Live in Cleveland (Last Night)

Last night Drew and I met up at the Happy Dog for the Burger Records showcase. Drew's friend, Tim, was playing his first show as the new drummer for local garage group The Wooly Bullies. The Wooly Bullies play loud & semi-relentless garage rock -- I say semi-relentless because everytime I felt like there was no stopping their forward momentum, they would fall back into an unexpected moment of softer melody. Seeing Tim drum was great & I'm really looking forward to seeing the Wooly Bullies play around town more. (I think they opened for Harlem a little while ago at Now That's Class -- I wanted to go to that show, but didn't end up making it... Just like I didn't make it to the Woven Bones show at Now That's Class last night.) Suggested listening from their MySpace: "Summer Town" and "Drunk Girls."

The Wooly Bullies were followed by The Pizazz, a trio from Detroit and the only other non-California band on the bill aside from The Wooly Bullies. I feel like whenever I talk about contemporary garage music, I'm talking about how I don't like it. I grew up listening to my dad's old Nuggets records & as far as I'm concerned, garage really doesn't get any better than "Moulty" by The Barbarians. Most of what I hear as far as contemporary garage goes doesn't have a tenth of the spirit of the spoken bridge of "Moulty," but The Pizazz were spirited & fun & mixed garage with surf and pop for a perfect short set. They've just released their LP, Get Out of My House (Drew picked up a copy at last night's show, I'm eager to listen to it!) & you can pre-order from Burger Records. According to the band, the first few people to pre-order will get a bonus LP of early material. Suggested listening from their MySpace: "Ocean Liner."

Cosmonauts were the last band we caught (I had to duck out early because of a big work event the next day) & a great way to round out the night. They had big echoing guitars and (on some of the songs) smooth, booming vocals that prompted me to bring up Danzig (much to Drew's chagrin -- but seriously, listen to "Neon Kids" on their MySpace & if you are the kind of person who occasionally likes to sing along to "Skulls" in the car, then you will probably get what I'm talking about.) My favorite song of their set was their closing number, the name of which I sadly didn't catch. It had gorgeous chiming guitars & was much slower than the rest of their set -- normally I'm not a slow song person, but this was paced just right & was a great song to end the night on. Drew picked up the Cosmonauts' cassette, which you can get online from Burger Records (scanning the cassette tracklist, it looks like the song I'm thinking of might have been "Stephanie.") Suggesting listening from their MySpace: "Neon Kids."

We had to duck out before the last two bands played (Cum Stain and Conspiracy of Owls), so I sadly can't comment on their sets. Anyway, for an unplanned night & a $3 cover, I had a great time. The Happy Dog has a couple of other great shows this week -- on Thursday they're hosting Bill Fox (of The Mice) and on Friday Young Mammals, Prisoners, and Cloud Nothings will be playing. I'll maybe be at Thursday's show & will definitely be there on Friday. On a food note: I highly recommend the Happy Dog's tater tots -- their homemade ketchup is awesome & so is the saffron aioli!

The Wooly Bullies on MySpace
The Pizazz on MySpace
The Cosmonauts on MySpace
Burger Records

Neverever, Angelic Swells

Neverever, "Blue Genes" (DOWNLOAD)
Neverever, "Underwater Ballet" (DOWNLOAD)

About a year ago around this time, Drew and I went out to Portland to visit my friend April & our visit happily coincided with a show featuring The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (who, incidentally, have a great new video out that you can watch here -- just take a second and watch it if you haven't already seen it, it's so good!) Anyway, Neverever was one of the openers at that show (though they were going by the name The Champagne Socialists back then) and though their set was short and the sound was bad (terrible!), they've been in the back of my mind ever since.

I don't always do the best job of keeping up with new releases, so their debut album crept on up me, but I got my copy in the mail from Slumberland Records the other day & I've got to say, it's a real pleasant surprise for me. Angelic Swells features 11 songs (10 originals and a Plimsouls cover, "Now") & the majority of them are great! Jaihae Meek has a smooth yet commanding voice (think Mary Weiss in the opening moments of "Walking in the Sand" or "Out in the Streets" or Mari Wilson singing the bridge of "Just What I Always Wanted") & Neverever's songs incorporate hand-claps, foot-stomps, call-outs, girls'-rhymes, and a number of things that I find tremendously appealing that help to create this rough-and-tumble-post-bad-girl-group vibe that I am really into.

"Blue Genes" (which was previously released as a Champagne Socialists 7") is lyrically an unsettling narrative about an incestuous relationship disguised as an innocuous pop tune & "Coconut Shampoo" and "Underwater Ballet" (which just might be my favorite song on the album) are catchy stunners. The one true "oh no" moment on this for me is the song "Cowboys and Indians," a song that opens with Western-style gunshot sound effects and features Jihae "war whooping." Not kidding. I kind of can't even listen to it -- the outdated stereotypes of Native Americans that the song depicts make me cringe and whether or not they're coming from an "ironic" place or a "well-intentioned" place, I kind of just can't deal. There's been a lot of discussion on fashion blogs lately about Native American trends in North American (specifically US) fashion/white hipster culture (I tend to think of My Culture is Not a Trend as the locus of this dialogue) & I honestly hadn't expected those conversations to intersect with what I spend the majority of my time writing about here (you know, mail order records and pop music), but this song was a reminder that these discussions reach into all spheres, especially when people are talking about cultural products and the way that identities are constructed and information is disseminated through popular media.

Listening to "Cowboys and Indians" raises a lot of questions for me: who do narratives "belong" to? Whose place is it to temporarily adopt the identity of a culture and speak from that culture's perspective? What measures need to be taken to make sure that people's histories and stories are not carelessly appropriated and presented in a racist or otherwise demeaning context? (I see a lot of good discussions about this with regard to literature and writers setting stories in cultures that are not their own, but have seen little criticism about this specific to music. I'll have to do some looking and reading.) What images/associations do we evoke when we make use of outdated (and, more often than not, inaccurate) cultural signifiers (see the "war whooping" in this song)?

Maybe this is a time to point people toward that great bastion of multicultual education, Sesame Street. If you have 35 seconds, watch this animated clip, colloquially referred to as, "Indians don't talk like that!"

Anyway, I've read little specific criticism/commentary on "Cowboys and Indians" -- one review compares it to a Siouxsie Sioux b-side, another says, "The lyrical idiocy continues on “Cowboys and Indians”, a track that makes light of America’s colonial history into a weak metaphorical vehicle intended to convey a lovers’ quarrel."

So, I'm really at an impasse -- there's a lot that I like about this album sonically -- it sounds good. I love Jihae's vocals, I like the drums, I like the nods to fifties and sixties girl groups and seventies glam rock, but lyrically the album doesn't do much for me. "Cowboys and Indians" is troubling at best and unlistenable at worst &, honestly, it does cast a long, dark shadow over the album for me.

Angelic Swells is available on LP ($8) and CD ($10). You can order it direct from Slumberland here.

Thoughts I didn't have the wherewithall to integrate into this: Stylistically speaking, I quite like the look that Jihae and Wallace have cultivated for themselves. This album really is fun to listen to and I didn't expect to get so heavy in reviewing it, but I think it's important to turn a critical eye to things -- it doesn't mean you have to disown them, but I really think there's something to be said for being an active listener and not being afraid to actively interrogate the messages that are encoded into cultural products.

