Posts Tagged ‘jangle’

Huevos II – III EP

I mentioned the relatively low-profile pop of Huevos II a little while back, but a deeper look into their inviting EP for Sophomore Lounge is worthwhile. The band boasts a solid lineup featuring Michael (Ma) Turner who’s held down time in Warmer Milks, State Champion, Teal Grapefruit and duo’d with Nathan Boweles. Turner hooks up with some fellow Western Mass heads, but eschews the obvious – swerving shy of the noise laden squall and psychedelic folk of his peers to work in a clean combed vision of pop that’s at least paid a day trip to the alters of Kiwi-pop and Fort Apache-bred US indie. They poke the wounds of Eric’s Trip. They lean back into the mellower moments of Hüsker Dü round about the Zen Arcade days. They dig though the remains of Angst and pick out the sprightliest sections for reexamination.

There’s something bygone about the EP, a remnant of the past unperfected. In exploring Hidden Gems on the site, I’m always looking for the connective tissue from scenes that didn’t materialize, but somehow seeped into the unconscious ether and this is a record that feels like the very notion of that. The Paisley Underground harmonies of “Alright” feed on the slightly misaligned angles of Flying Nun jangles in “Sandy Goes.” The slight twang of “Memories” sighs out of the East Coast Boston basements and the record does a good job of making the case that they were all part of one spontaneous continuum. There’s every indication that the bad isn’t doing this for keeps, but after this five-spot start, I definitely want more.




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Plates of Cake

The latest LP from Brooklyn’s Plates of Cake expands on their ability to sit comfortably between genres. The band cherry picks strengths from jangle-pop, power pop, and AOR tropes without fully investing in any of them. They employ a breezy bounce on the guitars — carefree to the point of Lounge on “The Man I Want To Be” — but most often it gives their songs an air that’s just short of aloof. They read casual and cock-eyed but still strangely approachable. Singer Jonathan Byerly has a croon that sits somewhere between the resonant wink of Jonathan Richman and Tom Verlaine, but when employed right he can give a track the requisite simmer. They skew the jangle over time and let a creep of acrid fuzz linger into their sounds corroding the clean lines with a subtle crumble.

As the band winds into the mid-section they really hit onto the power-pop lacquer. “Crusader Castle” and “Misery Behind Her” have a bigness to them that pulls from the classic swagger of the ‘70s (Petty, Costello, Lowe) but lets the line linger on into the early ‘10s summoning up comparisons with fellow BK influence alchemists Nude Beach. The band proves they’ve got a boil brewing for the live nights with the instrumental “Rendition” — the kind of cut you know is gonna work itself into a sweat-puddle set-ender unbuttons their sound in the process. They’ve been burning through the rungs of small platter dealers (Uninhabitable Mansions, All Hands Electric) before taking things into their own hands and while they might need to shout louder than some of their peers to get heard, they definitely have the right to be shouting.



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Thigh Master

Aussies Thigh Master tackle their sophomore LP, jumping to US garage enclave Goner for a wider release this time around. Pushing the palette far beyond their debut, the band digs into the jangled jewels in the catalogs of The Bats and The Clean for inspiration, without making it sound like they’re too stuck on the past. Shot through with the requisite amount of shaggy confidence, affable hangdog humor and self-deprecation that makes up a good portion of their homeland contempos, Now For Example tumbles and squelches its way into your heart. The songs ramble, loose and lean, like a good conversation rather than a pitched and prim vision of pop.

The band picks apart the barbs that stuck from the early Flying Nun days, letting their guitars snag and tangle through hooks that just barely hold together, but always manage to hit their mark, nonetheless. They’ve got charms, as the inclination to name yer band after a Suzanne Sommers TV-marketed weight loss squeezer might imply, and those charms go far to endear Now For Example in a field crowded with Aussies hitting similar marks. The band’s harmonies warble, but sound sincere, with an urgency that turns to smiles every time. It’s a damn fine record that should do the Brisbane set proud. Gonna want to get this one on the table and get the windows thrown wide. The neighbors need to hear this.



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Olden Yolk – “Vital Sign”

New strummers Olden Yolk crack into their second single off of an upcoming eponymous debut for Trouble in Mind in February and it’s a sparkling slice of jangle pop. Shane Butler (of Quilt) and Caity Shaffer’s new LP is becoming a staple around here and “Vital Sign” is a highlight off of a record packed with charm, hooks and a good old fashioned dose of knife-twisted heartache. While the band certainly recalls Butler’s work with Quilt, they’re also filling a hole in my heart that was left vacant when Veronica Falls called it quits – blending indie pop and jangle in perfect proportions. The new self-directed video for the clip gives a splash of city color to this lilting pop gem and acts as a nice ballast to the song’s sparse yearning. Gonna want to watch out for that full length at the end of the month, it’s a killer. You’ve been warned.

