A DIY INDIEPOP VINYL & CASSETTE LABEL

Digital

The Just Joans - The Private Memoirs and Confessions of The Just Joans [12"/CD]

Artist: The Just Joans
Title: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of The Just Joans
Format: 12" album on black vinyl with lyrics insert | CD in digifile sleeve
Cat#: Fika077LP | Fika077CD
Release date: 10th January 2020
Bandcamp | Spotify

 Acerbic yet winsome Scottish indiepoppers The Just Joans return with the dazzlingly maudlin The Private Memoirs and Confessions of the Just Joans, a deeply personal collection of songs that hazily recall the past and contemplate the futility of the future. 

A titular twist on the classic gothic horror novel The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by compatriot James Hogg, the new album is the follow-up to 2017’s You Might Be Smiling Now… and contains the kind of melodies and mockery that led Uncut to class the band as the point at which “Stephin Merritt lies down with The Vaselines.”

At the forefront remain the mischievous lyrics and heartfelt vocals of siblings David and Katie Pope, aided and abetted by Chris Elkin on lead guitar, Fraser Ford on bass guitar and Jason Sweeney on drums. Yet it is the recruitment of multi-instrumentalist Arion Xenos and guest appearance of Butcher Boy’s Alison Eales to arrange strings that have helped elevate the band’s music to new heights. 

Their progression is most noticeable on lead single “Dear Diary, I Died Again today”, a painfully beautiful admission of everyday anxiety and “When Nietzsche Calls”, the triumphant cry of a spurned lover revelling in the misery of their ex to a backdrop of trumpets and violins. The juxtaposition of the fragility shown in these tracks with the menace of “Wee Guys (Bobby’s Got A Punctured Lung)” – an observation and understanding of the casual violence that once cast a shadow over the band’s hometown – highlights The Just Joans’ ability to seamlessly flip between sensitivity and danger, and sums up why Highway Queens described them as the “perfect Glasgow kiss.”

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of the Just Joans is a veritable smorgasbord of misery, longing and unrequited love; stories of small town resentments, half-forgotten school friends, failing relationships and awkward workplace conversations. As David explains: “It’s a collection torn from the pages of the diary I haven’t kept over the past 25 years. There are songs about places and people I vaguely remember, feelings I think that I once may have felt and the onset of middle-aged ennui.”

Despite entering new territory with the addition of brass and strings, they have nevertheless maintained the DIY ethos that made them darlings of the underground indie-pop scene, with each song on the album recorded and produced by the band in various gloomy bedrooms around Glasgow.

The Just Joans - The One I Loathe The Least [Digital]

Artist: The Just Joans
Title: The One I Loathe The Least
Format: Digital single
Cat#: Fika077SG2
Release date: 15th November 2019
Bandcamp | Spotify

Gloomy Glaswegians The Just Joans announce their new album The Private Memoirs and Confessions of the Just Joans, due out on 11 January via Fika Recordings, by sharing the first single "Dear Diary, I Died Again Today". This painfully beautiful admission of everyday anxiety explores the trauma of awkward conversations with colleagues and vague acquaintances. With a different spin to their usual jangle pop, the inclusion of strings, arranged by Butcher Boy’s Alison Eales, create a dazzlingly maudlin depth to the track.

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of the Just Joans is a deeply personal collection of songs that hazily recall the past and contemplate the futility of the future. At the forefront remain the mischievous lyrics and heartfelt vocals of siblings David and Katie Pope, aided and abetted by Chris Elkin on lead guitar, Fraser Ford on bass guitar, Arion Xenos on keyboards and Jason Sweeney on drums.

A titular twist on the classic gothic horror novel The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by compatriot James Hogg, the new album is the follow-up to 2017’s You Might Be Smiling Now… and contains the kind of melodies and mockery that led Uncut to class the band as the point at which “Stephin Merritt lies down with The Vaselines.”

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of the Just Joans is a veritable smorgasbord of misery, longing and unrequited love; stories of small town resentments, half-forgotten school friends, failing relationships and awkward workplace conversations. As David explains: “It’s a collection torn from the pages of the diary I haven’t kept over the past 25 years. There are songs about places and people I vaguely remember, feelings I think that I once may have felt and the onset of middle-aged ennui.”

Despite entering new territory with the addition of brass and strings, they have nevertheless maintained the DIY ethos that made them darlings of the underground indie-pop scene, with each song on the album recorded and produced by the band in various gloomy bedrooms around Glasgow.

The Just Joans - Dear Diary, I Died Again Today [Digital]

Artist: The Just Joans
Title: Dear Diary, I Died Again Today
Format: Digital single
Cat#: Fika077SG1
Release date: 25th October 2019
Bandcamp | Spotify

Gloomy Glaswegians The Just Joans announce their new album The Private Memoirs and Confessions of the Just Joans, due out on 11 January via Fika Recordings, by sharing the first single "Dear Diary, I Died Again Today". This painfully beautiful admission of everyday anxiety explores the trauma of awkward conversations with colleagues and vague acquaintances. With a different spin to their usual jangle pop, the inclusion of strings, arranged by Butcher Boy’s Alison Eales, create a dazzlingly maudlin depth to the track.

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of the Just Joans is a deeply personal collection of songs that hazily recall the past and contemplate the futility of the future. At the forefront remain the mischievous lyrics and heartfelt vocals of siblings David and Katie Pope, aided and abetted by Chris Elkin on lead guitar, Fraser Ford on bass guitar, Arion Xenos on keyboards and Jason Sweeney on drums.

A titular twist on the classic gothic horror novel The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by compatriot James Hogg, the new album is the follow-up to 2017’s You Might Be Smiling Now… and contains the kind of melodies and mockery that led Uncut to class the band as the point at which “Stephin Merritt lies down with The Vaselines.”

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of the Just Joans is a veritable smorgasbord of misery, longing and unrequited love; stories of small town resentments, half-forgotten school friends, failing relationships and awkward workplace conversations. As David explains: “It’s a collection torn from the pages of the diary I haven’t kept over the past 25 years. There are songs about places and people I vaguely remember, feelings I think that I once may have felt and the onset of middle-aged ennui.”

Despite entering new territory with the addition of brass and strings, they have nevertheless maintained the DIY ethos that made them darlings of the underground indie-pop scene, with each song on the album recorded and produced by the band in various gloomy bedrooms around Glasgow.

Suggested Friends - Turtle Taxi [12"/CD]

Artist: Suggested Friends
Title: Turtle Taxi
Format: 12” LP on sky blue vinyl / digipack CD
Cat#: Fika075
Release date: 4th October 2019
Bandcamp | Spotify

Suggested Friends are an indie rock quartet with a firm grounding in queer identity, fusing DIY punk roots with the interweaving guitars of 90s indie and a sometimes tongue-in-cheek take on the performative masculinity of 80s rock. There’s a tenderness to their songwriting, with lyrics reflecting on cultural malaise, trauma recovery and the banal absurdity of everyday life. Personal politics can come with an incisively dry sense of humour too.

Turtle Taxi is their second album and demonstrates just how far they’ve come from the raw, scuzzy sounds of their DIY debut; unrepentant in letting the pop hooks loose. The choruses are big, harmonies frequent, and guitar solos abound - this is a lush, textured leap forward. 

Suggested Friends are more confident, acknowledging emotional pain and exploring how this affective space elides with a more expansive sense of injustice in the world.

On Pretty Soon Your Grave Will Be A Landfill the earnestness and absurdity of gaslighting politicians is laid bare, through to the futility of naming social ills and not acting on them on At Ease. The album’s title track, Turtle Taxi, talks about the relationship between love as a labour and the focusing in on life as an opportunity for that to flourish in all directions – (‘teach ‘til I die, let this all pass by…’).

The quieter numbers on the record, such as At Ease or Blooms, recall folkier inspiration such as The Weather Station and Hiss Golden Messenger, through to the alt-pop oddness of Nilufer Yanya and Blood Orange. But for parallels as a socially conscious, high-energy and vulnerable punk pop band, think Martha or Charly Bliss - though they’d argue for that perfect sweet spot between Weezer and Abba!

Recorded in rural Norfolk over two separate sessions a year apart, album was able to flourish into a more collaborative effort, incorporating Faith’s wife Meghan on percussion and Sickroom Studio's Owen on trumpet - plus plenty of time to experiment with overdubs and piano flourishes to up that classic-rock vibe that simmers just under the surface.

