New & featured releases, updated December 5, 2016
Mercury Girls "Ariana"[7" » $6.50] [more info]
Mercury Girls Ariana 7"
Electrifying, sonic indiepop from this Philly supergroup that includes members of Literature, Pet Milk and Little Big League. Mercury Girls take classic indiepop as a jumping-off point and rev it up with bits of shoegaze, post-punk and 90s alt-pop. "Ariana" is gorgeous tangle of chorused, jangling guitars and Sarah's dreamlike vocals. A marvelous two and a half minutes of perfect, forward-thinking pop. On the flip, "All That Heaven Allows" leans more on the band's post-punk inspirations, marked by a careening rhythm and a huge chorus that will stick in your head for days.
Bent Shapes "Wolves of Want"[LP » $13.00] [CD » $9.00] [more info]
Bent Shapes Wolves of Want LP/CD
Bent Shapes' second album sees them taking their angular, literate indie rock in bold directions. Catchier, tougher and more focused then their debut, Wolves of Want marries smart songwriting to infectious, energetic playing and comes out a winner. With echoes of everyone from The Feelies to The Wedding Present and Unrest, this Boston band knows their history but also knows how to write great tunes, and this is a taut, expertly-written album that is at once personal and universal, reinvigorating indie rock with fresh relevance.
Terry Malts "Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere"[LP » $13.00] [CD » $8.00] [more info]
Terry Malts Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere LP/CD
The Bay Area's Terry Malts are back with a smashing new album, and it's every bit the equal of their debut "Killing Time." On this tough second album, Terry Malts deliver up eleven bone-crunching punk/pop anthems that ably blend smart, disgusted lyrics with breakneck tunes and stick-in-your-head melodies. From ripping opener "Two Faces" through alienated first single "I Was Not There" right down to closer "So Serious," "Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere" is a total blast and one of the records of the year.
Terry Malts "Killing Time"[LP » $13.00] [CD » $8.00] [cassette » $6.00] [more info]
Terry Malts Killing Time LP/CD/cassette
Smashing chainsaw pop from this great San Francisco group. Smart, funny punk-pop with all the hooks, energy and attitude you could ask for. If you're into The Undertones, Buzzcocks and/or The Exploding Hearts you should definitely check out Terry Malts. Fourteen big tunes, including "Something About You," "Nauseous" and a slamming cover of Negative Approach's "Can't Tell No One."
Tony Molina "Dissed And Dismissed"[LP » $11.00] [cassette » $6.00] [CD » $6.00] [more info]
Tony Molina Dissed And Dismissed LP/cassette/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.
Pete Astor "Spilt Milk"[LP » $14.00] [more info]
Pete Astor Spilt Milk LP
"Spilt Milk" is the brand new album from indie auteur Pete Astor, previously of The Loft, The Weather Prophets, and other esteemed acts. It was recorded onto 1/2 inch tape at the home studio of James Hoare of Ultimate Painting, The Proper Ornaments and Veronica Falls, with James playing guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and singing backing vocals. "He was", says Astor, "an amazing band." Other contributions came from members of Astor's live band, with Pam Berry (Black Tambourine, Withered Hand) supplying vocals, Jack Hayter (Hefner) on pedal steel, Alison Cotton (The Left Outsides) on viola, and Robin Christian (Male Bonding) and Susan Milanovic (Feathers) on drums. The album has all the hallmarks of a future Pete Astor classic, drawing together key strands and tributaries of his work over the years, blending intuitive songwriting, acute lyrics and incisive melodies. After many years making more experimental, electronic music Astor has come full circle to the sound that made his name.
Linden "Rest And Be Thankful"[LP » $13.00] [CD » $9.00] [more info]
Linden Rest And Be Thankful LP/CD
From The Boy Hairdressers, to The Groovy Little Numbers, to BMX Bandits, Superstar and even guest spots with Teenage Fanclub, Joe McAlinden has long been one of the key figures in the Scottish pop scene. Now he's back with his second album under the name Linden, and it's a peach. Like 2012's Bleached Highlights, the new album features Edwyn Collins behind the mixing desk, to help tease out the nuances in these gorgeously soulful pop songs. Joe is absolutely at the top of his game, making warm, melodic, emotionally literate music of the sort we just don't hear enough of anymore.
The Mantles "All Odds End"[LP » $13.00] [CD » $9.00] [more info]
The Mantles All Odds End LP/CD
The Bay Area's finest folk/pop/psych/garage band returns with "All Odds End," another understated, marvelously-textured guitar pop album featuring a tweaked line-up that now includes the swirling keyboards of Carly Putnam and the rock-solid bass of Matt Bullimore. "All Odds End" is full of folky, garagey flavors that echo the Paisley Underground and the best of New Zealand's underground pop. The lovely, sympathetic production by Jason Quever (Papercuts, The Donkeys, Elisa Ambroglio) only serves to underline the timeless nature of the tunes, songs that are at once familiar and fresh and place The Mantles into a category all their own.
Joanna Gruesome "Peanut Butter"[LP » $13.00] [CD » $9.00] [more info]
Joanna Gruesome Peanut Butter LP/CD
Finally, Joanna Gruesome are back with their very eagerly-awaited second album! Rival groups will be disappointed to learn that the record is a further experiment in combining hyper melodic pop music with sonic violence. Officials have confirmed that the album contains a record number of hooks, traces of nut and elements of jangle pop, British hardcore punk, atonal music, screaming and drone organs. Yet they have issued warnings of "a marriage of radical politics with peanut butter spread." One authorized statement reads: "Weighing in at a concise 25 minutes, the album hurtles through its ten songs, each one a succinct, powerful gem."
Expert Alterations "Expert Alterations EP"[12" vinyl » $10.00] [more info]
Expert Alterations Expert Alterations EP 12" vinyl
Baltimore’s premier indiepop trio Expert Alterations have one eyebrow arched as they survey the surrounding pop landscape -- they know they can do better. Strip it down, keep it lean, sweat off the fat. Despite their propensity for reducing the elements of pop to its essential core, Expert Alterations are minimal, but not skeletal -- their bones are strong and their songs linger long after the music is over. The band's influences range from the well-trod (TVPs, The Wedding Present) to roads less traveled (Yeah Yeah Noh, Close Lobsters) and they process them into songs that can stand side-by-side with such standard-bearers. We loved their cassette demo from 2014 so much that we somehow finagled the band into letting us press this limited vinyl EP. One-sided with hand-stamped labels and a silk-screened jacket, it's a perfect pop artifact and one that won't be around for long.