Posts Tagged ‘Jangle-pop’

NRP: The Orchids – Unholy Soul

Heading into another exploration of an album unfairly shuttled to the OOP shelf these days. This column seems particularly piercing in the looming shadow of yet another Record Store Day, with no doubt deserving gems from Disturbed and Jeff Beck’s – Truth (a record you can find easily for $5-7 in most used shops) preparing for their assent back to the shelves. Not that it’s all bad. On any other day I’d pop in for a copy of Burt Jansch’s L.A. Turnaround and oddball ‘90s poppers Chainsaw Kittens if I didn’t have them already. So here goes my continual wishlist to the gods of proper reissue, nominating the sophomore LP from Glaswegian janglers The Orchids.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

The Love-Birds – “Hit My Head”

SF’s Love Birds have been taking a trajectory conducive to my own heart here at RSTB. Following up a stellar first EP for Empty Cellar the band hooks up with longtime favorite Glenn Donaldson to mix their upcoming LP for Trouble in Mind. The first single from the upcoming In The Lover’s Corner jumps off of the jangle-pop springboard, built around curlicues of song that dredge up The Go-Betweens and The Chills, but ultimately it finds its own embrace of power pop as well. The song has DNA from early adopters like The Flaming Groovies and a tougher strain that brings to mind Matthew Sweet during his Bob Quine years. So, if you were to lob a dart squarely at the chart of influences that hook me in, Love Birds are smacking the center every time. Throw in a mastering job from Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake and a cover shod in block cut pastels and I’m pretty much sold. Gonna want to watch out for this one in May.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Pete Astor on The Carter Family – A Collection of Favorites

It’s been a few years now since Hidden Gems’ debut, and while some true RSTB faves have worked through the ranks this might be the first time I can say a true legend is contributing. In the halls of jangle-pop Pete Astor has anchored some gems of his own, helming Creation bands The Loft and The Weather Prophets as well as Matador alums The Wisdom of Harry. In later years Astor has delivered two sterling solo albums (with some help from James Hoare) that cement his status as one of the deft hands in indie pop. He’s also an accomplished writer, having contributed to the 33 1/3 series with a critique of The Voidoids’ seminal Blank Generation. Now he’s dug back to his early days (hence the provided baby faced ’81 portrait up there) for one of the albums that drew him into music in the first place, shining light on a collection by The Carter Family that sparked an early drive towards songwriting.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Olden Yolk

Tying up an early year trifecta of solid releases from Trouble in Mind (along with Salad Boys and Sunwatchers) Olden Yolk sees Quilt’s Shane Butler branch out from his longtime band, though not too awful far. Like Quilt, Olden Yolk deals in a hazy, sun-squinted brand of folk that’s dotted with more than a touch of melancholy, though the record winds up a bit more whimsical than the bulk of Butler’s catalog. Along with his collaborator Caity Shaffer, and a solid rhythm swing behind them, the pair crawl through ‘60s psych-folk caverns and ‘80s UK indie to find their own place in the sun. I’ve likened the band’s first single to Veronica Falls, and over the course of the rest of the album that comparison seems to stand true. Like their UK counterparts they trend towards layered vocals that squeeze a drop of sweetness into the mix, pillowing the harmonies and letting the listener lay back into their gauzy folk with a mix of infatuation and heartache.

VF’s James Hoare would go on to work bittersweet miracles with Ultimate Painting (RIP) and the Butler led tracks here find the two songwriters on similar ground. Though some of the strongest moments on Olden Yolk’s eponymous LP see Shaffer at the helm, her strident vocals finding purchase in the band’s swooning folk like a soft-touch Nico rendered in raspberry shades. The pair have pinned psych swirls and jangle-pop to a post-Velvets rock approach with no lack of charm, then shaded it all in with a heavy brush of country ramble that peeks its head on tracks like “Hen’s Teeth.”

