Photo by Flickr user jadepalmer (Creative Commons).
After a slow summer, the artists and labels have started releasing some great new music again. Also this month I have found some I really, really like.
The list is in no particular order, but the ones I loved the most are marked with a red ||.
A Spotify playlist with songs from this list can be found below.
Did you miss the other posts in this series? Click the link to view them.
Here is a summary of the releases I loved the most in AUGUST.
This month, there have been released some really amazing singles. I especially liked the new songs from Crying, Weyes Blood, Fenne Lily, EZTV, Charlie Bliss, C Duncan, The Radio Dept., Ultimate Painting, Teenage Fanclub, CEO and Mumrunner. All of these are amazing, and I am sure at least a couple will stay with me through the year.
ALBUMS I LOVED THIS MONTH
Aüva – Aüva || This is one of the really positive surprises for me on this list. I haven’t heard any music from this band before now, and I love what I hear of this album. Really good! I don’t know exactly how to describe this, but the closest bands I can compare them to are Je Suis Animal or Le Futur Pompiste combined with jangly guitars, a touch of 60s Free Design-style, lovely harmonies and both female and male vocals (both are really beautiful). Highly recommended! One of my absolute favourite releases in August. (Spotify)
Boys forever – Boys Forever || When I first heard Boys Forever some time ago, after the release of their first single “poisonous”, I loved their sound, but feared that this brilliance could not be easy to follow up Then they released more singles, equally great, and now their debut album is here. Is the brilliance still there? Yep, throughout the whole album. Great songs from start to finish, – lovely indiepop with beautiful melodies and harmonies. Boys Forever is another wonderful addition to Patrick Doyle’s flawless career: The Royal We, Sexy Kids, Correcto and Veronica Falls. I am a fan. (Spotify)
Field Mouse – Episodic || Rough, dreamy indiepop with lovely vocals. Several really good songs here. There is a “but”, though. I was a bit disappointed when I first listened to the album, because I expected more from this band, who has released so much great music through their career. Good songs and a good album, but not as good as I expected and hoped for. It is not as unique as their previous releases. They will always have a place in my heart anyway. (Spotify)
Of Montreal – Innocence Reaches || I don’t think I have liked or even listened much to an Of Montreal album since “Sunlandic Twins”, but this was just what I needed now. Weird pop, and really catchy. Very nice! (Spotify)
Hockey Dad – Boronia || This is the album you want to play next time you go driving on a sunny day. Very catchy powerpop with great melodies and lots of energy. (Spotify)
Earth Girls – Wanderlust || Punky, garagy powerpop from this Chicago trio, that speeds through 12 songs in 20 minutes. Even if the music is rough, the melodies and harmonies adds a softer, sweeter element to the songs. Well done, Earth Girls. I liked this a lot. It gets better with each listen. And it gets even better after a few beers. (Spotify)
Big Wave Riders – Endless summer || Finland has a lot of great bands now, and much of the reason is because they have a brilliant label over there, Soliti, that has released some wonderful music over the years. Big Wave Riders is one of the great bands on the label, and this new album is very, very good. This is big-sounding indie/indiepop made with 2 guitars, bass and some really groovy drums, combined with some irresistible melodies and a good touch of reverb. Didn’t I mention the vocals? Warm, rich and very pleasing for the ears, and the backing vocal harmonies are also wonderful. (Spotify)
Various artists – Continental drift || Is it possible to make a bad record with bands like Tigercats, Wildhoney, Mercury Girls and The Spook School? I don’t think so. This is a lovely compilation with two songs by each band, released as a collaboration by two great labels, Slumberland and Fortuna Pop!. Sadly, this is the last release from Fortuna Pop!, and they will be sadly missed by a lot of indiepop fans, including me. I love ALL these songs and bands, but especially the last 4 songs by these 4 bands are really, really, really, really good. Did I say “really” a couple of times too much? No. (Spotify)
Zach Schimpf – Who speaks to you? || THIS! You have to listen to this album. It is soooo good. He has released five albums, I believe – the first one in 2013, and then at least one every year. I discovered his music late, with his beautiful 2016 singles “What’s it like there, tomorrow” and “DizZzy”, and knew that I needed to hear more from this artist. His music is calm, with a mix between acoustic and electronic elements. There is also a certain quirkyness in the way he arranges his songs, which make his music even more interesting. A really wonderful collection of songs. (Spotify)
Pascal Pinon – Sundur || I have been a fan of the Icelandic duo Pascal Pinon since they released their debut album, and after listening to this new release on repeat for some time, I am still a fan, and maybe an even bigger one. “Sundur” is a perfect album for autumn evenings. It is calm, and sometimes stunningly beautiful. The songs on the album vary from being sung in Icelandic and English. (Spotify)
SPC ECO – Anomalies || Electronic, dreamy pop, – and you may probably like this even if you’re not a “synthpop person”. Beautiful, dreamy vocals and melodies with a touch of darkness and melancholy, without being “sad songs”. Even if most of the songs are fairly upbeat, there is a refreshing calmness over this album. (Spotify)
Morgan Delt – Phase Zero || I must admit that I haven’t listened enough to this one, and it feels a bit wrong to put it on this list, but it sounds very, very promising and it is just the kind of music I like. Interesting and melodic pop with psychedelic elements. (Spotify)
De La Soul – and the anonymous nobody… || I never thought a hiphop album would be a contender to my best of the year list, but this is. De La Soul have gone DIY on this one, and used Kickstarter to finance hiring a big orchestra that were told to just jam for hours, while De La recorded it all, and later sampled sections of the jams for their songs. This makes the album very organic and it sounds so playful and full of the joy of creating. It’s very varied and interesting to listen to, – both the music itself, but also because they have used several different vocalists here, from Damon Albarn and Jill Scott via David Byrne to Justin Hawkins of The Darkness. (Spotify)
Castlebeat – Castlebeat || Jangly indiepop with lots of reverb both on the guitars and the vocals. This album could have been released on Captured Tracks (it’s not), and I guess that may give you an idea of the style. Nice! (Spotify)
Mi Mye – The Sympathy Sigh || Lots of my favourite bands are from Scotland, and Mi Mye is a new Scottish favourive of mine. The album is inspired by Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, and it is full of interesting and sometimes very fragile and direct storytelling. It is a beautiful, folky album. (Spotify)
EPs I LOVED THIS MONTH
Deer Scout – Customs || Oh, I love this! A brilliant and beautiful EP, simply. Lovely voice, lovely melodies, lovely and interesting lyrics – often with day to day observations that at the same time also tell a bigger story. If you like artists like Frankie Cosmos or Eskimeaux, you will probably love this. I certainly do. (Spotify)
Porch Lights – Street Gaze || This is really beautiful. This Ep is a concept EP that tells the story of a 70s high school romance. It is separated in two sides, one optimistic about the beginning of a relationship, and the other darker about conflict and breakup. The EP opens with some very calm, beautiful, folky autumn songs, and ends with some really good upbeat tracks, like the synthpop’y “Neon Princess” and the indiepop’y “Nothing means nothing”. Brilliant. (Spotify)
Talos – O Sanctum || Two original songs, and remixes of those two by my favourites Maps and Sin Fang. The originals are atmosperic, calm, fragile songs, with lots of reverb and beautiful, male vocals. When “Your love is an island” takes off in the end, it sends shivers down my spine. My favourite is the second track, “Reborn”. Really beautiful. The remixes add something new, and still manages to keep the feelings the two originals have already created. No typical 4/4 bassdrummed techno remixes here, thankfully. (Spotify)
Naps – The most beautiful place on earth || A very nice fuzzy indiepop EP from a band that sometimes take a step into the psychedelic pop area. The melodies are wonderful, and I especially like how the two vocalists (male/female) add so much variation to the songs. All the songs are top quality, and my favourite is the brilliant “Social Skills”. Very, very good. (Spotify)
Ralegh Long – We are in the fields || This EP is pure love for me. It is so amazingly beautiful. It is an EP that sometimes make me very emotional, with its calm, subtle songs and the pictures he paints in my mind with his lyrics. Piano, acoustic guitar, different brass- and woodwind instruments and his beautiful voice make these delicate songs really come alive. This is one of my favourite EPs this year, and if you give it a listen, it may also be one of yours. (Spotify)
Toothless – Palm’s backside || Toothless have joined together with one of my favourite singers/musicians, Marika Hackman on this EP, and the result is outstanding. Two original tracks + a very good remix. Both songs are very catchy, so prepare to hum the songs for hours after you have listened to them. The lead track reminds me a bit of the Canadian band Stars. (Spotify)
COMPILATIONS/ANTHOLOGIES I LOVED THIS MONTH
Momus – Pubic Intellectual – An Anthology 1986-2016 || Well, 56 songs and almost 4 hours of Momus is a bit too much, even for an old fan like me, but the album includes several of my favourites, like “Murderers, the hope of women”, “I was a Maoist intellectual”, “Bishonen”, “The Homosexual” and “Rhetoric”. Some songs are far too weird for me, and there are definitely some songs that could be left out, but there are so many gems in here, and the lyrics are always fun and very out of the ordinary. Never try to listen to this in one go. Make a playlist instead. (Spotify)
Biff Bang Pow! – The singles A’s and B’s || Because Biff Bang Pow! <3 (Spotify)
DISAPPOINTENTS OF THE MONTH
Dinosaur Jr, Tennis, Still Corners, Slow Club and Junior Boys should all be ashamed. Or, maybe not, because they have received some good reviews, all of them, but I once loved them, and now my love is gone. The love has transformed to annoyance. My review of these releases are simply summed up as “Boring, boring, boring, boring and boring”. Dinosaur Jr sounds like a mediocre hard rock band from the 70s, and the rest have changed their style so much that they have gone from great to awful in my ears. My ears are pretty damaged, by the way, so don’t trust me 100% on this. I think I just said that you shouldn’t trust me on the ones I loved this month either… Never mind.
Listen to most of the songs from this list on Spotify: