January 19, 2017 — “The Flesh” by Has a Shadow

Has a Shadow

Has a Shadow

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “The Flesh” by Has a Shadow (2017, from the album Sorrow Tomorrow).

Has a Shadow is a goth/post-punk duo from Guadalajara. I don’t know much about the band, but their sophomore album just came out yesterday, and I got something in the mail bag about it. Reviews have often used words like “cacophony” and “post-apocalyptic drone”. Those are things that interest me very much. They’ve been compared to Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy. They’ve been compared to Kraftwerk. They’ve also been compared to The Jesus and Mary Chain. Again, I’m very much interested in something that’s compared to all of that.

I haven’t listened to the entire album yet, but what I’ve listened to is indeed dark and foggy. The air inside this album is really thick and hard to breathe.

Tonight’s song has some bright synths among all of the darkness. It’s like a really weird mashup of A Place to Bury Strangers and The Dandy Warhols.

This is that song:
“The Flesh” by Has a Shadow

I like the drone. I like the motorik-like beat. I like how amazingly dark it is. I like how noisy it is. This needs to be played really loudly on real speakers. This needs to be played in the darkest rooms.

Sorrow Tomorrow was released yesterday via the London-based Fuzz Club Records. You can order it in your choice of CD or vinyl here. You can buy a download from Amazon here.


January 18, 2017 — “Crashing” by The Cherry Wave

The Cherry Wave — “Crashing”

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Crashing” by The Cherry Wave (2017, from the forthcoming album Shimaru).

The Cherry Wave is a shoegaze/noise rock quartet from Glasgow. They’ve been around for about five years, and we’ve written about them a couple of times. We still know nothing about this band. There are four guys. First names only: Paul (guitar/vocals), Ryan (guitar), Bobby (bass), and Adam (drums). We liked their very noisy 2015 debut album Avalancher a lot. We enjoy their Twitter feed. We know that they really, REALLY dislike the royal family. We know that they’ve played with the magnificent Ringo Deathstarr a bunch of times. That’s it. That’s all we know about The Cherry Wave.

The first record was released in this country via Saint Marie Records, but I don’t think the new one will be. I don’t really know much about the new record. It’s called Shimaru, and it’ll be out on January 23. In case you need to know, “shimaru” translates from Japanese to English as something like “to be closed (locked, shut)”. According to my research, it can also mean “to become sober”.

Although they haven’t announced very many details about the forthcoming album, the band has been all over social media in the last two days promoting the album with video teasers and songs. This is the only song from the new album that I’ve heard, but I really love it.

“Crashing” by The Cherry Wave

Avalancher was blissfully noisy, a sea of feedback and buzz. It had a lot of rough edges, but that was one of the things that we loved about it. This song is much more polished than any of that, and it seems like there’s more focus on melodies than there used to be. There’s definitely more focus on making the vocals cleaner and closer to the front of the mix. There’s still plenty of noise, though. The songs on Avalancher remind me of the MBV kind of noise. This song reminds me more of the Dinosaur Jr kind of noise.

I haven’t seen any pre-order stuff for the new album, but you can download tonight’s song for free via Bandcamp here.


January 17, 2017 — “Silver Velvet” by The Courtneys

The Courtneys

The Courtneys

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Silver Velvet” by The Courtneys (2017, from the forthcoming album The Courtneys II).

The Courtneys are a slacker pop trio from Vancouver. They are Jen Twynn Payne (aka “Cute Courtney”) on lead vocals and drums, Sydney Koke (aka “Crazy Courtney”) on bass and vocals, and Courtney Loove (aka “Classic Courtney”) on guitar and vocals. They say they’re influenced by the likes of Pavement, Dinosaur Jr, Teenage Fanclub, and other noisy slacker pop bands who made a lot of hay in the 1990s. Because they’re from Vancouver and because they’re all girls, it’s a common thing for people to throw them in with some of the riot grrrl stuff from Washington State in the 90s. Stuff like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile. That’s all great stuff, and it’s always a good thing to be mentioned in the same breath with the amazing Kathleen Hanna, but they swear that they’re much more influenced by those bands with boys in them.

They put out a well-received self-titled record in 2013 on Hockey Dad Records. Since then, they’ve been signed to the influential New Zealand indie label Flying Nun Records. In fact, The Courtneys were the first non-Kiwi band to be signed to the illustrious label.

It was recently announced that The Courtneys will be releasing their sophomore long player The Courtneys II on February 17. I’ve heard a few songs from it, and I like it a lot. I got an email that was specifically about a different one of the new songs, but tonight’s song is the first song on the new album. This is that song:

“Silver Velvet” by The Courtneys

I love the vocal melodies. I love the punky, poppy, super bouncy feel of it. I’m reminded a bit of some other girl pop-punk stuff like Alvvays, but I can definitely hear just a little bit of that Dinosaur Jr and Pavement influence. Specifically, the instrumental bit after the second chorus. That guitar bit in there reminds me of those guys.

You can also view a video for the song:

The best part is that The Courtneys will be going on tour this spring with the sensational Jay Som. Jay Som has a highly anticipated new record coming out in March. That tour looks pretty amazing. Unfortunately, it’s not coming very close to me.

You can pre-order The Courtneys II here. It’ll be out a month from today.


January 13, 2017 — “Star Roving” by Slowdive

Slowdive

Slowdive

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Star Roving” by Slowdive (2017, from a forthcoming release title to come).
Yesterday, shoegaze/dream pop pioneers Slowdive released a new song, their first in 22 years. They turned a bunch of heads and won favour with the fickle British music press with their 1991 debut Just For a Day. I always liked that record very much, but it’s not my favourite of theirs.

In 1993, Slowdive released their seminal Souvlaki, which was initially given mixed reviews by the press. By that time, shoegaze and dream pop had fallen out of fashion because Britpop was the big thing. It didn’t sell as well or chart as well as Just For a Day, but it was one of my top five records of the decade, and in my top 10 of all time. With the passage of time, the same writers who didn’t like it have come round, and now it’s universally revered.

In 1995, the band released a very strange, very experimental album Pygmalion. It’s really spacey and they used a lot of electronics. There’s a lot of quiet bits and a lot of negative space. It was given nice reviews, but it didn’t sell worth a damn, and I never cared for that record. Shortly after the release of the album, the band was dropped by Creation Records, and shortly after that, the band ceased operations.

After the breakup of Slowdive, principal songwriters Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell formed the country-tinged Mojave 3 along with Slowdive drummer Ian McCutcheon. They released five albums, but were never as well-known as Slowdive. In 2006, Goswell announced that she would no longer tour with the band because of a sudden, dramatic loss of hearing in her left ear and lingering issues with tinnitus.

Halstead and Goswell each released solo records and they each collaborated with lots of different people, but for years there was never so much as a whisper of a reunion.

In January of 2014, the band announced that they would reunite, and they played a few festival shows to delighted audiences. They said there would eventually be new material, but we didn’t know when we would get it.

Meanwhile, Halstead was working with a few projects, including Black Hearted Brother. Last year, Goswell joined forces with Stuart Braithwaite out of Mogwai to form Minor Victories. Their self-titled debut record absolutely blew me away. It was my favourite record of the year. (Yes, there will eventually be a year-end list). Hearing loss or not, Goswell toured with Minor Victories, and she played those Slowdive shows. All signs were still pointing to new Slowdive material.

Yesterday, we finally, officially got a new song. This is that song.
“Star Roving” by Slowdive

At this point, we don’t know any details about a forthcoming album, but they’ve certainly suggested that one is on the way.

I like this a lot, and I’m thrilled that they’ve gotten back to the tasty, noisy stuff. In a way, it’s like a perfect medium between the beautiful melodies of Just For a Day and the beautiful noise of Souvlaki. I can’t wait to hear more.


January 11, 2017 — “Only Matters When” by UV-TV

UV-TV

UV-TV

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Only Matters When” by UV-TV (2017, from the forthcoming album Glass).
UV-TV is a shoegaze/post-punk trio from Gainesville, Florida. I don’t know anything about them, and I only learned about them the other day when I got something in the mailbag. They are Rose Vastola (bass/vocals), Ian Bernacett (guitar/vocals), and Ryan Hopewell. That’s about all they want people to know about them. They say they’re from “somewhere in Florida”, but we assume that their hometown is Gainesville.

The band has been around for a few years, and they recorded a five song lo-fi demo in 2014. A version of tonight’s song is on that demo. The rest of it is closer to post-punk than to shoegaze. They recently recorded 11 songs in an old train station using borrowed microphones and a Tascam reel-to-reel tape machine. Those songs have been described as “burning cuts” with “jagged, abrasive edges”. The email said that the forthcoming debut album is “shoegaze stripped of its fat and its fluff”. Comparisons were made to Black Tambourine and The Jesus & Mary Chain. Speaking of Black Tambourine, tonight’s song actually reminds me quite a bit of their Slumberland (version 1.0) labelmates Henry’s Dress. There’s a mixture of 20% twee-pop and 80% blistering, incendiary shoegaze. Terrific melodies and also heaps and heaps of feedback and buzz. For a more modern comparison, I might go with the terrific Alvvays, or the equally amazing Wildhoney.

