February 7, 2016

Today's Hotness: Seeds Of Doubt, Flying Saucer Attack, The Ghost Of Electricity

Keel Her / Seeds Of Doubt split

>> London indie pop four Seeds Of Doubt have released another winner, although this one is not exactly new. The newly available split titled Let The Ghouls Out, which features three songs from our heroes along with three from The Big Smoke's Keel Her, was apparently slated to come out on Portland, Ore.'s Gnar Tapes in 2015. However, the release never materialized ("the tape machine broke?"), so now Seeds Of Doubt has pushed the EP out to the Internerds via its Bandcamp page in order to focus on releasing fresher material via the label this year. Seeds Of Doubt's side B is packed with scritchy post-punk, from the tumbling 90 seconds of "Mirror" to the more pop-leaning and uptempo rocker "Waiting Room For The World," which echoes the sound of the efficient aughts guitar-pop heroes Art Brut. Closer "Stay Classic" sticks with the same recipe but boasts a more muscular beat and bigger guitars and fronter Chris Hopkins deliciously starts to lose his composure as the song careens into its final third, where rock-steady bass guides a tight jam toward a cracking denouement. The song is the clear highlight of the Seeds' side. Keel Her's tunes incorporate fronter Rose Keeler-Schäffeler's expansive but simple organ into her quintet's otherwise classic indie pop sound. Opener "Typical World" boasts a moody verse, but brightens with each peppy chorus, and "Call Me Back" sparkles from within a well of reverb while a cleanly distorted lead slices through the mix like bagpipes. The A-side closes with the terrific "Forced Tradition," a tune about an "awful job" Ms. Keeler-Schäffeler previously held (a version of the song was also recorded for Marc Riley's BBC 6 program late last year). Seeds Of Doubt's most recent prior release, SOD's Law, slipped by us in December; we wrote about another EP, Audible Human Repellent, here a year ago. Attentive readers will recall that Seeds Of Doubt showed us around their rehearsal space in Show Us Yours #20 back in May 2014. We look forward to hearing more from both SOD and Keel Her.

>> Revered indie label Drag City announced last week it will reissue on vinyl two classic titles from Bristol, England 'gaze/drone legends Flying Saucer Attack. The static-und-psych landmarks Further and Chorus have been unavailable as LPs for at least a decade, and their return to the 12" format transpires March 18; the records were originally released in April and November 1995, respectively. Drag City pushed the cut "In The Light Of Time" out to YouTube last week to promote Further, which was FSA's sophomore release, and "Feedback Song" to promote Chorus, and you can stream these via the embeds below. "In The Light Of Time" is basically a classic English psychedelic folk song enshrouded in ambient guitar noise. The tune creeps into being with lightly fingered acoustic guitar and masterminded David Pearce's serene vocals, which are obscured by swelling, shimmering delayed guitar and feedback. "Feedback Song" opens all the band's characteristic channels at once from the outset, blending feedback, ride cymbal, universe-sized delay on edge-less electric guitar, gentle acoustic guitar fingering and meditative vocals. It's a thrilling presentation of both delicacy and power at one and the same time. Eventually slide guitar establishes an almost tidal ebb and flow to close out the track. Buy Further on LP, CD or as a digital download here; buy Chorus as an LP, CD or digital download here. Back in the day -- and in the era of auto-reverse -- Clicky Clicky's executive editor dubbed these titles to a single audio cassette, so they are inextricably linked in our mind. After a long period of inactivity, Flying Saucer Attack returned last summer with the set Instrumentals 2015, which Senior Writer Edward Charlton wrote about right here.