Suggested Friends formed in late 2015 following a chance meeting at a gig between Christabel (drums) and Faith (guitar and vocals). They were soon joined by Jack on guitar, who had met Faith through an activist group in London. Mammoth Penguins’ Emma Kupa is the most recent addition on bass, having worked with Faith on a number of projects over the past four years.   

There are some beautiful guitar licks here that you wish were longer and make you press replay. More folk-pop than punk-rock, this album deals with love, loss, death and landfill. Turtle Taxi has personality and humour and I was hooked from the very first trackBuzz [5/5]

Suggested Friends have a delivered a melodic album that includes more flavours than upmarket ice cream parlour, DIY punk, emo, country, twee-pop, indie rock, folk and even posturing 80’s rock are all present in a sound that is underpinned by a firm grounding in queer identity and political awareness.The Punk Site

Standouts like "Cygnets" and the title track are rife with sweet vocal harmonies, a sharp melodic sense, and thoughtful guitar work that veers from subtle dreampop voicings to chugging classic rock riffs and guitarmony breakdowns.All Music

Suggested Friends interweave tongue-in-cheek masculinity with their generous blend of country, jangle pop and folk-rock. It’s a collection of ten bombastic, hook-filled bangers… Suggested Friends have made an infectious records with lyrics an entire generation can identify with – a winning duo.Balloon Machine

I genuinely can't tell if Suggested Friends are more likely to have listened to classic AOR like Fleetwood Mac or Boston or whatever you hear on mainstream daytime radio, than they are to have listened to DIY contemporaries Personal Best and Muncie Girls and Sheer Mag. But Turtle Taxi's songs share a common ground with all of these artists in sounding like they were written for car journeys and drunken parties and romantic recriminations.Did Not Chart

It's laden with quality songs from the opening pairing of the wistful “Imminent” and the nostalgic imagery of “Cygnets” which are both excellent slices of power pop through to the closing pairing of the resilient “For Jokes” and the slower but no less powerful “Magnolia”. Likely to be listening to this one a lot this year.Collective Zine

“Across the record there are melodic references to the best of power-pop with the Martha-like bouncing guitar of ‘Cygnets’, and of indie-rock with the Weezer surf jangle of ‘G.N.A’, and even the prosaic MOR of Fleetwood Mac is lifted in the subtle melody and cutting lyrics of ‘Bloom’. With Turtle Taxi Suggested Friends have honed their sound and in their honesty found even greater strength. You can hum these tunes and dance along and hear the joke but not what was suffered, as with the very best pop music, but it’s when you let yourself really feel as much as hear what’s going on that this album becomes really great.” Popoptica

Suggested Friends have again tackled important issues with wit and wondrous melodies. You’ll want to take a ride in this particular Turtle TaxiSpectral Nights

This record is loaded with gorgeous hooks and melodies, and I can’t come up with enough superlatives to keep writing, so I’m just going to tell you to buy this record while I go listen to it for the sixth time in a rowKeep Track of the Time

“a really incredible listen that captivates from the beginning to the end” Thinking Lyrically

beaming confidence and radiant with classic indie melodiesThe Autumn Roses

brilliantly distinct, wrapping their varying influences in to one rabid burst of lofi indie-rock” Gold Flake Paint

frighteningly good in a way that most stuff called frighteningly good just isn’t” Everett True, The Friendly Critic

a bright, fun, sparkly album with raw and to the point lyrics – there’s no hiding from the wit. Check it out; you’ll be hooked” Loud Women

When The Horn Blows [interview]

Suggested Friends - For Jokes [Digital]

Artist: Suggested Friends
Title: For Jokes
Format: Digital single
Cat#: Fika075SG3
Release date: 13th September 2019
Bandcamp | Spotify

Queer DIY punks SUGGESTED FRIENDS have revealed a feline-fan-pleasing new video for their latest single ‘For Jokes’ that follows a day in the life of front woman Faith’s cat, Clarice. 

The single is out now, the latest to be taken from their new album Turtle Taxi which is released on 4th October 2019 via Fika Recordings, with the record available to preorder now.

Alongside the single, the quartet are delighted to announce an extensive run of November 2019 UK headline ‘Turtle Taxi Tour’ live dates (see below for listings) with tickets on sale now. 

“I decided to feature my cat Clarice in the video because she's been a long term stabilising presence in my life,” says Taylor of the video, “and is someone that I learn a lot from about taking small steps to counter fear. The video documents her struggles on a day where there was a dog in our front yard—she cycled through so many phases of venturing outside and then running back in, and I think her process of resting and rewarding herself after each attempt is very relatable.”