Neverever, "Blue Genes" (DOWNLOAD)
Neverever, "Underwater Ballet" (DOWNLOAD)

Dolly Mixture Reissues Available for Pre-Order

Dolly Mixture, "He's So Frisky" (DOWNLOAD)
Dolly Mixture, "How Come You're Such A Hit With The Boys Jane" (DOWNLOAD)
Dolly Mixture, "My Rainbow Valley" (DOWNLOAD)
Dolly Mixture, "Everything and More" (DOWNLOAD)
Dolly Mixture, "Walk Away Renee (Live, The Lefte Banke cover)" (DOWNLOAD) (originally from 200 Troubled Teenagers

Oh my gosh, you guys! Oh My gosh! The Dolly Mixture box set and LP reissue are finally available for pre-order. Dolly Mixture is a post-punk trio formed in the late seventies whose music blends the tongue-in-cheek (or totally sincere? who can say) elements of bad-girl groups like the Shangri-Las with the staccato pop-ish punk-ish sound of groups like the Undertones (who they once toured with.)

I'm listening to Dolly Mixture as I write this (right now I'm listening to "Ernie Ball," though it literally just segued into "He's So Frisky") and here's what strikes me: these girls sound like they are soundtracking an episode of Hanna Barbara's Penelope Pitstop -- their songs are mundane in subject matter, but the vocals make them sound impossibly urgent -- especially the group backing vocals, which make me think of a chorus of awesome lady racers watching over Penelope. At least, the fast-paced songs sound this way. The slow songs sound like someone writing about Trixie Belden's best pal, sheltered-rich-girl, Honey Wheeler, who probably spent her pre-Trixie days staring dreamily out of windows and imagining what it would be like to have a life.

I am slowly realizing how absurd all of this sounds.

Anyway, in their time together, Dolly Mixture released a handful of 7"s, an album (Demonstration Tapes) and an EP and the soon to be released CD set, Everything and More, collects all of it. You can view the track list for Everything and More (which, incidentally, is packaged gorgeously and comes with a 32 page booklet) here. The CD set is 20GBP (about $30) plus shipping. Pre-order it here.

In addition to the CD box set, there is also a soon to be released re-issue of Demonstration Tapes that's being put out by Germs of Youth. The LP is hand stamped, signed by the band, and limited to 300 copies. Like the CD set, it's currently available for pre-order. You can order yours here.

The official release date for both the CD set & the LP is July 5th.

While we're at it, you can download a great live performance from 1982 here.

Dolly Mixture, "He's So Frisky" (DOWNLOAD)
Dolly Mixture, "How Come You're Such A Hit With The Boys Jane" (DOWNLOAD)
Dolly Mixture, "My Rainbow Valley" (DOWNLOAD)
Dolly Mixture, "Everything and More" (DOWNLOAD)
Dolly Mixture, "Walk Away Renee (Live, The Lefte Banke cover)" (DOWNLOAD) (originally from 200 Troubled Teenagers

Allo Darlin' Release Full Length Album

Allo Darlin, "Silver Dollars" (DOWNLOAD)
Allo Darlin, "Kiss Your Lips" (DOWNLOADM)

After their stunning single "Henry Rollins Don't Dance" on WeePOP! and their series of fantastic 7"s on Fortuna Pop, Allo Darlin's full-length album quickly became one of my most anticipated releases for 2010 and after months of waiting, it's finally here!

Sometimes you spend so long waiting for something that you begin to worry that there's no possible way for it to live up to your expectations & I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about that happening with this album. GOOD NEWS: I can say without reservation that that is totally not the case here. I love this album! Perhaps even more than I initially thought I would! It's only ten songs long, but each song is a perfect pop gem. Honestly, my least favorite song on the album ("Heartbeat Chili") is still a good song & the best songs on the album are just brilliant.

I can't get over how strong the first four songs are -- "Dreaming" & "The Polaroid Song" were both previously released as the a-sides of 7"s on Fortuna Pop, but hold their own on the album & still sound fresh months after their initial releases. The next two songs "Silver Dollars" and "Kiss Your Lips" are peak moments in the album for me -- I love the push and pull of "Silver Dollars," there's a great forward pop momentum balanced by softer/quieter moments. "Woody Allen," "Let's Go Swimming," and "My Heart is a Drummer" are also winning tracks. Normally I'm not one for slow songs (I'm just not that patient/attentive), but "Let's Go Swimming" is stunning. "Woody Allen" could have been unfortunately trite if almost anyone else had recorded it, but here it's sweet and sincere (I love the descriptor of things getting so bad that they become "Bergman bad.")

