Posts Tagged ‘Jangle-pop’

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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Melenas

Pair a new release Friday with the madness of these Bandcamp waiver days and things wind up getting lost among the flurry of tweets and shouted recommendations across the wires. In amongst the clamor Spain’s Melenas released their latest for Trouble in Mind and its worth sinking your teeth into now that some of the dust has settled. The Pamplona quartet picks up shades and shards of indie pop along the twisted trail from kiwi-pop (The Bats and Look Blue Go Purple) to UK favorites, digging into the prim charms of The Pastels, The Primitives, and The Clouds. They shake out all the sounds on the table and reassemble them primed for hooks, but somehow completely unfussed by the idea of pop. The record sounds so lived in and natural, like the band rolled out of bed each day and laid down a rumpled and ripped pop track then popped off for day shifts as if its no big deal.

Blending a mixed bag of jangles with the buzzing bliss of synths, they dip their toes on both sides of the indie pop line finding friends with the Sarah twee-tones and the Creation haze merchants alike. With hushed harmonies that don’t overplay their hand, the group turns pensive pining into a delicate artform. They catch more than a few ears with pastel-dipped hooks, yet the album’s sublimely balanced by songs that hang in the air buoyed by a soft grey fog. The group knows the value of not always being ‘on,’ and when they pull back into an ethereal slouch it ties the album’s more ecstatic tracks together into a patchwork pattern that’s pleasing as hell. If Melenas had dropped into the jangle jungle in the mid-80s there’d have definitely been some tug-o-war to get them into the ranks of Sha La La, Postcard, and 53rd & 3rd – if not one of the aforementioned outposts of pop. No reason not to be that excited now. Dias Raros feels like the kind of future collector’s fodder that you’d want to nab before everyone wakes up to it.



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The Stroppies

The Stroppies pulled themselves out of the home recording hunker and into the studio for their debut album, a shambolic yet homespun record that had hooks to spare. They wrote the follow-up with a less measured approach — forged on the road and then recorded quickly at home. Though unlike their pre-album EP, this one has hallmarks of the musicianship that developed throughout Whoosh!. With a melancholy streak threaded through the songwriting they trade pianos and jangles in tandem to create a record that’s built to close down the bar in your basement any night of the week. There’s an intimacy to their songs. The hours spent curled in the backseat of the van come gushing out, but there’s a comforting melodicism that can’t help but turn these indie snippets into eagworms that tug at the brain in an uncommon fashion.

The whole EP is built on a tug-o-war between the down and out dourness of much of their contemporaries and a giddy hook cavalcade that looks to The Clean for inspiration and comes out succeeding nicely. Look to standout track “Holes in Everything” and its easy to see how the band has picked up the same seasick sway that their predecessors hooked into and they seem comfortable in the buoyant bobble through pop’s unsteady waters. The band’s been building steam for some time, and last year’s full-length solidified them on the watchlist for good, but Look Alive! proves that the album was no fluke. This is a nice hinge piece, a transition that’s refined and rambunctious, bittersweet and blustery. Aussie fans get in on this now, it feels like they’ll only soar from here on out.




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Galore – “Lydia”

One of the standouts from the recent comp from SFs Rocks in Your Head, Galore packs up what works when things are just barely hanging on. The band dredges up visions of Kleenex’ early days, Olympia upstarts, and NY No Wave luminaries (from whom the song takes its name). Gnarled, unpolished, and unapologetic, “Lydia” is an untethered careen through post-punk, loose-linked jangle, and garage pop that feels like even duct tape couldn’t keep it together and yet it works. The song is infectious even when it tears itself apart at the seams. Grit never sounded so good and the band has a full length of more of the same on the way June 1st. Definitely worth a couple of spins through the speakers.



