Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Keep Left Signs - Tomorrow

To answer the first question nearly everyone will have - no, I don't know the explanation behind the name. Perhaps they were driving and decided to name the band after the next man-made object they saw, but your guess is as good as mine.  If you figure it out you can tackle the story behind Car Seat Headrest.  But, no more distractions.  We are here to tell you what a wonderful discovery The Keep Left Signs should be for all of you.  A Swedish project bringing together members of The Electric Pop Group and The Mare, the band plays the sort of glistening guitar pop that often seems to have "Made In Sweden" stamped on the label.  There is a '60s tinge to the melodies and two part harmonies, but their execution is so flawless that it all seems more timeless than retro.

The band recently released the seven-track Tomorrow.  As you would expect given their lineage, there is no shortage of jangling and chiming guitars, but the rhythm section is satisfyingly robust and the songs have a confident, forward push.  We were so impressed with this album that we decided that the minimum number of songs for a record to be considered for our year end list of favorite albums would be no more than seven, because we aren't going to leave Tomorrow off of our list.  We've provided two slices of guitar pop heaven below, but we suggest you stream the entire album.

Tomorrow is out now as in digital and vinyl formats via Spanish label Kocliko Records and US label Shelflife Records (see the Bandcamp link below).

Kocliko Records page for Tomorrow
Shelflife Records page for Tomorrow
Kocliko Records page for vinyl
Soundcloud link to stream Tomorrow

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"Song" and "Rose" by Dante

Beautiful, brooding, atmospheric folk rock is what you can expect from Scottish band Dante.  The songwriting is mature and nuanced, and the performances will thrill fans of Frightened Rabbit, Idlewild, and The National.  Dante's second LP, I Wear Your Weight With Mine, is due on March 9, 2018, but two tracks, "Song" and "Rose" are available now.

Bandcamp for pre-order of I Wear Your Weight With Mine

Crepes - Channel Four

Crepes are no longer just a treat for brunch.  They also are, in fact, a delightful indie pop band based in Melbourne.  Their debut LP, Channel Four, bubbles with irresistible melodies and clever hooks, reminding us of the stylish indie pop of Voxtrot and Spoon, as well as a number of '70s soft rock favorites.  The five-piece is equally adept at upbeat bangers and laid-back mid-tempo tunes.  But the lasting impression is that this is the rare band with a highly polished gloss to go with their considerable substance.  We have too many favorite songs here to mention, so hit the links and choose your own.

Crepes are Tim Karmouche, Nick Robbins, Pat Robbins, Jackson Dahlenburg, and Sam Cooper.   Channel Four is out now via Australia's Spunk Records and Deaf Ambitions.

Deaf Ambitions page for Channel Four
Spunk Records page for Channel Four

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Legendary House Cats - Greatest Blips, Vol. 1

We now present the greatest blips ever.  How do we know that they are the greatest blips ever?  It says so right on the label.  And blips that are the greatest ever are just what we would expect from the top cat in The Legendary House Cats, John Girgus.  Girgus' past associations are Aberdeen, Languis, and Ultra Non Joy, so you know that you can expect electronic dreampop, soaring soundscapes and deft hooks. The man knows his way around a soundboard, but more importantly, he knows how to make sweet love to your ears.  This album may be the most inspiring and life affirming electronica you can afford.  Go ahead, you deserve it.

Greatest Blips, Vol. 1 is out now in digital and CD formats.

Twitter (The Legendary House Cats)
Twitter (John Girgus)
Bandcamp for Greatest Blips, Vol. 1

"King of the Last Calls" by Unlikely Friends

D. Crane (Boat) and Charles Bert (Math and Physics Club) bill themselves as Unlikely Friends.  And while we will take them at their word regarding friendship, it is clear that the duo are well matched musically.  Some writers were very impressed with their first LP, Solid Gold Cowboys.  Take for example, the following words:
"The appropriate references here are the crunchy lo-fi indie rock of Guided By Voices and the hook-filled power pop of Teenage Fanclub. It isn't glossy and it isn't twee. But it is top flight songwriting from musicians that know their craft and are focused on fun."
 Good stuff, right?  Thanks, we wrote it.  So we are thrilled to learn that the Seattle band that claims to be hardly known and under-practiced have recruited Mark McKenzie of BOAT and Ethan Jones of Math and Physics Club to help them record a second LP titled Crooked Numbers.  The album will be out on January 12 via Swoon Records, and we anticipate that it will deliver a full load of scruffy, energetic, melodic guitar pop.  And it likely will give us the chance to create another blurb that we can lazily quote when referring back to Crooked Numbers when we discuss their third album.

Meanwhile, enjoy album track "King of the Last Calls" which, just based on the title, may be about me in my college years (when cheap beer was even cheaper).  And if you see these guys, buy them some pizza.  They love pizza.

Swoon Records

"Dig" by Seazoo

Well, well, well, this is a cracking pop tune that makes the start of the day shoot from intolerable to "I think I'll make it" to "I'm on top of the world" in a four minute span.  Hell, the stuff I took in college to write term papers all night didn't work that well.  So lend your ears to "Dig" by Welsh five-piece Seazoo.  There have been comparisons to Super Furry Animals, but we think they fall in the middle of a musical stew with that band, fellow Welsh musicians El Goodo, Yo La Tengo, and Pavement.

