News updates for Other Bands

Rat Fancy at Austin Town Hall

Do you ever get the feeling that the old hits just aren’t the same, that they don’t hit the spot like they once did? That seems to be the sentiment expressed by ex-Sweater Girl Diana Barraza on her latest song with Rat Fancy; you have to grow and find new gems to adore. Musically, the song pulls from the sunnier side of pop, with a steady bounce from the rhythm section that make the likelihood of toe-tapping rather high. Barraza’s voice has a cool summery breeze, floating through the brief song with grace as added keyboard textures ramp up the pop sensibility. Loving it? Yes, you are, so grab the band’s Suck a Lemon EP from HHBTM on May 26th.


Eureka California at Atlas & The Anchor

“Cobwebs On The Wind” (Today via Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records, the Athens, Ga based garage-punk duo consisting of Jake Ward and Marie A. Uhler have released Versus, their third album in as many years and first recorded in a studio where raging, energetic rhythms, 90’s-inspired fuzzed-out guitar crunch and power-punk melodies collide.)


Moon Types at Bluesbunny

Sometimes I wonder what they put in the water in Stockholm. Whatever it might be, it would perhaps explain the perfect parodies of any American musical genre that bands from that city can generate. Moon Types are from Stockholm and, with the three tracks on their “Know The Reason” single, they show a certain mastery of the rocky road that runs between indie pop and folk rock.

From that comment, you can probably deduce that Moon Types are not the type of band to challenge anybody’s conceptions of anything. That said, their lightweight and easy on the ear sound makes the most of any and all available melody and with the wistful male and female voices working hard at avoiding stridency, their songs could rightfully be described as sugar coated.

Of the songs, it is no surprise that “Know The Reason” is the most commercial song here with every bar containing the distilled goodness of indie pop. “Nothing’s Holy”, on the other hand, threatens much but delivers only melancholy while “Do It All Over Again” takes the band all the way back in time to the heyday of jingle jangle American west coast folk rock.

So, while Moon Types never stray far from the straight and narrow, it can safely be said that they do what they do well.

Available on vinyl as well as a download from Bandcamp.


HHBTM Records Label Profile at Innocent Words

Mike Turner never actually intended to start his own record label; it just sort of happened. Years later, he never intended to start his own music publicity firm. That just sort of happened as well. But 16 years after the first Happy Happy Birthday to Me Records (HHBTM) release, he has one of the Southeast’s most impressively eclectic indie labels going. Similarly, two years after founding Crashing Through Publicity, Turner is representing an equally impressive stable of bands.

Don’t ask how he found the time, but Athens, Georgia-based Turner took time recently to talk about starting his label on a whim, founding the PR firm out of necessity, and offered up a peek at the rest of the albums he’s putting out this year.

Innocent Words: What made you decide to start your own label?

Mike Turner: The label was never actually meant to be a thing. I was getting ready to put an end to this ’zine I was doing at the time, The Bee’s Knees. I had been doing the zine for four years, and there was gonna be a CD comp that came with it. I started putting together the comp and had zero plans of it being a label. It was just a comp to come with the ’zine. I had saved up money for a potter’s wheel and a kiln and I really just wanted to do that, but I decided to use that money to print a lot more copies of the ’zine and let it go out with a bang by having a CD that came with it.
In 1999 I guess doing a CD was a big deal to me in my mind or something. The money from the comp and ’zine would just replace the money I had set aside for the wheel and the kiln, but that never really happened. I had so much fun putting together the comp and hand-making all the sleeves, and the process of making at the time what felt like a large scale art project kinda just took over. The first CD comp, ‘Happy Happy Birthday to Me Vol 1,’ came in a sewn fabric sleeve and had a foldout mini poster and a numbered and stamped insert. I even carved the stamp. This was a full-on all handmade
sleeve project.

