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...


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


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.