Commenting on the track itself, she continues: “This song is about trying not to give too much power to negative interactions or past situations. It's also about reclaiming an authentic or sincere understanding of the ways things have affected you. When I sing ‘it wasn't all for jokes, those were genuine words I spoke’, I'm describing efforts to liberate myself from the habit of making stuff into a comical anecdote rather than acknowledging its importance.”

Ahead of the newly announced run of live dates, they will also be supporting Camp Cope on 26th September in Nottingham alongside Witching Waves, appearing at Nottingham Pop All-Dayer 2019 and Weenfest 2019, and will be playing a special album launch show at The Shacklewell Arms in London on 9th October 2019

Previous singles ‘Cygnets’ and ‘Turtle Taxi’ went down a storm with fans old and new, scoring coverage from magazines and blogs including UPSET, Vulture Hound, Austin Town Hall, When The Horn Blows, Balloon Machine and more. The band previously received a surge of early praise from the blogosphere including GoldFlakePaint, Too Many Blogs, The Grey Estates, For The Rabbits, Get In Her Ears, Loud Women, GigSlutz, and Spectral Nights, alongside early radio support from BBC Wales.

Turtle Taxi is released 4th October 2019 on Fika Recordings

Suggested Friends live:

26.09.19 - Nottingham - Metronome (w/ Camp Cope)
09.10.19 - London - The Shacklewell Arms (album launch show)
12.10.19 - Nottingham - The Old Cold Store - 2019 Nottingham Pop All-Dayer
27.10.19 - London - DIY Space For London - Weenfest 2019
09.11.19 - Bristol - The Exchange
10.11.19 - Cardiff - The Moon
11.11.19 - Oxford - The Library
12.11.19 - Sheffield - Cafe Totem
13.11.19 - Leeds - CHUNK
14.11.19 - Liverpool - Craft Taproom
15.11.19 - Bradford - 1in12
16.11.19 - Edinburgh - Brig Below
17.11.19 - Glasgow - Glad Cafe

Suggested Friends - Turtle Taxi [Digital]

Artist: Suggested Friends
Title: Turtle Taxi
Format: Digital single
Cat#: Fika075SG2
Release date: 23rd August 2019
Bandcamp | Spotify

Queer DIY punks SUGGESTED FRIENDS are pleased to reveal a homemade video for their latest single ‘Turtle Taxi’, which is out now, and is the title track from their forthcoming second record. The band are set to release their new album Turtle Taxi on 4th October 2019 via Fika Recordings, with the record available to preorder now.

Commenting on the new single, guitarist and vocalist Faith Taylor said: “This song is about enjoying the ways that time stretches out when you’ve allowed yourself to be in nourishing relationships. It’s a celebration of rest and healing, and how a supportive and mutual bond can help to dismantle the urge to be constantly productive. Plus it’s a little bit about collecting jars and liking dogs. The song’s refrain—”I’ll be your honest turtle taxi”—is a reference to a ridiculous game I play in swimming pools with my partner. It’s all about finding that space for recreation and play as an adult, basically.”

The band recently announced they will be supporting Camp Cope on 26th September in Nottingham alongside Witching Waves, and will also appear at Nottingham Pop All-Dayer 2019 and Weenfest 2019, and will be playing a special album launch show at The Shacklewell Arms in London on 9th October 2019. Further live dates TBA (see below for listings).

Previous single ‘Cygnets’ went down a storm with fans old and new, scoring coverage from magazines and blogs including UPSET, Vulture Hound, Austin Town Hall, When The Horn Blows, Balloon Machine and more.

The band have previously received a surge of early praise from the blogosphere including GoldFlakePaint, Too Many Blogs, The Grey Estates, For The Rabbits, Get In Her Ears, Loud Women, GigSlutz, and Spectral Nights, alongside early radio support from BBC Wales.

