Photo by Flickr user duncan c (Creative Commons).
September has been a pretty good month for new releases, and there have been some really good albums, EPs and singles.
Here is my list of the new releases that made my heart beat faster in SEPTEMBER.
The list is in no particular order, but the ones I loved the most are marked with a red ||.
SINGLES I LOVED THIS MONTH
One of the singles I really loved this month, came from the German indie/garage/pop band Gurr. The single “Walnuts/Walnuss” comes in 2 versions, one in German and one in English, and it has become the most played song in my house this month. It’s a brilliant, rough, upbeat pop song, and I get in such a good mood by listening to it. Love it!
September has been an especially good month for single releases, and some of the songs released this month may end up as the best this year, in my opinion. SO many great songs I have really been hooked on. The single track releases I loved this month are too many to mention, but some really stood out. All the singles I loved can be found in the Spotify playlist. (Continues below the picture)
This month I especially liked the new singles from the before mentioned Gurr, the huge-sounding new single from Bergen based indie/shoegaze/psychpop band The Megaphonic Thrift, the new single from Princess Chelsea, which is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!, the piano-based and dreamy single “This here” from a Norwegian newcomer with a unique voice – Shikoswe, the super-catchy “Seen Everything” from noise-pop’ers Terry Malts, a new single from the always great Kevin Morby, a great indiepop/powerpop song from The Cut Losses, the beautiful, beautiful dreamy, poetic “Dandelion” from Big Thief, 60s sounding sweetness from The Yearning, a wonderful two track indiepop gem with jangly guitars and lovely vocals from Nancy Sin on the Wiaiwya label, Chemtrails’ punky POP song “Aeons” and a great song that creeps slowly into your heart from The Hundredth Anniversary. All of these are amazing!
ALBUMS I LOVED THIS MONTH
Tele Novella – House of souls || Everything about the Austin, Texas band Tele Novella seems 60’s inspired, from the music to the cover art and band photos. The twangy guitars, the lovely, dramatic and strong female vocals, the dreamy – almost psychedelic – atmosphere, the melancholy and the wonderful popsongs, makes this a very good album to listen to. The sometimes dark storytelling in the lyrics give the songs another dimension. “Heavy Balloon” is such a beautiful song that I almost get teary eyes. Sometimes they remind me of the music of Would-Be-Goods. Sometimes. And did I mention that some of the members used to play in Voxtrot, one of my favourite bands? Now you know. You should definitely listen to this. I am pretty sure that this album will be on my best of the year list at the end of 2016. (Spotify)
Angel Olsen – My woman || This album is so beautiful, from the lyrics, to the songwriting and the performance. The songs are mainly love songs, from the straight in your face fuzzy tunes with attitude, to the more “quiet”, reflective, melancholic and introverted songs. A lovesong does not need to be all happy falling in love-songs, and Angel Olsen shows us many aspects of the word. (Spotify)
Cheap Star – Songs for the Farelly Brothers || Very good indie/indiepop-album with great happy/sad melodies, dreamy sound and really pleasant vocals. Their style reminds me a bit of both Big Star, The Posies and the more upbeat songs from Wilco. Add a healthy dose of Teenage Fanclub, Byrds and some americana influences, and you are there. Highly recommended! (Spotify)
Flyying Colours – Mindfullness || This Melbourne-band has been on my radar for some time now, and after a couple of wonderful EPs, they have now released a wonderful shoegazy debut-album with a thick wall of guitars, dreamy, distant vocals and a tight rhythm section. Lots of energy in these songs, and especially the pounding drums make this album almost a physical experience. Lovely! (Spotify)
(Continues below the picture)
Chook Race – Around the house || Oh, this great! This Melbourne based indiepop band have released a wonderful album, and it is easy to get addicted to it. Great songs like “Sometimes”, with its infectious “bapabapa” chorus , “Pink and Grey”, where the two vocalists (male and female) really shine in beautiful harmonies, or the lovely “at my door” and so many other good ones make this album magical. Interesting and thoughtful lyrics as well. Jangly pop goodness! (Spotify)
Drugdealer – The end of comedy || This is the debut album from Los Angeles’ Drugdealer, a.k.a. Michael Collins. It is a very varied album, with clear sound references to the 70s, and it makes me think of artists like The Beatles, Burt Bacharach, Carol King and 70s psychedelic pop when I listen. Lovely details, wonderful songs. On the album Drugdealer collaborates with several great artists like Weyes Blood, Sheer Agony, Ariel Pink and Danny James. I am a big fan of Weyes Blood, so it is probably natural that I think the songs with her on vocals are the best, but the album is a great listen as a whole.(Spotify)
Ice Choir – Designs in rhythm || Ice Choir is former Pains Of Being Pure At Heart drummer and Depreciation Guild-frontman Kurt Feldman’s project, and it is quite far from The Pains’ indiepop sound. Although The Depreciation Guild were more guitar based and shoegazy in sound, you can in the songs he made then, elements of what Ice Choir would become. This is his second Ice Choir album, released 4 years after the first. His music as Ice Choir is clearly inspired by popmusic of the 80s, and you will recognize a lot of elements and production details that were common back then. To me it sounds like a modern, updated synthpop version of Prefab Sprout or Scritti Politti, with Feldman’s lovely, dreamy vocals in front. It has become a really pleasant album to listen to. It is released on Shelflife Records, which to me is a guarantee of quality pop. (Spotify)
(Continues below the picture)
Lizard Kisses – Not seeing is a flower || This is a compilation album of live recordings, 7″ singles, demos and unreleased material from Brooklyn’s Lizard Kisses, but it really doesn’t sound like a compilation at all. It is too consistent in sound and well composed for that. Lizard Kisses is fronted by songwriters Cory Siegler and Marc Merza, but is helped in recordings and performances by friends from other Brooklyn bands. The new album is really atmospheric and beautiful, filled with calm lo-fi-ish songs with Siegler’s beautiful voice backed with strings, organs, glockenspiel, (mainly acoustic) guitars, piano and with wonderful lyrics. I love this band! (Spotify)
The Pooches – The Pooches || I have waited for this one! The EP that arrived earlier this year is one of my favourite EPs of 2016, and “Heart attack”, which also is on the album, is one of my favourite songs so far this year. Do the album meet my expectations? Definitely YES. The indiepop quartet from Glasgow makes charming, super-catchy, jangly quality-pop. 10 great songs. (Spotify)
Snails – Safe in Silence || Bristol’s Snails got me hooked on their single “Talking to Anthony/Winter Hearts” in 2015, and both these songs are on their new debut album. There are so many indiepop gems here. The opening track “Jennifer Jones” could have been an upbeat Syd Barrett song, and on other songs they move into psychedelic folk or jangly indiepop, – always with a somewhat eccentric and experimental – but very catchy- pop attitude. (Spotify)
So Cow – Lisa Marie Airplane Tour || This is Ireland’s So Cow’s fifth album, and this time Brian Kelly plays everything himself. The result is brilliant lo-fi, punky janglepop of the wonderfully catchy kind. (Spotify)
Le SuperHomard – Maple key || Sometimes a record arrives that I love from the first listen. As I am getting older, the instant love is rarer, but the new album from Le SuperHomard is one of those rare moments. If you like bands like Stereolab, Broadcast and French 60s pop, you may fall in love with this too. 8 absolutely wonderful songs, and the album is a pure delight to listen to. Love <3. (Spotify)
(Continues below the picture)
The Tuts – Update your brain || Oh, wow, this is an amazing album from The Tuts! Definitely one of the best indiepop albums I have heard so far this year. 12 out of 12 songs are my favourites on “Update your brain”. Raw, rough, energy-filled, fun, catchy, well-written punky indiepop songs with strong lyrics. This album makes you want to dance and jump and shout and sing and think. (Spotify)
Diners – Three || This takes us right back to the 60s, with mellotrons, brass, woodwinds, strings and a really lovely Beach Boys sound. I absolutely love this album. Great melodies, often quite sweet and friendly, brilliant harmonies and, just like The Beach Boys, they are one part pure pop and one part playful sound-experiments. <3 (Spotify)
Moddi – Unsongs || This is an important and impressive project by Norway’s Moddi. On the album, he covers 12 songs that have been banned and made illegal around the world, and the writing and performing of these songs have originally led to both imprisonment and death for the original songwriters. The song most of our generation knows best is probably “Punk Prayer” by Pussy Riot, which Moddi covers beautifully in his own calm style with a lot of respect. The album is beautiful, and you almost feel guilty enjoying it because of all the original artists’ tragic destiny. I advice you to have a look at the website he has made together with videographer Jørgen Nordby, where he interviews the artists and people close to them about the songs (http://www.unsongs.com/). A strong experience both in music and in the stories behind. (Spotify)
