Friday, November 17, 2017

"Useless" by Declan Welsh & The Decadent West

Around WYMA offices we know Declan Welsh & The Decadent West as reliable and fierce anti-fascists.  But today we are showcasing the Glasgow quartet's talents with respect to the personal side of life, as today is the release day of their new single, "Useless".  Passion, vulnerability, and longing are on display in fine fashion; check out your favorite digital outlet.

The band are Declan Welsh (vocals/songwriting), Duncan McBride (guitars), Ben Corlett (bass), and Calum Murray (drums).

Spotify link for "Useless"

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Bed Wettin' Bad Boys - Rot

Well, well, well -- here is a big load of rot.  Specifically, the 11 tracks of heavy, hooky, aggressively-jangling garage rock which comprise Rot, the new album from Sydney's Bed Wettin' Bad Boys.  Introspection can come at you a number of different ways, and a listener can choose his or her poison.  But we have a weakness for well written songs crafted by musicians with enough experience to know what they are talking about (and know what they don't know) and uncompromising, full-bore performances.  And that is exactly what you get with Bed Wettin' Bad Boys.  This is a face-melting treatment with a pop-glaze, and that is hard to find and treasured when you have it in your hand.  Go ahead and ignore the band's name, but don't ignore this music.

Bed Wettin' Bad Boys is Joe Sukit of Royal Headache (vocals/guitar), Ben Warnock (guitar), Nic Warnock (bass), and Doug Gibson (drums).  Rot is out now via R.I.P. Society in CD, vinyl, cassette and digital formats.  The point of purchase depends on where you hang your hat; see the links below.

Bandcamp for Rot (American customers)
Bandcamp for Rot (rest of the world customers)

"One Rizla" by Shame

Today's word is Shame, but don't worry.  We aren't addressing what you said at the pub last night, or your snitch of the last cookie (although that was bad form, indeed).  We are talking about South London's Shame.  The five-piece's debut album Songs of Praise (given the title, we anticipate some sincere devotional numbers that really make us think) will be released by Dead Oceans on January 12.  The ten songs promise grit and post-punk energy, but we will have more on that later.  For now, listen to album track "One Rizla", or watch the video below.

Shame is Eddie Green, Charlie Forbes, Josh Finerty, Sean Coyle-Smith, and Charlie Steen.

Pre-order link for Songs of Praise


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mt. Doubt - Moon Landings

Certain bands have the unique ability to punch you in the gut while soaring melodically.  The Twilight Sad has been such a band, and more recently, Mt. Doubt has proven themselves in that channel.    Perhaps the Scots are predestined to thrill in this manner, but whatever the source, we are big fans.  If you are a regular reader, Mt. Doubt needs no introduction.  For those who are less familiar, know that the Edinburgh-based project was founded in 2014 by Leo Bargery.  Prolific of late, Mt. Doubt has released the new Moon Landings EP.  On this effort, Leo is joined by Ryan Firth and Annie Booth.  You will find the expected mountain of doom, heralded by Leo's baritone, but also rays of almost sunny pop tones.  It is a winning combination and a welcome expansion of the band's sound.

Moon Landings is out now via Scottish Fiction.

Scottish Fiction

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Cleaners From Venus - Martin Newell's Jumble Sale

Variously termed rummage sales, yard sales, garage sales, jumble sales, among other terms, when someone clears out their attic, basement, closets and other collection points, the rest of us have an opportunity to find treasure.  In the case of the UK's Martin Newell, recording as The Cleaners From Venus, a long career in music has produced a bumper crop of outtakes and other musical odds and ends.  And in a fit of housecleaning, he has assembled 17 tracks from 22 years of work and packaged them as Martin Newell's Jumble Sale.  So this will be one of your easiest jumble sale shopping excursions -- one stop shopping for a pre-selected set of songs.  There is no need to sort through boxes of crockery, loud holiday sweaters, or vintage roller skates.  Even with odds and ends of a recording session, Martin's keen observational skills, melodic sensibilities, and deft wordsmithing produce gems that others in the business should envy.  Welcome to the jumble sale!

Martin Newell's Jumble Sale is out now as a digital release, as well as a limited run of CDs.  Check out the Bandcamp link below or visit your preferred online store.

