Saturday, 3 April 2021

Los Yesterdays - Nobody's Clown/Give Me One More Chance

You'll know from their first two 45s that Los Yesterdays are pretty good. Well, they just turned up the heat and are now great - their new double sider is a double knockout.

Nobody's Clown is a big city soul ballad. It's 1963 (the band name should give you a clue where their heads are at), Be My Baby is on the radio but you need something deeper. You've dropped from love's euphoria to dumpsville, population you, and this is the only song answering your call.

Give Me One More Chance is better still. A trip through Spanish Harlem, stealthy guitars with a Chicano strut, the post-midnight sound where club soul smoke meets rhythmic punch.

Sunday, 28 February 2021

Trevor Beld Jimenez - I Like It Here

Straight up country pop, no freak folk additives, no weird beard transgressions, and no fucking "alt". I Like It Here is country and it's pop, and it was obviously recorded in California - close your eyes and hear the Pacific Ocean surf crashing quietly, see the sun setting over Laurel Canyon.

Even more obviously, this was written by someone who grew up with the radio dial set on AM, where every day you heard The Carpenters, Merle Haggard, Carole King, Bob Dylan and Townes Van Zandt. It sounds like it was recorded in Gold Star Studios with a crack set of session musicians - maybe stars that never were but ones with such quality they'll never have to park cars and pump gas - who are having a particularly good day at the office.

In fact, it was produced by Jonny Nieman and Brent Rademaker of GospelbeacH (and many more, you know the score). This is the best record of its type since Honest Life by Courtney Marie Andrews.

Sunday, 31 January 2021

Second Hand - Heart Shaped

The sound of young Belfast via Texas is pretty damn special. It's nothing you haven't heard before - Kendall Bousquet's nom de band isn't an accident - but when you hear it done this well, you've got to take notice.

It's Waxahatchee campfire sonic burn-out and Dinosaur Jr listless melancholy that's so insistent it eventually grabs you by the throat and shakes your head until you see stars.

You remember when Teenage Fanclub shook off the grunge baggage with Bandwagonesque? Well, that, only if they'd be on K Records instead of Creation.

Amazingly, Kendall recorded these songs in the first eight months of learning to play guitar and self-record. On this trajectory, the next batch will be solid gold classics. This debut is close enough to that standard now: