Posts Tagged ‘Jangle-pop’

Blue Jeans – “Friends & Lovers”

Got a brand-new track from Michigan jangle-pop trio Blue Jeans and its swimming in allusions to the golden years of the twee end of the spectrum. Shades of classic Slumberland, Cloudberry, Flying Nun, and Subway abound, and with good reason. The band boasts a trio of music writers, alongside Saturday Looks Good To Me’s Fred Thomas, at their core. The band leaves influences draped all over their sleeves and the joy they get from dipping into the fray is palpable. The song itself celebrates making records, listening to records, and loving records with the kind of anguish that makes one stay awake late at night playing a song over and over into the headphones until the dark finally wins the fight. They’ve captured the long sigh of indie-pop with the attention to detail of listeners who’ve made it their duty to absorb every last lingering lilt. Check out the zine-worthy video above and be sure to keep an eye out for their debut LP May 17th.



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Jeanines – “Either Way”

Brooklyn do Jeanines have announced their debut LP for Slumberland today and the first cut wafts in on memories of classic Slumberland, Sarah, and Cloudberry singles gone by. Lead by Alicia Jeanine and aided and abetted by My Teeanage Sride’s Jed Smith on drums and bass, the band picks at a whole host of favorites from Marine Girls, The Pastels and Talulah Gosh to further outliers like Tiger Trap and Cub. Its sweet and simple and decidedly breezy, just the kind of jangle pop that brightens a day. There have been a lot of heirs to the jangle-pop throne, but the true secret is not to overthink it. So many of the originals shone brightly because they weren’t trying to overcomplicate the sound, and instead just got together with friends to knock out sparkling singles dipped in simple syrup and sunshine. Jeanines seem to capture the haphazard brilliance of the original set. Get this one on your list for 2019.



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Business of Dreams – “Ripe For Anarchy”

Still one of the most criminally overlooked releases of the year, Corey Cunningham’s (Terry Malst, Smokescreens) Business of Dreams showed no signs of a sophomore slump on his latest LP for Slumberland. The record perfectly encapsulates the melancholy, wistfulness, and tenderness of the best jangle-pop and synth-pop, slotting him in easily among bands on the Creation and Sarah Records rosters in any mix. He’s heading out on tour with Jessica Pratt and released a new video for the album’s title track “Ripe For Anarchy.” The spare treatment of the video sums up the album’s vibes with its overcast hues and sighed atmospheres. Check out the clip above, and if you haven’t snagged a copy yet, its probably about time.



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Possible Humans

When the first crack listen off the debut LP from Aussies Possible Humans came rolling into the inbox it was marked by strums that brought to mind old guard South Hemi hitters like The Clean and The Go-Betweens – usual fare for the new crop of Aussie indies popping up all over the coasts. The band even contains a member of recent RSTB faves The Stroppies – and so it seemed all teed and set up for expectations of more of the same – but, this ain’t that record. Not by a long shot. While Possible Humans start their motor in jangle’s wide embrace, they don’t linger in its lot too long. They take a tub of roofing tar to The Clean’s fizz n’ strum dynamics and stick it onto a harder, knottier, more knuckled vision of indie that was spreading across the US. Shades of Dinosaur, before legalities gave them a youthful suffix, are at work here as well as patches that pull from Dino’s fellow Fort Apache alums Volcano Suns.

The band has a real reach, giving the record the kind of dynamic progression that often gets lost in bands who nail their niche with a great tune only to rinse and repeat over the rest of the record. There’s hardly a repeat feeling in the bunch save for a hangover of frustration, but it sticks together like a dingey bouquet picked out the puddle and pasted back together. The toughened skin of “Absent Swimmer” recalls R.E.M. at a time when you weren’t likely spot the whites of Stipe’s eyes on stage. Other places they’re muddying up Feelies riffs or flirting with the noisier nubs of the alternative nation, bending guitar growl through manic swings like a band who watched The Mats once and tried to memorize the stage moves.

