Photo by Flickr user Tomcat MTL (Creative commons).
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 JUNE.
Can someone please learn me some new words for good, great, lovely, brilliant, amazing etc..? I need them badly.
The list is in no particular order, but the ones I loved the most are marked with a red ||.
SINGLES I LOVED THIS MONTH
From the singles this month, I especially liked the new songs from:
Alvvays – “In undertow” Great to have them back, and this single makes me wish I had their new album here, NOW.
Wolf Girl – “Moody/Get you” Rough, noisy, fuzzy pop with intensely catchy hooks and melodies. Strong lyrics. The B-side is also amazing.
FOAMMM – “Sailor doom” Lovely, dreamy single from my new favourite Norwegian band. When my girlfriend heard this song, she said “Is this Cocteau Twins”?
Last Leaves – “The world we had” The debut from Last Leaves (3/4 of The Lucksmiths). The brilliance is still here. A lovely track. They are also on the new Matinée compilation, mentioned in the album section below.
Lyla Foy – “Baby Lee” Beautiful cover of the Teenage Fanclub song. I am a Teenage Fanclub fan, but I am actually thinking that this cover is slightly more interesting and has more feeling than the original. Teenage Fanclub’s most devoted fans may hate me just for saying this, but LISTEN, and you may be convinced!
You may also want to listen to the comeback single from The Clientele, a new single from Frankie Rose, the explosive summer single from Guggi Data, the brilliant ABBA cover from Pale Honey, the new from Lali Puna, a very good single from Film School, and all the other of my single, EP and album picks in the Spotify list.
ALBUMS I LOVED THIS MONTH
Easy Love – Easy love || This is amazing! A truly beautiful album. Lovely, lovely melodies, beautiful vocals, jangly guitars and at the same time well-produced. The two guitarists/singers, Justine and Chelsea, are also the core members of Summer Twins. I’m in love, again, and I am sure that I will be in love for the rest of the year. (Spotify)
School Damage – School Damage || Another music site, Velvet Sheep, said that Melbourne quartet School Damage is a bit C86, but also a bit 96. That is pretty accurate. Jangly indiepop with a punky attitude and brilliantly catchy melodies. They’re on the Australian label Chapter Music, – also home of fine bands like The Goon Sax, Twerps, The Stevens, The Cannanes and Crayon Fields. (Spotify)
Satomimagae – Kemri || This new album from the Japanese folk/experimental band Satomimagae is stunningly beautiful. The vocals and atmospheres created here are amazing. It needs your attention, but it’s definitely worth it. (Their previous album “Koko” is also very good). (Spotify)
(more releases after the photo)
Deerful – Peach || The long awaited debut album from Deerful is an album full of contrasts. It might be as electronic as you can get it, – but also very warm and organic, with Emma Winston’s strong vocals, lovely melodies and poetic, thoughtful lyrics. Almost folky melodies works perfectly together with small synths and 8-bit Game Boy sounds. This is an album that makes me jealous and think “I wish I could make something as good as this”. (Spotify)
RIDE – Weather diaries || Ok. You may know that I am not a fan of reunions, and last month I mentioned that the new Slowdive album was mediocre, but still probably the best reunion album I had heard in the recent years (I liked Suede’s reunion, but most other reunions have been boring). Well, now this is the best reunion album I have heard, and it is actually pretty good. They have definitely developed their sound, which is a good thing. “Carnival of light” and “Taranula” are forgiven, RIDE, – you are still a great band. (Spotify)
Agent Blå – Agent Blå || The Gothenburg 5-piece call their style Deathpop, which I guess can be deciphered to something like powerful, noisy indiepop with a tiny touch of postpunk, maybe? When you play the first song, you are really hit in the face with their powerful, fuzzy, upbeat pop. The songs are catchy and melodic, with great vocals by Emelie Alatalo. It’s a brilliant album. I love it! (Spotify)
(more releases after the photo)
Ulrika Spacek – Modern English decoration || The tracklisting on the new Ulrika Spacek album is perfect. The flow makes it really pleasant to listen to. Hazy, swirling, warm psych pop with motorik beats. (Spotify)
Cigarettes after sex – Cigarettes after sex || They have the worst band name for a band who make the prettiest music. Soft, hushed, melancholic songs, performed with Greg Gonzales’ warm, androgynous voice in front. When I first heard him sing, I was sure it was a woman singing, and I have noticed from other reviews that I am not the only one. I have waited for this, after they have released several brilliant EPs and singles since “I” came in 2012. “Nothing’s gonna hurt you baby” from their debut EP is still one of my absolute favourite songs. (Spotify)
