Photo by Flickr user Silke Gerstenkorn.
For some years now, I have made these monthly summaries of what I really, really liked that month.
Here is my summary of the releases I loved the most in MARCH.
So, here we go:
The list is in no particular order, but the ones I loved the most are marked with a red ||.
SINGLES I LOVED THIS MONTH
So many good ones this month. I especially liked the new songs from:
Melby – “Cross” This is the first single from the upcoming debut EP from the Stockholm based psychedelic pop-quartet Melby. They have released 3 lovely singles so far, and after this gem, my expectations to their debut EP are huge. I love Matilda Wiezell’s warm vocals.
Emmy The Great – “Mahal Kita” Perfection. The lyrics are amazing. What a great song! (Mahal Kita means I love you in Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines.)
Plume of Feathers – “One year on” A wonderful, wonderful summery indiepop song. Can’t wait to hear their new album. This is so good!
Aldous Harding – “Imagining my man” Her debut album from 2014 is still one of my favourites, and this second single from her upcoming 4ad album gives me hope that the new album will be great as well. It’s dark, as expected, but playful and melodic. Backing vocals from Perfume Genius, who also has a fine single out now.
Hearsays – “Headrest” I am in love with this song! Everything is good about this, and it’s perfect pop for the spring. Indiepop from Japan.
I had a really hard time picking only 5 this time. Notable mentions go to Ralegh Long, Adult Mom, No Vacation, Hyla, Girlpool, Enderby’s Room, Cigarettes after sex and the collaboration between Maja Gödicke and Farväl Till Ungdomen. All of these are amazing.
Several “old greats” have released new singles this month: Alison Moyet (a VERY positive surprise!), Broken Social Scene (good), Feist (I still don’t know what to think about it). Slowdive (very good), Saint Etienne (ok, but no S.E. classic) and Fleet Foxes (good).
You will find these and even more of my other favourite singles in the Spotify list.
ALBUMS I LOVED THIS MONTH
Lots, as usual… Let’s start!
Nana Grizol – Ursa Minor || I like what I hear, a lot, and after only a few listens my heart already beats for this. Several songs have already become favourites of mine, like the lovely “Window”, “Bright Clouds” and “.Nightlights I”. This is Athens, Georgia band Nana Grizol’s first album in seven years, and if you like the music of bands from the legendary Elephant 6 collective, this may be one for you. Nana Grizol includes members from Neutral Milk Hotel, Elf Power and Music Tapes. Indie/chamber pop. (Spotify)
Desperate Journalist – Grow up || The second album from London’s Desperate Journalist is brilliant, – really, really good! So many wonderful songs. All, in fact. Jo Bevan’s voice, way of singing and lyrics send my thoughts to Morrissey or Echobelly’s Sonya Madan. Indiepop/post punk. (Spotify)
Green Buzzard – Space man rodeo || Green Buzzard’s “Do you ever glow” and “Never let me go” have both been among this year’s finest indie singles, and when a band release two such brilliant songs prior to an album release, I always question whether there can be more of this on the album or if this is all they’ve got. In Green Buzzard’s case, there are definitely more goodies on the album. It’s basically full of good, catchy power pop songs. I love this now, and I am pretty sure that it will still grow the more I listen. (Spotify)
The Magnetic Fields – 50 song memoir (Selections from) || They never disappoint. Never. This is a 16 song selection made for streaming services from their “50 song memoir”, and I have already found some songs on it that easily can be put on my personal “Best of The Magnetic Fields” album. Listen to “’74: No”, “’01: Have you seen it in the snow?” or “’86: How I failed in Ethics”. Aren’t they great? (Spotify)
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Karima Walker – Hands in our names || Oh, wow, this is a VERY interesting album. Stunningly beautiful folk-based songs and melodies sung with lovely, warm vocals, combined with interesting studio experiments, noise loops and field recordings. It is an unusual combination, for sure, but everything works so well here, and when you give it a listen, you will find much beauty in it. There is so much emotion put into these songs that I sometimes find myself teary eyed when I listen to this. It’s not for everyone, but definitely for me. Truly inspirational. (Spotify)
