Tag Archives: audio

January 16, 2018 — “Tea-Soaked Letter” by Anna Burch

Anna Burch

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Tea-Soaked Letter” by Anna Burch (2018, from the forthcoming album Quit the Curse).
Anna Burch is an indie pop singer-songwriter working out of Detroit. Years ago, she was the front of a band called Failed Flowers, and she had been in other bands, but she took some time away from music to go to grad school. After that, she moved to Detroit and started a solo career. She got a big break when she was spotted by fellow Michigander Fred Thomas, who was once a member of His Name is Alive, and was also the front of the indie pop band Saturday Looks Good to Me. Thomas has also put out a few solo records and contributed to dozens of albums across many genres. As the story goes, he sent her demo to Polyvinyl Records with a note that said “This is not a drill. You need to hear this”. They liked it, and they quickly signed her. Her debut album Quit the Curse will be out on February 2.
This has all happened very quickly. Thomas sent the demos in the summer of 2017. She had a bunch of songs written, and she had also caught the ear of Collin Dupuis, who has mixed records by Angel Olsen, Mynabirds, The Black Keys, Grant-Lee Phillips, and many others. He helped her fine-tune those songs, and the end result is Quit the Curse. Only six months passed from the time Thomas said “listen to this” to the time Polyvinyl said “We’re putting this record out”. They announced the signing in late October and started promoting the album in November. I’ve been getting emails about a couple of the songs, and with the release date just a couple of weeks away, it’s time.
Some say she sounds like the brilliant no-fucks-given mid-90s indie rock of Liz Phair. Some people say she’s like Courtney Barnett. I get that, but I hear other things like the precision, power and punk-lite beauty of That Dog combined with the gritty and angular but silky smoothness of Julie Doiron. Boil all of that down, add a dash of Mitski, and I get Anna Burch. I love all of her songs that I’ve heard, but I love this one the most:
“Tea-Soaked Letter” by Anna Burch

I love it. And I love that it’s just a song about raw emotion. It’s not about romance and all that stuff: it’s about sex. Or wanting someone really badly. There’s one bit about not playing the game of trying to be wooed

I forgot to fake
the way that I was feeling
I guess it’s too late
All my cards are showing

and then the other bit about again accidentally-on purpose putting the ball in her own court:

No you can’t come up
Who am I kidding.. I would drag you up

But then there’s the bit where the other person might not feel the same:

What was that you said
That I don’t exist inside your head


There’s also some line about making a fool of herself in the interest of getting with this person. It may be to no avail, but she takes it in stride:

So I made a scene
I can think of things more embarrassing

Of course she really lays it on the line at the end:

You’re all I wanted
You’re all I wanted

Everyone understands these kinds of emotions. Everyone –well, mostly everyone– has given their unrequited love before. It sucks, but it’s not the end of the world. See also: “Your Best American Girl”.

There’s also a video of the song, and the video is another thing that makes me think of Julie Doiron.

Quit the Curse will be out on February 2, and you can pre-order it via Polyvinyl here. There’s a cool “pink/white starburst” vinyl in a limited run of 300 as well as a green vinyl, cd, cassette, and digital versions.

January 10, 2018 — “Sleepy Jane” by Corniglia


If you only listen to one song today, make it “Sleepy Jane” by Corniglia (2018, from the album Corniglia).
Corniglia is an indie rock/psychedelic/dream-pop duo from Perth. Matt Irwin is the primary songwriter, while the Italian-born Chloe De Paoli is the singer. They just released their self-titled debut album yesterday, and I got a thing in the mail bag about it. The great Australia-centric indie music magazine Happy has also really been pumping their tires a lot, which drew my attention even more.
To be fair, the email promised “psychedelic infused shoegaze”, which got me really excited. There’s a lot of wonderful shoegaze coming out of Australia these days, and I thought this would be an addition to the ever-growing list. I’ve listened the whole album, and there just isn’t much about this that makes me think of shoegaze. I like it a lot, but it’s dream-pop at best. I definitely get a lot of psychedelic and some ethereal vibes. Classify it however you want: it’s still pretty damn good.

Thanks to the organs/synths and the delay on the vocals, it’s a little hazy and a little cloudy. It may be Australian summer, but this song doesn’t make me think of driving around with the windows open, the birds singing, and the sun beating down on my shoulders. This makes me of driving around at night with only the moon and the stars above. It it makes me feel good.

“Sleepy Jane” by Corniglia

I’ve just listened to this song a few times in a row, and I like it more with each listen. Chloe’s vocals remind me of someone, but I can’t quite figure it out. No matter what, I like it and I’ll look forward to more from this group in the future.

You can buy a download of Corniglia via Bandcamp here.