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Ezrat

As EZTV went gently into the hereafter, without much fuss or fury, the band’s spark didn’t necessarily get snuffed out completely. Songwriter Ezra Tenenbaum has taken the momentum of his previous band and channeled it into his solo/not-solo endeavor Ezrat. He enlists several sympathetic souls for the album, bringing Kyle Forester (Woods, Crystal Stilts), John Andrews (Hand Habits, Cut Worms), and Michael Hesslein (Mail the Horse) on board for Carousel and they help carve the album into a lush slice of clear-blue pop. EZTV always rested on a fault line between power pop’s less turbulent (though by no means shallow) waters and jangle-pop’s more contemplative souls. Inject the sighed ennui of Chris Bell into mid-period works by The Chills and you’re starting to come close to what they’d achieved. Streak in a worn country soul on the second album and the band’s sound only got became that much more singular. Tenenbaum is still sorting through these influences as Ezrat and the decision to never completely pick a camp gives the album its rich appeal.

The opener, “Distortions,” is a jangled exhale of beautiful melancholy — streaked with sunset hues peeking through the rain. “Lost Sounds” swoons with strings, caught in a haze of lovesick harmonies and gentle plucks. While the rest of the album definitely relishes the grey-skied days in its temperament, the album doesn’t wallow. Carousel is hopeful in its heartbreak, more sweet than bitter, but it’s definitely pushing a lump down in its throat. Tenenbaum has spent years perfecting the right way to lament without pulling the listener down into despair and like High In Place before it, the album succeeds in being both a source of solace and hope. This one’s sneaking out a bit further below the radar than the last EZTV record, but that makes it the kind of charming gem that more people need to discover. If you were an EZTV fan, this is the next installment. If you’re simply a fan of well-crafted pop, then this might just open you up to a deep catalog of Tenebaum’s past pursuits as well.



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The Hangmans Beautiful Daughters

I’m always game for a retrospective that picks at corners of a scene I’ve overlooked. While pawing through plenty of the C86-era janglers, I must admit that I’ve largely missed out on the works of The Hangmans Beautiful Daughters. Maybe its that the name implies something less rooted in the fuzz-draped pop vein and instead dredges up English Folk overtones. Honestly that should have made me dig in more, not less. While bearing no relationship to or similarities with The Invisible String Band, the group instead takes another divergence from the bulk of the pack that surrounded them. Mentored and produced by The Television Personalities’ Dan Treacy, the group would release their early singles on his own Dreamworld Records and the TVP affiliated Constrictor label. Treacy wrote several songs himself and the band took them from the spare, jangles of his own oeuvre and added layers of thick fuzz, a garage grit, and the kind of lived in cool that radiated off of bands like The Seeds and Velvets before them.

They’d pick at the ‘60s garage canon as well, adding a cover of Shadows of Knights’ “Dark Side” to their pack of Treacy tunes before crafting their own voice. Once rolling the band’s Gordon Dawson and Emily Brown begin to anchor the group with a sound that splits between the jangling ends of The Byrds and the kind of culture that was being dug up by TVPs, Biff Bang Pow!, and early Primal Scream. Aside from the grinding leads, it’s Emily Brown’s vocals that give the band staying power. Her delivery is simultaneously engaging and bored. She’s a beacon that hardly has time for you, but the draw is there all the same. There are some standout female fronters from the period and place, but C86 tends to be a boys club in typical reminiscence about its prowess. The Hangmans Beautiful Daughters round out that narrative a bit. The new collection from Optic Nerve brings together a much needed overview of the band that hasn’t really been explored in detail since a singles comp from ’89 on Voxx. The set is fleshed out with great liner notes from Jowe Head of TVP and Gordon from the band. If, like me, you’ve missed out on the band prior, then this is an essential listen.



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The Stroppies – “Burning Bright”

This is another Aussie export that’s just not getting the love it should over here. The STroppies hooked up with UK label Tough Love last year for their debut, Whoosh and it was a subtle suite of jangle-pop buttered with a bit of synth that kept pace with the best releases of the year. The band’s hitting back this year with a mini-LP of sorts that’s only eight tracks, but still packs that same soft slap that made the album a necessary pickup. “Burning Bright’ turns down the heat of their jangle and replaces it with a rambling guitar line and some rolling ripples of piano for a song that helps relieve the ache inside. The song’s about a couple trying to find common ground and realizing that they’re just not going to align, but the split seems to happen amicably. Though there isn’t a clash of sparks, the melancholy sighs still sting a bit. Look Alive is out June 5th.



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