Posts Tagged ‘Jangle-pop’

Tony Jay

I first caught wind of Tony Jay on a great comp from Rocks In Your Head that came out last year rounding up an essential crop of Bay Area bands. The track there stuck to the ribs, a swooning jangler buried in a blanket of hiss. The name’s a misnomer. There’s no Tony in the flesh, but he exists in the mind of the players, if only to inform the scope of the band’s lament. They create a vision of loner pop that’s scuffed and sullen, yet still saddled with enough hope to soften the edges and let the listener peek into the crinkled diary pages of Tony’s heartsick limbo. The band’s been knocking out singles and tapes for quite a few years it seems, but this new one on Paisley Shirt has the band peaking. A Wave In The Dark gives their vaseline-lensed pop a proper stretch out, adding some heft and dimension to their decidedly lo-fi basket of hooks and harmonies.

The hushed delivery wafts over the speakers with a confessional color that finds the band retreating behind bedroom walls rather than filling out stages. If anything, it feels like this was a tape recorded and left by accident on the high school bleachers. It’s a secret treasure found and played endlessly in the tape deck of a car filled on summer job wages and driven around the outskirts to shake out the rejection of a crush. The songs here are hooked on the K catalog —picking at the delicacy of The Softies and Heavenly, with a touch of Sarah alums Brighter in the mix. There’s been a good glut of jangle-pop that wants to mix the bittersweet with the sun, but it’s nice to feel the cloudy day drift of Tony Jay on the headphones. Some days that sun just won’s shine.




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Floodlights

The jangled goodness that rolls out of Australia never flags and Melbourne’s Floodlights have taken up the emotionally scarred mantle from many of their peers – echoing The Bats, The Chills, Goon Sax, and more specifically feeling like a less cheeky version of Scott and Charlene’s Wedding. Like the latter there’s a conversational, working stiff quality to the band’s debut. The songs act as pub rally points, but underneath the hooks, there’s a searching unsureness that’s looking to find where the band members fit into a world that seems daunting by any measurable standards. The discomfort bubbles through From A View giving the songs an itch even when their melodies sway towards earworms. On “Don’t Pick That Scratch,” and “Glory of Control” the band lays out a world that’s unforgiving, mired in wounds that won’t ever heal fully until they’re attended to properly. “Scratch’s” premise is perhaps a sentiment that engulfs 2020 more than any other, as each day pulls back a layer of systemic dysfunction and piles on a few more layers of dystopian atrocity.

While the lyrical content might get take the focus, the band’s not letting the underlying aesthetics fall by the wayside. While the references above might start to give you a picture of where the band is coming from they don’t stick to jangle-pop as a rote means. Goon Sax and Scott and Charlene act as good modern equivalents because like Floodlights they’re injecting a certain element of tension and Floodlights have that in tow. The more I listen this actually begins to cross this over into Billy Bragg territory. Though perhaps not as outright political in nature, there’s a bit of a Brewing Up feeling to Floodlights’ debut that can’t be completely shaken once its felt. After a soft lead in on their Backyard EP this debut establishes the band as ones to keep a watchful eye on in the coming years. It’s a grower that takes more than a few listens to latch, but I’d recommend putting in the work to let this get under your skin.



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R. E. Seraphin – “Leave Me Here in the Tide”

The last EP from R.E. Seraphin was steeped in a vaseline-lensed power pop, but on his follow-up, Seraphin is moving towards the crossroads of janglepop and indie pop that culls moves from The Field Mice, Even As We Speak, and all manner of 80’s twee pop confections. The track is cut with a dreaminess that’s less easy to pin down. For contemporary comparisons, Seraphin is running through the same filters that Cory Cunningham’s Business of Dreams seems to find familiar, and both bands share a lot of time among the soft pink clouds of daybreak, working their way through the mists. “Leave Me in the Tide” is pinned to a cracking drum machine, and finds its charm in not letting the jangle become the dominant force, letting the guitar warp in the sun just a bit as it wriggles its way through the song. The last EP showed a lot of promise and A Room Forever makes good on it in short order. The EP is out now on Paisley Shirt Records.



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Pop Filter – “Big Yellow Van”

The Ocean Party spent quite a bit of time on the turntable here, but after the tragic passing of member Zac Denton, the band has dissolved and reformed under the name Pop Filter. The same breezy bounce is in place here, through Zac’s songwriting is missed among the stars that have cropped up in pre-album singles. “Big Yellow Van” is rife with nostalgia for the road, the past, and another time that’s been lost forever. With bittersweet harmonies, a crackerjack bounce of drums, and chipper keys, the band nails this wistful tune to the wall for all time. There’s quite a bit of heartache in between the bars, but I’m smiling through the tears over here. The Aussie band’s debut record Banksia is out August 21st through Spain’s Bobo Integral.





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The Reds, Pinks & Purples – “I’d Rather Astral Project”

I can’t resist a chance to post The Reds, Pinks & Purples and while the band’s upcoming new LP for Slumberland is still a ways off, they’ve worked up a nice animated vid for one of the myriad singles that have packed their Bandcamp over the last few months. The message in “I’d Rather Astral Project” seems a bit more prescient now with physical shows in indefinite hiatus it would seem more convenient to take up the astral plane as the new venue. As usual the band wraps their wry thoughts in the jangled melancholia that’s made them so steady on the speakers over here. Check out the Jem Fanvu directed vid above.



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Galore

Been really enjoying this scrappy, scruffy dose of post-punk from San Francisco’s Galore lately. The band’s hitting on the same intersection of influences as Aussie upstarts Primo!, Terry, and School Damage but they add a dose of sweetness that’s sometimes sanded away from those outfits, perhaps bringing them most in line with the windswept charm of Parsnip. The band employs an austerity that cuts through the fat of pop and hits straight onto the bone. Jangled and jostled, nervy, but emotionally raw, the band’s eponymous LP also draws a crooked line between Look Blue Go Purple, The Pastels, and Talulah Gosh. The songs are catchy without cloying, crafting hooks that knock around the brain but won’t latch completely due to the rough edges. Each go round with the album lets them stick in a different nook of consciousness and if feels just right.

They sweep from strums and the lilt of jangles that populate much of the album to the sonic shrapnel of “Cucaracha,” and the bent tin twist of “Lydia,” executing the switch without so much as a skid on the pavement. They make the juxtaposition feel natural like the flow of an 80’s college station. The songs crunch confessionally, detailing days spent lolling in the bed, creature comforts, dashed hopes, and sneaking suspicions. The bubble-wrap snap of drums skitters in the background and the bass feels like its just getting its land legs back on more than a few songs. The whole record comes together in a lovely slump on the bed — conflicted, content, confused, and catchy. It’s holding up a long tradition of jangle n’ bop that doesn’t quite fit into the boxes that folks want to try to stuff ‘em into and Galore comes out shining all the brighter for their refusal to take shape.


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Boyracer – “Crack The Red”

Got another volley of fuzz from Boyracer, who are just coming into their 13th album. Having blossomed in the ‘90s, working through labels like Slumberland and Sarah, they became nothing if not prolific ambassadors of indie pop over the years. While the lineups would change, the buoyant, blistering songwriting of Stewart Anderson remained a constant and as luck would have it the world found itself ready to love indie-pop with a newfound enthusiasm over the last decade or so and the band’s come into a rather pervasive second (or third) wind. “Crack The Red” is a fuzz-rumbled ripper that works as an ode to a well-earned bottle at the end of the day. While the guitars are set to sunburn, the harmonies cool it off and let the song sink into the skin. The band’s lengthy tenure lets them call in a whole host of friends on the new LP. While Burnt Palms’ Christina Riley joins as a permanent member there are pop-ins from Mary Wyer and Anita Rayner (Even As We Speak), Snowy (Ocean Party), Penny McBride (Cannanes) and Boyracer roster legacies from Simon Guild, Laura Bridge, Matty Green, Jen Turrell, Ged McGurn and Ara Hacopian. The video embraces the bottle in the only way a pandemic vid can – Anderson leads the charge with a whole host of friends sharing the screen to sympathize with a glass. If you’ve missed out on the record, I’d recommend getting it onto the decks.

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Pop Filter – “Laughing Falling”

Kinda loving this new cut from Aussies Pop Filter. A low-slung jangler that employs a New Wave beat, “Laughing Falling,” is an instant charmer. The song attempts to wrangle the fuzzy delight of being a bit buzzed and walking around and its got a nice take on that out-of-body delight wherein you can almost watch yourself having a good time while simultaneously being sad that its going to end. That curdle of sadness ripples underneath, and in the sunset hues that streak the song, but mostly its a romp. The band takes a nice stab at the distanced video with a steampunk exploration that’s not just band members playing parts in different houses — a trope that’s already worn too thin. The song sidles alongside previous single “Romance At The Petrol Station,” and both will appear on their album Banksia in August.



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The Reds, Pinks and Purples – “I Should Have Helped You”

Some subtle news slips out over the long weekend that there’s a new 7” from The Reds, Pinks and Purples coming on EU label Discreet Music. The official follow-up to the band’s last LP, Anxiety Art culls four tracks from Glenn and co.’s prolific Bandcamp run over the last few months. In addition to the title track, “I Should Have Helped You,” the record picks up official version of “Unrequited,” “Keep Your Secrets Close,” and “They Only Wanted Your Soul.” As with the last album the band excels at mining the Sarah Records heyday with songs that tip both jangled and jilted – catchy but with a true melancholy heat. There’s not a cut on here worth missing but check out the autumn sighs that abound on the EP closer below. The song’s got Glenn’s earnest delivery humming and close enough to feel breath in the speakers, but its heard to push down the lump in the throat that forms over these two and a half minutes. Seems there should be some copies stateside soon, but there’s a link below for the import as well. Along with his Telephone Numbers output, these are some of Donaldson’s most intimate, but aching songs and its worth keeping an ear on them to see what’s popping up next.




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The Telephone Numbers – “Pictures of Lee”

As I mentioned Friday was a hectic day with the feeds flying fast, but if you were looking in the right places there were plenty of gems to be had. This new single/digital EP from The Telephone Numbers is just such a gem, so let’s rewind and take a listen. The band’s popped up here before and its a new one from Glenn Donaldson (The Skygreen Leopards, The Reds Pinks and Purples) who’s hooked up with a few more SF janglers to create some pristine and perfect pop in this absolute shit year. Sometimes all you need is a crisp jangle, earnest harmonies, and a good dose of swoon and everything just melts away for 3 minutes or so. The title track off of the single garners this kind of appeal. Its a such a crystal clear moment in sound that everything relaxes for a moment and just soaks in the West Coast sun for a few suspended minutes. The rest of the tracks spar between the melancholy shuffle of “Curtains Close,” the late-afternoon sidle of “It’s Not All About Your Life,” and a cracking cover of Alec Bathgate’s “Run.” Just like their last single, there’s a lot to love here and the band’s poised to be one’s to keep tabs on as these singles sneak out.



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