FEB044: “Clever” by Punctuation Club

February Records is proud to announce its latest release: The “Clever” EP, the debut release from Punctuation Club.

Brooklynite Liam Joseph Carroll is the sole continual member of the band and he says Punctuation Club is your creepy sister’s new favorite indiepop group. We think he’s probably right. He’s been sitting on these five tunes about art school, revenge, relationships and lapsed Catholicism for years, letting them stew in his psyche until they finally spilled out into the “Clever” EP.

Liam has been writing songs and playing guitar and drums in bands since his teenage years. He has released music under the name Volcano Divers and was active in the Philadelphia underground experimental/noise community, fronting a drone act called Dead Pines, and briefly playing in the noise-rock group Clothes.

Now, as Punctuation Club, Liam gets to the heart of independent pop music, presenting five stripped-down, tongue-in-cheek tunes inspired by the likes of Yo La Tengo, Pants Yell!, Beat Happening, Black Tambourine and My Teenage Stride.

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The five-song download includes a PDF booklet with an exclusive interview with Liam.

Upcoming for early 2017

February Records has a couple projects in the works that will be coming out very, very soon. Keep your eyes peeled.


Clever
 by Punctuation Club 
— Punctuation Club is Brooklynite Liam Joseph Carroll. Liam says Punctuation Club is your creepy sister’s new favorite indiepop group and we think he’s probably right. He’s been sitting on these five tunes about art school, revenge, relationships and lapsed Catholicism for years, letting them stew in his psyche until they finally spilled out into the Clever EP. Clever will be available as a digital download on Friday, Jan. 27. Check out the single, Art School Confidential, on the Punctuation Club bandcamp.

March, April & May No. 3 — In late winter or very early spring, we will be releasing the third issue of our zine. We have some great contributors lined up and interviews with Phil Wilson, Peaness, Mercury Girls, Knut Eardrums, Young Romance, The Hairs and more. This issue will also come with a digital download with unreleased tracks from some of the bands featured in the zine. More information coming soon.

Also! — Copies of Constant and True — A Tribute to the Songs of Rose Melberg are still available. We are very close to breaking even, which will then allow us to donate any and all proceeds to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, a charity that is near and dear to Rose Melberg’s heart.

March, April & May: 2016 year-end roundup

This is not a best-of list. This is not a top-10 list. 

Lately, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with year-end “best-of” lists. I love to read them and, usually, hate the results. Boiling down a year’s worth of music into ten (or 25 or 50 or 100) ranked bands or songs or albums just doesn’t really do the trick anymore. And let’s not even talk about number ratings. 

Below, is a mostly-random, un-ranked, un-quantified list of LPs, EPs, tracks and live shows that I enjoyed this year. Some of these I listened to almost non-stop for long periods of time. Some of them I only listened to a few times, but they seriously made an impression. The list is not comprehensive. There’s a lot I left out and a lot I didn’t get a chance to hear. I also included February Records releases because, let’s face it, I like them and I listened to them a lot.

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[LP] Flowers – “Everybody’s Dying to Meet You” (Kanine) — I love this band. Flowers’ first LP was my favorite album of 2014 and “Everybody’s Dying to Meet You” might be my favorite album of 2016, though I won’t commit to that. Check out track 4, “All At Once.”

[EP] Strange Passage – “Shine and Scatter” (self-released) — This Boston quartet channels late-’80s/early-’90s UK post punk. The four-track EP is the kind of thing you’ll listen to over and over. Check out track 3, “Shine and Scatter.”

[live] Miracle Legion (with Winterpills) at The Outer Space, Hamden, CT – July 16 — I’m so glad this band got back together. This show was great. It was also nice to get back down to the New Haven area for a show.

[live] Allo Darlin’ (with Simon Love, Chorusgirl and The Spook School) at Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn – NYC Popfest May 20 — I didn’t know at the time that this would be my last chance to see Allo Darlin’ (and possibly the last NYC popfest as it goes on hiatus). It was definitely worth the five-hour bus ride to New York for their set alone.

[track] Peaness – “Oh George” (House Plants Records) — A smart garage-pop anti-love song to George Osborne.

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[live] Teenage Fanclub (with Skylar Gudasz ) at the Sinclair, Cambridge, MA – Oct. 17 — First time seeing Teenage Fanclub. Did not disappoint.

[LP] Bent Shapes – “Wolves of Want” (Slumberland) — Literate indiepop with a touch of college-rock. From Boston. Check out track 5, “Realization Hits.”