The further down the rabbit hole I tumble with Olden Yolk, the less inclined to want to see the light I become. Each listen unfolds this as one of the strongest debuts from a band in quite some time – crackling with life, crinkled with emotion and littered with pinprick hooks that linger long after the needle clicks to a close. It’s a record that feels lived in, sounding every bit like a band that’s just now finding their stride rather than an opening shot from newcomers. If this is where they start, then one has to wonder where they go from here.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Pete Astor

Without a doubt, I was enamored with Pete Ator’s last solo record. Naturally there were high hopes for an artist whose roots lie deep in the Creation Records back catalog, marking time with both The Loft and The Weather Prophets, but his solo work finds grace in letting jangle pop age without feeling like it slips into stuffy adulthood. Astor’s an ace songwriter, but some of the secret to the youthful glint in the eye of his productions on Spilt Milk lie with the involvement of perennial RSTB favorite James Hoare (Ultimate Painting, Veronica Falls). Hoare’s production and arrangement fingerprints are all over both the previous album and One For The Ghost. Again Astor finds a winsome ease with an album that leans into ennui (though a bit less so than his last) and blends bittersweet odes with driving jangles and memorable hooks.

If the last record had Hoare as secret weapon, this one pulls a few more into Astor’s corner, adding Franic Rozycki and Jonny Helm from UK gems The Wave Pictures and Pam Berry of indie legends Black Tambourine. The resulting album works its way through wry wit and genuine moments of transcendence. Astor’s quietly building a latter day catalog of pop treasures that start with the germ of jangle-pop but explode the genre into threads of psych, blues and folk that all seem like natural extensions of Astor’s soft-padded approach.

Despite a pretty solid critical reception to the last record, I always feel like there should have been more fanfare about such a venerable artist returning to bridge the divide with some great upstarts. Two records in such short succession proves it’s no fluke or creative flash. Anyone who had Spilt Milk in their headphones throughout 2016 would do well to return for another dose.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

The Stroppies

Sadly, The Stroppies eponymous tape slipped out in May and I was wrapped up elsewhere and missed it. Then I dropped the ball again when Tough Love picked it up for a painfully brief run of 100 on LP a few months back. Third times a charm though, right? Another scant run from TL puts this one back on the radar and pretty high on the “records you missed out on in 2017” list. As with pretty much the entirety of the Aussie underground, the members of The Stroppies find themselves in many of your other favorite bands – Dick Diver, Boomgates, and The Stevens to name a few, but this lineup begs them entry to the quickly evolving Antipodean canon of jangles and misanthropes in the South Hemi.

The record was cobbled together in kitchen recordings, but doesn’t suffer for it’s humble beginnings. There’s plenty of snap strutting through these tracks, but also a a kind of easy warmth that feels like some friends finding fun in their common loves. Built on a bed of jangles, the band expands the typical young Aussie sound with the addition of tottering keys and gnawing stings that pull this ever so slightly towards the new wave and college rock impulses of The Go-Betweens. It’s a solid set for a debut, pocked with a bit of hiss that makes it feel like a well-kept secret. The Stroppies leaves plenty of wonder as to where they’ll go next. This feels like the early days of Dick Diver and despite the obvious carry-over of Steph Hughes between both bands, it’s ticking off a lot of the same boxes that endeared that band to me with each successive record. These guys are ones to watch for sure.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Purling Hiss

The end of the year always brings the oddest gems – releases that slipped out late, misguided xmas singles and EPs that didn’t fit into the regular rotation of the year. It’s the latter that nips at the heels of 2017 from Purling Hiss. Where the band’s last album showcased a heavy dedication to the toughened strains of fuzz-chunked indie rock and psych, they let loose on this short format offering from Drag City.

The EP ties together some instrumental noise-psych snippets alongside some of their most accessible pop nuggets and even a lean into jangle-pop that seems surprising given their catalog. In whole the release is a bit indulgent, but that’s also exactly how it seems to be presented. It’s an end of the year grab bag / hodge-podge that wouldn’t fit with the band’s aesthetic. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few gems in here – “My Dreams” speaks highly to the band’s pop ability and to their potential to clean up. Though, what it really sounds like is the seeds of a new band. Sometimes there’s value in recognizing a great song that just needs to be released under a new heading. Nevertheless, Breeze is a nice little clutch of fun for 2017’s wind-down.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Odd Hope

It’s hard to capture the feeling of an era lost. There are plenty of jangle-pop imitators and even a new crop of Kiwis that are attempting to resurrect what Flying Nun once found so effortless. In California, however, there remains a solitary lifeline to the sound in the form of Tim Tinderholt’s Odd Hope. Following on a solid single for Fruits & Flowers, Tinderholt has come ratcheting back with a perfect distillation of all those lost gems from the underside of the equator. Though, its not without noting that he’s also mining a great deal from The Jacobites and The Pastels as well. He’s found purchase not only in their sunny, jangled ebullience but also in the quieter, introverted weirdness that made so many of these ’80s and ’90s oddities such coveted releases.