Suggested Friends live

Sep 26 - Nottingham - Metronome (w/ Camp Cope)
Oct 9 - London - The Shacklewell Arms (album launch show)
Oct 12 - Nottingham - The Old Cold Store - 2019 Nottingham Pop All-Dayer
Oct 25 - London - DIY Space For London - Weenfest 2019
Nov 9 - Bristol - The Exchange
Nov 10 - Cardiff - The Moon
Nov 11 - Oxford - The Library
Nov 12 - Sheffield - Cafe Totem
Nov 13 - Leeds - CHUNK
Nov 14 - Liverpool - Craft Taproom
Nov 15 - Bradford - 1in12 Club
Nov 16 - Edinburgh - Brig Below
Nov 17 - Glasgow - Glad Cafe

Suggested Friends - Cygnets [Digital]

Artist: Suggested Friends
Title: Cygnets
Format: Digital single
Cat#: Fika075SG1
Release date: 2nd August 2019
Bandcamp | Spotify

We’re delighted to announce the second album from queer DIY punks SUGGESTED FRIENDS is coming out on Fika later this year, with Turtle Taxi set for release on 4th October 2019. .

The band recently announced they will be supporting Camp Cope on 26th September in Nottingham alongside Witching Waves, and will also appear at Nottingham Pop All-Dayer 2019 and Weenfest 2019, and will be playing a special album launch show at The Shacklewell Arms in London on 9th October 2019. Further live dates TBA (see below for listings).

To celebrate the news, the band are streaming lead single ‘Cygnets’ in full today, accompanied by a hometaped video filmed in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia on the band’s recent 2018 US tour dates: https://youtu.be/dRQxXn8T5_I 

Commenting on the new single, guitarist and vocalist Faith Taylor said: “This song documents the uneasy process of learning to trust yourself and therefore also trust other people. It refers to ‘digital birds’ because my bird-sound alarm clock mixed in with the sounds of the actual dawn chorus and became a metaphor for discerning which messages and voices to believe. The song was written in ten minutes because I forgot I’d promised to bring some new material to a rehearsal. It ended up being one of our favourites ever!”

Suggested Friends are an indie rock quartet with a firm grounding in queer identity, fusing DIY punk roots with the interweaving guitars of 90s indie and a sometimes tongue-in-cheek take on the performative masculinity of 80s rock. There’s a tenderness to their songwriting, with lyrics reflecting on cultural malaise, trauma recovery and the banal absurdity of everyday life. Personal politics can come with an incisively dry sense of humour too.

Turtle Taxi is their second album and demonstrates just how far they’ve come from the raw, scuzzy sounds of their DIY debut; unrepentant in letting the pop hooks loose. The choruses are big, harmonies frequent, and guitar solos abound—this is a lush, textured leap forward. 

Suggested Friends are more confident, acknowledging emotional pain and exploring how this affective space elides with a more expansive sense of injustice in the world. 

On ‘Pretty Soon Your Grave Will Be A Landfill’ the earnestness and absurdity of gaslighting politicians is laid bare, through to the futility of naming social ills and not acting on them on ‘At Ease’. The album’s title track, ‘Turtle Taxi’, talks about the relationship between love as a labour and the focusing-in on life as an opportunity for that to flourish in all directions—(‘teach ‘til I die, let this all pass by…’).

The quieter numbers on the record, such as ‘At Ease’ or ‘Blooms’, recall folkier inspiration such as The Weather Station and Hiss Golden Messenger, through to the alt-pop oddness of Nilufer Yanya and Blood Orange. But for parallels as a socially conscious, high-energy and vulnerable punk pop band, think Martha or Charly Bliss—though they’d argue for that perfect sweet spot between Weezer and Abba!

Recorded in rural Norfolk over two separate sessions a year apart, the album was able to flourish into a more collaborative effort—incorporating Faith’s wife Meghan on percussion and Sickroom Studio's Owen on trumpet—plus plenty of time to experiment with overdubs and piano flourishes to up that classic-rock vibe that simmers just under the surface.

Suggested Friends formed in late 2015 following a chance meeting at a gig between Christabel (drums) and Faith (guitar and vocals). They were soon joined by Jack on guitar, who had met Faith through an activist group in London. Mammoth Penguins’ Emma Kupa is the most recent addition on bass, having worked with Faith on a number of projects over the past four years. 

The band have previously received a surge of early praise from the blogosphere including GoldFlakePaint, Too Many Blogs, The Grey Estates, For The Rabbits, Get In Her Ears, Loud Women, GigSlutz, and Spectral Nights, alongside early radio support from BBC Wales.

Further live dates TBA.

Turtle Taxi is released 4th October 2019 on Fika Recordings

Suggested Friends live:

26.09.19 - Nottingham - Metronome (w/ Camp Cope)
09.10.19 - London - The Shacklewell Arms (album launch show)
12.10.19 - Nottingham - The Old Cold Store - 2019 Nottingham Pop All-Dayer
25.10.19 - London - DIY Space For London - Weenfest 2019


Common or Garden - Trust Everyone [Badge]

Artist: Common or Garden
Title: Trust Everyone
Format: 34mm glitter midnight blue enamel badge on rose gold metalwork, on hand numbered backing card
Cat#: Fika074
Release date: 26th July 2019
Bandcamp | Spotify

Time stands still for no-one. Talented young Brisbanite Hannah Winter (née Botting) has taken a step aside from the much-loved Owl & Mouse to present her solo project Common or Garden

A step forward from her previous acoustic based & ukulele lead outfit, London located Common or Garden is self described as ‘scrappy’ synth pop - self produced and more experimental than her previous outfit. The core of her songwriting charm remains: vociferously personal stories, resonating harmonies and layers of vocals to lose yourself in.

IMG_5365.jpg

Self imposed limitations drove the songwriting process, having previously struggled to complete songs since 2015’s Departures. Opening track Bought was written on the bus home after a  confronting conversation with a friend. The sad, beautiful Opportunity was inspired by a quote from the Mars Opportunity Rover, as it broadcast it’s final long distance messages back to Earth [“my battery is low and it’s getting dark”]. Constellations deals with trying to help a friend who was struggling with their mental health and feeling like everything that was said made it worse.  

The EP Trust Everyone is a reflection of a hopeful gesture, trusting that everyone is doing their best. Hannah elaborates further: “I think the things that link them all are that they’re about women I know who were struggling in one way or another, and me trying to figure out ways to communicate with them, to understand them, or be there for them. So I guess the theme is reaching out.

Recorded predominantly on iPad at home and on public transport, Darren Hayman recorded Hannah’s vocals, and Hannah’s old band mate Emma Winston (Deerful) applied her know-how to the synth mixing.

Common or Garden have just started to perform live, supporting Mammoth Penguins and Darren Hanlon, with appearances alongside Darren Hayman and at Indietracks Festival forthcoming.

Hannah sings with older brother Bill Botting and The Two Drink Minimums (featuring members of Allo Darlin’, Tigercats, Nightflowers and more).

the songs are hardly there at all, but they linger sweetly” Uncut
a quite melancholic streak behind the sweetness of Botting’s often lovelorn lyrics” Folk Radio
simple, understated odes to a heart-worn sadness have bite” The Arts Desk

common - 0722.jpg

“Listening to Opportunity, this new sonic world if anything, feels a more natural fit for Hannah’s songwriting. The gentle, drifting propulsion of the drum machine, the burbling electronic pulses, the subtle meandering keyboard line, that for no real reason has us thinking of Cherry Blossom: it all feels like a perfectly unflashy backing for Hannah’s contemplative lyrics.” For The Rabbits

Stanley Brinks and The Wave Pictures - Tequila Island [12"/CD]

Artist: Stanley Brinks and The Wave Pictures
Title: Tequila Island
Format: 12” LP on agave and tequila coloured splatter vinyl / digipack CD with lyrics booklet
Cat#: Fika073LP/CD
Release date: 21st June 2019
Bandcamp | Spotify

Stanley Brinks is joined by The Wave Pictures for their fifth album together; and their first since 2015’s “My Ass”. That’s not to say either have been slacking in that time, both are notoriously prolific: The Wave Pictures have turned out 5 albums and Brinks 7 since they last came together in the studio.

Stan arrived at the studio with several CDs worth of unrecorded songs on a balmy North London night and instructed The Wave Pictures to pick out some favourites to jam during the following three nights of recording sessions.

To anyone familiar with Stanley Brinks' huge discography - more than 100 albums - it might sound more raw in a way, less sophisticated than some of his other recordings. It's still rich in jazzy sounds and original structures however, the songs looser and full of playfulness, with the lyrics carrying the essence of the songs.

Tequila - the drink - was obviously the inspiration for the album. While writing, and while recording.

Stanley Brinks was born in Paris, France, in 1973. He studied a bit of biology and worked as a nurse for a while. Half Swedish, half Moroccan, strongly inclined to travel the world, he soon began spending most of his life on the road and developed a strong relationship with New York. By the late 90s he’d become a full time singer-songwriter – André Herman Düne – as part of three piece indie-rock band, Herman Düne. Several albums and Peel sessions  later and after a decade of touring Europe, mostly with American songwriters such as Jeffrey Lewis, Calvin Johnson and early Arcade Fire he settled in Berlin. The early carnival music of Trinidad became a passion, and in the early 21st century he became the unquestioned master of European calypso, changing his name to Stanley Brinks. Under this moniker he has recorded more than 100 albums, collaborated with the New York Antifolk scene on several occasions, recorded and toured with traditional Norwegian musicians, and played a lot with The Wave Pictures.  

The Wave Pictures are David Tattersall, Franic Rozycki and Jonny ‘Huddersfield’ Helm. Formed in 1998 when Franic and David lived in a village called Wymeswold, the band played with several drummers until Jonny became a permanent member in 2003 replacing Hugh J Noble. In the beginning the band learned to play together by covering Jonathan Richman songs but soon David was writing lots of original material. 

They have since released six  studio albums to critical acclaim and played numerous sessions on BBC 6 Music, Radio 1 and Xfm. Interest generated from these recordings has enabled The Wave Pictures to play shows all over the world with artists including Jeffrey Lewis, Darren Hayman, Stanley Brinks, Freschard and Herman Düne.

“Tequila Island is every bit as joyous as you’d imagine a desert island with a well stocked bar would be. The meandering afro-beat influenced guitar line and prominent flute line provide the melody, as the infectious coming together of percussion and bass add a toe-tapping propulsion. Stanley has suggested Tequila was not just the influence for the songwriting, but also the recording sessions, where Mexico’s finest was used to keep out the balmy North London-night; which might explain why it’s the loosest and quite possibly most fun they’ve ever sounded.” For The Rabbits

“I like this album, it's a nice soup of folk, americana, Dylan-lite, with lots of drum brushes pattering away and acoustic guitars strummed softly.” Norman Records

Tequila begins in ruminative mode, with some gorgeous, intuitive guitar playing by David Tattersall of The Wave Pictures. This is the fifth (or so) album which that group has made backing up singer Brinks, AKA Andre Herman Dune from Herman Dune. It’s similar to the others, in its loose demeanor and reach for pop simplicity (a la Jonathan Richman, Sam Cooke, etc.), and its stumbling from beauty to wit to goofing around. Each song doubles as a drinking song; “Tequila” is in the name, after all. The album overall is a folk-sy ramble, with a lovelorn troubadour in search of something. “I've got tequila in my heart,” is his slogan; somebody should get that tattooed on their arm” Big Takeover

“Brinks and The Wave Pictures pair detailed yet understated indie-folk weedling with the horizontal, alcohol-soaked relaxation that this sort of yacht-rock is often characterised by. The general instrumental foundation remains solid overall, driven by warm acoustic guitars that stick almost exclusively to simple melodies, but find a way to use them well in the lilting shuffle of Like A Fool and the title track, or the quicker-stepping dalliance into country on Like A Song. It’s all very tastefully produced as well, keeping everything relatively quiet and low-key, but simultaneously highlighting the pockets of detail that brings a nice sharpness and crispness to it all.” The Soundboard

“Two alt-indie cult acts for the price of one. Stanley Brinks of Herman Düne is a good match for the loose American-laced sound that The Wave Pictures muster. Comes in lyric inner sleeve on spectacular vinyl, transparent but spattered with teal!” The Arts Desk

“Musically speaking there are similarities with that record [Gin] too (I think it goes without saying that much of this record features jazzy guitar lines and a stripped back rhythm section), but there are also subtle changes in style, such as the country / rock n roll themed "Like a Fool" or "Like a Song", both of which have an air of The Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo about them.” Cracklefeedback

“sounds like the whole thing is a teenage “band” recording in the kitchen, on a vintage cassette recorder borrowed from their gran. That’s after they’ve spent an entire year listening to the first Modern Lovers and Talking Heads albums” God is in the TV

The Ballet - Matchy Matchy [12"]

Artist: The Ballet
Title: Matchy Matchy
Format: 12” LP on black vinyl
Cat#: Fika072LP
Release date: 17th May 2019
Bandcamp | Spotify

Queer New York duo the Ballet marry the DIY ethos of the Hidden Cameras with the wry poeticism of the Magnetic Fields and the romantic pop of Jens Lekman, to create literate, infectious pop gems.

