New Release Hootenanny!

Lots of great new records getting a spin here in the Jittery White Guy lounge lately. Let's dive in:

Tough Age: Waiting Here

This Vancouver band has been around for a few years (I think this is their 5th LP), but this one has really grabbed me. They've clearly been listening to a lot of the Bats and the Clean, going all-in on the New Zealand 80s/90s indie sound--a winning blend of 60s garage rock and 80s college radio jangle. A great little find for anyone who digs the Flying Nun scene, or the harder edge of the Feelies. Buy it at Bandcamp.

Ratboys: The Window

Chicago's Ratboys move beyond the catchy pop-punk of prior work, embracing a more skewed, boisterous 90s indie rock eclecticism. A lot of women-fronted bands have headed in that direction in recent years (see Momma, Wednesday), and I'm totally here for it. Shades of the Breeders and Belly and Throwing Muses. Still plenty of catchy hooks abound--the midtempo, jangly "Morning Zoo" brings a gentler touch, "It's Alive" has a bit of twang a la latter day Waxahatchee--but some added edge shakes things up. Buy it on Bandcamp.
Rain Parade: Last Rays of a Dying Sun

A lot of the Paisley Underground bands I loved back in college have been reuniting of late, and, hey, zero complaints from me. The Dream Syndicate have had a prolific second life; the Long Ryders released their second post-reunion LP earlier this year; and now the Rain Parade have their first proper studio album since 1985! (Got to see them play in San Francisco this summer, and they were awesome.) A few tracks nail that magical blend of retro-psychedelia and 80s college radio jangle that made their original work such a joy--the title track is an awesome throwback to their classic sound, as is the sweetly melodic "Sunday's Almost Gone." But it's more than an exercise in nostalgia, with poppy tracks like opener "Angel Sister" keeping it fresh. Check it out on Spotify

Slowdive: Everything Is Alive

Speaking of reunions, 90s first-wave UK shoegazers Slowdive are back with another new one (following up on 2017's self-titled return). It falls somewhere between noisier reverb-drenched grooves and more subdued, gauzy dream-pop, rooftop after-hours party music that avoids slinking into the background. Some really nice stuff here. Buy it on Bandcamp.

Diners: Domino

Slightly twee yet punchy lo-fi power pop, a home-brewed production from solo artist Blue Broderick aided by indie pop utility player Mo Troper. Light and full of catchy hooks, reminiscent of early Elephant 6 works, maybe somewhere between the Apples in Stereo and Of Montreal. Buy it on Bandcamp.

Bethany Cosentino: Natural Disaster

Cosentino drops the Best Coast band name, and the distortion that adorned her work in that iteration, and the result is... well, as buoyant and effervescent as Best Coast, just with brighter clarity and a more mainstream-friendly pop sound. Loads of California-styled jangly beach-pop, somewhere between the 70s Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter scene and SoCal Beachwood Sparks/Gospelbeach twang. With a bit more maturity and a bit less rocking, she sounds all the more like Liz Phair, albeit perhaps a little more contented. It's all perfectly enjoyable, an amiable set that feels welcoming from the first spin. Buy it on Bandcamp.

I've updated my running playlist of 2023 releases: