Tuesday, May 14, 2019

New Subjangle Releases: The Hannah Barberas and SUPER 8

Two-Fer Album Review

By Henry Lipput

The new independent label Subjangle is, as the name implies, all about the jangle. And, if you know anything about the music I love, it's also (mostly) all about the jangle. Subjangle is the official label of the Janglepophub blog and Twitter sites specializing in the release of carefully selected artists and limited-edition CDs (but unlimited digital purchases).

Two new releases by the Subjangle label are from two bands that I've listened to and enjoyed over the past year. Both of these albums are compilations of songs from 2018, and both include a couple of brand new songs that are terrific additions to their catalogs; and, when they get heard, they will no doubt expand their growing fan base.

The Hannah Barberas released their first digital EP, The Hannah Barberas Are Here At Last, in July of last year and were immediately embraced by the jangle pop community. This four-piece DIY group from London (made up of Damien, Lucy, Doug, and Matthew) record all of their songs on an 8-track machine at home. Their first EP was followed by two more as well as a Christmas EP and a Mark E. Smith tribute single, all of which were made available digitally on The Hannah Barberas' Bandcamp page.

The Subjangle release, Get Physical, is the first of The Hannah Barberas' output not to be strictly digital *which is where the album title comes from and not because they're doing a cover of an Olivia Newton-John song. Though, I expect they would really do a fabulous job with that).

Get Physical compiles selected songs from all three of the first three EPs including a few of my favorites like "Now (Is Here at Last)," "10 Feet Tall," and "Spellbound." The album also contains two great new songs that bring home the jangle but are also melancholy odes to lost or missing loves. I really like "I Like You In Blue," but I love "Café Song" which may be the best thing they've written.

Backers & Maracas is the latest from SUPER 8, a super-talented singer, songwriter, and producer from the UK. Readers of my reviews for CoolDad should already be familiar with his work. He released three albums last year including HI LO which ended up being my favorite album of 2018. I also did a Q&A with him before the release of his second album.

Backers & Maracas (the 'backers being the gorgeous red Rickenbacker he bought recently to bring a little more jangle to his songs) are a reference to the instruments hanging in his studio and seen on his video for one of the new songs on the album.

Like Get Physical, Backers & Maracas is a compilation of songs from SUPER 8's three releases last year and two new songs. One of the new songs is called "Something New" and makes wonderful use of that new guitar.

If, like me, you really love the songs that SUPER 8 released last year you'll be putting together a Super (8) deluxe version with all of the songs missing from the new album. I'd like to know what your choices would be.

The other new song on the album is "X Hits The Spot," a cover of a song by Michael Head & The Strands. Not knowing about Head's original take on this, I thought the SUPER 8 recording of "X Hits The Spot" was one of the best things I've heard this year. I've gone back and listened to Michael Head's "X Hits The Spot;" and it's wonderful, but I still really, really like what SUPER 8 brings to the track. He's taken a song about drug use and made it a song that anyone who misses a person, a place, or even a thing, can identify with.

Get Physical is out now on Subjangle. The CDs sold out during the pre-order phase, but the digital album is still available.

The Backers & Maracas CD can be pre-ordered from Subjangle through May 19th.

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