Formed in 2005 by Greg Goldberg and Craig Willse, the Ballet self-released two previous albums: Mattachine! (2006) and Bear Life (2009). These caught the attention of Fortuna Pop!, which released their third album, I Blame Society, in 2013. The Ballet has been joined by a few other musicians along the way including Ginger Brooks Takahashi and Michael O'Neill, who left in 2007 to join JD Sampson in MEN, as well as guest appearances on previous albums from Linton from The Aislers Set, Ramesh from Voxtrot, Scott Matthew, and Kaki King.

In addition to citing Stephin Merritt as an influence, Goldberg, who writes and home records all of the band’s songs, draws from an array of pop artists and periods, from 60’s bubblegum to 80’s synthpop and 90’s indiepop, fusing these in sophisticated and novel ways that reward repeat listening.

The Ballet’s new album, Matchy Matchy, is a return to the upbeat tenor of the band’s first two albums. While inspired by Goldberg’s experience navigating an open relationship with his boyfriend of 14 years, Matchy Matchy is not straightforwardly autobiographical; Goldberg writes from his experience, while also fantasizing about the perspective of his objects of desire, leaving ambiguous which is which. He is generally less melancholic than on I Blame Society, and fans will notice a return to earlier themes (“Looking” tackles Grindr, as “Personal” did Gaydar in 2006). Goldberg is not shy to write songs with explicitly queer subjects (“But I’m a Top,” “Messing Around,” “First Time in a Gay Bar”), while also taking on more universal longings, pleasures, and frustrations (“Jersey,” “Love Letter,” “Cry Baby”).

As the album’s title suggests, Matchy Matchy is also a meditation on sameness, both in its musical material (think limited chords in major keys, repeated phrases and constructions, and citations of Goldberg’s influences) and in its lyrical exploration of queer relationships and encounters. The album reclaims the insult of “matchy matchy,” finding value in repetition and doubling, both within the album and across the Ballet’s discography.

For press enquiries, please contact Jamie Otsa at Wall of Sound PR.


“This amiable embrace of ambivalence distinguishes Greg Goldberg and Craig Willse’s output as the Ballet from the work of their funny musical uncles, like the Magnetic Fields’ implacably ironic Stephin Merritt, the Hidden Cameras’ riot auteur Joel Gibb, even fairy godfathers Pet Shop Boys.
The music is so lovely, all dewy guitars and dripping synth bells, that it makes you understand the appeal of intertwining with someone who doesn’t necessarily respect you.” Pitchfork [7.6/10]

“The new single can only be described as a A-ha’s ‘Take on Me’ with the monochrome tones of The Smiths and it’s unbelievably catchy.” Attitude Magazine [premiere]

“‘Matchy Matchy’ is a beguiling album, one that plays with conceptions of not only sexuality but society as a whole. It’s an album for 2019.” Norman Records [9/10]

“The hooks are still in there, starring these light little keyboard notes maneuvering in and out behind that dancing guitar line. Sure Greg Goldberg has stylistic similarities to Stephin Merritt, but there’s this softness to his voice, a fragility that makes him feel just a touch more open and approachable.” Austin Town Hall

“the album is full of little pop anthems, in which the clean guitars are fused with the drum machines and some xylophone that another. This is the case of ' Looking ' or ' First in a Gay Bar ', which are brilliant. But the best of its more electronic side, appears in ' 20', a whole pop gem, for which many consolidated groups of the genre, would kill.” Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow

“The fact is that it is a beautiful, and irresistible, cut of synth-pop, for which many would kill. Among them his beloved Magnetic Fields .” Indienauta [Spanish]

“a sweet album, with a high playful tenderness” Written In Music [Dutch]

“The Ballet have succeeded in producing a record whose catchy sound never outshines the charm and depth of the lyrics” Lie in the Sound [German]

“The Ballet have become the sort of reliable, approachable yet pertinent little indie-pop act that it’s always good to have around.” The Soundboard

“this duo all the way from New York have fashioned an interesting way of marrying expressive DIY Indie music with some very pleasant and soothing instrumentation” The Independent Voice

“vocals akin with The Neighbourhood, but musically they have instrumentation and dance beats similar to that of Blaqk Audio or Scissor Sisters” Alt Corner