Twin Crystals

January 19, 2012

I gotta admit, I’m a big sucker for The Wipers and Vancouver trio The Twin Crystals manage to blend the melancholic sounds of that legendary Portland group with some nice New Wave and general arty noise. On their ten-song demo collection Child Life they offer up a nice blend of songs;  some pure garage/punk tracks with a slight Nirvana feel, and some occasional “artsy” oddities – all from their forthcoming second album.

This is just great. If you are or were a fan of Greg Sage‘s previous outfit you just gotta give these guys a listen! There’s tons of vinyl records available, and four digital releases on Bandcamp. Check ’em out!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://twincrystals.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://www.facebook.com/pages/TWIN-CRYSTALS/95838036465

Iron Witch

January 17, 2012

If you’re in the mood for a bit more rough-edged stoner I can highly recommend Iron Witch‘s debut EP Single Malt released on Witch Hunter Records in 2011. Mixing up the heaviness of other outfits like Black Sabbath and Sleep with the hardcore stylings of Black Flag (circa My War-era), this UK outfit offers up a pretty unique brand of sludge with a nice punk edge that I really grooved on. It’s slow, it’s loud and they kept things just a lil’ bit ugly for taste – nice!

Five songs clocking in just around 25 minutes full of fuzzed-out doom-laden heaviness and a screeching vocalist that actually reminds me of GG Allin (!!!), I can definitely see this outfit being enjoyed by punks and metalheads alike. And according to more than one reviewer I read, these are the future kings of UK Doom! Free downloads are available.

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://ironwitch.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://www.facebook.com/ironwitch1977

Pickwick

January 16, 2012

For some great, down-to-earth soul make sure you check out Seattle outfit Pickwick – a six-man band that’s already getting some well-deserved attention in print as well as the ‘Net. Recently earning a slot on NPR‘s 5 Artists You Should Know In 2011, the band delivers classic blue-eyed soul with just the slightest hint of Motown as well as some nice folky roots.

Great songs, good musicianship and excellent vocal delivery, they have three singles and a split EP released so far, and I gotta say my favorite is Myths, Vol. 2 released in 2010. Let’s hope there’s an album coming this year!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://pickwick.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://www.facebook.com/pickwickmusic

The Dualies

January 16, 2012

Aw, I’m smitten! San Fransisco trio The Dualies blend 80’s New Wave with 8-bit electronics, delivering super-cute modern electropop they call “dancy bitwave” that’s both catchy and charming in the process. Full of nice hooks with a low-key delivery their latest EP Handclaps & Zaps -released in the summer of 2011 – offers up three great-sounding tracks with semi-spoken female vocals.

I gotta admit, at first the combination struck me as a bit odd when I read the tags, but it only took a couple of seconds into the first song for me to get into the band’s sound. Two EP’s and one X-Mas single has been released so far, and all being available for free you should check these guys out!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://thedualies.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://www.facebook.com/thedualies

Wild Belle

January 16, 2012

A great blend of roots reggae and modern electronica is served up by married (?) couple Natalie and Elliot Bergman on their debut 12″ EP/digital release Keep You. Making music under the Wild Belle moniker, they offer up some nice dub reggae sounds with some slight surf-ish guitars and a fitting vocal delivery occasionally bringing to mind Duffy.

There’s certainly lots of commercial appeal to this outfit and the track has “airplay” written all over it. Apparently not available as a download, so buy the vinyl version and/or keep your fingers crossed they’ll release more material soon.

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://wildbelle.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://www.facebook.com/wildbelle

Casablanca Carambol Company

January 11, 2012

I’m usually not that keen on modern rockabilly because it has a tendency to be way overproduced, lacking that necessary “dirt” that was pretty common on those indie label releases back in the fifties, or just lacking the nerve of the original artists. Nothing wrong with retro, but an anemic delivery just doesn’t cut it when it comes to wild music. Belgian combo Casablanca Carambol Company manages to steer clear of that on their 2010 album Moonlight, offering up some really good originals faithful to the sound.

Bringing to mind the classic two first albums by Gene Vincent with a slight Bobby Fuller influence, these guys serves up eleven great rockabilly tracks with nice production true to the roots and some pretty nice guitar work. Available on CD as well!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://carambolcompany.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://www.myspace.com/cccrockabilly

Two Syllables Volume Six

January 11, 2012

Here’s a nice lil’ freebie from UK label First Word RecordsTwo Syllables Six released in time for X-Mas 2011! Compiling eleven tracks (twelve if you download) taken from the past year’s releases with some exclusives and previews added, you’ll get a nice cross-selection of modern soul, R&B and funk and great-sounding Dub.

A nicely varied compilation, the music’s got a healthy dose of roots mixed in and I gotta admit, when it comes to modern dancefloor music, this is the kinda delivery I prefer. Check it out!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://shop.firstwordrecords.com/album/two-syllables-volume-six
Website: http://www.firstwordrecords.com/

Charity Numbers

January 9, 2012

For a nice dose of classic US lo-fi pop, check out The Charity Numbers‘ self-titled debut EP! Not too much info about the band I’m afraid (no links and no bio) but with Berlin added as a tagline I’m guessing they’re a German band. We’re talking some really nice melodies delivered with a decent amount of distortion and tape hiss, occasionally bringing early Weezer to mind.

Six nice songs including one instrumental track and an homage to actress Thora Birch. Thick, layered guitars, lots of hooks and good vocal performance make this a nice release for fans of early Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh. The EP is available as a free download so check it out.

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://charitynumbers.bandcamp.com/
Website: N/A

Burger Records Sampler

January 5, 2012

If you’re looking for a contemporary garage rock fix or maybe just curious about the label, US label Burger Records recently released their Burger Records Sampler on Bandcamp. Unfortunately not available as a download, you still get 35 tracks ranging from noisy lo-fi punk to sweet Beatles-esque pop sounds with artists and bands including everybody from Devon Williams and Ty Segall to Nobunny and Personal and The Pizzas.

Starting out as a record store in Fullerton California, the label is making waves in the underground community with a great stable of artists and releasing albums on cool formats like limited-edition cassettes. This release is bound to have something for every garage fan out there so check it out.

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://burgerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/burger-records-sampler
Website: http://www.burgerrecords.org/

The Cry

January 4, 2012

Well, if we ignore there’s a Swedish garage outfit with the same name that’s been active for 20+ years, Portland quartet The Cry is a fairly new band made up of pretty young guys delivering perfectly executed Power Pop. I gotta admit I was initially freaked out hearing these guys on account of their eerily similar sound to that other great Portland pop outfit The Exploding Hearts (especially considering their heartbreakingly tragic end in 2003), but these guys make it no secret they’re an influence and they manage to pull it off incredibly good!

Twelve tracks are served up on their self-titled debut album and it pretty much sounds like a greatest hits compilation from a veteran band with twenty years under the belt (and these guys are in their teens!). We’re talking massive song writing talent mixing up the classic sounds of 70’s Power Pop with nice 50’s harmonies, completely drenched in hooks – fodder for some heavy radio rotation, I kid you not. Keep a lookout in March when the vinyl version is released in Japan (on S-P Records) and Europe (by Taken By Surprise Records).

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://thecry1.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://www.thecrypdx.com/