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 The ten songs on "Around The House" are oddly withdrawn yet highly personal tunes, but performed by the band with a desperate urgency.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.
Klaus Johann Grobe continue to confound listeners who dare to pidgeonhole them as a "psych" band with their newest single for Chicago-based Trouble In Mind Records, "Baby lass uns Sein" b/w "Ich Bien nicht der Grund". "Baby Lass uns Sein" is a mainstay of the group's live repertoire, a tender ballad that - depending on the band's vibe opens or closes their set with it's mellow metronomic pulse, lilting organ chords & tinkling Moog sparkles. The flip side "Ich Bien nicht der grund" is classic a KJG dance-floor-filler; it's stark beat & thumping bass grounding stratosphear-arching organ drones and chorded keyboard musings. Landolt guides his Moog Prophet thru an array of effects, oscillating it toward new, and decidedly weirder places. The 7-inch single of "Baby Lass Uns Sein" is pressed on black vinyl, comes housed in the Trouble In Mind company sleeve & includes a download code.
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.
The Paperhead have been Nashville's best-kept secret for years now. The trio have crafted three albums of psych-pop perfection, last leaving us with 2014's "Africa Avenue". They return in fine form with their fourth magnum opus, entitled "Chew". Having been lifelong fans of psychedelia & prog rock, They've found a way to straddle four decades of music. Rather than committing the cardinal sin of many modern acts by drenching everything in reverb, "Chew" revels in clarity & melody - the listener finds themselves disoriented by the jarring juxtaposition of styles, rather than gimmicky studio trickery. This was purposeful, as the band wanted "Chew" to seem like criss-crossing AM radio broadcasts. Melodic psych-pop drifts up against crunchy, progressive riffs and good ol' steel-guitar driven country rock, but it all works. The album's centerpiece "Dama de Lavanda" is perhaps their most accomplished composition to date, with it's breezy latin rhythms - it swings with an assuredness unseen from the band as yet. Horns & flutes pepper the mix, but it's the Bacharach-meets-Pretty Things outro that really hits a home run. The obvious peak of an album crackling with ideas & creativity. "Chew" was recorded by the band in bassist Peter Stringer-Hye's garage studio in Nashville & mixed by Cooper Crain (Bitchin' Bajas, Cave) at Chicago's Minbal Studios. "Chew" is released on compact disc & black vinyl, and includes a download code.
Omni - the band, not the hotel - are from the former home of the Braves: Atlanta. Playing lo-fi pop that channels the spectre of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Omni brings you back to an era where any sane person was reeling from the unfulfilled promise of the Space Age and Age of Aquarius bleeding into the looming threat of "Morning in America.” Omni distills the buzz and grit that snakes through the best of Television, Devo, and Pylon into surprisingly danceable, hook-laden slabs of raw, angular, sonic bliss. It’s still the summer of '78, and pushing the roots of rock & roll to its limits remains in vogue. "Deluxe" serves as a fresh reminder that rock music can work outside of blues rooted, formulaic progressions without playing it safe behind a wall of effects. Arty enough to impress record enthusiasts, yet melodically attractive enough to transcend to those who’ve never asked: “’Sister Midnight’ or ‘Red Money’?”
Swiss group Klaus Johann Grobe have been at it since 2012, and as they prepare to release their third album "Du Bist So Symmetrisch" (and third on Trouble In Mind), the group continues to defy description & blur thelines between electronic pop, dance music, synthesis & kosmische."Du Bist So Symmetrisch" follows the inevitable path laid out by their previous album (the Basel Prize-winning "Spagat der Liebe"), incorporating the slinky, jazz-fusion-laced grooves populating late night clubs and braiding them together with the band's own blend of mutant electro-funk. Driven by an organic, metronomic beat aligned with synth, chant-like vocals, and a monstrous funky bass, the music aims towards a certain kind of hypnosis, particularly as the sleeping pill echo-heavy vocals cycle over the locked grooves the pair throw down. "Du Bist..." begins with the cascading arpeggio of a synth, edging into view, before lurching into the placid dancefloor groove of the first single "Discogedanken". While the band invariably feels more at home in the club, Klaus Johann Grobe certainly aim towards the more dance-orientated arena of German music (see "Der König" or "Von Gestern"), aligning the metro pulse of Klaus Dinger and Kraftwerk's later techno work to more biological factors - like moss growing on the mainframe.
