Thursday, May 17, 2018

What you may have missed: January

You're absolutely right, the very best time to launch a month-by-month series is mid-May. Regardless, we can catch up and deal with this month when we get to the end of it. What this entails is since the start of last year we've been putting together Spotify playlists for the best new music released each month, but we've never given due cause to actually explain why you should be invested in some of the records and artists we write about, so from now on at the end of each month we'll be picking out 25 new tracks we especially liked but haven't had that widespread the attention compared to many. So best start catching up with the first month eligible...

Annexe The Moon - Full Stop
It's likely unfair to ascribe a specific lineage to anything out of Merseyside touched by psychedelia, but such spaced-out channelling of Syd-era Pink Floyd in a melodic pop context sounds like the kind of thing that would have been of interest round at chez Cope/Drummond/Wylie around 1982

Caroline Says - Sweet Home Alabama
Not that one. Austin's Caroline Sallee uses loops and small town ennui for introspective folk-pop that sounds a little like Yo La Tengo at their Georgia-led drowsiest

Creep Show - Modern Parenting
Mr Dynamite, John Grant's collaboration with the weird electro trio Wrangler (Cabaret Voltaire's Stephen Mallinder, Benge and one of Tunng), had surprisingly little traction but here is of a piece, in a warped varispeeded way, with Grant's dalliances with dark disco

Dorvin Borman - Wrath
Chillwave's revenge! Well, not quite, but the LA producer's woozy summer dreampop, heavy on floating and reverb, sounds like the sound in Washed Out's head right at the start of this decade

El Morgan and the Divers - Decorations
Pretty much Personal Best in a different order, Morgan took inspiration from the aftermath of her father's wake to produce yearning, skyscraping To Bring You My love PJ Harvey-recalling intimacy

The Fiction Aisle - Gone Today
It's felt weird over the last few years not having every fourth song we write about feature Thomas White in some form. In fact he's three albums down under this moniker and finding the same kind of time-worn self-examining melancholia as Martin Carr's solo work

HOLY - Night On Earth
Stockholm's PNKSLM label have quietly put out some great left of centre psych-flavoured records this year, case in point being HOLY's All These Worlds Are Yours. Hannes Ferm clearly knows his Ziggy, Rundgren and Nilsson but also Elephant 6's multiverse and the Flaming Lips' cosmic filter

Hot Dreams - Another Night
Just ducking in even though it technically emerged right near the end of 2017, Hot Dreams have the commercial edge but a harmonic and textural mix-and-match to make them more interesting than most

Jessica's Brother - Overnight Horror
The other shambling but muscular, vaguely countrified Americana offshoot featuring a member of the Wave Pictures

John Bramwell - From The Shore
The I Am Kloot frontman's solo debut Leave Alone The Empty Spaces extended what he's always been strong on, indelible melodies and downtrodden character studies (what was it he always said, "drinking and disaster"?)

Loma - Joy
Texan folk duo Cross Record plus Shearwater's Jonathan Meiburg make rustic, richly panoramic alt-country with stripes of Low

The Longcut - Deathmask
Yes, the same Longcut who were feted for a little while back around 2004-05, back after an eight year break and still pushing at elemental, accelerating electro-motorik

Mamuthones - Show Me
Italian post-punk ahoy! Awkwardly shifting, insistently recurring, jarring and yet also smooth amid its jitteriness in a Talking Heads style

Math & Physics Club - Broadcasting Waves
Long-serving Seattle indiepop servants find the mid-point between classic Death Cab For Cutie and an almost Australian sense of wistful jangle

Experimental pop as she is spoke, discordant rhythms evolve via Nadia Hulett's charmed vocals into something lush if still uneasy

No Age - Cruise Control
With The Smell a distant memory and five years passed since their disappointing last record Snares Like A Haircut has ended up an album that's been too slept on, the duo channelling Zen Arcade/New Day Rising Husker Du in uncertain power for what might actually be their best yet

Ralegh Long - Am I Home
Long's folkified balladeering side is at its most emotive when sounding pastoral and sparse even when enveloped in strings, as here

Red Telephone - Kookly Rose
A crackling debut from the Cardiff trio, taking a Syd Barrett lead in its warped woozy psych

Shopping - Wild Child
Just because you know what to expect - heavily danceable ESG-type punk-funk wiriness with an incessant bassline - doesn't mean there's nothing going on with The Official Body, both in social conscience, subtle undercurrents and muscle

Sivu - Four Leaf Clover Love
In something of a theme, a low-key release from someone who had a lot of attention two or three years ago. In this case, an open-hearted tender love song to the fates

Skelhorn - A Wondrous Place Of Our Own
Liverpudlian singer-songwriter sounds archaic and modern simultaneously in a similar way to how Richard Hawley does without really treading the same path, here more of the kind of postmodern crooning that David Lynch would admire

Soccer Mommy - Your Dog
Sophie Allison's broken but defiant bedroom guitar-pop is an idea as old as indie itself, but the open frustration at a controlling relationship finds its equal in the distortion that threatens to override her likeably twisting central riff. It feels like she's going to grow into a major talent

The Spook School - Keep In Touch
The way things are now the Spook School are never going to get the wide audience breakthrough we thought would be within reach, but Could It Be Different? yet again sharpened to a point their emotional growth and self-questioning while retaining everything that makes them one of our greatest bands, Niall banter/hugs inclusive

Wild Child - Sinking Ship
Another Austin-based band, and yep, another Wild Child, and yet very different on both fronts in its spaciously haunted acoustic self-learning reminiscent of Laura Marling's most introspective moments. Interestingly, even they don't sound like this most of the time

Yawwn - Partisan
One of those big hooky choruses like your favourite bands do these days, but full of life and surrounded by something akin to a settled down Everything Everything.

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