Most consider the 1987 album In My Tribe as magnum opus album for the 10,000 Maniacs. In my 'humble', but ultimately correct opinion, this undoubtedly makes 'most' wrong, for The Wishing Chair is undoubtedly their finest in that it appeals from so many different musical angles.
Initially there is a definitive old world charm to it that drags us back well beyond it's natural 1980's home, to an old world place that sees tracks such as Back O' The Moon (see below), Arbor Day and Just as the Tide was Flowing hinting at the old world jangly folk pop direction that the band would predominantly adopt in the 1990's.
It would perhaps be somewhat trite to state that Nah burst onto the indie scene earlier in the year with their superlative March 2018 release,Summer's Falling EP. For the Dutch / German due consisting of Estella RosaSebastian Voss are simply to cool to expend energy on 'bursting'.
Ooze and slide might be considered more apt adjectives, as their previous debut Summers Falling EP, encompassed all things magical about the late 1980's and early to mid 90's British jangly indie/twee-pop scene. It simply oozed class from every pore and the laconic tempo, sweet tunes and the slightest semblance of fuzz, ensured it received the correct sort of critical acclaim whilst at the same time furtively sliding past any inferences to any commercial sound.
The Paris based Howlin Banana Records label have been around for six years now. However they seem to have really come of age in 2018 with consistently brilliant releases from the likes of Bootchy Temple, Brace! Brace! and Th Da Freak that have nibbled away at the edges traditional modern psych and jangle-pop.
This flyer single, from the eponymous EP(due out 14 December 2018), continues such a trend and perhaps presents the label with a last gasp chance to usurp all that they have released this year.
Janglepop in the late 1980's and early 1990's was a 'bag load of lad'.Bands such as R.E.M and McCarthy were busy politicizing anything that remotely upset them as they held aloft the flag for 'angry young men' on both sides of their pond.
Similarly testosterone was injected into the natural beauty of the genre by virtue of the fact that bands such as The Smiths, Thousand Yard Stare, The Railway Children and Milltown Brothers were popping up from the UK's less affluent towns. Thus all manner of floppy haired university types could support their cause safe in the knowledge that they were now forging the illusion of being part of the 'council estate chic' that pervaded an era where it was considered 'cool' to be poor.
Melbourne all female four piece, Parsnip, have taken a year to follow up on their excellent Health EP (released in November 2017) presumably because they appear to have become the primary choice as the gig/touring support for notable psych/jangle-pop bands such as Real Estate, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizards, The Babe Radio and Terry during the interim period.
Charity Shop Pop is the moniker of Dave Hughes, derived after buying a charity shop electric guitar used on this track from a charity shop in his home town of Ormskirk, Merseyside. The name sits comfortably as it encompasses the simple clarity of the guitar melodies that are surrounded by all manner of Macbook accompaniments,in an aesthetic that could be described as shabby luscious, if not quite shabby chic.
Whilst the general clarity of jangled guitar work has the sort of lush clarity and perfections of early 80's jangled indie-pop, the overall sound of this single can never be dismissed as simplistic, for it imbues simply too many influences.
Gorgeous Bully are the project of Manchester based, Thomas Crang, who received widespread critical acclaim in the musical worlds that matter (indie community and blogs), with his superlative 2017 Great Blue album.
Stylistically, Closure has a somewhat similar aesthetic, as Crang delves through the gamut of emotions that being in love, out of love and opining love can force upon the open-hearted. However this album sees a definitive change in intensity and tempo that accentuates the fluctuations between the slightly reluctant lyrical exuberance and resignation.
It would be easy to suggest that Mexico City four piece, Useless Youth, have been causing quite a stir among the good people at 'Janglepophub Towers' this year, if it were not for the fact that the people referred to is actually just me, the 'towers' are nothing more salubrious than a semi-detached house and any reference to 'good' will undoubtedly be debated by several ex-girlfriends.
