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Papercuts

Parallel Universe Blues

    Over the course of five stellar albums, Papercuts’ Jason Quever has shown himself to be a top-notch song-writer and producer, equally at home with lush, baroque textures and more stripped-down arrangements.

    His skill in the studio has helped him build-up an enviable resume recording, producing and playing with artists including Luna, Beach House, Cass McCombs, Dean Wareham/Dean & Britta and Slumberland’s own The Mantles. Papercuts’ new album “Parallel Universe Blues” reflects Quever’s recent move from long-time musical home San Francisco to Los Angeles and all of the searching and self-exploration that accompanies leaving your home, your friends and your scene.

    The sound is intimate and close, nicely balancing the sonic concerns of the last few Papercuts records. The opening pair of songs “Mattress On The Floor” and Laughing Man” superbly sets the table for the rest of the album: perfect Spectorian pop songs echoed down through The Velvet Underground, LA’s Paisley Underground, Spiritualized and The Jesus and Mary Chain. Never sacrificing song-writing for atmospherics, “Parallel Universe Blues” is a superb addition to the Papercuts catalogue.

    Its themes of self-examination are as a timeless as the tunes themselves, the dreamy autumnal mood perfectly captured in the pastoral cover art. The album is a triumph and points to more great things in the future from Quever and Papercuts.

    Smokescreens

    Used To Yesterday

      LA’s Smokescreens began as a couple of pals (Chris Rosi from Plateaus, Corey Cunningham from Terry Malts) paying tribute to the seminal 80s sounds of New Zealand’s Flying Nun label and has grown to be so much more.

      Since their self-titled 2017 the band has expanded to a four piece and honed their tunes with constant SoCal gigging. Their new album “Used To Yesterday” continues Smokescreen’s zeal for New Zealand pop but also incorporates influences from the more melodic side of Messthetics-era DIY pop and expands into classic indie pop territory, a natural fit for the Slumberland Records roster.

      From the NZ-meets-Athens GA first single “The Lost Song” through the 12-string driven “Waiting For The Summer” to the Paisley Underground-tinged closer “Falling Down,” Smokescreens really excel in the quality of their songwriting and their ability to incorporate a disparate set of influences while still forging their own sound and identity.

      After spending years as a major presence in Brooklyn’s thriving music scene, Frankie Rose relocated to her familial home of Los Angeles for 18 months with the intention of establishing yet another moment in her storied indie rock métier. Gradually, she found herself short on sleep, funds and optimism.

      Towards the end of her time spent in Los Angeles, Frankie reached out to Jorge Elbrecht (Tamaryn, Gang Gang Dance, Violens) and began sketching what became the basic outline of what felt like a new album. Then, rather fortuitously, Frankie ended up back in Brooklyn with the realization that "in the end, I’m on my own. I have to do these things on my own." The months that ensued meant basically working with no budget and finding ways to record in-between days. This time enabled Frankie to experiment musically with a variety of people that ultimately changed the way she worked.

      The result of this existential odyssey is Cage Tropical, Frankie’s 4th album. It is awash with vintage synths, painterly effects pedals, upside down atmosphere and reverberating vocals. It evokes a new wave paranormality of sorts that drifts beyond the songs themselves. "My references aren’t just music," says Frankie, "I love old sci-fi. They Live is one of my favorite movies ever, same with Suspiria. 80’s sci-fi movies with a John Carpenter soundtrack, with silly synths – that makes it into my file, to the point that I’ll write lyrics incorporating that kind of stuff. It’s in there."

      Beginning with the shimmery, cinematic and percussive sparkling of the album’s opening track "Love in Rockets," the song’s refrain of "a wheel, a wheel of wasting my life: a wheel, a wheel of wasting my time" immediately alludes to those darker circumstances that led to the creative origins of Cage Tropical. "It’s all essentially based on what happened to me in Los Angeles and then a return to Brooklyn," says Frankie. "Misery turned into something good. The whole record to me is a redemption record and it is the most positive one I’ve made"

      "I feel like I am finally free from worrying about an outcome. I don’t care. I already lost everything. I already had the worst- case scenario. When that happens, you do become free. In the end, it’s about me rescuing myself via having this record."

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Soaring atmospherics, tastefully layered vocal stacks and eminently singable chorus' all over the place. This is a brilliantly effervescent and enjoyable ride through retro synthesis and top-down LA sunshine from former Dum-Dum / Vivian Girl, Frankie Rose.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Indie Exclusive Vinyl, White with Gold Splatter.

      Terry Malts’ third album ‘Lost At The Party’ is a long time coming, 3 years to be precise. But the time was spent well. Between stints of touring and local shows, Bassist/ vocalist Phil Benson and guitarist/vocalist Corey Cunningham wrote and re-wrote songs over the course of a year in Los Angeles where Cunningham had moved since the release of their last album, 2013’s Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere.

      The idea was to broaden the Terry Malts concept and create a kaleidoscopic pop album that has a mixture of moods, each song turning to a different sound inspired by the records the band have loved over the years. The driving punk (Buzzcocks, The Undertones) that has been a cornerstone of the group’s sound sits snugly with songs steeped in indie-pop and power-pop (The Chills, Dwight Twilley). Once the band was ready to record they enlisted Monte Vallier (Soft Moon, Weekend, Swell) to co-produce at his Ruminator Audio studio in San Francisco.

      It is the group’s first album recorded in a studio. 2012’s Killing Time & "Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere" were both recorded in various practice spaces by guitarist Corey Cunningham and the group was intent on shaking the lo- fi tag. The freedom of the studio allowed the band to expand on their sound with the addition of 12-string electric guitars, piano, organ, and sound effects. From driving opener “Used To Be” through jangling ballad “Gentle Eyes” to first single “Seen Everything” and haunting closer “When The Nighttime Comes,” Terry Malts have put the augmented sonic palette in the service of some of their strongest tunes yet. The resulting album, Lost At The Party is a lovingly-crafted love letter to pop music in all it’s forms.

      Who's @youngguv? He's still underground, but everyone will know him soon. Right now, he only has 1500 followers, so we need to get this kid a checkmark as soon as possible. Here's the rundown: He's a white boy in a backwards snapback with fake Emoji neck tattoos. He's a ripped bald kid fronting one of the most important and successful hardcore bands (Fucked Up) in Toronto history.

      He's a ghostwriter eating pasta as he pens al dente tunes for the likes of Sum 41, Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, a few Canadian Idols, Snow, a slew of hardcore bands, Maroon 5 and one or two OVO affiliates. He's a tortured artist turning down Katy Perry's edits to his tunes because she didn't like his babies as they were. He's a child actor playing Ryan Gosling's sexy little brother. Do I need to go on?@youngguv is Ben Cook, and he's putting out an album, Ripe 4 Luv, on one of the greatest labels ever, Slumberland Records.

      ‘Seven-minute sax-laden lite-pop tune in the vein of latter-day Destroyer or Nicholas Krgovich’ - STEREOGUM

      'Had the purple one himself conjured up such magic we’d be hailing the return of a genius. Yeah, it’s that good' - GOLD FLAKE PAINT

      Devon started recording Gilding The Lily with long-time associate Jorge Elbrecht (Lansing-Dreiden, Violens, Ariel Pink) immediately after completing Euphoria, and over the intervening two years the songs steadily evolved, mirroring changes in Williams’ life that include marriage and multiple intercontinental relocations!

      From album opener “Deep In The Back of Your Mind” through first single “Flowers” and the lushly romantic “Will You Let Go Of My Heart?” Williams has honed his trademark blend of power-pop, orchestrated soft-rock and layered, melodic jangle-pop to a perfect edge. The elegant “Games” is a great example of what Devon does best — complex emotions played against a driving pop tune. It’s these contrasts that enliven Gilding The Lily and the consummate skill with which Williams arranges and executes his beautiful songs that mark him as a truly unique talent.

      The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

      Simple & Sure

        “I didn’t want to make Belonger,” Berman says. “This album was a chance to push beyond that album’s universal style of songwriting into something that was far more personal, more in keeping with my ideals. I wanted the music to be joyful and full of light, even if the subjects were often dark.”

        “Simple And Sure” delivers on that goal in fine fashion, an upbeat pop gem that features a great hook, vocal accents from Jen Goma and one of the great choruses that The Pains are so well-known for. On the B-side we find the dreamy, melancholic “Impossible,”- exclusive to this single. The album and single artwork prominently feature the work of celebrated South Korean artist Lee Jinju, from her ‘The Material of Mind’ series.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Ltd 7" Info: JUST FOUND 1 COPY OF THIS LONG LOST GEM!
        Limited edition 7” Single on Olive Green vinyl includes download card.

        ‘Terry Malts use a time honoured pop formula, but rarely has a new band crammed such sheer excitement’ Louder Than War

        Follow up to 2012 debut Killing Time, Nobody Realizes This is Nowhere a punchy record packed with buzzsaw guitars and surprisingly catchy melodies. Recorded by the band and mixed with long-time associated Monte Vallier (Weekend, Wax Idols, Soft Moon).

        Reminiscent of forbears such as The Undertones, Buzzcocks and Descendants, packed with upbeat tunes but don’t let that fool you; the lyrics from bassist/vocalist Phil Benson are smart but very, very dark. Guitarist Corey Cunningham just plain shreds, piling on layered attacks of buzz, howl and scree. Holding down the bottom is the rock steady drumming of Nathan Sweatt.

        From ripping opener to ‘Two Faces’ through alienated first single ‘I Was Not There’ right down to closer ‘So Serious’, Nobody Realizes This is Nowhere is a bold step for Terry Malts and one of the great punk records of 2013.

        It seems odd that the four-piece Wax Idols reside in Oakland, California. Especially considering the fact that the band’s sophomore LP Discipline & Desire out 3rd June on Slumberland Records, embodies a dark, full, twisted sound; something that feels more appropriate to the foggy, damp British climate than that of sunny California.

        Compare to Wax Idol’s debut LP No Future (a raw, hook heavy punk effort released on Hozac Records), Discipline & Desire is a more haunted and melodic affair, featuring co-production from Mark Burgess (of The Chameleons).

        First single “Sound of a Void” is a storming, full throated late night anthem, while “Dethrone” shimmers and throbs, Wax Idol’s take on pop. They are then accompanied by slower numbers like the feedback laced “AD RE:IAN”. These strands unify to create a balanced post-punk influenced album with gothic overtones.

        “Essential listening for anyone in a gothic mood” - Pitchfork

        Brooklyn’s Violens was formed in 2007 by Jorge Elbrecht (a producer, multi-instrumentalist and founding member of the art company Lansing-Dreiden). The band eludes classification, blending percussive guitar work and silky harmonies with a wash of ’90s sonic pop via artists like Pale Saints, Cocteau Twins and McCarthy. Their 2010 self-recorded debut album Amoral is best understood as digital collage; a dark, guitar-and-synth-pop voyage of melodic and rhythmic collision.

        Violens’ sophomore effort True shifts course toward a more subtle and desaturated sonic landscape. The writing process began while traveling together on tour, and showcases a more collaborative effort. Band members Iddo Arad (backing vocals, synths, guitar) and Myles Matheny (backing vocals bass, guitar) had a much larger influence on the songwriting and the album’s sonic direction. Framed by Will Berman’s distinctive drumming, True shows the band interacting and reflecting in ways both promising and exciting.

        The album’s first single, “Totally True,” sports a stone-washed, semi-improvised feel, celebrating bands like The Chameleons and Martin Newell’s Cleaners From Venus. Elsewhere, “Unfolding Black Wings” (the band’s aural approximation of a Goya etching) nods to Daydream Nation-era Sonic Youth and Thinking Fellers Union Local 282. While the song’s lyrics reflect upon a sort of unimaginable winged beast, the music conveys its attack with a forward-marching rhythm as unorthodox guitar tunings provide manic chord changes and blistering single-note melodies. “When to Let Go” delivers a classic mélange of guitar pop (not unlike Sonic Flower Groove-era Primal Scream) and ’60s harmony groups (Zombies, Beach Boys, The Millennium), while “Watch the Streams” features ’60s ghost organs and a Brill Building pop beat that coalesces with stacked vocal harmonies.

        After careful, weeklong consideration, San Francisco trio Terry Malts went forth to record a debut LP as per the request of Slumberland Records. Displaying a slick, intelligent take on modern chainsaw pop, Killing Time certainly lives up to its name! Who are Terry Malts? A Yellow Pages private dick has gleaned the following: Corey Cunningham (guitar, backing vox), of Dickson, Tennessee-by-way-of-a-cardboard-box-in-Toronto, was asked to housesit in Fresno, CA. Duties fulfilled, he shot north on a graffiti trip to 924 Gilman Street and immediately bonded with fellow men's room "artists" Phil Benson (bass guitar, lead vox) and the unfortunately named Nathan Sweatt (drums, backing vox). Hands shook, vibes exchanged; the trio felt compelled to distill their energy into a unified voice.

        The Terrys' gospel is succinct, direct, sincere and timed expertly with next year's looming apocalypse: life is hopeless, enjoy! With a live reputation that bleeds funky "punk" attitude, the trio crammed this urgency into the Terry Malts studio edition. Recorded by a machine, then expertly mixed by human being Monte Vallier (Swell, Half Church), Killing Time may compel you to type the following buzzwords into your blog (which, I love, by the way!): catchy, husky, hunky, sharp, blue-collar, rocking, hockey-rock, working-class, perfect, near-perfect, nothalf- bad, and / or not-bad. It's an album, it's a lifestyle, it's a 34-minute hour of pure, unadulterated Malts... all right?


        San Francisco's Terry Malts follow up their smash 'I'm Neurotic' single with another blazing three-song EP. Their ecstatic live shows and immaculate power pop songwriting have transformed this irreverent punk trio into one of the most talked about SF bands in ages. Mashing up the best bits from stellar forebears like The Undertones, Buzzcocks and Descendents, Terry Malts haven't forgotten that one of the key elements of punk has always been fun. All three songs on 'Something About You' are full of fuzzy / crunchy riffs, galloping drums and sing-along vocal hooks. The title tune speeds by at a brisk clip, full of "ooh ooh" backing vocals and classic SoCal punk vibes. "No Sir, I'm Not a Christian" might be the catchiest statement of atheism one will ever hear. "Fun Night" is a current live favorite, always sure to get the kids in the crowd jumping around; fast and furious, its feedback-laden guitars are the exclamation at the end of the excellent single. Another future classic from Terry Malts!

        After spending the bulk of the past year on the road in support of last November's Sports LP on Slumberland Records, Weekend has been hard at work on its followup. Prior to their European tour in July, the band spent three weeks in the studio with producer Monte Vallier crafting their new EP. Prepare for yet another gorgeous, violent sonic assault, because 'Red' packs a serious punch.

        Opener "Sweet Sixteen" delivers mesmerizing grind, stately bass and drums underpinned by soaring vocals, and echoed shards of guitar feedback and plucked notes. This leads directly into the noise-pop gem "Hazel"-3:50 of cascading bass chords, guitar clangor and a melody and chorus most pop bands would kill for. "Your Own Nothing" is clattering post-punk, spiked with layers of guitar noise and a dubbed-out atmosphere. "The One You Want" is a rather more straightforward tune in the manner of "Hazel" and further proof that Weekend crafts melodies just as well as they innovate with guitar textures and dazzle with sonic overload. The EP concludes with "Golfers," which downshifts into an extended minimal intro before building to a gorgeous crescendo of rumbling drums, chiming / fizzing guitars and as always that unerring sense of melody Weekend maintains in even the most noise-laden tunes. 'Red' packs more ideas into five songs than most bands do on a full-length record, and points the way toward Weekend's next long-player, due in 2012.


        Inspired by post-punk fervour and the spiky pop of C86 and early Flying Nun / Creation label output, San Francisco’s Brilliant Colors stake out a unique spot in the indie music landscape. Their 2009 album, Introducing, is one of the finest debuts in recent memory, and they followed it with 7-inches on Slumberland and Make a Mess, and a European tour with La La Vasquez that led to the release of another great single on Germs of Youth. Most recently, they teamed up with Belfast’s brilliant Girls Names to release a split 7-inch in Fall 2010. All of these singles were recorded with Oakland garage phenom Ty Segall, who spiked the ladies’ punk-pop swirl with his own special grit.

        Now Brilliant Colors team up again with The Pool’s Alex Yusimov (who recorded their first album as well as Grass Widow and many of Portland’s finest indie bands) to create 'Again and Again', a great step forward for the band. The songwriting is still as infectious as ever, but the tunes are now more carefully arranged, pushing the band far beyond their punk roots to something as elemental as pop gets. Songs like opener “Hey Dan,” the sprightly “Value Lines” and “Hitting Traffic” combine guitarist / singer Jess Scott’s catchy-as-hell riffs with Diane Anastasio’s steady, rolling beats and Michelle Hill’s dense basslines. Their well fashioned songs are deceptively simple—straightforwardly rocking but also richly layered, revealing new twists on each listen.

        The mood is confessional and late-night dreamy; Scott’s unadorned vocals and eloquent lyrics are personal, direct and atmospherically deployed, mixed in with the songs like another instrument. They can be heard to great effect on tougher songs like “Back to the Tricks” and “Painting Truths,” tempering those tunes’ punchy punk dynamics with their melodic sensibility. Add in classic-sounding stormers like “Cult Face” and “How Much Younger” and one has all the makings of another great Brilliant Colors album, one that shows how finely they’ve honed their own unique brand of punk-informed crash-pop.


        STAFF COMMENTS

        Darryl says: Jangly and cute C86 infused indie-pop, that'll hit the mark for fans of Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Cystal Stilts et al. On the US label Slumberland.

