New & featured releases, updated December 13, 2018

Rat Columns "Sometimes We're Friends"

[7" » $7.00 $4.44] [more info]
Sometimes We're Friends

Rat Columns Sometimes We're Friends 7"

Rat Columns, the ever changing musical project of David West and friends, emerged from the desert outpost of Perth, Western Australia in the late 2000s, influenced by largely anglocentric forms such as post-punk and jangle pop and emitting a steady stream of 7"s, EPs and three full length albums along the way. The songs included on this EP were recorded at the same time as their 2017 album Candle Power in Guildford, Western Australia, in a back shed studio on a rambling riverside property. Well-crafted, literate pop in the best tradition of 3rd album Velvet Underground, the Postcard label, early Creation label and The Go-Betweens.

The Suncharms "Red Dust"

[7" » $7.00 $4.44] [more info]
Red Dust

The Suncharms Red Dust 7"

Sheffield's The Suncharms formed in 1989 out of an indie scene that was just expanding from straight indiepop into territory that would soon be known as shoegaze. Two EPs were released in 1991 on the Wilde Club label; the Slumberland Records crew LOVED those two EPs -- they had all the guitar overload we craved, but wrapped around some unusually crafty pop tunes. Less ethereal or abstract than a lot of shoegaze, accurate reference points might include early Ride or The Boo Radleys. We first approached the band about the possibility of releasing something way back in 1992, but the band broke up soon thereafter and it's taken 25 years and a timely band reformation to finally make this single happen. And it's an absolute corker - melodic and psychedelic, 'gazey but tough and not at all gauzy. It's great to have them back!

The Wolfhounds "Hands In The Till: The Complete John Peel Sessions"

[LP » $17.00 $13.99] [CD » $9.00 $6.66] [more info]
Hands In The Till: The Complete John Peel Sessions

The Wolfhounds Hands In The Till: The Complete John Peel Sessions LP/CD

At the peak of media attention over the NME's C86 cassette, The Wolfhounds recorded three four-song sessions for the BBC's legendary John Peel Show between March 1986 and January 1987, capturing all the excitement and youthful exuberance of a band just catching the public imagination. With an energy born of sweaty, rammed gigs in London pubs and a willful experimentation nurtured in suburban bedrooms and garages away from watchful eyes, The Wolfhounds blasted their raw live sound straight to tape with little in the way of overdubs or the more considered studio polish of their excellent albums. Every song from these sessions is now gathered together on Hands In The Till, making a surprisingly coherent whole despite the heady disorganized thrust of the times and a couple of line-up changes in the meantime. More wiry and angular than most of their C86 peers, The Wolfhounds had more in common with The Fall than The Byrds, and Hands In The Till shows them at their caustic best.

Smokescreens "Used To Yesterday"

[LP » $15.00 $12.99] [CD » $9.00 $6.66] [more info]
Used To Yesterday

Smokescreens Used To Yesterday LP/CD

LA's Smokescreens began as a couple of pals (Chris Rosi from Plateaus, Corey Cunningham from Terry Malts) paying tribute to the seminal 80s sounds of New Zealand's Flying Nun label and has grown to be so much more. Since their self-titled 2017 the band has expanded to a four piece and honed their tunes with constant SoCal gigging. Their new album "Used To Yesterday" continues Smokescreen’s zeal for New Zealand pop but also incorporates influences from the more melodic side of Messthetics-era DIY pop and expands into classic indie pop territory, a natural fit for the Slumberland Records roster. From the NZ-meets-Athens GA single "The Lost Song" through the 12-string driven "Waiting For The Summer" to the Paisley Underground-tinged closer "Falling Down," Smokescreens really excel in the quality of their songwriting and their ability to incorporate a disparate set of influences while still forging their own sound and identity.

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

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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 $11.99] [CD » $9.00 $6.66] [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.


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