One of the many reviews collected by Fortuna Pop compares this album to Jonathan Richman, a comparison I never would have though to make, but now I can't believe I didn't see the connection. The songs here are on par with some of Jonathan's best when it comes to precision-details & sweet sincerity & and hearts-on-sleeves openness. I'd love to hear their take on a song like "Parties in the U.S.A." or "Back in Your Life." Likewise, I bet Jonathan could tear up "Kiss Your Lips" or "My Heart is a Drummer."

Allo Darlin is out now on Fortuna Pop. You can get it on vinyl and CD. Fortuna Pop also still has the Dreaming 7" and Polaroid Song 7" in stock here.

More posts about Allo Darlin!

Allo Darlin, "Silver Dollars" (DOWNLOAD)
Allo Darlin, "Kiss Your Lips" (DOWNLOAD)

One Happy Island

One Happy Island, "Cave City Sunrise" (DOWNLOAD)

One Happy Island comes out of Boston, MA and lists Cub, The Monkees, The Beach Boys, Squeeze, and The Everly Brothers as being among their influences, which is basically like a recipe for winning me over. The band has previously released 3 EPs and is now getting ready to release their first full length album on Odd Box Records on July 5th.

3 Things I like about the new One Happy Island album

1. It's uneven. Not all of the songs on this album are great, which seems like a weird or maybe even negative thing to say, but I really, really like that in a release. Not every song has to be or is meant to be perfect and the sloppy/incomplete feeling ones often end up being the most charming. I like the way that uneven albums let you go and then draw you back in -- they don't constantly demand your attention and emotional presence, you can enjoy them for what they are.

2. It has a delicate balance of happy, childlike songs & more sophisticated ones. I love "Elegant Elephant" because of it's upbeat rhymes & bouncy melody, but what really gets me is the way it's juxtaposed against the softer, sadder "How to Hurt," a gorgeous, spare song that has bits and pieces that remind me of sad sixties girl ballads (especially the tiny burst of drums at the very end.)

3. It plays fast. I'm not sure how to best explain what I mean by this -- just that you start listening, you get caught up in it, and before you know it, it's over and you're thinking about maybe listening to it again (which is how I've come to listen to this album 2 or 3 times today.)

The new album will be available from Odd Box on July 5th. It appears to be a CD only release & you can pre-order it here.

You can stream some One Happy Island songs on their MySpace & you can purchase additional releases from their website (they have the Secret Party That The Other Party Doesn't Know About EP as well as a limited edition compilation CD that collects their first three EPs.)

Odd Box also has a download up for "Elegant Elephant", one of my favorite songs on the album. If you're on the fence about buying the album, download it & see what you think!

For good measure, here's a video of the band performing "Elegant Elephant" at the NYC PopFest!

One Happy Island, "Cave City Sunrise" (DOWNLOAD)

New Releases from yesboyicecream

Soda Fountain Rag, "Are Philosophers Lonely?" (DOWNLOAD)
The Positions, "The Real Thing" (DOWNLOAD)

Last week Emmet from yesboyicecream sent me an e-mail about two new releases, both 10"s, which was really exciting for me because I have a particular fondness for 10" records & they seem all too rare. Though both Soda Fountain Rag & The Positions have been around for some time, they're new to me & these releases were my first exposure to them.

Reel Around Me collects 9 new songs from Norway's Soda Fountain Rag, a one-woman show run by Ragnhild Hogstad Jordahl. Reel Around Me widens Soda Fountain Rag from just Jordhal, to feature the touring line-up of guitarist Anders Kaasen and bassist Princess Niko. It's a brief release, clocking in at just under 20 minutes with no song lasting longer than 2 minutes and 46 seconds, but the brevity is definitely part of its charm. Everything about this 10" is upbeat (see the opening track, "Dogwalkin' Shoes") -- and if not upbeat, at least a little cheeky (see the baroque pop ditty "You Are Not Invited to My Wedding.") My favorite song is definitely "Are Philosophers Lonely?" It's a sunny pop jam with a sprinkling of horns & it's been lodged in my brain all day. You can get Reel Around Me direct from yesboyicecream here. Soda Fountain Rag is also on MySpace & there's a SoundCloud page for the album, you can stream tracks on both. Reel Around Me will become officially available on July 5th!

The second 10" release, also available on July 5th, is a 6-song mini-album by The Positions. It's been almost four years since The Positions released their debut album, so their sound has had time to shift and settle and I like where they've landed. The Positions strike me as sounding distinctly international, though they're from Washington, D.C. "The Real Thing" is the standout track for me on this -- the horns just sound so bright, it reminds me of a great combination of Beulah and Free Loan Investments. The Positions have a very polished sound, which is a real change of pace from what I've been listening to lately (a lot of hazy, distorted pop) -- these songs are glossy, bright, and bold. Again, the physical release is available on July 5th, but for the month of June you can get Tonight! as a free download on The Positions' bandcamp page (where you can also stream the release.)

Again, both of these are coming out as 10"s on yesboyicecream next month, so if you like what you hear, be sure to support both groups & pick up their releases!

Soda Fountain Rag, "Are Philosophers Lonely?" (DOWNLOAD)
The Positions, "The Real Thing" (DOWNLOAD)

Pearl Harbor Announce Name Change, New EP

The girls from Pearl Harbor recently announced that they're undergoing a name change -- their new EP will be released under the name Puro Instinct. You can get a digital copy of the Puro Instinct EP here for $5 & the vinyl version will be out next month on Gloriette. The EP features two previously released songs ("California Shakedown" and "Slivers of You") as well as two new ones.

If you'd like to sample before you buy, you can stream the full EP on Bandcamp. I was already a fan of "California Shakedown," but the new songs are great, too. "Can't Take You Anywhere" is slow and summery, layered with subtle synth hooks. "I've Got Some Happiness (Leland)," the other new track, has a slightly different sound (the synth is a little more video-game-ish, which was jarring for me at first) -- but, something happens around 2 minutes and 50 seconds in and whatever it is, I really, really like it. It feels like a few new elements are introduced and everything starts to work together in a really beautiful loop. The track is a cover, originally released by San Francisco guitarist Leland in the seventies. You can hear the original here -- it's really kind of amazing in a washed out seventies pop sort of way.

Puro Instinct will be kicking off a US national tour next month, for tour dates (as well as ordering information for current releases), you can see their MySpace (no Ohio dates, but they are playing the Magic Stick in Detroit.)

You can still get copies of the Something About the Chaparral repress and the Slivers of You 7" (which, costs an exorbitant $30 after international shipping & the awful exchange rate are factored in.)

In other news: I have a backlog of things to get to! Including releases from yesboyicecream, Odd Box, and Slumberland. I'll hopefully be getting to all of that soon!

Live in Cleveland (Sunday Night)

"All of our songs are about sex or creepy stuff or creepy sex, which makes dedicating them to people sort of hard." -- Kip Berman, prior to dedicating a song to a friend at Sunday's show

Sunday night Drew and I went to see the Pains of Being Pure at Heart along with Surfer Blood and Hooray for Earth at the Beachland Ballroom. We had seen the Pains twice before (both shows were last summer, one was here at the Beachland Tavern and the other was across the country in Portland, OR, where we were visiting my friend, April), but we had never seen Surfer Blood & Hooray for Earth was new to us in general.

