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Screen Shot 2019-12-05 at 12.18.45 PMCan’t believe the mailbag is full again! But here we are. It’s nice to hear from people and even nicer that people pay attention to what I’m doing and send suggestions that really work with the blog’s over-arching theme. So here’s another batch of self-promoting rock and roll melody pushers that deserve three minutes or so of your time!

World traveling Brooklynite Andrea Caccese’s Dead Rituals invariably get described by reviewers as ‘dreamy’ and ‘atmospheric’ and I see it, particularly as we get started on his new project’s self-titled debut EP and its opening track “Run.” But suddenly at the 14 second mark the song gets just a bit more urgent, driven by a haunting guitar arpeggiation, something that only intensifies in the chorus in a most wonderous, happy way. “Closer” is pretty sweet too, reminding me of a bit of 1980s OMD. Valencia, Spain’s Baby Scream seems like a seriously misnamed act. There’s no screaming. There’s no ‘baby oh baby’ teenybop lyrics. Instead, on songs like “Fake It Till You Make It,” the band sound like John Lennon turned loose with 1980s synth, with very fab results. The song can be found on an EP entitled Things U Can Say to a Stranger and it has other highlights as well, like “Somebody Kill Me Now,” which sounds like a great lost Lennon out-take. Turning to Calgary band Science is Fiction, the comparisons are more to an early Elvis Costello and the influence is definitely there, particularly on tracks like “Shiver.” But their debut EP Don’t Everyone Thank Me at Once also vibes a solid glam Lou Reed élan on “Kissing You” and “Awkward Girl.” Influences aside, the material here is pretty solid and, ultimately, original.

Next stop? Kansas City, where Eggs on Mars fashion a lovely psych poprock tune with “People Pleasing” from their latest album, It Will Be Like It Was. I love the rollicking quality to this song as it barrels along, with a sneaky hook in the verses that keeps reeling you in. Hardworking Scot Super 8 turned out a nice EP this year, Head Sounds, with art work, title, and sounds that riff on the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. Check out the lovely melodic fun of “Millionaire.” It’s like a bit of the summer good times encapsulated in 3 minutes and change. Or there’s a hint of toe-tapping township jiving in the addictive “BonNES.” Then there’s still four other tracks that will lift you out of the winter doldrums. Last mail drop came from a literal living legend, Jean Caffeine! With a rock and roll story stretching back to the 1970s, Caffeine has done it all from punk to country to performance art to your basic stripped down indie rock and roll. Now she’s back with a killer EP Love. What Is It? and it is a very special synthesis of so many aspects of her career while perhaps also being her poppiest release yet. It’s all there in the title track, with its enchanting vocal stylings and subtle melodic hooks. Then out of left field Caffeine hits us with edgy Patti Smith-meets-The Who version of the “The Kids Are Alright” that totally works. “I Always Cry on Thursday” reminds me of Mary Lou Lord songwriting style-wise, while the delivery exudes the weary-life-lived sound of an Amy Rigby or Robin Lane or, frankly, Jean Caffeine. This is an EP release not to be missed!

People writing their own press briefings really could use some record sales – that much is obvious. Click on the links for Dead Rituals, Baby Scream, Science is Fiction, Eggs on Mars, Super 8 and Jean Caffeine to reward such efforts.