However, there is no debate about the merits of Useless Youth. They slipped firmly onto our radars from May this year, with three superb digital singles, Expectations (see below), En Este Lugar and Goodbye, all of which are included on this album and are accompanied by the brilliance and beauty of previously unheard tracks like Cities (see below), Out Of Time and the weird fragilty of of Before Staying Goodbye (see below).
October 2018 saw Janglepophub feature 109 tracks on our album reviews / #dailyjanglepop series and on our various social media sites. These covered a vast array of janglepop nuanced tracks from the 980/00/10's.
The Readers Choice Top 20 (see below) is decided purely by the 7 day engagement rates of the janglepophub readership on our various social media sites, including blog link clicks.
It is the law of the veritable 'sod' that the very moment a 'best of 2018 so far' article is posted, Murphy will exercise his considerable muscle and ensure that another obvious contender is posted soon after...Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Neurotic Fiction's debut album, one so fine it completely exposes janglepophub continued sufferance of premature unhatched chicken counting.
Although the album consists of two primary musical groupings, it certainly does not reduce the all-consuming complexities of the overall aesthetic. The initial conglomerate of tracks, led by the brilliance of lead single Collateral, Mediator, Meaning of Lyf and stand out Bell Curve, juxtaposes the current Brooklyn ramshackle jangle-pop of bands such as Olden Yolk and Holy Tunics, to the propulsion of a C86 style Shop Assistants or The Groove Farm.
A couple of weeks ago the opening verse of Hanging Out ear-wormed into my mind and resulted in this EP from New York 4 piece, Dolly Spartans, becoming something of a permanent recent fixture on my daily playlists.
This brilliant track (see below) is perhaps indicative of the general aesthetic. Essentially it is indie rock that appears to be influenced by the mid-2000's Postcard Records led by Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs and Bloc Party and the spiky, angular guitar works of 1980s bands such the FireEngines and Josef K.
Regular readers will know of the janglepophub love-in with Joplin, Missouri based jangle/surf-gaze band Tennis Club. Joining them in the quest to ensure the surf transgresses the twelve-hour drive to the same state is Kansas City-based Eggs on Mars.
Eggs on Mars provide a far more traditional surf-pop sound to their counterparts and lace it with a definitive pysch-pop alliance. There is no comparative shoegaze jangling riffs on show here, as the faster tempo tracks such as Red Haired Darling,Doing Fine and Don't Listen (see below) playfully bounce, chime and twang in a manner that evokes notions of those hottest of youthful summer nights where a party has just 'developed' with irradiated spontaneity.
I discovered Grrrl Gang via the superb Just a Game track that was featured on the Jan '18 Various Artists Strawberry Punks EP out of Indonesian label, Dismantled (which is well worth checking out here, considering it is not included upon any of their studio releases) and after pressing the Bandcamp follow button, a 10 month wait has been rewarded with this luscious slice of jangly indie pop out of another Indonesian label, Kolibri Records.
French based label, Cloudberry Records, have been on a quest to promote the bands that 1980/1990s time forgot for many years now. One band receiving their 'retrospective compilation' treatment was Sheffield based five piece, The Sun Charms, whose entire studio output (consisting of two Wilde Club Records EP's from the early 90's) and several demos were released on a superlative compilation.
I always associate LA based Big Stir Records with the sort of warm, vibrant, rock laced power-pop that you really should seek out to accompany every good time. This aesthetic could sound generic, however label owners Rex Broome and Christina Bulbenko have displayed the delightful habit of always finding and backing those bands that have an edge / indecipherable quirk that makes them different.
Firestation Records have assumed the mantle of chief musical archaeologists over the years. Not just because of their superb The Sound of Leamington Spa series, which has provided me with some quite wonderful tracks from bands I have never heard of or have been re-acquainted with after seeing them support the latest 'indie sensation' one rainy Tuesday night in some place like Skegness, but also because they have the brilliant ability to find the best of the 'should have been big bands' and make them just that, for an hour or so on their brilliant compilation CD's.