I haven’t heard the rest of the album yet, but I sure do love this.
“Only Matters When” by UV-TV

The first 15 seconds sound like a Psychocandy send-up. The rest of it is delicious, bouncy pop-punk played at a breakneck pace. I love that kind of thing, and I’m certain that I’m going to love this record.

The album comes out on March 10 via Deranged Records, which is a Canadian label that I’ve never heard of. You can pre-order it here.


January 10, 2017 — “Tether” by Blushing

Blushing

Blushing

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Tether” by Blushing (2017, from the forthcoming EP Tether).

Blushing is a dream-pop/shoegaze quartet from Austin. They formed in 2015 when Michelle Soto (guitar/vocals) and Christina Carmona (vocals/bass) joined forces, then brought their husbands Jake Soto (drums) and Noe Carmona (guitar/keyboards) into the mix. Their debut EP Tether is coming out this Friday, January 13.

I don’t know any of their backstory other than that Christina Carmona is a classically trained vocalist. I got something in the mailbag yesterday about this, and their list of influences caught my eye: Cocteau Twins, The Sundays, Belly, Beach House, and Real Estate. The truth is that I was already sold before I even heard a note of their music. When I finally did listen, it was just a formality. Yes. I like this.

Tonight’s song is the first song and the title track from the forthcoming EP. This is that song:

“Tether” by Blushing

Indeed I’m reminded quite a bit of Beach House. I don’t hear much of the other bands that they say they’re influenced by, but I hear something that also reminds me a bit of Memoryhouse.

No matter what, I like this a lot.

The song is marked by a lot of dreamy vocals and soft, delicate, gauzy guitar effects, there’s also just a bit of muscular, fuzzy guitar at the very end. I really appreciate that balance.

The EP will be out on January 13. You can pre-order a digital download, compact disc, or cassette tape of the release here. Although I really hate the cassette tape trend that refuses to go away, I have to admit that the packaging on that format is really cool. It’s packed in a VCR-like case.


January 9, 2017 — “Try” by Molly Burch

Molly Burch

Molly Burch

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Try” by Molly Burch (2017, from the forthcoming album Please Be Mine).

Molly Burch is a dream-country/indie folk singer-songwriter from Austin. She grew up in Los Angeles with her show business parents and went to college at UNC-Asheville, where she studied jazz vocal performance. While there, she met guitarist Dailey Tolliver, who helped her write and record the ten songs on her debut record, which will be out on February 17 via Captured Tracks.

She moved to Austin to launch her music career, and ended up meeting Dan Duszynski out of Cross Record. It was in his studio where they recorded the songs.

She says she’s influenced by the likes of Patsy Cline, Dusty Springfield, The Shirelles, and Billie Holiday among others. Critics have likened her sound to the amazing Angel Olsen, and while that’s a lofty comparison, I’m sort of okay with it.

On tonight’s song, there’s quite a 60s vibe, and in a weird sort of way, I’m reminded of some Glaswegian bands like Belle and Sebastian and Camera Obscura. I’m specifically reminded of Underachievers Please Try Harder, the second record by Camera Obscura, which has a vague retro, Brill Building sound.

I’ve heard a couple of other Molly Burch songs, and I’m also reminded a bit of Saint Etienne, or at least of their album Foxbase Alpha.

The point is, this has a retro sound with some relatively contemporary things to compare it to.

Of the songs I’ve heard so far, this one might be my favourite. This is that song:

“Try” by Molly Burch

Her voice is so soft and gentle, it’s like a warm cup of cocoa on a cold winter’s day. And it’s those tumbling drums that make me think so much of Camera Obscura. I dig that very much.

There’s also a video for the song, which is mostly Molly and her band in the studio:

If what I’ve heard is any indication of what the rest of the record sounds like, I’m going to like it very much.

You can pre-order Please Be Mine here.

Be on the lookout for Molly Burch, as she’ll be touring the east coast and midwest in March, including a few shows at SXSW. The bulk of that tour will be shows in support of Tim Darcy.


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