January 9, 2018 — “Fool’s Gold” by S. Carey

Sean Carey

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Fool’s Gold” by S Carey (2018, from the forthcoming album Hundred Acre).
S. Carey is the stage name of Eau Claire, Wisconsin indie-folk rocker Sean Carey. Although he’s put out two solo albums and a couple of EPs, he’s probably most known for being a vocalist and one of two drummers in Bon Iver. The first two records —All We Grow (2010) and Range of Light (2014)– had “generally positive” reviews, and the forthcoming Hundred Acre is getting tons of advance praise.

The new record, which will be out on February 23 via Jagjaguwar Records has been called his most personal work yet, and like the first Bon Iver record, it’s “basic” and beautiful. It’s stripped down: guitar, strings, pedal steel, synths, drums, and Carey’s dulcet vocals. Carey is challenging the listener to join him “to strive for a near-utopian ideal of returning to a simpler way of life, and loving those around you, to heal personal wounds.” That’s from the press release back in November. I’ve just gotten around to listening to the new song, and I really can’t wait for the full album. This is that song:

“Fool’s Gold” by S. Carey

The slide guitar is brilliant. There’s a fine line between “enough” slide guitar and “way too much” slide guitar. They’ve found the right side of it. The balance of the acoustic guitar and the electric guitar is amazing. Carey’s vocals are perfect. Beautiful and heartbreaking. I absolutely love the sparseness of the whole thing. Best of all, though, the lyrics don’t get in the way of a beautiful song like they might with a Sun Kil Moon song. Oh no. This is the kind of song that Mark Kozelek wishes he could still write.

This is also the kind of song that reminds us why we loved Bon Iver in the first place. To be honest, I didn’t care for the newest Bon Iver record, but I still hold For Emma, Forever Ago (2007) in the very highest regard. Certainly one of my favourite records of the first decade of the 2000s.

You can and should watch the below video of Carey’s band playing the song:

The album doesn’t come out until February 23, but you can pre-order it via Jagjaguwar in your choice of physical formats including “translucent green” vinyl and “blue haze” vinyl here. You can also order a digital copy via Bandcamp here.

Finally, you should also go catch S Carey on tour. Bon Iver will be at Austin City Limits later this month, then the UK this March. Right after that S Carey will tour the east coast and midwest US. See the tour dates here.

January 8, 2018 — “Petal” by Hovvdy


If you only listen to one song today, make it “Petal” by Hovvdy (2018, from the forthcoming album Cranberry).
Hovvdy is a slowcore/bedroom pop/”pillowcore” duo from Austin, Texas. Yes. Another band who uses a “double-v” in their band name in lieu of a “w”. Will Taylor and Charlie Martin, who are both drummers, met in 2014, and bonded over their love of downtempo pop music. They recorded some stuff in bedrooms and living rooms, and in 2016, they released their debut album Taster via Sports Day Records. That album was re-released by Double Double Whammy Records last year. Their sophomore album Cranberry is due out on February 9 via DDW. They’ll follow the record release with a mini-tour that features three shows in Texas, two in Mississippi, two in Tennessee, one in Louisiana, and one in Brooklyn.

I had never heard of the band before I got something in the mail bag about them. As everyone knows, I love DDW Records, and the email had a bunch of alluring press clippings. After giving a quick listen to a few songs, I really like what these guys are doing. There’s something really familiar about their style, and it took me a while, but I ultimately decided that they sound like Matt Pond doing early Built To Spill covers. Today’s song is my favorite of the three that I’ve heard, but they’re all great.

This is that song.
“Petal” by Hovvdy

Whichever one of the guys who does most of the singing has a nice falsetto that reminds me just a little of Doug Martsch out of Built to Spill. This guy sings better than Martsch, though. The song structure is a little like a lot of Built to Spill songs. Specifically, I’m thinking of “Car”. Except it’s slower-paced and much prettier. Like the way it might be if done by MPPA.

You can pre-order a digital copy of the album via Bandcamp here. You can also pre-order physical formats including a “cranberry red in milky clear” vinyl via the DDW web store here.

You can also see the beautifully shot video below. Bicycles. Pickup trucks. Dogs. Tree-lined streets. It’s got everything. Plus it’s got the band playing the song.

January 5, 2018 — “On a Sunday Morning” by Dead Vibrations

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “On a Sunday Morning” by Dead Vibrations (2018, from the forthcoming album Dead Vibrations)
Dead Vibrations is a noise pop/shoegaze/psych rock quartet from Stockholm. They’ve been around since 2015, but they just released their first EP Reflections last year, and they’re all set to put out their eponymous debut album on January 26 via Fuzz Club Records.

