Friday 21 February 2020

Mooner - Only Light/The Dawning Hour

Released: 21 Feb 2020
Label: _
Listen on Bandcamp

I've liked Chicago indie rock band Mooner for a while now. I was aware of them through their 2015 album - Masterpiece, which is really superb, especially the song Shapeshifter. Their sound is reminiscent of The Shins, Weezer and Teenage Fanclub.

The song - 'Only Light' is very heartfelt and moving. I had the impression it is about parenthood: 'You are my friend I don't know, but I'll know all my life. Watch you grow, go to school, I'll be home.' It is quite simple and highly melodic, with subtle electronic hints in the production. 

'The Dawning Hour' is another lovely song and brought to mind Neil Jung by Teenage Fanclub. Two beautiful songs, from a band who are well worth checking out.

Thursday 20 February 2020

The Overtures - Onceinaworld

Released: Jan 2020
Label: Kool kat Musik
Buy Here

The Overtures have a very retro 60s sound with Beatles and Byrds vibes. Although they may not be doing anything new, you just can't beat this kind of music and this is a highly enjoyable album.

It opens with 'Till Your Luck Runs Out' which is a re-working of Den Pugsley's former band, The Pencils' 80s classic. It is wonderfully catchy and sounds like it could have been a hit in the 60s era. I would also recommend you checking out The Pencils Anthology (also available on Kool Kat). It is full of great Power Pop songs, especially 'Paper Heart' and 'Can't Hide Love'.

My favourite song here is 'You've Been Gone' which is so beautiful and has all the ingredients of a classic. I really could have chosen many of these songs here as they are all well-written and memorable. Title song 'Onceinaworld' is also superb. Retro 60s jangle at its finest.

Saturday 15 February 2020

Peter Hall - There's Something Wrong With Everyone EP

Released: 31 Jan 2020
Label: _
Listen and Buy Here

Songwriter - Peter Hall from Nottingham, UK, is a new discovery for me. This sublime EP of highly sophisticated, melodic guitar pop is a much recommended listen.

It opens with 'Hold Me', a lovely ballad with hints of Soul and beautiful harmonies in the chorus. The sound is reminiscent of Teenage Fanclub's later output. 

'Blood Flow' is a heartfelt song with themes of life, death and love lyrically - 'Soon all I'll be is a dim memory with a photograph to represent me. I know this will happen, its all that I'm certain about, but I don't know when it will be.' However the song is more about making the most of life rather than dwelling on it. 

My favourite song on the EP is the wonderful 'Everything is Fading Fast', which is an incredibly moving listen. The soaring, orchestral production really adds to the emotional impact. A delicate and heartbreaking acoustic song - 'She Fell From The Sky' ends the EP.  

A great EP with superbly crafted, thoughtful songs. Highly recommended.

Thursday 13 February 2020

Dropkick - The Scenic Route

Released: 7 Feb 2020
Label: Sound Asleep/Bobo Integral
Listen and Buy Here

I have been aware of Scottish jangle pop band - Dropkick for a few years. As soon as I listened to the 'Good Vibes' compilation, I was hooked. They are fantastic at writing ultra melodic, summery pop songs, and this is demonstrated further here.

It opens with 'Feeling Never Goes Away' which is about as perfect a 2 minute pop song as you will ever hear. It is so uplifting, straight away recalling The Byrds and Teenage Fanclub.

Other highlights include 'Catching On' which has some lovely harmonies and heartfelt lyrics. 'A Matter of Time' is another sweet love song, simple yet well-written and memorable. 'Home Early' is an emotional listen, as is the beautiful closing song 'You'll Always Be There'. The latter has slight Americana vibes too.

Dropkick don't stray away too much from their comfort zone of guitar pop ballads, but this is a good thing and it is a very enjoyable listen. Especially 'Feeling Never Goes Away' which made it feel as though Summer had come early. A superb album.

Wednesday 12 February 2020

A Girl Called Eddy - Been Around

Released: 17 Jan 2020
Label: Elefant Records
Listen on Bandcamp

This is the first record from A Girl Called Eddy (a.k.a. Erin Moran) in 16 years and it is a wonderful listen. It is full of big, highly melodic songs with a timeless quality to them.

I was first aware of her music through 'The Last Detail' (a collaboration project with Mehdi Zannad of Fugu). Their self titled album from 2018, is also well worth checking out.

'Been Around' starts off the album and it is a classic Soul-inspired ballad. Her sound is very sophisticated and recalls The Carpenters at times.

'Jody' is a heartfelt pop song, in which she reminisces about a past love. Even though the theme is quite sad, the song never feels that way. 

'Charity Shop Window' is just beautiful with wistful lyrics and big orchestral production. The highlight of the album for me is the superb 'Someone's Gonna Break Your Heart'. An uplifting pop song with a stunning chorus and fantastic hooks. 

'Two Hearts' is another Pop gem with a slightly heavier edge. Lovely Folk song - 'NY Man' is another favourite of mine. The production has Nick Drake vibes.

A beautiful album, full of thoughtful songs with a hint of melancholy. Highly recommended.

Monday 10 February 2020

We Could Be Aeroplanes - Mountains EP

Released: 2 Feb 2020
Label: _
Listen and Buy Here

I found myself going back to this lovely EP from indie pop band We Could Be Aeroplanes. They are a recent discovery for me and are from Torquay, UK. 

The song 'Mountains' is highly emotional and raw, about losing someone to depression. It is a  theme which is too often avoided. The subject is communicated so effectively here in this heartfelt and sensitive song.

'When you said you were lonely, I didn't understand that you were reaching out for me, reaching out for my hand.'

These words are repeated and it is heartbreaking. So often, people who seem to be going on as normal, can be suffering inside and it goes unnoticed. 

The band's sound recalls 80s indie pop such as The Go-Betweens and The Smiths. 

'Beach' is a moving song which has themes of climate change and pollution. 'Chase Sequence' is an instrumental which reminded me of early Teenage Fanclub.

A great EP, which raises awareness on some important issues. Highly recommended.

Sunday 2 February 2020

Sofa City Sweetheart - Super(b) Exitos

Released: 19 Apr 2019
Label: Casa De Lopez
Listen on Bandcamp

This is a beautiful record from last year which sadly passed me by and has only just reached my ears. Sofa City Sweetheart, from L.A, is the work of Juan Antonio Lopez. His sound is reminiscent of Elliott Smith and The Beach Boys.

'The Same Old Song (You Were Always on my Mind)' starts off the album. It is a love song with heartfelt lyrics and sweet, delicate vocals. The song takes a heavier turn towards the end.

'Stanley Waited' demonstrates superb character-based storytelling, reminiscent of The Kinks. 'Annie Stays Home' has some gorgeous vocal harmonies and there is something heartbreaking about it. 

'Does This Path Have A Heart?' is an epic, 8 minute long instrumental in the middle of the album. The main focus of it, strangely enough, is Lopez' vocals as a series of oohs. No words are actually spoken. The strings and guitars come in, and finally piano bringing it to an impressive end. The result is stunning and could easily be from a film soundtrack.

'Stop The Thinking' is Power Pop at its finest and has fantastic hooks. There is a real sense of fun and it even has mariachi style trumpets. My favourite song here is the closer 'So Long/Lucky Enuff'. It is highly emotional, bringing to mind Elliott Smith's Waltz #1. On the whole, this is a truly amazing album, well worth investigating.