Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Best of 2018 - flatsound - hummingbird

A place is never just a ‘place’ but the sum of its parts equally; all the people that have passed through it, all the feelings tied to it, all the moments that have unfolded there—everything has history and it seems that Mitch Welling presents us with a chance to draw up some of this history from his EP, totaling seven songs, all of which are recorded in his house on Hummingbird Hill before he moved away. AW

There is a kind of monotony, broken in spurts by thoughtful, almost hesitant guitar chords. From a feeling of stability, there comes the very hint of change, in pitch and volume, in the undertone of static;  a kind of movement as if someone or something is going somewhere, almost mechanical and repetitive in nature. There is an abrupt shutting sound, leaving the track almost incomplete with garbled static and shuffling.

i trust that everything that happened to us 
happened so we'd improve 
everything is proof 
everything you do 

but you've got the softest arms i have ever known 
the softest arms that i could hold 
or that could hold me 

travel far away 
where the neighbors talk 
and i'll go away 
to an adjacent park 
i want to go to doose's market 
or anywhere there's a doose's 

because even the softest arms 
can't bear to hold 
such a fragile frame 
such a broken soul 
i've got a broken soul 

It should be obvious at this point that Flatsound’s music requires patience and a gut for indulgent quietness. But something I still keep forgetting is that listening to his extended plays is about as difficult as any of his hour long monstrosities. Everything here, from the breathy, whispering vocals, the anti-eventful song-writing, to the purposefully minimalistic and vague instrumentation, you will find either excruciating or absolutely astonishing.

Best of 2018 - Tom Rosenthal - Don't Die Curious

He’s racked up Spotify streams of around 55m, 22m YouTube views, and been courted by major labels keen to release his gently epic ballads, which channel Brian Wilson-esque whimsy through the mind of the classic British kook. “But why would I change everything to make just 20% of the money when I currently make 80%?” Tom says. “If you want to be the next Ed Sheeran, it might be beneficial. But I don’t.”

“This last year, I’ve sent out thousands of personalised notes to people. It’s nothing to do with songwriting, but it connects you to people in a (hopefully) lovely way. If you build the foundations of a strong house, it’s hard to knock down.” G

Best of 2018 - Anna McClellan - Yes and No

The road to Anna McClellan’s Yes and No was not just a metaphorical one. Born out of a long solo road trip McClellan took in 2015, the songs map her emotions of the two year period in which they were written like a highway is laid out before its driver. With decent savings, she set off due west, keyboard laid across the backseat, with little plan other than a call ahead to some friends and the idea that playing shows along the way would be cool. Though the trip lasted only four months, McClellan continued bouncing around from New York to Omaha and back, until finally settling in NYC in January of 2017. It is fitting that these songs were conceived in a period of restlessness.

McClellan’s singular voice mixes earnest intensity with nonchalant melancholy that puts the listener in a distant place, far away from other humans, as most of the subject matter deals with loneliness and internal emotional navigation. Often though, the songs stray outward and upward, pondering the confused nature of people, elaborating on the one thing we all cling to: the knowledge that no one is excluded from feeling weird sometimes.

“Onychophagy is the scientific term for nail-biting, a sub group of OCD, and I considered using it as the song title. And then I was like, I’m no scientist, I make songs. Nail-biting Song. It’s just a song about stress, and the internal rabbit hole one goes down, sitting at a table trapped in thought. All the time wasted thinking about what to do.”

Monday, December 10, 2018

Glitoris - The Policy (Part II) - 2018

Promo image

"‘The video captures everything ‘The Policy’ is about: women and minorities having to work much, much harder just to be perceived as competent relative to their male peers. ’The Policy’ video is about breaking free from societal norms and expectations and working hard to achieve what you want in life. We included snapshots of some of some amazing female leaders for inspiration!"

Mikey Collins - West Coast - 2018

Following the release of his debut solo album Hoick earlier this year, ex-Allo Darlin’ drummer Mikey Collins announces a series of remixes, which will appear over two EPs. Guest remixers include Johnny Winfield, Nicholas de Carlo, James Yuill, Jolyon Thomas, Ghost Culture and Ian Button (Death In Vegas/Papernut Cambridge). 

Best of 2018 - Ezra Furman - Transangelic Exodus

This is a collection of songs infused with the visceral, corporeal, often outright medical experience of transformation. Using the metaphor of humans becoming angels, hitting the road and fleeing society’s norms, Furman doesn’t shy away from expressing the pains that this process can entail.

You know I love you so bad
Like the kid skipping class in the bathrooms
Sneaking cigarettes underneath the football bleachers baby, so bad
You know I love you so bad
Like the kids growing up to be criminals
Tearing pages out the back of the hymnals
Love notes baby, so bad
Still remember so bad

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Best of 2018 - Death Cab for Cutie - "Gold Rush"

Ben Gibbard waxes about the many ways his native Seattle has changed over the past two decades, mourning memories of old buildings and intimate moments under street lamps before sighing: “Please don’t change/Stay the same.” The accompanying video follows suit, a dorky-haircut take on the Verve’s iconic “Bittersweet Symphony” visual that features Gibbard getting knocked around by rude passersby during a daytime neighborhood stroll, ending up trapped in a sea of pedestrians glued to their phones.

Capitulating to nostalgia is often an unwise stylistic choice, but perhaps Death Cab could look back a bit more in the future. The past doesn’t always have to be a hindrance—sometimes it can just be a nice place to rest for a while.

(Gold rush) Digging for gold in my neighborhood
(Gold rush) Where all the old buildings stood
(Gold rush) And they keep digging it down and down
(Gold rush) So that their cars can live underground
(Gold rush) The swinging of a wrecking ball
(Gold rush) Through these lath and plaster walls
(Gold rush) Is letting all the shadows free
(Gold rush) The ones I wish still followed me

Sigrid - Sucker Punch - 2018

“Sigrid only deals in unforgettable pop bangers. 2018 is hers for the taking” – The FADER
 “A sound bigger than anyone else” – Elle
“From a tiny city in Norway comes a young woman with a powerful voice” –NPR 
“…her ability to transform  her  truths  into  perfect  pop  with  integrity  and  powerful  skill,  Sigrid  might  just  be  unstoppable.” -PAPER
“Sigrid is crafting inventive and ever-catchy pop melodies with every track she makes” 
– V Magazine

C. SHIROCK - "Stand With Me Tonight" - 2018

The new music from C. SHIROCK is an evolution and a distillation of his previous work, cutting to the core of his identity, with a power and clarity not heard before.  Blending anthemic choruses, musical builds and releases with heartfelt and personal lyrics, the new music from C. SHIROCK delivers a vulnerability, urgency and an aching vocal that is uniquely his own. Driving rhythms and bass are anchors to the soaring melodies, layers of keyboards, and programming that call to mind the emotive, intelligent pop music of artists such as Peter Gabriel and David Bowie.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Best of 2018 - Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Talking Straight

The one thing that 2018 could not take from us is the pure joy of a pop song. And yes, there were bigger ones, more emotional ones, but with “Talking Straight,” RBCF provided us with a song that felt so perfectly fleeting that it was incomparable in terms of pure indie-rock pleasure. “Talking Straight” is the sound of ’70s and ’80s FM Aussie-pop distilled to its purest form, an expertly-crafted geode of a song that sounds readymade for blaring over the radio. But the band’s attraction lies in their veracity. For all its hooks, the song feels incredibly whole, full of hard-panned riffs and stratospheric harmonizing. It’s akin to world-building, in a way, all the song’s small details adding up to make it feel bigger than it really is. RBCF’s songwriting tricks you into thinking it’s effortless, which is something we all needed this year. —Justin Kamp

Best of 2018 - Camp Cope - The Opener

Over assertive guitar and drums, Maq reels off a litany of lies fed to her by a partner and critiques every male music industry figure who ever told her didn’t belong. “It’s another man telling us we can’t fill up the room/It’s another man telling us to book a smaller venue,” rages Maq. There’s no hook in “The Opener,” but it’ll get stuck in your head anyway; drummer Sarah Thompson and bassist Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich provide a bullish backing, driving home the song’s lyrics. Maq has never sounded more powerful as she screams the band’s rallying cry: “See how far we’ve come not listening to you.” It’s the kind of conviction that takes a band from opener to headliner.

Best of 2018 - Dirty Projectors - Break-Thru

This single from Dirty Projectors’ Lamp Lit Prose maintains the band’s trademark indie/art rock fusion while continuing the electronic/R&B sound from last year’s self-titled record. The song and album mark “a recommitment to the sounds and ideals of Dirty Projectors, embracing the band’s trademarks while pushing forward the sonic envelope” with guitars and intricate harmonies returning to the fold, as evidenced by “Break-Thru.”

