San Francisco/Oakland’s The Mantles have been charting a unique path through the Bay Area’s storied garage/pop scene since 2007. The early shows were loose & loud Velvets/Nuggets-bashing, always with weirdly catchy songs & oddball chord changes. Their first singles saw them honing their sound, building towards their excellent 2009 self-titled debut album (on Siltbreeze) and follow-up EP on Mexican Summer. Loosely aligning with artists like White Fence and Ty Segall, The Mantles thoroughly modernize and personalize the folk-rock tradition.
Now on Long Enough To Leave,The Mantles still color outside the lines but dial a cleaner, more infectious sound. SF’s Kelley Stoltz (Sub Pop) recorded the new album with enough savvy to make it pop while keeping the performances idiosyncratic & affecting. Sharp ears may spot bits of early Love, New Zealand’s Flying Nun label and LA’s Paisley Underground, but The Mantles are very far from revivalists and have more song-writing and arranging skill at their disposal than many bands could hope to have.
"The Mantles is the kind of album that defies expectations. Its shades of New Zealand-ry (an organ sound and laconic vocal delivery not far from Flying Nun groups such as the Chills and the Verlaines), its Paisley Underground touches (some reviewers have mentioned Steve Wynn and Dream Syndicate), and its better-than-NME's-C86-cassette pop appeal seem very au courant, but come across as natural as breathing. ... the Byrds-y jangle of 'Disappearing Act'; the churning propulsive energy of 'What We Do Matters'; and maybe most of all, the brooding balladry of 'Look Away,' a now-I-see-you-now-I-don't relationship ode which possesses a kind of offhand melodic and vocal strength that sounds easy to achieve, but obviously isn't, because so few ever manage to do it." --SF Bay Guardian
REUNITED AND IT SOUNDS SO GOOD!
Rocketship are one those rare groups who don't release a lot of records, but boy do they count when they do! Back when we released this album in January 1996, it had a huge impact on the international indie-pop scene. Their Hey, Hey Girl single on Bus Stop was a complete killer, and everybody was dying to see what would come next. Their two tracks on our Why Popstars Can't Dance compilation further upped the stakes - could their album possibly be as good as we would hope?
The answer was an emphatic "YES!" Dustin, Heidi, Verna and Jim outdid themselves on this gorgeous record, blending their patented swoony pop confections with spacey interludes and a judicious use of repetition. Every track is perfect little gem, sparkling in it's completeness. From the breathless rush of "I Love You Like The Way I Used To Do" to the sublime "Kisses Are Always Promises" to the ineffably sad "Friendships and Love," this amazing record continues to astonish with it's melodic invention, it's effortless mastery of the pop idiom. No pop fan should miss this one, and no collection is complete without it.
Boyracer was founded by vocalist/guitarist Stewart Anderson in 1990 and released their first single in 1991. Richard Adams left the group in 1993, after which the group released its first EP, Naked. They then arranged to release further recordings via Sarah Records including two more EPs in 1993. Both James Chadwick and Simon Guild departed early in 1994, and Anderson put together a new line-up before releasing the group's debut full-length for Slumberland Records.
More lineup changes ensued in 1994 while the group continued to put out releases, with a number of 7 inch EPs and they toured the United States for the first time at the beginning of 1995. Later that year they signed with MCA subsidiary label Zero Hour Records. The label dropped them while they were doing a nationwide U.S. tour. They then released several singles on independent American labels over the course of 1996. Early in 1997, the group split up, but in 2000 Anderson reconstituted Boyracer with several new members and new material.
In 2010 the band played two shows in Los Angeles and San Francisco as part of the Slumberland Records 20th Anniversary showcase. However the group did play another show in Flagstaff, Arizona at the end of October 2011.
Rose Melberg (Tiger Trap, Go Sailor, Brave Irene) and Jen Sbragia (All Girl Summer Fun Band) played their first show together in 12 years at chickfactor’s 20th anniversary party in Brooklyn in April 2012. Trust me when I say it was rad. And trust me when I say they won't be getting together very often - don't miss this!
Here is footage of their Portland show: http://www.rawkblog.net/2012/06/watch-the-softies-portland-reunion-show/
"The Softies — Melberg's duo with fan-turned-partner vocalist Jen Sbragia (who has recently recorded with the All Girl Summer Fun Band) — offers weightless guitar/harmony song sketches recalling the skeletal jazz-influenced pop that led Tracey Thorn of the Marine Girls to form Everything but the Girl." --Trouser Press