Moon Under Water – First Quarter

I’ve been living with Moon Under Water’s debut EP for so long that they’ve just released the follow up – before I’d had the chance to post this long-promised review. Moon Under Water describe themselves as “..a meeting of musical minds from Leicester, Liverpool, and Basildon (England). A post-punk core but pressing beyond that….” As a longtime fan of bands such as The Chameleons, The Sound, and Joy Division, the blurb caught my eye. Fortunately, the music more than lives up to the band’s own description. The band is comprised of Audrey Eade on vocals, Elliot Wheeler on guitars, Robert Eade on bass & keyboards, and Adrian Janes on drums / percussion. My first thought was that the songs reminded me of the more ethereal qualities of the Cocteau Twins with a healthy dash of guitar work reminiscent of The Chameleons. High praise indeed, and yet that opinion has only solidified with additional spins.

Golden Age kicks the proceedings off with a bit of jangle pop, a bit of C-86 vibes coming through strong. The lyrics are suitably cast in shades of regret, a perfect introduction to the band. Nostalgia for Now is even stronger than the opener, a post-punk inspired masterpiece. Sighing vocals, shimmering guitar work – everything you’d want in a post-punk song. Lyrically, this is inspiring stuff – about days gone by. “Wanting to free an instant / And keep its warmth somehow / It’s melting away.” Take Your Burden lightens the atmosphere after the 1-2 punch of the openers. A dreamy song that soothes musically and lyrically. EP closing number Reflective reminds me of View From a Hill by The Chameleons – in a positive way. A slower anthem that burns brightly. Beautifully layered guitar interplay makes for an enchanting listening experience. A perfect way to end this debut EP.

The EP is available right now via Bandcamp. I’m looking forward to spending time with the just released follow up – this is a band to start following.

Verdict: Promising debut

For fans of: The Chameleons, The Sound, Cocteau Twins, BMX Bandits,

 

Death Threat Cassette – Infinite Trick Pony

I’ve been following England’s Death Threat Cassette for about a decade now. Death Threat Cassette rose from the ashes of Jack Endino produced grunge influenced band Solanoid – singer Lee Pecqueur gone solo. A one-man band, this is truly bedroom rock. And yet – the quality of these Death Threat Cassette albums is nothing to sneer at. The albums still feel imbued to a bit of the Seattle sound whilst adding in elements of country, hip hop, and whatever else comes to mind for Lee. Each album provides an exhilarating listen and demand repeat spins from the listener. After a brief period of inactivity, Death Threat Cassette released their 3rd album, Use Your Delusion in early 2021. The 4th album was just released a few weeks ago – barely a year later. Infinite Trick Pony delivers the goods in spades, with a few unexpected diversions.

Continue reading

Friends of Our Youth – That Was Then

The most exciting new indie bands conjure up visions of acoustic guitar, singing with friends around a fire, and an authentic approach to the music and lyrics. We are living in the golden age of up-and-coming bands that need to have their music heard. In my opinion, indie music at its best can incorporate country, folk, and rock n roll along with a healthy dose of psychedelia. When you combine all of those disparate elements you end up with a band like Friends of Our Youth, who will soon be releasing their debut album, That Was Then.

Continue reading

John Mellencamp – Strictly A One-Eyed Jack

The genesis of John Mellencamp’s career is one of the more unique stories in rock n roll history. Forced to change his name to John Cougar in the 70’s before eventually moving back to his given name (with a middle phase as John Cougar Mellencamp), he’s long since overcome the accusations of being a Midwest Bruce Springsteen. His hit making days of the 80’s and 90’s gave way to restless experimentation (Chuck D of Public Enemy on a Mellencamp album? See 2001’s Cuttin’ Heads) which gave way to stripping it all back to the roots of rock. The last 15 years or so have seen Mellencamp develop a cigarette influenced vocal approach that reminds me of Tom Waits. It’s also proved to be a rewarding time to be a John Mellencamp. His 1st album of the 20’s – Strictly A One-Eyed Jack was released just a few weeks ago and it might be his strongest album since 2008’s Life, Death, Love and Freedom. Those Bruce Springsteen comparisons? Not applicable – but Springsteen guests on 3 songs and adds a warmth to these songs that is welcome.

Continue reading

Oh Man Wow – s/t

Some of my favorite bands are the ones that avoid easy characterization. Indie band Oh Man Wow have just released their debut album, and this fits that description perfectly. The band is made up of Bryan Ray on vocals / guitar, Joy Maydak on bass / guitars / keyboards, Fred Jeske on guitars, Sam Schauer on guitars, Jerry Pellizzer on drums, David Ziegler on guitars, and Roy and Rich Randall on guitars. A collaborative project, the album varies in sound with a wide array of influences. For me, it finds that sweet spot most commonly heard in the 70’s – where hard rock, metal, prog, and power pop melt into one. The album was produced by Joe Maydak and mixed / mastered by Jordon Zadorozny (of Blinker the Star fame). It’s an impressive debut that is more than the sum of its parts.

Continue reading