The absolute highlight, though, is the lengthy second side workout “Born Stoned” which finds them at their gnarled best, threading repeated riffs through the woodshed and stuffing flannel in all the exits to hotbox their best grim grooves. It’s a hell of a debut, and like their fellow countrymen Mope City (who tackle Galaxie 500 glimmer) they’re branching out from the expectations built up among an underground that’s constantly intriguing, but has also cannibalized its influences a few times over. Though the LP was scant, this one’s worth it in any format. Recommended you get on that.



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Martha

Jumping up another rung from their superb and well-received sophomore LP Blisters In The Pit of My Heart, UK power pop shakers Martha are proving to be the piners to keep a constant eye on. The band’s latest infects 2019 with the kind of hearsick stomach ache that accompanies lost loves, long nights, dour days, and the terrible creeping feeling that you’ll never survive the next couple of months unchanged. Despite covering some of the bands most heavy territory, they make go down pretty easy, swishing down sweet hooks garnished with singalong swoons and whoa-oh choruses that help mask the bitter poison swimming below the in the band’s lyrics. While the hooks are noting to slough at, the band’s bare and bracing subjects elevate them from slipping into the punk undertow.

They’ve always had their hearts on their sleeve, tugging gently at the emotional tags that can sometimes be a brush off for folks. Yet they knot their wordy wallows into decorative lanyards that can’t help but win over listeners with the shared trauma of youth. Every song in Martha’s canon feels like they’re barely getting out alive and its hard not to nod along -whether the listener’s in the throes of high-stakes youth or just moisturizing the scars from it as part of a daily routine. The band is the embodiment of bittersweet, begging the listener back for more with earworms that nod the head but rub the soul raw.

To build those earworms they’re pushing aside the prattle of punk’s latter-day indulgences, keeping in the parachute lite pop billow, but discarding the repetition and cheeky charms. They supplant these with a touch of jangle stripped right out of the English tradition and the wistful cool that comes in tow with their clouded demeanor and introspective bend. While Love Keeps Kicking is easily a record that could facilitate any windows-down car trip for the summer, its just as likely to find you pulled over by the roadside crying off old wounds. For every tear they spill, though, Martha’s there to wrap an arm around and wipe it away. The record is knife and stitches all in one and despite my best intentions, its hard not to listen, lash and repeat.



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Possible Humans – “The Thumps”

Another top-notch jangler out of Melbourne and the hotbed of Hobbies Galore. Possible Humans blend roiling twang with the crunch of fuzz and a quick-step beat pushing it headlong down the hill. “The Thumps” builds on their previous LP and a single on Strange Pursuits (home to Day Ravies, Sachet). Like Stroppies, they’ve also cleaned up their act a bit for the new long player and their sound has cohered into a mash of the Stropp’s organ-laced jangle-pop, Twerps loose shuffle, and the taut bass work of The Go-Betweens. The first single offers a lot to love, so its understandable that hopes are high for the full-length coming April 1st. The record was recorded by Alex MacFarlane with the usual Aussie shine-up by Mikey Young. Grab a listen below.






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The Stroppies

Melbourne’s Stroppies have been building to their debut album for a couple of years, issuing a couple of great EPs for Hobbies Galore and another for Tough Love, who pick up their new LP, Whoosh, as well. Culling talent from South-Hemi bands Boomgates, Twerps, Blank Statements, Primetime and quite a few others, the band’s practically dipped to the pits in jangle-pop’s pedigree and they don’t disappoint on the longform listen. The band has a particular fondness for Flying Nun’s sweet n’ shaggy shake on the genre and they flip through shades of The Clean, Able Tasmans, The Bats, The Verlaines and even a touch of Look Blue Go Purple over two sides of sprightly strums and woozy organs.

The playful hand-off of vocals between Gus Lord and Claudia Serfaty adds a breeziness to their sounds, and like many of the best in the Nun stable before them, they aren’t content to be crowded into the corner with your ten-a-penny janglers. They purloin from many of the bags belonging to bands that laid the groundwork for this type of sound – letting the strings ring one minute, then buttoning them down into a rubbery twang the next. They splash enough organ on a few of the tracks (like the excellent “Cellophane Car”) that it seems the speakers will get slick with sound. They speckle the record with hooks, but aren’t too hung up on crafting anything approaching pristine.

