Friday, October 20, 2017

Strawberry Runners - In The Garden, In The Night

Deft songwriting with a perfect indie pop voice make Strawberry Runners a can't miss proposition for us here at WYMA.  The debut EP, In the Garden, In the Night, provides a five-song proof, but most music fans won't need that much to conclude that there is prodigious talent on offer.  We fully expect to see this EP on year-end lists of records that many people missed.  Of course, because you read WYMA, you haven't missed it.

The band is the musical alter ego of Emi Night, a young women who spins stories about the good and bad of growing up, and confidently delivers them in capsules of rich melody.  She has been making music for a number of years, but this is her first record.  Our conclusion is that this is wonder, and wholly addictive, pop music.  It is our loss that she waited this long.

The players on the album are Emi Night (vocals/guitar/mandolin/additional percussion), Davy Timm (trumpet/vocals/keys), Sam Kelley (guitars), Tyler Morse (bass/vocals), Max Barcelow (drums/vocals/additional percussion), and Rich Goldberg (keys).  In the Garden, In the Night is out October 20 via Salinas Records

Bandcamp for EP
Salinas Records page to order EP

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"Not So Bad" by Johnny Kills

We keep our promises here, and we promised UK's Johnny Kills that we would feature their next single after posting the third of their summer trio of singles (Link to End Game here).  Now, some readers may wonder whether it was a cynical promise after assuming that Tim Lloyd-Kinnings (guitar/vocals), Lewis Lloyd-Kinnings (bass/keys/vocals), and Cameron Gipp (guitar/vocals) probably would have fled the country by now, one step of their girlfriends' angry, shotgun-carrying fathers.  But we assure you that our promise was entirely based on our respect for their music.  So here is the muscular, crunchy, totally rocking "Not So Bad".  And to each of the guys, if her dad caught you, we congratulate you on the upcoming nuptials.

Bandcamp for "Not So Bad"

Pia Fraus - Field Ceremony

As all of us know, shoegaze is characterized by a dense and enveloping sound.  It is the genre's defining element and the critical draw for fans.  But the best shoegaze is created by artists who understand that the dense soundscapes serve best as a foundation for the other details.  And this brings us the the Field Ceremony, the delightful new album by Estonia's Pia Fraus.  Listen to album opener "It's Over Now" and appreciate the lower register rhythm riff capturing the listener.  Or to the indie pop vocals dancing over the sonic tapestry in the following "Never Again Land" and "Autumn Winds".  Nor does the band shy away from more pop arrangements, such as on "No Filter Needed".  In fact, while the band displays their sheer power frequently on this album, the overall effect to our ears was more dreampop than what we commonly regard as shoegaze.  From the adept balance of light and dark elements in the songwriting, to the thoughtful production, to the clear emotion in the performances, Field Ceremony is a work of art to celebrate.  And of course, to listen to over and over.

Pia Fraus is Rein Fuks (guitar/vocals/percussion), Eve Komp (vocals/synths/metallophone), Kart Ojavee (synths), Reijo Tagapere (bass), and Margus Voolpriit (drums).  Field Ceremony is out now via Shelflife (U.S.), Seksound (Eur), and Vinyl-Junkie Records (Japan).

Shelflife page for album

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Ciggie Witch - Mad Music

As a public service, we have posted your "to do" list for today:
  1. Call home
  2. Get ticket for the show on Saturday
  3. Pick up laundry
  4. Buy the new Ciggie Witch album
  5. Ask Pete if he was serious when he said "whatever" to that question
  6. Ignore the "check engine" light
What? You ask, what is this "Ciggie Witch" thing of which you speak.  Fair question, I guess.  Ciggie Witch is a Zac Denton/Mitch Clemens project expanded to become a six-member music collective comprised of members of Ocean Party, Totally Mild, Pregnancy, Zone Out, and other bands.  They have just released Mad Music, their third album, and it is shooting up our list of recommended albums with each play.  Mad Music ably presents the duality of the Melbourne band's art.  The arrangements often feature chiming and jangling guitars, lush synths, and overall pop smarts, while the lyrics often are anxious, jittery and idiosyncratic.  In the hands of Ciggie Witch, it is a winning combination, and we wouldn't want them to change a thing.  Take a spin on Bandcamp, and welcome to the world of Ciggie Witch.

