[album] Connections – Cool Change

Connections from Columbus (Ohio) return with a new record titled Cool Change, on which the band draws on a wide range of influences, from punk rock to classic rock to DIY indie.

The result is a sound that is both cohesive and extremely catchy, with a sense of playfulness that is characteristic of the best traditions of the US indie rock music scene. Throughout the album, the group’s songwriting shines, with lyrics capturing all possible themes, both hyper-regional and universal. The vocals are raw and emotive, perfectly complementing the band’s rock sound.

Listen below and purchase the LP here, out now via Trouble In Mind Records.

[ep] Wilt/Plvce – Design Festa

Design Festa is a six-track extended play released by the Italian post-punk duo Wilt/Plvce. Out now on independent record label Dirty Beach Records, it demonstrates the band’s dark mixture of post-punk and noise rock.

Throughout the record, Wilt/Plvce display their knack for creating atmospheric soundscapes that transport the listener to another world. With a strong DIY/lo-fi spirit, the duo neatly produce a noisy wall-of-sound type of rippers with angry lyrics and loud, hazy vocal delivery. Brilliant stuff.

Stream below and buy the record here (also available on tape).

[album] Dutch Uncles – True Entertainment

Few contemporary bands manage to be so consistently great as Dutch Uncles do. This Manchester group masterfully mixes various influences in their music and combines them into one organic whole.

Their eclectic parade of intricate rhythms, angular guitar lines, and off-kilter song structures are always led by the distinctively high voice of frontman Duncan Wallis, who adds a spark to the instrumentals.

On the group’s latest LP True Entertainment, the recipe for success does not change, with the band once again showcasing their songwriting skills. The intricate arrangements create a sound that is both complex and accessible, and staccato in the choruses works very well. Wallis, as always, fills the songs with references and creative, quotable lyrics.

Stream below and buy the album here.

[ep] Gentle Ropes – Wounds

Wounds, a new EP of Kyiv outfit Gentle Ropes is a haunting and atmospheric exploration of darkwave, post-punk, and electronic music.

It consists of five tracks that are intense and introspective, reflecting on themes of pain, loss, and the struggle to find one’s place in the world (last year musician was forced to leave his home due to a full-scale Russian military invasion in Ukraine).

The centrepiece of the release is “Krov”, a relentless and driving piece of industrial dance music sung in the Ukrainian language. With its moody synths, pulsing beats, and haunting vocals, this mini-album is a real treat for fans of everything dark.

Listen below and purchase the EP here.

[ep] Joanie – Neurotica

Rising star Joanie has shared her debut EP Neurotica — a set of four dance anthems, led by the singer’s sweet voice. Produced by Jessica Winter, it is out today on Permanent Creeps Records.

Joanie is obviously in a hurry to some kind of party and we are all invited. The main action begins with a dark pop track “Kerosene”, the chorus of which instantly etches into the memory. The artist is ready to burn through the night away, even if she has to set herself on fire. “I can feel my heart burnin’ / Fill me up with kerosene”, she sings to a dainty saxophone.

As it happens in good stories after a burnt-out night follows “Casino”, where Joanie experiments with backing vocals and rhythm changes. The last track in her collection is the relaxed electropop hit “Your Kind Of Freak” — a showcase of the artist’s theatrical abilities and genre fluidity. Did the dance party end too soon? Press the repeat button.

Listen below and get the EP here.