Bandcamp for album

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sob Stories - Sob Stories EP

We aren't the maudlin types around here.  In fact, we tend to be quite cheery in nearly all circumstances.  Nevertheless, we are going to start out the week with Sob Stories.  And what a great set of sob stories they are -- six tracks of chunky riffs, snarling leads and tales of failed love, dark observations, and dessert.  Yes, we wrote "dessert", deal with it.  The songs are concise and energetic, featuring frontman and songwriter Joel Cusumano's baritone growl and a band that sounds more like mid-career Clash than any band deserves to.  It isn't every day you can find sob stories that make you happy.

Sob Stories EP is out now via Emotional Response Records in digital and vinyl formats.  In addition to Cusumano (ex Talkies and Terry Six), Sob Stories includes member of Razz and Cocktails.

Bandcamp for record
Link for vinyl


Saturday, November 11, 2017

"The Day I Die" by Island

A slinky rhythmic intro to a gritty, soulful vocal.   Indeed, this is the way to end the day.  The song is "The Day I Die", and it is excellent.  While allegedly no man is an island, apparently Londoners Rollo Doherty, Jack Raeder, James Wolfe and Toby Richards are Island.  The song is from the band's debut album Feels Like Air, which will be released via Frenchkiss Records on April 6, 2018.  We're going to look forward to that one, and we suggest you do so as well.

Links to pre-order Feels Like Air

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Zephyr Bones - Secret Place

Secret Place is a special place, a place where melodic, upbeat psychedelia and warm, intimate lyricism meet.  According to the lyrics, those places could include various planets and the surface of the sun, but there is nothing wrong with some imaginary traveling supported by a killer soundtrack.  With elements of dreampop and psychedelia -- the band calls it "beach wave", the ten tracks on the album present a hazy celebration of the inner space of both the performers and the listeners.  It is sweet, sunny and playful, all qualities which pop music should have more of.

The Zephyr Bones are Brian Silva (guitar/vocals), Jossip Tkalcic (guitar/vocals/synth), Marc Lopez (drums), and Carlos Ramos.  The band is based in Barcelona, which is the hometown of Marc and Carlos (bass).  Brian and Jossip originally are from Chile.  Secret Place is out now in CD, vinyl and digital formats via La Castanya.

Bandcamp for Secret Place

Thursday, November 9, 2017

"Swim Deep" by Steve Buscemi's Dreamy Eyes

As casual fans of film and television, we spend very little time thinking about Steve Buscemi's admittedly dreamy eyes.  However, as indie music fans we are very excited about Steve Buscemi's Dreamy Eyes.  The Stockholm quartet will be releasing an EP titled Four Waters on November 24, but have provided a taste of the goods via closing track "Swim Deep".  Shimmering, propulsive and richly layered, it suggests very good things for this band.

The members of Steve Buscemi's Dreamy Eyes are Tilde Hansen, Siri Sjoberg, Elias Mahfoud, and Edvin Srleskar.  Four Waters will be available via the usual digital outlets, and as a limited vinyl release via Rama Lama Records.

Rama Lama Records

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Last Leaves - Other Towns Than Ours

One of the first impressions a listener may have upon listening to Other Towns Than Ours is how confident the band sounds on their first LP.  And of course, the listener is correct, although the amazement may be tempered a bit upon learning that Last Leaves includes three members of the long-running and beloved Lucksmiths.  The three are long-time songwriter and guitarist Marty Donald, who also is lead vocalist for this band, guitarist Louis Richter, and bassist Mark Monnone.  The non-Luckie is drummer Noah Symons of Great Earthquake.

Even with three members of the former group, Last Leaves isn't just a continuation project, but rather a new take on the members' guitar pop vision.  There is plenty of melody, but this band also embraces their guitars' fuzz and rumble as much as the jangle.  Take for example, the grit and swagger in "Love and the World Well Lost" and "The World We Had".  There is a bit of The Posies or Teenage Fanclub here, and you'll never hear us complain about that.  Donald's songs are superbly drawn, with a look back on relationships as well as some peeks forward to the future, resulting in a lyrical atmosphere that is both sentimental and hopeful.  This is great stuff for the folks down under anticipating summer, and for those of us up north trying to hang on to the last vestiges of ours.

Other Towns Than Ours is out now via Matinee Recordings in North America and Lost and Lonesome Recording Company in Australia.

