Tag Archives: greece

Stream: Baby Guru – “Marginalia”

Continuing on the psych realm from where we were yesterday, today we have Baby Guru taking the prog-psych route. Just listening to the first track, “Especially When,” there’s a lot of ground covered from dance beats and new wave guitar sounds to Pink Floyd-esque delayed synths and a exploratory section toward the end that allows the guitar and synth to branch out. Square-waves on analog synths calling up some early Genesis is a nice touch toward the very end. Truly psych/prog in the best way possible.

“Baby You’re so Weird” takes things in a completely different, poppy, catchy direction. But after that we’re right back into prog land. The title track brings out the analog synths again, stomping through the verses with a clear distinctive pulse. When the chorus enters the ascending chord progression and introduction of the bass guitar completely turns everything around. By about the 3 minute mark we’re in Gentle Giant territory.

I just can’t get enough of the buzzing analog synths all over the place, so much so that I forget to pay attention to the vocals at all. When I turn my attention to all of the other things going on in the tracks I’m surprised at just how good everything fits together. Baby Guru has a knack for creating some really uplifting choruses with verses that really build up into them, not making them sound like separate parts that can be exchanged for others.

Every track has these great little moments that spin out into seemingly ever expanding space, but they are all contained within a song of about 5 minutes or less. Truly a prog band that is aware of the importance of song structure, familiarity and pop sensibilities. A rare thing, to be sure.

If you aren’t already then you should definitely be checking this album out from top to bottom and on repeat. It’s available right now as a download, limited edition cassette, limited LP and as a CD. Head over to bandcamp to pick out which one you want. You’ll thank me, I’m sure of it.

Stream: Plastic Flowers – “Evergreen”

Another new one from Inner Ear Records out of Athens, Greece, this time we have the debut album from a band named Plastic Flowers. Sounding a bit like Washed Out, though maybe even more laid back, if you could imagine that. They consider themselves a “dream pop” band, which is fairly accurate despite the lo-fi production standards, cheap guitars, echo laden vocals, analog synths and rigid drum machines.

As a result what would be a perhaps too bright sheen on the songs is dulled a bit. The expansive nature of the songs still comes through, but stops short of being bombastic and exaggerated. The same can’t necessarily be said for Washed Out. I’m pretty sure that they are aware of the Washed Out influence, nearly quoting the opening song on “Paracosm” on the 47 second interlude “Open Space Part 1.” It works well here, though.

I’m having a difficult time narrowing down one or two standout tracks as the more that I listen to it the more every song just has a way or grabbing hold instantly. If I had to choose though I would say that you should start with “Fog Song,” “Your Eyes,” and both “Open Space Part 1” and “Open Space Part 2” in all their Washed Out glory.

The synths take up a lot of the ambient space across the album, and on songs like album closer “Anthems” they take center stage, showing a slightly jazz tinged instrumental side of the band. And while you’re listening to the tracks make sure to check out “Fog Song,” which is a little more on the Real Estate side of things with its hazy atmosphere and gently ringing guitars, and the addition of swirling synths is a nice touch.

You can pre-order the vinyl from Inner Ear, due out March 15th, and if you’re a fan of cassettes then you’re in luck because Crash Symbols is doing a limited run of “Evergreen” which can be found here. The album can be streamed from their bandcamp, and some tracks are also up on soundcloud.


New music from Jack Name and Yuri’s Accident

Jack Name - "Light Show"
Jack Name – “Light Show”

First thing’s first, I’ve got a couple tracks today from artists with albums that have just come out. The first is a video that comes to us from Jack Name, one of the guitarists currently working with (one of my personal favorites) White Fence. The album, “Light Show,” is out now on Drag City through Ty Segall’s “God?” imprint. There are samples of each of the songs over on the Drag City site, but over on Youtube there is a video for the track “Out of Sight.” The video is basically a collage of what seems to be part found footage, part Live-Leak videos and other such ephemera. The song matches the video in tone, or I suppose that it’s the other way around, but either way there is an air of darkness all over both. A monotonously repeated melodic pattern on a gritty sounding analog synth supports the entire track with a vocal that is haunting in its higher register. Everything about this track and the accompanying video is elegiac and hypnotic. For me, it called to mind the work of Paul A Rosales and Wonder Wheel. You can check out that video below.

Next up is a band from Athens, not Georgia, but the real Athens. Yuri’s Accident may not be dark in the same way that Jack Name’s tracks are, but there is an aura of 80’s dance-pop that comes off sounding a little darker. That the band has relocated to London before releasing these tunes explains them sounding a bit, maybe, like Depeche Mode with guitars, or earlier songs by The Cure; or maybe I’m picking up a little more on a post-punk/Interpol kind of vibe. Either way it’s kind of two heads from the same coin. Dark-ish, brooding guitar driven rock. This 2 track single was also released earlier this week, on January 20th and you can check it out below. There’s a video for A-side “Lights (on her eyes)” as well. The single is available for download from the Yuri’s Accident bandcamp, which can be found here.

Both albums are available now so check out the links in the post above and head over to Drag City to pick up Jack Name’s album on vinyl or as an MP3 or FLAC file. You can also head over to bandcamp to download the Yuri’s Accident tracks.

Stream: New music from Inner Ear Records

Instead of three short posts, I think I’d rather just do one post that will (most likely) introduce you to some bands being released through the Greek indie label Inner Ear based out of Patras.

First up is the electro-dance pop of Fever Kids. Their single “Holding Grass b/w Peter, Debbie, Mary” is a shot of chillwave with the itinerant 80’s vibe that brings to mind Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer,” especially with the palm-muted guitar and vocal harmonies. “Holding Grass” just captures a dark quality that is occasionally brightened up in the chorus. This is their first official release, which came out just two weeks ago on January 8th, though the band has been together and writing since 2011. You can check out both “Holding Grass” and its b-side, “Peter, Debbie, Mary,” that moves into Eurhythmics territory with a lead vocal giving us its best Annie Lennox. Pure-pop, and worth checking out.

Next up is the super-fun beach-rock of Melt Mountain. Their self-titled 7″ was released the same day as the Fever Kids single. This is an EP full of jangling, reverbed guitars and echoed out vocals. Actually, it stands somewhere between a single and an EP. With about 10 minutes of music over 4 tracks the music runs the gamut from the playful insouciance of “Golden Brooms and More Hopes,” to the downtrodden and defeated sounding “Try” that closes out the release.

Lastly, a full-length from Egg Hell. “Once Part of a Whole Ship” is fairly understated in its delivery. Clean guitars and expansive arranging that calls to mind, perhaps, The Decembrists, or (dare I say it) a touch of Neutral Milk Hotel. The lead vocal is confident and shouting one second, shaky and tentative the next. “Suffering” calls to mind the Decembrists in particular, while the string arrangement on the track that follows, “Gingerhead,” shows the band striving to achieve something more. And, the entire album comes off that way. It sounds like a band that is reaching out, fixated on a distant goal and just going for it. In certain ways “Once Part of a Whole Ship” doesn’t sound like a debut album at all, as the songs and arrangements are all expertly executed. With a little bit of luck the band could have an album full of viable singles on their hands. You can listen to the entire album below.

All the releases above are available as digital downloads for only a couple bucks, or physical copies (though U.S. people, be aware that the shipping charges get kind of out of hand, so maybe the digital download would be the best way to go). There is also plenty more music to check out at the Inner Ear bandcamp page. You can get anywhere you need to by following the links below.

Fever Kids//Melt Mountain//Egg Hell//Inner Ear Bandcamp//Facebook//Soundcloud//Web//