VENN – RUNES || London/Berlin-based trio VENN make post-punk flavoured music with repetitive motorik beats, synths, innovative sounds and loveable melodies that are not easily forgotten. They add influences from lots of other genres, and it all sounds very unique and refreshing. One of my favourite albums this month. They recently signed to Full Time Hobby, which in itself is a quality sign for me. (Spotify)
Mothpuppy – Cool & pretty || When I think about Baltimore five-piece Mothpuppy’s new album, the first thing that comes to my mind is singer (and if I am not wrong, also their main songwriter) Morgan Murphy’s striking voice and performance on the songs. She sings her heart out, and when I hear her and listen to her strong lyrics, it makes me very emotional. Isn’t that what really good music should do? I love this! Rough/jangly/indiepop/indierock. (Spotify)
Gosh! – Cities on the plain || Gosh! is a trio from Chicago, who according to their Bandcamp page play “minimal psychedelic dream pop”. I think I can agree with that, Gosh!. I would also add “rough” and “lo-fi” and “playful” in that description. This is their second album, and it is a good one. (Spotify)
Gnoomes – Tschak! || I listen to Russian music far too rarely, but this album makes me want to dive deeper into the alternative music from Russia. It opens with a repetitive intrumental noise-loop that hypnotizes you until you realize that this loop is actually insanely catchy. The rest of the album adds those weird loops and sounds to krauty psych pop and calm vocals, and it’s both interesting and satisfying to listen to. (Spotify)
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Bill Botting & The Two Drink Minimums – Better friends || This is the solo album from Bill Botting, the bass player of Allo Darlin’. It’s easy to hear where he has spent his later years, and several songs have a lot in common with Allo Darlin’ both musically and lyrically. Others have a more traditional rock- and country-ish style. His backing band features Allo Darlin’ bandmate Paul Rains, Jonny Helm from The Wave Pictures, Tom Wade and his sister Hannah Botting from Owl & Mouse, Laura K from Tigercats and Darren Hayman. Now that Elizabeth Morris has found a new musical home in ELVA, it’s great to see that the other Allo Darlin’-members also are making and releasing music. GOOD music! (Spotify)
Jessica Dennison & Jones – Jessica Dennison & Jones || I am so happy that these two Jessicas found each other. Jessica Dennison and Jessica Jones make hushed, gentle indiepop songs that slightly touches the folk- and country genre, but only slightly. A tiny bit like The Softies, maybe? A very beautiful album. (Spotify)
Secret Shine – There’s only now || Secret Shine should be a well known name for fans of Shoegaze, dream pop and indiepop. Their new album may be one of their best releases so far. Really good songs, and I love the dreamy vocals and especially the way the female and male vocals work together in the songs. (Spotify)
Glad Hand – Be kind || This is probably not an album for everyone, but if you let it in, you will find lots of beauty. “Experimental pop” is probably the closest I can come to describing this. Mesmerizing rhythms, unusual arrangements, soulful vocals with at times stunning beauty, woodwinds, strings, brass, etc.. Interesting, demanding and very beautiful music. If you replaced the vocals with Björk’s voice (and probably added some electronics), this could well fit in her discography. (Spotify)
Real Estate – In mind || New album from Real Estate! And yes, it sounds really good. This may be the spring- and summer-album I need just now. The album has some Teenage Fanclub vibes, and that’s not a bad thing. (Spotify)
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Hater – You tried || Sweden’s finest indiepop-band at the moment, Hater’s debut album is a long awaited one for me. They have released some amazing singles and a very good EP that made me build up my expectations for this album. The result is just what I hoped for. Caroline Landahl’s voice (oh I love her vocals!) has the perfect mix between vulnerability and power. Hater’s melancholic popsongs are full of hope, nostalgia, strength and a tiny bit of sadness. (Spotify)