The next thing I knew, the comp and ’zine had sold out in pre-order, and I found myself wanting to do a 7-inch singles club with all handmade sleeves. I put together a cassette comp as well within the first year and handmade all those sleeves too. With the comps and the singles I had handmade over 8,000 sleeves. Not sure how really, but I even pushed it to make each of the singles sleeves using a different process. There wasn’t any plan, to be honest, to start a label; it kinda just grew out of an art project and a fixation on large scale production work.

Click through for the rest of the interview!


Presents for Sally at Sound and Vision

A la par de nombres como Cheatahs y Fever Dream, debemos agregarle a esta lista del shoegaze del nuevo milenio a Presents for Sally. Esta banda inglesa tiene algunos años haciendo ruido por la blogosfera y justo ahora están promocionando su segundo álbum de estudio, Colours & Changes, programado para que llegue al mercado el próximo mes de septiembre por Saint Marie Records. A continuación te compartimos su primer single oficial, “Wishawaytoday”:


Crayon at Dynamite Hemorrhage

Crayon were the early-to-mid 90s precursor to twee-pop kingpins Tullycraft, a band who are more often than not too saccharine even for me, a girl in cat-eye glasses & saddle shoes who owns multiple Bunnygrunt records. By contrast, Crayon’s sloppy, tousled-hair & threadbare cardigan sweater approach to noisy pop was closer in spirit to what bands like Lync or Eric’s Trip were doing at the time than the bordering-on-painfully effervescent preciousness that became Tullycraft’s trademark – when Brick Factory first surfaced in 1994 (on Harriet Records, one of the great underground pop labels of the 90s), they probably would have been just as likely to have a picture of J Mascis taped up on the inside of their lockers as one of Amelia Fletcher. They’re not quite the Bob Mould & Grant Hart of cuddlecore, but there’s an obvious dichotomy between the Crayon songs that have Sean Tollefson (bass) or Brad Roberts (guitar & the lone member who didn’t jump ship to Tullycraft) taking a turn at the mic, with the former being responsible for the boyish-to-the-max & hopelessly out of tune vocals on the more cavity-inducing tracks (“Knee-High Susan,” “The Snap-Tight Wars”). I’m one of those contrarians in the Grant Hart camp & my favorite Crayon songs are typically the ones where Roberts get to yelp breathlessly over some ecstatic racket that sounds like they’ve stolen a few distortion pedals from Unwound (“Small,” “Hope in Every Train,” “Crown”). Really glad to see this one finally reissued – revolution pop-style now. (Happy Happy Birthday to Me;


Skinny Girl Diet at Dirty World

Last night The Hope played host to a blistering show featuring emergent grunge-girl gang Skinny Girl Diet and Los Angeles duo Girlpool, supported by fellow Americans Eureka California and London pop/post-punks Witching Waves. Whilst all of the bands played impressive sets, the headliners undoubtedly stole the night.

As the days get shorter and shorter and DW tries to adapt to life post-uni (stuck in fluorescent offices and endless commutes), it has been easy to forget that there is more to life than métro boulot dodo. The bands featured on last night’s line-up provided a much-needed shot in the arm by way of very loud music. Skinny Girl Diet in particular felt like the musical equivalent of a defibrillator, in turns melodic, thrashy and anthemic, with a hypnotizing stony-faced stage presence. Their ferocious 21st century take on riot-grrrl and grunge was without pause as they unleased their unique and raw-sounding punk on the crowd.

SGD’s mix of sleek personal aesthetic and fuzzy, visceral punk is a refreshing addition to the UK music and fashion scene: girls who care about looking cool but aren’t afraid to sound angry. Hailed by The Slit’s Viv Albertine as “timeless” in Dazed and Confused earlier this year, the London-based teens are the kind of girl band we need more of.


Shelflife Interview at Bloodbuzzed

Back to our regular posts after the Indietracks experience, and our next guests to answer our questionnaire we have a very special couple. What would have been of this Blog without them? Matthew Bice & Ed Mazzuco, the Shelflife Records‘ bosses, one of our favourite independent labels. Mankind needs them. These Go to 11!