The band has already been getting a lot of good press, and this new album should push them to the front of the Scandinavian shoegaze scene. I had never heard the band before, but I got something in the mail bag suggesting a sound reminiscent of Jesus and Mary Chain, Spacemen 3, and the Seattle grunge scene of the 1990s. In today’s song, there’s a small bit that absolutely reminds me of “Nearly Lost You” by Screaming Trees. Painted with broader strokes, today’s song reminds me more of Swervedriver than of the Mary Chain. On other songs, there’s a more viscous texture, and I’m reminded of Sonic Youth. And these are all fantastic things to be reminded of.

“On a Sunday Morning” by Dead Vibrations

The part where the drums come in at 0:32 up until where the vocals come in at 1:20 is the bit that reminds me of that Screaming Trees song. Then it gets noisy and has me thinking about Mezcal Head. There’s a bridge that’s a little Sonic Youth-esque, then back to that drumbeat at around 3:40.

I like this a lot. And I love the rest of the album. The rest of the album is a little sludgier and packed a little tighter. They don’t breathe very much, but that’s okay. This is meant to be sweaty and beer-soaked.

Look for the album on January 26. You can pre-order the vinyl here. It might be kind of fun to play that record with the pitch adjusted down to make it even sludgier. Pre-order the digital version here.

You should also check out the video of the band doing this song on a rooftop:

January 4, 2018 — “No Lies” by Flying Cape Experience

Flying Cape Experience

If you only listen to one song today, make it “No Lies” by Flying Cape Experience (2017, from the single “No Lies”).
Flying Cape Experience is a dream pop/indie folk/ambient shoegaze duo from Tampere, Finland. Tampere, as you know, is the hometown of Winnipeg Jets superstar Patrick Laine. I wrote about the band way back in 2015 when they were about to release their sophomore album. Now, they’re about to release their third album via the Portuguese label El Vals del Conejo , and they’ve put out a single in advance of it. The band recently contacted me with news of the just-released single and I told them I was more than happy to help spread the word.
This is decidedly less “ambient shoegaze” and more “dream-folk” than their previous stuff. Their other songs that I’ve heard remind me of Mazzy Star, but this is different. On this song, I’m reminded a bit of Azure Ray. Lots of acoustic guitar, hushed angelic vocals, and bits of delay to make it all warm and cozy on a snowy day.
I really like this single, which I assume will be on the forthcoming album. I’ll look forward to that. They haven’t announced a release date yet, but they say it’ll be early in 2018.
For now, this is their new song:
“No Lies” by Flying Cape Experience

I quite like the organ at the beginning and the way that it beautifully fades into the acoustic guitar. Around the 4:00 mark, when the synthetic strings come in and the acoustic guitar gets bigger and jangly, I’m reminded a bit of the criminally underappreciated Delicious Monster.

You can grab a download of today’s song via Bandcamp. Better yet, you can get the entire El Vals del Conejo catalog for just $19.50 USD here. The label also features This is That Song alumni The Virgance, and some other really cool bands in the realm of dream pop. Just in case you were wondering about that label’s name, “El Vals del Canejo” translates to “Waltz of the Rabbit”.

December 12, 2017 — “Turtledoves” by Gingerlys

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Turtledoves” by Gingerlys (2017, from the album Gingerlys).

Gingerlys is an indie pop/shoegaze/dream pop quintet from Brooklyn. They formed in 2013, and they’ve recently released their smashing self-titled debut record via Topshelf Records and Babe City Records. The album is finding its way onto a lot of year-end lists, and the band is earning comparisons to Alvvays and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. I’m totally on board with those comparisons, and I absolutely love the album. I’m also reminded of Veronica Falls.
A few months ago, I started getting stuff in the mailbag about Gingerlys. I also started to see a lot of things written about them on other blogs and I started to see some early year-end-lists. The album came out on November 17, and although I’ve had it for several weeks, I only just got around to spending significant time with it over the past few days. I love it.
The entire album is a bunch of bouncy, shiny fun right from the drop. Today’s song is the first song from the album, and it really sets the tone.

“Turtledoves” by Gingerlys

It’s noisy and melodic. It’s bouncy and bright, while it’s also a little unwashed. There’s something that’s vaguely reminiscent of DC-area popgaze of the mid 1990s. There’s also the official video, which is a mashup of film styles. some of it was shot digitally on modern equipment, while some of it looks like it was filmed with a VCR camera using an old tape. You can clearly tell the bits with the 4:3 aspect ratio are of lesser quality. That kind of mixed film quality works for me. Here’s the video:

You can buy the album digitally here. They also have CD, cassette and vinyl format. The vinyl comes in “clear coke bottle” or black. There was a “starburst pink” or “opaque pink” vinyl, but it appears to have sold out. Just buy the album in any format. You won’t regret it.

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