"Dig" is out now in digital format.  See the Bandcamp link below or your favorite digital outlet.

Bandcamp for "Dig"

Monday, December 11, 2017

Fascinations Grand Chorus - Anglesea EP

After two days rest, we continue our westward march from Belfast to New York City, where pop duo Fascinations Grand Chorus has released their Anglesea EP.  Combining the formidable songwriting talents and sharp performing chops of Stephanie Cupo and Andrew Pierce with Cupo's vocal prowess, the EP demonstrates the band's knack for creating irresistible, retro-tinged melodic nuggets.  The record begins with the upbeat, '60s girl group influenced "When You're Mine".  The following title track demonstrates the band's versatility, with a moody atmosphere reminiscent of Bristol's Fear of Men.  "Hereford Inlet" then steps in with the sassiest vocal of the bunch.  It is the kind of song that puts a bounce in your step as you conquer the day.  "Sundown" and "Wait" complete the set with energy and style, leaving us wanting more, and expecting that the duo will deliver it in the future.

Anglesea EP is out now as a digital release.  See the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for Anglesea EP

Friday, December 8, 2017

Sea Pinks - Minimum Wage-BBC Sessions (& Others)

So far in our end of the week flurry of new music posts we have traveled westward from Norway to Scotland.  We now cross the Irish Sea to Belfast to laud the most recent offering from WYMA favorites Sea Pinks.  Whether you are looking for an introduction to the band, or are a Sea Pinks fan excited about the prospect of a band-curated set of songs from their catalog, you need to check out Minimum Wage-BBC Sessions (& Others).  The songs represent the band's output since their 2011 debut, tracing their slight evolution from scrappy jangle pop to a still jangling Creation Records-meets-California-guitar-pop vibe.  The recordings capture the songs live, so there is an appealing rawness and immediacy that gives new life to even the songs familiar to the listener.  The set has character to the extent that studio albums often don't.  It isn't that one approach is good and the other band, they are just different.  Thus, even if you have the studio version of some of these songs -- and you are unlikely to have them all -- this is an essential compilation for fans.

Sea Pinks are Neil Brogan (guitar/vocals), Steven Henry (bass/backing vocals), and Davey Agnew (drums/backing vocals).  For now  Minimum Wage-BBC Sessions (& Others) is a digital release only, although a vinyl addition might be available in the future.  You can find it on all the usual digital platforms, but we recommend the band's own Bandcamp link.


"Bang The Drum Slowly" by The Little Kicks

After beginning our end of the week run of posts in Norway, we cross the North Sea to Aberdeen on the northeast coast of Scotland to celebrate the new single from local favorites The Little Kicks.  Taken from Shake Your Troubles, their album of earlier this year, "Bang the Drum Slowly" is an upbeat and fully charged slice of swaggering indie pop.  Turn it up loud and proud for your Friday morning pick me up. The B-side is the moodier "You and Someone Like Me (Night Version)", and you can test drive it at the Bandcamp link below.

The single It  is out now via Loosen Up Records, and can be found at the Bandcamp link below and the usual digital sources.  Vinyl can reach your hot little hands directly from the band, which can be contacted via their website.

The Little Kicks are Steven Milne, Andrew Corse, Adam Morrice, and Scott Kelman.

Bandcamp for record

Thursday, December 7, 2017

"Tailwind" / "Dreaming With Our Feet" by Elva

To celebrate the end of the week we are intending to feature several releases that deserve your attention.  We are going to being in Norway and head west, probably ending in Australia with several stops in between.  First on our journey is the debut single by Elva, a pop band from Moss, Norway, featuring (among others) former members of Allo Darlin' and Making Marks.  The two-song record features a shimmering - and slightly scrappy - guitar pop gem titled "Tailwind", and the lovely acoustic "Dreaming With Our Feet".  Of course you want it, so we'll crush your spirit by advising you that the vinyl probably is sold out.  Contact them now to find our.  However, you can still buy the lovely little electrons at the WIAIWYA Bandcamp page.

Bandcamp for record

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Modern Studies - Swell To Great

How are things around the When You Motor Away headquarters today?  Thanks for asking, things are swell to great.  Yes, all day so far we have been listening to Swell to Great, the lovely album from Scottish chamber pop/alt folk quartet Modern Studies.  The album reveals itself shyly, with a relaxed pace and a generous 13-track collection of melancholy but richly detailed gems that sparkle a new way with each listen.  The atmosphere is redolent of rural autumn landscapes, isolated seacoasts and the flood of memories.  The vocals are hushed, even delicate, while the melodic arrangements are precise and derive a cinematic vibe via a harmonium and a cello.  We recommend giving this album your ears, preferably with earphones and time to let the album seep into your life.  The rewards are worth your time.

Modern Studies are Emily Scott, Rob St John, Pete Harvey, and Joe Smillie.  Swell to Great is out now on vinyl, CD and digital formats via Fire Records.  This is a re-release, as the album originally was put out by Edinburgh's Song By Toad Records in 2016.  By the way, the title of the album reflects the name for a stop on an organ rather than one's attitude.  However, we aren't the type to eschew the chance of making a weak joke.

Bandcamp for Swell to Great
Fire Records