Posts Tagged ‘babysue’

Witching Waves / High Violets / Great Lakes / Eureka California / deardarkhead at Babysue

We’ve always felt there’s been a void in the world of music since The Fastbacks released their unbelievable string of knockout albums in the 1980s and 1990s. There was something particularly appealing about the band’s genuinely delivered loud fuzz pop injected with sinfully addictive hooks. This is the first time in a long time that a band has given us the same general feeling we get when listening to The Fastbacks…and that band is London, England’s Witching Waves. Like most artists on the always entertaining Happy Happy Birthday To Me label, these folks have a nice raw rockin’ sound that has very little in common with present day processed Cheese Whiz. The songs on Crystal Cafe are presented using only the most basic essential ingredients: drums, bass, guitar, and vocals. And that’s all you really need, of course, because it’s the songs that matter most. These eleven tracks have a slight bubblegummy sound that we particularly love, but most folks probably won’t notice this because of the volume and intensity. Witching Waves is the trio comprised of Emma Wigham, Mark Jasper, and Ed Shellard. We sure hope these folks get the reaction they deserve from this album. In a world of calm and dullness, bands like Witching Waves are keeping the spark alive. Groovy buzzsaw cuts include “Twister,” “Red Light Loop,” “The Threat,” and “Receiver.” Totally cool stuff. Top pick.

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Soaring, lush, beautiful, modern dreamy pop played with style. Heroes and Halos is yet another resounding success for the folks in The High Violets. This is the fifth full-length release from this Portland, Oregon quartet. In some ways the tracks on this album remind us of Ivy but with more of an atmospheric overall slant. The High Violets areClint Sargent (lead guitar, vocals), Kaitlyn Donovan (vocals, guitar), Luke Strahota (drums, percussion), and Colin Sheridan (bass guitar). These folks make music that can best be described as pop, but it’s not the kind of predictable dribble that you might normally associate with the word. While these tracks are hummable and accessible, they are also creative and strikingly intelligent. We love the understated elements. Instead of pushing or forcing, these folks just let the music flow from their veins. And it is this natural flow that makes these tracks sound so wonderfully smooth and slightly surreal. Ten perceptive compositions here including “How I Love,” “Break A Heart,” “Bells,” and “Hearts In Our Throats.” Recommended. Top pick.

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Hard to believe the group Great Lakes has been around since 1996. But yup, the band has now been around for two decades…and they’re showing no signs of letting up. Originally based in Athens, Georgia, the players are now based in Brooklyn, New York. But even though the geographic location has changed, the sound remains remarkably similar and familiar. The band is driven by the songwriting skills of Ben Crum, a fellow who writes tunes that can pretty much be appreciated by anyone. Crum comes across sounding mighty relaxed and comfortable on Wild Vision, presenting smooth organic tracks that blend elements from folk, pop, and Americana. In addition to Crum the band also includes Kevin Shea on drums, David Lerner on bass, Joe McGinty on keyboards, Phillip Sterk on pedal steel, Heather McIntosh on cello, and Suzanne Nienaber on vocals (the same basic lineup that played on the 2010 release Ways of Escape). Cool, melodic, reflective…if you like the sound of real people playing real music, there’s an excellent possibility you’ll totally dig this stuff. Nine solid tracks including “Swim the River,” “Wild Again,” “I Stay, You Go,” and “Blood On My Tooth.”

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Real true gritty loud rock isn’t dead…it’s just hibernating beneath the surface while most folks prefer to drink diluted gunk from a baby bottle. Eureka California is one of the brave bands out there playing music that’s just too raw and real for the masses. These folks have hit another home run with Versus. If you love the sound of guitar bands from the late 1980s right on through the 1990s when everyone seemed to be turning up and turning on, there’s a very good chance you’ll totally dig the sound of these tracks. This is the band’s third full-length release but the first to be recorded in a real recording studio. Thankfully none of the band’s edge has been salvaged in the process. Eureka California is the duo of Jake Ward and Marie A. Uhler. Like most of their new releases, the folks at Happy Happy Birthday To Me have released this on a beautifully designed 12″ vinyl LP, complete with a handy dandy download card. Cool rhythms…groovy guitars in overdrive…and lyrics sung with appropriate abandon…what’s not to love here? Ten gripping cuts including “Another Song About TV,” “Fear and Loathing in the Classic City,” “Caffeine,” and “I Will Write Mine Over Potomac.” Wildly neat. Love it. Top pick.

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The guys in DearDarkHead have been making music since 1988, so we’re kinda embarrassed to admit that we’ve never heard ’em until now. Don’t expect anything retro-1980s here, because retro-1980s these guys are not. This album features instrumentals that combine elements from hard rock and underground shoegazer drone. The band’s music once featured vocals but now that both of the previous vocalists are no longer with the band they are (at least temporarily) an all-instrumental band. Considering this fact, you may be very surprised at how powerful these songs are. The band is now comprised of Kevin Harrington on guitar, Robert Weiss on drums, and Kevin McCauleyon bass. For a three piece band these guys have a great big sound. This is a short album that clocks in at just over twenty-five minutes. But in that amount of time, these guys make it perfectly clear they’re in it for the long run. Groovy, compelling, and hypnotic.