I have basically been Japanese for the last couple of months. Not that I have acquired a sudden taste for uncooked fish, battered fried vegetables, spiky mullet haircuts or a penchant for the sort of unnecessary technology that can wipe your bum in 17 different languages, but more specifically in my exploration and enjoyment of their jangle-gaze scene. Bands such as Seventeen Years Old and Berlin Wall, Asobi Seksu and Luggage have all demanded my attention of late.
The Augsburg (Germany) based Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten label is the passion of founder Ronny Pinkau. With passion (often) comes success and for Ronny, a roster that includes the likes of Jetstream Pony, Friedrich Sunlight, The BV's , The Luxembourg Signal and Pale Lights, has to be considered a triumph. Especially considering the label only started in 2015.
There was a fair bit of love for the eponymous Tennis Club debut album among janglepophub readers when it was reviewed here earlier in the year. As such we are delighted to hear that Missouri based Winston Hernandez and his revolving panel of drummers (this time producer Sean O'Dell is on the sticks) are working on new material for an album due out in early 2019.
At what point should a band show off? At what point should they cast aside any modicum of modesty and think to themselves 'we are perhaps the dog danglies'?
Releasing a critically acclaimed EP and album, being signed by a Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten label that houses the likes of The Luxembourg Signal (who they then toured with), Pale Lights and Jetstream Pony, getting to release this lovely vinyl 7" out of 'we only deal in musical cool' Cloudberry Records and sharing a stage at the 2018 Madrid Popfest with the likes of the BMX Bandits, might be construed as a signal to internally scream 'You Da Man'...especially if all the above happens within a couple of years of starting the band.
James Dean Driving Experience did not quite fit with the very exact times of the late 1980's and as such missed out on the critical acclaim that they undoubtedly deserved.
There was just nothing definitive about their sound and as such they somehow seemed to play in the divide between being the greatest Sarah Records band that the Bristolian label never signed and arriving just that couple of years to late to capitalize on the mid 1980's jangle-pop heyday that was morphing into Madchester just as they were releasing their best work.
Arie van Vliet and his Rotterdam based four piece Lewsberg have been the subject of much gushing love from janglepophub over the last year. especially in relation to their eponymous, self released debut album that we reviewed earlier in the year here.
I have a little five year old daughter. She is the apple of my eye. She also has two elder brothers whose level of protection towards her is so vehement that I genuinely do worry for any future beau, when, at the age forty, daddy (might) finally lock away his shotgun and let her date (a pastor, chaperoned by daddy/brothers for the initial three years).
September 2018 saw Janglepophub feature 122 tracks on our album reviews / #dailyjanglepop series on our various social media sites. These covered a vast array of janglepop nuanced tracks from the 980/00/10's.
The Top 20 (see below) is decided purely by the 7 day engagement rates of the janglepophub readership on our various social media sites including blog link clicks.
As a kid I had a plastic kaleidoscope. In fact I had several over my very earlier years. Like a miniature Captain Pugwash I would thrust one end to my eye and lethargically twist the other end to unleash an array of psychedelic shapes and patterns straight into the as yet unfettered innocence of imagination. I loved them because I could get lost in them. They added impetus to my general ADHD day dreams. They added beauty. This release gives me the same wondrous feeling for it is good shoegaze and good shoegaze can provide a beauty that enables your mind to drift off and explore the cracks and crevices of its soul, just like a kid gazing into a myriad of rock pools and thinking they have seen something that eventually was not there.
Initially the 1st half of the album piles on this aesthetic. Reminding of the sweeter moments of the James Hanna / Asobi Seksu arsenal of the mid 2000's, the general sound is a wall of guitars upon which is layered gradually increasing levels of intensity and the sort of musical bells and whistles that might persuade people to use a post-rock tag if it was not for the fact that somehow the wall never veers from the overtly melodic. All of the three opening tracks have the same sense of the beautifully disarranged as if someone had re-engineered the general shoegaze aesthetic by taking the sound apart and then putting it back together in a vastly different, ultimately better order. The best of these tracks is undoubtedly Vision (see below), with its strange ever increasing intensity that somehow emerges even without any obvious tempo change. Like the kaleidoscope this tracks just takes me places with its trance like tendencies. It provides the most beautiful company when fostering a day dream.
Similarly Spiral, has the same hypnotic reverie, with its droning thrummed guitar work depicting the best of Hush era Kula Shaker (have they been forgiven for being too posh yet by the British public yet?). If it was not so perfectly invasive on the senses it may well be perfect meditative music. However, it is in the second half of the album that the excellence transcends to more exalted climes and increasingly satisfies my life long need for high end melody. Here the tracks attempt to increasingly negate the shoegaze vibe. It is most definitely still there but the guitar riffs are simply too accentuated, too beautiful and too jangled and dominate the shoegaze maelstrom with the sort of beauty that bands such as The Luxembourg Field or The BV's provide in abundance. The best of the three tracks and indeed the true stand out of the album, is the jangled beauty that is Scene (see below). I have been critical of the increasing movement towards what the kids call janglegaze these days, in previous reviews. However when a band gets things right within this sub genre to jangle-pop / shoegaze the effects are truly wonderous. This track gets its 'very right' as the previous mentioned musical kaleidoscope has the clarity of Real Estate style jangle-pop interlacing the 'gaze' foundation to provide a musical soundscape that totally enthralls.
I know very little about this band other than they are a young four piece from Tokyo. However that is really not a problem as their music gives me time, space and impetus to create their characters ! Beautiful stuff. Artist Links
Sharesprings are from Jakarta in Indonesia and are backed by Indonesian label Dismantled. Immediately the condescending first world Brit in me wants to like them just because they are from somewhere that is so far from the usual tired and furrowed western musical paths. I want to consider them the plucky underdog who have overcome not being at the main centres of the musical universe to produce a 'worthy' album. I sicken myself.
Just over two years after their sublime Slow Decline of an Evening Herald debut album should have wiggled the beauty receptors of way more people, the Portland four piece that are Airport are back to provide yet more 'stunning'.
Simultaneously difficult to place yet endearingly familiar, this albums sees a continuation of the bands usage of the two primary aesthetics that were seen on the debut. Initially there is still the beautiful female croon of Rachel Zakrasek that conditions the longer tracks such as Line By Line (see below), I Disappear and Eagle Cases with a sense of sultry beauty that reminds me of an indie-pop version of Cat Power. It is all slightly illegible breathless sensuality which is accentuated by the slightly hazy surf pop riffs that are wrapped around the laconic core.
However, it is in the adoption of the second musical stylistic that the album truly excels. Here the sultry haze of the longer tracks are consumed by a more clear precise indie-pop sound enabling the jangle-pop to start to breathe. Tracks such as Sober, the album's lead single Go On, Andi, Chasing and the true stand out of the album in Candy Cane (see below) adds a sparsity and transparency to both the Camera Obscura style Tracyanne Campbell vocal stylistics and the thin almost tinny, yet gloriously jangled riffs, to produce a sound that is as enchanting as it is exclusively Airport.
It could be that after two albums with the same beautiful aesthetic that Airport may decide they need a somewhat different direction n future releases? However with a current sound that incorporates elements of indie-pop, jangle-pop and dream-pop in it's beautiful whole, I hope they stifle the temptation for a while longer and consider the sum of the parts as enough.
In my decidedly working class upbringing clever people were overly revered. Anyone who read a lot was something of an academic demi-god to my lot. My Mum used to clean for an old WW1/2 army Captain who had books to the 'top of the ceiling' and was apparently 'extremely well read'. Similarly my Dad had the same boss for several decades who he laughed at for being too posh, but still adored because he too 'was extremely well read'. Reading was just really impressive to our sort and gave you the highest of social credence.
