Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Terry Malts - Gentle Eyes

Terry Malts, the oddly named “chainsaw pop” trio from the Bay Area, makes some interesting music. Lost At The Party, their October 2016 pick, was in my November AllMusic.com Editors’ Choice playlist but none of the three songs from that list struck my fancy. However, the other day I was listening to WZBC and heard a song that reminded me of The Horrors, one of my favorite bands. I checked the playlist and it turned out to be the song Gentle Eyes from this album. So I played it again. And again. I really like it. Like I said, it reminds me a bit of The Horrors, with a touch of 80s New Wave like maybe Modern English. What do you think?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Flashback Friday - The Clean

I am a huge fan of New Zealand indie rock in general and of the group that could be considered one of the pioneers of that genre, The Clean (along with Split Enz of course). Their version of melodic, guitar heavy songs really hits home. The 2003 release of Anthology finally gathered together most of their best songs, which were often hard to find here in the US. It includes the full EPs Boodle Boodle Boodle (1981) and Great Sounds (1982), so it it a treasure trove of early New Zealand post-punk music. And it remains in heavy rotation, for there is always time for New Zealand indie rock!
Here’s Anything Could Happen:

In December of 2016, Merge Records came out with a new, remastered “deluxe” version of 2001’s Getaway, which includes an additional CD of live sets from Slush Fund and Syd’s Pink Wiring. And wow, I could just listen to this on constant rotation.
Here’s the remastered version of the album opener, Stars:

And here’s an epic version of Point That Things Somewhere Else from the Slush Fund session, which tosses in some keyboards to add a real full sound to the whole thing:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Toothless - Palm's Backside

Thanks to the Indie Rock Playlist Facebook group, I’m listening to the debut release of Toothless, which is a project of Bombay Bicycle Club’s bassist Ed Nash and it’s really good indie pop. I’m usually not a fan of a long list of songs with Feat. but in this case I have to make a exception. This song is featuring Marika Hackman and she adds a nice ethereal touch to the song.
Palm’s Backside feat. Markia Hackman:

And here’s the opening track, Charon:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Anthony Child - Truth Is Healing

When I am working, I like some non-intense electronic music. Anthony Child, who also records under the name Surgeon, late last year came out with a really nice sounding album of various intensities called Electronic Recordings from Maui Jungle, Vol. 2 (the followup to the 2015 release called, strangely enough, Electronic Recordings from Maui Jungle, Vol. 1). I really enjoyed the whole album. It has a better cohesiveness than Vol 1 so I liked it better. Definitely music for winding down or for concentrating.
Here’s Truth Is Healing:

Friday, February 17, 2017

Juana Molina - Halo

Argentinian Juana Molina has had a remarkable life. The daughter of a tango singer and an actress, she first made a name for herself as lead in a comedy TV troupe, starting acting to support her music career. But she got very successful and then upset everyone by “throwing it away” and going back to her music. Her music was initially much more successful away from Argentina, where everyone expected her to be the television personality, not her own musician. And being such a unique sound - sort of electronic, sort of pop, sort of folk, didn’t make it easier to market either. She sings in her native language, a local Spanish dialect called Rioplatense Spanish, but that shouldn’t scare you off, as to me it is just another musical instrument. Just lovely sounds.
I became a big fan of hers when she came out with the Wed 21 album in 2013. She tends to take her time with each release, so this one came out nearly 5 years after the previous album, the well regarded Un Dia. This is Juana and her band during the Wed 21 tour, at Seattle’s KEXP studios:

And so I’m very excited to hear that she is coming out with a new album called Halo, on May 5th. Not sure if it is Cinco de Mayo on purpose, but it is already sounding great. Be sure to follow her Facebook page to keep up to date on this mesmerizing artist.
Here’s the album teaser video:

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Delicate Steve - Cartoon Rock

It’s a lame album cover but the guitar rock instrumentals found on Delicate Steve’s third album are anything but lame. Lots of different styles but they are all toe tapping good, with a fantastic sense of whimsy. Delicate Steve (aka Steve Marion) is a hard working axe man, playing with folks like Sondre Lerche and Yeasayer and he’s put together quite a set of tunes on This Is Steve. I’ll toss out a few good ones here, but I urge you to give it a listen on your favorite stream service now!
Here’s Cartoon Rock, a song he imagines “what cartoon music might actually sound like if ZZ Top were the genre’s founding fathers.”

