Animals In Exile “Through A Glass Darkly” (animalsinexile.bandcamp.com)
Loving this E.P. from Colorado’s Animals In Exile. “Everlasting Greenhouse Effect”starts with a collection of ambient tones and drones that quickly kick into an upbeat blast of catchy psych rock n roll. It’s got a nice sing along vibe backed by an infectious beat and blistering guitar leads. The band keeps the energy level in high gear with the punchy flair of “Mother Nature’s Orchestra” while “What We Know Now” has a darker feel to it matched with an underlying atmosphere and moody post punk presence. The E.P. winds down with “Through A Glass Darkly”and it’s swirling psychedelic tones and powerful vocals. Overall a top notch debut that certainly makes these guys one of my bands to watch in 2015.
FUULS “Hidden Wolves” Single (fuuls.bandcamp.com)
Montana punk rock n roll outfit FUULS bring it on what appears to be their first single “Hidden Wolves”. It’s a full on blast of punk rock furry in the spirit of The Buzzcocks, The Stiff Little Fingers and Television. There’s a nice bit of melody that ties together all the angst making this one of the best sounding tracks I’ve heard in some time. Get on it, get into it and tell a friend.
Mercurial Mush “Pumpkin Trees / Archipelago” (Demo) (mercurialmush.bandcamp.com)
Excellent demo that shows shades of Donovan, early Pink Floyd and Mark Bolan. “Pumpkin Trees” is full of outer space vocals, chiming guitars and even a flute solo. There’s a bit of a sinister snarl to it all that adds to the mysterious essence of the song. “Archipelago” takes the space sounds to the next level with guitars fluttering with phasers over top of a heavy drone like riff. It seems to channel spirits of souls from long ago. A refreshing collection of vibrant psychedelia.
No Vacation “Amo XO” LP (novacationgrrl.bandcamp.com)
San Fransico’s No Vacation are an excellent blend of indie pop, folk and dance rock. Headed by the dual vocals, dual guitar attack of Sabrina Mai and Basil Saleh the band has created a splendid collection of songs that are warm and inviting. The acoustic sounds of “Laundry Day” really highlight Sabrina’s vocals as it’s a very dainty track that’s backed by some complementing ethereal tones. “Beach Bummer” is an exciting jangle pop song that has a heavy does of modern day indie rock dance swing. The single note guitar work in “August” add’s a nice touch to the mid tempo drum machine flavor and serves for an excellent lead in to the laid back sounds of “Lovefoot”. I think what’s most charming about “Amo XO” is the addition of short instrumental pieces like “Cafe Beat” and “Pillowcase”. It shows the band is not afraid to take chances and add’s an experimental side that serves the album well. A delightful record indeed.
Patkus “Nigel’s Brie” LP (patkus.bandcamp.com)
The debut album from Philly based ambient/experimental outfit Patkus truly embraces the spirit of Winter as the tracks echo that feeling you get when looking out the window to see a landscape covered in freshly fallen snow. Opening track “Phil-Ellena” is a soft, elegant, guitar based composition that flows together seamlessly. “We Were Looking for Bears; They Were Searching for Narcotics” might be the most bizarre song title ever made and it’s pulsating drones and trance inducing frequencies suit the title well. The looping layers of sounds show various shades of color and build with intensity as the track moves on. “Ackley Kid” is a sound collage piece with several moods and textures while “Joy For The One That Matters Most” is an uplifting and inspiring track that evokes peaceful tones and happiness. “The First of Men with Wedges Split their Wood” is a beautiful closer as it’s minimal melody sounds like it’s breathing right through your speakers. A comforting collection of amazingly well crafted soundscapes.
The Picture Palace “Mirage” E.P. (thepicturepalace.bandcamp.com)
Hailing from High Wycombe England The Picture Palace put together a fabulous E.P. full of simple, guitar driven indie pop songs. There are elements of artists like The Replacements, Billy Bragg & Matt Pond PA but these guys have a sound of their own that shines throughout on these songs well. “Mirage” is one of those songs that’s good for riding around town in the Summer on a Friday night. It’s catchy blend of garage rock and pop are sure to please. “Heads Up” has a dance feel to it with it’s swinging drum beat and bright guitar sounds while “Eliza” blends a quirky riff and in the pocket rhythm that plays well around the dynamic lead vocal. The short minute long “Ghost” is the exclamation point that caps off a fine effort from this promising UK ensemble.