[EP] half sour – “Charm School” (Disposable America/Too Far Gone) — Bratty, punchy “slacker-pop” from Boston. Check out track 1, “Ten Year Tenure.”

[LP] The Very Most – “Syntherely Yours” (February Records) — OK, just a little bit of bias here, but not much. This is a great record. We’d been talking with Jeremy for a long time about teaming up for a TVM release on February and we finally got around to it this year. Jeremy reworked nine TVM tunes into synth-pop songs with guest vocalists. Adriano do Couto of Postal Blue, Colin Clary of the The Smittens, Charles Bert of Math and Physics Club, Lisle Mitnik of Tiny Fireflies and more were featured. The album is still available to download. Check out track 1, “Good Fight Fighting” (featuring Adriano do Couto).

[track] The Monkees – “Me and Magdalena” (Rhino) — That Monkees album (“Good Times!”) that came out this year is actually pretty good. This song is pretty great even if it is written by Ben Gibbard. Gibbard should forget about Deathcab for Cutie and just write songs for Mike Nesmith and Mickey Dolenz to sing.

[EP] The Beths – “Warm Blood” (self-released) — Fun, upbeat New Zealand guitar pop. Check out track 3, “Idea/Intent.”

[LP] Fear of Men – “Fall Forever” (Kanine) — Atmospheric. Ominous. Beautiful. Check out track 6, “Island.”

[LP] The Tuts – “Update Your Brain” (Dovetown) — This album is infectious. Check out track 2, “Tut Tut Tut.”

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[live] Elvis Costello and The Imposters at the Orpheum Theatre, Boston – Oct. 25 — This is the third time I’ve seen EC and the first time I’ve seen him with a full band. Great show.

[LP] Math & Physics Club – “In This Together” (Fika Recordings) — Get some of the band’s best EP tracks, B-sides, rarities and unreleased songs all in one place. Check out track 16, “Weekends Away.”

[track] Dexys – “Both Sides Now” (100% Records / Rhino) — This cover from the album “Let The Record Show: Dexys Do Irish and Country Soul” has been a constant on my YouTube playlist. I want to live inside this video.

[live] The Go-Go’s (with Best Coast and Kaya Stewart) at House of Blues, Boston – Aug. 8 — This show was so much fun. Lots of dancing. Lots of singing along. Lots of beer.

[track] The Pretenders – “Holy Commotion” (BMG/Clouds Hill) — I don’t even want to hear the rest of the album that this track is on — the Chrissie Hynde/Dan Auerbach (Black Keys) team-up that is “Alone.” I enjoy this song, though.

[live] The Cure (with the Twilight Sad) at Agganis Arena, Boston – June 16 — I’m not usually one for arena shows, but I can’t be blamed for sitting in the nosebleeds to see The Cure. Playing a lengthy set and then four encores, I got to hear everything I wanted to.

[LP] V/A – “Constant and True: A Tribute to the Songs of Rose Melberg” (February Records) — Here’s another little bit of horn-tooting. Jeremy Jensen of The Very Most curated this amazing tribute compilation to Rose Melberg and we got the honor of getting to promote it. In all honesty, this album has been consistently playing in my car or in my headphones since it came out. Every one of these 21 tracks is a winner, with covers by The Hermit Crabs, Rocketship, Boyracer, Emma Kupa, Marc Elston, John Girgus, Seapony and more. Copies are still available. Check out track 21, “My Broken Heart,” covered by Rocketship.

— Danny

FEB043: “Constant and True — A Tribute to the Songs of Rose Melberg”

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Order “Constant and True — A Tribute to the Songs of Rose Melberg”

“Constant and True” is available to purchase as a CD and digital download. Any surplus from the sale of this album will be donated to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, a charity that is near and dear to Rose Melberg’s heart.

***

February Records is proud to announce its latest release: “Constant and True — A Tribute to the Songs of Rose Melberg.” This extremely ambitious project was conceived of and brought to fruition by Jeremy Jensen — leader of the Boise, Idaho, pop group The Very Most — out of his appreciation of Melberg’s prolific output.

Rose Melberg is indiepop royalty. As primary songwriter for one of the very first American indiepop bands, Tiger Trap, she played an indispensable part in furthering
the indiepop movement in the U.S. She went on to release music both as a solo artist and as a member of the bands Go Sailor, The Softies, Gaze, Brave Irene, Tally Ho!, PUPS, Imaginary Pants and Knife Pleats, with sounds ranging from fragile, wistful folk to giddy, fizzy cuddlecore to sophisticated, almost jazzy, pop. Her music as been released on such labels as K Records, Double Agent, Kingfisher Bluez, Kill Rock Stars, Slumberland Records, Where It’s At Is Where You Are and Lost Sounds Tapes, just to name a few.