And here’s Nightlife, a rolicking call back to 80s video game music, it seems:

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tift Merritt - Dusty Old Man

As you have probably guessed by now, one of my favorite sounds is jangly guitars. But a close second is a syncopated drum beat and this song from Texan singer - songwriter Tift Merritt has it in spades. AllMusic.com in their review of her January 2017 album Stitch of the World, says her voice is like a combination of Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, and I’d say that pretty much covers it. It also wonders why she isn’t a star, so I guess I need to go back and listen to some of her earlier albums, as this is her third.
Here’s Dusty Old Man :

Here's a nice live, in-studio version of the song:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Stef Chura - You

Michigan indie queen Stef Chura sure knows the way to my (musical) heart - soft sharp lyrics with some jangly guitars, periodically punched up by a wall of sound and some seriously intense wailing. In her debut album Messes, she covers a lot of ground, both musically and lyrically, but this is the song that hit me upside the ears first. But be sure to check out the rest of Messes on her Bandcamp page. The opener, Slow Motion, sounds a bit Pixies with a mix of (flashback warning!) Voice of the Beehive. Give it a listen!
You :

Monday, February 13, 2017

Gordon Lightfoot - Gord's Gold

Gordon Lightfoot came on the radio this morning and it reminded me I had not played his music in far too long. I find Gord’s Gold to be an excellent introduction to his songs, even if it doesn’t have his most well known song (Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald) on it, because it was recorded about the time this came out (you can find it on Gord’s Gold 2). But there are still lots of AM radio classics here. 

How about Sundown?

Or the sad, poignant story that If You Could Read My Mind tells :

I really like Early Morning Rain for the word pictures it paints of love gone away:

And of course, the free bird vibe of Carefree Highway:

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Cloud Nothings - Enter Entirely

An early contender (really early!) for album of the year is the Cloud Nothings Life Without Sound. This is the lo-fi indie grunge band of Clevelander Dylan Baldi, and I have always liked their tunes, going all the way back to 2012’s Attack On Memory. I really like the driving guitar work on this tune, Separation from that album:

Their newest is no exception - some fine guitar work with wispy lyrics. Here’s Enter Entirely:

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Allison Crutchfield - Dean's Room

Former member of the indie group Swearin, Allison Crutchfield channels the emotions from the breakup with its guitarist and the dissolution of the group into a heartfelt and beat heavy solo debut, Tourist In This Town. I loved all 3 songs on my Jan 2017 AllMusic Editors’ Choice playlist. They are just what I like to hear - passionate indie rock with a great beat. 
Here’s Dean’s Room :

Thursday, February 9, 2017

AFI - Aurelia

AFI (The Blood Album) on AllMusic
So I got my January 2017 AllMusic.com Editors’ Choice Playlist done. Every month, I take the first 3 “track picks” from the indie, electronica, folk, country, blues, reggae/world and sometimes pop albums on the list and create a nice juicy playlist, This month, it is 97 songs, with over 6 hours of music. While the list is very hit or miss, it’s a great way to get some new music into my ears. You can find the playlist here.
I particularly like it when it starts off with a winner. The list is alphabetical, so it is even more random, but this month starts with the newest release from veteran indie punk group AFI, called AFI (The Blood Album). This is their 10th release and features one of the things I love most - jangly guitar indie rock. It must be shameful that I’ve never listened to these guys before, but that’s certainly something I will rectify post haste! Think I’ll start with 2003’s Sing The Sorrow, which is AllMusic’s Recommended pick.

Here's Aurelia :

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

La Laguna - Beach Bonfire

Here’s a pretty nice tune from La Laguna, a world traveling duo who put their songs up on Bandcamp for two weeks and then take them down. Interesting strategy! But at least this song (as first heard on the February 2017 Birp.fm playlist is still available on Soundcloud, as I really like it. Kinda twee but with a good beat. Anxious to hear more tunes from this band!