The Whags – ‘Fraction Of’

The Whags are a Seattle-based five piece whose sound is a joyous amalgam of indie, psych, funk and soulful Americana with rich vocal harmonies and a deep seductive grooves.

‘Fraction Of’ is the first in a series of singles set for 2020, and is the perfect distillation of their sound. It is a deep grooving and swaggering slice of soulful pop the slowly unfurls into a beautifully bright, breezy and wholly optimistic jam. Everything feels big and bright as soaring choruses, lush harmonies and sweet licks are peppered with an uplifting air shimmering tones while the lilting, soul-filled vocals roll across the top.This a heavenly jam dripping with melody and lavishly coated with lush harmonies as it swells to enraptured bouts of euphoria. This an absolute joy, a treasure in fact and food for the soul.

Tune in to the wondrous sounds of ‘Fraction Of’ below:

Max Bloom – ‘Thinking ‘Bout You’

Best known for his role in London-based lo-fi loving indie outfit Yuck, Max Bloom is stepping out on his own, and releasing his debut solo album, Perfume, on April 24.

Ahead of that, Bloom has shared a new single lifted from his debut called ‘Thinking ‘Bout You’. Shifting away from distorted guitars and ’90s inspired lo-fi fuzz that marked his work with Yuck, ‘Thinking ‘Bout You’ is a bright and uplifting slice of joyous pop – made all the more alluring (and fun) by the triumphant bursts of brass that illuminate the guitar bop and power-pop punch. It is an unbelievably catchy jam filled with sinuous melodies and adorned with huge hooks, ones you could hang your hat on. If you need cheering up, this is the right job for you.

‘Thinking ‘Bout You” is out now and Max Bloom’s debut is expected on 24 April via Anniversary.

Tia Gostelow – ‘Rush’

Australian artist Tia Gostelow introduced us to her lavish and exquisite indie folk / pop stylings with superbly addictive singles ‘Giants’& ‘Phone Me’ back in 2018.

Two years on, amid working on a new album, Gostelow has returned with a dazzling new single ‘Rush’. Delivered with recognizable pop finesse, it is a lush blissful and colourful burst of indie pop – exploring more feel-good territory than before. Gostelow’s sweet honeyed tones are the perfect pairing for the warm and colourful confection that shimmers above the seductive groove and propulsive synthline. This is lush, feelgood and bewitching electro-pop. It is irresistible and danceable as it goes, a sonic embrace made in heaven. ‘Rush’ is simply stunning and as good as anything she has produced to date – and that is lofty enough praise in itself.

Get lost in the feelgood blissfulness of ‘Lush’ below – three minutes of much needed relief from the realities of the world at the moment.


Life Aquatic Band – ‘Underwater Highway’

Life Aquatic Band are a seven piece forged in the furnaces of Sheffield, crafting a charming and seductive blend of indie, psych, funk, disco and pop.

Life Aquatic Band are fresh from releasing their debut album LABPD or BAND ON THE HUNT;  a concept album built around the premise that Paul McCartney has been on the run since Wings album ‘Band on the Run’ in 1973, and the Life Aquatic Band Police Department are determined to catch their man. Accompanying the new album is new single ‘Underwater Highway’ and a marvellous entry point the playful and slightly oddball world of Life Aquatic Band. It is a woozy and melodic slice of sombre indie-pop propelled by meaty, funky bassline as hushed vocals float amid shimmering psych guitars and cosmic sparkle, provided by the spacey, Casio-esque synths. It is colourful, charming and playful brilliance, and it is but one of many to be found on the new album.

Listen to  ‘Underwater Highway’ below and you can give the new album a spin here too.

Cherry Slide – ‘Does It Matter’

Cherry Slide is the musical project revolving around Dale Humphries, originally from the UK and now residing in NYC.

We last encountered Cherry Slide with the release of self-titled, 2018 debut album but Humphries et al is back with news of a new record called Sugar Slo-Mo. Expected on March 20, the forthcoming record is preceded by brand new single ‘Does It Matter’, which more than hints at a continuation of their lush, melodic and endearing indie pop sound. Hushed vocals hover gracefully over a steady strum and understated rhythm as a guitar twangs amid hazy parps of brass and splashes cymbals; it is lush, hooky and seductive, and dripping with a lavish, irresistible melody. A beautiful, warm and fluffy slice of richly melodic indie pop – and one that will leave you all the better getting acquainted.

Listen to ‘Does It Matter’ below:

Freedom Fry – ‘West Coast’

The ever prolific LA duo, Freedom Fry are preparing to release a new album in 2020, a follow up to their delightful 2018 debut LP, Classic, and ahead of which, have shared a first single called ‘West Coast’. 