Matinee Recordings page for album
The Lost and Lonesome Recording Company Bandcamp page for album

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Deportees - The Birth of Industry

Crafted with care and performed with passion, The Birth of Industry is the triumphant culmination of three years of inspiration and hard work by Aberdeen's The Deportees.  The album reflects intelligent songwriting and dynamic arrangements, combining elements of Celtic roots, folk, Americana, and indie rock.  The songs whisper then soar grandly into exploding soundscapes while the Scots-inflected vocals infuse the tracks with drama.  While the five-piece can give a song space when needed, allowing a solo piano riff to carry the line, their inclination is to layer instruments into the song until is resembles a well-appointed musical Christmas tree.  Of course, in the wrong hands that could be a hot mess, but The Deportees are a well-oiled machine and you can't find a note out of place.  And it must be said that the lads aren't shy about noise -- this album rocks more often than it whispers.  The Birth of Industry is a fine autumnal gem, and a welcome counterbalance to most of what one finds these days.

The Deportees are Duncan Dallas, Adam Keenan, Adam Morrice, Diarmaid O'Gallagher, and Ricky Osborne.

Bandcamp for The Birth of Industry

Monday, November 6, 2017

"Tell" by The Ocean Party

We are so much more than international music people here at WYMA.  We also are keenly interested in science.  And pursuing this interest, we recently asked our science department to run a saturation test to determine the saturation point for music for certain bands.  Our hypothesis was that the saturation point is a function not only of quantity of music and lapse of time, but also of the quality of music.  We are happy to report that our hypothesis was proved over the course of exhaustive testing.  To give you just a taste of the results, the Guns and Roses saturation point was 45.  No, not 45 songs, 45 seconds.  And we had left the room to get a beer for most of that time.  Early Rolling Stones doesn't hit saturation until two albums have run; later Stones saturate the listener more rapidly.

However, at the other end of the spectrum is Melbourne's The Ocean Party.  Considering the relatively short period of time (in terms of music production) of calendar year 2017, the prolific band has released a collection of B-side type material (our feature here), a tour tape (our feature here), the massively impressive LP Beauty Point (our feature here), and soon the Guilt EP.  This material was played to our test subjects in addition to other projects involving band members, such as Ciggie Witch, and attending The Ocean Party's show earlier in the year.  And despite all of that music, not one of our test subjects hit saturation point for The Ocean Party.  In fact, they all begged to hear the upcoming  EP.  Of course we didn't allow them to do that, because "upcoming" has to mean something, and even we have ethics (unless procurement of beer is involved).  But we can share with you one of the six EP tracks, "Tell".  The song underscores the band's ability to provide introspective lyrical content in a universally relatable manner and wrap it up in a glistening pop song.

Guilty will be out in early December via Spunk Records.

Spunk Records' shop

A Certain Smile - Fits & Starts

A Certain Smile distills their influences with perfection.  Presumably devouring the catalogs of Sarah, Creation, Heavenly, Slumberland and the various noise pop and dream pop bands that make us sigh and smile that certain smile, the Philadelphia-to-Portland band has released Fits & Starts, a nine-track dissertation of their genre that deserves a much, much wider audience than it appears to have garnered so far.  From start to finish, the album displays a knack for melody, driven by a twin guitar attack that soars, jangles and dances with authority, and super sweet hooks.  The sound is confident, and the arrangements robust, but detailed.  Fans of Aberdeen, Rocketship, and The Clientele will find this release especially welcome, but it should be a delight to all.

A Certain Smile consists of Thomas (vocals/guitar), Casey (bass), Zach (guitars/keys), and Ian (drums).  Additional performances provided by Ryan, Lisle, and Kitt.

Bandcamp for Fits & Starts

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Allah-Las - Covers #1

We have been dedicated fans of Los Angeles' Allah-Las for several years.  In fact, our first post about them appears to have been in 2011.  While we always are thrilled to be able to bring you new music from the band, their distinctive sound is welcome on treatments of other artists' work, as well as their own compositions.  While working on their next full length, Allah-Las have recorded Covers #1, a 10" consisting of songs by George Harrison ("Fish On Sand"), Television ("Hard On Love"), Further ("JO. Eleven"), and Kathy Heideman ("The Earth Won't Hold Me").  The record is available via Mexican Summer in a high quality vinyl package and as a digital download.  In choosing a format, note that the cover of Further's "J.O. Eleven" is only available on the vinyl version.

Allah-Las are Miles Michaud (vocals/rhythm guitar), Matthew Correia (drum/vocals), Pedrum Siadatian (lead guitar/vocals), and Spencer Dunham (bass/vocals).

Bandcamp for Covers #1
Spotify link for Covers #1
Mexican Summer order page

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Jazz Butcher - The Wasted Years

At least on the surface, it may seem perverse to reissue music by an artist that noted that pop music was a disposable product.  But appreciation of art is a matter of emotions, not logic, so when The Wasted Years reached our ears, we felt like we hit the lottery.  The four CD collection (plus booklet) is assembled from four records -- Bath Of Bacon, A Scandal In Bohemia, Sex And Travel, and Distressed Gentlefolk -- by The Jazz Butcher.  The project, also known as the Jazz Butcher Conspiracy and other, similar, names, was founded in the late '70s by Oxford student Pat Fish (Patrick Huntrods).  Fish, often with a rotating cast of collaborators has been prolific over the years, creating music that reflects melody, wit, and an incredible genius for expressing pop music in just about every format possible.  Lo-fi indie pop? Of course. Soft rock with tones of jazz? Got it covered.  A bit of country? You don't need to ask.  Alternative folk?  Plenty of the best.  Rockabilly? Dance away! Oddball pop? See stage left. Cabaret?  Have a seat, your waiter will be along momentarily.

The four constituent records were released between 1983 and 1986 by Glass Records, a small outfit that also released records by the Pastels, Spaceman 3, and Teenage Fanclub. This is music constructed from pop components, with pop widely defined and the songs adventurously created with a punk attitude.  But don't assume that it was hastily made or carelessly performed.  The players are excellent, the arrangements detailed and the vocals layered.  The listener is treated to the cascading delights of 41 varied and invariably interesting songs running two and a half hours.  In our opinion,  The Wasted Years is disposable art that deserves to live forever.

The Wasted Years is out now as a four CD box set (plus booklet with an essay by Mr. Fish, himself) or digital download via Fire records.

Fire Records page for The Wasted Years
Bandcamp for The Wasted Years

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Stroppies - The Stroppies

Hey, we want to spend more of your money.  It may seem a burden, but you'll thank us.  Today's suggestion is the self-titled album from Melbourne's The Stroppies.  Given our admiration for many of the other bands in which its members ply their trade, we are inclined to consider it an indie super group.  But regardless of whether you agree with that designation, we think you'll find the quality of the music quite compelling.  If you are fans of Guided By Voices and Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, this will hit your sweet spot.

The Stroppies are Angus Lord, Claudia Serfaty, Stephanie Hughes, Rory Heane and Adam Hewwit, who are members of various bands, including Dick Diver, Boomgates, The Stevens, Primetime, Possible Humans, White Walls, and See/Saw.  The self-titled album is out now via Tough Love Records.  The vinyl is sold out already, but digital versions are available.

Bandcamp for album


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

David West with Teardrops - Cherry On Willow

David West is a formidable pop talent, participating in several musical projects concurrently and producing high quality recordings.  Just this year has seen a fine album Candle Power for his Rat Columns, as well as the just released Cherry on Willow by David West with Teardrops.  And these are just the latest additions to a prolific young career as a solo artist and participant in Total Control, Lace Curtains and Rank/Xerox. 

For Cherry on Willow West collaborated with "Teardrops", a collection of friends including, but not limited to, Mikey Young, Bob Jones, Louis Hooper, Raven Mahon, and Griffin Harrison.  Recorded in David's current home in New York, Glasgow, and his place of origin - Western Australia - the album boasts a spontaneous, 'recorded live' feel, and offers a dizzing array of '70s and '80s guitar and synth pop with glammy swagger, surging rhythms, and a soulful heart.  And yes, that means we get some guitar solos, thanks for asking.  This is bold pop painted in bright colors by a group of musicians who clearly enjoyed the sessions.  Around WYMA headquarters these days, when we want to feel good and listen to something with a swing that makes you want to move, we are playing Cherry On Willow.

Cherry On Willow is out now via Tough Love Records.

Bandcamp for Cherry On Willow
Tough Love Records

Monday, October 30, 2017

Seafog - Dig It On Up

This mini album isn't a particularly recent release.  In fact, it dropped in April.  But having become aware of it via the PopLib blog, we quickly decided that our readers needed to know about it.  Consisting of six tracks of urgent, loose-limbed post punk with frontman and songwriter Robin Sharma's talk-sing vocals, Dig It On Up is exciting and wonderfully different.  Fans of Melbourne's Boomgates will note some similarities, and we think that is a very good thing.  But a deeper background may also detect some inspiration from Joy Division.