Dusk is the third album from London-based duo Ultimate Painting, a ten song set that expands the group's sound from their self-titled debut and their critically acclaimed sophomore effort Green Lanes. Dusk heads along the same path, albeit in a slightly different direction, forging to new territory by heading inward. The group's discovered a simple lushness in Dusk's arrangements, sometimes only with subtle additions like Hoare's recently acquired Wurlitzer piano that drives tunes like 'Lead The Way' or washes underneath others like 'Monday Morning, Somewhere Central'. Dusk feels different and cements the group's presence in the modern world guitar pop, finding voice in the allure of quietude.
"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."
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.
Second album from this London band featuring Jack Cooper (Mazes) & James Hoare (Veronica Falls/Proper Ornaments) that coalesces their amalgam of sounds from VU-hum to Feelies jangle into a more distinctive voice.
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.
Brooklyn ensemble Sunwatchers return with the incendiary follow up to their 2016 eponymous debut, the appropriately titled "II". The quartet continues to defy adequate description, incorporating elements of free jazz, psychedelia, punk, Ethiopian and Thai music and funk into a dizzy, invigorating sound. "II" kicks off with the click of sticks and launches into "Nosebeers", a righteous burner that writhes and squawks with heady desert vibes and white hot saxophone, soundingnot unlike something akin to Group Doueh jamming with John Zorn. "The Hot Eye" is next, and the band doesn’t let up revving up an anxious marching beat into a raging squall that ebbs & flows with tidal waves of horn and guitar. The band has more in store for listeners, easing into the third track "There Are Weapons You Can Bring To School". With it's contemplative tone, the song sets a mood for the album, righteous, socially conscious messaging, no more evident than the message embroidered onto the tapestry that graces the front cover artwork: "SUNWATCHERS STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE DISPOSSESSED, IMPOVERISHED AND EMBATTLED PEOPLE OF THE WORLD". The band considers it both a mission statement & a battle cry: "We are musicians, and we will leave political specifics to those more qualified than we are. All the time and energy and passion we can muster we dedicate to writing, performing, recording and releasing music instrumental music, released from the tyranny of semantics into the freedom and hopefulness of universality-of-connection. We thusly realize the need to become overt about our own intentions and our own mores; without the ease and accessibility of direct language, the onus is on us to express our principles in other ways."* The album's second side opens with the barn-burning "Silent Boogie" with saxophonist Jeff Tobias tapping into the elemental fires of free-jazzskronk while the rhythm section hammers away like the Asheton brothers on a speed trip. "The Works" & "Flowers Of The Water (For Lou)" close out the album, simmering the boil, and firing the listener off into Interstellar Space. Sunwatchers "II" is released on compact disc, black vinyl & limited "rainbow splatter" vinyl for direct account. It will also be made available via all digital retailers.
San Francisco's The Love-Birds have been breaking hearts and making fans across the city's disappearing DIY spaces and proper venues alike since 2016. After releasing a 7-inch EP in early 2017, they’re ready to unveil In The Lover's Corner, their debut album & first release on Trouble In Mind. The album eases into view with the first track, "Again"; it’s gentle acoustic strum augmented by guitarist Eli Wald's chiming electric twelve-string. From there the listener is treated to dynamic, life-affirming power-pop; bell-ringing, fuzz stompers, warm, carefully crafted fragile pop and urgent, crystalline rockers. The Love-Birds approach their craft with a classicist's ear; with nods to their Seventies originators as well as Nineties torch-bearers, composing near-perfect future classics that ooze with subtle, interesting melodic twists and hummable, finger-pricking hooks that are instantly memorable.Mastered by Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), with album art by Shayde Sartin (Fresh & Onlys) and recorded with Glenn Donaldson and Kelley Stoltz.
In celebration of their 2016 tour together, Woods and Ultimate Painting team up for a limited edition 7" featuring one exclusive unreleased track from each band in what can only be described as a "double A-sider ".
Ultimate Painting offer up Into The Darkness, a lost track from their Green Lanes sessions, a mellow jammer heavy on mood & thick with the spindly, intertwining guitar picking that's quickily becoming synonymous with the band. Woods deliver a jaunty pop hit, Know Your Minute that starts with an infectious bubblegum guitar stabs, launches into a devastatingly hooky chorus before descending into a delicious acid-fried psychedelic freakout.
This match-made-in-heaven split 7-inch is a one-time pressing on black vinyl, and is limited to 1,000 copies. Housed in a 7-inch pocket sleeve with artwork by Andrew Savage of Parquet Courts. This is a split release between Trouble In Mind Records & Woodsist.
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.