The pair, Marie Seyrat and Bruce Driscoll, have regularly brightened up our lives with charming, catchy, bright and lovable indie-pop songs, and ‘West Coast’ is no different. Regaling a semi-autobiographical tale about moving to Los Angeles with a dream and sticking with it despite many pitfalls, ‘West Coast’ is  lush and alluring, and delivered with a breezy softness and glistening elegance as pillow beat and gentle guitar waltz amid a warm, dawn-like shimmering haze. This shimmering sonic delight comes filled with their trademark ear for a melody, divine harmonies, charm and shimmering sonic delights. The sun-kissed vibes that radiate will have you fawning over this one all week.

Listen to ‘West Coast’ below – hopefully we get a release date for the new record soon.

MEMES – ‘J.O.B.S.’

Glasgow lo-fi post punk noise-makers, MEMES, introduced their fiery, furious and feisty sounds with a series of scintillating singles last year with ‘Blah Blah Blah‘, ‘Funny Man‘ & ‘Happy Shopper’ making them one of the finest new discoveries of 2019.

However, amid the silly season towards the close of 2019, another MEMES single slipped into the world without me noticing, until just recently. ‘J.O.B.S.’ is of a similar ilk to what we’ve quickly come to recognise as MEMES’ sound; fast, feverish and exhilarating post-punk fury – and cousins John and Paul McLinden have nailed it again. Hurtling off at breakneck speed along a frenzied rhythmic surge as meaty, bubbling bass riffs duel with fevered drums and short, sharp, jerky guitars as sneering vocals are spat out above. A thrilling, raw and exhilarating jam that will leave you breathless and have you hooked from the get go.

Check out ‘J.O.B.S.’ below (one especially FFO Sluts of Trust, The Fall & HMHB):

Yammerer – ‘Seasons 13-31’

Liverpool-based outfit Yammerer are a band with a preference for sharp, angular, high-energy, unhinged and raucous psych-punk fury.

Their audacious, boisterous and snarling sonic adventures are there for all to see (and hear) on their debut EP Reality Escape Resort, released toward the close of 2019. Forged from a swell of free-flowing psychedelia and hammered out in an incandescent rage, the EP is a whirlwind of off-kilter, frenzied psych-punk and none more so than ‘Seasons 13-31’. It is a nine-minute spectacular; a highly charged cacophony of pent up post-punk fury. A hyperactive frenzied blitz of bone rattling drums, furious, jerky guitars, buzzing riffs and spiralling effects, with frenzied vocals uncoiling above. A stunning intro to the Liverpool-based five-piece, it is a chaotic, wild and arresting jam.

You can listen to ‘Seasons 13-31’ below and the debut EP is here too

Guest Post: Johnny Feeney’s Albums of 2019

Aside from compiling my own lists, I really enjoy looking over other people’s albums of the year rundowns and none more so than Mr. Johnny Feeney.

An insightful musical sage, Johnny’s guest appearances are always interesting and bring added flavour to the blog and I look forward to reading his contributions – of which, surely I’m not alone?

Yes, we’re a bit late with this one but sure better late than never, right?

A huge thanks to Johnny for taking time out to compile this list, and on that note, I’ll leave you with his favourite records of 2019.

10: DIIV – ‘Deceiver’

Following up 2016’s supreme Is the Is Are, Brooklyn shoegaze quartet DIIV’s third album Deceiver draws obvious comparisons to My Bloody Valentine with its multiple layers of shimmering, squalling guitars and lead singer Zachary Cole Smith’s dreamy vocals. Expect plenty of loud / quiet / loud moments on this dazzling return.

Listen in full here.

09: Hot Chip – ‘A Bath Full of Ecstasy’

Although their newer material has perhaps lost some of the menace of their early output, ultra-consistent Hot Chip prove they are still adept at releasing dance-pop of the highest calibre. A perfect antidote to the grim global political and environmental situation we find ourselves in today, I challenge anyone to listen to the likes of ‘Positive’ or ‘Melody of Love’ and not feel a wave of joy wash over you.

Listen in full here.

08: Black Midi – ‘Schlagenheim’

The Mercury-nominated debut album from this four-piece experimental-rock band hailing from London is definitely not going to be to everyone’s taste. From the brutal opening salvo of ‘953’ to the wonderful closer ‘Ducter’, this relentless record is one that never lets go. A highly ambitious record, understandably it doesn’t always quite come together. But when it does hit the mark it’s absolutely thrilling. Improvised mayhem never sounded so good.

