Portland, OR trio Alto! was formed in 2011 by guitarist Derek Monypeny alongside drummers Kyle Emory & Steven Stone, who over the course of five years have evolved into a fierce and explorative ensemble on the Portland scene. Having self-released two eponymous full length albums on Monypeny's Raheem Records in 2012 and 2014, Trouble In Mind presents their third album, the appropriately titled "LP 3". Past albums have seen Monypeny's guitar leading the fracas, & it's no surprise why; his style is equal parts influenced by the sunbaked deserts of Phoenix & the Bishop Bros (Alan & Richard - whose 'Freak of Araby' ensemble Monypemy was a member of) as well as the swirling sands of the Middle East & guitarists like Omar Khorshid & Bombino, but the real stars of "LP 3" are drummers Emory & Stone, who fuse together into an unshakeable elemental pulse, dancing around each other in dizzying & danceable polyrhythms. "LP 3" was mastered by Timothy Stollenwerk (Grouper / Golden Retriever) at Stereophonic Mastering, with artwork by band member Steven Stone.
Beef Jerk's debut LP "Tragic" was self-released in a small run by the band in 2015 & has now been re-released for a deservedly wider audience by Trouble In Mind in 2016. The band often get lumped in with the Australian "dolewave" scene - a joke title referring to bands of the jangling pop variety whose lyrics often touch on the more mundane aspects of modern life in Australia. Beef Jerk's principal songwriters' Jack Lee & Mikey Branson certainly write tunes that seem to fit that mold, but upon further investigation & attention, reveal an intelligent, deeper & poetic understanding of working class culture in Australia. "Tragic" is re-released by Trouble In Mind with all-new artwork, and includes a download code.
Melbourne, Australia band Chook Race formed in 2010, starting out as a scrappy, garage/surf band, but soon developed a greater pop sensibility, born of their love of the Flying Nun bands and other bedroom favorites. After a string of of tapes and 7"s Chook Race return with new album 'Around The House', due for release on September 2nd through Chicago's Trouble in Mind Records. The ten songs on "Around The House" are oddly withdrawn yet highly personal tunes, but performed by the band with a desperate urgency. Songs like the immediate & catchy "Hard To Clean" & "Sometimes" clang & clatter like chrome-plated pop earworms, while others like the somber "Pink & Grey" and album-closer "Start Anew" hum pensively, quietly insinuating themselves into your subconscious. Captured in a single day by Tom Hardisty (NUN, Woollen Kits) and mastered by Mikey Young (Total Control, Eddy Current Suppression Ring) the album has a compelling sound defined by jangly guitars, boy-girl harmonies and lyrical observations of the everyday. "Around The House" is released digitally, on compact disc, and pressed on black vinyl w/download.
Chris Forsyth & Koen Holtkamp have earned reputations as fierce, creative artists and respected masters of their instruments (guitar & synthesizers, respectively). "The Island" is the 2nd collaborative album from these Philadelphia and Brooklyn-based musicians. Rehearsals for the sessions amounted to a couple of days drinking wine, cooking, and hanging out on the beach at the Jersey Shore, and the rhythm and motion of the water seems to have had an undeniable effect on the sessions. The result is an album that despite the freewheeling nature of it's origins, sounds thoroughly composed & song-oriented. Songs like "Long Beach Idyll" and "Cosmic Richard" fuse Forsyth's desert-dusted guitar & Holtkamp's cascading electronics into airy, blissful meditations afloat on an endless ocean, while "Sun Blind" and "Alternator" crackle with intensity, with both musicians seemingly coaxing each other towards something new and primal.
Chuck Johnson has cemented his reputation as a master of solo guitar with his critically acclaimed solo albums "Crows in the Basilica" (Three Lobed, 2013) and "Blood Moon Boulder" (Scissor Tail, 2015) perfecting his modernist style of American fingerpicking over the course of those two albums. "Velvet Arc" finds Johnson returning to territory he explored in bands like Idyll Swords and Spatula, utilizing an expanded lineup of like-minded musicians to augment his captivating guitar stylings. On "Velvet Arc" Johnson is playing at the top of his game, unafraid to re-evaluate & redefine himself any chance he can get.
Since 2013, Columbus, Ohio's Connections have made four near-perfect albums of lo-fi pop majesty for the seminal Midwest label Anyway Records, and "Foreign Affairs" continues that winning streak with sixteen songs packed with sardonic tunefulness and Buckeye bombast. Connections sprung forth from Nineties pop band 84 Nash, infamous for being the only non-GBV related band released on Robert Pollard's own Rockathon Records and comparisons to the Indie Rock underdogs seem inevitable, if not a little shortsighted. Connections' brand of indie rock definitely has one foot in The Nineties but maintains a classicist's penchant for nuanced & timeless rock'n'roll. These guys have done their homework, but nothing feels studied - they've drunk from the waters of the Ohio Underground and the tunes flow forth naturally, with nods to their Nineties brethren as well as idiosyncratic Midwest legends. For every obvious, life-affirming hit on 'Foreign Affairs' ("Good Cop", "Low Low Low") there are equal numbers of stealthy earworms like the chiming "Short Line", or the yearning, organ-drenched "Downtown" The songs ooze familiarity and an instant lyrical relatability, with singer Kevin Elliot's lyrics reveling in the everyday's little details; good friends, love and rock 'n' roll with restlessness and desire in a harsh, unforgiving but still beautiful world.