Produced by Fruits & Flowers co-founder Glenn Donaldson, (Skygreen Leopards, The Birdtree) the record retains an unmistakable touch of his own homespun and hissed-flecked folk pop, but at the heart is Tim’s distinct gravitational pull. Tinderholt’s songwriting is given a treatment that flickers like an emergency candle in a power outage, an inviting harbor in the face of unblinking darkness. The album is both a beacon and a comfort. When he’s reflecting the brilliant sun’s glow there’s no other light that can hope to outshine his positivity, but when the vibes turn, as they often do, to smirking, unsure, melancholy and jittery, Tinderholt is the friend who understands just how overwhelming the outside world is.

So maybe just huddle down into these ten tracks like a blanket in a storm that may or may not pass. Tinderholt’s eponymous debut is the kind of record that’s destined to be missed by the oblivious as anathema to modern trends and revisited years later as a cherished totem to those who were paying attention. With so many of those types of records now getting the reissue treatment, it would seem only intuitive to nip into this while it’s fresh and fidgeting. Odd Hope is a truly endearing open wound that sucks the listener in with its weird and blissful ache.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Spinning Coin

For all their plaudits abroad Glasgow’s Spinning Coin aren’t wrestling for review space Stateside. The crux of that probably has to do with my theory of America’s threshold for UK bands at any given time. I suppose the press feels we’ve already filled the tank on 2017, but that’s no reason to let this one languish. The album comes via a powerful pair of post-punk signifiers – released on The Pastels’ Geographic Music imprint and produced by Orange Juice’s Edwyn Collins. For what it’s worth, this sounds altogether like an album cherry-picked by The Pastels. It shares their penchant for jangled charms and an alternating emphasis on barbed hooks and lush surroundings.

That alternation is the key to Permo‘s strengths and, at times its unevenness. The band shares a pair of songwriters who each have a strength they choose to flex on any given track. Sean Armstrong tends to take his songs to those lush vistas, fully reclining in the bleary-eyed nostalgia of Sarah Records and the softer side of Creation. His counterpart, Jack Mellin tends to bring the ragged edge to Spinning Coin’s work, often making tracks that are fun but barely standing on their feet (which is not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion). The whiplash between gives the record plenty of variety, but can make it feel like two different bands. I’d think moving forward, they’d be wise to find a smoother way to bounce off of one another, but that kind of symbiosis takes time.

What comes about is a record that’s got a real grip on the past and more than half a handle on how to recontextualize the nostalgia. They hit the nail hard sometimes, namely the ragged glory of “Magdalene” or the frothing elation of “Raining on Hope Street”, but its clear there’s more in the coffers to come. This hits me in a lot of my personal obsessions, and I’m definitely going to keep an eye on where Spinning Coin winds up. For now, some playlists just got stocked up around here.


Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Swiftumz – Game Six

You’d be forgiven for having missed Swiftumz’ two LPs over the years. Despite crafting consecutive albums of homespun pop that shimmers brightly, Chris McVicker’s output has slipped all too quietly out into the world via the Holy Mountain and Melters labels. Its a shame though, because both records captured an artist who is at ease with his corner of the world – tumbling through a muted brand of power pop, glimmering jangle-pop and slicing through the bleary-eyed glories of American Indie with a rather precise knife. So, it’s with the release of McVicker’s latest single that SF’s Fruits & Flowers posts their second essential release of the year.

“Game Six” is pure jangled glory, spillin’ sunshine out of its pockets like quarters on laundry day. Like most of MicVicker’s songs it sounds so effortlessly intuitive you’d almost swear you’ve heard it before. He’s a student of the late ’80s and early ’90s and given a good time shift would most certainly have been pulling down some zine ink. This track alone is worth the price of admission, but he backs it up with a b-side that’s also tipping the gold standard. Shifting into melted-amber Indie-pop mode here and threading his way through Galaxie 500 and Yo La Tango vibes as felt through the soul of the late great Brightblack Morning Light, he’s letting things fade into a sherbet sunset – glowing an orange aura around the track to the very end. Both songs are on endless repeat around here and you’d do well to snag one too.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments