Dec 31, 2018

Best of 2018 - Say Sue Me - it's just a short walk!

One of my favourite cover EPs of 2018 - so simple so sweet so listen to it!

Fittingly for a band that often sounds as if they’re piecing together various corners of pop history, the song selections and aesthetic of the EP span decades. In a press release, frontwoman Sumi Choi mentions that they at first considered covers by their favorites, Yo La Tengo and Pavement. Instead, they went back to some of the older, legendary bands and decided to try to render those songs through the lens of indie bands Say Sue Me grew up on. That means the ’60s pop charge of the Velvet Underground’s “Beginning To See The Light” gets ruptured with angular ’90s breakdowns, or that they might tweak the Beach Boys’ “Do You Wanna Dance” and the Ramones’ “Rockaway Beach” with a shimmery modern haze.

Best of 2018 - Milk! Records

Milk! Records is an independent record label based in Melbourne, Australia. It was started by Courtney Barnett in 2012 to release her first EP I've Got A Friend Called Emily Ferris, and is now run by Barnett and Jen Cloher. Artists on the current Milk! roster include Courtney Barnett, Jen Cloher, Jade Imagine, Loose Tooth, East Brunswick All Girls Choir, Evelyn Ida Morris, Hachiku, Tiny Ruins, The Finks and Dyson Stringer Cloher. Aside from releasing traditional albums and what not, we occasionally curate special events, compilations, collaborations, limited edition vinyl (see: Split Singles Club) plus curios from friends and artists we love (see: Milk! Artist Series Tshirts). We are an artist run label n we thank you for your support.

Micropixie - New Year's Day - 2018

“My 'New Year’s Day’ video explores themes of socioeconomic inequality, xenophobia and patriarchal oppression through the story of two brown women: one is free to walk around the world, and the other, seemingly confined to her living room. I felt that by juxtaposing the webcam-like antics of the 'Insider' with the playful behaviour of the 'Outsider', the viewer might ponder the relationship between the two characters. Are they different representations of the same person in time? Or is one of them dreaming the other? Also, since the primary motif within my third album — Dark Sight of the Moon — pertains to vision, watching, and seeing things as they really are, I invite the viewer to question who is observing whom here.”

Dec 30, 2018

Best of 2018 - Ceremony - East Coast

EAST COAST. Darker, louder but still 100% John Fedowitz style. While the last album distance had the vibe of songs written with acoustic guitar and then transformed into Rock’n’Roll, EAST COAST is an album made for stage. Drone bass lines, ear piercing guitars, real drums and intense vocals. Nothing polished, highs and lows. Love songs. This album sends a message out to the music world: It’s raw, real

Best of 2018 - Muncie Girls - Fixed Ideals

After 2016's From Caplan to Belsize made an enviable splash on both sides of the Atlantic (despite limited push in the U.S.), hype surrounding the latest from Exeter's indie-punk scene-stealers Muncie Girls was considerable. Thankfully, 2018's Fixed Ideals delivers excellently, bettering their debut's blend of memorable hooks and pointed commentary in almost every way.

Dec 28, 2018

thanks for coming - nosebleeds always - 2018

22/40 songs written and recorded in my apartment january 2018-december 2018

Various Artists - Wanna Buy A Record? - 2018

Independent record label based in Wakefield, founded in 2008. Current home of Baker Island, Chloe Juliette Beswick, Buen Chico, Clandestines, Climbing Alice, The Do's, Fur Blend, JJ Swimsuit, Mi Mye, One Day After School, Charlie Padfield, Piskie Sits, The Reacharounds, Shake Your Halo Down, The Ship-Tones, The Spills, St Gregory Orange, These Men, Yard Wars

Dec 22, 2018

OKANDI - Blessed - 2018

I've been blessed with an angel watching over me I'm blessed 
Taught me to live
Taught me to learn and all the rest 
Who is there to wipe the woes right off my chest.
Nothing to hide. Right by my side 

Dec 21, 2018

Best of 2018 - The Decemberists - Once In My Life

Buoyed by a fresh coat of synths and a streamlined energy, the Decemberists’ latest is a curious middle-of-the-road album, teasing a number of directions without committing to any of them.

Plenty of Decemberists fans have aged into parenthood, and it’s really not hard to imagine a future where like They Might Be Giants, another favorite of the “Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me!” set, they begin recording kids albums. Judging from I’ll Be Your Girl, they’d probably be great at it. But the fact that they’ve basically sandwiched a couple of kids tunes into the same album as a suite about a killer sex mermaid only highlights how confused and directionless this band is right now. Where they once specialized in meticulously plotted albums, now they mostly seem to be winging it. They’re still making some alluring music, yet their albums have never sounded more disjointed.

Whyte Horses - Next Year Will Be Mine - 2018

▸ "Whyte Horses Might Have Crafted The Year's Best Christmas Song” Clash

▸ "Pure Seventies-style glam from the Manchester psychedelic pop collective, who follow Slade’s lead and offer a festive cracker of pure uplifting optimism” The Times

▸ "[Xmas Single Of The Week] Let this soundtrack your guzzling of mulled wine and annual wrestle with the wrapping paper” Get Into This

▸ "one of the finest festive tunes in many a year“ Barry Gruff

▸ "If there is one release this holiday season that all my blogger friends can seem to get behind, it is most certainly this one” Christmas Underground

▸ "full of joyful eccentric kitsch, chiming Christmas bells and honeyed harmonies” Louder Than War

Best of 2018 - Bonny Doon - Longwave

Opting for spontaneity and simplicity over the exploration of layers and textures that defined the first record, the band architected an incredibly intimate sound for these new songs. The album was tracked with minimal overdubs or production flourishes, constructing a frame that is spare and understated. The songs on Longwave amble through moonlit fields of melancholy guitar leads and self-reflection, the collection unfolding almost as one uninterrupted conversation with self. The session aimed to capture the band at their essence. With the superfluous stripped away, a gentle but steadfast spiritual core is revealed as the backbone of Bonny Doon’s cosmic American music.

