Thursday, November 14, 2019

40 From 40 Plus 10: 2010

Hi there. Two years ago we ran 40 From 40, in which we made forty track Spotify playlists for every year from 1970 to 2009. Some people liked them. Here, have a look/listen:

1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

So now we're coming towards the end of the following decade, it's time to bring it all up to date chronologically over ten more lists. Obviously for these years we have a lot more of a secure paper trail for what we thought was great - you're reading it - but it does no harm to have another look back at what was going on and put it into fresh context if possible. Such is the passing of time, of course, but looking at a list of 2010 events there are some things that happened - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (which peaked at 16 in Britain), Gaga's meat dress, Robbie rejoining Take That, Plan B's The Defamation Of Strickland Banks, a Biffy Clyro cover being the X Factor winner's Christmas number one, California Gurls, Fuck/Forget You - which feel like they belong to the previous decade, so much has happened since. As for the music - which, as always, is ordered not in qualitative but playlist flow order - well...



These New Puritans - We Want War
Napoleon IIIrd - The Unknown Unknown
Archie Bronson Outfit - Magnetic Warrior
Islet - Jasmine
Liars - Scarecrows On A Killer Slant
No Age - Fever Dreaming
The Walkmen - Angela Surf City
Grinderman - Heathen Child
Japandroids - Heavenward Grand Prix
The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio
Twin Shadow - Castles in the Snow
Katy B - Katy On a Mission
Janelle Monáe feat. Saul Williams - Dance Or Die
Robyn - Dancing On My Own
Yeasayer - O.N.E.
Everything Everything - Schoolin’
The Chap - We Work in Bars
Meursault - Crank Resolutions
Laura Marling - Devil's Spoke
Tindersticks - Harmony Around My Table
Los Campesinos! - The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future
Perfume Genius - Lookout, Lookout
The Indelicates - We Love You, Tania
Summer Camp - Ghost Train
Best Coast - Boyfriend
Gruff Rhys - Shark Ridden Waters
Allo Darlin' - Dreaming
Frankie & The Heartstrings - Hunger
Field Music - Them That Do Nothing
Dog Is Dead - Glockenspiel Song
Standard Fare - Love Doesn't Just Stop
Cults - Go Outside
MGMT - Brian Eno
Vampire Weekend - Cousins
Rolo Tomassi - Party Wounds
Rose Elinor Dougall - Find Me Out
Let's Buy Happiness - Six Wolves
Warpaint - Undertow
Edwyn Collins - Losing Sleep
Spoon - Written In Reverse

Monday, December 17, 2018

STN's "other" tracks and Mixtapes of 2018

This is the other part of our annual bonfire of the vanities - "other" tracks means those from albums that didn't quite make the top 50 of the year and those from artists that didn't put out an album this year at all. Last year, you may recall, we offered a 200-strong list. That was ridiculous even by our overwrought standards, so just a trim, unordered sixty this year. Fine? Fine.




A Certain Ratio feat. Barry Adamson - Dirty Boy
Adam Stafford - Zero Disruption
Amaya Laucirica - Could This Be
Amber Arcades - Alpine Town
Annexe The Moon - Full Stop
Baxter Dury, Étienne de Crécy & Delilah Holliday - White Coats
Big Joanie - Fall Asleep
Black Belt Eagle Scout - Soft Stud
Body Type - Arrow
boygenius - Bite The Hand
Boys - Rabbits
Brix & The Extricated - Heavy Crown
Caroline Says - Sweet Home Alabama
Christine and the Queens - Doesn't Matter
CHROMA - Girls Talk
CZARFACE & MF DOOM feat. Open Mike Eagle & Kendra Morris - Phantoms
David Byrne - Everybody's Coming To My House
Deerful - N1c
Drahla - Twelve Divisions of the Day
DRINKS - Real Outside
Eels - The Deconstruction
Evelyn Drach - Leopard in the Sun
FEWS - Business Man
flirting. - Peppermint
Gwenifer Raymond - The Three Deaths of Red Spectre
H. Grimace - In The Body
Historian - I've Been Here
Hop Along - Prior Things
itoldyouiwouldeatyou - Get Terrified
John Grant - Love Is Magic
Julia Jacklin - Body
Kermes - I Wanna Be Yr Sometimes
Lala Lala - Destroyer
The Lay Llamas - Silver Sun
The Longcut - Deathmask
The Lovely Eggs - Wiggy Giggy
Low - Dancing And Fire
Lucinda Chua - Whatever It Takes
Mastersystem - Notes on a Life Not Quite Lived
Mitski - A Pearl
The Mountain Movers - Freeway
Mutual Benefit - Written in Lightning
Nilüfer Yanya - Thanks 4 Nothing
The Ocean Party - Rain On Tin
Oliver Coates - Charlev
Pip Blom - Come Home
Pram - Footprints Towards Zero
Protomartyr feat. Kelley Deal - Wheel Of Fortune
Rebecka Reinhard - Nonsense in Your Sleep
Red Telephone - Kookly Rose
Robyn - Missing U
Rose Elinor Dougall - Make It With You
Run The Jewels - Let's Go (The Royal We)
Stella Donnelly - Mechanical Bull
Store Front - Go for Broke
Sudan Archives - Nont For Sale
Tigercats - Stay Out Of Limehouse
Tiny Ruins - Olympic Girls
Vive la Void - Death Money
Wooing - Could Have Been



What's that? Text isn't interesting to you any more? The pivot to other forms of media is complete? Alright, we don't have video but here's five Mixcloud-based 2018 Mixtapes, taking stuff from both the albums and tracks lists plus a handful of other really good songs that seemed to fit, and because we like a pointless concept they'd all fit on a standard CDR. Enjoy?










Thursday, December 13, 2018

STN's top 50 albums of the year 2018

Interesting and odd year in this regard as well as all the others, 2018. A lot of established names sat it out, others released surprise albums that got instant four-star reviews and then utterly disappeared from the wider conversation, and a good few previous STN favourites heavily underwhelmed. This is what did make an impression on us, the scientifically proven best half-century of full-lengths released this year. Despite the Spotify playlist covering 49 of them at the end, don't stream them. Buy them. Make the artists some actual money (Bandcamps and direct stores are linked where available) Buy them all. It'd cost at least £500, yes. Doesn't matter. BUY THEM ALL. (Just an idea.)

50 Boy Azooga - 1, 2, Kung Fu!
49 Spiritualized - And Nothing Hurt
48 Olden Yolk - Olden Yolk
47 Gruff Rhys - Babelsberg
46 Lord Huron - Vide Noir
45 Wolf Girl - Every Now & Then
44 The Beths - Future Me Hates Me
43 Calexico - The Thread That Keeps Us
42 Cavern Of Anti-Matter - Hormone Lemonade
41 The Low Anthem - The Salt Doll Went To Measure The Depth Of The Sea
40 Cat Power - Wanderer
39 Camera - Emotional Detox
38 Melody's Echo Chamber - Bon Voyage
37 Chorusgirl - Shimmer And Spin
36 Jessica Risker - I See You Among The Stars
35 Virginia Wing - Ecstatic Arrow
34 No Age – Snares Like A Haircut
33 Still Corners - Slow Air
32 Seazoo - Trunks
31 Go March - II
30 Trust Fund - Bringing the backline
29 The Wave Pictures - Look Inside Your Heart
28 Hilary Woods - Colt
27 Fightmilk - Not With That Attitude
26 Chemtrails - Calf Of The Sacred Cow
25 LUMP - LUMP
24 Roxy Rawson - Quenching The Kill
23 Tirzah - Devotion
22 illuminati hotties - Kiss Yr Frenemies
21 Shopping – The Official Body
20 Adrianne Lenker - abysskiss
19 Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert - Here Lies The Body
18 Fröst - Matters
17 IDLES - Joy As An Act Of Resistance
16 Field Music – Open Here
15 Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Hope Downs
14 Soccer Mommy - Clean
13 Mothers - Render Another Ugly Method
12 Gulp - All Good Wishes
11 Courtney Barnett - Tell Me How You Really Feel
10 The Spook School - Could It Be Different?
9 christian fitness - nuance - the musical
8 Modern Studies - Welcome Strangers
7 Ex:Re - Ex:Re
6 BEAK> - >>>
5 Neko Case - Hell-On
4 Gwenno - Le Kov
3 Beach House - 7
2 TVAM - Psychic Data
1 Haiku Salut - There Is No Elsewhere



Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Television personalities: the best holiday period telly and radio

It's STN's fourth grandest annual tradition - the music-related programming between this Saturday and the first Friday of space year 2019. And this year we're not going to just list every last Sky Arts repeat and chat show performance, this is just what we reckon is the cream...

SATURDAY 15th DECEMBER


9am Mastertapes: Access All Areas (BBC Radio 4 Extra) (repeated 7pm)
This is the Radio 4 series in which an artist talks over two parts about one of their most interesting albums, plays songs from it live and then takes questions from an audience - in fact it continues throughout this period, with The Good The Bad And The Queen on the 17th and Don McLean on the 24th, both at 11pm with the secondary set at 3.30pm the next day. This is a best of so far, Paul McCartney, Tom Jones and Robbie Williams among those featured.

9pm Quadrophenia: Can You See The Real Me? (Yesterday)
Made for the 2013 fortieth anniversary, Pete Townshend goes through his archive to recall the tensions and trips around the album.

9.10pm Cabaret (Talking Pictures TV)
Bit overarcing for shoestring operation and home of the forgotten British black and white romp Talking Pictures to have got this modern cinema musical classic, we thought, then we remembered its 1979 terrestrial TV premiere was on BBC2 at 10.45pm.

10.45pm Johnny Cash: Song By Song (Sky Arts)
12.15am Johnny Cash's Christmas Special 1976 (Sky Arts)
1.15am Johnny Cash's Christmas Special 1977 (Sky Arts)
2.15am Johnny Cash's Christmas Special 1978 (Sky Arts)
3.15am Johnny Cash's Christmas Special 1979 (Sky Arts)

There's a theme here. After a triple bill, one song each, of examinations into The Man's work, then a series of sentimental specials for CBS that don't really rub well against Cash's posthumous rebellious image. 1976 has Tony Orlando and Billy Graham, 1977 Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins together in a tribute to Sun Studios and Elvis, 1978 Kris Kristofferson, Rita Coolidge and Steve Martin, 1979's best known guest (June aside) from the modern perspective is of all people Andy Kaufman.


SUNDAY 16th DECEMBER


7pm What A Crazy World (London Live)
Joe Brown, a hoodlum youth, and Susan Maughan are on/off partners in, obviously, a very East London kind of early pop musical. Marty Wilde, Freddie and the Dreamers and Harry H Corbett are in it. Written by Alan Klein, whose sole album Well At Least It's British was claimed by Damon Albarn as a big influence on Parklife at the time. This. THIS is the kind of content we live for.

9pm Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney: Live From Liverpool (Sky One)
There's a few Carpool Karaokes on over the season but let's not drag ourselves down. This extended version of the feature sees them drive around Fab Wacky Macca Thumbs Aloft's childhood home and haunts before playing a surprise gig at the Philharmonic Dining Rooms.


MONDAY 17th DECEMBER


7pm Marc Riley (BBC Radio 6 Music)
The first of Not!Lard's best of the year shows that run until Thursday. Oh Sees and BC Camplight as far as the eye can see.

8pm Passions (Sky Arts)
Part of its ongoing occasional strand, Marc Almond traces the last days of Judy Garland.

9pm Radio 2 Rock Show Led Zeppelin Special (BBC Radio 2)
Marking fifty years since they were signed, with homages from Roger Daltrey, Brian May, Joe Elliott and Billy Gibbons.


TUESDAY 18th DECEMBER


9pm The Rolling Stones In Blue (BBC Radio 2)
Examining their debt to the blues in the company of utility expert Cerys Matthews.


WEDNESDAY 19th DECEMBER


9am Soul Music (BBC Radio 4) (repeated 9.30pm)
The series of first person anecdotes on the emotional impact of pieces of music returns with Joni Mitchell's not really a Christmas song River. Next week in the same slot it covers Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

8pm Christmas With Mariah Carey (Channel 5)
9pm Mariah: The Diva, The Demons, The Drama (Channel 5)

Can't work out if these are bought in or in-house, the suspicion is the latter given we can't find international distribution details. The latter is about her 2000-2001 and the film that brought about that lost in translation hashtag campaign; the first isn't Mariah Carey's A Christmas Melody, her self-directed TV film which doesn't include her one famous Christmas song, because that's on at 5.20pm on the 22nd.

9pm Gary Barlow - We Write The Songs (Radio 2, 9pm)
Allegedly the start, possibly just the pilot but even so of a series that chooses not to highlight that his guest is Macca. They're not writing songs together either.


THURSDAY 20th DECEMBER


7pm Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison (Sky Arts)
The cheers during the titular song were dubbed on afterwards, you know.

7.30pm Top Of The Pops 1986 (BBC4)
It does seem pleasingly odd that this repeat run has now been going since April 2011 with, as you'll see soon, no sign of letting up just yet in any way other than the continued absence of shows hosted by Mike Smith, who withdrew permission for the Beeb to show anything he was in before he died. That means today and tomorrow are the last of the year before the Christmas special, which is unfortunate as he hosted two of the three regular December 1986 shows. This obviously isn't one of those, featuring post-dumper Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Nick Kamen and, oh mercy, Roger Whittaker & Des O'Connor.

8pm Capital FM's Jingle Bell Ball (Sky One)
The millennial Smash Hits Poll Winners Party, but without the awards, magazine link, occasional eclecticism, absurdity or fun. Little Mix, David Guetta, Rita Ora, Jason Derulo, Clean Bandit, Ellie Goulding, Jess Glynne, Liam Payne, Zara Larsson, Anne-Marie, Olly Murs, Years & Years, you get the picture. More on Friday at the same time.

9pm Gideon Coe (Radio 6 Music, 9pm)
The annual Christmas special features the annual Gideon Coe play of the John Peel 1970 Carol Concert featuring Rod Stewart and the Faces, Marc Bolan, Robert Wyatt, Ivor Cutler and Sonja Kristina at a curious intersection in everyone's careers.


FRIDAY 21st DECEMBER


7.30pm Top Of The Pops 1986 (BBC4)
From 11th December the Housemartins and Jackie Wilson both on their way to number one, and ill-advised rock chick era Alison Moyet.

8pm Fleetwood Mac: A Musical History (BBC4)
This new Musical History series seems a cheap way of getting band-specific content onto the channel, garnering comment from whichever musicians and journalists were around for other projects to talk about an artist and their songs with fair use clippage.

9pm Music Legends We Lost In 2018 (Sky Arts)
Sure these annual tributes used to be two hours long, and it's not like 2018 has let up that much between Aretha, Avicii, Mark E, Dolores O'Riordan, Chas Hodges and, unless the final edit wasn't completed in time, Pete Shelley.


SATURDAY 22nd DECEMBER


5.20pm Celebrity Mastermind (BBC1)
Thirty years ago Toyah Wilcox played Boudica in a children's TV adaptation, now she's answering questions on her in a quiz show against Newsround's Ricky Boleto taking as specialist subject 1990s number ones.

6.10pm Pointless Celebrities (BBC1)
The Christmas special this year is for festive number one hitmakers, so that's teams of Dave 'There's Got To Be False Hair Sewn Into That Hat By Now' Hill and Mud's Rob Davis, Keren and Sara from Bananarama representing Band Aid, Sonia and Jamelia representing 2 and 20, and wildcard team Roger McGough (Scaffold) and Sally Lindsay (St Winifred's).

9pm Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender (Sky Arts)
There's a hell of a lot of Queen programming being repeated over the period, because there isn't that much footage of PT Barnum and they have to strike while the iron is hot on something. This one is worth your while as it's one of comedian, archive producer and superfan Rhys Thomas' documentaries and he got to go through Mercury's personal archive and find hitherto unknown material.

10pm 20 Years Of The Black Eyed Peas (ITV)
A celebration of Behind The Front, the then trio's 1998 debut album heavy on breakdancing culture and the kind of positivist old-school approach that Jurassic 5 did to much greater commercial success but still remains a throwback curio, is a brave thing to put on prime time ITV, but... ah, Joanna Lumley, Tom Jones and Nicole Scherzinger are involved. Maybe they'll quietly skip past that.

11.05pm Aretha Franklin: Respect (BBC4)
The quick turnaround tribute programme BBC1 put out in prime-time in August.

11.35pm Dreaming Of A Jewish Christmas (BBC4)
Not unsurprisingly American made because they're far more bothered about this kind of thing than us, an "irreverent" documentary about how so many Jewish songwriters from European immigrant backgrounds, including Irving Berlin and Mel Tormé, ended up writing American dream songs for the Christian festival.


SUNDAY 23rd DECEMBER


7.20am Rock You Sinners (Talking Pictures TV)
4.55pm Ring-A-Ding Rhythm (Talking Pictures TV)

See, only the most important shows make it into our round-up. Big Narstie is on a bunch of cultural prime-time shows, but here in the early hours of the gloriously lowbrow movie channel are these early British attempts to harness this passing rock'n'roll fad. First from 1957, where Jackie Collins is the only recognisable name in the cast including the musicians, then one you may know better as It's Trad, Dad!, directed by a pre-Beatles Richard Lester and featuring Helen Shapiro and Craig Douglas as the central couple hiring John Leyton, Chubby Checker, Del Shannon, Gary U.S. Bonds, Gene Vincent, Chris Barber, Acker Bilk, Kenny Ball, The Temperance Seven, David Jacobs, Pete Murray, Alan Freeman, pre-Grease Arthur Mullard and a sadly washboardless Deryck Guyler.

4pm Amy Lame (BBC Radio 6 Music)
Useless as night tsar or whatever she is but fine as a broadcaster, and here with the first part of an extensive chat with Tony Visconti which continues the next Sunday.

7pm TOTP2: Christmas 2012 (BBC4)
No new show this year, maybe due to Mark Radcliffe's cancer treatment but it's also possible they couldn't be arsed regardless. Here's one with everything you could want from such a compilation, and also Lily The Pink, Francoise Hardy, Stiff Records oddity The Snowmen, Mikey Dread's Reggae Reggae Christmas and Merry Gentle Pops by the Barron Knights.

9.30pm The Secret Story Of The BBC Christmas Tapes (BBC4)
He's A Sports PA or GTFO.

10pm Bros: After The Screaming Stops (BBC4)
Here's fun. Remember how Matt and Luke announced seven arena reunion shows in 2017 and then cancelled all but two for "logistical reasons", because those empty rooms do echo a bit? Oddly reduced even further to a single big show according to this documentary film, it turns out the Gosses don't actually get on and are prone to confessional Tufnell-cum-Partridgeisms. All the fun that implies.


CHRISTMAS EVE


8am Ten Hour Takeover (BBC Radio 1)
After last year's Radio 1 Vintage went down so well the station realised there might be something in this whole "not current music" thing and started a Radio 1's Greatest Hits show on Saturday mornings - within reason of course, we can count three songs not from the last twenty years in the last two shows' playlists. Will that feed into the latest of these listener request shows, which back when they started went all over the shop? Or is it just going to be George Ezra as far as the eye can see?

1pm Don Letts' Culture Clash Christmas (BBC Radio 6 Music)
4pm Wise Women: Zawe Ashton (BBC Radio 6 Music)

The zelig of punk documentaries gets three hours in the daylight, followed by the first of this year's Three Wise Women choosing three hours of music followed by programming involving Young Fathers, Bjork and Patti Smith.

5pm Mark Goodier's Christmas Number Twos (BBC Radio 2)
It's Chris Evans' last show on the station at 7am, and just for that 1996 feel Goodybags is on drivetime with the kind of thematic show Tony Blackburn always usually does.

9pm Elvis: The Final Hours (Sky Arts)
10pm Elvis Presley: A Legend In Concert (Sky Arts)
11pm Elvis '56 Special (Sky Arts)

Oh yeah, we just passed fifty years of the Comeback Special too, didn't we. The first is a retelling of his last days by the Memphis Mafia, the second not a concert at all but a set of TV performances, and the third isn't a special either but an examination of his breakthrough year.

11pm Late Junction (BBC Radio 3)
Let's face it, Stewart Lee was never going to become guest editor of Radio 1's Chillest Show. He's in charge for the next three days at this time with guests Richard Dawson, Tim Key and Laura Cannell.


CHRISTMAS DAY


9am Junior Choice (BBC Radio 2)
Anneka Rice fronts this now - and live too - after Stewpot passed on a couple of years ago. We're reassured to find that last year's playlist contained songs that can only have been requested by late fiftysomethings pretending to have passed their taste down to their kids without fightback - Captain Beaky, Hole In The Ground, Windmill In Old Amsterdam and the Bohemian Rhapsody of novelty, Sparky's Magic Piano.

12.30pm Top Of The Pops Christmas (BBC1)
The show has been gone for twelve years now but its spirit remains in these biannual dual shows. Fearne Cotton, doing her fifteenth festive shift, and Clara Amfo link Anne-Marie, Clean Bandit, Freya Ridings, the managing director of George From Asda, Jax Jones & Ina Wroldson, Jess Glynne, Jonas Blue with Liam Payne & Lennon Stella, Rita Ora, Rudimental with Jess Glynne & Dan Caplen, Sigrid, Tom Walker and Zara Larsson. You know, them.

2pm Talking Take That (BBC Radio 2)
Mainly included here because it's two hours long and so wraps around the Queen's Speech.

4pm Wise Women: Diane Morgan (BBC Radio 6 Music)
After a special featuring Noel Gallagher, which doesn't feel tremendously 6 Music, the actual Cunk takes over for the second day bringing with her features on Michael Kiwanuka, David Lynch and Ian Dury.

6.35pm Britain's Favourite Christmas Songs (Channel 5)
A little late in the day, especially as this first went out in 2011, but we'll just about accept it. It's actually the Official Charts Company doing the sums on the best selling festive hits, which in the age of streaming will now be completely wrong. Also There's No-One Quite Like Grandma is included but no other non-festive Christmas number one is.

10.10pm TOTP2 Christmas Special 2015 (BBC4)
The usual set again, but when did you last hear Just Jack's Starz In Their Eyes? Eleven years old now.


BOXING DAY


1pm Shaun Keaveny (BBC Radio 6 Music)
The annual Brians special, with Cox, Eno and "a special mystery Brian". Ooh.

4pm Wise Women: Courtney Barnett (BBC Radio 6 Music)
Blood Orange, Janelle Monae and Poly Styrene docs is the pleasingly varied selection for the third of this year's crop. Plus it's Courtney Barnett, so there may be loads of ace Milk! Records output and the possibility of a Katie Harkin cameo.

11pm Vinyl Revival (Absolute Radio)
There's a few documentaries on Absolute around here, most by the by, but this might be something, and never mind that Pete Paphides and Stephanie Hirst have already hosted BBC shows under the same neatly hip-rhyme title. Claire Sturgess interrogates her own collection to ask why these things are still around.

11.20pm Carole King and Friends At Christmas (BBC4)
This is seven years old so it's a bit late to be annoyed that this wasn't called Carole's From King. Anyway, Richard Hawley, Gregory Porter and the dearly lost Mummers guest.


THURSDAY 27th DECEMBER


7pm Top Of The Pops 1986 (BBC4)
Ending another year of repeat fun with the Christmas show, complete with late audio-only edit when it turned out Caravan Of Love wouldn't be the day's number one at all. It's also fun to watch for the Pet Shop Boys playing swapsies with their future images, Neil in aviators and puffa jacket, Chris in bowler hat and suit.

8pm Quincy Jones' 85th Birthday Concert (BBC Radio 2)
A repeat from June in which Jones performs his hits with a full symphony orchestra plus Paul Weller, Mick Hucknall, Mark Ronson, Jess Glynne, the ever reliable Beverley Knight and more.

12pm Top Of The Pops Christmas 1978 (BBC4)
And from a few years earlier a programme affected by a strike, meaning it all had to be linked by Noel Edmonds from an office. Spend your night with Brian & Michael, Father Abraham & the Smurfs and the Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band!


FRIDAY 28th DECEMBER


1pm The Official Chart Of The Year (BBC Radio 1)
Calvin Harris or Drake? Or will Ariana come up on the outside? Exciting, isn't it?

2.35pm Sunshine On Leith (Channel 4)
The Proclaimers jukebox musical movie, but not as poor as that sounds.

7pm Take That: We've Come A Long Way (BBC1)
There's a hell of a lot of the Thats this season, isn't there? We know they've just brought out a mutant greatest hits but even so. It's being trailed as their thirtieth anniversary, which is wrong whether you count it from when the members were brought together (1990) or when Gary Barlow met Nigel Martin-Smith (1989). Messages from fans, families, Robbie, the expected drill.

9pm Paul Weller: May Love Travel With You (Sky Arts)
10pm The Story Of The Jam: About The Young Idea (Sky Arts)

Weller recorded live at Royal Albert Hall in October acoustic with an orchestra, mostly to promote current album True Meanings plus surprisingly deep cuts from across his career, followed by a biography of his first band with new interviews and archive.

10pm First Impressions (Absolute Radio)
One hit wonders are well tred ground, so much so most of them are more famous than artists who had steady careers. This find out what it's like and what happened next, though please note the listing includes Chumbawamba whose follow-up single Amnesia reached number ten. At least it's not Right Said Fred. Or Hanson. Or, as we saw on one recent list, Simple Minds.


SATURDAY 29th DECEMBER


5.10pm Top Of The Pops New Year (BBC1)
It clearly isn't new year yet, but never mind. Anne-Marie, Clean Bandit, George Ezra, Jess Glynne and Jonas Blue pull double duty from the Christmas show, joined by B Young, Lewis Capaldi, Mabel, Tom Grennan, Tom Odell & Rae Morris, Years & Years and Christine and the Queens, who was a huge hit to a mostly new audience on the Christmas Day show in 2016 so it's unfortunate that she and they aren't going to get to re-enact that.

6.15pm Kylie Minogue: Reel Stories (BBC2)
This has apparently been on iPlayer since August, so someone should have said something. It's a very simple but effective format too - Kylie, in the company of Dermot O'Leary whose production company made it, is shown some of the BBC archive about and featuring her - Wogan! Going Live! That track about a font with the bloke from Deee-Lite! - and comments on it. NB. there's also a clip of Eliot Fletcher for no apparent reason. Presumably Dermot wanted to see it.

9pm Donovan and the Beatles In India (Sky Arts)
As you can tell by the order of the names, this is Donovan retracing his steps from the communal visit to the Maharishi with some of those that accompanied them (and Brix Smith-Start for some reason)

10pm Adam Walton (BBC Radio Wales)
One of our favourite DJs gets to his best of the year show, following two specials to celebrate his 25 years in radio on the 15th and 22nd.


SUNDAY 30th DECEMBER


1pm Gideon Coe (BBC Radio 6 Music)
The annual obituary show, three hours of music by those who passed on this year.

10.45pm Michael Jackson: Searching For Neverland (Lifetime)
Small beer on TV today - Sky Arts has Coldplay and Mumford & Sons gigs, and then there's this, "two of Michael Jackson's trusted bodyguards reveal the singer's devotion to his children and the hidden drama that took place during the last two years of his life."


NEW YEAR'S EVE


5pm Tony Blackburn's New Year's Eve 60s (BBC Radio 2)
7pm Mark Goodier's New Year's Eve 70s (BBC Radio 2)
9pm Gary Davies' New Year's Eve 80s (BBC Radio 2)
11pm Ana Matronic's New Year's Eve 90s (BBC Radio 2)
1am Dave Pearce Dance Anthems (BBC Radio 2)

Spot a common theme through the evening, then prepare to 'ave a large one in your middle age.

7pm Soulwax New Year's Eve House Party (BBC Radio 6 Music)
10pm Erol Alkan (BBC Radio 6 Music)

The usual.

9pm & 11.55pm Jane McDonald And Friends NYE Special (Channel 5)
Highlighting this first of all not just because it delays the inevitable but also the booking must have been achieved with the aid of some darts and a blindfold - Billy Ocean, Odyssey, Alexandra Burke, Collabro and, round of applause please, Gilbert O'Sullivan.

11.15pm Jools' Annual Hootenanny (BBC2)
HOOTEno. The last known hideout of Rowland Rivron welcomes Michael Buble, Chic, George Ezra, Jess Glynne, Rudimental, Junior Giscombe, the Hot 8 Brass Band power blues outfit The Record Company, country-soul singer Yola Carter, Jools' Rhythm And Blues Orches-Tra! regulars Marc Almond and Ruby Turner, and the usual pipe band at midnight.

11.35pm Madness Rock Big Ben Live (BBC1)
Meanwhile the beloved entertainers are playing a greatest hits set at Central Hall Westminster right through to 1am, with a small gap about 25 minutes in for something to go off next door.

1.30am Best Of Glastonbury 2017 (BBC2)
3.40am Reading Festival: The Best Bits (BBC2)

BBC2 do this every turn of the year and they aren't going to let the minor detail of there being no Glastonbury in 2018 stop them.


NEW YEAR'S DAY


9.00pm The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years (More4)
11.15pm John and Yoko: Above Us Only Sky (More4)

Documentaries all the way on this restful day - More4 re-run the Ron Howard live Beatlemania film documentary and the story of the album Imagine...