Lunch Ladies – Down on Sunset strip || New Jersey quartet Lunch Ladies play dreamy jangle pop that often get the words “beach” and “surf” added when someone is trying to describe them. The songs are simply good. Very good. I want more. (Spotify)
Sunny Summer Day – Traveled backwards || If I am not wrong, this album was released on cd in 2016, but it has found its way to streaming and digital services this month. The Indonesian quartet have made a wonderful album, with nostalgic hints to the early days of indiepop. It is a pleasure to listen to. Great summery pop songs. <3 (BTW, when I listen to their song “Semua pasti beruba”, I always hum the words to “Talulah Gosh” by Talulah Gosh…). (Spotify)
Jay Som – Everybody works || I first started listening to Melina Duterte aka Jay Som’s music when she released her bedroom produced debut album “Turn Into” in 2016, where she played every instrument herself. It was a wonderful album, – great songwriting, with the added charm of some lo-fi bedroom sounds here and there (you can sometimes hear the metronome, the sound of her getting up from the chair by the drumset etc). “Like if Liz Phair grew up with shoegaze”, someone wrote on her Bandcamp. Now she is signed to Polyvinyl. She still does everything herself, including recording and production, (minus backing vocals on a couple of songs) and she does it very well. I miss the lofi bedroom sounds, but with songs and sounds like these, I don’t think I will miss them for long. I hope she still keeps the diy spirit and remembers her bedroom on her future releases. (Spotify)
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JFDR – Brazil || If you have heard the Icelandic bands Samaris or Pascal Pinon, you have also heard the lovely voice of Jófríður Ákadóttir, who is a member of both bands. She has also worked with artists like Gangly, Sin Fang, Low Roar and Farao among others, and Björk has named her as one of her inspirations. On her first solo album as JFDR her voice is the main focus on top of ambient, atmospheric soundscapes, soft guitars and electronics. It’s a beautiful album. (Spotify)
Sorority Noise – You’re not as _____ as you think || This is pretty raw, both the music and lyrics. The lyrics are both heartbreaking and uplifting, and always very emotional. So is the music in many ways. Guitar based indie rock. (Spotify)
Mount Eerie – A crow looked at me || This is the saddest album this month, both in lyrics, music and back story, – and sadly they are all connected. Phil Elverum wrote the album after his wife (and also musician) Geneviève died of pancreatic cancer. He recorded it in the room she died, and primarily on her instruments. It is a very personal album, – intense, and about his love for his wife and his sorrow. It is beautiful, but also so very personal that I almost feel ashamed for listening to it. But you should listen, at least once. (Spotify)
Monster Movie – Keep the voices distant || (released on 31 March, so I haven’t listened much yet) Slowdive-guitarist Christian Savill has been busy lately, both with the reunion and upcoming album from Slowdive and this new album from his other project Monster Movie. It sounds good. Shoegaze/dreampop. (Spotify)
Papernut Cambride – Cambridge Circus || (This was released/added to Spotify on 31 March, so I haven’t listened much yet) The band, or maybe I should say collective, was formed by former Death In Vegas and Thrashing Doves guitarist Ian Button, and it includes a huge number of his musician friends. On this album, vocalists and contributors include Eardrums Music-favourites Deerful, Darren Hayman, Ralegh Long, Citizen Helene and others. (Spotify)
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Hvitmalt gjerde – Våken || This is one of my favourite Norwegian bands, and right now this is my favourite Norwegian album. It is sooo good, and I really hope those of you who have no clue what they are singing about also will enjoy this. As you may have understood by now, they sing in Norwegian, and of course their brilliant lyrics add a lot to the experience, – but the songs should be good enough to enjoy also without understanding a word. Their sound is very 60s inspired pop, of the rough, jangly, fun, garagy, surfy – and always melodic kind. Love. (Spotify)
Geotic – Abysma || (released on 31 March, so I haven’t listened much yet) This is a side project from the super-creative Will Wiesenfeld, also known as Baths. I am a big fan of his music. The difference between the two projects are according to him that Baths is meant for active listening and Geotic is meant for passive listening. I think passive listening is pretty ok in this case. Electronic pop. (Spotify)
Anneli Drecker – Revelation for personal use || (released on 31 March, so I haven’t listened much yet) My hometown Tromsø’s pride (in addition to Röyksopp), Anneli Drecker has released a new album with lyrics from the North-Norwegian poet Arvid Hansen, translated into English. Some of you may have heard her beautiful vocals in her band Bel Canto, and some may have heard her on her collaborations with Röyksopp, Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins), Jah Wobble (Public Image Ltd), A-ha, Motorpsycho and more. Cocteau Twins has been a strong influence on her way of singing, and on this album she experiments with different kinds of vocal-styles, including sami joik and throat singing. Sounds amazing. (Spotify)
Me and the bees – Menos Mal || If the criteria of a good album is an album that makes you happy, then this is a good album. It sounds like the band have had much fun when they made these songs, and I am smiling when I am listening. On this Barcelona based band’s Bandcamp page, it says that the album is “A warm homage to the unbeatable choruses and heavenly harmonies of sunny pop music. A magnet for those allergic to quietness”. Sweet 60s inspired indiepop with a healthy dose of experimentation. They have the rare skill to say a lot in a short time: 9 of the 15 songs are less than 2 minutes long, and only one is slightly more than 3 minutes. (Spotify)
EPs I LOVED THIS MONTH
Figmennt – EP || This 6 track EP from UK quartet Figmennt is simply brilliant all the way through. Their warm, fuzzy shogaze/dreampop reminds me of a band I loved in the early 90s, the very underrated Adorable. Figmennt are just as adorable as Adorable. Quality. (Spotify)
R. Missing – Unsummering || R. Missing is a sideproject from Sharon Shy and Toppy, a.k.a. The Ropes. In this new project, they go a bit darker with their cold, dreamy electronic pop. Very nice vocals from Sharon Shy, or “She Missing” as she calls herself here, and lots of reverb. (Spotify)
When Nalda became punk – Those words broke our hearts || It is impossible for me to listen to When Nalda Became Punk’s music without smiling and thinking of summer. 6 very good melodic indiepop-songs with rough edges. The EP is released as a collaboration between Shelflife (USA) and Discos de Kirlian (Spain). (Spotify)
Heavenly Creatures – This summer will kill us all || This is the debut release from Cleveland trio Heavenly Creatures, out on Jigsaw Records. Fuzzy, jangly indiepop. Great debut! (Spotify)
Bas Jan – Bas Jan || I wrote about Bas Jan’s single “No sign” in last month’s “Best of” post, and I am pretty excited about their debut EP as well. Impressive! This is one of the most interesting and original bands I have heard so far this year. I am a big fan of Bas Jan’s songwriter Serafina Steer’s solo work. She is a unique songwriter. (Spotify)
Bleached – Can you deal? || I have listened to and loved the music of Los Angeles garage-pop-punk trio Bleached since I first heard their first singles some time around 2011-2012. I still love them. Very much. (Spotify)
Terry Malts – It’s not me || The title track here is amazing. So good! The other 3 songs are demos for Gentle Eyes and Your Turn from their 2016 album and a demo of the title track. (Spotify)
Brunch Club – Brunch Club EP || A very good EP from fuzzpop/janglepop/indiepop trio Brunch Club. Enthusiastic, melodic, charming, warm, energetic. I can easily fall in love with these songs. (Spotify)
DISAPPOINTMENTS OF THE MONTH
Even though the songs on Temples‘ new album “Volcano” are good, and I like their style of very melodic and warm psych pop, I just have to skip the songs every time they play those completely annoying synth/flute parts. Those parts remind me too much of Europe’s “Final Countdown” or the melody part on modern commercial techno/dance. They should immediately fire the guy who came up with those themes! Aaargh!
Listen to most of the songs from this list on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/eardrumspop/playlist/3xAH0BwzQx3SGrr02mwm15