Best of 2018 - BEACH HOUSE – "DRUNK IN LA"

“The immediate standout from Beach House’s magnificent 7 is “Drunk In LA,” a showstopper made stronger by everything else around it. The stuttering opening beat that opens the song blossoms into one of the duo’s most staggering songs yet.” 

Can't help seeking corners
Of dark and deadend roads
Where the drinks keep pouring down
And the candles keep me warm
Isolation tender
Something fragile coming soon
Skinny angels making eyes at cameras
Perched in every room

Best of 2018 - Best Music Of 2018

NPR 100 Best Songs of 2018

During a turbulent year rife with personal and political trauma, the most memorable songs pulled no punches in the pursuit of pop. 

#1 - Childish Gambino "This Is America"

Best of 2018 - NYT - The 65 Best Songs of 2018

65 Best Songs of 2018

Best of 2018 - boygenius - ‘Bite the Hand’

“When we met, Lucy and Phoebe and I were in similar places in our lives and our musical endeavors, but also had similar attitudes toward music that engendered an immediate affinity.”

I can't hear you, you're too far away
I can't see you, the light is in my face
I can't touch you, I wouldn't if I could

Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus have formed a new band. Together, they are boygenius. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Best of 2018 - Wussy - What Heaven Is Like

The Ohio band has been quietly crafting one of the great rock catalogs of the decade. But their latest album, ‘What Heaven Is Like,’ is too good to be kept secret… What Heaven Is Like is their day-dreamiest and least-rootsy record to date, subsuming rock ’n’ roll into a broader, rainbow-colored sonic palette. But the formal experimentation is always intelligent and controlled. Wussy’s stylistic reach never exceeds its members’ ironclad grasp on the eternal verities of riff-verse-chorus structures. ringer

Glass Dove "Cigarette Sunset" feat. Liz Cooper - 2018

Glass Dove, the new group led by Josh Benus (Modern Inventors), released today the video for their debut single "Cigarette Sunset." Produced by Grammy-winning producer and writer Owen Biddle (The Roots, John Legend), "Cigarette Sunset" features guest Liz Cooper (of Liz Cooper & The Stampede) and is the first taste of what's to come from the Nashville-based indie rock artist.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Best of 2018 - Quietus Albums Of The Year

The Quietus albums of the year chart returns, with our favourite 100 records released in our tenth anniversary year. Read the countdown and find out how you can support us in our work bringing you the best new music

Best of 2018 - wished bone - yellowstoned

dreaming of you in my head, dreaming of things that you said 
walking around, feet like lead and i just can't get out of bed 
watching the clouds go by, over and over again 
think i'll just stay inside, ever and ever again 

wished bone are an act we’ve mentioned in passing in the past, with their EP pseudio recordings representing one of the best experimental folk releases on Bandcamp. For the most part, they have remained something of a cryptic presence, keeping a low profile within a culture that seems to reward (or even demand) those willing to release as much music as possible in the shortest time possible…. read more

Best of 2018 - Rayna meets a "robot"

The best video.

Best of 2018 - Barbarisms - West in the Head

While the songs are described as brutal in emotional suggestion, it’s Faraone’s disarming confessional tones and the overall, cumulative lo-fi and often shimmering folk beauty that draws you in and keeps you in its arms.

Man kann sich dem liebevollen, Laid-Back-Singer-Songwriter-Charme der 70er-Jahre einfach nicht entziehen. Und so reihen sich zahlreiche Highlights wie Perlen auf der Schnur auf diesem Album. Beginnend mit dem schwelgerischen Auftakt von „Bone Beach“, wo smoothige Bläser auf sehnsüchtige und windschiefe Harmonie-Backing-Vocals treffen, über das elegante „Focus Group“, hin zu dem an Bob Dylan erinnernden Closer „Common Tongue“. Dazwischen der pittoreske Indie-Folk von „Moaning Teresa“, der ohrwurmträchtige Indie-Folk-Pop von „First Try“  und das romantisch-melancholische „Soulful Lingo“. Zehn neue Barbarisms-Songs zwischen Poesie und Humor, die von Herzen kommen und das Herz treffen.

Silent Forum - Robot - 2018

Robot is a jittering, adrenaline fuelled shot of energy. The song speaks from the perspective of a jaded and stressed office employee against an unlikely dance punk backdrop. "I feel a shortage of high pressure in my life/ I need the office chair/ I need spreadsheets I hold dear/ I love coffee, I hate beer".

Max C Bud - I Guess It Has To Be That Way - 2018

“IGIHTBTW is my most boundary pushing track to date. Sam and I wanted to use a range in my vocals that I hadn’t explored before, and the result is a cruisy melody that is a lot of fun to sing, and hopefully gets people moving along” - Max C Bud 

Voyou - Les bruits de la ville ft. Yelle - 2018

In a demonstration of carefree being, Voyou paints a well-intentioned view on his time, choosing to place compassion and friendship at the heart of his music. “Les Bruits de la Ville” [“noises of the city”], his new single, tells the story of a girl discovering a big city. “Even when I talk about myself, I lend my voice to characters” Voyou, who recently arrived in Paris from Nantes, confesses. He therefore proposed Yelle to play the lead role. With “an upturned heart and eyes that devour the cities delights” [“le cœur en l’air et les yeux qui dévorent toutes les saveurs de la ville”] Yelle perfectly embodies this character.

Always The Same - HAVVK - 2018

“…stunning…”  - Noisey

"…a raucous dip into empowerment…" - The Line Of Best Fit 

"a ridiculously moreish grunge rock-pop ballad... An updated and improved The Cranberries." 
 - Louder Than War

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Caoilfhionn Rose - Awaken - 2018

LiQuiD FuSioN Absolutely wonderful album. Well-balanced, blissful melodies and vocals. Great work on the sound engineering and production. On repeat!

Taylor Janzen - New Mercies - 2018

"Produced and mixed by Mike Mogis (Phoebe Bridgers, Bright Eyes, Cursive), Janzen transitions comfortably into the bigger sound, and creates a fine-tuned sound that’s a little bit folk, a little bit rock, but not at all forced—it feels like she’s found exactly where her literal and lyrical voice is meant to flourish." 

"The powerful simplicity of a voice, a guitar, a restrained melody and a raw emotion has been rediscovered by songwriters like Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and now Taylor Janzen."
- Jon Pareles, The New York Times

Parish f/t, Daphne Willis - Release - 2018

“’Release’ truly feels like the work of a veteran musician — not in a way that feels predictable, but rather that freely pushes boundaries and experiments in ways that many starting out in the industry would be too afraid to do. The song begins softly over a simple guitar riff, as Willis sings with conviction about the panic and anxiety that weighs many of us down.”- Earmilk

Elley Duhé - SAVIOR (Live) - 2018

A year ago Duhé was an impressive talent standing in the shadows. But after a wild summer riding her Zedd collabo "Happy Now," and making a dent on her own with "Way Down Low," the Alabama native is enjoying the spotlight a bit. Deservedly so. You can hear Duhé's pop skills from a mile away, so it seems right that she's hitting a stride as we move toward 2019. 


IZAAK OPATZ - Mariachi Static B​-​Sides - 2018

Music For Sleep - The Lost Zen Meditation Tapes - 2018

The Lost Zen Meditation Tapes it’s a headphone experience. 
Listening at low volume is highly recommended. 
The Lost Zen Meditation Tapes has been extracted from found sounds of improvised studio session recordings - archive.

Frederick the Younger - “Everyone’s Changing” - 2018

Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, some of Jenni Cochran’s earliest memories are of writing songs. Returning to the USA after working in Vietnam for a few years, she met Aaron Craker (guitar, keys, vocals) who was performing with his band Dr. Vitamin. The two immediately bonded over their shared love of Elliott Smith and The Beatles. They formed Frederick The Younger a few years later, releasing their first full length record “Human Child” in 2017. 

The band is their bond, formed on groovy garage pop, soulful vocals, a hint of Broadcast and 60s pop with a modern twist. There is an earnestness to their newest songs on a forthcoming EP, due out early 2019, that rings true - the kind of sincerity born from experience. These songs feel alive and well-lived, tragic, nostalgic, beautiful, and contemplative, all with a solid hook. “Everybody Wants To Take You For A Ride”, the first track taken from that EP, is a beautifully delivered, moody alt-pop piece that introduces a slower sound aesthetic to what they have to offer