Despite being imbued with qualifications coming out of every orifice myself these days, there is still that council estate kid in me that wants to give head bowed deference to all that is clever, to all who are 'extremely well read' . This EP (a swift follow up to the equally superb 378 Vol 1, reviewed here) gives me that feeling as it is plain to see that this band, despite their tender years, are 'extremely well listened', with all of these 5 tracks visiting a different jangle-pop inference.
Initially the opener Bikes (see below), has a musical foundation portraying the sort of chopped up, withdrawn atmospherics of any number of Dunedin Sound type bands, with perhaps the distant slightly vacant production of earliest The Bats or The Clean being the most potent reference point. Ultimately the clarity and depth of the jangled guitar riffs adds more shine to the Dunedin vibe giving it a definitive sense of originality.
The second track is a somewhat harder to place but definitely the most fun whilst trying to do so. There is that modern take on the 1960's, laconic bouncing jangled melodies that the current artist Super 8 is excelling in at present. However this introductory vibe is gradually commandeered by a modern Paisley Underground aesthetic that has notes of both Rain Parade and more specifically The Long Ryders. The darker dank jangling atmospherics of indie rock bands such as DIIV or RVG is the next influence to be visited. All chunky bass lines mixed with lucid threads of jangled riffs, this track touches at the points where post-punk stopped and the jangle-pop movement started in the mid to late 1980's. In an EP that visits so many fringe jangle-pop nuanced musical strata, this type of track is absolutely essential to this release in terms of completeness. The EP finishes with a visit to two more modern jangle-pop citations. The stand out track of the release, Harold In Conversation see below), hoists itself into brilliance with the juxtaposition of Holy Tunics style uptempo jangled riffs (although any number of Brooklyn bands could be the reference) to a manic almost The Cure screeched vocals. Vocally it is extremely different to anything they have ever done before, but somehow the newly found lack of vocal control is tailored to 'weird perfection'.
The closing track is all things Nap Eyes. Soft wistful vocals delivering soft wistful melancholy whilst the most beautiful jangled chords are woven into the fabric. Somehow this track is almost expected at the end of a hitherto frenetic release and the sense of down tempo undoubtedly completes a journey of much of their favourite music. I have been unabashed and unashamed in my total adoration of this band for a couple of years now and a) there is nothing in this release to change that stance and b) I will keep on about them until you all listen ! Artist Links
I once watched a documentary on one of the 17 squillion channels that our cable TV subscription provides. This in itself was quite an achievement as it meant that I had somehow wrestled the TV remote from the clutches of either my kids or wife, thus sparing me from cartoons and other assorted juvenile enticements, as well as the sort of reality TV shows that sees 'Pets win Houses' or chronicles the highly 'interesting' shenanigans of young people getting drunk, swearing a lot and eventually revealing high sex drives with assorted partners, who they eventually marry and quickly divorce...repeat on loop.
Repo Fam is the latest solo project of Michelle La Pena who could be relied upon to go all manner of ballistc crazy behind the keyboards for avant garde Washington DC punk rock band the Foul Swoops. The band are a beguiling mix of weird and unhinged and La Pena more than held her own in such aberrant company.
This debut EP from Philadelphia based Athensville, superbly celebrates the period between the mid 80's and very early 90's and effectively catalogues a journey whereby new wave morphed into jangle-pop, before eventually being consumed by all things college rock.
August 2018 saw Janglepophub feature 149 tracks on our album reviews / #dailyjanglepop series on our various social media sites. These covered a vast array of janglepop nuanced tracks from the 1960's - 2018.
The Top 20 (see below) is decided purely by the 7 day engagement rates of the janglepophub readership on our various social media sites including blog link clicks.
I can do clever things with excel spread sheets and I am gainfully employed do so. They give me a nice big office and a few staff that can also do clever things with spread sheets and then make me predict things that might happen to the company and their money. I like it because a) it pays well, b) I am left to my own devices and c) most importantly I get to listen to music all day and as such thoroughly devour a release prior to reviewing it.