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Lower Plenty – “Bondi’s Dead”

Al Montfort may well be in every good band in Australia these days. The man behind Terry, Dick Diver, Total Control and UV Race is back with Lower Plenty for another round of jangled, bittersweet bliss that comes on slow and leaves with a sigh. The track’s the first taste of their upcoming album Sister Sister on the always consistent Bedroom Suck. It breezes in with a wisp of autumnal hues in it’s bones and lasts just long enough to ache when its over. Though they share members with a cadre of top tier Aussie talent, the band’s sound shares more sonic DNA with the sorely missed Bedroom Suck alumni Boomgates, than most of the bands its members spend their off days running with. So, to salve the wounds of no new Boomgates LP on the horizon, its doubly good to hear Lower Plenty hitting similar highs on this one.


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Chook Race – “Hard To Clean”

Melbourne’s Chook Race put out a scrappy but fun album last year that showed more than a few crinkles of promise and they’re making good on it this year with a follow up through Tenth Court on the home court and Trouble in Mind here in the States. They’ve never sounded cleaner or more at ease than on their new single “Hard To Clean.” The track is a crisp pop number that belies its hooky charms with a bittersweet bleat running under those jangled harmonies. The video seems like more of a lark, but hell some nice nostalgia for the heyday of the Thighmaster or Sit and Be Fit is always a worthwhile trip. A solid sender and laying a pretty good dose of anticipation for the rest of the album comin’ up down the way.

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The Wead – “By The Whey”

So this one tows the line between re-released and the singles section, but small format is small format so here we are. Slovenly got their hands on these tracks by stroke of luck, hooked up by Cheater Slicks member Tom Shannon who met a member of The Wead during his stint as a clerk in Columbus, OH’s Used Kids Records. The double track of teen punk angst was given a sound upgrade and new garage punk snarl resulting in a double shot of snotty riffage that the world was sorely missing out on. The a-side is a rollicking bit of 60’s garage that spits and swings wild, but still has plenty of sweet vocals chiming before that solo tears the whole mess down. The band gets jangled and jostled on the flip, a strummer that pounds just as heard as the wilder seeming a-side. These kinds of finds are becoming fewer and further between, but knowing this kind of gem is still out there waiting makes it seem well worth flipping through countless reams of garage comps and rarities collections. Though maybe you just need to wait until life walks in and hands you an acetate across the counter.

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Terry – “Hot Heads”

Aussie post-punk scrappers Terry have a new video for their cut “Hot Heads,” a standout from their recently released HQ. The track’s got a boatload of jangle and plenty of tension burbling in those tightly wound horns running underneath. Its a prime example of what makes their debut so endearing. The clip is basically the album cover come to life, watching the band watching themselves work through some line dance nostalgia that’s straight out of Footloose. Hell, if this had been the soundtrack to bootscootin’ maybe I would have paid more attention. If you’re not already on the Terry train (you should be) then now’s the time and below is the place. This is a constant on the RSTB headphones this year.


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Doug Tuttle – “A Place For You”

MMOSS’ Doug Tuttle is finding his way down the path of psych-pop apologist on his second album for Trouble in Mind. Much like fellow labelmates Morgan Delt and Paperhead, he’s dug squarely into the Paisley Underground, sounding like a modern upgrade of their 60’s pop worship, though that in no way diminishes his knack for a great hook and songs that pair well with wide sunny skies. In an effervescent new video for “A Place For You” the artist pairs balloons with projections for a fun, yet really simple idea. The track jangles its way through two and a quarter minutes of sun-dappled strums and that kind of faded Fuji-film nostalgia that takes you back every time. Tuttle’s latest LP It Calls On Me has plenty more in store for jangle freaks and its recommended that you dive in further.


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Hockey Dad – “Can’t Have Them”

Hands down one of the most fun bands I saw at CMJ last year was Aussie duo Hockey Dad. The band have been clangin’ around their own Aussie scene, but with a album poised on Kanine shortly, they’re likely to make much more of a dent on US listeners in the months to come. Prior to the album, the single “Cant’ Have Them” seems to sum up their chilled brand janglin punk and the super saturated video to match is vibing pretty hard here. Honestly this is an album that I have high hopes on for the year and I’d say to keep all ears pointed at the Wollongong duo for some earworms that’ll nag you for the next six months.

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