        Brown Recluse formed in 2006 around the core of Timothy Meskers and Mark Saddlemire. Their debut release, the six-song Black Sunday EP, is a brilliant blast of pop invention, blending influences from the psych pop of The Zombies and Margo Guryan, the tropicalia of Os Mutantes and ’60s producers like Joe Meek and Phil Spector. Over the next year, the duo expanded to a six-piece that played numerous East Coast shows with bands as varied as The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Tyvek and Dirty Projectors, writing new material and winning new fans along the way.

        The "Soft Skin" EP was recorded in mid-2007 and released on Slumberland in September 2009. Its pastoral, psychedelic vibe brings mind the sunshine pop of Curt Boettcher’s The Millennium/Sagittarius projects as well as familiar touchstones Brian Wilson, The Clientele and the Elephant 6 collective. "Evening Tapestry" is Brown Recluse’s long-awaited debut album. From the summertime daydream of opener “Hobble to Your Tomb” to the ’50s-tinged pop of “Statue Garden” to the folky strum-fest “Monday Moon”, "Evening Tapestry" shows a band at the peak of their powers, effortlessly combining elements old and new into a rich and very distinctive whole. Meskers is really on fire here, his melodic vocals soaring in perfect complement to the deceptively complex tunes and gorgeous arrangements. Keyboards are subtly deployed throughout, playing counterpoint to the skilled jangling / comping of Meskers and fellow guitarist Herbie Shellenberger. While these eleven songs are bursting with ideas, they are also models of concision. Such is the focus and craft Brown Recluse brings to this remarkable set of tunes that only one is longer than three and a half minutes. Future pop classics like “Impressions of a City Morning,” “Summer Showers” and “At Last” are consummate examples of the songwriting art; full of great playing, poetic lyrics and melodic invention, they neatly sum up one of the strongest pop albums in years.


        Procedure Club is a collaborative 'bedroom-pop' project founded in 2008 by Polish emigré Adam Malec and a woman known only as Andrea. Sharing musical tastes in shoegaze and pop bands of the 80s and 90s like Black Tambourine and The Jesus and Mary Chain, as well as a common admiration for baroque composers such as Purcell and Bach, the two began recording as a natural progression from the boredom of living in poverty in New Haven, Connecticut. Out of this god-forsaken alliance comes melodic song structures comprised of heavily reverbed vocals, stuttering mechanical drum beats, dirty bass,synths and alternately washed-out and jangly guitars.

        Following a well-received string of tapes and CDRs, Procedure Club’s first 'proper' album is noisy, lo-fi pop with the emphasis on noise. From the pure synth pop of "Feel Sorry For Me" to the overdriven swoon of "Dead Bird" to the blown-out "Nautical Song", carefully constructed tunes are given a fierce work-over by layers of guitar fuzz and synth scree. Songs like "Vermont" and "Artificial Light" could practically be some lost C86 gems, while "Awfully Managed Pigeons" looks back to early Velvet Underground's garage racket (check the sick Cale-esque baseline) and "Rather" fondly recalls Amy Linton's late Henry's Dress / Aislers Set classics. Throughout, Andrea's vocals are the secret weapon, neatly playing catchy melodies off the drum machine clatter and guitar haze.

        On "Doomed Forever", Procedure Club strikes just the right balance between the songs and the noise, between structure and chaos. Rather than allowing the recording methodology to stand-in for tunes and ideas, they've created a rather amazing record where those parts mesh perfectly and create a unique sound-world that challenges the ear as it coaxes the listener in with melody.

        Slumberland Records is very happy to present the first release by the San Francisco / Oakland band Manatee. Featuring Black Tambourine / Whorl alumnus Mike Schulman, Manatee was a relatively short-lived project that, on the evidence of this fine single, flamed out far too quickly. Inspired by bands as diverse as Velvet Underground, The Ramones, The
        Feelies and The Replacements, Manatee created a straight-ahead brand of power-pop that's as impassioned as it is timeless. "Indecision" is an uptempo tune driven by a naggingly catchy guitar riff and Keith Neal's ace vocals. Hearkening back to the 80s heyday of Game Theory, The Replacements and The Smithereens, the track is an effortlessly rocking pop gem that demonstrates the enduring strength of the basic guitar / bass / drums format when combined with great songwriting and a passionate delivery.

        "Fifteen Minute Drive" is a moodier affair, a minimal strum ’n’ drum that snaps along nicely until it reaches a squalling stun-guitar coda, what was once a subliminal bed of noise becoming a torrent of squeal and feedback. That combination of melody and untamed noise is a fine summation of the Manatee aesthetic, and of course makes the four-piece a natural for the Slumberland roster.


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