Soft Pyramids – Fossils Of The Free World (2014)

Soft Pyramids fossils of the free world 1
Soft Pyramids
Fossils Of The Free World

My renewed love affair with the perfectly understated music of Soft Pyramids continues with a quick look at their 2014 full-length record, Fossils Of The Free World. I should probably mention what a solid album this is, from the dreamy opening of “Light By Heat” to the lush outro of “Porcelain Outlaws Break Easier.” I’d be remiss not to mention the high points of “Waning Moon” and “Tequila Sirens” that fall in between. Sure, these are things are all true. That said, there’s just one thing you truly must know: Any record with “Around This Town” on it is needs to be heard.

Soft Pyramids fossils of the free world 2

The physical product is a 12″ black vinyl record played at 33 1/3 RPM living in a full color sleeve. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Where to get it:

Soft Pyramids fossils of the free world 3

Soft Pyramids – “Tweakin’ On The Weekend” (2013)

Soft Pyramids
“Tweakin’ On The Weekend”

I had seen Soft Pyramids before, but the band really won me over during this year’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble. Naturally, I had to walk away with all of their vinyl, which included the laid back and hip single for “Tweakin’ On The Weekend.” Jangly guitars and a just-right tempo provide an easy groove below the drifting vocals. Soft Pyramids are swimming in the sweet spot. The B-side, “Don’t You Tell Me,” picks up the pace and provides a nice counterpoint to the first number. The digital download, included with the vinyl, tacks on a couple of high quality bonus tunes in “Bellwether Lullaby” and “White Deadnettle.” Nice.


The vinyl itself is a basic black 7″ that plays at 45RPM. The record, download code and accompanying lyric sheet are wrapped in a craft board sleeve with black printing. Simple and cool.

Where to get it:


Party Bois​/​Petty Morals Split 7″ (2015)

Petty Morals Party Bois 1
Party Bois​/​Petty Morals
Split 7″

Do you like to party? No, do you like to party? Party Bois​ and ​Petty Morals like to party. They’ve got a new split 7″ to prove it. Party Bois offer up their biggest hook yet on “Loving Arms.” That’s saying something with the singles they’ve been putting out. It’s also the most straight-up rockin’ tune they’ve done. The electric guitars share equal time with the synths and electronic drums. Whoa-oh-oh! The flip side has Petty Morals hand clapping their way through another number ready for the ’80s guilty-pleasure flick running through my dreams. “Go For Broke” is a call to action. I suggest you answer it.

Petty Morals Party Bois 2

The 7″ record comes on snazzy pink vinyl and plays at 45RPM. Small hole. Full color jacket. Digital download. Get it.

Where to get it:

Petty Morals Party Bois 3

Le Roxy Pro – Le Roxy Pro (2014)

Le Roxy Pro 1
Le Roxy Pro
Le Roxy Pro

Le Roxy Pro are cooler than cool. One listen to their debut album will convince you of that. The band crosses The Dandy Warhols with The Beach Boys to wonderful effect. Give “Get It Out” a spin and you’ll see what I mean. “Coral Coralles” basks in a summer glow. “Bushkill” is a study in tension and release. “The Green Path To Nowhere” calls Teenage Fanclub to mind. They got me. Sometimes, straight. Sometimes spacey. Always compelling. What a sound.

Le Roxy Pro 2

The physical product is an eye catching, 12″ slab of blueish/greenish vinyl that comes in a full color outer sleeve and black & white inner sleeve. Lovely.

Where to get it:

Le Roxy Pro 3

Bent Shapes – “86’d in ’03” b/w “Bridgeport Lathe” (2014)

Bent Shapes 86d lamp
Bent Shapes
“86’d in ’03” b/w “Bridgeport Lathe”

Bent Shapes continue to pop out fantastic Pavement-meets-The-Kinks nuggets. Their latest release finds the snappy and difficult to type “86’d in ’03” backed by the more deliberately paced cover of 2 x 4’s “Bridgeport Lathe.” The former begs vigorous toe-tapping, the latter a steady head bob. Both recordings do all of the little things right. There’s playful guitar and bass interplay. There’s pitch shifting. There are “ah-ah-ah” backing vocals. These are all good things in my book. I dig it.

Bent Shapes 86d sky

The record itself is a picture disc of sorts. Instead of being pressed on vinyl, it’s lathe cut into transparent plexiglass. Small hole. 33⅓RPM. Three different color schemes. Did I mention that it’s square? Well, it is. This thing is really unique.

