Photo by Flickr user Daniel Oines.
As usual at the end of the month or the beginning of the next, I sum up the albums, EPs and single-releases I really enjoyed listening to. Here is my summary of the releases I loved the most in MAY, and as usual, my use of superlatives is huge and my vocabulary not so huge
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 or via this link.
Did you miss the other posts in this series? Click the link to view them.
SINGLES I LOVED THIS MONTH
From the singles this month, I especially liked the new songs from:
Hoop – “Marlin Spike” This is my new favourite band. And my new favourite song! Smart pop with jangly guitars, amazing harmonies and lovely vocals. (Spotify)
Blushh – “Wake me up” Oh, wow! This song has an energy-bomb of a chorus! Blushh’ new single is a super catchy, raw indiepop song, and I can’t wait to hear more of this on the band’s EP that will be out in June. (Spotify)
Air-Sea Dolphin – “Exploding” As a huge fan of The Apples in Stereo, I am so happy to hear this new project from Robert Schneider
. This song is great! (Spotify)
Atlas Cedar – “In Hollywood” Layered soft voices and 60s-like harmonies combined with guitars, bass and drums. It is easy to float away in a daydream when you listen to this. Very beautiful! Atlas Cedar is the solo recording project of Chris Syme from Edinburgh, based in Glasgow. (Spotify)
Closing Eyes ft Emil Nikolaisen – “Bambole” A lovely, summery song that reminds somewhat of Stereolab. Closing Eyes is the solo project of Eirik Asker Pettersen from my Norwegian favourite bands Maribel and Lovecult, and on this song, he collaborates with Emil Nikolaisen from Serena Maneesh. The album will be released soon. (Spotify)
Other single-news: The The is back. Sounds just like before, and I am not entirely sure if that is good news. A new single from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart is here too. And The National. And there’s a new single from Lucky Soul after so many years, and they have gone from sweet northern soul-ish pop to sounding like Madonna in the 80s. I didn’t like it, but now I like it. Beach House is back too, and the new single from Courtney Barnett is ok. The Glok remix for RIDE‘s single “All I want” is much, much better than the original
You will find even more of my other favourite singles in the Spotify list.
ALBUMS I LOVED THIS MONTH
Eyelids – OR || I love Eyelids. Their debut “854” was amazing, and one of my absolute favourite releases of 2014. The band includes current and former members of The Decemberists, Stephen Malkmus’ band The Jicks and Guided by Voices, and the new album is filled with wonderful powerpop, catchy guitar-riffs, lovely melodies and amazing harmonies. If you like Big Star, Love or Teenage Fanclub, you will love Eyelids. And by the way, Peter Buck from REM produced this. (Spotify)
Fazerdaze – Morningside || The singles from Fazerdaze, like “Lucky girl” and “Take it slow”, are among my favourites this year, and this album has more of that, much more. She makes strong, interesting, catchy popsongs with lovely, dreamy vocals. It is a pleasure to listen to this. Indie/indiepop. (Spotify)
Katohjärta – Inget kommer ordna sig || 10 dark love stories told with stunningly beautiful indiepop songs. I usually think 10 songs are the perfect size of an album, but in this case I wish there were more. I could easily have handled 20 of these. The lyrics are in Swedish, but do not let that stop you. Please don’t. (Spotify)
Burning Hearts – Battlefields || I have missed Finland’s Burning Hearts, and I think I have missed them between every one of their releases. It is so good to have them back! This is their third album, and they have moved in a more synth-based direction this time. It suits them well, and I really, really like this new album. Jessika sings as beautiful as always. (Spotify)
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Jane Weaver – Modern Cosmology || Jane Weaver has become one of my musical heroes, and her new album is really good. Airy, cosmic pop made with old, analogue synths, guitars, dreamy vocals, motorik beats and lots of psychedelic effects. The songs are brilliant and I didn’t think it was possible to make anything better than her previous album
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. Now I know that it is. Love. (Spotify)
Girlpool – Powerplant || Melancholic/sad indie with a minimalistic sound, often just bass, drums and vocals, with occasional guitar bursts. I haven’t listened enough to this to give it a proper review, but after one listen, it sounds very good. (Spotify)
