Tag Archives: psych pop

Fire Records Announces “Ecstatic Arrow”, New from Virginia Wing. Listen to “The Second Shift”.

Over the course of their discography, London-based duo Virginia Wing have shown a dexterity for teasing a richness and warmth not always associated with psych-pop/motorik, Broadcast-style compositions, no less so than on 2016’s stellar Forward Constant Motion.  Tracks like that album’s “ESP Offline” and “Grapefruit” were musically expansive and shot through with a sunlight and playfulness not always associated with an oeuvre more icy stare than wink.

With the announcement of a new long-player, Ecstatic Arrow, and sharing of album track, “The Second Shift”, this expansiveness continues.  Opening along a sprightly, Ethio-jazz sounding saxophone melody and snappy rhythm not a million miles from ‘Dance Hall Days’(!), vocalist Alice Merida Richards sings of sharing the “key/hidden in my whole body”, while cosmic synths and almost raga sounds swirl in the background.  It’s beautiful, and more than whet’s the appetite for Ecstatic Arrow, due June 8 from Fire Records and available for pre-order here.  Virginia Wing will be on tour through February and March in the UK and EU with Hookworms – dates on their fbook.

Album Review: City Yelps, Half Hour

City Yelps, Half Hour (Odd Box Records, 4/22/2016)

After a few blistering singles and 2014’s Cheap Psych cassette, Leeds, UK-based City Yelps are back to delight us all with a brand new long-player, Half Hour.

City Yelps channel a whole host of bands in crafting their own take on skewed indie pop:  the woozy, lo fi psych-pop charm of Flying Nun and C86 bands; the wiry, spiky tones of Swell Maps, The Fall, even Half Man, Half Biscuit.  Singer/guitarist Shaun Alcock delivers wry lyrics with a withering sneer – amidst a maelstrom of detuned guitars, layers of reverb and snare shots that sound like a slap – sounding like the acerbic uncle who you not so secretly love to hang out with at the holidays.

What counts most, though, are the songs – and these are effing fantastic.  Tracks like “We Like the Hours”, and the raucous one-two punch of “Light and Classical” and “Making Noise”, twist, swing and sway like a punch drunk fighter who might be going down, but is taking folks with him.  Unwind the gauzy bandages of tape hiss and distortion and what you discover are strong, tightly arranged melodies, played with the righteous indignation of a group with courage in their convictions.  After spending a Half Hour with them (see what we did there?  Get on with it?  Ah, yes, ok…), you’ll be convinced, too; hell, you may even tell two friends, and so on.

Half Hour is out now, courtesy of Odd Box Records.  Order it now on the label’s bandcamp page, and check out the band’s newsletter page on fbook.  While you’re at it, hop on over to the band’s own bandcamp page and pick up a copy of Cheap Psych.  You know you want to.

Highlights include:  “We Like the Hours”, “Now”, “Light and Classical”, “Music for Adverts”.

New Music: Trust Punks

Trust Punks, “Mother’s Veil”, “Leaving Room for the Lord”

Two new(ish) tracks from Auckland, New Zealand’s Trust Punks, each showcasing a different side of the band’s sound.

“Mother’s Veil”, released in November, shows a softer, wistful touch.  Narcotic, dreamy jangle psych-pop, reminiscent of the band’s Flying Nun countrymen, up through the quieter moments of Brian Jonestown Massacre and maybe even first album Shins.  Strummed guitars, an airy bassline and what sounds like tape hiss weave a lucid dream, sadly interrupted by the feedback alarm clock ending.  Heavenly.

Newer track, “Leaving Room for the Lord”, exudes a brasher, more dissonant and, er, “punker” sound.  Shades of early Killing Joke and PiL, plus some Jesus Lizard noise finds the band in a similar lane to Ireland’s Girl Band on this one.  Jagged, clamoring guitars, roiling drums and shouty vocals stagger and crash into each other drunkenly, setting a combative tone.  Satisfyingly brutish.

According to a post on the band’s fbook page, “Leaving Room” will feature on the band’s upcoming album, entitled “Double Blind”.  No further details at this time but, in the meantime, explore their earlier releases, including great 2014 release “Discipline”, on bandcamp.  Sadly, we missed that one first time ‘round, but are having fun playing catch up.

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”.