Where to get it:

Watts – “Flash Of White Light” b/w “The Mess Is The Makeup” (2014)

“Flash Of White Light” b/w “The Mess Is The Makeup”

I had this 7″ ordered as soon as I heard about it. Why not? With Watts, you know you’re gonna get some fine rock ‘n’ roll. That’s exactly what this release is. “Flash Of White Light” is instantly recognizable from their live shows and it rips with blazing guitars and a flash of… wait a sec. I got a little wrapped up in the tune there. How can you not like a song that name drops The Dirty Truckers, The Shods, The Dents and The Abbey Lounge? So good. “The Mess Is The Makeup” follows up with harmonies and handclaps. I’m a sucker for handclaps. Have I mentioned that Watts are good at the whole rock ‘n’ roll thing?


As for the vinyl itself? It’s white, obviously. Small hole. 45RPM. Full color jacket. Good stuff.

Where to get it:

Razors In The Night – Never Give In (2014)

Razors In The Night
Never Give In

Truth. Honor. Loyalty. Pride. Community. Stand together. Sing along. Have fun. Live. Laugh. Vent. Rage. Stay grounded. Raise a fist. Us against the world. Hated by many. Misunderstood by most. Never give up. Never Give In. Razors In The Night. Respect.


This record is flat-out fantastic. Die cut cover. Cool splatter vinyl. 12″ record played at 45RPM. A big-time record gets the big-time treatment. It’s good to see hard work pay off.

Where to get it:


Spirit Kid – Is Happening (2014)

spirit kid - is happening
Spirit Kid
Is Happening

Instantly familiar and blowing in like a breath of fresh air, Spirit Kid Is Happening has quickly found a place in my heart. Take a listen below. “Slow It Down” flat out smokes. “Is This Heaven” is a slow dance suckerpunch. “Making Excuses” would make The Raspberries proud. Singling out a few songs isn’t doing the rest of them justice. They all find their sweet spot and deliver the goods. Is Happening is a garage pop masterpiece.

spirit kid - is happening vinyl

Is Happening is available as a 12″ black vinyl record with a beautiful full cover jacket. You can also pick it up as a CD or digital download.

Where to get it:

spirit kid - is happening back

These Wild Plains – Waves / Plains (2013)

These Wild Plains
Waves / Plains

There’s something haunting about These Wild Plains. There’s a sense of foreboding that hangs over everything they do. The landscape is stark. The tension is palpable. This is mood music, and it’s killer. “Waves” is drenched in tremolo and reverb. “Plains” is drawn with interwoven guitars and unison vocals. Both songs are music cinema. We’re left with the lingering “Virginia” and a feeling that These Wild Plains are doing something special.


“Waves” and “Plains” come on a 45RPM 7″ record.* Basic black. It’s packaged in a plainly printed cardboard sleeve befitting the musical content. A digital download is also available.

Where to get it:


*“Virginia” is included with the digital download.

Aloud – It’s Got To Be Now (2014)

Aloud - Its Got To Be Now Cover

It’s Got To Be Now

Let’s cut to the chase. Aloud’s new record, It’s Got To Be Now, is pretty great. It’s a hook-filled slab of rock, soul, passion and urgency. Here’s a quick breakdown of how it plays out:

“Back Here With Me Again” opens It’s Got To Be Now with a blast of sunshine.

“Don’t Let It Get You Down” is straight up rockin’ soul.

“The Wicked Kind” smolders with biting guitar riffs and swirling organ.

“Jeanne, It’s Just A Ride” is a slice of ’60s pop heaven.

“A Little Bit Low” is an absolute scorcher, complete with a barely restrained breakdown to make you realize just how blazing this song is.

“Such A Long Time” revisits Aloud’s ’60s influence. This time around you may want to pull your baby close.

“After The Plague” has a timeless groove, harmonized “ahhs” and a triumphant chorus.

“It’s Got To Be Now” is infused with the desperation implied in its title.

“Complicity” is too bold to lurk in the shadows; it brings the shadows to you.

“The Ballad Of Emily Jane” could pass as Big Star.

“You Will Know” radiates sentimentality. The song goes through a subtle and beautiful transformation from reserved to glorious. A great way to cap off a fantastic album.

OK, that’s it. Aloud have really outdone themselves this time. Wait, here’s another picture…

Aloud - Its Got To Be Now Inside

The vinyl version is a basic black 12″ record spun at 33&#8531 RPM. The label offers one of my favorite A/B side indications in recent memory. There’s a full color sleeve and a lyric sheet insert to round things out. It’s Got To Be Now is also available on CD and as a digital download.

Where to get it:

Aloud - Its Got To Be Now Back