The show was really fantastic, maybe the best I've seen so far this year? I wasn't sure what to expect from Surfer Blood's live show -- April saw them in PDX and said that they were great, but they had also recently retweeted a lot of things from people at shows saying, "Surfer Blood sucks," so, you know, I wasn't really sure what to expect. Fortunately, they were awesome! I know that I am kind of prone to making weird connections (like that period I went through a couple of months back where I was convinced that every band I listened to sounded like the Human League), so I'm assuming that no one will be surprised when I say that I spent most of Surfer Blood's show thinking that their lead singer/guitarist, JP, reminded me of Martin Fry from ABC, which I mean in the most awesome way possible. Seriously, I bet Surfer Blood would do an amazing cover of "All of My Heart" or "Poison Arrow". Anyway, the band played at least 8 songs off of their album Astro Coast (including "Twin Peaks," "Anchorage," and "Fast Jabroni") plus one new song prefaced with the directive, "You better not fucking YouTube this." But somebody taped it at their Allegheny College show back in March and then put it on YouTube, so you can listen to "I'm Not Ready" here -- I'm listening to it now and am getting back into that headspace where I'm thinking about the obvious connection between Surfer Blood and ABC -- I really think it's in the vocals.

Anyway, bottom line, Surfer Blood was fantastic! I seriously almost didn't want them to stop playing -- I probably would have stood there and watched/listened to them play their album again. The whole set made me really wish that I had a time machine and could go back to that night I was visiting friends in Columbus and we were driving around town doing things that we would want to do on our respective dream dates (like: getting bubble tea and fried tofu, playing arcade games, driving around town singing along to Guided By Voices) because Surfer Blood was there that night and I foolishly decided not to go when what I actually should have done was gone with my friends because it was Dream Date Day and that would have been a great end to it.

The Pains came on shortly after Surfer Blood finished playing & tore their way through a ten song set. The majority of their songs were from their debut album on Slumberland, which is awesome, but I always hope to hear some more 7" b-sides or tracks from their EPs. They did play "103" and "Higher Than the Stars," both non-album tracks, and they came back after their set for an amazing rendition of their eponymous track, "The Pains of Being Pure at Heart," from their first EP. This may have been the highlight of the show for me, actually. The band was joined onstage by members of Hooray for Earth and Surfer Blood and the whole scene was just really goofy and joyous and heartwarming. If I actually knew how to review anything and if last night's show was a movie, I would totally be calling it the feel good film of the year. It was just really apparent that all three bands had a strong sense of mutual respect for each other, that they all liked each other's music, and were having a really good time touring together, & that final song just struck me as being really emblematic of all that.

The Pains had a new single with them on tour, out as of today on Slumberland (US) and Fortuna Pop (UK) records. You can stream the a-side, "Say No to Love," on the Pains' press page. The single is fantastic and I really suggest buying a copy. (It's also pressed on beautiful seafoam green vinyl, if that kind of thing makes a difference for you, and each 7" comes with an mp3 download code.) In addition to playing the new single, the band also played a new as-yet unrecorded song called "Heaven's Gonna Happen Now," which is one of two new songs they've been playing recently (the other is "The Heart in Your Heartbreak," which wasn't played at Sunday's show.) When he introduced the song, Kip made a joke about how it was going to be on their "greatest hits" album "in February" & a Slumberland press release for the Say No to Love 7" mentions that after this tour, the band will be returning to the studio to record their second album, so maybe February is worth noting on your calendar if you're a fan of the Pains.

Remaining US shows for all three bands are as follows:

8 June — Memphis, TN – Hi Tone Cafe
9 June — Birmingham, AL – Bottletree Cafe
10 June — Tallahassee, FL – The Engine Room
11 June — Orlando, FL – Club at Firestone
12 June — Miami, FL – Grand Central
13 June — Jacksonville, FL – Jack Rabbits
15 June — Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
16 June — Washington, DC – Black Cat

After their US tour concludes, the Pains will be heading overseas where they're headlining this summer's Indietracks festival in the UK. Surfer Blood is going global with dates in Australia, Japan, the Netherlands, the UK -- all over the place!

