Check out a fantastic track from the debut album of Indiana up-and-coming shoegaze-pop outfit, broken light. “Dawn of Nothing” is a soaring fuzz-pop anthem, with touches of Microcastle-era Deerhunter and a guitar melody that would make Yuck jealous. The track, as uplifting as it wants you to feel, leaks with frontman Eric Komenda’s lyrics on emptiness and disarray, but you’ll never feel better yelling out lines like, “Greet the void the slowly swallows/ All your secrets until you’re barren and bleak.” The group recorded The Spring Tide, with Brett Sanderson of Champaign, IL band Headlights and the release date/label is TBA. Head over to their Bandcamp to hear another track from the album, “Nucleo/tides.”
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.
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.
Back in March of 2010, I posted about the young Indiana band Mid-American and their first release, Fake Homes. Now some two years later, after a successful Kickstarter, Mid-American has come back with the release of their self-titled debut album. Their early sound was impressive for such a young band, but the group has expanded into a bigger and appropriately dense sound for Mid-American. The second track, “Shadow,” is a crazy-catchy bubblegum-pop ode filled with foot-tapping build-ups and an infectious bell line that you won’t forget for days. Mid-American’s uniqueness comes from a variety of new and familiar sounds including a touch of Radiohead’s remoteness (“The King of Nowhere”), big percussive aesthetics (“The Clearing”), their sheer ability to capture a melody (“Shadow”). and a minute-and-a-half instrumental interlude that proves to be one of the best tracks on the album (“Taijasa”). All of this paired with frontman Phil Johnson’s sentimental voice alongside his powerful lyrics of confusion and loss makes for a rousing debut from this Indiana group. Mid-American is out now digitally on their Bandcamp, with preorders for the album on vinyl and CD.
My good friend Mike at Sippy Cup Everything turned me onto the Atlanta rockers Balkans’ self-titled debut a couple weeks ago, and I haven’t stopped listening since. And it’s a huge bummer that these guys are no more from what it looks like. Despite that, any fan of the early 2000s guitar-pop scene should listen to these guys immediately. Stream the entire album below, and go order the record from Double Phantom.
My good friends and personal favorite Trouble Books have recently released their third LP, Concatenating Fields. After their fantastic 2010 second album Gathering Tones, and one of the best records of 2011 in their colab album with Mark McGuire, the husband-wife duo calls their new outing “definitely the best Trouble Books album yet.” The bedroom-pop feel hasn’t changed much, but in “Dead Bee in a Golden Bowl,” they are striving for something that feels more natural than everything else they’ve done. Dulled bass beats, minimal drum machine, pretty synth lines, and of course their almost-signature harmony style, this track finds TB sounding as comfortable as they ever have. One big thing to be stoked about is that they went for high-quality and had Concatenating Fields mastered by James Plotkin and the vinyl cut at Dubplates and Mastering in Berlin. These are the go-to guys in the ambient/drone scene for vinyl, and they’ve done pretty much every Editions Mego release and mostly all of my Emeralds vinyl. Go and order the LP from Bark & Hiss, limited to 300 copies.
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.