Bands and artists from the United States, Scotland, England, Spain, Norway, France, Australia and Dominican Republic have provided tracks for this compilation. Two bands (Boyracer and Transmittens) even came out of retirement just to contribute a track! Their interpretations of Rose’s music run the gamut from pop-punk to epic, symphonic walls of sound. The album has 21 tracks in total and features The Hermit Crabs, The Prams, Featherfin, Bodyheat, Emma Kupa, Saturday Looks Good To Me, Marc Elston, Ashley and Eli of LAKE, Fireflies, The Smittens, John Girgus and The Legendary House Cats, The Royal Landscaping Society, Gabardine, Boyracer, Band á Part, Seapony, The Very Most, Tomiji, Tangible Excitement, Transmittens and Rocketship.

“Constant and True — A Tribute to the Songs of Rose Melberg” will be released as a CD and a digital download, with artwork by Marta Tortajada.

Tracklist

The Hermit Crabs – Wonderful
The Prams – No Fun
Featherfin (feat. Deerful) – Old Days
Bodyheat – Moon Singer
Emma Kupa – You And Only You
Saturday Looks Good To Me – Winter Pageant
Marc Elston – The Best Days
LAKE – Tracks And Tunnels
Fireflies – Selfish
The Smittens – Together Forever in Love
John Girgus and The Legendary House Cats – Hello Rain
The Royal Landscaping Society – I Love You More
Gabardine – It’s Love
Boyracer – Alaska
Band á Part – Long Distance
Seapony – He’ll Never Have to Know
The Very Most (feat. Sarah Robostein) – C.K.M.
Tomiji – Fine Day For Sailing
Tangible Excitement – Puzzle Pieces
Transmittens – Words And Smiles
Rocketship – My Broken Heart

‘March, April & May’ No. 2

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The second issue of the February Records zine, “March, April & May,” is now officially available to order through our Bandcamp page. Inside are band interviews, essays and even a little bit of humor. Interviews include: Duglas T Stewart of BMX Bandits, The Arctic Flow, Tiny Fireflies, Jigsaw Records, Lost Tapes, Big Quiet, The Very Most and Cozy Catastrophes.

The zine is limited to 50 copies and is only $2. Order here.

FEB042: “Syntherely Yours” by The Very Most

 

February Records is very proud to offer the latest album from Boise, Idaho, indiepop band The Very Most. This is a very special digital-only release with nine of your favorite songs by The Very Most re-recorded as synth-pop songs featuring guest vocalists for each track. Guests include Lisle from Tiny Fireflies, Adriano from Postal Blue, Colin from The Smittens, Charles from Math and Physics Club, Thomas from Pale Spectres, Sam from Boise band Central City Music Company, Adam from California band Adam and Darcie, Laz from Bubblegum Lemonade/Strawberry Whiplash, and Geoff Crestwell from Boise City, Oklahoma, shoegaze band Pellow.

  1. Good Fight Fighting (Featuring Adriano do Couto of Postal Blue)
  2. Things Too Obvious to Sing (Featuring Geoff Crestwell of Pellow)
  3. This is Where I Should Be (Featuring Sam Counsil of Central City Music Company)
  4. Jonathan Richman (Featuring Colin Clary of The Smittens and Colin and the Clarys)
  5. Polygraph (Featuring Charles Bert of Math and Physics Club)
  6. Today it is Even Better (Featuring Laz McCluskey Strawberry Whiplash and Bubblegum Lemonade)
  7. Sweater (Featuring Thomas Guilcher of Tomiji and Pale Spectres)
  8. You’re in Love With the Sun (Featuring Lisle Mitnik of Fireflies and Tiny Fireflies)
  9. Multnomah Now! (Featuring Adam Sanders of Adam and Darcie)

Pre-order the album from Feb. 15-Feb. 22 and immediately receive two tracks for download, “Sweater” featuring Thomas Guilcher, and “Multnomah Now!” featuring Adam Sanders. “Syntherely Yours” will be available for purchase on Feb. 23.

The Very Most was started in Boise, Idaho, by Jeremy Jensen in either 2002 or 2003 (he honestly can’t remember). Since that time, the band has released three full-length albums, seven EPs, and a bunch of miscellaneous tracks. Recorded entirely in Jeremy’s backyard studio (made from a converted shed), the music exists in a pretty little spot on the Venn diagram where The Beach Boys, Camera Obscura, New Order, Teenage Fanclub, and The Wedding Present meet. It makes heavy use of male/female harmony, vocal call-and-answer, and lushly layered instruments, both conventional and not-so-conventional. It’s all pop, and it’s all melodic, but it finds a lot of different ways of being melodic pop.

Jeremy Jensen and co … are just perfecting their craftsmanship, each new song seems to be more enduring and rich. Can’t wait for the rest!Bloodbuzzed

Upcoming for 2016

February Records has been pretty quiet lately, but that’s about the change. We have three projects on the horizon for early 2016 that have been keeping us pretty busy and that we’re really excited about.

March, April & May No. 2 — At some point this winter, we will be releasing the second issue of our zine. We’ve rounded up some great contributors, so expect more interviews and more news. More information will be coming soon!

Syntherely Yours by The Very Most — In February, we will be releasing the next album from Boise, Idaho, indiepop band The Very Most. This will be a very special digital release, a collection of synthpop songs from the band featuring lots of guest vocals. Guests will include Lisle from Tiny Fireflies, Adriano from Postal Blue, Colin from The Smittens, Charles from Math and Physics Club, Thomas from Pale Spectres, Sam from Boise band Central City Music Company, Adam from California band Adam and Darcie, Laz from Bubblegum Lemonade/Strawberry Whiplash, and Geoff Crestwell from Boise City, Oklahoma, shoegaze band Pellow.

Constant and True: A Tribute to the Songs of Rose Melberg — In late Spring, we will be releasing Constant and True, a compilation CD of indiepop artists paying tribute to one our favorite artists of the last 25 years — Rose Melberg. Rose’s bands (Tiger Trap, The Softies, Brave Irene, Go Sailor, Knife Pleats) have been important to indiepop nearly since its inception. Rose has also made several gorgeous, mostly acoustic solo albums for labels like K and the late, great Double Agent records. Constant and True will feature such bands as Rocketship, The Smittens, Band a Part, LAKE, Seapony, Transmittens, The Very Most (featuring Sarah Lowenbot), Marc Elston, and many others covering Rose’s songs.

2015 year-end list

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I wasn’t planning on writing a year end list this year until Danny convinced me to. Being an adult took over this year – I changed jobs, I bought a house, and then proceeded to spend the last 6 months fixing up said house. Suffice to say, I didn’t listen to a lot of new music. There is definitely some overlap between Danny’s list and this one, but I feel that’s to be expected.

In no particular order:

The Arctic FlowThe Luminous Veil

Lost TapesLost in Youth

Owl & MouseDepartures

Postal BlueOf Love & Other Affections

Tiny FirefliesThe Space Between

Funeral AdvantageBody is Dead

Alpaca SportsWhen You Need Me The Most

Tim the MuteWhy Live?

The Spook SchoolTrying to be Hopeful

Thee AHsNames

Share your favorite albums of the year with me! What have I missed out on?

Happy New Year, everyone. We’ll see you in 2016!

— Kristin

2015 year-end list

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Every year I waffle back and forth around this time trying to decide if I’m going to do a year-end list. This year, it really wasn’t until I saw Knute’s from Eardrums Music wonderful month-by-month lists that I decided to put one together.

There was a lot more really great music this year than I had originally thought. Some standouts for me were The Go! Team, who I’d never really listened to before this year. Cozy Catastrophes, who we released an EP with last year, put out a great full-length this year on Jigsaw Records. Boston’s own Funeral Advantage had one of my favorite albums this year.

Here, in (mostly) no particular order are fifteen of my favorite releases from 2015. Kristin will be posting her’s later this month. — Danny

The Go! Team The Scene Between
(Check out the track “Catch Me on the Rebound”)

Funeral AdvantageBody is Dead
(Check out the track “You Sat Alone”)

TigercatsMysteries
(Check out the track “Wheezer”)

The FireworksSwitch Me On
(Check out the track “Runaround”)

Mammoth PenguinsHide and Seek
(Check out the track “When I Was Your Age”)

Tiny Fireflies The Space Between
(Check out the track “Youth”)

Lost TapesLost in Youth
(Check out the track “Slumber Party”)

Joanna Gruesome Peanut Butter
(Check out the track “Honestly Do Yr Worst”)

Wild Honey Sleep Through It
(Check out the track “Sleep Through It”)