>> We were immediately taken with "The Great Tower," an appropriate spectral deep cut from a new release by Boston outfit The Ghost Of Electricity. Taken from an EP called Bones that was released last week by Spark & Fizz, "The Great Tower" gently attacks with reverse-tracked guitar strums and layered, dreamy, droning vocals. The overall effect is mesmerizing and suggests a marriage of Modest Mouse's fractured folk and Nuno Canavarro's infinitely futurist ambient pastiches. A glance at the lyrics seems to reveal the subject matter is dissatisfaction with spirituality of some form or another, and other song titles from the EP -- "The Ritual" and "The Question" -- also suggest deeper concerns of the soul. Bones, while relatively brief, boasts many curiously arresting moments, including the delightfully aimless guitar lead in the aforementioned "The Ritual" and the clattering percussion break and whispers in the midst of the entirely delightful "The Anthropophage." Incidentally, the percussion tracks on the EP were apparently crafted from sampled sounds of car parts and bones, we suppose striking one another or being struck by something else. The Ghost Of Electricity is the solo vehicle of Ray MacNamara, who also holds down the lead guitar slot in Ithaca, NY's experimental Afro-beat act Big Mean Sound Machine. Bones is available now in a limited edition of 100 dark blue cassettes that will ship Feb. 17, or as a pay-what-you-like digital download. Stream "The Great Tower" via the Bandcamp embed below, and click through to acquire the set in your chosen format.

February 2, 2016

Magic Shoppe EP Release Show with Zip Tie Handcuffs, Bong Wish, S.S. Cretins | Great Scott, Boston | 6 Feb.

Magic Shoppe EP Release Show with Zip Tie Handcuffs, Bong Wish, S.S. Cretins | Great Scott, Boston | 6 Feb.

Maybe you're feeling it? It's like the opposite of a disturbance in The Force: the mesmerizing infinity vibes of Interstellar Car Crash, the new EP from Boston-based quintet Magic Shoppe. The short stack's four tracks bristle with tambourine-bedazzled and dreamy, Rolling Stones-inspired grooves covered in rich and limitless reverbs and guitar effects. At times, the songwriting brings to mind The Brian Jonestown Massacre at Their drugged and Satanic Majesties Requested-best, but the clarity of the performances and updated production outpaces much of BJM's more erratic moments. EP opener "Salventius" interrupts itself after a minute-and-a-half with delightfully warped shoegaze chords, while lead preview track "City Alight" grooves on a sultry guitar line (check out the video for the stirring tune right here). The highlight of the EP is the title track closer, which takes a handful of mid-tempo chords and rides along a drugged and autumnal crest. It's like the first rays of sunshine, an epiphany arriving through the blinds with the morning after a life-changing bender, the taste of too many cigarettes and the worn smell of a leather jacket meaningfully lingering.

Toronto's Optical Sounds releases Interstellar Car Crash as a digital download and white 10" vinyl disc Friday, and Magic Shoppe celebrates accordingly Saturday at Great Scott in Allston Rock City, with support coming from Zip Tie Handcuffs, Bong Wish and S.S. Cretins. Full details for the evening are right here; there are additional release shows in Philadelphia tomorrow at Kung Fu Necktie and Brooklyn Thursday at Palisades. Stream the aforementioned "City Alight," as well as tracks from the supporting acts, via the embeds below. Click here to buy Interstellar Car Crash either as a tangible flat thing or a virtual packet of ones and zeroes. Magic Shoppe first formed in Boston in 2010 and was mothballed for a time before re-constituting itself in 2014, but has still produced an estimable catalogue. The band has an LP, two other EPs and at least one comp appearance under its belt to date. -- Edward Charlton

Magic Shoppe: Bandcamp | Facebook

January 29, 2016

Today's Hotness: The Fuzz, Gold Muse, Lubec

The Fuzz -- The Root of Innocence (cover detail)

>> While media reports decry the slow-down of the Chinese economy, the vast nation's production of top-tier indie rock seems to continue unabated. Or at least that's the impression we get based on the output of de facto flagship label Maybe Mars, which has a dynamite 2016 planned. Among the label's first releases of the year is the long-player The Root Of Innocence from indie rock quartet The Fuzz (a/k/a Chinese Fuzz or Fazi). The 11-track set was released Tuesday, and the lead preview track was the dreamy, synth-led treat "0909 II." The song's icy keys and sparkling guitars communicate a love of '80s UK darkwave, perhaps even an affinity for A Flock Of Seagulls. We admittedly know little else about The Fuzz, but comparing two versions of the band's "Control" -- one from a 2014 compilation and the other from the new record -- gives some indication of the band's artistic development. The compilation version (from Maybe Mars' collection The XP Sound Vol. 1) is a big, guitar-driven rocker. But this version that opens The Root Of Innocence is more atmospheric, reverberant and mysterious. The English language Internet tells us The Fuzz hails from Xi'an, capital of the northwestern Chinese province of Shaanxi (thanks Wikipedia!). The Fuzz will tour China in March and April to support the release of The Root Of Innocence, according to Maybe Mars, and the tour aims to visit about 40 cities. The band also intends to record its next record during the tour. If you happen to have the good fortune to be in China this spring, keep an eye out for the band. For the rest of us, streaming The Root Of Innocence will have to tide us over for the time being.

>> Relatively new 'gaze-pop four Gold Muse this week released a second digital single, which is not only notable for its great songs, but also because it shows a promising level of productivity for the Boston supergroup. Considering the easy pace at which certain of Gold Muse's members' other bands have released music, fans have reason to be pleased. As we've reported elsewhere, Gold Muse formed only last year, and is comprised of current or former members of Swirlies, Soccer Mom and Earthquake Party!; it took Soccer Mom about five years to release its only LP, and in about the same amount of time the still-quite-active Earthquake Party! has released but six songs. Gold Muse's rate of output appears Pollardian by comparison! The act's terrific "Kiss The Sun" b/w "Your Floral Crown" digital 1-2 presents a decidedly moodier side of the band, in contrast to its terrific first single. Deb Warfield's vocals and the exercised bass in the verses of "Kiss The Sun" deliciously echo classic Unrest, although the frantic jangle and explosive distortion of Dan Parlin's guitar propel the song somewhere altogether more dynamic. Darker still is the Parlin-sung "Your Floral Crown," which is led by an ominous, ascending synth melody buoyed by parallel bass work from Will Scales. Reverbed guitar sparkles faintly in the mix of the chorus, while a characteristically desperate vocal from Parlin is foregrounded, and the song soars to a dramatic conclusion across the back of some droning guitars and Justin Lally's bashing of the drum kit. It's a very strong single, and Gold Muse thankfully already has plans for a third, which it will begin work on this very weekend at Norwood, Mass.'s storied Hanging Horse studio. Which is not the only thing in Gold Muse's date book for the next 48 hours: indeed, Sunday the band plays night #4 of Magic Magic's current residency at Boston's Great Scott rock club (also on the bill are Boston treasures Hallelujah The Hills and Twin Foxes). Coincidentally, at Hanging Horse Gold Muse will work with hitmaker/engineer Bradford Krieger, who is presently playing in Magic Magic (in addition to his own project). It's all very serendipitous. Get that feeling by streaming "Kiss The Sun" b/w "Your Floral Crown" via the embed below, and click through to purchase the tunes.

>> It's been a while since we've heard from dream-pop heroes Lubec, but the brilliant Portland, Ore.-based trio return at long last next week with an EP it has been teasing since last summer. Dubbed Concentration and featuring pop hits "Late Bloomer" and "Many Worlds" ahead of the title track, the initial plan was for a vinyl and cassette release (as we wrote here in July), but plans on the former fell through. The music, of course, was very much worth the wait: the three songs on Concentration continue Lubec's winning ways, all sparkling guitars and massive melodies and the dueling vocals of guitarist Eddie Charlton and keyboardist Caroline Jackson. "Late Bloomer" in particular feels like a milestone for the band, with Ms. Jackson's vocals in particular literally and figuratively echoing the classic Slumberland sound, and Mr. Charlton's splashes of guitar and expansive, reverbed picking leading the songs through effervescent verses and arresting choruses to a deliciously jammy final minute marked by deftly arranged dynamics where big strums and explosive drums from kit-minder Matt Dressen trade off. Touchy Feely releases Concentration in a limited edition of 100 cassettes on Feb. 5. Lubec plays a release show for the cassette that very evening at Portland hot-spot The Know with support from Post Moves and Seattle's Versing, and full deets for that show are right here. Lubec plans a return to the studio in March to begin recording an LP with producer Dylan Wall that will be the follow-up to the band's titanic album The Thrall [review], which was among our favorite albums of 2014. We're hopeful Lubec will get out for another east coast jaunt this summer; keep hope alive by streaming the terrific "Late Bloomer" and "Many Worlds" via the embed below, and click here to grab your copy of the tape before copies are gone.

January 22, 2016

Today's Hotness: Halfsour, Fall Seattle, Rocketship

Halfsour -- Tuesday Night Live (cover detail)

>> We suppose there might be some quibbling, especially as how one defines "big" or "Boston" has some bearing on the matter, but it seems indisputable anyway that the first big Boston album of 2016 comes courtesy of Halfsour. The trio's terrific debut long-player Tuesday Night Live, which streets next week, boasts scads of brisk tunes fizzing with hooks. The first preview track "Porch Sittin" presented a hardscrabble garage sound a la Parquet Courts, but the great strength of the set is its variety of approaches to power-pop (emphasized by the traded-off lead or doubled-up vocals from Zoe and Matt). An outsized melody, caffeinated strumming and explosively boxy snare conspire to make set highlight "Pop Art Pop Tart" a breathless banger. The song careens from verse to pre-chorus to chorus, marrying scritchy guitar chords to just enough jangle to conjure thoughts of Peter Buck. The swinging hip-shaker "Pleasantly Whelmed" also shines brightly, and hints perhaps at Halfsour's purported small-g genesis as a Guided By Voices cover band. The verse of the slow-burning, syncopated "I.K." recycles the classic Beatles "Ticket To Ride" riff, and bursts its seams coming out of a manic chorus with an angular guitar solo that buzzes like a fridge. There's just a lot to like. Tuesday Night Live will be released in a limited edition of 300 LPs and (virtually) unlimited CDs by Jigsaw Records Jan. 29; pre-order the set right here. In addition, Baltimore-based Nebraskan Coast is doing a run of cassettes for Tuesday Night Live, so watch this link for availability, quantity, color, etc.; the label has also done tapes for Princess Reason and Wildhoney, in case you were wondering. Halfsour previously released via Ride The Snake a dandy of a split EP with Boston luminaries Reports in late 2014, which you can purchase from Jigsaw right here.

>> We're longtime fans of Brighton, England's Faux Discx label, in part because the outfit supplies a keen look into a vital slice of the UK underground. Interestingly, the label's latest is shining a light on a terrific act native to these United States, namely Reston, VA space-pop foursome Fall Seattle. The act's self-titled debut, due next month, was two years in the making. And the wait was worth it, based on three very dreamy preview tracks that cast big guitars and sublime melodies within songs the hint at a firm push-and-pull between dream-pop and reigned-in, post-punk influences. The brisk opener "Carol" pairs punchy bass and clangorous, chiming guitar stabs for a spiky composition perfectly topped by a charming, adenoidal tenor. Fall Seattle quickly turns lush on the succeeding track, the winning "Wanda Jackson," which sets sparkling guitar leads against murmured vocals to deliciously gauzy effect. The glimmering strummer "Time" feels especially romantic and recalls the understated and underrated California Snow Story, an act that, incidentally, recently announced its return. An earlier version of "Time" from 2014 is also well worth a listen, although there are few if any structural differences between the two versions, and the differing production values reveal nothing revelatory; it's just a good song that you should listen to more than once, yeah? Faux Discx releases Fall Seattle Feb. 5 in a limited edition of 100 cassettes, and you can already pre-order one right here. Hit the embed below to stream the aforementioned three cuts, which also happen to open the record. We don't see any information about a release show or touring, but we suspect if you watch the band's Facebook dojo information will be forthcoming. Fall Seattle formed in 2012.

>> Given Rocketship's primary auteur Dustin Reske is a bona fide pop genius, it's safe to assume that when it feels like his song is trying to make a point, it probably is. The thought came over us as we listened to the act's dazzling new single "Sleeping Pills," a deliriously upbeat and bright pop gem whose lyrics steadily reference certain of the band's classic recordings. When the old album and song titles caught our ear, we took a look to see if the lyrics were on Bandcamp, and we were pleased to find them there. They describe a relationship in trouble, but we couldn't help but wonder if it wasn't Mr. Reske's relationship with the music industry itself that he was actually singing about. An unedited version of an interview he gave last year, posted to the Rocketship web site, details Reske's forthright opinions on the problems with the business of music. Given that, it's easy to construe lines like "We shared 'A Certain Smile...' but you sold everything, it don't compute, now there's just a certain sadness and ambiguities about the loot" in more than one way. Speaking of Rocketship's older stuff, a Kickstarter for the reissue of the band's absolutely titanic 1996 Slumberland LP A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness on vinyl is said to be starting next Wednesday or Thursday (!!!), and in the aforementioned interview, Reske stated a new Rocketship record titled Thanks To You would follow quickly on the heels of that reissue. If "Sleeping Pills" -- which previously had only been available at Rocketship's surpassingly rare 2014 live dates in San Francisco and New York -- is any indication, the new LP should be very satisfying for fans. Stream "Sleeping Pills" via the embed below, and start scraping together your cash for the big Kickstarter next week.

January 19, 2016

Premiere: The Colonnade's Pensive Troisième Moment

Premiere -- The Colonnade's Pensive Troisième Moment

Boston has long fielded strong indie pop sides, but 2016 feels like a particularly good time for indie fans who prefer their rock guitars set to "jangle." What with the recent emergence of hitmakers Du Vide and Lady Pills -- not to mention the utter brilliance of last year's long-gestated Funeral Advantage full-length debut Body Is Dead -- it's readily cognizable that some of the city's best talent is bending classic indie pop stylings to their respective wills. With that as context, we're pleased to introduce the latest entry into the city's ongoing conversation with indie pop, dreamy quartet The Colonnade's artful and oft-thrilling debut LP Femme.

More specifically, we are pleased to premiere for you the final third of Femme. The Colonnade elected to unveil its set in thirds, or, in the parlance of the band, "moments." The set's final third is replete with instrumental overtures and cinematic vignettes, and is dubbed by the band, Frenchily, Troisième Moment. Despite containing just three concrete tracks, Troisième ably showcases the range of the group's moods and modi operandi. "Abroad" touts a trebly lead riff buoyed by thick, wall-of-sound guitars and a wily vocal hook that in places echoes defunct 'gazers The Depreciation Guild. The Colonnade's "Modern Taste" at first seems a conservative play over a crisp, ride cymbal-driven beat. However, around the three-minute mark the song files a new flight plan and miraculously swells into a full-band, emo-tinged shouter that eventually, wearily peters out. "Dormancy" presents a tidy conclusion: among lazily strummed acoustic guitars and some diaphanous, clean-toned lead guitar, fronter Sean Camargo tucks into a drowsy, bed-headed vocal, a metaphoric wearied crawl to the finish after scaling a near-insurmountable peak.

The Colonnade plays a WEMF-sponsored gig at PA's Lounge in Somerville, Mass. Feb. 4, but sources tell Clicky Clicky that the act also has a record release party planned for Feb. 12 somewhere in the depths of Allston. The event is said to include song-themed specialty cocktails and French New Wave film projections, which sounds like one hell of a party. We suggest eager punters consult a counterculture enthusiast about additional show details. In the meantime, you can acquire a digital download of Femme for the nice price of $3 USD right here. Stream Troisième Moment via the embed below. -- Dillon Riley

The Colonnade: Bandcamp | Facebook

January 10, 2016

The Clicky Clicky Winter Ball featuring Burglary Years, Du Vide and School Shoes | O'Brien's Pub | 13 Jan.

The Clicky Clicky Winter Ball featuring Burglary Years, Du Vide and School Shoes | O'Brien's Pub | 13 Jan.

Hey, we made it -- it's 2016! Pat yourself on the back. You know what? You deserve a night out, a real good time with three of the finest bands currently patrolling Boston. It just so happens we can help you with that, as this coming Wednesday, Clicky Clicky's series of rock shows at O'Brien's Pub in Allston Rock City rolls on with a slate so strong it makes us giddy. The evening -- dubbed The Clicky Clicky Winter Ball by The Don of Clicky Clicky Presents -- is top-lined by 'gaze-pop concern Burglary Years, and also includes rising indie pop combo Du Vide and dream-pop upstarts School Shoes.

So what can you expect? Nothing less than hot rock aplenty, mon ami. Burglary Years' 2015 set 100 Roses has been on steady rotation here at HQ for a couple months, and we are very excited to see cuts from the dreamy five's recent record performed live, particularly the uptempo, reverberant jangler "Hey Do You Want To Come Over?" The tune, which hints at a bit of an Echo And The Bunnymen influence, has "hit" written all over it. A second cassette edition of 100 Roses -- limited to 100 pieces that include a lyric booklet, alternate cover and three previously unreleased demos -- is due Feb. 26 from Disposable America; the album had been tipped for a vinyl release via UK-concern Dog Knights Productions, but that has apparently fallen through, so all you label guys out there looking to pick up a hot release, well, you just landed on Boardwalk. Open thy wallet.

As for the supports, we wrote about Du Vide right here in December, not long after the release of the trio's terrific short stack Clutter. The act would seem to have one foot firmly in the Chicago school of '90s indie pop, and strolling through Du Vide's entire catalog is amply rewarding. The recent EP's opener "The Hell It Is" is terrifically affecting, so we suggest you click on the Bandcamp embed below to get familiar if you are not already. Du Vide is nearly finished a debut long-player, and we hope the band will have some new songs in the quiver for us to enjoy Wednesday. For those of you keeping score at home, Wednesday is but the third show since John from Horse Jumper of Love has signed on to play bass for the act, as Du Vide's prior bass player moved south recently. We were fortunate to premiere one of School Shoes' only releases to date, a stellar summer single we wrote about right here in June. Wednesday will be the band's first show in at least a year, so we are especially stoked to see them play. Like Du Vide, School Shoes has been working on a record, but it is unclear how far along the process is. But if you want a bit of perfect sad sunshine, we highly recommend you check out the band's undeniable gem "Cults" via the embed below. What else can we tell you? As the powers that be have dubbed this a Winter Ball, we hope to see some semi-formal garb, although that is certainly not required. What's most important is the gift of your presence. So come on, pilgrim.

Burglary Years: Bandcamp | Facebook
Du Vide: Bandcamp | Facebook
School Shoes: Bandcamp | Facebook

January 4, 2016

Today's Hotness: Pete Astor, Black Seas, Your Friend

Pete Astor -- Spilt Milk (cover detail)

>> It was The Loft and The Weather Prophets, more than any other single Creation Records band, that were responsible for turning this reviewer on to the wealth of great material that arrived via the imprint prior to My Bloody Valentine's revolutionary 1987 EP You Made Me Realise. The earnest and driven jangle of songs like "Up The Hill And Down The Slope" and "Almost Prayed" combined the clean drive of The Velvet Underground circa their self-titled 1969 third album with a homespun, plainspoken honesty that felt both welcoming and timeless. When we received word that Slumberland Records would release a solo album by Pete Astor, the fronter of the aforementioned Loft and Weather Prophets, we were sold right away. Called Spilt Milk and due on white vinyl Feb. 12, Mr. Astor's latest is a ten-song set that illustrates his firm command over the style and feel that made his early work so charming. Produced in part with James Hoare of cherished contemporary hitmakers Veronica Falls, Ultimate Painting and Proper Ornaments at Mr. Hoare's London-based home studio, Spilt Milk's music offers a similar warm and classic pop essence, one that hugs the listener like the trustiest worn cardigan. The record's first preview single "Really Something" immediately assures listeners that Astor's songwriting prowess remains honed; here and there his subtle, delicate throat croaks and cracks, conveying to each verse lyric some significant weight, before a deceptive chorus swoops in. The second preview taster for the LP, the ode to onanism "My Right Hand," incorporates VU-styled boogie alongside all manner of historical and cultural references to weave a complex yet exceedingly pleasant love song that passes by so briskly it begs for multiple, smiling repeats. We have heard the rest of the album, which is dynamite, and our assessment is that Spilt Milk makes a strong case for the best kind of later-life artistic statement. While Hoare's playing is all over the record -- he laid down guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and backing vocal tracks on the set -- and other players include legends Pam Berry (Black Tambourine) and Jack Hayter (Hefner) among others, the record never forgets the building blocks upon which Astor's legacy is founded, and not only celebrates them, but also has fun on its own terms, too. Stream the aforementioned "Really Something" and "My Right Hand" via the embeds below, and pre-order the album from Slumberland right here. Note that the set is a co-release with Fortuna Pop, which will issue Spilt Milk across the proverbial pond a day prior. -- Edward Charlton