Listen in full here.

07: Marika Hackman – ‘Any Human Friend’

The latest LP from Marika Hackman certainly has a much more pop-leaning sound than her early fans would expect from the English singer-songwriter. Hackman’s usual vocals and guitar lines are regularly joined by jaunty synths to create upbeat tunes merged with deeply personal lyrics exploring themes such as same-sex relationships (‘All Night’) and masturbation (‘Hand Solo’). The jaw-dropping title track that closes the album is beyond staggering.

Listen in full here.

06: Drahla – ‘Useless Coordinates’

This bludgeoning debut record from Leeds post-punk outfit Drahla comes with driving guitars, a pummelling rhythm section, and Luciel Brown’s breathy vocals. Viciously, skewed saxophones add to the overall sombre atmosphere. Clocking in at a breathless half an hour, Useless Coordinates starts off dark and doesn’t veer off course once.

Listen in full here.


05: Mattiel – ‘Satis Factory’

The highly accomplished second album from the Atlanta-based singer-songwriter prominently features Mattiel Brown’s distinctive, booming vocals and some delightful, grooving and soulful blues-rock. Brown has an uncanny ability to create expertly crafted sub three-minute rock songs with an infectious hook. A very impressive piece of work.

Listen in full here.

04: The Murder Capital – ‘When I Have Fears’

The superb debut album from the Dublin post-punk five-piece is a moody, atmospheric affair. Brooding, menacing guitars and percussion are paired to pulsating effect with the haunting, angst-ridden vocals of lead singer James McGovern. A formidable live act, the group’s sound has been captured masterfully on record by UK producer Flood. Along with Fontaines DC and Girl Band, the Murder Capital are at the forefront of an exciting wave of great new Irish rock bands.

Listen in full here.

03: Aldous Harding – ‘Designer’

New Zealand folk artist Aldous Harding’s third studio album is the epitome of easy listening – nine tracks of blissful, exquisitely arranged songs. Harding’s tender vocals are accompanied by multiple layers of instrumentation and backing vocals to devastating effect throughout. A gorgeous album that gets better with every listen.

Listen in full here.

02: Vampire Weekend – ‘Father of the Bride’

After a six year hiatus and losing a key member in multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij back in 2016, Vampire Weekend fans could be forgiven for worrying if maybe this was the beginning of the end for the New York indie-poppers. Instead Ezra Koenig re-emerged with an exceptionally strong set of tracks, enlisting the help of the likes of Danielle Haim on vocals and guitarist Steve Lacy. The result is an immensely enjoyable, if overlong, album.

Listen in full here.

01: Fontaines DC – ‘Dogrel’

The eagerly awaited debut of Dublin punk rock quintet Fontaines DC delivers emphatically on every level. An extremely diverse and lyrical record, lead singer Grian Chatten’s miniature vignettes of Dublin City are accompanied by an ever-changing soundtrack from the rest of the group. From the piledriving punk of ‘Chequeless Reckless’ and ‘Hurricane Laughter’ to the jangling stomp of ‘Sha Sha Sha’ and ‘Boys in the Better Land’ via the tender ‘Roy’s Song’ and ‘Dublin City Sky’, not a single foot has been put in the wrong place. In a new Golden Age of Irish guitar music, it’s the Fontaines DC’s star who’s shining brightest at the moment.

Listen in full here.

Ardentjohn – ‘I Wasn’t There’

Ardentjohn originally formed in Edinburgh but now it’s membership – Mark Abbott (lead guitar), Seth Marron (drums/percussion), Keiron Mason (vocals/guitar), Alan Shields (vocals/bass) and Linda Tym (cello/vocals) – are scattered far and wide.

Perhaps this dispersal was a catalyst, or at least assisted, in creating the rich vein of longing and melancholy to be mined from their latest album Malin Head; a tribute to the sense of heartache many an Irish person experienced leaving their friends, family and homeland behind. The album, melancholic and mournful as it maybe, it is a beautiful and moving experience filled with timeless songs marked with heart, soul and an ear for melody. The rich and earthy latest single ‘I Wasn’t There’ is a perfect example of their wares. As a softly hushed croon rolls in tandem with dripping melody, it is nigh on impossible to resist the sweet and beautiful harmonic pairing, as the gentle acoustic strums illuminate their tender song-writing, bound by a sense of yearning and longing, depicted with vivid storytelling draped with hushed lilting vocals. Passing with a whisper rather than a roar, it is a charming, rich and moving folky vibes delivered with warmth and confidence.

Listen to ‘I Wasn’t There’ below now – and the album Malin Head, is available here.