Review: First of all don't forget it was the label Epitaph that we have to thank for the likes of Millencolin, The Offspring and Bad Religion - among others. Its sub-label Anti- has been home to Jonathan Pierce's music as The Drums since 2017 following a long history with Moshi Moshi Records. Poppy, synth punk and electronica with the slightest of tropicana and charming vocals to boot, Pierce almost justifies in a single swoop what is still good about the indie pop sound that exploded during the 2000s. Vocals sit up front throughout the album and while guitars are sometimes left out there's no denying the dreamy finger picking that adds to the bliss of "I Wanna Go Back", and the acoustic ballad that is "Nervous". The album's title track harks back to a funky, soft edged pop sound not too dissimilar to classic Cut Copy, and don't go past our album highlight: "626 Bedford Avenue".
Review: A long-loved love child of the 4AD-Domino constellation, heart throbbing Californian songwriter Cass McCombs rocks up to Anti- (sister label to Epitaph), continuing his streaking succession of albums with Tip Of The Sphere. Providing a ninth solo LP in total, this latest record keeps up with guitarry-and-garrish themes of Mangy Love (2016), however richly purporting melodic songs that paint wheatgrass imagery of stretching plains, distant cross roads, and beachside trails to the rivermouth. With fingerpicking expertise to reflect both John Fahey (and Chris Isaak in parts) jangly pianos from a far western saloon making their way into "Absentee", alongside a pinch of Neil Young's soul ("Prayer For Another Day') . With flashes of Alan Vega and Martin Rev to be heard in "American Canyon Sutra" too, to more hippy Buddha Bar vibes in "Real Life" thanks to them tablas, there's always a safe place with Cass.