Posts Tagged ‘Jangle-pop’

Seablite

If, perhaps the blurred photo and serif font on the cover didn’t send your shoegaze-sense a-tingling, it’s fair to say San Francisco’s Seablite are doused in the fuzzy familiars of the genre, though they’re splicing it with just the right amount of jangle to make yer heart flutter. Occasionally they attempt to balance the poles of their sound but, more often than not, they get tangled up. They send the buoyant bounce of sunshine strum crashing headlong into the seafoam crush of fuzz that creeps through the wires with a giddying rush. They pick at the faded memory of schoolbook stickers – tracing hearts over the sighs of The Softies and the headrush haze of Pale Saints. They frame their soft-focus stories in shade of bittersweet swoon that’s half infatuation, half gut-punch heartwrench.

While I’m probably a touch biased, I find the band succeeds most when they’re leaning towards the janglier material. I’m all for Shoegaze’s wallow, but drop a song too far into the fuzzcut k-hole and I start to drift off. When they kick a just a twinge of Talulah Gosh into the mix I feel like they hit the sweet spot – chasing the shimmer on tracks “Lollipop Crush,” “Pillbox,” and “House of Papercuts.” Its always nice to see that there are a few bands still raised and rendered on Creation and early 4AD. The DNA of these songs certainly hangs in the air like a specter, but the band pulls off the moves like more than just an homage blown to full size. They imbue Grass Stains & Novocaine with an airy ache that lingers long after the last note dissipates into the atmosphere.



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Jeanines

There are a few variations, but the true Slumberland sound is instantly evident when it comes floating in on the breeze. It marks a release like a stain (in the best ways). The debut from Brooklyn’s Jeanines is so stuffed full of Slumberland hallmarks and it’s hard to envision it any other place, unless Sarah Records is planning a revival I don’t know about. With production cut to the bone, the album bounces jangles off of every surface in the room, filling the listener’s ears with a delightfully sprightly sound. Alicia Jeanine has a voice that tugs at the memory, bringing visions of Marine Girls, Black Tambourine, Veronica Falls, and Dolly Mixture swimming to the surface. Along with Jed Smith, she’s built a debut that’s unassuming but completely consuming. Soaked in bittersweet bliss, the album is a DIY gem that seamlessly slots itself into the famed roster.

There are songs that pine for lost love and likewise rebuff unsuitable suitors. There are rough cut diamonds, buffed to a sheen through sheer force of janglin’ strings. Jeanine layers her voice, giving her three-part harmonies with a spectral band of selves and it works like a four-track Carter Family supplanting their country roots with DIY DNA – pinning a few new badges on their bittersweet swoon. Smith fills out each track amiably with just the barest amount of backing that packs on the basement practice space charms. They emulate the limited options of ‘80s and ‘90s stalwarts, despite the home recorded revolution. Fans of anything Slumberland, Postcard, Sarah, Cloudberry should be right at home here. The band is studied and serious about keeping their influences tattooed on for all to see. You could be a grump and call ‘em derivative, If it weren’t all so delightfully spot-on, so sincere, and so damnably catchy.



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Terry – “Spud”

Ah bless ‘em there’s a new Terry tune about this morning. The band, fresh off the fallout from their third stunner I’m Terry, has a new 7,” Who’s Terry? and it bangs right in with their jangle-jerked political pop on first cut “Spud.” The band take their sights, suit up and get a ridicule riot in motion for the video, but underneath the Strangelove-ian clip, the band does what they do best – fizz n’ strum with a wink and a nudge and no small amount of catchy quirk. Damn fine janglin’ if you ask me. The single pops ‘round the turntable on July 19th.

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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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