Ed Mazzuco & Matthew Bice, Shelflife Records

1. First record that you bought (be honest)Shelflife Records began in 1995, when Ed Mazzuco, a fan of 80’s English pop and with mythic labels as Factory and Sarah Records as reference, launched the label in a southern California suburb bedroom, in conjunction with a mail order and distribution service. The goal: introducing foreign indie pop groups to the US. Shelflife’s first release arrived in August 1996, the compilation ‘Whirl-Wheels’ which included tracks by Club 8, Boyracer, La Buena Vida, and Ed’s own band The Autocollants. A year later, Ed & the label moved to New York, and although the mail order and distribution service were discontinued, the artist roster continued to grow: Shelflife was a hobby no more. Recognition keep increasing, and the label’s scope expanded, hosting the annual showcase The September Set, and in 2007, with Ed and Matthew Bice relaunching Shelflife blending art with music. To put it simply: one of the best indie labels out there, almost infallible. Here we go!

Ed: I think it was OMD’s ‘Crush’. Or maybe LL Cool J ‘Bigger and Deffer’
Matthew: ‘Me and You and a Dog Named Boo’ by Lobo

2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)

Ed: First concert was New Order in 1988. The last, Toy
Matthew: The first was Chet Atkins. The last, Primavera Sound 2014

Ed: ‘Send The Pain Below’ by Chevelle

3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)

Matthew: ‘Motownphilly’, Boyz II Men

4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)

Ed: Hard one… maybe Buba and the Shop Assistants 7″
Matthew: Signed copy of ‘Blue Monday’ 7”

5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)

Ed: Sometimes these words just don’t have to be said
I know how you both feel the heart can rule the head
Jealousy is an essential part of love
The hurting here below and the emptiness above– The Wedding Present, ‘My Favourite Dress’
Matthew: I think, yes. I’m doing a fine job Cocteau Twins, ‘Summer Blink’

6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)

Ed: All of the Shelflife bands I have never met
Matthew: ABBA

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
Ed: OMD, ‘Dazzle Ships’
Matthew: ‘Satan is Real’ by The Louvin Brothers

8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both) 
Ed: Movie, ‘Ski School’
Matthew: Movie, ‘Toto the Hero’

9. Release (of yours) you are most proud of

Ed: Days, ‘Downhill’ 7”
Matthew: Days,’Downhill’ 7”

10. What’s does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
Ed: Doing it your own way and not falling into industry traps
Matthew: Not letting “that’s not how you do it” get in your way

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Ed: Living where I can work less and enjoy life more
Matthew: Under a tree, petting my sheepdog


Bunnygrunt and Joanna Gruesome on Skatterbrain

Bunnygrunt and Joanna Gruesome are both featured in this month’s Skatterbrain playlist:

Happy May, popkids! And a fine NYC POPFEST month, as well! I’d intended to get a Popfest Mix together this year, but, you know, I didn’t—there’s a massive gem from Gingerlys in this month’s sea of songs though, and they’ll be there! So there you go!

Anyway, May: we’re really into the pop season now, aren’t we?! It seemed best to meeee to celebrate the apex of Spring with some of my favorites since the dawn of my love affair with pop songs. If Heavenly’s “Our Love Is Heavenly” isn’t a sunny day ideal, then I don’t know what is. Those chiming guitars! Those harmonies! *Hearts in eyes* *Butterflies in stomachs* And then, well, you could certainly do a lot worse than that one-two punch of a closer from Pearly Gatecrashers and Lunchbox! I’m still convinced, too, after all these years, that those horns towards the end of “Letter From Overend” might be the thing that saves us all. Oh and it all opens with the brilliance of probably the best song Bunnygrunt ever Bunnygrunted!


Week of Wonders podcast on Too Much Rock