25 jan 2016
- They Might Be Giants – listened to the most recent kids’ album and the most recent grown-ups’ album, and they sorta blurred together, but I think I liked the former better.
- Flesh World – Sort of a sequel band to Brilliant Colors, gothy post-punk (or is that post-punky goth>). I like this, especially the early-Throwing-Muses-gone-shoegaze jitter of “To Lose Me,” but it feels a bit safe.
- Sally Timms – Thinking about Marti Jones’ voice leads me down another nostalgia hole, this time one with Mekons chanteuse Timms’ “To the Land of Milk & Honey” at the bottom of it. I bought this disc at a show, and if my memory is right, it was Timms herself who introduced me to the music of Barbara Manning that night, urging a copy of “Sings with the Original Artists” on me. “All these guys play on it,” she said, “but it has better songs.” So that’s next weeks’ nostalgia hole, probably, but “Junk Barge” and “Longing, Madness, and Lust” at the very least, belong on some mythical best-of-Mekons-related best-of box set.
- Hinds – Hinds are from Spain, but they have hazy tremolo guitar strumming and delicate ‘verbed-out leads, stacked and counter-sung harmonies that sound quintessentially Californian to me, and like the best Cali pop bands they mix cheer, sneer and melancholy. RIYL Best Coast or, especially, Colleen Green.
- Shooting Gallery – Maybe the saddest entry in Andy McCoy’s discography of too-often squandered potential, Shooting Gallery reunites Hanoi Rock’s guitar player with Dave Tregunna, from McCoy’s short-lived Cherry Bombz project and also the Lords of the New Church, for an album of competent but uninspiring and uninspired sub-Guns’n'Roses hard rock.
- The Fawns – Fawns’ fronter Lesa Bezo’s songs are characterized both by her sharply observed, but fundamentally warm lyrics, and a knack for the sort of unforced melodic hooks that seem already half-familiar. The band’s new long player sets the songs in arrangements with Byrds-ian chiming guitars, a dash of twang, and a bit of indie rock crunch. Deserves to be way better known, I think.
- Orchid – I used to listen to Transistor Transistor and Wolves a lot, so I guess it’s actively odd that I never heard Orchid before. I wish someone would do a Pete Frame-style family tree of all those bands I like with that genre name I refuse to use.
- Sports – Many bands with this name, listening to the Ohio pop-punks with a cuts-through-the-mix singer, squarely in Swearin’, Candy Hearts, All Dogs, Bad Banana sorta territory.
- The Bears – Back in my college DJ days The Bears self-titled album and “Rise and Shine” showed up one day, with zero fanfare — without, as far as I remember, a one-sheet — I played those records without knowing in advance that Adrian Belew was involved, and so I mentally filed them with some of the other kinda-new-wave, kinda-roots-y stuff I was digging on at the time, like labelmates the dB’s, and, especially, Let’s Active. I’d heard (and liked, mostly) the 3rd album, a decade and a half later, but if felt fundamentally different – much more careful prog craftpeople making a pop, but not too pop record. I didn’t even know til last week that a 4th album came out back in 2007, but it slid by without making a big impression. Little too tasteful, maybe.
- Chorusgirl – unlikely but appealing blend of Lush-ish shoegaze textures and Best Coast-y surf/garage tunes. “This Town Kills” is a standout for me (perhaps because it’s maybe a bit too much like Radiohead’s “Creep”).
Tags: 2016 · weekly top