Beach Fossils – Somersault || A delicate, melodic, melancholic and dreamy pop-album. This time, it’s a lot more varied than their previous releases, and they have experimented more both in adding other instruments and mixing in some flirts with other music styles. It suits them. (Spotify)
(more releases after the photo)
Various Artists – Matinée Idols || I love the compilations from the fabulous indiepop label Matinée Recordings. This time, the release is meant to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the label, and it has been 20 wonderful years. The label has released some of my favourite releases by some of my favourite bands; The Lucksmiths, Bubblegum Lemonade, Clay Hips, Electric Pop Group, Fairways, The Guild League, Hermit Crabs, Math and Physics Club, Pines, Pipas, Would-be-goods… I could probably mention all of their bands as favourites. On this compilation, you can find brilliant songs from The Electric Pop Group, Tinsel Heart, Strawberry Whiplash, The Royal Landscaping Society, Math and Physics Club, The Seabirds, The Hermit Crabs, The Perfect English Weather, Bubblegum Lemonade and more. Few labels release compilations that sound so consistent and all through GREAT, but Matinée Recordings always do. Happy birthday to my favourite label. (Spotify)
Zach Schimpf – Zach’s house of holograms || Well, he does it again! I adored Schimpf’s 2016 album “Who speaks to you?” and I love this. He has a very creative approach to song writing, and he seems to stear away from every conventional “rule” of how to write a pop song. And he makes the most beautiful pop songs. I love it! (Spotify)
Panda Riot – Infinity Maps || Dreamy shoegaze from Chicago’s Panda Riot. I love Rebecca Scott’s reverbed vocals and the take-off’s in the songs make my heart jump of joy. It is a long album, 18 songs, but in this case 18 is a good number, and they manage to keep my attention throughout. (Spotify)
Sprinters – Sprinters || Manchester band Sprinters sound like a good mix between classic indiepop a’la Sarah Records, 60s pop and “modern” indie like Real Estate, Wild Nothing or Pavement. This is their debut as a band, and it is filled with good pop songs. (Spotify)
Hoop – Super genuine || I fell in love with Hoop after hearing their brilliant song “Martin Spike” from their EP, and I am still in love after listening to the album. They kind of remind me of The Softies, with their sweet and soft-sounding indiepop. I said “sweet and soft”, and it is, but there are also songs with a lot of edge and a bit of fuzz, and one of the songs almost scare me (“not by care”, – those vocals combined with 17 seconds/Faith era Cure-guitars…). It is a brilliant, interesting album full of good songs. (Spotify)
Saint Etienne – Home counties || They haven’t reinvented themselves on this album, and 19 songs in close to an hour is a bit much, but it is always nice to hear new music from my old favourites Saint Etienne. (Spotify)
Chastity Belt – I used to spend so much time alone || Dark, moody shoegazy post-punk. This is the Seattle band’s third album, and there is much to love here. The attitude, the voices of singers Julia Shapiro and Gretchen Grimm, the guitars, the songs. It is not an album to put on when you are deeply sad or incredibly happy. Just in the middle is ok. (Spotify)
(more releases after the photo)
The Arctic Flow – Umbrella || Brian Hancheck has been making good music and releasing records with his solo project The Arctic Flow for almost 10 years now. His new album, out on Shiny happy records, continues his row of quality indiepop releases. His delicate, soft voice, his lyrical storytelling about love and loss, the playful Cure/Smiths-ish guitars and his good songwriting make me want to listen to this album over and over again. (Spotify)
Sweet Baboo – Wild Imagination || I am very fond of Welsh pop, and Sweet Baboo has been a favourite of mine since his album “Ships” came in 2013
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. Sweet Baboo writes quirky pop songs and his lyrical observation skills are so good that it almost makes me jealous. His new album is a joy to listen to. Whistling is included. Batteries are not. (Spotify)
Big Thief – Capacity || These songs sound close and personal, mainly because of singer and songwriter Adrianne Lenker’s unique voice, writing and performance. Indie with a folk-feeling. Mostly calm, but sometimes with burst of loud guitars. Complex, intelligent songwriting, without sounding difficult for the listener. Impressive. Some songs here are intensely beautiful. (Spotify)
Triptides – Afterglow || This is an album I need to listen to more before I write a proper, trustworthy review of it, but I really like their jangly psychedelic pop sound, and the songs sounds really good. (Spotify)
(more releases after the photo)
LTO – Storybook || Our chaotic world needs more of this. Calm, soothing, sometimes amazingly beautiful. Sometimes dark and melancholic, sometimes light and uplifting. It fits somewhere between modern classical music and electronic music and you can add a touch of experimental in there as well. Lovely vocals on some songs. (Spotify)