The Detroit band brings a light touch to the melancholic alt-country songs on this album, which emerged from a spontaneous session in the woods.

Best of 2018 - The Scottish Enlightenment - Potato Flower

Spread up and down Scotland's east coast like margarine, The Scottish Enlightenment make high ceiling, Smoo Cave, flame-lit music, despite everything.

In our attention-span-deficit culture, Potato Flower is certainly no quick fix and plenty will give up the ghost early doors. But give it time, let it grow and the gorgeous elements of this album will eventually find a welcome home in your skull.

Best of 2018 - Unlikely Friends - Crooked Numbers

Unlikely Friends is a largely unknown "supergroup" of musicians from other largely unknown bands like BOAT and Math and Physics Club. They collectively hail from Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia, and play music that hasn't been cool in Seattle for about 25 years. But they love libraries.

On Crooked Numbers, Unlikely Friends trades in being the “best hardly-known indie pop band in the Pacific northwest” for the title of “the indie pop band that everyone in the Pacific northwest will soon not be able to shut up about.” The Seattle-based group who, for some time now, have been quietly cultivating and refining their infectious brand of indie pop, have struck gold with Crooked Numbers. Over the span of an ambitious and sprawling 15-track record, the group wastes no time in effortlessly trying to get your feet to uncontrollably move. As instantaneous and as feverishly as they did on 2015’s Solid Gold Cowboys, they succeed in many attempts to do so throughout the new record.

Dec 19, 2018

Best of 2018 - SOAP&SKIN - Italy & (this is) Water

Over the new album’s opening five songs alone, she embraces becalmed, almost hymnal piano and vocal (This Day). spellbound, electronic-flecked tranquillity (Athom), Italy coloured by organ and militaristic drums, the choral ambience of (This Is) Water and the tense grandeur of Surrounded, ethereal and earthy.

Best of 2018 - Air Wave - Warrior

The album cover for Warrior, the third full-length by Brooklyn-based band Air Waves, features a ominous, androgynous figure standing with a bicycle, wearing a gas mask adorned with a daisy.  The remarkable image was taken on April 22nd, 1970 at the inaugural Earth Day celebration in New York City by Nicole Schneit’s dad, Martin Schneit. Forty-seven years later, artist Em Rooney hand-painted Schneit’s original black & white photo, resulting in an image that radiates with Warrior’s indefatigable spirit, strength, and love.

Schneit proudly declares her mission statement: “I want these songs to be heard by people in my queer community, but also by anyone that wants to feels strong, powerful, and included.”

…glittery guitar work, sweet spot-hitting harmonies…
…rollicking, down-home folk-rock…
…big jangly, strummy, sunshiney, melancholic warm, swirling pretty much perfect pop music.
…infectiously breezy and moving folk-pop melodies…
...her smoky, melancholic voice bears similarities to the likes of Chan Marshall or Feist.
There are constantly relatable nostalgias in those guitar and vocal harmonies.
…some of the loveliest melodies anywhere.

Dec 18, 2018

Emmy The Great - Mahal Kita - 2017

Foxwarren - 2018

Subtle and thoughtful, it draws parallels to frontman Andy Shauf’s solo work while leaning on collaboration and looseness rather than Shauf’s meticulous arrangements. Where Shauf leaves space for orchestration, Foxwarren take time to ruminate on passages and themes. Propped up by warm driving rhythms and a familiar voice, and coloured with soft electronics and coarse guitars, it’s a record that ultimately hinges on sincerity. It captures the feeling of friends pushing each other, of a band looking inward for inspiration instead of outward for influence. 

Best of 2018 - wiaiwya | Their BLOG

Dec 17, 2018

Best of 2018 - Cat Power - Wanderer

In keeping with Marshall’s songbook, she often sounds like she’s singing to and with herself, conducting swirling, minor-key debates that no one else hears. Yet, Wanderer also includes messages of female solidarity and makes room for others’ voices. (She covers Rihanna! Gorgeously.) “Woman” stands out for its modulation and turbulence, the organ and drums continually rising, cresting, crashing as Marshall and Lana Del Rey chant, “Woman, woman, woman…” through the chorus before stopping short. It’s also just fun to hear these two artists, who have been saddled with sexist stereotypes from Beautiful Sufferer to Empty Canvas, croon, “Doctor said I was better than ever/ Man, you should’ve seen me”—offhandedly, yet with deadly aim.

Best of 2018 - Phosphorescent - C’est La Vie

In the five years since his last record, the much-celebrated Muchacho, Houck fell in love, started a family, moved to Nashville and built a studio, where he recorded his latest LP. No only do tracks like the heartland rock of "There From Here" and the earnest folk of "My Beautiful Boy" seem to be written about his new life, but much of the album also feels autobiographical, as songs like the jaunty "New Birth in New England" and the vocoder-assisted "Christmas Down Under" come off as the most buoyant and celebratory pieces Houck has ever written.

Dec 16, 2018

Dec 15, 2018

Best of 2018 - Bandcamp Singles

A few singles that have been heavy replay in my neck of the woods… 

Say Lou Lou - Under The Milky Way - 2018

Image result for Say Lou Lou - Under The Milky Way

Dec 13, 2018

Emma Parry - E​.​P. - 2018

E.P. is the debut EP from E.P. herself! They call her Emma Parry and she lives in Portland, Oregon, USA. She previously released a song called "Elevator" on our picnic pop compilation Secret Gardens. Now she comes to you with a tiny cassette packed full of eight songs in eight minutes.

Dec 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.”