White Lung

September 3, 2012

Well, there just have to be something in the damn water up in the Pacific northwest. For a good twenty years they’ve been giving the world amazing bands that delivers an excellent mix of gloom and punk – yes, again I’m gonna mention The Wipers – and the latest great outfit is Vancouver quartet White Lung! Their second full-length album Sorry released in May 2012 offers up ten tracks that perfectly blends the gloom with punk energy bringing to mind the best of the post-punk sounds of the 80s.

Great musiciansship, great, varied songs and great vocal delivery the band perfectly mixes youthful freshness with a retro, “arty” vibe with the occasional hardcore surprise popping up now and then. I hear tons of influences and even some Dead Kennedys in the guitars! Back in say 1984 these guys would’ve been signed to IRS Records and making zillions. I am not kidding. Check ’em out!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://whitelung.bandcamp.com/
Website: https://www.facebook.com/whitelung

Beyond Veronica

September 3, 2012

More emails, this time from Portland’s Beyond Veronica hepping me to their second album Hard Times For Dreamers released earlier this year on Fetish Pop Records. A dozen tracks are offered here, mostly of the mid-tempo variety with some nice hooks and a pretty retro 70s Power Pop feel – musically they actually kinda reminded me of Seattle legends The Heats!

The band is good and tight, vocalist Bonnie Veronica got a nice voice that kinda brings to mind early The Pandoras (especially on tracks like Fade Away where that 60s retro garage feel gets more evident) and unlike a lot of bands these guys offers up a wide variety when it comes to the song material, making it a pleasant experience for the listener. Check ’em out!

Sample track:

Website: http://www.beyondveronica.com/

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

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

Opposite Sex

January 2, 2012

New Zealand trio (and sometimes just duo) The Opposite Sex offers up a real odd sort of dadaist pop with a hint of darkness to it on their self-titled debut album. With a sound that can only be the result of isolation, the band was formed when female bassplayer Lucy Hunter met future drummer/used bookstore owner Tim Player, with guitarist Fergus Taylor occasionally filling out the line-up. Impossible to describe I’d say it’s minimalist pop music with tons of waltz thrown in, some early art-punk and a slight French ye-ye influence.

Truly a unique, alternative pop band with a sound of their own, their debut is an oddity but charming as hell and really grows on you the more you listen to it. To top it off, Lucy’s sugary, “cutesy” vocal gives it a sort of demented quality that I really fell for. Is “insanely cute” a good description? Anyway, some free downloads and it’s available on CD and vinyl as well!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://oppositesex.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://fishriderrecords.wordpress.com/opposite_sex/


January 2, 2012

Chicago duo Redgrave offers up some nice swampflavored blues on their self-titled debut 7″ released on Lovitt Records. Guitars, drums and female vocals make up their sparse sound – with a surprising melodic edge not that usual for the genre to boot!

With The White Stripes creating such big waves for this kind of music (even though outfits like The Cramps, The Gories and The Oblivians pioneered it years earlier) you’d expect a copy cat band, but these guys manage to steer clear and offer up their own unique take on it. Full length album is due later on this year.

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://lovitt.bandcamp.com/album/redgrave
Website: https://www.facebook.com/redgravemusic

Julie Christmas

December 28, 2011

I love juxtapositions and if you ever toyed with the idea of what Bjork fronting Queens of the Stone Age would sound like you should definitely listen to Julie Christmas debut album The Bad Wife! Released in November on Rising Pulse Records, the album is her first solo effort (she handles vocals in Made Out Of Babies) and offers up nine tracks co-written with members from Candiria, Victory at Sea and Tony Maimone.

Basically a very original take on stoner rock, the music is at times lush and other just pure brutality with a nice experimental edge to it. There’s a great contrast between Julie’s sometimes pixie-like vocal sweetness and the sheer heaviness of the music itself that’s just awesome! Bringing to mind Josh Homme‘s more quirky musical endeavors – if you’re into the Desert Sessions series you’ll love this – I was pretty blown away by this album and highly recommend it. Available on iTunes, CD and vinyl too!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://juliechristmas.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://www.myspace.com/juliechristmas

Psychic Teens

December 27, 2011

For a healthy dose of noisy, goth influenced punk/sludge check out The Psychic Teens debut EP Teen. Bringing to mind classic 90’s noise rock outfits like Helios Creed, the band harkens back to old 80’s goth rock and offers some nice punk energy to the doom and gloom, giving it a nice energetic vibe I usually miss in the genre.

Sparse production (actually I thought they lacked the sea-of-reverb that was common back in the days), nice monotone quality to the vocals and the occasional noise outbreak makes these guys stand out nicely compared to other outfits in the genre. Released on vinyl as well there’s two rough-mix songs available as a free download!

Sample track:

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

Cellophane Folks

December 27, 2011

Chilean five-piece Cellophane Folks offers up something I’d like to call “garage indie” on their debut EP Late Nite Show. Nine tracks blending the sort of modern stylings of The Strokes with some Weezer pop sensibilities (especially fifth track Bermuda’s Triangle that reminds me of the latter’s Say It Ain’t So), they have a definite UK indie feel and remind me of a more laid back Jacob’s Mouse.

Nice hooks, occasional noise, some cool post-punk dance floor rhytms and good lo-fi production, check ’em out!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://cellophanefolks.bandcamp.com/

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan

December 27, 2011

For a true slice of unique music I can highly recommend pan-Asian project Yamantaka // Sonic Titan‘s debut album YT//ST. Downright impossible to label, the band is a collective formed by performance artists alaska B and Ruby Kato Attwood mixing up tons of influences in order to create what they themselves call Noh-Wave operas.

A blend of stoner, electronica, industrial noise and Chinese folk music, I was blown away by this outfit’s sheer creativity and even though it certainly won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, just give ’em a listen and discover something truly out there!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://yamantakasonictitan.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://www.ytstlabs.com/