Those Unfortunates – Nothing isn’t beautiful || I realize that there are already a couple of bands or more that are holding the title, but I don’t worry much about that. Those Unfortunates are ANOTHER of my new favourite bands this year, and their new album “Nothing isn’t beautiful” is ANOTHER of my absolute favourites of the year so far. The London band make really beautiful indiepop songs combined with amazing storytelling. This is their debut album, and it’s a really strong one. Oh, how I love these songs! (Spotify)
Slowdive – Slowdive || I wish I could have used more Trump-like superlatives here, but the album is not “the best” or “magnificent”. It’s good, and it is better than I feared it would be, and it is one of the best reunion album I have heard in the later years. It deserves a place on this list, though, just to celebrate that Slowdive still sound pretty ok. (Spotify)
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Orange Crate Art – Quantum distortion in empty space || If I am not wrong, this is the side project from Swedish musician Tobias Bernsand, who also plays bass in the Olympia, WA based shoegaze band The Emerald Down (they are good too, check them out!). As Orange Crate Art, he makes spacey cosmic pop music with swirling synths and lovely, hazy vocals. His music has much in common with both Stereolab, Broadcast, some of the bands on the Ghost Box label, psychedelic pop and krautrock. Maybe a tiny, tiny bit of Kraftwerk too? It is a lovely and very, very interesting album. Now I need to dig deep into his other releases. (Spotify)
Juana Molina – Halo || Former Argentinian television comedian Juana Molina has released 7 albums after she quit her tv show. Her new album combines interesting, modern folk and subtle electronica. Her style is unique. It’s playful, intricate, very rhythmic and mysterious, – yet melodic and good for the ear. (Spotify)
The Unthanks – Diversions 4: The songs and poems of Molly Drake || Nick Drake’s mother Molly wrote some beautiful songs, and The Unthanks have made some stunning covers of her songs. They have also been joined by another Drake on this project. Molly Drake’s daughter, the actress Gabrielle Drake have recorded her mother’s poems for The Unthanks to set to music. (Spotify + extras Spotify)
Aldous Harding – Party || Aldous Harding is one of my favourite songwriters, singers and storytellers. Her debut album was amazing, and so is this new second album of her’s. Calm, atmospheric, unique, folky pop with great lyrics. Her voice is extraordinary. (Spotify)
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Hazel English – Just give in / Never going home || Australian artist Hazel English had great success with her hazy sunkissed indiepop last year, and I predict that this new album will make her an even more well known name. This is in a way a double EP, since it compiles her EP from last year with 6 new songs. (Spotify)
BMX Bandits – BMX Bandits forever || I have been a fan of BMX Bandits for almost as long as they have existed, and I am still a fan. Their new album, “BMX Bandits Forever” is their tenth, if my counting is correct. Duglas Stewart is a brilliant song- and lyric-writer, and once again, he and his Bandits have made an album full of lovely songs. (Spotify)
Diagrams – Dorothy || Diagrams is Sam Genders, founding member of Tunng and The Accidental. I love his warm voice, his always creative and experimenting approach to music, and how he combines folk-styled music with catchy pop hooks, experimental elements and electronics. Beautiful music. “Dorothy” is his third album, and these are songs written with 90-year old American poet Dorothy Trogdon. They had an extended email exchange of poems, lyrics and song sketches that would go on to become the songs for the album. On the last track, we can hear Dorothy herself read one of her poems. (Spotify)
Model Railway Exhibition – Model railway exhibition || London quartet Model Railway Exhibition play modern shogazey indiepop, often with rough guitars and pounding drums, but the roughness is toned a bit down by the great melodic elements and harmonies. The songs on their self-titled full length debut are strong all through the album. (Spotify)
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Adult Mom – Soft spots ||Adult Mom started as the solo project from Stephanie Knipe, but has developed into something inbetween a solo project and a collaborate band with Knipe’s musician friends. The second album from Adult Mom travels from acoustic bedroomy songs to powerful guitar pop songs and back again, and there is quality all the way. I love Stephanie Knipe’s voice and all the tender emotions in these songs.(Spotify)