Get the new Pains single direct from Slumberland or direct from Fortuna Pop.

Surfer Blood's LP, Astro Coast, is available on vinyl and CD from InSound.

Hooray for Earth pre-orders and reissues are also available at InSound.

& while I'm in the process of piling up links down here, I really recommend reading this interview with the band on The Alternate Side. It's a little dated (back from when the Pains played SXSW), but really great.

Vehicle Blues/Bridgetown Records

Vehicle Blues, "Changer" (DOWNLOAD)

ATTN Cleveland! Don't forget, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart will be playing the Beachland Ballroom with Surfer Blood this Sunday! The Pains put on a great show in the Beachland Tavern last year and I am super stoked to see them again. Tickets are $12 in advance/$14 at the door. I got mine at Music Saves!

Kevin from Bridgetown Records recently contacted me about his label's latest release, an album by Vehicle Blues called Changer. Vehicle Blues have a driving shoegaze pop sound that reminds me of some of my all-time and current favorite groups. If you listen to Galaxie 500 or Weed Hounds, you should definitely consider throwing down $6 for Changer. I can't imagine you'd regret it. (If you enjoyed that Singing Bridges EP I posted about the other week, that's probably another good indicator that you'd like this!)

Kevin also included some sampler tracks from other Bridgetown releases. I was already a fan of local Bridgetown band, Cloud Nothings (Clevelanders, mark your calendars! They will be playing at Blue Arrow Records and Books on Tuesday, July 20th with Weed Hounds. I can't wait!), but the samplers introduced me to some new and unfamiliar artists: Nicole Kidman have a quirky, home-brewed pop sound that reminds me of Daniel Johnston, Trudgers blend melodic guitar hooks with ghostly vocals for a result that reminds me of a slightly more pop, totally more lo-fi Joy Division, and BYODeath won me over with a song that sounded like it was stolen straight from Bob Pollard's garage, in the best possible way.

Bridgetown currently has some great deals going, you can get a "Just Before Summer" deal of 8 pre-selected albums ($28ppd in the US, $32 ppd for overseas) or you can get any 5 albums for $20ppd (US) or $24ppd (overseas.) To order, see the Bridgetown Records site.

Vehicle Blues, "Changer" (DOWNLOAD)

Young Mammals

Young Mammals, "Confetti" (DOWNLOAD)

Sorry that I haven't been posting lately! I've been in Chicago for the last few days visiting a friend & participating in Girls Rock! Chicago's annual Ladies Rock Camp (which was an all-around awesome experience! I came home totally not in the mood to do my day job, but feeling motivated to keep playing my guitar for the first time in years.)

Anyway, I also came home to an e-mail about the band Young Mammals, a quartet out of Houston, TX, who are touring in support of their album Carrots this summer. (You can check out a complete list of tour dates here -- they'll be playing at the Happy Dog in Cleveland on July 2nd with Prisoners.)

I feel like lately there has sort of been this glut of fuzzy pop music and I've got to say that that's just fine with me. Young Mammals fit well with a lot of the new music I've been enjoying lately -- groups like Cloud Nothings, Fungi Girls, Smith Westerns, etc. I'm a sucker for a catchy pop song with a lo-fi vibe and Carrots offers up more than its fair share of those. The album opener, "Carrots" reminds me of Animal Collective's "Peacebone" with it's driving mix of straightforward pop melodies mixed with less conventional, almost dissonant moments (and, of course, some yelping vocals and a build of frenzied guitar sounds.) I also really liked "Dragon Wagon" and "Wires and Buttons."

You can stream the first three tracks from Carrots here & view a complete list of your dates for young Mammals here. I'm so glad that Mike e-mailed me about Young Mammals, I'll definitely be checking them out at the Happy Dog this July! As always, if you have something you want me to hear, send me an e-mail at

Young Mammals, "Confetti" (DOWNLOAD)