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Presents for Sally at Babysue

The second full-length release from the United Kingdom’s Presents For Sally. These folks are quick to admit that their music is inspired by guitar bands from the late 1980s and early 1990s. So if you’re like us and loved that period…it’s very likely that you will totally dig these folks’ cool tripped out underground pop/rock. Totally unlike all the processed-to-death muck that infects our planet in the twenty first century, these tracks have that cool thick sound of a real band playing real instruments. These are not throwaway pop songs. These three musicians create grooves and atmospheres with their music that are very warm, inviting, and genuine. This is one of those rare cases where the band is doing virtually everything right. Housed in a simply beautiful tri-fold cardboard sleeve, Colours & Changes is a refreshing reminder that cool underground guitar bands still exist. Captivating cuts include “We Fought Lucifer (And Won),” “Wishawaytoday,” “Everything I Said,” and “Softly Spoken Outside Honey.” Top pick.

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Primitives at Babysue

WOW. This is just the right does of powerful pop we needed this month. This disc immediately grabbed us and didn’t let go during all eleven tracks. The folks in Great Britain’s The Primitives play power pop that is gripping, catchy, and ultimately very exciting. The band is comprised of Tracy Tracy (vocals), Paul Court(guitar, vocals), Tig Williams (drums, percussion), and Paul Sampson (bass guitar, keyboards). The Primitives got their start way back in 1984 but disbanded in 1992 before eventually making the (wise) decision to reform in 2009. The band is best known up to this point in time for their 1988 hit “Crash,” which is still sounding rather incredible in 2015. What is interesting about Spin-O-Rama is that the band seems to have adopted a more raw and rockin’ sound these days. And that’s just fine with us. Interestingly, these songs sound super fresh and vibrant…you’d never guess these folks have been making music for so long. This album is all about groovy rhythms, killer guitars, and those ultra suave vocals that could only be delivered by Ms. Tracy. This band’s current sound reminds us very much of some of the greatest alternative power pop bands from the 1990s. Smart lyrics, killer melodies…and an overall infectious vibe. Our favorite cuts include “Spin-O-Rama,” “Wednesday World,” “Petals,” “Working Isn’t Working,” and “Let’s Go ‘Round Again.” We’re sure hoping this band does a U.S. tour to support this one. Highly recommended. TOP PICK.

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Fireworks at Babysue

Thank God there are still bands on the planet who make music without giving a damn about hit singles and pleasing the mindless majority. The folks in The Fireworks previously released a couple of well-received singles, an EP, and a flexi. Now comes their debut full-length…and it’s a direct hit. The band is based in London and Brighton (UK) and is comprised of Emma Hall, Matthew Rimell, Isabel Albiol, and Shaun Charman. The press release that accompanied this disc compared the band’s music to other artists like Razorcuts, the Buzzcocks, and Bubblegum Splash. We can hear traces of all of these and more in these gritty rockin’ cuts. If you’re like us–and easily grow tired of digital perfection in music–Switch Me On may very well switch you on. These recordings have a nice raw sound with much more in common with cool underground bands from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s than groups in the twenty-first century. But the band is by no means going for a retro sound…they’re just playing like they mean it. We love the energy here. These folks create an overall sound that makes you want to move and groove their the music. Thirteen kickass cuts. Our initial favorites include “With My Heart,” “Switch Me On,” “On and On,” and “Final Say.” Rough, raw, rockin’ stuff that’ll grab you by the nuts and make you wanna totally ROCK OUT. Top pick.

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Fishboy at Babysue

This band reminds us so much of bands and artists from the 1990s when home recording was just hitting an all-time peak. During that decade, we received so many submissions from artists working out of their homes…writing and recording truly unusual stuff…and presenting it with highly original names, images, and packaging. Fishboy is a Denton, Texas-based band created by Eric Michener which also now includes Scarlett Wright, Grahm Robinson, and Samuel Escalante. This 100% independent band is taking the multi-media approach to marketing…creating music, videos, comics, and even books to get their point across. To quote directly from the band’s web site: “In 2014 the band will unveil An Elephant, an album and wordless graphic novel about the ghost of Topsy the elephant who was publicly electrocuted by Thomas Edison in 1903 and her attempts to avenge her death and pass into the afterlife.” The album is being released as a vinyl LP, a CD, and as a 160 page read along comic book (also being posted online). The music is much more poppy than one might expect after reading what the album is about. These songs are indie guitar power pop all the way, delivered with enthusiasm and a definite sense of humor. We love the music these folks make and we also love the way they’re presenting themselves to the world. We sure wish other bands would take a cue and not take themselves so seriously. Thirteen fun, uplifting tracks here including “Electrical Elephant,” “Thomas Alva Waiting,” “Dig A Grave,” and “When You’re Alone.”

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Mind Brains at Babysue

An exercise in pure creativity. Notable musicians in Athens, Georgia team up for an offbeat side project…and the resulting music is puzzling, curious, and mentally stimulating. Mind Brains is comprised of Hannah Jones, Kris Deason, Emily Waldron, and Eric Harris along with contributions from Heather Macintosh, John Fernandes, Andy Gonzales, Jim Willingham, Mary Beth Justus, and Molly Waldron (whew!). All of these musicians are involved with other projects as well. These tracks were seemingly recorded without any regard for sales or commercial appeal. You won’t hear catchy choruses and familiar passages. These tracks flow by like some sort of strange stream-of-consciousness. This music reminds us of some of the more adventurous underground recording artists in the 1980s before everyone became so focused on digital perfection. Lots of experimentation going on here. Odd cuts include “Happy Stomp,” “Strange Remember,” “Whistle Tips,” and “Bouncy Clock.” Interestingly, only the odd numbered tracks have names (!). We sure respect these folks for having the guts to create and distribute something this peculiar… Truly…NEAT.

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Lunchbox at babysue

Cool underground guitar pop from Seattle, Washington’s Lunchbox. The folks in this band eventually changed their name to Birds of California…but then opted to change their name back to Lunchbox. Smart move…cuz we love the band name (it sure fits the music). There’s so much overprocessed music in the world today. Perhaps that’s why the tunes on this album are so refreshing and real. The folks in this band opt to keep things extremely simple and direct, offering their tunes using only the essential ingredients in order to get the point across. But songs are what matter most, of course…and songs are what make Lunchbox Loves You such a totally cool spin. These folks have a sparkling smart sound that reminds us of some of the cooler underground bands in Great Britain in the 1990s. Whether the tune features male or female vocals or both…this band’s cool bubblegummy pop sound is sure to put you in a great frame of mind. Our favorite tracks include “Everybody Knows,” “Will You Be There?”, “I Go Mad,” and “Tonight Is Out Of Sight.”

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Hobbes Fanclub at Baby Sue

The debut full-length release from the Bradford, England-based band The Hobbes Fanclub. These folks make music that recalls the 1990s when underground guitar bands seemed to be just about everywhere. Those days may (sadly) be gone…but they make us appreciate those ultra cool bands out there who aren’t afraid to turn up their guitars and have fun. This band is the trio comprised of Leon Carroll (vocals, guitar), Louise Phelan (bass, vocals), and Adam Theakston (drums). The songs on Up At Lagrange are presented simply, without incorporating many of the obstacles that litter most twenty-first century recordings. So what you get here…are tracks that pretty much sound like a real band playing real music. If you like distorted guitars, reverb, and nice reflective melodies you’ll find a lot to love here. We dig every single track, but our initial favorites include “Into The Night,” “The Boy From Outer Space,” and “Up At Lagrange.” We’ll be spinning this one for months to come. Recommended. Top pick.

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Bastards of Fate at babysue

The second full-length release from The Bastards of Fate. We went to the band’s web site but could find little biographical information…just a few quotes and a listing of upcoming shows (plus some links). So the band is leaving it up to listeners to decide what to make of the music rather than force feed ideas down their throats. Smart. In this case, particularly smart because this is an album that makes us think. It’s not an easy dose of something that sounds like everything else. The folks in this band are carving out their own unique space in the world of music by recording stuff that doesn’t sound like everyone else. And yet instead of being overly artsy and weird, the songs are surprisingly friendly and listenable. So…what can we tell you about the band itself? It is comprised of five people. Five people who have a great sense for visuals (the cover art is fantastic). And five people who aren’t afraid of being adventurous. Plus they’re on a new record label we’ve not seen before. Ten captivating cuts here including “Winter of Our Discontent,” “One True Love,” “Identity Theft,” and “Optometrist.”

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Eureka California at babysue

Eureka California is a band that was created in 2007 in Raleigh, North Carolina by a fellow named Jake Ward. Various band members have come and gone over the years but now it’s just Jake and Marie A. Uhler. The duo is now based in Athens, Georgia…which seems like a much more appropriate home for this strangely addictive band. The songs are decidedly out of synch with what is currently popular in the world of music. Instead of smooth technology-produced perfection, Ward and Uhler create noisy and aggressive rocky chunks full of attitude and bite. The style of music these folks are playing was once popular in underground circles in the mid- to late-1980s when the home recording explosion was just beginning. You can tell from the song titles that there’s a different sense of humor happening here: “Edith (One Day You’ll Live In A Bunker),” “No Mas,” “I Bet That You Like Julian Cope,” “Art Is Hard,” “How Long Til The Medicine Takes?” Ha ha ha ha ha…funny stuff. But the songs themselves aren’t jokes at all. These cuts feature cool catchy melodies, nifty guitar riffs, and rhythms that are simple and direct. We love the direct approach this band is taking. We’d be willing to bet they’re a gas live. Way cool and full of major spunk. Top pick.

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