After the release of our debut EP earlier this year, we released our debut album, I’m in Heaven, Major Sevens, last week. It’s full of Jens Lekman-esque jangle-pop songs about girls, growing up, and love, that are given the big-room feel of WU LYF and Cymbals Eat Guitars thanks to the album being recorded in a theater in downtown Lafayette, IN. Listen to the single from the album, “U R So Smart (I Think That It’s Sexy),” an ode to the wonderful smart girls in our lives. I’m in Heaven, Major Sevens is available on Bandcamp digitally and on CD.
“Asunder” is the first taste from Fang Island’s new album, Major (pssh like they were gonna name it Minor). If you’ve listened to Fang Island before, especially their 2010 self-titled, you know to expect explosive sky-high party anthems that Andrew W.K. would be proud of. Listen to the massive “Asunder” in all of its glory, with harmonic guitar lines, sleigh bells, and one incredible triple harmony moment. Major will be out July 24th on Sargent House.
After a wonderfully fantastic debut, which made it into my top five records last year, Sleeping Bag have a new record that will be out this year. Bloomington recording studio Russian Recording, where the band recorded their follow-up called Women of Your Life, sent out an email with news on the album. They said, “We crammed all three of the dudes into the smallest room in the studio and recorded all the bed tracks live (drums, guitar and bass), giving the album a tight, intimate, cozy feel.” They also included a final mix of a track that will appear on the record. “Soccer Ball” is a lovable anthem with simple yet perfect melodies, tongue-in-cheek lyrics, and a fantastic Weezer-loving chorus. Women of Your Life will be out on Joyful Noise Recordings hopefully sometime in the fall.
Gap Dream is the one-man bedroom psych-pop project of Clevelander Gabe Fulvimar, who formally played guitar in the pop quartet Future Days/Clovers. ”58th St. Fingers” is the lead track off Gabe’s self-titled debut album, and it’s a great ultra-groovy jangle-pop song that’ll make you feel way too cool when blasting it with your windows down during the recent wonderful weather. This album’s been a surprise favorite of mine this year, and I highly recommend it. The cassette is available from Burger Records, the digital’s up for purchase on Gap Dream’s Bandcamp, and vinyl will be out sometime this summer.
It seems like Netherfriends, aka Shawn Rosenblatt, is a non-stop pop machine, either from his extensive touring across the US or his constant writing. His newest album, Middle America, is the first album of us 50 States 50 Songs project, where he visits and writes a song about a city in every state. “Bloomington, IN” is the second track on the album which shows off Rosenblatt’s sensitive indie-pop tendencies and tribal undertones, and assures us that “everybody wants to have a good time.” Middle America will be out on Kilo Records digitally, and you can hear the entire album from on Netherfriends’ website.
Here’s the newest music from Texas garage-kids Young Mammals, with the first taste since their fantastic 2010 album Carrots. The great production along with their almost signature jangle-tones make for a great A-side on their first vinyl release, which will be out on Bombs By Mail sometime soon, hopefully on radical colored vinyl like their first release.
Bears’ fantastic third album, Greater Lakes, is on the verge of its wide release. The Greater Lakes release show will be at the Grog Shop tomorrow, along with great local pop band Afternoon Naps and the Lighthouse & the Whaler. And before that show, Bears will be playing a special acoustic show at Music Saves at 6. Here’s the Facebook events for the release show and Music Saves in-store. Also, they just released a new track from the album, “The City Still,” along with a remix by Low In The Sky.
Well here’s another shameless plugs of one of my own bands! High School Girls is a love-pop duo from Lafayette, IN, and we just released our first EP, Breakfast Years, last week after recording a few tracks in the studio. Head over to our Bandcamp to listen and download the EP for free. We are also doing a Kickstarter right now to try to finish recording an album in the same studio where we did the tracks for the EP. Any help is greatly appreciated!
Let’s start 2012 on a great note! Cleveland pop heroes Bears released their highly anticipated third album, Greater Lakes, last week after their successful Kickstarter. Here’s the first track on the album, “Eleven A.M.,” a nice and dreamy pop doodle with Bears’ signature twee tones. I don’t think I’m alone in saying this it’s fantastic to have new Bears music, and they prove exactly why they’re still one of the best pop bands in Ohio. The album is officially out on Misra Records this February, and preorder for the clear vinyl and CD is up on Bears’ site or Misra’s shop.
Check out the newest track from Cloud Nothings’ upcoming album, Attack on Memory. Although Dylan Baldi has shown us that Cloud Nothings are going a different direction with “No Future/No Past”, “Stay Useless” still shows us why we fell in love with them in the first place. The song debuted on Rolling Stone this morning, where Dylan stated, “I’m trying to take Cloud Nothings to different areas, songwriting-wise, so I figured I should try and finish off the ‘poppy’ songs with a bang.” Attack on Memory is out January 24th on Carpark, and it’s available for preorder on Insound.
After perhaps one of the best debuts from a Cleveland band in years, The Modern Electric have returned with a Christmas treat, “Northcoast Christmas.” They actually debuted this song about two years ago at still one of my favorite shows ever, “It’s A Beachland Christmas” 2009. When I wrote about it then, I said that “Northcoast Christmas” was just as much a song about Cleveland as it was a song about Christmas, and that still holds true. Garrett Komyati and his wonderful voice hit on subjects such as thrift store shopping, quoting A Christmas Story, and praying for a Browns’ win and snow days. Listen and download the incredible song above, and you’re bound to have this stuck in your head for the rest of the Christmas season. Head over to their Bandcamp to get the three-track “Northcoast Christmas” single for $2.
Nick Tolar and his Herzog boys crept up on all of us with a new album. The new album, Cartoon Violence, got its release to Cleveland last Wednesday at their record release show at the Happy Dog with Shoreway. Listen and download the fantastic power-pop opener, “Fuck This Year,” and try your hardest to not get those double guitar riffs stuck in your head. Tolar is already one of the best songwriters in Cleveland, and when you put a regular band behind him, things get really nice for us. Head over to fellow Cleveland blog I Rock Cleveland for their great review of Cartoon Violence and another MP3 from the record.
Cleveland pop heroes Cloud Nothings have their new album, Attack On Memory, coming out next January. Listen to the post-punk opening blast, “No Future/No Past,” from the new record. No hard to tell that Steve Albini had his hands on this one. And go see them on their two month US tour that starts next February, dates below.
01-26 New York, NY – Studio at Webster Hall
02-16 Chattanooga, TN – JJ’s Bohemia
02-17 Atlanta, GA – The Earl
02-18 Birmingham, AL – Bottletree
02-20 Orlando, FL – Backbooth
02-21 Tallahassee, FL – Club Downunder
02-23 Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s
02-24 San Antonio, TX – Ten Eleven
02-25 Austin, TX – Red 7
02-26 El Paso, TX – Lowbrow Palace
02-27 Tucson, AZ – Club Congress
02-28 Phoenix, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom
02-29 San Diego, CA – Soda Bar
03-01 Costa Mesa, CA – Detroit Bar
03-02 Los Angeles, CA – Echo
03-03 San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill
03-05 Portland, OR – Holocene
03-06 Seattle, WA – The Crocodile
03-07 Vancouver, British Columbia – The Media Club
03-8 Boise, ID – Neurolux
03-9 Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
03-10 Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge
03-12 Kansas City, MO – The Riot Room
03-17 McAllen, TX – Simon Sez
03-20 Nashville, TN – The End
03-21 Louisville, KY – Zanzabar
03-22 Cincinnati, OH – MOTR Pub
03-24 Montreal, Quebec – Casa del Popolo
03-25 Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
03-26 Providence, RI – Fete Lounge
03-30 Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s
03-31 Washington, DC – Red Palace
04-01 Baltimore, MD – Ottobar
04-02 Buffalo, NY – Ninth Ward @ Babeville
04-03 Pittsburgh, PA – Brillobox
04-04 Detroit, MI – Magic Stick Lounge
04-05 Cleveland Heights, OH – Grog Shop
04-06 Chicago, IL – Schubas Tavern
04-07 Columbus, OH – Outland Live
Big Troubles’ second full length, the brilliantly named Romantic Comedy, will be out next Tuesday (9/27) on Slumberland, but Stereogum just put up the entire record for streaming. Go here to listen to ten tracks of British-influenced sweet-and-salty power-pop from the New Jersey kids. I’ve only gone through it once, but my first impressions are that lovers of their first album, Worry, and the overall lo-fi aesthetic are not going to enjoy this album, much like people were disappointed with Smith Westerns’ Dye It Blonde. But for any lover of pop music, this album pretty much has it all. Production from Mitch Easter, who’s worked with Pavement and R.E.M. (RIP), has turned their drowned-out fuzz jams into bountiful tracks overflowing with additive riffs and huge moments. It’s evident that this is the album that the Big Troubles boys wanted to make from the beginning, and it’s something they should be proud of. Check out the silly video for first single “Sad Girls” below.
Here’s the newest video from Chicago art-poppers A Lull, showcasing the third track on their debut album, Confetti. Watch the lively video above and download/listen to another track, “Water & Beasts,” below.
At the top of the list of my most anticipated albums for the rest of 2011 is New York power-pop quartet Big Troubles’ second album Romantic Comedy. “Sad Girls,” the ultra-catchy lead single from the record (with the best key change of 2011), now has a silly video to go with it. Watch the super ‘dorky’ video above and pick up the MP3 too. A light green/dark green 7″ is out now for “Sad Girls” from Slumberland, and Romantic Comedy will be out on September 27th.
Cleveland’s own Total Babes’ debut album Swimming Through Sunlight hit stores yesterday, and to celebrate, huge climax “Without Your Heart” is now available for download! Pick up the album digitally in webstores, and the CD and vinyl through Old Flame’s Store. And listen/download the first two tracks from the album below.
Under The Radar recently premiered “Beside” from Bloomington, IN pop trio Sleeping Bag. This instantly-lovable pop jam appears on Sleeping Bag’s self-titled debut, which actually just released last Tuesday. Based on this and their earlier single “Slime,” which you can listen to below, the album is really shaping up to be one of the most enjoyable of the year. Stream the entire album on their Bandcamp, or go to Joyful Noise, where it’s available for order on blue and black vinyl, as well as the special official Sleeping Bag sleeping bag.
California pop label Slumberland has been hitting a homerun with me lately, from Pains’, Girls Names, Kids on a Crime Spree, the signing of Big Troubles, and now this. Gold-Bears is the pop project of former Plastic Mastery mastermind Jeremy Underwood, and by the looks of it, Gold-Bears is here to stay. “Record Store,” the opener on their debut Are You Falling In Love?, is a head-banging fuzz anthem that you’ll be belting out in your car, or at least I have. The album is available from Slumberland on pink/white swirl vinyl here.