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.

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.