10pm Supersonic (BBC4)
11.55pm Britpop At The BBC (BBC4)

...while the Beeb dig out the tell-all Oasis (up to Knebworth) story and the companion compilation highlighted by a tremendously off-key Echobelly TOTP performance.


WEDNESDAY 2nd JANUARY


9pm Exploring Life On Mars? (Radio 2)
The 1973 single from the 1971 album a week before Bowie's birth and death anniversary. OK. This was actually first broadcast in 2017 to mark what would have been the Dame's 70th birthday, Martin Kemp joined by producer Ken Scott, pianist Rick Wakeman, live keyboardist Mike Garson, video director Mick Rock, and Marc Almond just because.


THURSDAY 3rd JANUARY


9pm Gideon Coe (BBC Radio 6 Music)
Coe's festive week themed shows are always fun, and today he does something we tried to put together years ago with three hours of tunes that reference other artists.


FRIDAY 4th JANUARY


11.30am Carole King: Tapestry Live From Hyde Park (Sky Arts)
12.45pm Paul Simon Live At Hyde Park (Sky Arts)
2pm The Rolling Stones Return To Hyde Park: Sweet Summer Sun (Sky Arts)
3.15pm BST Hyde Park Highlights (Sky Arts)

We spot a theme.

9pm Top Of The Pops: The Story Of 1987 (BBC4)
10pm Top Of The Pops 1987: Big Hits (BBC4)

And onwards we go into a year of SAW, hip-hop emergence, faceless house acts having number ones and Rick Astley all the way. We're very glad to see the compilation features Eric B & Rakim's sullen treatment of the Coldcut remix of Paid In Full, which they'd never heard before arriving in the country that morning and had no idea TOTP was known nationally.

11pm The Kate Bush Story: Running Up That Hill (BBC4)
12pm Kate Bush At The BBC (BBC4)

And to close, the very worthwhile 2014 examination of a career less lived and her willingness to mime on any arts outlet or Pops itself. From this point on the new year stretches out before us, try to enjoy it.

Friday, November 30, 2018

What you may have missed: November

Last one of these for the year as by the end of December we'll be busy with end of year list season (oh, and some religious doowotsit), so here come 25 tracks we love that passed under the general radar this eleventh month:

Angelic Milk - Celebrate
Let's start in Saint Petersburg, of all places, where once the Black Sabbath first album intro (or "the Trevor Steeles music" if you share our frame of reference) is done shoegaze ethereality is the order of things, Sarah Persephona's vocals making it sound like a hazy Crutchfield (either one). PNKSLM are putting out their album in the second week of the new year.

Camera - Patrouille
Phantom Of Liberty was one of our favourite lesser-known albums of 2016 and Emotional Detox is just as accomplished, the Berlin now-quartet folding their shapeshifting Neu! beat around warping, worn synths and washes. This track unfolds into full bloom over twelve minutes, as good modern Krautrock should.

Campfire Social - Oh Atrophy
Llangollen's own make a break for the border on their indie-folk promise, the harmonies lifting a big chorus that belies both a Ben Gibbard influence and its bittersweet, depression examining tone.

Chemtrails - Vultures
You again. The second track from the Cuckoo Spit EP, out on the 7th, compacts a crunchy, fuzzy garage-pop charge and a deck of hooks below which something wicked lurks.

CHROMA - Girls Talk
Popty-Ping's colourful array of 7"s have thus far always turned up interesting and genre-shifting things, in this case a forcefully danceable Pontypridd trio who sound like if Dream Wife had emerged in mid-00s Portland, cowbell and all.

Darren Hayman - Ousby
In time for the centenary of WWI's armistice Hayman brought out the third and final volume of his Thankful Villages project. According to the blog his visit and recording was made on the day Jo Cox was murdered which affects the lyrics, deliberately undermining the quite jaunty folk arrangement of Hayman's own passing on of community and timelocked stories.

Eerie Wanda - Moon
The Amsterdam-based trio use minimal ingredients - Marina Tadic's haunted, countrified vocal, a cyclical guitar part, drum machine pulse, organ to shade in - to produce something that both seems warm and frosty at the same time, swaying and richly lonesome. Second album Pet Town is released on 25th January.

FEELS - Car
Fronted by the tremendously named Laena Geronimo and by Shannon Lay, who brought out a strong album of haunted folk last year, FEELS have connections to Oh Sees and Ty Segall, and Wichita are going to put out their second album. The first track is stompy, glammy garage with a sweetly melodic heart and augurs well.

Frog - American
Another from the oddball offcuts collective at Audio Antihero, taken from mini-album Whatever We Probably Already Had It, the Queens duo's broken Americana and immediacy of delivery add to the tone of bitter irony.

Gwenifer Raymond - The Three Deaths Of Red Spectre
The Cardiff-born Brightonian's Appalachian acoustic instrumental workouts attracted a good amount of attention with her debut album earlier in the year; the nearly seven minute follow-up track stamps her own dramatic, impossibly interlocked stamp on the genre.

Holysun - Don't Care
Madrid's Holysun, which appears to be a solo project for the little we can tell, describe themselves as "pop noir", which does our job for us - widescreen minor dramatics, chiming riffs and ticking over percussion, unfurling and building upon itself towards the horizon.

Jeremy Tuplin - Bad Lover
Articulate and chiming, Tuplin's crooning baritone and self-questioning lyrics bring a weight to the bouncy guitar-pop behind that promises interesting things ahead with a second album due soon.

Lucinda Chua - Whatever It Takes
Chua, more recently in FKA twigs' live band, used to front Felix, whose misty chamber-unsettlement found a home in our end of year albums list twice. Chua's second solo outing takes that sound into an even more intimate and foreboding place, minimal and tactile for further shivers.

Milk Crimes - Anna
We've got this far without any DIY indiepop, so let's have some. The Leeds outfit's main points - slightly yelpy vocals, insistent riff, generally empathetic and lyrically astute - unavoidably resemble Martha but that's far from a bad thing.

Moving Panoramas - Baby Blues
A little late in the year for sunkissed dreampop, but no matter. From the Austin band's second album In Two, due in February, it's all about forward motion that surfs with heavenly harmonies and underpinning keyboard gradually pulling everything towards a kaleidoscopic centre.

The Ocean Party - Rain On Tin
The Melbourne band's songwriter and drummer Zac Denton died suddenly in October. The opener from album The Oddfellows' Hall is one of his songs, revealing a storytelling ease of touch and emotionally descriptive resonance that would keep up with the country's storied finest.

Queen Zee - Hunger Pains
Building a growing reputation for their riotous live show, some of that comes across in the capture-release punk energy of this new version of an early lo-fi single ahead of February's debut album, screaming guitar solos and lead vocals alike.

Rose Elinor Dougall - Make It With You
For all the greatness of her dalliances with dancepop and psych-indie, Dougall is at her most affecting when her rich tones are presented at their most slo-mo and exact. Produced and co-written by Andrew Sarlo, who did the Big Thief album, the so far standalone track is lush, honeyed and anxious in love.

Roxy Rawson - The Good Shepherd
Seven and a half years after first featuring on STN - most of that time was spent badly ill with Lyme disease - Rawson's debut album Quenching The Kill was supposed to be out today but beyond a stream we can't find anything about it being available yet. Ah well. (UPDATE: it's now on Bandcamp) At least we have this to share, a martial beat behind her familiar conservatoire violin, leaping vocal range and dramatic hidden depths.

Rumour Cubes - A Flicker Of Empty Flags
The second of the rejuvenated post-rock collective's politicised singles ("we wanted to respond to the hollow nationalism that has infected our politics and allowed far-right narratives to become normalised"), their cresting dramatics lie on lachrymose violin solos, urgent drums and ebbing Hollywood overture strings.

Silverbacks - Just In The Band
Feels like there's quite a bit of this sonically squally art-pop coming out of Ireland of late, and just to drive that impression home this awkward, tense noise-pop nugget with a pounding climax like an unwound Parquet Courts fronted by Julian Casablancas is produced by a member of Girl Band.

Sir Babygirl - Haunted House
One of those bedroom shots at forging a singular voice in a homogenous pop landscape that sounds like it was inspired by most if not everything at once, Kelsie Hogue's project reaches the latest of several earpricking bubbly, theatrical pop tracks where the beats take off hyperactively and the vocal range reaches its outer limits as if out of existential panic.

Skinny Girl Diet - Shed Your Skin
The sisterly grunge-pop now-duo return with a second album, Ideal Woman, of aggressive riffola, malevolent delivery and the desire to rub their dirtiest guitar sounds right in your theoretical face.