Seafog are Robin Sharma (vocals/guitar), Nigel Waters (guitar/effects), and Marty Sadler (drums).  The album is released via Autria's Zelle Records, but you can score a digital copy via the Bandacamp link below.

Bandcanp for Dig It On Up

The Occasional Flickers - Sleep And The Time In Between

Occasional Flickers is a long-running Edinburgh band that plays the kind of jangle pop and indie rock for which the Scottish indie scene is justifiably respected.  They have just released the fine Sleep And The Time In Between, which is a worthy addition to their catalog.  Listen to the free-wheeling jangle of "Sparrow", the Belle & Sebastian echoes of "Half Know" and the title track, or try the pastoral folk jangle of "Before You Break A Mirror".  Other highlights are the breezy "Myself", the country-tinged "Visions of Geraldine", and the grand conclusion of "Winter Waltz".   This album is a very rewarding listen, and will deliver pleasure for a long time.

The Greek/Scots line-up of Occasional Flickers consists of Panayotis Baras, Giorgos Bouras, Fraser Hughes, and Robin Campbell Oliver.  Sleep And The Time In Between is out now via Jigsaw Records.

Bandcamp for album
Jigsaw Records

Sunday, October 29, 2017

TheYellow Melodies - Life

One of the modern masters of brightly colored power pop is Spain's The Yellow Melodies.  Helmed by songwriter Rafa Skam, the band keeps the flame of The Teenage Fanclub, Big Star, The Pastels, Superstar, and BMX Bandits burning brightly.  Whether playing their own compositions or covering other bands (covers of Television Personalities and BMX Bandits are fondly remembered around here), they always deliver melodies and charm.  The band's new album is simply titled Life, and it is a good choice for a set of songs that affirm the joys of living from start to finish.  This is music to accompany a drive with a loved one, time with the children, a family picnic, or perhaps just a hug.  We can all think of a number of reasons to listen to music, but one of the best is that it makes us feel good.  If you want to feel good, choose Life.

In addition to Rafa Skam, The Yellow Melodies are Pilar, Carlos Abrisqueta, and Jose Angel, although others contribute with keys, percussion and horns.  Life is out now via the band's own label in Europe and Ottawa's The Beautiful Music in North America.

Bandcamp for Life
The Beautiful Music page for album

"Three Shadows" by The New Tigers

The New Tigers is one of our favorite Finnish bands.  And yes, we follow so may Finnish bands that we have favorites.  The band is preparing to release their third album, and has decided to share a single to let us all know what they've have been up to.  The answer, according to "Three Shadows", is that they have been crafting delectable pop music.  And here it is!

The music of The New Tigers is released via Helsinki's Soliti Music.

Bandcamp for "Three Shadows"
Soliti Music

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Worriers - Survival Pop

Punk rock with melody, insight and passion -- damn this is good stuff.  If you aren't familiar with Brooklyn's Worriers, you have some catching up to do.  But start with their recent album Survival Pop.  The band's focal point is vocalist Lauren Denitzio, who also is an author and visual artist.  She relies an a fluid supporting case, including Mikey Erg, Lou Hanman, John McLean, Rachel Rubino, and Audrey Zee.  Which of them play on Survival Pop is unknown to us, but WYMA gives major respect to everyone involved.  The music and performances are first rate, and as for the politics, large and small, Joe Strummer said something like 'without politics, punk is just noise'.  We assure you, this album is far more than just noise.

Survival Pop is out now as a digital download.  See the Bandcamp link.

Bandcamp for Survival Pop

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Those Unfortunates - In Lavender and Other Stories

Since everyone reading this blog is accomplished, successful and in every respect a "fat cat", we urge you to spare a little time for the unfortunates in life.  Which unfortunates, you ask?  Well, our recommendation is Those Unfortunates.  Yes, those, the musical Londoners who are witty, melodic and, lately, appealingly prolific.  Their latest offering is the recently released In Lavender EP, which has been playing here in headquarters all morning.

The EP consists of seven numbered tracks, but the first and last are brief spoken-word bookends for the songs.  And what songs they are!  Beginning with the jangling gem "In Lavender" from their recent LP Nothing Isn't Beautiful (reviewed favorably in the most influential blogs, such as here) and continuing with four songs recorded in the sessions for that album, the record showcases the band's ability to thrill with tempo and flair, and please with more pastoral approaches.  "Druid Lane continues the uptempo atmosphere of the title track in fine fashion.  Following songs "Woodlouse" and "Mirror" slide into the band's alternative sweet spot of folk pop.  The final musical offering is the delightful "Fountayne Road", a shaggy folk rock tune.  Any of the previously unreleased songs could have held their own with the songs included in the album, so we applaud the wisdom of the band in releasing them now.  Of course, if that leaves them four songs short for the next album, they will live up to their band name, and the LP will become an EP.  But other than that potential problem, these guys are just about perfect.  Enjoy!