Various – Constant and true, a tribute to the songs of Rose Melberg || Rose Melberg (The Softies, Tiger Trap, Go Sailor, Knife Pleats, Brave Irene ++++) has been an important artist for me both during my younger years and today. Her songs are so beautiful. February Records (US) and WIAIWYA (Europe) has released a very interesting tribute compilation where some wonderful indiepop artists cover her songs. The album is curated by Jeremy Jensen of The Very Most, and he has done a tremendous job finding artists for this one. Look at this list: The Hermit Crabs, The Prams, Featherfin, Bodyheat, Emma Kupa, Saturday Looks Good To Me, Marc Elston, LAKE, Fireflies, The Smittens,John Girgus and The Legendary House Cats, The Royal Landscaping Society, Gabardine, Boyracer, Band a Part, Seapony, The Very Most, Tomiji, Tangible Excitement, Transmittens, and Rocketship! The songs are great, from start to finish, and the artists have made the songs in their own original style, while still keeping the essence of Rose’s work. The proceeds of the sales will go to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, so that’s a great reason to support this project as well. The album is released as a limited edition CD and as digital download. Did I mention that I am on it too? Yes I am, as Featherfin, with Deerful on vocals. ( Buy at February Records Bandcamp or WIAIWYA Bandcamp)
Hannah Peel – Awake but always dreaming || Hannah Peel has always had my deepest respect, because she is able to experiment and do interesting “weird, creative stuff” in the background of her songs, while still keeping them beautiful and highly accessible. This is also something she does very well on this album. Some of it is extremely beautiful, like the dreamy title track and the songs “Conversations”, “Tenderly” + several others. AMAZINGLY beautiful songs. The times she jumps too much into the very accessible pop territory, I get a bit turned off, like on the single “All that matters” and the synthy “Hope lasts”. She’s best when she can calm down and experiment with atmospheres and songs where the depth of the lyrics and the vocals get a place in the front row. Then, she’s brillant. (Spotify)
Teenage Fanclub – Here || These guys know how to write good songs, and once again they have released a solid album. BUT – To be honest, I was a bit disappointed when I first heard it, but it is slowly growing on me. Why I was disappointed? I am probably pissing a lot of people off here… My reason for not getting as excited as many reviewers and fans seem to be, is that you always know what to expect from a TF album. The songs are great, the melodies are beautiful, the harmonies are outstanding, but in my ears, their formula is the same every time, and it is just too nice and pretty. I miss a tiny bit of edge. It just floats pleasantly around in my ears, without leaving a mark. So after writing this, it may seem weird to put it on a best of-list, don’t you think? Well, I kind of like it too, like I always do… (Spotify)
EPs I LOVED THIS MONTH
Eyelids – Slow it goes || I have waited for something new from Portland, Oregon-band Eyelids. Their debut album 854 was among my favourites in 2014, and it is still an album I play a lot. I mentioned earlier in this post what I didn’t like about the new Teenage Fanclub album, and Eyelids’ new 3 track EP is just what I wanted the new TF album to be. Well crafted guitar-based indiepop with lovely harmonies and melodies, and that edge and freshness that I think TF’s new album don’t have. All the 3 songs on this EP are really, really good. The bandmembers are kind of rock/pop/folk veterans, and the band is made up of current and former members of Decemberists, Guided By Voices and Malkmus/Jicks. If you like any of those bands, or if you like Teenage Fanclub and – like me – miss the edge, or if you just like very good indie, you should give this one a listen. (Spotify)
Pip Blom – Are We There Yet? || 3 track EP from 20 year old Amsterdam musician Pip Blom. She has a lot in common with Courtney Barnett, only in a rougher and more jangly version. The 3 songs are fairly different, from the upbeat, observational, catchy and powerful “Taxi driver” via the muddy slow-groover “Honey” to the heartbreakingly sad acoustic “Alone”. If you like this, you should listen to the 4 singles she has released this year, which are also very good. (Spotify)
Mumrunner – Gentle slopes EP || Thanks to the always great Soliti label, I have discovered so many good indie bands from Finland lately. Mumrunner is one of them, and the EP is of course released on Soliti. This is the band’s second EP, and I think it is their best so far. Chiming guitars and a dreamy indie pop sound combined with very good melodies. (Spotify)
Blaenavon – Let’s pray || Teenage indie band Blaenavon (how do you pronounce that?) has released several good EPs and singles since 2013, and on this one they combine catchy indie with superdark lyrics. They don’t sound like a band who’s still in school, and the emotions they share in their music are definitely mature. NME described their sound as “twisting guitars and heartbroken vocals”, and I think that is a good description. I love the singer’s vocals, and I think they are at their best when they turn down the noise and go quieter, like on the stunningly beautiful “Just desserts”. (Spotify)
DISAPPOINTMENTS OF THE MONTH
Kim Gordon – Murdered Out (single) || Someone recently wrote that her latest single was awesome. They must have had autocorrect on. They surely meant “awful”. The music Kim Gordon has released since Sonic Youth is… awful. As simple as that. She can’t sing. She can’t play. She can’t make good songs anymore. Sorry, Kim/Sonic Youth fans. I probably like you, but not her.
Listen to most of the songs from this list on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/eardrumspop/playlist/4SulDl5zY9BDx4UWAf51uP