an internet pop thing from philadelphia

All Dogs "Farm"

All Dogs
Farm

We’ve been blessed with a pretty fantastic Autumn by way of August day here in Philadelphia today. It feels, and even SMELLS(!), a bit like Fall outside and I really couldn’t imagine a more perfect day for Columbus, Ohio’s All Dogs to have entered my life! An ongoing Columbus mystery for a little while now, they’ve finally released a stunning, exuberant half a tape with fellow Ohioans Slouch taking on the other half.

Mentioning the house of Crutchfield feels a little too easy here, but it’s also a pretty accurate touchpoint (along with a bit of That Dog, Team Dresch, and Superchunk)—and certainly not a bad one, indeed. The wide-eyed punk-pop energy of lead-off track “Farm” serves as a near-perfect intro to an EP’s worth of songs that never let up even an ounce of that drive. And as if I wasn’t already in love with them enough from the start, the six-song run closes with a Muffs cover. A Muffs cover! Well shit.

Listen to (and buy!) the rest of the split on bandcamp!

COMMENTS

This Friday is brought to you by the ice-cream-cone-joyous backing “woo-ooh-ooh”s of the original Laughing Apple version of “Wouldn’t You?”—which is a pretty choice manifesto for life, if you ask me.

COMMENTS

While I wait somewhat desperately from their sure-to-be-immensely-good debut LP, Similar Phantoms, Atlanta’s Small Reactions have just dropped a fun, jittering faux-CCTV video for the wonderfully-titled, non-album single “Michael J. Foxworthy” (and god knows I really love a good pun).

The track, which is a pretty solid general descriptor, pairs frantic, unpredictable rhythms with fuzzy, familiar 90s guitarpop tones (think, perhaps, Velocity Girl). The most impressive weapon at their disposal, however, seems to be the pretty damn commanding vocals of either Clinton, Scotty, Sam or Sean (I’m not a journalist, figure it out yourself if you want to know). I kept thinking Wolfhounds re: vocals, but then I was like NO. But, actually, you know, that might not be so off. I mean, go revisit “Sandy” and get back to me. They’re both putting something up in the air. Like, way up in the air.

COMMENTS

Dreams Never End, They Just Get Older

image

The Secret History’s 2010 debut, written by Michael Grace Jr. following the joyless fall of My Favorite (whom I’d personally hold up high as one of the most important pop bands of the past 15 years), never sunk in the way I’d hoped. The record, the band, the loss of My Favorite, everything felt disjointed to me. I recognized some of the features, but The Secret History felt like a stranger asking me to get into a car with them. I couldn’t bear to do it. Turns out I just wasn’t ready to grow up yet.

A mere three years and some change later, The Secret History have released their sophomore LP Americans Singing In The Dark and it’s a brilliant flash of unabashedly earnest, heartbreaking pop songs aiming to resolve a bit of unfinished business. The record claims to be the natural continuation (or conclusion) of the characters and narratives of My Favorite’s swan song The Happiest Days Of Our Lives. The vignettes running through the minutes of that record were, well, dark—melancholic at best and, occasionally, downright dysphoric. And the post-millennial world hasn’t exactly been any kinder to their dreams.

Ten years later, there’s a certain personal comfort in learning that these fictional characters, while not particularly better off than they ever were, are still dragging themselves through the dark streets and even darker dreams of NYC for better or worse. And just as the characters exist outside the supposed bounds of their modern world, as does the record itself. Americans Singing In The Dark is an indiepop record with no visible interest in being an indiepop record of the current climate. Life-affirming saxophone blasts break through glammed-up guitars solos with such joyful perfection, that it would, quite frankly, make the gutless, Wake-worshipping ranks of the new pop shit their pants. Except that’s not nearly all, and elsewhere you’ll find flecks of country, dance, even a few strokes of dub all under the careful watch of a group of massively talented dreamers who could turn anything into an evocative pop gem if they so wished.

Whether this record functions simply as a reunion or a funeral is a little bit unclear. But whether these characters and songs find the bright lights or dissolve into the night with little fanfare, I’m terribly glad to have known them.

Buy the damn thing!

COMMENTS

Majestic "Metal"

Majestic
Metal

Living within a current pop scene that tends to embrace garagey guitars and expediency (I’m at fault here, too), its hard to not be a little nostalgic for the elegance and subtleties that, at least in my mind, seemed to have marked the West Coast indiepop hot bed of the mid-to-late 90s. It’s for this reason that the recently released Majestic 12 retrospective on Shelflife Records couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

The up-in-the-clouds vocal harmonies of Jana Heller and Scott Schultz hover just above equally dreamy and effected Galaxie 500-esque guitars. The songs are melodically pristine, but nowhere near sterile, and it all feels a bit like looking through a viewmaster stocked exclusively with images of sunny fields and constellations. These 13 pop songs are so essential for anyone with even a fleeting interest in fleeting moments.

Super highly recommended for fans of: Galaxie 500, Holiday Flyer, The Arrogants, Sushi, Birdie, et al.

COMMENTS

Primal Scream "Bewitched And Bewildered"

Primal Scream
Bewitched And Bewildered

One of my favorite Peel Session tracks from the Primal Scream golden years (1985-1986) that was sadly never properly recorded or released (along with “Tomorrow Ends Today”—though, The Springfields did later record a cover of that one as a b-side for Sarah in 1991!). Anyway. “Bewitched and Bewildered” is a gorgeous pop song, and as with many of their songs from that period, entirely better than everything that followed.

COMMENTS

Helsinki powerpoppers First Times have just posted the first taste from their upcoming EP and it’s nothing short of a midsummer gem! “I Can’t Get To You” laps like the laziest waves at sunset, while you lament the sand between your toes and the glaringly empty space between your arms. But you won’t be walking home alone, because god knows that hook is going to stay with you through the night.

The Mono Mono EP is out in August! Keep your eyes peeled!

COMMENTS

Skatterbrain Monthly Mix: July!

Hi! It might be 20+ days late, but it’s still July so it’s still time for a mix! All sorts of busy and etc have been in the way for a bit, but some semblance of regular posting should be resuming soon! For now, here are a few songs to soundtrack your inevitable transition from a living, breathing person into a hot steamy puddle of sweat. Take these on a day trip with the windows down and PLAY THEM LOUD! We might actual make it through the Summer afterall.

I DON’T WANT ANOTHER SUMMERTIME!

  1. Henry’s Dress “Feathers”
  2. The Ropers “I Don’t Mind”
  3. KG “Love Me Forever”
  4. Brilliant Colors “Walk Into The World”
  5. Wandering Lucy “Marthy’s Tune”
  6. Girlboy Girl “Feeder”
  7. Gold-Bears “Tally” (7” version)
  8. Boyracer “E.J.K.”
  9. Versus “Crazy”
  10. Unrest “Light Command”
  11. Crystal Stilts “Love Is A Wave”
  12. The Sea Urchins “Please Don’t Cry”
  13. The Mantles “Raspberry Thighs”
  14. Toxie “Haunted”
  15. The Dentists “Doreen”
COMMENTS

For the ARS diehards (do these exist?) out there, this might not come as a major shock, but I was personally floored by the news of a new Au Revoir Simone record on the way! It’s truly been a while since they were last important to me, so it was with hesitation that I went into “Somebody Who”, the first single from the upcoming Move In Spectrums LP. Turns out I had no reason to worry, though, because Au Revoir Simone still fit just like a glove. “Somebody Who” belongs as much in dreams and it does on the dancefloor, and I don’t really know if I could offer up a better compliment than that.

Move In Spectrums is out in September on Moshi Moshi in the UK and Instant Records in the US! YAY!

COMMENTS

Holiday Flyer "Things That Made You Blue"

Holiday Flyer
Things That Made You Blue

Going back to 1997 this morning, here’s my favorite track off of Holiday Flyer’s sophomore LP, The Rainbow Confection. The less than two minutes of “Things That Made You Blue” show off the harmonizing prowess of brother-and-sister John and Kate Conley perhaps better than anything else they ever put to tape (their 1994 debut 7” maybe withstanding). It’s all sweetness and light; a perfect complement to spending the earlier hours of the day with your head firmly rooted in the clouds.

COMMENTS