Mad Music is out now as a limited edition cassette and as a digital download via Lost and Lonesome Records.  Ciggie Witch is Ahley Bundang, Mitch Clemens, Lachlan Denton, Zac Denton, Liam Halliwell, Lauren Huynh, and Joe Foley.

Bandcamp for Mad Music
Soundcloud for Mad Music


Acid Tongue - Babies

Is soulful psychedelic garage rock a thing?  Why yes, yes it is.  And you can enjoy 10 songs of soulful psychedelic garage rock (and a humorous non-musical intro) on Babies, the new LP from Acid Tongue.  With hazy intensity and retro psych/garage flourishes, it prods the listener's mind with echoes of the '60s and '70s.  But it does so only to the extent that is reminds us how much we miss a good rock song in the era of overly processed pop.  The themes are modern day life and timeless explorations of  the reality of growing up wreaking havoc with hopes and dreams, and the salvation to be found in relationships.  And there is enough soul in the vocal performance to keep the proceedings a big couple of steps removed from a stoner throwback party, and to bring plenty of smiles to our faces.  When we think of rock, Acid Tongue's music is just the thing we have in mind.  Listen to "Humpty Dumpty" and "If I Really Loved Her" below and see if you don't agree.  And we assure you that several other songs on the album are equally worthy of singles treatment.  Pounce on this one, folks.

Babies is the work of Acid Tongue frontman Guy Keltner (vocals/lead guitar/bass/acoustic guitar) and Ian Cuningham (drums/production), with Daniel O'Neil (drums/percussion), Jacob Rose (bass), Jason Cairati (keys), James Squires (drums/piano/bass), Maiah Manser (backing vocals), and Thomas Fredrickson (bass).  The band is touring in Europe now, but will return to the states and tour in November.

Freakout Records order page for Babies

Monday, October 16, 2017

"I'll Wait For You" by Skittle Alley

This is the sort of song that doesn't deserve a lot of words, because it doesn't need a lot of words.  Just press play and listen to almost six minutes of pop perfection from France's Skittle Alley.

Skittle Alley is Fanou, Guillaume, Pierre and Stephane, and they are from Limoges.


"The Hinterland" by Last Leaves

It always is a sad event when a favorite band calls it a day, and the final curtain call for Melbourne's The Lucksmiths likely brought more regret than most.  Fortunately, we fans didn't even have time to throw a wake before we learned that Marty Donald, Mark Monnone and Louis Richter from The Lucksmiths added Noah Symons of reat Earthquake to form new indie pop powerhouse Last Leaves.  The band's debut album is due soon from Matinee Recordings in the US and Lost and Lonesome Records in Australia.  However, first things first, and first is this sweet and very limited 7" "The Hinterland".  Consisting of the title track and B-side "Nora Creina", it is a delectable slice of guitar pop and available right now.  Note that the B-side is excellent, and will not be on the album

Matinee Recordings page for single
The Lost and Lonesome Records page for single
Lost and Lonesome Bandcamp page for single

Saturday, October 14, 2017

"Exaltation" by Salad Boys

We haven't been quiet about our affection for the music of Salad Boys, and we are happy to announce that January 2018 will bring their new album This Is Glue via Trouble In Mind Records.  And to make our weekend even better, the announcement is accompanied by the light of day shining on this top notch bite of Salad Boys music, the jangling "Exaltation".  Ah, Kiwi indie pop -- critical to life as we know it!