Crayola Summer – I know who we are || If you have been here for some time, you may have heard Simon Williams’ other projects, The Colgates, Sarandon, The Safe Distance, The Great Leap Forward and A Witness (and probably more). His solo project Crayola Summer is now out with “I know who we are”, available on flexidisk (!), cd, download and streaming. On this album, you get 10 brilliant, powerful, noisy popsongs, where Simon maybe more than ever shows his ability to combine the rough energy with beautiful melodies and choruses. Very good! (Spotify)
Ratboys – GN || Despite the kind of punky name, this is nice guitarbased pop with shiny melodies and lovely female vocals. (Spotify)
Deafcult – Auras || A great new shoegaze/dreampop album with warm, soft vocals and lots of good melodies both in focus and underneath the top layers of the music. They kind of sound like a good, fuzzy version of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, or maybe how I would wish TPoBPaH would have sounded if they still were as good as they used to be. (Spotify)
Major Leagues – Good love || I haven’t been able to listen to Australians Major League’s debut album more than a couple of times, but this is something I like a lot, EXCEPT for the annoying announcement of track two at the end of track one. It’s probably supposed to be fun, but it ruins a lot for me and I seem to lack humour. But everything else sounds great. Jangly indiepop. (Spotify)
Yowler – The offer || Yowler manages to make me FEEL something when I listen to her music. In some ways she reminds me of Stina Nordenstam, who also had the same effect on me. I want to write a thousand words about this album, but there aren’t words that can describe my feelings when I listen to Yowler. All I can say is that her dark, mostly acoustic songs (sometimes with only her voice and an electric guitar) are stunningly beautiful. (Spotify)
Hundredth – Rare || There are TWO very good bands based in Myrtle Beach, SC in this list (this one and The Arctic Flow), which I guess is a special thing, since Myrtle Beach is a relatively small city. Hundreth have up until this release been a band in the hardcore/ metalcore genre, but they have changed pretty drastically. This album is definitely melodic, tight,, energetic shoegaze, with lovely, warm vocals, harmonies and a massive sound. Only a few songs have hardcore elements (some screaming in the background), but those songs are definitely shoegaze too. This is a great change, – I would not have listened to their previous albums, but I LOVE this. (Spotify)
AND I planned to end the album section there. BUT THEN I heard the latest episode of a podcast I regularly listen to, Song Exploder, where artists take apart their songs, piece by piece, and tell the story about how they made the song. In this particular episode, Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes told about how he made the song “Mearcstapa” from their new album, and it was so fascinating. So, I started listening to the album, and I hear the album in a completely new way. I definitely need to listen more to this. So, go to Song Exploder and hear the story, then listen to the album.
We move on to the EPs!
EPs I LOVED THIS MONTH
Blushh – It’s fine || Oh, how much I love this! I was pretty excited when I heard Blushh’ first single from the EP last month. It’s one of my fav songs this year. The EP has a lot more of that. Great, powerful, rough popsongs with good lyrics, often with a nice contrast between light and dark. (Spotify)
Mundy’s Bay – Wandering & Blue || What a positive surprise this is! I haven’t heard this band before, and had no expectations at all. Now I love them. This EP is brilliant. Post punk that reminds a bit of Sioxsie and The Banshees, The Cure etc.. LOVE the vocals, and the songs are great all through the EP. (Spotify)
Le SuperHomard – Dry salt in out hair (remixes) || Brilliant remix-EP of a brilliant summery pop-song. It features remixes from my favourites Lake Ruth and Remington super 60 + several others, and all of them take good care of the summery atmosphere from the original, while also adding elements from their own sound. (Spotify)
Amber Arcades – Cannonball || Another good one from the Utrecht, Netherlands band. Guitar based, dreamy pop with lovely vocals and melodies. Not far from bands like Alvvays. (Spotify)
Pale Spectres – Pale Spectres || Yes! This is lovely! The new EP from the French indiepop band Pale Spectres is really, really good. What an amazing song “Bicycles” is! The EP is out on the quality indiepop label Cloudberry.(Spotify)
Dazy Crown – I don’t need a jacket || They are inspired by the sounds of surf, garage and psych rock, and in many ways you can hear it in the music. This is very summery, melodic guitar pop that makes me happy. I like this! (Spotify)
Listen to most of the songs from this list on Spotify: