come Over Me' is another highlight with strong hooks and has that 60's Beatles charm. 'Brand New Yesterday' is another example of superbly written guitar pop and is also very catchy. 

'You'll Be The Death Of Me' is my favourite song here and instantly memorable, the harmonies recalling The Byrds. 

'Speedwell Blue' sounds different to anything else on the album and features the vocals of Lisa Mychols, prominent in the Power Pop genre, whose music is also well worth investigating. The song has chilled out vibes and hints of jazz.

'The Burning Man' is an impressive closer, with its soaring chorus and epic production. It is full of energy, like many of the other songs on this album.

This is a hugely enjoyable and varied album, one which fans of guitar pop should really check out. A superb listen.

Monday, 6 January 2020

Beat Hotel - Beat Hotel EP

Released: 31 Jan 2020
Label: _
Listen on Bandcamp

Brighton's Beat Hotel are new to me and this is a really enjoyable EP with 80's/90's indie vibes. Opening track 'Feel It', is strongly anthemic and has elements of many of the best songs of the Brit Pop era.  

Their sound is reminiscent of The Jesus and Mary Chain. 'Low Slung Loser' has added blues swagger and attitude, reminding me of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in places.

My favourite song here is 'Beat Girl' which is a wonderfully melodic ballad. The chorus has some sweet harmonies, it is also quite shoegazey reminding me of The House of Love. 'Daddy, I Drown' is another strong song with New Order vibes. There are hints of sadness and longing.

A highly recommended EP full of well-written songs. A band which I will be investigating a lot further.

Friday, 20 December 2019

The Hangabouts - Colors of Christmas

Released: 26 Nov 2019
Label: _
Listen on Bandcamp

This is another great original Christmas song, released this year. The Hangabouts, from Detroit, are relatively new to me. Their superbly catchy, melodic pop songs caught my attention earlier this year. Especially the brilliant 'Who Wants Cilla?' released as part of the Big Stir singles.  

'Colors of Christmas' captures the joy of Christmas perfectly, with some of the sweetest harmonies. It has lots of retro festive charm. The sound is reminiscent of the Beach Boys, in places. 

Its also very well produced with lots of bells to create that Christmas magic, which is often hard for new original songs to accomplish.

A highly recommended Christmas song. One which I will definitely be playing for years to come.

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Os Noctambulos - Silence Kills

Released: 29 Nov 2019
Label: Stolen Body Records
Listen on Bandcamp

Parisian Psych band Os Noctambulos are fairly new and this album is a fantastic listen. There are many other purveyors of retro 60's psych but this is done so well, it sounds authentic. 

'Sanitise Me' opens the album brilliantly. It has a very raw sound and brought to mind The 13th Floor Elevators. The vocals are almost screamed giving it a heavy sound, but it still has the strong hooks of guitar pop.

'Living A Lie' is my favourite song here and a lot more melodic. The harmonies are dreamy and its instantly catchy and memorable. It is still very 60's sounding, reminiscent of Jefferson Airplane. 'Come Back To Me' is another highlight. A simple yet beautiful song, with great use of strings and lovely harmonies.

It ends on the sublime 'Is She There?' which is so heartfelt and almost timeless in quality. A highly recommended album.

The band also have another project with a slightly different lineup called 'The Necessary Separations'. This album has more Americana vibes and is also well worth checking out. Full of superb songs and beautiful pedal steel. Listen to the album here

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Wyatt Blair - For The First Time EP

Released: 13 Dec 2019
Label: Lolipop Records
Listen on Bandcamp

Wyatt Blair from LA is a recent discovery for me and his new EP is superb. Every song here sounds like it could have been a radio hit in the 80's.

His sound brings to mind The Romantics and other Power Pop/New Wave bands. 'Cherry Rose' is sensationally catchy. Its so upbeat with great pop hooks. The excellent 'Pop Your Heart Out' is more of the same.

My favourite song on the EP is '(I'll Keep) Searching For You' is brilliantly melodic and the chorus is very uplifting. 'Boys Night Out' is more upbeat with punk energy.

On the whole, this is a hugely enjoyable EP and well worth checking out if you like more 80's sounding Power Pop with strong hooks and harmonies. Highly recommended.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

RW Hedges & Luca Nieri - Christmas Ghost Waltz

Released: 13 Dec 2019
Label: Wonderfulsound
Listen on Spotify

RW Hedges and Luca Nieri have a new single and this is actually a song for Christmas. It has all the magic of their winter's song - 'Never Too Bright' and will transport you back to the Victorian era.

'Christmas Ghost Waltz' is beautifully written and produced. It has lots of childhood fairytale magic, telling the story of a young boy venturing into a haunted house at Christmas.

The black and white video is perfect, with so much detail and sets the scene so well. The imagery has a distinct Dickensian feel to it and brought back memories of films I had watched as a child, set in that era.

The sound has hints of The Everly Brothers and the subtlety of Leonard Cohen's song - 'Winter Lady'. It has so much charm and innocence, which in recent years, no one else has come close to creating. 

Hedges and Nieri are amazingly talented, yet unheard songwriters of the modern era. This is another wonderful song added to their impressive catalogue.