After sampling the Maren Parusel 7″ and Powerchords catalog on Single Screen Records I was definitely surprised to experience wistful, bedroom-dream-pop from San Diego’s Black Mamba. Quite simply, this is the Teen Dream of 2009 as Aimee Sanchez’ ethereal vocals are a dead ringer for Beach House’s Victoria LeGrand – high accolades in this crib. The dark, piano-textured backdrop also reminded me of local SD heroes, Black Heart Procession. Their namesake is rather deceiving as there is nothing poisonous or speedy about Golden Birthday and I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t love this. Grab the EP from the label website – wax-heads invited.
One of the greatest unknown bands in all of the world has finally released the Building Your Lo-Fi Shelter box set. I think Jeff from The Gifted Children has been talking about this for about 5 years now so its great to see it come to fruition. 5 CD’s, 112 songs – one you are already familiar with. ‘The Octette Bridge Club’ was featured on Vol. 34 and TGC have the notable distinction of making the most TTOTM appearances over the years, period. Let’s not forget they christened the BTID netlabel with the Commonwealth Squelch EP. To say I love this band would be an understatement. Grab your copy of the boxed set for 30 bones and thank me later (a STEAL!).
I can’t say that I know a lick about Graham Repulski other than they hail from New Jersey and they heil Robert Pollard. You’re not going to question this when you find out Todd Tobias himself twiddles the knobs on Man Pop, a 24 minute/13-song ode to all things lo-fidelity and beautiful. Untouchable-period Guided By Voices, The Gifted Children, Eric’s Trip and Chris Knox (of Tall Dwarfs legend) are all reference points here – short, syrupy pop confections abuzz with garage-fi strum and hiss. Check out the video below for my fave track from the album as well as a couple mp3 offerings. I, clearly, approve.
ThePowerchords were a band that slipped through the cracks back in 2008, but thankfully I caught onto the quartet from Chula Vista last year and they’ve stuck around for another release in 2010. Their debut album Think I’m Gonna is an amazing accomplishment, considering the comparatively narrow punk pop formula the band is working with. While the music clearly descends from the Buzzcocks/Adverts/Undertones realm, the sound of that era is not replicated (as the Exploding Hearts did, albeit with great results) and the songs from that era are not recycled (as, well, tons of punk bands have been doing for three decades). Somehow these guys were able to string together a dozen-plus songs of bouncy, catchy, edgy pop with new melodies and little to no aping. “Think I’m Gonna” and the Dickies-meets-Cheap Trick “Dream Girl” are two of a bunch of stellar power pop/punk hits and can be sampled on their Myspace page.
This year has treated us to another Powerchords 7″. “Nightmare” b/w “Torture” inexplicably continues to pump more mileage out of the late-70s UK punk-pop scene. While the release won’t win any “bang for your buck” awards (total listening experience will clock in under 3 minutes, and that includes the time it takes to flip the vinyl) it’s still two solid cuts that’ll bop through your body and beg for repeated listens. I heartily welcome another 5 releases likes this (and a singles collection, natch) and have no qualms with putting this band on a pedestal with other incredible groups with unassuming band names (e.g. The Records, The Boys, et al).