Over the course of the past six years, Omaha, NB musician David Nance has released three full-length albums for labels Grapefruit and Ba Da Bing, a 7-inch, numerous cassettes, CDRs and unlicensed "cover albums". His latest full-length is credited to the "David Nance Group" and features Nance alongside his recent hot-shit live band of fellow Omaha musicians. "Peaced and Slightly Pulverized"'s sounds are alternatingly tender & brusque. The anthemic "Poison" with its fuzzed-out guitar riff that leans into a Crazy-Horsian guitar maelstrom and white-hot solo, to "Ham Sandwich"; a blisteringly frantic rant about a lunchtime torment - uncomfortable in its directness. Side one closes with the epic seven and a half minute "Amethyst"; an emotional odyssey with Nance & Schroeder strangling their guitars into a twin-guitar, barbed-wire duel. The album's centerpiece is "In Her Kingdom", an emotive ballad that fades into view with a plaintive guitar strum that ebbs and flows with a rising tide of swelling guitars, it's riffs gilding the melody & adding flecks of gold to Nance's tale of poverty and grace. The album closes with "Prophet's Profit"'s biting commentary on false idolatry utilizing the group's not-so-secret weaponry of Nance and Schroeder's six-string simpatico to bring the listener home.
One year after releasing Dick Diver's third album,"Melbourne, Florida" Trouble In Mind is pleased as punch to make the revered Melbourne, Florida band's first two albums 2011's "New Start Again" & 2013's critically acclaimed (and The Age-nominated Best Album) "Calendar Days" FINALLY available domestically for eager & discerning listeners. "New Start Again" was the band's first full-length offering after their debut single, surprising many & no one with it's sprawling range of melodic twists & turns. From opener "Through The D" - which starts with a patient drum pulse before launching into the infectious jangle of guitarists Rupert Edwards and Alistair McKay's chiming chords - to casual anthem & album closer "Head Back" (penned by bassist Al Montfort), the band holds the listener's attention steady and true with inventive and memorable songs.
One year after releasing Dick Diver's third album,"Melbourne, Florida" Trouble In Mind is pleased as punch to make the revered Melbourne, Florida band's first two albums 2011's "New Start Again" & 2013's critically acclaimed (and The Age-nominated Best Album) "Calendar Days" FINALLY available domestically for eager & discerning listeners. Building on the promise of their debut, "Calendar Days" a truly communal album with each band member contributing hit after hit, from the punchy first single "Alice" (penned by bassist Al Montfort) to Al McKay & Rupert Edwards' elegant ditties & pop bangers like "Water Damage" "Calendar Days" & "Lime Green Shirt". The real highlight is drummer/guitarist Steph Hughes whose vocal duties on the Edwards-penned title track & duet on "Two Year Lease" add a melodic richness. Not to mention her absolute classic tune "Gap Life" a beguiling & charmingly casual take on "Australian-ness", cementing "Calendar Days" as an unquestionable modern classic. People started to take notice too, as the band was nominated for The Age's Music Victoria Awards for Best Album & Best Band.
Massachusetts songwriter Doug Tuttle returns with his third solo album, "Peace Potato", once again on Chicago label Trouble In Mind Records. His 2013 solo debut (after fronting his longtime psychedelic band, MMOSS) was an insular and foggy psychedelic masterpiece punctuated by Tuttle's stinging guitar leads, accented by flashes of bedroom Fairport /Crazy Horse brilliance, towing the line nimbly between elegance and ragged assurance. We last saw Tuttle on "It Calls On Me", his 2015 sophomore album, which pushed his songwriting towards further clarity and melody "Peace Potato" shakes it all down with Tuttle's strongest batch of songs yet.
"Peace Potato" introduces itself with the horn-laden, honeydripper,"Bait The Sun", a classic Tuttle tune; downer pop melodies coloring a hypnagogic landscape. It is indeed that state of lucid dreaming, somewhere between the onset of sleep is where Tuttle firmly plants the seeds of "Peace Potato". Songs stutter to life and grind to a halt, to calculated effect, stitched together into a patchwork of full tunes, song fragments and waves of melodic euphoria.Throughout all, Tuttle's guitar picking and soloing echoes the greats of decades prior, Harrison, Thompson, Clarence White, with a conscious eye to the unsung bedroom and basement weird pop genius of sung and unsung artists like Harumi, Sixth Station, The Bachs and Jim Sullivan. Tuttle played every instrument and recorded the entirety of "Peace Potato" in his Somerville bedroom studio; a ubiquitous location in these modern times, but the ease at which Tuttle's songs fold and unfold, suggests something more than your usual home-recorded musings.
"Peace Potato" is released on black (and limited color) vinyl, compact disc and available via all the usual digital platforms.
New Hampshire-native Doug Tuttle (ex-MMOSS) presents the follow-up to his acclaimed 2013 solo debut self-titled album with "It Calls On Me."
Eschewing the jittery, love-lorn anxiety of his first solo outing, "It Calls On Me" presents a decidedly more dreamy journey through softer, sun-burnt landscapes, while still showcasing Tuttle's trademark masterful guitar-work and his very own brand of impeccably-crafted, fractured psychedelic pop.
Parisian quintet En Attendant Ana has been nonchalantly crafting perfect pop songs since 2014. Their debut 12-inch "Songs From The Cave" was released in late 2017, garnering rave reviews for their refreshing blend of nouveau French pop, C86 indie, and foggy Flying Nun influenced jangle.
"Lost and Found" begins with the ominous clanging of guitars, before launching into a churning whirl of sound; guitars slash, keyboards drone, trumpets wail, and drums crash. What follows are nine more songs of urgent and thrilling pop dazzle.; from the adrenaline-soaked anthem "This Could Be", to the driving "RÃ©" with it's rapturous "oohs" and Camille FrÃ©chou's uplifting trumpet fanfare, echoing Entwistle's French horn lines from "Sell Out"-era Who. Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Margaux Bouchaudon's a yearning, tuneful register can't help but recall the indie cool of Laetitia Sadier or Nico, but still boasts a style of her own. The clarity and timelessness of the band's songwriting proves them to be a band filled with craft and promise.
"Lost and Found" is released on CD, black vinyl LP (a limited "sunset orange" version is available for direct accounts while supplies last), and via all Digital retailers.
"A self-described "bad time band", Chicago group Ethers' debut consists of twelve songs of ragged, soulful rock and roll; heavy on hooks, with stark arrangements and sticky melodies that hang with an unexpected resonance. Instant earworms like opener "Empty Hours", "Rip Off" and "Modern Dating" recall bands like soulful punks Royal Headache or Asheville troubadours Reigning Sound, while third quarter-album high point "CBD" rages with nervous energy like a long-lost Feelies "Crazy Rhythms" outtake. Tunes like "Carry What You Kill" and album closer "Something" are soaked in melancholy, but peppered with cynicism and charm. The band oozes a world-weariness, but the tunes yearn with a hopeful ache for better days ahead. Recorded in the raw, with very little audio adornment by Chicago engineer Dave Vettraino & mastered by Melbourne legend Mikey Young (Total Control, Eddy Current Suppression Ring), the spartan production allows the songs to be the main focus."
FACS sprung forth in early 2017 from the ashes of beloved Chicago band Disappears. "Negative Houses" is their debut recording; an abstraction of their former outfit, even more minimal and bare than what came before. "Negative Houses" approaches the stark, gothy post-punk previously perfected more rhythmically and abstract than in Disappears, with Leger's motorik, machine-like drumming taking the forefront (see the tunes 'Skylarking' and 'Others') and van Herik's guitar alternating between slashes of dissonant ambience and percussive accent. Case switches from guitar to bass in FACS, adding an economical throb to the band's drive on songs like 'Just A Mirror' & the album's centerpiece, the near nine-minute, sax-soaked tour-de-force 'Houses Breathing', whose electric heartbeat lumbers forward, sounding like an outtake from Cold Storage Studios circa 1979.
"Pictures of Saint Paul Street" is the sixth solo album from the former Mirrors/Gris-Gris mastermind Greg Ashley, an amalgam of tortured, Cohen-esque folk tinged with the beer soaked recklessness of a West Texas honky-tonk. The songs on "Pictures of Saint Paul Street" are lush & beautiful autopsies of society's underbelly, with stark and brutally honest ruminations on humanity. Ashley's songs move from ballads of hopeless misery to rallying anthems for the dispossessed. The people & artists who move further to the fringe as power and greed overtake our planet.
Headroom first took flight in 2016 as the solo outlet for New Haven musician Kryssi Battalene, nÃ©e of regarded noise project Colorguard & guitarist for psychedelic voyagers, Mountain Movers. "Head In The Clouds" showcases her molten-lava guitar shredding alongside an all-star cast from the New Haven underground. Part Twisted Village / PSF Records-influenced white noise maelstrom, part nuanced, beautiful six-stringed draperies, "Head In the Clouds" is an album meant to get lost in.