Fräulein – Pet
This Northern Irish/Dutch duo have created a deliciously rambunctious EP with Pedestal. As you listen to Pet I’m sure you will find yourself asking who comes to mind with that “Heyyyy!” Yet, Fräulein have their distinctive own sound. This one is available courtesy of Submarine Cat Records.
A.S.O. – Rain Down
Singer-songwriter Alia Seror-O’Neill, and producer Lewie Day use the moniker A.S.O for their debut self-titled album. On Rain Down they invoke an exotica lilt, which works, without sounding excessive. Fun fact, Ms. Seror-O’Neill is also an actor, check out her IMDB page.
Angel Magic – Generational Color
Now here is a cut I could write a long rave review on, instead for guidance you should know I have had the Generational Color on repeat play at Life Elsewhere Tower for the last few days. In spite of the almost wonky beginning to Generational Color this one settles into full effect as Lauren Smith weaves her magic with smart lyrics and Andrew Aguilera twiddles the knobs at the production consul. Interesting music here, difficult to select just one cut. A tip of the hat to Korey Martin with the lovely artwork.
Maya Ongaku – Nuska
From a small island located 50 km southwest of Tokyo a ragtag collective of local musicians present as Maya Ongaku. Their album, Approach To Anima is a delightful collection of songs as illustrated by Nuska. Maya Ongaku say their brand of earthy psychedelia transcends widely beyond the roots of their inner souls, and I have no reason to dispute that.
Kitty Fitz – I Want Your Love (Oh My God)
Oh, yes, this is so good. Ms. Fitz is also the bassist for Prima Queen and here on her All My Own Stunts EP, the London-based artists says she “Produces super sad bops in her room at 4am”. And, what an excellent job she does as you’ll hear with I Want Your Love (Oh My God). This is one of those songs where you know the chorus is coming up and you can’t wait to sing along…Oh, my god!
Backlash – Loosen Up
Now here are lads from Italy who cite a wide range of influences: Stone Roses, Charlatans, Oasis, The Verve, Arctic Monkeys, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club to name just a few. Yet, if I had to pick a reference, it would be The Beatles psychedelic period. The band was formed in 2011 in Milan by Francesco Lucà and Luca Mangano, later they added the voice of Alessio Gatto and together they have produced the LP, Rise. Loosen Up, the single from Backlash’s new album sounds as if this was an almost live recording with little studio trickery. Full marks to Shoredive Records for another terrific release.
Macie June – Fragile Lover
Stemming from her classical background, Macie June says her melodic style reflects her love of alternative/indie pop and instrumental piano. Macie’s Cerulean album showcases the Denver-based artist distinctive style in all of her relatively short songs. Writing and production credits go to Macie June.
Bluest – Talk Soon
From Missoula, Montana, Noelle Huser fronts Bluest with her haunting, plaintive voice, on Talk Soon, she shares engaging lines like, “Remember when you tripped me, it was an accident my tooth bite through my cheek, and now I have scar, it’s the favorite part of my smile” There is a lot going on here on the Bluest album, Cold Sweat, available from the very fine Anything Bagel label.
Lexie Carroll – Growing Pains
OK, I will admit, I’m fascinated by Lexie Carroll, not least of all she is a very talented songwriter, and it takes considerable skill to sing in almost a whisper and make it sound convincing. Lexie, an 18-year-old talent from London appears almost brutally honest with her It’s Difficult To Talk album. Brutal may not be quite the right word for a singer-songwriter who displays the awkward shyness exhibited on her Tik Tok page. I’m impressed with Lexie Carroll, there is a vast audience out there who will relate to Growing Pains.
Fiesta En El Vacío – Dream Partner
French-Argentinian, Luna Cedrón wrote, recorded, and mixed the album, Fiesta En El Vacío. Dream Partner is just one of ten fascinating works here, each track is unique, some with found sounds, others with overt dub overtones. And, when you understand that Fiesta En El Vacío translates from Spanish to Party In The Void, you could get a better understanding of how peculiarly interesting this album is. The puppet in the artwork for sleeve is another sign that Fiesta En El Vacío deserves your very careful attention.
Exit North – Your Story Mine
Now, here is an album I predict will garner many rave reviews. This is one of those recording that music aficionados are always hoping to write about because, well, it’s different, it’s quiet, it’s slow, it’s haunting, and superb. Exit North’s impressive second studio LP, Anyway, Still weaves classic elements such as piano and strings into the layered threads of the bands material. Here we have intimacy and atmospherics coupled with a musical authority that may take you by surprise. Exit North are Thomas Feiner, Steve Jansen, Ulf Jansson and Charles Storm, each musician adding a special ingredient to a recipe that defies classification. Exquisite.
The Pop Group – She Is Beyond Good And Evil
Sadly, it has become all too frequent lately that we report of yet another passing of an important contributor to modern music. Mark Stewart, who hailed from that hub of creativity that is Bristol was an original in every sense of the word. His work with The Pop Group, Mark Stewart And The Mafia, along with his many collaborations and solo output, from the early days Mark stood out as an uncompromising voice in the world of alternative music. Since his untimely passing at the young age of 62 on April 21st, 2023, scores of well-known names in the music biz have shared their remembrances of the man. Each and every one has said just how influential Stewart has been throughout the years. In tribute to Mark, I have selected a standout recording released in 1979, She Is Beyond Good And Evil. My 7” copy is well-used with more than enough crackle and pops from relentless playing in clubs and on the radio, so I selected the 2019 remastered version. Rest In Peace, Mark Stewart.
Dubby Stardust – Heroes (ft. Jasmine Ash)
Mark Stewart was of course a fervent dub fan, but he was was also a huge David Bowie connoisseur, so to take us to the end of the show, from Hamburg on the is producer and mixer Lee Groves as Dubby Stardust with Heroes, featuring Jasmine Ash. This one is from the LP, Space Oddity on the Echo Beach Lifefidelity label. Enjoy!
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Artwork by John Paul Jorge Andringo – “Suntanning reflection in a motor, Bogner 2011” 37” x 35” digital print on prepared paper 2013 courtesy of Norman B’s collection