Monthly Archives: July 2015

Track Review: S A Reyners, Saturday Afternoon

S. A. Reyners, “Saturday Afternoon” (Self Released, 7/11/2015)

A jaunty slice of quirky, melodic, sophisticated pop from S A Reyners, Wellington, New Zealand’s own “one man band” (though drums here are credited to Kiel Feher).

Reyners cites, as influences, bands like Sparks and Aztec Camera.  These come through loud and clear on “Saturday Afternoon”, the second single from a soon to be released debut EP of the same name – the former in his vocal range and phrasing (which also recalls Matt Johnson of The The); and both in stylistic mish mash of the arrangement, which recalls the 80s integration of tropicalia and Caribbean music, as well as 60s style r&b.

I also a heard a fair amount of bands like Orange Juice and Haircut 100, in both the track’s breezy, effortless charm, as well as the sly wit and wordplay of the lyrics, describing the high of chancing upon an attractive girl you’d seen on the street at a local bar, followed swiftly the low of discovering she’s there with her soon to be fiancé.

Here’s hoping more pearls from EP are cast soon.  In the meantime, check M. Reyners on his Facebook page, on Soundcloud and on Bandcamp.

Album Review: Froth, Bleak

Froth, Bleak (Burger Records (CD, vinyl); Lolipop Records (cassette), 5/19/05)

New record from L.A., by way of El Segundo band, Froth.  While I missed the boat on their debut release, I stumbled across this one and, well, I really like it.  There’s some cool history of the band – which only formed in 2012 – out there.  Since it’s pretty easy to find on the interwebs (like, here), I won’t repeat it in detail here:  suffice to say, the band (by their own admission) started off as a bit of a “joke”, then remixed a song from their first record for Yves Saint Laurent’s fall 2014 men’s fashion show (which is likely why they are discussed in (en?) Vogue).  Oh, la la!

Froth cranks up the psychedelic edge of dream pop and shoegaze, calling to mind similar efforts by bands such as the Brian Jonestown Massacre (think songs like “Evergreen” or “Swallowtail”).  Lead singer Joo Joo Ashworth sings in a kind of dazed croon, sounding a bit like Donovan or, more obscurely, Al Stewart.

Bleak‘s nine tracks glide, swerve and swoon by in around thirty minutes or so, during which time the band blends elements of ‘60s psychedelic pop, garage rock, shoegaze and dream pop.  Familiar elements are collected and mixed to great effect:  the jangle-tinted psych pop of the title track; the BJM meets My Bloody Valentine of “Postcard Radio”; the “Be My Baby” beat in ballad, “Nothing Baby”; the psych stomp of “Saccharine Sunshine”.  Album highlight “Turn It Off” combines all of these into a swirling, glorious, tilt-a-whirl head rush of a track.

Bleak is out now and available for download on the band’s Bandcamp page.  Check them out, as well, on Facebook.  In August, Froth will be on tour supporting The Drums on a jog through the wide open spaces of the Western United States – tune in and drop out with them if you’re in the area.

Highlights include:  “Turn It Off”, “Bleak”, “Postcard Radio”.

New (To Me!) Band of the Day: The Jack Bennies

New (to me) Artist of the Day – The Jack Bennies

Difficult to find a lot of info on this band, but here’s what we think we know about the band, after exhaustive* research:

– they may have six members (website lists Idle Edsel – Vocals, Bobby Conquer – Guitar, Paddy Bullocks – Guitar, Lance Brainstrong – Guitar, Johnny Davenport – Bass, and Jubal Fearing – Drums) or 9 (Facebook page has a different list of names, aside from repeat offender Fearing) – side note: 3 guitars!! suck that, .38 Special!;

– their name may actually be The Jacked Bennies (website is under this name, but not Facebook, and it also comes up on the google); not sure.

Here are the things we can say for sure about the band:

– they hail from the land of Gabe Kotter;

– members were previously in bands such as Saint Bastard and the Candy Snatchers;

– they kick butt.

Gloriously sloppy, sweaty, down and dirty rock and/or roll from NYC.  Not young, perhaps, but definitely loud and snotty.  Chancing upon a magical spike found lying, unassuming, in a trash-strewn alleyway in the Bowery, The Jack(ed) Bennies tapped the Dead Boys/Heartbreakers vein, throwing in some Stoogey proto-punk and Motör(head)boogie for good measure, vocalist Edsel/Diedrick snarling and yowling like the reincarnation of Stiv himself.  Boss tunes that never go out of style.

Debut full length, Chopping Down the Weeds, is out now on Human Head Records and can be purchased through Goner, Slovenly or Juno in the UK, among other places.  Go forth and like them on the usual social media blah blah and celebrate them live July 25 at Otto’s Shrunken Head, if you happen to live near New York City.  Shout out to the mighty Late Risers’ Club for the pro tip.

Check out: “Sweet Sally”, “Plastic Pat”, “What You Want”.

*Actual research may not have been overly exhausting.

Review: Flesh World, The Wild Animals In My Life

Flesh World, The Wild Animals In My Life (Iron Lung, 6/2/15)

Debut long player from San Francisco-based Flesh World, a fave of (check out our review of their mini-lp here).

In the proud tradition of bands like TSOL, Lords of the New Church, 45 Grave, The Damned, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Flatmates, Savages – bands grafting elements of other music onto a musculature of punk – on The Wild Animals…, Flesh World continue to push and prod at the edges of their sound:  goth, rough C86-styled indie pop and shoegaze shiver and shake together over rumbling punk and hardcore undercurrents.

The title track adds a glaze of shoegaze swirl atop Scott Moore’s jangly guitar line.  “Just To Tear Me Down” starts like a ramshackle take on “Under the Milky Way”, then morphs into a buzz saw goth/punk rocker, vocalist Jess Scott channeling Morrissey as she sings to someone who wants to “tear me up just to tear me down”.  “Strawberry Bomber” sounds like Dance With Me-era TSOL fronted by Mikyi from Lush.  Personal fave “Poolside Boys” recalls the JAMC covering “Everyday Is Like Sunday”.

Comparisons only go so far though – these songs live and breathe as a result of the band’s great sense of melody, pacing and energy.  Earworms abound here for the digging.  Dig in.

Gloomy and glorious.  Check the stream above and support the band here.  Also, be sure to go seek out the band at one of their upcoming shows (sadly, the halt exists in lands outside the current itinerary – *sniff*).

7/30 New York              Baby’s All Right
7/31 Philadelphia          Philamoca
8/1 New York                 Williamsburg Music Hall
8/2 Baltimore                Windup Space
8/3 Richmond               Strange Matter
8/4 Washington, D.C.  Black Cat

Highlights include:  “Poolside Boys”, “Strawberry Bomber”, “Shaved Head”, “Your Love Is Like a House”.