In Lavender is available as a highly limited cassette and digital download via the band's own Midnight Bell label.  See the Bandcamp link for details.

Bandcamp for EP

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Luxembourg Signal - Blue Field

Now seven members strong, everything about the current iteration of Anglo/Yankee band The Luxembourg Signal suggests a continuing upward trajectory.  From the top quality pop vocals of Beth Arzy and Betsy Moyer to the richly textured and dynamic arrangements that define their anthemic brand of Creation Records-meets-2017 brand indie pop, the focus is on loading the listener's aural pleasure sensors to maximum levels.  With veterans of Aberdeen and Trembling Blue Stars, and a lineage that leads back to Sarah Records, there is a wealth of experience in crafting delectable hooks and smile-inducing melodies.  But even knowing that background may not prepare the listener for the treats on Blue Field, the band's new album.  The album offers swirling guitars and synths, forward pushing percussion, soaring and cascading harmonies, and evocative expressions of joy and unease.  And in doing so represents one of the finest combinations of pop and dreampop you will find.  Certainly one of 2017's musical gems.

The Luxembourg Signal is Beth Arzy, Betsy Moyer, Johnny Joyner, Brian Espinosa, Ginny Pitchford, Kelly Davis, and Daniel Kumiega.  Blue Field is out now on vinyl, digital and CD formats via Shelflife Records (North America) and Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten (Europe).

Shelflife page for album

Monday, October 23, 2017

Wireheads - Lightning Ears

Lightning Ears is compellingly weird and a whole lot of wonderful.  The latest album and fourth overall from Adelaide country punks Wireheads, it is loose-limbed in construction and wide scope in inspiration.  For this venture band leader Dom Trimboli gathers Harriet Fraser-Barbour (Workhourse), Luke Kenny (Men With Chips), Vic Conrad (The Garden Path), Daniel Heath (IDK 2.0) and Liam Kenny (Workhorse).  As with the prior album, the plan was to record for Calvin Johnson (K Records, Beat Happening) at his studio in Olympia, Washington.  Calvin mislaid his studio so the proceedings moved north to a deconsecrated church in Anacortes, on an island in Puget Sound.  So at the time of recording, we had a band that just recently became a band and which is still learning the songs, a half world of travel, and an enigmatic producer in a new studio.  You might guess that this is a recipe for chaos.  And of course it is, but chaos appears to be the yeast for Wireheads bread.

We've termed the music country punk here because we are accustomed to labels, but the breadth of influences is immense.  Trimboli's talk-sing and deadpan delivery of observations and questions about life and technology are transported by elements of fuzzy punk, college rock, post punk, country, glam and classic rock.  Oh, I almost forgot some Afro-pop and a children's choir (no, not in the same song, these people are civilized).  Nothing is lyrically straightforward, but on some plane it makes sense, you with an open mind you'll get there.  Everyone will find songs to love, and maybe a song or two that challenges them.  But we can't pretend to be objective because we've already put in on our draft list of best albums of the year.  And in our professional opinion, "Indian Pacific Express is one of the best songs we have heard in years.  Go ahead and play it over and over.  It won't wear out, and it won't wear out its welcome.

Lightning Ears is out now via Tenth Court Records.

Bandcamp for Lightning Ears
Tenth Court Records
Site for US vinyl orders
European site for orders

Mark Martyre - Rivers

Lyrical and suffused with emotional currents, Rivers is another stellar offering from Toronto songwriter and poet Mark Martyre.  Martyre possesses a voice seemingly drenched in smoke and whisky, and a breezy performance style that radiates warmth.  But as appealing as that combination can be, the star is the songwriting -- showcasing Mark's ability to turn his personal observations into stories that the listener may well mistake for his or her own.  Sure, Rivers is Martyre's album, but it is welcoming enough that a listener with some miles in the rear view mirror could think a story or two was borrowed from his or her own life.

This album is like a feel good prescription for you spirit.  And it refills endlessly.

Bandcamp for Rivers

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