Maybe Don’t – Maps/Traps

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Maybe Don’t have just released their first free download EP ‘Maps/Traps’ over on Bandcamp. The band hail from Birmingham and if you listen closely you can probably work out that some of them have ‘form’.

The EP is an infectious burst of pop meets punk at an indie disco. There is something vital and life affirming in these 4 songs. Maybe it’s the space the band give their songs. Maybe it’s the I want to shout along to these songs at high volume vibe I get from it. Maybe it’s just the most fun I’ve heard in a while in simple pop songs.

Maybe Don’t sing that they ‘Don’t Care if anybody sees’ – I think they should give a hoot as this EP deserves to be heard by as many people as possible.

Listen for yourself. Then download it. Then play it. Over and over and over and over.

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Eerie Summer – The Way I Don’t Understand Anything Anymore

Eerie Summer first flickered across my radar in the summer. This new album ‘The Way I Don’t Understand Anything Anymore’ which I picked up over on bandcamp is dreamy pop music. According to their bandcamp the page are from Saint Petersburg, Russia and this is bright breezy indiepop with subtle hints of dream pop thrown into the mix , referencing the likes of like Beach House, Veronica Falls or The Radio Dept at their most ‘pop’.

Only available on digital download as far as I can see – the album is full of hazy pop gems. Particular favourites being ‘Never Good Enough’ and the doomy spector tinged ‘Weird About You’ but there really isn’t a bad moment across the whole record. Highly recommended.

Dream Dogs – Dream Dogs

Catherine Plewa (who is also in the fab Choo Choo Trains) recorded these songs when she was starting a new ‘thing’ under the name Dream Dogs. That thing, I think, eventually became The Stay Aways (who I have had the fortune to catch live in London). But Dream Dogs is the name given to these early solo recordings. They’ve just been released on bandcamp.

Beautiful and slightly fuzzy pop tones are what we have here. This album sounds pretty fantastic today, with it’s lo-fi charm to the fore. The songs wash against you, like the distant winter sun streaming in the window. Gentle electric (or acoustic) guitar strums recalling Beat Happening or a down beat Velvet Underground. Voice and guitar, occasional drums and vocals that are low enough in the mix enough to be heard without dominating proceedings.

This is the sort of album that would sound perfect on a 2nd generation C90 cassette.This is everything I love about simple DIYPOP music. A beautiful set of songs delivered in a languid style. Pop music.

Whitebelt – Bruce

I did a shout out on Twitter a week or so back looking for a ‘synthy’ band to book for an Odd Box show. I got a recommendation for Whitebelt from Camille in Bristol. And woah, yep. This is the definition of a good call. I have since booked the band to play (Sept 4th, Urban Bar, Whitechapel). Consider me impressed.

I have also bought their bandcamp release ‘Bruce’. A pay what you like digital offering. Over 6 songs you are whizzed and whirled by this hypnotic band. I keep reaching for reference points and failing. Sometimes my puny brain fails me. They’re kinda synth-y but also delightfully guitar driven – on ‘Space Vitamins’ they’re what you might imagine Shellac and Kraftwerk mash up might sound like. The vocals from Tina Hitchens remind me a little of the late Trish Keenan of Broadcast. Over the course of these 6 songs Whitebelt have me hypnotised there is a deftness to the songs that screams ‘POP’ but it’s all underpinned by monotonous rhythms and repeating keyboard (and guitar) flourishes.

I have played this collection of songs a hell of a lot over the past week or so. They’re fast becoming one of the discoveries of 2015.  Thanks Camille.

Lala Lala – Have A Good Day

Lala Lala are from Chicago in the US. This EP is download only. The band are a three piece and comprise of members Lillie West, Abby Black and Annie Burns. I found an interview with the band over on Sad Girls Guide that throws some more light on how the band started etc, although the name of the band members don’t tally with their facebook page. Go figure. They’re a still a bit of mystery. Stand out song is the opener “So” which has a chugging guitar thing going on. Thie whole EP is stripped back and rather wonderful.

Owl & Mouse

Here’s another band I’ve championed a lot since they formed a few years ago. It’s been a while since I invited them to play an Odd Box show and I should really rectify this. But I am fairly sure they’ve played a fair few down the years especially as they were settling on a line up. They’ve come on a LOT since those days. Some have argued that they’re a bit ‘gentle’ for my tastes. But y’know what, this new video for ‘Octopi’ is just great. Their debut LP is due out on Fika Recordings soon.

The band are also on tour right at this moment. Go see them if you can. I’ll be at The Shacklewell Arms on 7th July.

July 5th: Leeds – Wharf Chambers (w/ The Smittens, The Seven Inches)
July 6th: Nottingham – Spanky Van Dykes (w/ The Smittens)
July 7th: London – The Shacklewell Arms (w/ The Smittens & Tigercats)
July 8th: Moss, Norway (w/ The Smittens)
July 9th: Bergen, Norway (w/ The Smittens)
July 11th & 12th: Indiefjord, Bjorke, Norway (w/ The Smittens, The School, The Just Joans and more)

One Happy Island

One Happy Island are currently in the middle of a big bandcamp project where they are uploading all their releases and a few bonus things to bandcamp. The band and I have a long association. I released two of their LPs, put on one of their first ever (might have been their first one!) UK shows and also invited the band over to play the Odd Box Weekender in 2014. The dates on that tour could well be their last as the three members of the band are scattered far and wide across the US. Never say never, but y’know the chances look slim.

Anyways this recording surfaced just the other day. A live recording with Shannon, Brad and the then new recruit Meghan. This in-store performance was recorded at Weirdo Records, Cambridge, Mass., July 2011. Tracks 12-14 feature Orange Nichole singing her songs.

Meghan also posted over on Facebook about these recordings:

Hi! It’s me, Meghan! Brad and Shannon posted a craigslist ad for a new band member and specified that they didn’t need to be a trained musician per se — but perhaps be the sort of person that always had a new song humming in their brain. I thought that sounded just like me, so I sent them an email and suddenly I was drumming and strumming and singing in a band! The dudes taught me so much about song-making and song-playing and amazingly always made a newbie like me (unless you count high school concert band!) feel like an important part of the band.

So! Our latest bandcamp upload is from a live show at the late, great Weirdo Records. Our usual instruments didn’t fit so we had fun rearranging our songs on all acoustic instruments and an even tinier drum set than usual. I think it speaks a lot to what we were as a band — always playing with new ideas and having a blast doing it. There are a whole ton of our own songs along with some cheery covers (‘Stacy’s Mom’ was my choice, in case you were curious).