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This Just In: New LPs from HHBTM Records

HHBTM New Releases

I got a package the other week from HHBTM full of new releases from the Athens, GA-based label. Mike at the label was kind enough to pass along the latest albums he’s releasing. Four records to be exact: new LPs from Eureka California, Orca Team, Sweater Girls, and Tunabunny. I’ve been a fan of HHBTM for ages, dating at least back to 2006, if not further. Anyway, here are some details on each of the records.

Oh yeah, and while clearing out my record cabinet the other day, I discovered a few more from Mike that I didn’t cover from the last shipment, so you’ll also get tastes of Red Pony Clock, Oh OK, even more Tunabunny and Joe Jack Talcum.

Here we go, in alphabetical order…

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Big Cats Can Swim by Eureka California

Eureka California: Big Cats Can Swim

Given HHBTM is from Athens, GA, it’s no surprise that many of the label’s bands also hail from the city. Often dubbed as a throwback to the 90s and hinting of British Invasion, The Line of Best Fit perhaps said it best, calling Big Cats Can Swim “the product of kids who know there’s no new shades on the spectrum, but are determined to have a blast mixing the colours.

I’ve really been digging Big Cats Can Swim. Lots of greats here, from opener “I Will Control The Nation” to midpoint toppers like “Heaven” and “My Kind of Battery” through closing track “Sleeper”. Eureka California is worth your time. Listen to “Dos Hermanos” below:

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The Complete Reissue by Oh-OK

Oh-OK: The Complete Reissue

Like Joe Jack Talcum, which you’ll read about and hear later, Oh-OK is a retrospective. Oh-OK was fronted by Linda Hopper, who, in the early 1980s also participated in such noted Athens bands as R.E.M and the B-52s. You can hear traces of the latter here in this reissue of 17 of the band’s songs.

Oh-OK is full-on playful girl-fronted indie pop. It has 80s indie pop written all over the sound. I’m pretty fond of opening track “Lilting”, but in truth the whole record is great!

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Restraint by Orca Team

Orca Team: Restraint

Seattle’s Orca Team creates what the band/label dubs as a 1960s post punk beach party, and to be frankly honest, they’re spot on with that description. In fact, the only truer description I’ve heard this year is that of the BBC commentating on the botched Jesus painting, stating the once-dignified portrait now resembles a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic.

I’ve listened to everything HHBTM has released by Orca Team, and am truly delighted to have my hands on their new LP Restraint. It’s been pretty hard to pick a favorite, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say “Been Crying All Day”.

Listen: “Been Crying All Day” by Orca Team

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Whatevz Forevzzz by Red Pony Clock

Red Pony Clock: Whatevz Forevzzz

Red Pony Clock has a tendency to produce crazy pop songs filled with joyous horns, jangle guitars, and songs that are more or less a strong nod to the Elephant 6 era. Whatevs Forevzzz follows suit, and does so on brown vinyl at that!

Seems like most people lean toward God Made Dirt as the fan favorite, but giving Whatevz Forevzzz a few spins and I’m sold on this as their pinnacle (thus far…). The vocals are a bit deeper and the songs slightly darker. The combination with the upbeat pop sounds make this a true gem.

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Sweater Girls Were Here

Sweater Girls: Sweater Girls Were Here

Been a bit obsessed with “Infatuation Street” of late; it’s the opening track to Sweater Girls’ debut LP Sweater Girls Were Here. This is girl-group pop at its true finest. My only problem is that I was stuck on the first track so long, it took two weeks to move beyond “Infatuation Street” and listen to the rest of the LP!

Of all the releases in this post, Orca Team’s Restraint is the only one that tops my love for Sweater Girls Were Here. We’ve seen a track or two from this LP before: “Pretty When You Smile” was the title track on SG’s latest single, and both “Fingers Crossed” and “Haven’t Got A Clue” appeared on the single for “Do The Sweater”.

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Home Recordings by Joe Jack Talcum

Joe Jack Talcum: Home Recordings 1984 – 1990

Founding member of The Dead Milkmen, Joe Jack Talcum is the stage name for Joseph Genaro. It stems from The Dead Milkmen’s self-created mythological storyline created upon their formation. Here, HHBTM presents the Genaro’s home recordings produced in the early years of the band.

Listening to Home Recordings, I can’t help but think of lo-fi home recording master Daniel Johnston. There are parallels in the sound both artists create, and I think you can hear those traits shine in “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free”.

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Genius Fatigue by Tunabunny

Tunabunny: Genius Fatigue

Genius Fatigue is the latest LP from Athens band Tunabunny. They call themselves transcendental dance pop, but I think this record has whole heaps of punk in it. For some, it may be too loud and raucous, but all should agree that Genius Fatigue sure is fun.

Like Sweater Girls, it took me a while to get past that first song (this time because I struggled with the lengthy feedback opening of first track “Flowers On The Stage”).

But beyond that, Genius Fatigue is masterfully brilliant. In other words… genius.

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Minima Moralia by Tunabunny

Tunabunny: Minima Moralia

Minima Moralia is what came before Genius Fatigue. With wholly cohesive songs that boast strong vocals, catchy guitar riffs, and little hints of emotion here and there (yeah, you, “Only At Night”), Minima Moralia was my favorite from Tunabunny… until Genius Fatigue came along.

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