Space DazeCapture a Thing
(Check out the track “Was Never”)

Cozy CatastrophesHave You Ever Heard of Cozy Catastrophes?
(Check out the track “Hideaway”)

Big Quiet Big Quiet
(Check out the track “Punk Floyd”)

Alpaca SportsWhen You Needed Me the Most
(Check out the track “Just Like Them”)

Virgin SuicideVirgin Suicide
(Check out the track “There is a Glace Over my Eyes”)

SeaponyA Vision
(Check out the track “Everyday All Alone”)

… March, April & May: (Not a) Popfest Preview: Going Up The Country

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As we have now come full circle and we’ve reached out to just about every alldayer, weekender, or Popfest that we possibly could think of, this will be our last in the Popfest Previews series. We’re very happy to be able to include Going Up The Country!

If you’ve been at any major Popfest or festival in the UK in the last year, you’ve likely met Christie the Bear and her compassionate companions, Kevin and Linda. Christie accompanies Kev and Linda to various events, indiepop or otherwise, to help raise awareness and donations for Macmillan Cancer Support. Kev and Linda also happen to be the organizers behind Going Up The Country.

GUTC is what Kev and Linda call a “charity indiepop mini weekender.” Taking place each year at The Church in Congleton, this year’s charity pop weekender is being held on the 13th and 14th of June with bands such as The Swapsies, The Mersey Belles, Bodyheat, and many more!

Can you give us a history of Going Up The Country (dates, previous organizers involved, etc.)? How and why did you come to be involved?
The inspiration came from Bentley Cooke of Manchester-based band Help Stamp Out Loneliness back in 2011. At a gig he made a throw-away comment about wanting to play somewhere in the countryside. That weekend we were guest DJs at a Charity Scooter event at The Church House, our local pub. They had bands playing on a truck outside and we thought ‘Could we put something on here?’ Bentley loved the idea so, in memory of his mum, he chose Christies, the world famous Cancer Hospital, as the Charity and Going Up The Country was born. This year will be our 4th. Previously, it’s just been one day but we’ve added a totally acoustic Sunday this year. We aspired to give it a mini-Indietracks feel, our favourite festival in all the world … I hope we’ve succeeded!

What is the process of choosing bands like? Do you contact them or do they have to apply to play? Are there any rules as to who can or cannot play?
Having never done anything like this before, the process was a bit scary! Kev approached bands that we’d seen and enjoyed, so pretty soon we had our first great line up. Disaster struck when Help Stamp Out Loneliness split up (please get back together!). Luckily, The School stepped in as a replacement so our first stab at promoting an event was a great success. As GUTC has become more known, bands now approach us to play too, so if we have space and they have the right Indiepop feel, then they’ll be considered.

What has experience taught you when it comes to organizing the event?
Don’t have flyers printed too soon. It pays to have someone calm and laid back on the team (Kev) to counteract the one who panics and worries (Linda). Help from friends like Jamie Harrison and Pete & Jo Dale have been invaluable.

When does organization start? Is there a timeline you follow? How soon after the festival ends do you begin to plan the next one?
At the end of the very long day you think do we want to do this all over again? Then you wake up and remember just how much fun it was, add in the wonderful feedback and the answer is a resounding YES. Planning is mainly booking the bands so it’s pretty much straight after. If we see any and think ‘WOW we’d love them to play Going Up The Country,’ we usually ask them there and then.

Do you have any inside tips for attendees?
Congleton is pretty sleepy in comparison to Manchester but it is accessible by train and a fair amount goes on musically and artistically. Cheshire is a beautiful part of the world, so come along and have a pint or two of our real ale Pristine Christine, see some excellent musicians, dance your socks off and, to quote one of the best tweets we ever had, have “the most fun ever in a pub car park.” We finish off with an Indiepop Disco in the pub … the locals just love watching everyone bouncing around and think Pristine Christine is made of cherries ….

What are some of the best and worst GUTC moments you can remember?
Nothing catastrophic has happened yet so fingers crossed for 2015, but there have been a few hairy moments. Rain and cold temperatures in our English Summer is always a worry, although we do have adequate shelter! Bands who forget their instruments … yes they do! Highlights are too numerous to mention just so many talented, friendly and extremely generous people from all over the country — even Spain & Germany — having a really great time … can’t wait …

As always, all profits from the weekend festivities will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support, so why not feel good about watching some of your favorite pop bands? Tickets for the weekender are now on sale. Visit the GUTC Facebook group for more info on the lineup and where to purchase your ticket.