Besides bouncing the lead back and forth between Lord and Serfaty, the band embraces the kind of dented harmonies that have long found a home among the Aussie underground. They all lend a hand in giving the sing-a-longs a sense of perfect imperfection. Which, come to think of it, seems to be the crux of The Stroppies sound altogether. The band is like a gorgeous vacation shot hung slightly askew, steeped in nostalgia, calm, and charm. Which isn’t to say that the album retreads the past. The Stroppies know their influences and use them as anchor points, but they let Whoosh soar of its own accord. The band has created an album that feels worn in, but worthy of keeping on repeat. I’d snag it now before it winds up collector fodder for future generations.



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The Oilies – “Psychic Dog”

A while back I posted a homespun digital single from Carly Putnam, aka The Oilies, and now the artist is stepping out with her physical debut for the always charming Fruits & Flowers. Having spent time in The Art Museums, The Mantles, Horrid Red, and The Reds, Pinks & Purples, Carly’s well versed in the pastel-hued jangles that tend to drizzle down the window panes of the sould and “Psychic Dog” doesn’t disappoint in that regard. The first cut from the EP lopes through a set of competing strums set against the click-stop backdrop of drum machine snap. The track is wistful and wanting, combining the simple charms of Marine Girls with the pulse n’ pine of Jazzateers. For those who readily wander down the lesser traveled paths of the ‘80s this is just what the grey-skied winters ordered.



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Sleeper & Snake

While Sleeper & Snake pairs up the great Al Montfort and Amy Hill, who’ve both found themselves in league as band mates in Terry, the album isn’t quite the pop pairing that it seems on the surface. The hint lies in the name – Sleeper & Snake. Last year Montfort released a record titled Snake & Friends which shied away from his strums, jangles, and geniality for a record that was steeped in offbeat electronics and free jazz fizz. This is, by many measures, an offshoot of that record and not quite a brand new beginning. Though the two hint at a duo dynamic throughout, crafting some bittersweet janglers like the first single “Sugar and Gold,” which recounts the sordid backstory of Queensland with a breezy beat and the pair’s time-tested askew harmonies.

Montfort peppers the album with plenty of his Snake-style freeform dropout fare, buzzing against the cloudy charms of the opener and fellow janglers “Wisdom Vermin” and “The Lucknow Sound.” At times they threaten to overwhelm the album, but there’s more here than just sound collage sandwiched between a couple of singles. The pair push the pop envelope on the triptych on side one, “Junction and High” (pts 1, 2, & 3). They ease in strumming, but less palatable than they’d offered on the opener – a moth-eaten pop song that’s only letting the chaos consume it as it works its way through the second and third movements. In this portion of the album they show the heavy influence of Elephant Sixers like Olivia Tremor Control and Circulatory System – holding a similar glee in letting their gold peek through the din for those willing to walk the maze.

For a debut it holds a lot of promise, though I know that both artists have so much on their plate this may be a one off, which would be too bad. Its got a lot of promise as a premise, though I’d think they should embrace that E6 mafia mentality full bore. If you whittle down the noisemakers under the 1:30 mark and stretch it out with a few more high concept pop like “Jangle and High” this could work its way towards jangle-psych bliss. Still, its by no means a miss for two Aussie pop smiths at the top of their game. Though for many their hand will be seeking the skip button or nabbing the needle, this is an ambitious swing with a lot to love.



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Boyracer – “Strong Arms / Teardrops”

Emotional Response continues to be a lifeline to Sarah Records in the here and now. After a string of reissues, including Even As We Speak, Action Painting, and Boyracer’s own earl EPs, the label is now working with the band on a new album due out later in the year But, bonus on bonus, these two non-album cuts have found their way out into the world early via a 75-run lathe cut single. “Strong Arms” is picks up nicely where vintage Boyracer left off, pinning a splash of fuzz to the jangle that long pervaded the Sarah roster. The song tumbles over itself in pure exhumeerance, veering wildly in its lane and spilling confetti out of the windows as it speeds away. The flip isn’t quite as breathless, but its a jolt of joy nontheless, if you can wrap old habits around Boyracer sneering about streaming albums. For fans of the band’s career (which stretched long after the seminal label folded through Slumberland, A Turntable Friend and Fluff Records) this is another great entry to their pristine run.



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