Yr Poetry - five guys but there's only two of us
From a split EP with Falls and SUMMERMAN, yet more falling over themselves while charging at the existential black hole.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

What you may have missed: October

Adwaith - Y Diweddaraf
Haven't been as convinced as many about the - go on, guess - Welsh trio (Carmarthen, to be exact) but this dip into crepescular Siouxsie territory around a slowly evolving circular riff where the track is nearly halfway done before the vocals come in is a big step forward

Anatomy - Anatomy Theme
Well, that's the existence of Grey's Anatomy making this post completely unGoogleable. Emily from Kermes' other band debut properly with six minutes plus of what they term "spooky doo-wop", developing from haunted drones and grooves to full abrasive noise and cathartic howling into the void

Baxter Dury, Etienne De Crécy, Delilah Holliday - Tais Toi
At nine tracks totalling nineteen minutes B.E.D. is largely being treated as a stop-gap but it doesn't feel like a set of knock-offs, Dury's typically overdetailed sprechgesang persona rubbing up against Holliday (of Skinny Girl Diet) as contemptuous foil

Boy Harsher - Face The Fire
Darkwave is a very easy thing to get wrong, too far a step in the wrong direction and you end up too goth for your own good. The Massachusetts duo stay comfortably the right side, their minimal atmospheric mumblecore a more nuanced version of the if-80s-were-10s thing so many others with synths are doing

Brix & The Extricated - Heavy Crown
Breaking State, the second album by four of the Fallen, is entirely made up of original songs, despite this starting with something very like the Totally Wired intro drums. Actually they haven't moved that far here, you could easily imagine this track from that band's 1983-84 vintage until dropping into a Blondie-adjacent pop chorus

Chemtrails - I'll Never Be
A little late in the day for glorious summer anthems, but the psych-garage outfit following up their unjustly overlooked album Calf Of The Sacred Cow with the Cuckoo Spit EP on 7th December have hit on a bouncy, Farfisa-fuelled anthem of self-acceptance

Chorusgirl - In Dreams
From second album Shimmer & Spin, out 16th November, the power-pop gets turned down a couple of notches, the echoey twang is less clean and deliberately unsure of itself, and Silvi's occasional lyrical touchstone of waiting to grow up and move away weighs heavier. Touted as an album detailing a year of personal bad news it's an intriguing semi-introduction

Comet Gain - I Was More Of A Mess Then
26 years in the grand staging post of indiepop reopens business once again with a double A side, this side a scrappy sub-two and a half minute cut of secret hope maybe deliberately designed to sound like a dug up garage 7" obscurity

Dead Slow Hoot - Below
Sounding like they could have made this into an anthem but didn't have that much ambition, the Sheffield four-piece deal in melancholia that colours in the cracks and unfolds in its own richly detailed time unless it's being derailed by a sudden burst of noise

Diva Sweetly - Detox Island
NorCal newcomers deal in skippy, carefree pop headed to the beach, mainlined for instant catchiness. It also shifts speed attractively, though the counter-vocals suggest something else might be going on underneath

Fightmilk - Not Going Anywhere
Although we could have picked practically anything from Not With That Attitude's biting power-pop thrills, which got a surprise digital release today two days ahead of schedule so just got in under the wire by circumstance

flirting. - Yum
It's not often these days that a debut EP sets out its stall and approach equally now and for the extended discography universe future as effectively as This Would Be Funny If It Were Happening To Anyone But Me. Ambitiously, entrancingly vaulting in a "didn't think new bands sounded like this any more" way, it touches on post-rock, pared down National-like ambition, the odd mathy break, weighed down atmosphere build-and-release and a nod especially in the spoken word breakdown to Meanwhile Back In Communist Russia

Hairband - Bee
1:58, just like mum used to make. Sounding like they intended to make either a janglepop record or a Breeders record but got distracted and piled too much onto it, submerging an insistent jangle beneath overlapping harmonies and intricate about-turns not that far from the blessed Life Without Buildings' twisting frictionless syncopation

Her Name Is Calla - Swan
The longserving post-rockers' final single, apparently, and it's a bleak exit, crushing a Valhalla-heading stomp under a refracting doomy riff

Hussy - Slayer
South Londoner Sophie Nicole Ellison by name, trading in underwater dreampop that surges and stalk in textures of distorted, darting guitars in ways that recall someone like Tanya Donelly

J. Lynch - Bereft
Johny Lamb has been around for a while, most notably as Thirty Pounds Of Bone; his latest outlet throws out the folky handbook and picks up the second hand modular synths, dressing downbeat songs in a variety of distorting and broken electronic noise and drones that somehow coalesce to form mini-melodies of their own

Pavvla - Something New
This month's nod to actual pop modernity comes from Barcelona's Paula Jornet, whose pared down, introspective take on modern electronic pop tropes suggests a Catalan Lorde

Piney Gir - Dreamcatcher
Gir's another one who has been around for years in assorted forms and styles - actually we last saw her, we now realise, as one of Gaz Coombes' backing singers. Back to the grind with an insistent, dreamy West Coast guitar pop excursion about taking risks augmented with crunching solos - plus Sweet Baboo parping away on sax, surely by now having far cleared Thomas White's previous all-comers record for most bands played with

Pozi - KCTMO
New on PRAH Recordings, the Moshi Moshi spinoff that gave us Haiku Salut's recent album, a trio who prove you can do wiry, jittery motorik-driven post-punk without a guitar (a violin fills the gap instead) debut with a pointedly angry instant reaction-penned song about Grenfell

R.Seiliog - Opal Drift
Robin Edwards says his second album Megadoze will be more on the ambient techno side then his earlier kosmiche. The first taste does feel becalmed in comparison but possesses that pulsing, undulating build to a point where it seems to naturally open out and embrace the insistent rush

Red Telephone - Victoria Park
This Barrett/Lennon-nodding nostalgia trip is, for what it's worth, what we reckon is the Cardiff psychedelics' weakest track in their current set, and it's still hugely appealing in its evocation of place, time and social surroundings

Store Front - Go For Broke
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart were never the same after Peggy Wang left, so nice to see she's resurfaced in a new Brooklyn-based band who debut with a propulsive, effortlessly melodic and hooky song about the money/culture/happiness balance which recalls The Organ (there's one for the teenagers)

Tiny Ruins - Olympic Girls
Fulfilling October's New Zealand quotient, Hollie Fullbrook brings out her third album under this umbrella in January, picked up by Milk! Records (proprietor: C. Barnett) domestically. Folky and delicately intricate in its acoustic picking, woodwind and woody backing colours the backdrop of her literate hopes of escape

The Wave Pictures - House By The Beach
Their second album of the year, because they're the Wave Pictures and they do that, Look Inside Your Heart is out on 9th November. They've released a whole bunch of tracks from it on a weekly basis, of which this almost straightforward rock'n'roll excursion made the most ground. Solos abound

Wooing - Could Have Been
The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players were an entertaining diversion in the middle of the New York New Rock Revolution, a married couple basing weird pop songs on found slides with their pre-teen daughter on drums. We're talking about them now because Rachel Trachtenburg has re-emerged at the front of a meaty new proposition, swooning, swirling guitars like college rock in a cement machine pushing against her insistent leaping vocals.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

What you may have missed: August/September

What you may have missed: August/September We've been working on other stuff these last couple of months so this our now sole feature has slacked off, but just to make sure the whole year is covered let's whip through another 25 things from under the general radar that came out over the last two full months just before this one is completed...

August

A Certain Ratio feat. Barry Adamson - Dirty Boy
Even bands who haven't recorded in ten years and pretty much exist in theory have a new one from the compilation. In this case a chrome disco tribute to Manchester nightlife with someone who also has a career-spanning anthology plus new one fresh out plus an old recording of Tony Wilson giving advice. There's also a whistle, because ACR.

Adrianne Lenker - cradle
Abysskiss is an ideal companion to last year's breakthrough Big Thief album without bearing that much in direct comparison with it, intimate and folkish without the guitar bite but replacing the deeply personal with the more elliptical.

Arc Iris - $GMNS
A radical rework of earlier track Money Gnomes, lifting it off into space across synths and harmonies that crest and wane like early Cocorosie to the power of Flaming Lips

Benjamin Shaw - All Body Start Feeling Down
The anti-everything dissonant Shaw has long been across our radar; he's now based in Melbourne and making electronic drones full of warped beats, found sounds and existential dread

Castle Pines - Woo Hoo
Californian sunshine, with Camus-inspired wry storytelling. Feels very like something late 90s that we can't quite place

The Chills - Scarred
Dunedin soundmeister Martin Phillipps and co's new album Snow Bound continued on their comeback bittersweet path sounding like Teenage Fanclub inverted

Cosmic Strip - Heavenly
The first dreampop of the month unspools kindly into reverberating, restrained spiralling riffs complementing Camella Agabaylan's vocals a la all Lush eras at once

Ellis - The Drain
A more foggy while swooning take on the same genre by Ontario's Linnea Siggelkow, gauzy surges and downbeat melodies circling before ascending to an attempted minor triumph

Esbie Fonte - Pico & Westwood
Slo-mo electro from LA, romantic notions striving for more, effects like emerging into the sunlight

Exploded View - Sleepers
Years ago Anika, leader of the Mexico City-via-Berlin trio, put out a solo album on Invada; this from her band's second album feels like that label's journeys into exploratory Kraut-darkness, eerie and anxious in a way that feels like it's floating above the chaos

FEWS - Business Man
IN HIS SUIT AND TIE. FEWS have been around the STN block for a couple of years and now seem to have developed a pounding edge derived from the darkest recesses of post-punk, all razorwire guitars and nihilistic vocals

Fightmilk - Four Star Hotel
Not With That Attitude, out 2nd November, is Fightmilk's Kirsty Maccoll-goes-fizzy-pop-punk apogee, the cynicism of love having fallen apart to no great loss writ large

Fröst - Black Mountain
We were heavily taken with the duo's ethereal motorik debut back in July and their second single from Matters, an album that's flown heavily under the radar but is worth your investment, adds Goldfrapp-like electronic pulses to good effect

Gulp - Silver Tides
Talking about insistent psych-y records that people have missed brings us to All Good Wishes, Guto and Lindsay's seconds album being their high water mark, the last track on which is a joy of percussive forward motion eventually being sucked down its own centre

Honey Moon - Yours, Girl
And here's the month's first nostalgic sundrenched jangle, all wide-eyed romance in the key of longing

Kate Teague - Good To You
Wistful, lushly detailed in warmth, vaguely countrified struggles with self-esteem from Oxford, Miss. singer-songwriter recorded in Memphis

Mi Mye - Your Left Side
Wakefield stalwart Jamie Lockhart and band find hope amid personal tragedy in a shivering, ambitious tone like a claustrophobic National

Moderate Rebels - I Love Today
Semi-threatening glam chant stomping quasi-irony from enigmatic London collective who describe their modus operandi as "(we) wanted to make a bit of a glorious noise and see what happens", which seems about right

Mountain Man - Rang Tang Ring Toon
Eight years after their last album, during which time one of them has been busy with Sylvan Esso, the harmonic trio returned with this spare tribute to the wonder of friendship