Trouble In Mind Records page for Salad Boys

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Stephen McLaren - We Used To Go Raving

Armed with a piano and a sharp pen, Stephen McLaren gives us We Used To Go Raving, a pop album of commentary on political events as well as more personal musings on life thus far.  Taking inspiration from New Order's brand of new wave and classic singer songwriters, McLaren paints in big tones and lush soundscapes, singing with conviction and unstinting vision about the past and present.  The past is tinted with nostalgia, but not at the expense of critical evaluation and the occasional bitter chomp.  The present mixes a bit of optimism with the anger and uncertainty.  And as a triple threat, he delivers an affecting love song as well ("I Sing To You").  And regardless of one's take on those themes, the music is damn special and the vocal performance excellent.  Some of the song titles are outright funny as well.  Our favorite tracks are the title track, "No More (Say Yes)", "Chest Pains Lullaby", and "I Sing To You".

We Used To Go Raving is out now on various digital platforms.


Alex Lahey - I Love You Like A Brother

On first listen, I Love You Like A Brother earned an ovation at WYMA World Headquarters.  Thereafter, our appreciation grew.  The work of young Australian musician Alex Lahey, the album is a poptastic rush of garage pop and energy, with a clear-eyed by witty view of relationships.  The fact that the relationships typically are troubled just adds spice (and zero pain as they aren't our relationships).  The songs are constructed with choruses that practically beg you to sing along.  And why shouldn't you?  Singing is fun, and the sense of fun pervades the proceedings.  The lyrics are witty, the peppy pace is fun and inspiring, and the artist's pure joy at performing is palpable.  But this is fun and joy delivered in concise, well-thought out nuggets with keen observations and enough self-revelatory material to give the album some personality to go with the hooks.  We hope Ms. Lahey chooses to share her fun for a long, long time.

I Love You Like A Brother is out now via Dead Oceans.  Alex Lahey will be touring North America in November and December.  Dates and locations are listed at the bottom of this post.  And if you want to explore more of her music, we recommend her previous record, B-Grade University EP.

Bandcamp for I Love You Like A Brother

North America Tour Dates:
Wed. Nov. 15 - Allston, MA @ Great Scott
Thu. Nov. 16 - Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Fri. Nov. 17 - Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live
Sun. Nov. 19 - Washington, DC @ DC9
Wed. Nov. 22 - Toronto, ON @ The Drake Hotel - Underground
Fri. Nov. 24 - Chicago, IL @ Subterranean
Sat. Nov. 25 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
Wed. Nov. 29 - Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
Thu. Nov. 30 - Austin, TX @ Barracuda
Sat. Dec. 2 - Denver, CO @ Lost Lake Lounge
Sun. Dec. 3 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
Tue. Dec. 5 - Phoenix, AZ @ The Rebel Lounge
Wed. Dec. 6 - San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
Fri. Dec. 8 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
Sat.Dec. 9 - San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
Mon. Dec. 11 - Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
Tue. Dec. 12 - Vancouver, BC @ The Cobalt
Wed. Dec. 13 - Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"Biblically Speaking" by The Just Joans

People who write advice columns know that they are engaged in a balancing act.  They need to have an question of potential interest to others, and they have to dispense advice serious and correct enough to justify the exercise.  But they also need to do so in a manner that is entertaining and witty.  And when it comes to witty, a bit on the acerbic side tends to go over well.  After all, do you want to please numerous readers happy to laugh at one hapless and anonymous soul, or that one hapless soul? Exactly so.

And that brings us to The Just Joans, the only band we follow named after an advice columnist.  This Glasgow band also dishes out witty, acerbic observations.  But they do so with great tunes.  A case in point is new song "Biblically Speaking", which is taken from their upcoming album You Might Be Smiling Now ... .  The song addresses the timeless tension between wanting to live the virtuous life and yearning to do otherwise.  We go through that exercise multiple times a day, of course, but we don't do it in such an entertaining fashion.  And we almost always make the same choice, and when we don't it usually is for the wrong reason.  But enough about us -- enjoy the song and mark your calendars for December 1 and the arrival of  You Might Be Smiling Now ... .

Bandcamp and pre-order for You Might Be Smiling Now ...
Fika Recordings