>> This reviewer thought himself familiar with all of the deepest voices in rock. To be sure, since the the late '70s post-punk wave that lifted up the distinctively down-tuned larynxes of Ian Curtis, Robert Smith, Ian McCulloch and Morrissey, there has been a wealth of dark crooners at work in the genre. But, outside of perhaps the death metal scene (and setting aside the masterful grandfather of them all, Scott Walker), no voice has been as strikingly bottomless in recent memory as that of the singer of shadowy London dream-pop concern Black Seas. The mysterious ensemble, which largely eschews most online social media and whose only member we can prove exists is a fellow named Stav who once corresponded with Clicky Clicky, released late last year at long last a stirring self-titled debut EP. The six-song release follows -- after a lengthy pause -- a series of excellent digital one-offs, some of which it contains. Black Seas commences with the highlight "Laurie," which balances the kind of seasick tremolo abuse inspired by Loveless with the gloomy, violent and abstract sexuality of Xiu Xiu. The song is a slinky wonder, opening with a rolling drum beat before the brackish singing presents front and center with literate and colorful lyrics that raise more questions than answers. "There will be sentries in the shadows," the singer warns. While this sound has served well fellow Brits The Horrors -- especially on their Geoff Barrow-produced Primary Colours -- Black Seas opt to inhabit and intellectualize their frigid dystopia rather than aim for the arena rock rafters at every available moment. Its an ideal environment that fully bears the weight of a leaden voice. No less affecting the band's menacing eponymous track, a version of which we played during a New Music Night three years ago. Surprisingly perky bass playing underpins vast scraping guitar chords, while the singer stirringly emotes. The EP takes a turn for the more pop and upbeat with "Golden Child," although Black Seas employs the same building blocks to get where it needs to go. Clicky Clicky is very hopeful the appearance of this EP is a sign that the act will become a more active concern in 2016, as its music is terrifically compelling. Stream Black Seas via the SoundCloud embed below. -- Edward Charlton

>> Your Friend -- not to be confused, of course, with Alexei Berrow's similarly terrific solo project Yr Friends -- is the brainchild of Kansas-based songwriter Taryn Miller, and her early work garnered sidelong notice in these electronic pages (or at least our Facebook page), but we now have occasion for a more thorough examination: the debut Your Friend long-player Gumption, which arrives at the end of the month. The first preview track from the collection is "Heathering," which gently sways, brightly sparkles and lushly drones under Ms. Miller's rich, searching vocal. Videos of Miller performing live a year or two back impressed because of her ability to build up layers of loops to create compelling compositions as a solo performer. While she continues to occasionally perform solo, "Heathering" feels free from any constraints whatsoever. Gumption was recorded at the Rare Book Room in Brooklyn with studio founder and producer Nicolas Vernhes, who has also worked with Animal Collective, Deerhunter and The War On Drugs. The album is due Jan. 29 on vinyl 12", CD and as a digital download. Pre-order the set right here, and stream the aforementioned "Heathering" via the SoundCloud embed below. Your Friend plays the Middle East Downstairs April 12 as part of a big-ass spring tour, supporting Alex G and Porches; we implore you to make a note to arrive early to see Your Friend, because that's the smart move. Your Friend's Domino debut, a self-recorded EP titled Jekyll/Hyde, was released in early 2014.