Category Archives: Pop

THE MEMORIES: ‘Pickles & PiES.’

THE MEMORIES formed in the Belmont/Hawthorne district of Southeast Portland, Oregon in the Summer of 2010 by White Fang bandmates and childhood friends Rikky Gage and Kyle Handley. They recorded their first album in one of the upstairs bedrooms at what was called the 40th house, a big three story home on a busy street that was a hangout for local stoners and artists. Their self-titled debut was released on their own Gnar Tapes label as a cassette. Two hundred were ‘pressed,’ and from such humble beginnings etc, etc….

Almost ten years on, and re-located to Los Angeles, The Memories are set to release what I think will be their ninth album (though it could be argued that some of their EP recordings could additionally fall into the ‘LP’ category. Their output has been pretty prolific over the years – check this little lot out – and so I’m surprised to find myself scurrying around the internet to find out more about the band.

Being my first time listening to the band, I’d describe them as a kind of lo-fi, summery, jangly pop type of unit. For instance, I wouldn’t have been too surprised had someone played me ‘Second Try‘ from this new album and told me it was Teenage Fanclub (with a very brief Puddle of Mudd styled intro .) It’s certainly in that groove.

‘In My Heart I Am Sailing,’ has a weird kind of pacing issue at the outset – I don’t know the technical term for this, but it sure grabbed my attention enough to write about it! When it comes in, the main vocal seems to hold a couple of beats longer than the backing harmonies do, so initially, they appear ever so slightly out of kilter. Clever!
The backing vocals wash over, in and out, of the listener like a gentle tide, and there is a very strong Sixties California feel to this song.

THE MEMORIES (May 2017)

It took me a minute or so, but, ‘The Sign‘ is an excellent down-tempo, lovers rock / reggae version of the Ace of Base song from back in the day. I believe the vocals are sung by Colleen Green and they are spot on – a little bit more ‘hushed’ than Jenny of Ace of Base, and I’d say a little more dulcet and playful.

The final final of the four tracks made available on Bandcamp prior to release, is ‘Purple.‘ This seems a little different to the other tracks I’v e heard in that it’s much more soulful, with vocals provided by PYNKIE. I have no idea, but when the chorus comes in and the production becomes that bit more dramatic, then drops down to the finish, I’m put in mind of Prince. But maybe that’s just a word association thing triggered by the word ‘Purple.‘ I don’t know. Whatever – this track’s a grower. (Just listened on repeat four times. It is.)

Yeah – so there it is. To my shame, I hadn’t listened to The Memories before. But right now, I’m off to work my way through their other twenty-seven releases as featured on Bandcamp.

See you the other side of summer.

THEATRE ROYAL: ‘Incidental Friend.’

It’s not very often that a band appears on the music scene, one hundred per cent ‘ready.’

Rochester band Theatre Royal are one .

I have been banging about them from virtually day one, and now, ahead of their fifth album release, due early next year, they have confirmed my faith with their excellent new ‘Incidental Friend‘ EP.

The four tracks will be drip-released over the next three weeks, with the title track available from today (1st November.)

Theatre Royal have never really strayed from what they do best – clear, melodic harmonies with hooky choruses and thoughtful lyrics. Their songs have the knack of immediacy, without being in your face, as such. And ‘Incidental Friend’ is no different in that regard.

Although I have said they arrived ‘one hundred percent ready,’ there has always been a natural progression, and this track shows a further maturity. It somehow feel just a little bit more polished; a little bit more relaxed in the delivery – like this is a band who appreciate their strengths and know where they want to sit in whole scheme of things. A band confident in their skin.

Look – it’s not just me. If blokes like Steve Lamaq dig them, then I need say no more.

Go check ’em out.



BANDAID BRIGADE: ‘Break The Grid.’

It’s never been enough for me, a band just producing excellent music; there needs to be more for them to make it onto my ‘favourites’ list.

In the case of Bandaid Brigade, the first criteria is easily fulfilled. Just listen to their latest offering, ‘Break the Grid,’ and their debut track, ‘Travel Light,’ (both below.)

But why are they my new favourite band?
Their debut album is not due until the turn of the New Year, and they certainly haven’t played here in Glasgow.

I’ll tell you why – it’s precisely because I can’t put my finger on what they offer! There’s an air of mystery about them, but a real punk attitude, harking back to the fun punk of the early 2000s. The music seems based on punk, but then isn’t what you’d call ‘punk.’

Their music and attitude makes me smile. They make me wanna dance … though you really don’t wanna see that.

Heck! Who cares what label is put on Bandaid Brigade. They have fun – we have fun. Everyone’s a winner.


BANDAID BRIGADE: ‘Travel Light.’

Bandaid Brigade are a new band out of somewhere, USA. The press bio doesn’t say. Not that it matters. But given the band’s instigators are Zach Quinn, of hardcore punk band PEARS fame, and Brian Wahlstrom (ScorpiosGods of Mount Olympus) then I’ll take a punt on New Orleans and California.

The band’s makeup is completed with Paul Rucker (Street Dogs) on drums and Chris Fogal (The Gamits) on guitar.

Now, given the pedigree, you, or at least I, would expect any such collaboration to result in something, well, punk based.

But see, that’s the trouble when writing of bands with connections to the American punk scene of old – and especially any who have had connections to Fat Wreck Records and worked with the likes of Lagwagon. They just didn’t seem to take life too seriously. You could never be sure what to expect next.

And so it is with Bandaid Brigade. With the release of their debut single, ‘Travel Light,’ the band seem determined to laugh in the face of genre convention. See? Even with something serious like releasing the lead track from their forthcoming album, ‘I’m Seperate,‘ they’re still laughing.

Details of the album are scarce at the moment, and given what I’ve written so far, I hesitate to suggest the following video is typical of what to expect.

The humour of the video, yes. Song style? Who knows?

Travel Light’ is about as far removed from the hardcore punk of PEARS as you can get, but you don’t have to listen too hard to pick up on some delightful pop punk vibes mixed in amongst the 80s disco beats.

The video is of course, both fun and excellent. But I listened to the track a few times without the ‘distraction,’ and you know – this song is catchy as f***!

I do tend to think Bandaid Brigade are more making some kind of ironic comment on the state of mid-80s, commercial music than seriously hinting they are headed off in that direction.

But if they are going that way, I think I’ll join them. It could be a right laugh.