New & featured releases, updated September 14, 2018

D.A. Stern "Isn't It Obvious?"

[more info]
Isn't It Obvious?

D.A. Stern Isn't It Obvious?

D.A. Stern's new single "Isn't It Obvious?" is a sparkling slice of power-pop that examines a doomed asymmetrical relationship with a tune that hearkens back to the classic jangle of Dwight Twilley, The Records and Shoes. Relentlessly upbeat and catchy as a box of fishhooks, it's the sort of three minute pop song that screams "summer" and "play it again." To complement "Isn't It Obvious?" on this EP Stern chose to cover two songs that resonate with him artistically while approaching writing from different angles. Frankie Cosmos' "Art School" gets a feedback-drenched treatment, countering the songs fragility with a haunting, noisy arrangement. Mannequin Pussy's 'My Baby (Axe Nice)" is tough pop confection that gets a suitably energetic workout here, complete with farfisa organ. "My Baby" segues straight into "Tenafly Cop," a Stern original that puts his own unique twist on surf/rock and wraps up the EP in winning fashion.


D.A. Stern "Aloha Hola"

[LP » $14.00] [CD » $9.00] [more info]
Aloha Hola

D.A. Stern Aloha Hola LP/CD

D.A. Stern, the solo project of David Aaron Stern, is the musical amalgamation of crossword puzzle obsession, backgammon playing, and working as a recording engineer at Beastie Boy Adam Yauch's (aka MCA) studio. Stern's laid back, tongue-in-cheek lyrics effortlessly complement his dreamy pop rock arrangements of dense guitars and swirling organs. The music of D.A. Stern, who is more inspired by filmmakers Albert Brooks and Mel Brooks than any songwriter, could be compared to contemporaries Deerhunter, Real Estate and Yo La Tengo but with the timelessness of Paul Westerberg or the classicist bent of Harry Nilsson. "Aloha Hola" is Stern's debut and it's an assured set of classic pop songs that flirt with folk-pop, power-pop and indiepop while remaining comfortably outside of easy genre categorization. Stern's songwriting talent is in ample evidence on earworm singles like "Am I Ever On Your Mind?" and "Bluedgenes," packed with smart lyrics, chiming guitars and indelible hooks.


The Spook School "Could It Be Different?"

[LP » $14.00] [CD » $9.00] [more info]
Could It Be Different?

The Spook School Could It Be Different? LP/CD

Glasgow's The Spook School are like indiepop super heroes, conjuring up some of the most infectious pop tunes we've heard in years, rocking crowds around the world, smashing at the gender binary while grappling with obstacles personal and political -- and having a marvelous time while doing it. Could It Be Different?, the band's third long-player, is a collaborative album of personal storytelling that works through life's hardships with positivity — even at their most beaten down, The Spook School manage to find hope, free of naivety. It's a record full of the insecurities and anxiety that arrive after self-awareness, in learning something new and potentially frightening about yourself. But at it's heart is joy — there's no desolation on the LP, because The Spook School manage to find light in moments of darkness. Why cry when you can dance?


Frankie Rose "Cage Tropical"

[LP » $16.00] [CD » $9.00] [more info]
Cage Tropical

Frankie Rose Cage Tropical LP/CD

After 2013's "Hereinwild" Frankie Rose relocated to Los Angeles for what turned out to be a journey of frustration, setbacks and ultimately artistic rejuvenation as Frankie moved back to Brooklyn and hit the studio with renewed vigor and purpose. The result of this existential odyssey is Cage Tropical, Frankie’s 4th album. It is awash with vintage synths, painterly effects pedals, upside-down atmosphere and reverberating vocals. It evokes a new wave paranormality of sorts that drifts beyond the songs themselves. From with the shimmery, cinematic and percussive sparkling of the album’s opening track "Love in Rockets" to the motorik groove of first single "Trouble" to the epic closer "Decontrol," Cage Tropical is a bold and beautiful statement of purpose from an artist who is once again 100% in control of her music. Mysterious but focused, it is personal redemption turned into fine art.


Young Guv "Traumatic"

[7" » $6.50] [more info]
Traumatic

Young Guv Traumatic 7"

After a rather twisted 2016 of travel, change and discovery, Young Guv is back with this new single "Traumatic." Recorded at home on trusty 1/4" analog tape, it's a self-reflective and personal audio snapshot that contrasts nicely with the loud 'n' gritty Ripe 4 Luv. "Traumatic" rides a bubbling programmed groove, blending echo-laden vocals with understated rhythm guitar and a catchy synth hook into a magical new wave roots-pop amalgam. "It Could Be Me" is a classic major chord confection, hearkening back to that cusp-of-the-80s genius of Shoes, Dwight Twilley and Phil Seymour. As always the songs are stuffed with lovely harmonies and heart-stopping melodies, never losing site of power-pop's roots in Buddy Holly, The Beatles and Big Star.


The Proper Ornaments "Foxhole"

[LP » $14.00] [CD » $9.00] [more info]
Foxhole

The Proper Ornaments Foxhole LP/CD

Proper Ornaments is the project of James Hoare (Ultimate Painting, Veronica Falls) and Max Oscarnold (Toy, Pink Flames). Their chance meeting blossomed into an epicurean riot of luminous highs and cold, dismal crashes that conversely produced music that was very well ordered and faintly angelic. While 2014's "Wooden Head" was fuzzy and driving, on "Foxhole" they've sliced away a whole stratum of their sound, removing some distortion and lowering the frequency of plectrum strokes to allow more nuanced, piano-led ideas to emerge. The mood is dreamlike and pastoral, poetic and warmly expressive. Reference points of Velvet Underground and The Jesus & Mary Chain only tell part of the story - there is a cracked, wasted depth to "Foxhole" that draws you deep into the album's soundworld. Crucial.


Real Numbers "Wordless Wonder"

[LP » $13.00] [CD » $8.00] [more info]
Wordless Wonder

Real Numbers Wordless Wonder LP/CD

Finally! We're excited to bring you the brilliant debut album from this Minneapolis band whose string of excellent singles and EPs have been staples on the SLR turntable. Well-crafted crash-pop is the order of the day, with echoes of such greats at Television Personalities, The McTells and Cause Co-Motion adding historical color to these great songs. Wordless Wonder's ten tunes are brief and perfectly-formed, benefitting from thoughtful production that expands the band's DIY approach into rich new areas. Cut at 45rpm for maximum oomph, this great album is guaranteed to take a stake out a permanent spot in your "now playing" pile.


Tony Molina "Dissed And Dismissed"

[CD » $6.00] [more info]
Dissed And Dismissed

Tony Molina Dissed And Dismissed CD

Breathless, lightning-quick power-pop songs that feature some of the best tunes we've heard in ages. Taking his cues from Thin Lizzy, Teenage Fanclub, Big Star, Dinosaur Jr and Guided By Voices, Tony has an unerring grasp on what makes great pop work, and these twelve songs (including an ace GBV cover) could all be lost 70s radio hits, albeit ones filtered through a love of punk and hardcore. Brevity is the name of the game here - most songs run under one minute and yet don't skimp at all on melody or self-deprecating humor. Awesome.


 

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