Friday, May 18, 2018

What you may have missed: February

Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert - Cockcrow
The combination of the arch-miserabilist and the emotive guitarist on album Here Lies The Body plays out almost like you'd expect, the years of bad experience adding a veneer of knowingly misleading pep. Siobhan Wilson duets on this track as the opposing voice to add another fascinating layer

Bambara - José Tries To Leave
Capital-G Gothic theatricality bringing the dramatically oppressive percussive desert-dwelling opus, Nick Cave a clear touchstone but also notable that some members are part of the current Liars live line-up

Bodies Be Rivers - Rattled
Bittersweet to a fault Brooklynites named, tellingly, after a Angel Olsen mondegreen and working against the cliches of alt-country in a Neko Case fashion

Busta Rhymes feat. Missy Elliott & Kelly Rowland - Get It
Tells you something that that line-up appeared on a standalone single (although Rowland only via looped sample) and nobody seems to have noticed, not that something this weirdly minimal would challenge Calvin Harris much. At least both are still very capable of land speed record level killer rhyming

Cavey - Day & Night
There's a lot of Grizzly Bear about the textures and general warmth, if not the harmonic excellence, about this fascinating debut single, breakdowns and surges, jazzy and sprawling in its own time

Chemtrails - Wishbone
Calf Of The Sacred Cow is for us one of the year's great overlooked albums, psychedelically inclined home-made garagey indiepop where the hooks shimmer, the ineffable melodies get pulled apart and the dark clouds often shield the sunshine element

Cloud - Two Hands Bound
A cheery song about working yourself to complete emotional burnout, Tyler Taormina develops a sepia filter around richly fulfilled rhythmic sunshine pop

Firestations - Receiver
Finally bringing out their album The Year Dot last month via Lost Map, its preview exists in an insistent melodic haze of hopeful love and lost bearings

Flamingo Shadow - It's The Sound
The Atlantans started as tropical punk and developed a big golden pop heart without losing their tracks, so the insistent rhythms and synth washes are underpinned by unease and hi-life riffs

Girlpool - Picturesong
Blood Orange-produced standalone single from a duo whose evolvement is an intrigue to watch from afar, the minimalism comfortably in the background, pulsing synths and distortion added while still luxuriating in Cleo and Harmony's vocal and carefully crafted guitar/bass interplay

Happy Accidents - Act Naturally
Everything But The Here And Now is a new personal best for the trio - ahoy there, "recorded by MJ" credit - and this might be a new best track, crackling hook-laden harmonic punk-pop of the type we always fall for

Ladytron - The Animals
First new material in seven years and they've not only picked up where they left off but made it bigger and more purposeful in its dark chant and synths set to "envelop"

The Low Anthem - Bone Of Sailor, Bone Of Bird
And there's another album much overlooked, The Salt Doll Went To Measure the Depth Of The Sea. No longer rickety folk-bluesologists, it's based on electronic undertow, very spacious, quite low-key and mysterious, and absolutely draws the listener in

Lusts - Heavy Thoughts
For a duo who usually deal in retro electropop this sounds weirdly like the Phantom Band at their most approachable in its heroic resistance structure and buried hooks

Mastersystem - Notes On A Life Not Quite Lived
Inevitably all writing about Mastersystem and this beastly swagger of a track after 8th May 2018 is irrevocably coloured by the loss of its immensely talented and open frontman and driving force. God, that title for a start.

Modern Studies - Mud And Flame
That kind of windswept, vaguely hopeful sound only a Scottish folk supergroup can really attain

Olden Yolk - Cut To The Quick
Terrible band name, fascinating sound melding indie-folk with abstract modern psych and motorik rhythms, wrapped in a glorious pop melody in a way that subtly works

Pale Kids - St. Theresa
Durham queer power-pop... no, not them. A joyous thrashing punk-pop cut, all done in just over two minutes, with purpose, lyrical bite and finding time for a solo

PJ Harvey & Harry Escott - An Acre Of Land
Again, as with her double A side last year, Polly put out a standalone single and it got lost in the hubbub. It's actually a traditional folk standard recorded with the TV and film composer for the film Dark River, with delicacy and a harmonium

Sara Renberg - Roger Miller Baby
David 'Silver Jews' Berman reincarnated as a Pittsburgh native, dealing in vivid odd little snapshots of deadpan intimacy and the better life everyone else is having

Seazoo - Skulls
*sigh* Yeah, Trunks, that's another album that slipped under the radar it should have vaulted with its leftfield power-pop ambition with a little jangle, a little new wave-y weirdness and a lot of charge

Stella Donnelly - Mechanical Bull
If we're being accurate this is about eleven months late, but the Thrush Metal EP got reissued to wider approval in February so whatever. Anyway, honest to a fault eviscerations of seedy men cutting to the quick from a talent worth keeping the closest eye on

Three Man Cannon - Building Broken Steps
Obviously there's four of them. There's something of the Pavement-y countrified jangle about them, clearly, but with heaps of bluesy scorn and just straight-up melodic college rock earwormness

The Wind-Up Birds - Where We Built Our Settlements
Always good to have them around and seething, especially as things give Paul Ackroyd more to rail against

Yndi Halda - A Sun Coloured Shaker
And to finish the month, nearly twelve minutes of studied post-rock. Yay! Doesn't feel that long, though, not with the graceful flow, pitch and yaw, led by floating violin and guitars that don't surge when they'd rather arc gracefully around

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