Honey Moon make you need to be in warm climes. They have that strange laconic 'urban surf pop' vibe that exfoliates all things haze, gaze and marijuana from that distinctive american coastal music essence and replace it by planting it's flag in the gloriously crooning hinterland that is equidistant between all manner of 60's melodies, fabulous over produced sophisti-pop and the sort of occasional sun drenched jangle-pop that gives you permission to sweat and get your pasty white legs out in a pair of shorts...It is music to sit in a British pub beer garden to, on one of our three days of summer sun and drink ice cold foreign lager.
The Filters are a four piece band hailing from Vermont, consisting of Ross Temple (guitar), Ryan Prushinski (drums), Sam Morris (vocals/guitar) and Tyler Cameron (bass/vocals), who appear to still need to decide what their definitive essence is going to be and hopefully care even less as it is the ambiguity of this debut than procures its excellence.
After over two decades of trying to persuade anyone who would listen that he lives a veritable monk-like, celibate existence, in which flighty, fluffy concepts such as love were ill-conceived notions of the common-man and sexual lust the mere constraints of those unable to intellectually conquer our more basic instincts, Morrissey finally has his Doris Day meets Hugh Hefner moment in this album, as he accepts love and lust into his life. It is a bizarre volte-face as the Pope of Mope turns into an inconceivable 'Love God' right before our ears.
Last month I got all slushy, mushy, gushy and any other romanticized '...shy' type words that may be eluding me at present, over a brief, but nonetheless brilliant, three track EP from South London's newest purveyors of 80/90's retro indie/jangle-pop, The Hannah Barberas (see review here).
The digital music era we live in, is one of contraction. Much of the music the under 35's love comes from a tiny little yellow folder found on their hard drive or from within one of the numerous streaming sites now available. This enables music fans to contract geographical distance to within a lazy reach for their mouse, as the musical scenes from cities thousands of miles away are instantly available at your laptop.
Prior to becoming the successful power pop outfit Velvet Crush, the Ric Menck and Paul Chastain partnership were a couple of young lads unleashing their love of all things 1960's janglepop via bands such as The Springfields, The Big Maybe, Choo Choo Train, The Stupid Cupids, Bag O Shells and as members of Matthew Sweet's band.
In fact they are probably best know for being the first international artists to ever be signed for pioneering labels Sarah Records (The Springfields) and The Subway Organisation (Choo Choo Train).
For some inexplicable reason this album never bothered the critical acclaim radar, let alone slipped under it.
In fact the wordsmiths who invent terms like ‘critical acclaim radar’ would be delighted that they could use another tabular inventions (the word ‘blip’) to ensure that those inclined could say Slinky never even registered a ‘blip’ on the ‘critical acclaim radar’, thus showing their parents that their accusatory sighs about a wasted university education could finally be silenced.
So apart from me who did the album bother? Who was it that convinced the brothers Nelson to pitch up eleven years after their last effort and make another album (2004's Rubberband).
Dream-pop. Has lot of fans. They procure visions in my mind of intellectuals who really like the harp, which I suppose is a little strange considering very little dream-pop has much harp in it...but then, I am nothing if I am not a little strange.
Amsterdam based Estella Rosa, the owner of the fadeawayradiate blog and vocalist for Nah! is one of those people whose musical knowledge is all consuming. If "I" had her musical knowledge I would be inclined to run around the most densely populated cities of the world, dressed in nothing more than a green flashing cod-piece, screaming 'ooooooh look at me I know lots about music', whilst only briefly pausing outside various vinyl shops to deliver derisory snorts to customers who purchases were not cool.
Weekend Lovers are a three piece hailing from Tucson, Arizona. I went there once on business. It was the sort of place that only America really has. A big town that appears to have just landed in the middle of a stinking hot desert surrounded by all manner of ridiculously beautiful mountain ranges.