Owls Of Now -Lead Singer
Another from Glasgow's secret indiepop factory, Episode 4 EP lo-fi in all the appropriate places referencing across riot grrrl, distortion and shambling jangle

Public Practice - Fate/Glory
Spiky, bass-propelled convulsing post-punk isn't dead! It's got groove, it's got meaning

Silent Forum - How I Faked The Moon Landing
Remember the shortlived baggy revival? The Cardiffians scrape along the edge of it with six and a half minutes of swagger, spiralling riffs and dancefloor ambition

Slime City - Less Jools More Top of the Pops
Yeah, fair sentiment. Unsurprisingly given the hyperactively chaotic post-punk collapsing attack, they comprise former members of We Are The Physics

Still Corners - The Message
Remaining one of our most underappreciated bands, the album Slow Air brings a new weird Americana to their dreampop float

Terry - Bureau
Yet more of that bass-driven splintery groove, this time from Melbourne where the sunlight sound is allowed to intrude upon wiry guitars and propulsion



September

180dB feat. Meredith Graves & Nick Zinner - Road Trip
Savages' rhythm section plus Perfect Pussy plus the Yeah Yeah Yeahs plus a Goldie collaboration with Skepta that kind of formed the track's basis equals raging, intense modern punk

Big Joanie - Fall Asleep
Fractured popish shaped and handclap driven insistency from righteous black feminist punks partially behind Decolonise Fest

Blithe - Mission
OK, Blithe Saxon is quite a difference to all the schmindie around here given her inspiration was Katy Perry and she cites Billie Eilish and Troye Sivan as her lineage, but this is the kind of slinky modern pop with electronic whistle hook that usually gets a lot more cool press coverage than this has had

Body Type - Palms
Starts a bit like Bloodbuzz Ohio, then devolves into classy summery garagey Auspop with a rush of a chorus. The self-titled EP is all this arrestingly good with lyrical cut

Charmpit - Squirrel Vision
Until this release we never knew what Charmpit's surnames were, which is good because pop stars should be recognisable by their first name along, but also a shame as it turns out they're magnificent. Anyway this is half of their end of summer double A-side and is irresistably glitterpunx as everything else they've done

Chorusgirl - No Goodbye
Second album Shimmer & Spin is out on 16th November and sounds like business kind of as usual in a good way, jittery and taut with subtle retro twang and lyrical unsureness

Dammit I'm Mad - Atomic Spectroscopy
A decade or more ago no end of guitar bands playing spidery lead guitar lines that ran fast and loose with the concept of time signature, and they came to call it math-rock. This from a Swedish duo isn't math-rock as she is spoke, but its structural shifts would be at home at ArcTanGent all the same

Deerful - N1C
Emma Winston's 8-bit electropop project returned with an album "coded in the music programming language ixi lang", giving impersonal machines a genuine, gossamer heart (and then breaking it, because a songwriter can)

Evelyn Drach - An Archipelago Rises
Drach continues her run of fascinatingly unsettling low-key singles based on heavy poetics and semi-ambient, vaguely parallel to trip-hop backing. Uneasy like Sunday night

Go March - Chop Chop
Nine minutes, but the wildest nine minute ride you might have this year of Antwerp-originating electronic psychedelia, overheating circuit boards and worn out analogue ger coming to mind in the Holy Fuck tradition

Haiku Salut - Occupy
We're not going to let up on this, you know

Historian - I've Been Here
We've jumped on board with the LA band's fourth album but at least that means a spot where they seem to have a grasp of what they're doing, namely expansive, drifting art-rock with actual panoramic layers and depths, like the jazz trumpet cascade here

indi - Demeter
The kind of track that feels like it's barely there, at least until the drum machine kicks in and the New Zealand born, Berlin based Flying Nun signing emerges from the chrysalis as a Bjork-adjacent commander of rushing electronics and calmed, string-laden ethereal passages

itoldyouiwouldeatyou - Gold Rush
Socially conscious modern emo on fighting for something bigger than yourself from the septet featuring Alexei Berrow somewhere round the side

Jeremy Warmsley - Moment
Hey, I know that name! J-Wo's first solo material in ten years was written for BBC1's Wanderlust, the pitch being that it should be one character's favourite song. No pressure. What that led to is a snaking, detailed jazzy nine-minute meditative piano lament ripe for headphones

Monnone Alone - Cut Knuckle
Melbourne's Mark Monnone used to be in the rather wonderful Lucksmiths; produced by British ex-pat Gareth Parton (Go! Team, Foals) and featuring the drummer from Architecture In Helsinki, he now deals in woozily heatstruck 12-string jangle with Chills-like left of centre pop nous

Moscow Youth Cult - Hospice
From the duo's second album Brutalism, towering arpeggiating synths and shuddering beats heading into a pile-on of analogue noise

Mothers - Circle Once
Why is nobody talking about Render Another Ugly Method? Come on, you went nuts about their much lesser first album...

The Mountain Goats - Hospital Reaction Shot
Darnielle and co are planning a group of EPs - this from the first of those, Hex Of Infinite Binding EP, is a lament inspired by a press conference announcing the death of Judy Garland

Mutual Benefit - Written In Lightning
Jordan Lee's third album under the name exudes grace and love in the face of the bad times

Pom Poko - Follow The Lights
Out of Norway, a big old distorted lumbering glam beast with a playtime chorus

Rumour Cubes - No Pasarán!
More old STN favourites who've been away for a while, the post-rock collective surge back with politically charged determination with their previous contemplative grace somehow still finding room to run through its centre

Sœur - Fight
Bristolian trio slow build through gritted teeth throughout towards a delayed payoff of a violent post-grunge explosion

Squid - The Dial
The latest expulsion from the Speedy Wunderground secret cave laboratory, the influences notably dart all over the place between psych via DFA to just screaming. Oddly funky right up until it all gets sucked into a black hole for a while

Wolf Girl - Maths In The Real World
Misleadingly perky streamlined punk-pop with effervescent charisma from now-recent second album Every Now & Then. And that's us finally up to date.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

What you may have missed: July

Beak> - Brean Down
Hey, we finally have news of the new album by the Invada force! Out on 21st September, confusingly if logically being their third album it's called >>> and on this track pushes the fuzz-Kraut into the dark side, sounding like a cousin to those times when Can decided to make a four minute "pop" song.

The Chills - Complex
The Dunedin sound pioneers came back in 2015 with an album, Silver Bullets, that felt like they'd never been away. The first taste of its follow-up Snow Bound, out September 14th, comes on a little more commercially aimed and, dare we say, mature in a decent way. Martin Phillipps describes the album as "hopefully a kind of Carole King 'Tapestry' for ageing punks", intriguingly.

Evelyn Drach - Leopard In The Sun
A wake-up for your more paranoid mornings, there's not a great deal of straight biographical information around about Drach but she's the kind of musician who has to be come to unknowing, the crackles and half-spoken vocals possessing the darkest, unsettling post-trip-hop feel of Tricky's Maxinquaye with the aid of swooping, diving violin runs.

The Fortuna POP! All-Stars - You Can Hide Your Love Forever
We don't usually do covers in this feature but... Fortuna POP! announced its cessation two years ago this weekend just gone but its Jukebox 45s Singles Club subscribers were still owed one more release, so ubergrupenfeuhrer Sean Price corralled as many bands of its recent years as possible - all of Allo Darlin', Amelia Fletcher, Darren Hayman, Emma Kupa, Pete Astor, Simon Love and members of the Spook School, Martha, Joanna Gruesome, Tigercats, Milky Wimpshake, Bearsuit, Chorusgirl, Evans The Death, Flowers, Fanfarlo, Shrag, The Ladybug Transistor and The Butterflies Of Love - to cover Comet Gain's glorious indiepop anthem as a fitting communal coda to a great label.

Fröst - Record Still Spinning
Half of Fröst is also in Fujiya & Miyagi and the other was in Imitation Electric Piano with members of Stereolab, so as you can guess there's keyboard drones, hypnotically insistent motorik and ethereal vocals not pitched too far from Sarah Cracknell. Not that that makes this any less charmingly involving.

Guided By Voices - You Own The Night
No, no new album just yet - just one a year from now on, allegedly - but one of those three and a half minute (long for them) ruggedly dirty actual near-anthems, albeit one pierced through the sides, that Robert Pollard and co used to put out every so often. It could have come off Alien Lanes, and that is due praise.

Gulp - Claudia
We've gone on about Guto and Lindsay (and Gid) often enough down the years that by now some of their space-pastoral psych-pop greatness should have seeped in by now. If not there's an album All Good Wishes out on Friday and this pastel hued, retro cut nodding at tropicalia and laid back synthpop before then.

H. Grimace - In The Body
Their debut album Self-Architect made our top 50 of 2017 and already they're pushing forward, that bit more menacing sounding and half-spoken lyrically forthright to Kim-led Sonic Youth levels, driven by coiled spring bass and reptition to make their point more intensely.

Haiku Salut - The More And Moreness
On 10th August ver Salut are playing a one-off at Centre For Life in Newcastle with the Robot Orchestra, where their electro-cacophony meets the band's own experiments in self-playing instruments. Everything on There Is No Elsewhere, out 7th September, are all played and programmed by the three of them but you can see the appeal, here bringing their take on racing minimal techno to their electronics'n'accordion blueprint.

International Teachers Of Pop - Age Of The Train
Yet another monicker for Dean Honer and Adrian Flanagan, sometimes known as The Eccentronic Research Council when with Maxine Peake and the Moonlandingz when accompanied by some of Fat White Family (Honer was also in The All Seeing I and I Monster). This time their vocal foil is Leonore Wheatley once of Kraut-library music band The Soundcarriers. Together they make insistent, uplifting electro-disco.

Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something - Heaven On A Plate
Formerly of Landshapes, whose Heyoon made our top 40 albums of 2015, Freeman's new venture is charismatically sparky, angular pop in a Long Blondes gone spiky glam sense on what Freeman calls "a kind of euphoric despair".