Fishboy – Art guards || Whimsical, charming, fun powerpop. Their new album, “Art Guards”, tells the story of nine characters inter-connected in some way by the art-theme. The songs are great, and the stories in the lyrics are very interesting to listen to as well. This is an album that should not be played on shuffle, because the lyrics hang together in interesting ways. (Spotify)
Sea Pinks – Watercourse || This is Belfast guitar pop trio Sea Pinks sixth album, but their third as a trio. Sea Pinks was originally the solo project of then Girls Names drummer Neil Brogan, and the first three was made by him alone. Their previous, “Soft Days” was among my absolute favourites in 2016, and although I haven’t had the chance to listen enough to this new one, I like it a lot so far. Jangly, bittersweet, well-produced indiepop of the very melodic kind. (Spotify)
Bedroom Eyes – Greetings from Northern Sweden || 7 years after his wonderful debut, Swedish artist Jonas Jonsson aka Bedroom Eyes, is back with a new album. 7 years is a long time, but after listening to this, I feel that it was worth the wait. He is a master at making those great, catchy, big sounding indiepop melodies and observational, emotional lyrics, but he also shows his brilliance when he strips things down a bit, like on the beautiful “A Change in Altitude”. (Spotify)
EPs I LOVED THIS MONTH
Stella Donnelly – Thrush Metal || Perth-based Stella Donnelly’s songs may be calm and acoustic, but I have rarely heard so much attitude from an acoustic artist. She performs with only a guitar and her voice, but gets so much soul out of the speakers with only those two instruments. The lyrics and performance in “Boys will be boys”, “Mechanical Bull” and “Mean to me” are so strong, powerful and important. You should listen to this. (Spotify)
Figmennt – Figmennt || Classic shoegaze done good. Tight, rich, wide songs with really nice vocals. (Spotify)
Peaness – Are you sure? || Now signed to Alcopop! Records, my favourite indiepop trio from Chester, England is back with a new EP. The 5 track EP includes two of their latest singles, “Oh, George” and “Same Place” plus three great new tracks. The last track on the EP is my absolute favourite, “Ugly Veg”, with an infectious chorus and great all-band vocal harmonies. (Spotify)
Chemtrails – Headless pin-up girl EP || Good, catchy, garagy POP songs. Out on the quality label PNKSLM. The title track is definitely a contender for my fav songs of the year. (Spotify)
The Primitives – New thrills || Because The Primitives are almost always good, and they sound very good here too. Four lovely songs. (Spotify)
Terry vs Tori – Leap Day || Despite the name, this is a band from Sevilla where none of the members are named Terry or Tori
. They make the loveliest dreamy indiepop you can get. Love their melodies. “Leap Day” is perfect music for the summer! (Spotify)
Moon duo – Occult architecture vol 2 || Two very interesting EPs have been released this year by Moon Duo. I like both, but right now, this is the best. Dreamy, slightly psychedelic pop. (Spotify)
The KVB – Fixation/White walls || The KVB is the minimal electropop duo of Klaus Von Barrel and Kat Day, based in London, UK. Hypnotic rhythms and repetitive synth melodies combined with reverb-drenched vocals and sometimes shoegazey guitars. (Spotify)
Galants – Galants EP || Brilliant shoegaze/noise-pop from Dublin. This EP was originally released by JigSaw late 2016, but it’s now re-released on 10″ via Zen Ten and it’s now also on all digital services. If you like RIDE, Teenage Fanclub, Dinosaur Jr., My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, Swervedriver or Yo La Tengo, listen to this! (Spotify)
Cattle – Slow sailor EP || It’s warm outside, the sun is shining, and I get this instant weakness for sweet, summery, energetic indiepop. At least when it’s this good! Cattle from Japan got my attention when they released a great EP in 2015, “Somehow hear songs” on Jigsaw, and this new EP is at least just as good. The EP also features a very fine cover of RIDE’s “Twisterella”. (Spotify)
Listen to most of the songs from this list on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/eardrumspop/playlist/6Ic4ElKdhT0ilWjQmxR79x
I’m sorry I’ve gotten so behind on my feedback! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last few mixes, and hope to have some commentary on individual tracks/artists soon. I always look forward to each and every post. It pretty much shapes what I listen to for the next 30 days — and beyond. Keep ’em coming!