Kagoule - Egg Hunt
Kagoule have been one of those bands around the periphery of the cool end of indie over the last few years without making the big leap. As if to step back, their new single on home of the hits Alcopop! and recorded by MJ for full STN marks, is deliberately uncomfortable, staccato and wisely never allowing itself to fully let rip into anthemry.

Lala Lala - Destroyer
Behind the monicker lies Lillie West, a Chicagoite whose full bodied lo-fi guitar is in the Crutchfields/Soccer Mommy lineage but whose emotional core is especially open-wounded and brought down by life, attempting to self-heal as she goes.

Lusts - Lost Highway
We've featured Andrew and James Stone on and off over the build-up to their as yet unconfirmed second album and this is a particularly good example of what they do, neon synth lines and a radio-ready chorus aided and abetted by cyclical rhythms and ghostly interference.

Mighty Kids - Window
From the Won't You Reconsider? EP, subtle electro aided by Shelley Jane Newman's dreamy melancholic voice and ukelele. The Derby trio actually made their full live debut at our own Leicester Indiepop Alldayer in 2015, and such is the power of the annual event that they've been signed and made their debut release just three years later!

Mothers - Pink
Basically to repeat what we wrote last month, everyone should be going on about the promise of Render Another Ugly Method (out 7th September) based on its now first two tracks. Here's seven minutes of flickering, uneven guitars, propulsive post-punk bass and a breakdown and build-up that seems to split the band in two and ends in digital distortion as if destroying itself from within.

Pram - Footprints Towards Zero
Across The Meridian, their first album in eleven years, picks up where they and their Moseley mates like Broadcast left off - exotica, film scores, test card music, haunted fairground organs, 1930s jazz, weird electronics - and thrusts the reconstituted parts into the midst of that whole hauntology/Ghost Box thing.

Primo! - A City Stair
Ten tracks in 22 minutes and the music is similarly stripped back on Amici, the debut by a Melbourne trio signed to Upset The Rhythm whose skeletal, deadpan thrust is a fun-sized Au Pairs or Delta 5 by way of Flying Nun.

Sarah Nixey - Coming Up For Air
The seductively Siren-like (in the Greek mythological sense) voice of Black Box Recorder's third solo album Night Walks, out 5th October, was conceived in an insomniac state, which fits the air of lurking danger that surrounds the lyrics amid the stomping, cresting electronica.

School Damage - Assimiliate
The Melbourne band pricked ears with a collapsible DIY bubblegum album last year; the follow-up, A To X, is already ready for August 31st release and advances the cause to a more nimble but no less ragged or precarious post-punk rush, the great sound of 1979 Rough Trade (label or shop)

Slang – Warm Enough
Slang were formed by Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney and fellow Portlander Drew Gow a couple of years ago; they've now expanded, including former Thermal/All Girl Summer Fun Band-er Kathy Foster, and have put out their first song, a driving garage glam charge based on big riffs and unisex eyeliner expenditure.

The Smittens - Three States
Burlington, Vermont's tweepop veterans release what we think is their sixth album City Rock Dove on Friday and what they describe as "a coming out/transition anthem" cleaves to a lot of what we know them for - ba-ba harmonies, easygoing melodies, gossamer charisma - before it drops into something much slower and more considered in its second half.

Tokyo Police Club - Hercules
Here's another name from our shared pasts - twelve years since Nature Of The Experiment? Not, like, three months? - releasing their fifth album in October heralded by a strident glammed-up riff and a big slight throwback college rock sensibility.

TVAM - These Are Not Your Memories
Joe Oxley's VHS electro-shoegaze reaches the album stage with Psychic Data out October 19th, ahead of which comes a track that appears to be warping itself out of a desire to be bigger than it needs to be even as it tries to play riffs off against synthy dreampop shapes before it all falls under the wheels of the digital mess.

Wolf Girl - Toast For Dinner
Hey, they've played an Alldayer too. Their second album Every Now & Then arrives on October 19th as well, the first single tackling mental health, physical exhaustion and magic through the medium of sparky indiepop-punk with Martha-level hooks.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

What you may have missed: June

Back once again with our kinda-end-of-the-month regular feature for 2018 of twenty five of the best things that slipped a little under the radar:

The Beths - Happy Unhappy
We had something from the simmering Auckland pop-punks last month and their album still isn't due until August. This one's a proper summer jam by way of Barnettesque lyrical nous, a breakup song that delights in the freedom it gives.

The Catenary Wires - What About The Rings?
Half of a new double A-side from Talulah Gosh/Heavenly/Marine Research/Tender Trap fulcrums Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey, a low budget polythene wall of sound production lovingly enveloping their harmonies and acoustic melancholia.

Claire Morales - No Telling
Denton, Texas' Morales is one of those singer-songwriters who sounds like they have a lot of internalised confusion to work through, spiralling guitars backing her desperation at unrequited circumstances delivered in an affecting vibrato.

Dubstar - Waltz No.9
Unexpected comeback of the month number one - no Steve Hillage on this journey but Sarah Blackwood and Chris Wilkie returned with two singles and the promise of an album, One, on 28th September. You Were Never In Love returns to the more familiar sound but this proves they can pull off much the same effect on dreamy folkish guitars.

Falcon Jane - The News
Ontario's Sara May describes what she and her band do as 'plez rock', apparently "inspired by nature, truth, peace and magic". In practice that leads to May here working through a personal healing process by means of sweetly drifting dusty twang.

flirting. - Peppermint
You know when you find a band who sound right down your strasse and then find you missed a single? East London "anxiety-pop band" flirting. (hey, if it's how they want it representing) are onto their second, five minutes of lyrically and actually stumbling over themselves with twin vocals, meandering then surging guitars and the kind of anxious shuffle we thought new bands didn't do any more.

FLOAT - Watch
Speaking of things we haven't heard new bands do for a while, here's some post-punk coiled darkness! Claustrophobic goth guitars, Faris Badwan-pitched vocals, propulsion... it's got all it needs.

Gulp - I Dream Of Your Song
For whatever reason - similar sonics to the parent band? Them having a parent band? - Guto Pryce off SFA's other lot never really get the credit they're due for their spaced out psych explorations. The first taste of All Good Wishes, out August 3rd, is a breezy spacious wander through dreampop shapes.

Haiku Salut - Cold To Crack The Stones
We were in the Derbyshire Dales last week. Quaint but modern villages, lots of great picturesque landscape, but no Haiku Salut statue. What's wrong with this country? Third album There Is No Elsewhere is out 7th September, this samples a NASA recording of pulses emitted by lightning, features Glastonbury Brass and enables full deployment of all the weird instruments they've been building up over the last couple of years.

I See Rivers - I Don't Know
The Norwegian-raised, Wales-dwelling trio call what they do "float-folk", which in practice means inventive three part harmonies and a woody outlook which allows the modern world of electrickery to gradually sneak in.

io & Titan - Dreamer
Brooklynite Matt Schlatter is the man behind the monicker and everything you hear here, sounding like a classic singer-songwriter (and a little like the Walkmen's Hamilton Leithauser) set amongst shifting rhythms, tricksy electronic sequences and part-mathy, part-hi-life guitars.

Loose Tooth - Keep On
And this month's Milk! Records discovery - in fact they just supported their label boss Courtney Barnett on her UK tour - are a Melbourne outfit who sound like the mid-point between Flying Nun and that taut indie sound of the late 00s, jittery backing and female vocalists cutting across the uncertain male lead and rushing for the close.

Low - Dancing And Blood
One of three intriguing tracks to emerge from Double Negative, out 14th September, which show hallucinatory electronics as their way forward. Listen to that sub-bass, the rumble, the way Mimi's vocals are treated. It was made in Justin Vernon's studio, which given the relatively similar shift for his last album makes sense.

Mallrat - Groceries
And yet another Australian! Grace Shaw here, a Brisbane 19 year old inspired by Kanye and Drake but now approaching modish pop from a Lordified direction in her sneakingly smart lyrics of the mundane, acoustic driven against insistent beats and corkscrew-hardworn chorus.

Mothers - Blame Kit
Given the attention When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired received in 2016 it's strange that the announcement of follow-up Render Another Ugly Method for 7th September slipped by largely under the radar. The first track is intriguing enough to worm its way further on every listen, starting out driving and twitchy, then turning into a math-waltz.

The Mountain Goats - Song For Sasha Banks
Turns out John Darnielle's most affecting case studies these days are about wrestlers. The titular WWE wrestler, presumably half-seriously, requested her own song after hearing 2015's Beat The Champ, Darnielle (eventually) touchingly wrote up her background through the prism of dreams against reality, rhyming "independents" with "transcendence" as it goes.

The Popguns - Red White And Blue
Alright, one World Cup song. From Matinee Recordings' Official Matinée World Cup EP the janglepop OGs understand the frustration and blind hope in equal measure of supporting England.

Pram - Shimmer And Disappear
Unexpected comeback of the month number two. Pram were part of the lively mid-90s Birmingham experimental scene, their synthesis of post-rock, exotica, Radiophonic Workshop, Krautrock, dub and Sonic Youth. Their first album in eleven years Across The Meridian, out 20th July, comes without singer Rosie Cuckston and in a land of hauntology makes for a playful oasis of tropicalia, film score jazz and brass.

Ralegh Long - Where You Are
The ever reliable Long breaks things back down to voice and fingerpicked guitar, delicately sad in its multitracked vocals and late night sense of loss and loneliness. The beauty of a Ralegh Long single, of course, is that the next one could go (relatively) anywhere.

Rebecka Reinhard - Nonsense In Your Sleep
Countryside end of Stockholm raised but London based, Reinhard sounds like what Lykke Li left behind by way of Mitski or Jens Lekman in the way it takes a personal breakup lament and turns its basis inside out with drum machine and passing guitar trails.

Rendez Vous - Double Zero
"Throbbing" is the first word that came to mind on hearing the French post-punks who are equal parts Cabaret Voltaire's spiky reshaping of electronic noise, Toy's post-punk dramatics, cold wave anxiety, taut bass and shouty goth vocals.

Stars - One Day Left
Stars are very much a "they still going?" kind of band in 2018, but for us it's more that their quality control was so hit or miss. This single may not be as expansively cracked as their best work but Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan still trade off each other like few can and it rattles and sweeps forward as if wanting to recharge its entire surroundings.

Still Corners - Black Lagoon
The dreampop duo relocated at some stage to Austin, Texas to make fourth album Slow Air, out 17th August, and the change of atmosphere feels like it's affected what they do in adding a Beach House-ish almost parched heat haze of beats and synth hues, shimmering like the horizon.

Sweet Baboo - The Acorn Drop
The Vending Machine Project is a kind of album-length collection between Stephen Black's regular albums - we can't summarise it, read about it here. What's immediately necessary to know is while only a tiny bit over two minutes long this classic slice of summery guitar pop would fit in at the top end of any of his releases.

T-Shirt Weather - Scratches
From that secret laboratory in Durham that keeps knocking out three minute melodic punk-pop genii to order, the hooks and multi-emotive lyrics are all to order ahead of second album Dinner And A Show, out 20th July. Is that a false ending there?

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

What you may have missed: May

Only six days late rather than three and a half months like before, 25 of the best tracks that came out last month and may have skipped most's attention:

Adam Stafford - Zero Disruption
Stafford's fascinating approach to neo-classical construction has earned him a keen following - back when we did the UK blogger album of the year poll (when bloggers were still a thing) he surprisingly made the list for 2013's Imaginary Walls Collapse. New album Fire Behind The Curtain, like fellow Scottish instrumentalist RM Hubbert, uses instrumental music to deal with mental health issues, using haunting looped figures to build intricate cinematic constructions.

AidenKeryn - Window Shopping
We still don't know a lot more about the Swansea teenager (as in just done her GCSEs, by the look of her Twitter) from when we first featured her at the start of last year. What we can say is her available tracks since then have warmed up the frosted tips of those early recordings, her richly emotive voice brought into colour as her promise continues to develop apace.

Baba Stiltz - Maze
The Swedish producer makes deliberately tinny, microscopically detailed warped lowkey house with sad robot vocals, proper crying-on-the-dancefloor material. Despite having remixed Avicii and Rita Ora this isn't conflicting downbeat vocals with hands in the air production either, but neither is it the longing longeurs of a James Blake, more a filled out Detroit electronica sound for melancholia nights.

The Beths - Future Me Hates Me
Another salvo, and not this selection's last, from the Antipodean invasion. This time we're in Auckland for some classic melodic, bright but self-doubting and quietly accusatorial pop-punk without that genre's riffola excesses making them seem more like Kiwi mirrors of, say, Happy Accidents. This is the title track from an album due in August.

Cape Weather - Never Say
More sepia-toned surf-pop, this of a gentler hue from an LA duo, imbued with regret and private social anxiety expressed through that familiar sun-kissed twang. Fits that weather we've been having, at least.

Colour Me Wednesday - Entrepreneur
Uxbridge's own have made good DIY scene business from their subtly sociopolitical storytelling power-pop and Counting Pennies In The Afterlife is their best realised album yet, marrying the smartest of summer pop hooks to their avowedly queer/feminist/anti-capitalist standpoint.

Drahla - Twelve Divisions Of The Day
Our highlight from spending this last Saturday at Long Division festival, where their visceral sculpted noise was accompanied by saxophone freakouts. Now signed to Captured Tracks this is their first new track since November's standout Third Article EP, intent on careering down a dark wiry post-punk wormhole that feels from bassline upwards like it's slowly compressing all in its way all while unspooling itself from the outside. Man alive, this is an exciting band.

East Brunswick All Girls Choir - Essendon 1986
Australasia part two, a product of the Barnett/Cloher hit factory Milk! Records (spot the video cameo) with a ferocious coiled spring unleashing into noise and anger like the National being bitten by a radioactive Pere Ubu. There's a peculiar majesty to it despite that.

Eureka California - MKUltra
A longstanding feature of the international indiepop overthrow, the Athens, GA duo's new album Roadrunners, which this opens, not only fulfils this month's Recorded By MJ quotient but follows the loose path of his work with Martha, where jangle approaches The Way Things Are Now and comes out the other side bearing the weight of its own world while still attempting to keep up the energy levels.

Ex-Vöid - Boyfriend
Evidently Joanna Gruesome quietly breathed their last somewhere in the last eighteen months or so because Alanna McArdle and Owen Williams have formed a new band (Owen was/is in several hundred bands anyway but Lan took time away after leaving JoGru three years ago), and their grand tradition of a tall formation story continues - astrology columns and contemporary dance classes this time. There's more audible elements of Posies-esque power pop and evident tunesmithery this time, but there's still melodic harmonic bits and loud distorted bits in bitesize chunks like they used to do so excitingly.

Jens Lekman - Not Because It's Easy, Because It's Hard
This has kind of slipped people's attention, but every month this year Lekman and Annika Norlin, who you most likely know as Hello Saferide, has been posting a track a month as conversation in a project known as Correspondence, where every song is somehow inspired by the last. Lekman took the reigns in May with his reaction to Avicii's death which somehow turns into a tale of how he bought a DIY cloning kit to share out his work and accidentally made his clones work too hard until they turned on him.

Jessica Risker - A Cooling Sun
The Chicago psych-folkie's I See You Among The Stars was a slept-on standout album from the month, gorgeously tender folk where despite the warm often minimalist spaciousness more commonly associated with acoustic singer-songwriters you can tell the Broadcast influence, colouring in the stories with aural care.

La Luz - Loose Teeth
Talking of the surf-pop revival, here's some cracking pointed jangle that sounds like Chorusgirl with a suntan, disorientating with clashing distortion and "wrong" notes amid the harmonies and with a side order of nightmare fuel. 'Challenging twang' would be a decent description of Floating Features as a whole, actually.

Liars - Liquorice
Actually recorded just after the last album but one, in 2014-15 when Aaron Hemphill was still in the band, this is actually from the soundtrack to upcoming film 1/1, which going by this intense distorted synth workout might be heavy but intrinsically vital going.

Mikey Collins - Sound in Here
The Allo Darlin' diaspora continues - Elizabeth is in Elva, Paul is with another band who will turn up in a moment (and is also on this), Bill is back in Australia, and now Mikey has gone solo on Fika Recordings with an album due in August. You can probably broadly imagine what it sounds like and takes after but, as Collins himself says, it also takes after the Cure and, more generally, a devil-may-care charge augmenting the timeless jangle of it all.

Modern Studies - Get Back Down
Another glorious outlier of a psych-folk leaning album, pastoral transient chamber pop that shifts on its axis and incorporates elements well beyond their previously bucolic output, from this track's skittishness via electronics, light jazziness, Nick Cave dark balladry and woodland lullabies to that peculiarly Scottish type of indie-rock oppressive build (you don't really want to invoke Frightened Rabbit in current circumstances, but...), all underpinned by sympathetic strings, Emily Scott and Rob St John's harmonies and a sense of psychotropic time and place.

Phantastic Ferniture - Fuckin 'N' Rollin
What Julia Jacklin does with her time off, by her own admission an attempt to work out what makes people moved when they're not in her country-folk circles. Turns out that means a breezy groove with hints of Belly.

Soft Science - Sooner
Lush aren't doing it any more so the Sacramento band are going to have to pick up the slack. Not Britpop Lush either, the shoegaze-era version with Katie Haley doing a decent impression of the spaced-out harmonies amid floating cyclical guitar washes and a tambourine prominent in the mix.

Spray - Anthologised By Cherry Red
The band that link Glen Campbell, Devo, Daz Sampson, Helen Love and Hacker T Dog, Spray used to be half of the Cuban Boys and have actually been around and taking further adventures in post-modern synthpop since 2002. Gary Crowley namecheck, Record Store Day reference, implacably catchy chorus, the works.

Stanley Brinks - Sweet Fanny Adams
TAFKAAndre Herman Dune claims to have recorded more than a hundred albums, which is the kind of boast that makes you wonder if another can possibly matter. Actually the latest "official" solo effort on Fika is the kind of sweetly oddball antifolk effort he specialises in, this being the kind of track you could easily point out as a quick "in" for his world.

Tigercats - Stay Out Of Limehouse
While they've always had half a foot in hi-life guitars third album Pig City takes on more direct kalimba-driven Afropop influences. That said, it also returns to the scrappy danceability of their debut, these brass blasts and joyously summery atmosphere (here with an anti-Nazi community-breeding message) calling back to their earliest releases.

Tirzah - Gladly
An R&B ballad but not one like the standard mean, as the Mica Levi collaborator delivers a gorgeous straightforward love song amid drunken synths and changeable arrythmic beats bobbing in a sea of serenity.

Trust Fund - Carson McCullers
The last time Ellis Jones put out a record - the same year as his tour promised a mid-set Three Lions karaoke - Frank Ocean played a track on his Beats 1 show. Let's hope he kept the Bandcamp alert as the first taste of Bringing The Backline, due in July, returns from the bedroom offcuts into full band colour, albeit this being Trust Fund the kind of shaggy jangle that might fall over soon enough, not quite as forceful as before but snappier or as much as the heartache will allow.

Value Void - Back In The Day
Built on a circular spidery riff, the new signings to the usually reliable Tough Love debut with a taut economic kiss-off and an air of off-hand mystery, in the "I forbid you to learn more" sense.

Vive la Void - Death Money
As half of Moon Duo Sanae Yamada has often helped plumb the multicoloured depths of Kraut-splattered heavy psych; here on her solo debut she's creating a soundtrack for a chase sequence set on monorails as envisaged in the early 1960s, layers of glowing synths and treated vocals on a driving motorik charge with burbles, sequencer drop-ins and layers arriving and quietly departing as trackside accroutrements.