Photo by Flickr user fensterbme (Creative commons).
August has been a really good month for singles and EPs, and the number of quality albums released has finally started to grow after a slow summer. So let’s look at what my ears enjoyed the most in AUGUST.
The list is in no particular order, but the ones I loved the most are marked with a red ||.
SINGLES I LOVED THIS MONTH
I usually struggle hard to pick only five songs for the singles-section, but this month it was especially difficult. So, just because I can, I have expanded it this month… a little bit. Here are my favourites. Remember that not only these, but all the singles I liked this month are in the Spotify list.
Frøkedal – “Cracks”/”LTF” The melodies on both of these songs make me very emotional. What a great song “Cracks” is, and the drums on “LTF” send my thoughts back to Ringo Starr on the Beatles song “Rain”. If McCartney or Lennon sang on these two tracks, it would feel totally natural. I am however very glad that Frøkedal sings them herself. What an amazing artist! (Spotify)
Spirit Fest – “Hitori Matsuri” Spirit Fest is a supergroup built around the Japanese duo Tenniscoats, featuring members of Notwist, Jam Money and Joasihno. The result is an amazingly beautiful, calm and cute song, sung in both Japanese and English. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Album out November 10 on Morr Music. (Spotify)
Even as We Speak – “Such a good feeling” Even as We Speak are considered a legendary band from the Sarah Records archive, but after being a Sarah fan in the early days, I kind of lost interest in the label before Even as We Speak released their records there. So, I haven’t listened much to them before, but after this amazing new comeback-single, I definitely have to. Summery, shiny indiepop. (Spotify)
Geowulf – “Drink too much” You will end up humming the chorus of this song after the first listen, – be warned, – you will be addicted. I am. Upbeat and catchy pop. (Spotify)
Makthaverskan – “In my dreams” These Swedes really know how to write good melodies! Upbeat, jangly indiepop of the best quality. The chorus make me want to sing and dance. (Spotify)
(more singles after the photo)
Dama Scout – “Suzie Wong” When I first heard this, I thought “this is lovely”, but after some more listens it has become lovelier and lovelier. Although it is a really catchy indie popsong, it’s definitely not A4 indie. The song and the band reminds me a bit of a lighter, more pop version of Broadcast and Deerhoof, with the catchy melodies from the indiepop genre added. (Spotify)
Easy Love – “Loop” Oh, I love this song! Easy Love is Justine Brown, the drummer of Summer Twins. As Easy Love, she released her debut album in the beginning of 2017, and it is one of my favourites so far this year. She has this beautiful melancholy in her voice. Dreamy pop. (Spotify)
Coastal Clouds – “Nothing to hide” Roberto Rodriguez’ solo project is full of that 60’s surf pop-vibe, – full of summer, – and with a layer of melancholy on top. He has recently released his debut EP, with the same name as the single. (Spotify)
Luna Harley – “Bombay” This is one that walks slowly into your ears, and you never want it to leave. There is an otherworldly beauty over this track. Warm, calm and soothing vocals. Perfection. (Spotify)
Worst Place – “Dreamer” This one found its way into my heart easily, after Indiepop Saved My Life tweeted about it. Instant love. Uplifting, dreamy indiepop with a perfect “oo-ooo-oooo” part of the chorus. I am very in love with this. If you like bands like Alvvays, Seapony, Cults, Best Coast etc you will definitely like this. (Spotify)
Honey Hahs – “OK” I must also mention the new two track single from sister trio Honey Hahs. They are only between 9-15 years old and the two tracks are wonderful – and with surprisingly dark lyrics for being made by musicians this young. Interesting arrangements and melodies. (Spotify)
You will find these and even more of my other favourite singles in the Spotify list.
ALBUMS I LOVED THIS MONTH
Briana Marela – Call it love || I am a big fan. I love her sound, her vocals and her beautiful, warm synth-based pop. She always has clever, interesting elements in her music, and I really respect her as a musician and songwriter. A huge favourite this month. You should listen to this. (Spotify)
Caroline Says – 50.000.000 Elvis fans can’t be wrong || Gentle folky indie pop, sometimes quiet and calm, other times upbeat and more band-oriented. Recorded in her parents’ basement. (Spotify)
Ben Gibbard – Bandwagonesque || Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard’s new album is a cover of the entire “Bandwagonesque” album by Teenage Fanclub. It’s good. (Spotify)
Bonny Doon – Bonny Doon || Detroit band Boony Doon play jangly alternative folk, – sometimes very laid back and acoustic, other times upbeat and fuzzy. The warmth in their music is always present. (Spotify)
(more releases after the photo)
Guggi Data – Pop/Rock || This is so good! Gothenburg artist Gustav Data Andersson is the former guitarist in Makthaverskan and his solo project Guggi Data has made me pretty excited with two singles that both are among my favourite songs this year. On his debut album, he continues with pop brilliance all through. Super catchy indiepop energy bombs with shiny melodies and a sound that makes me full of joy. (Spotify)
Heavenly Beat – John || Heavenly Beat is the solo project of former Beach Fossils bassist John Peña. Beautiful, electronic based dream pop with calm, whispery vocals. (Spotify)
Frankie Rose – Cage Tropical || The new album from former Crystal Stilts, Vivian Girls, Beverly and Dum Dum Girls-member Frankie Rose is – like her previous albums – clearly inspired by 80s post-punk and new wave, but with a sound that definitely is up to date. Upbeat dreamy pop with amazing vocals. (Spotify)
Francisco the man – Bodies in the sun || Los Angeles quartet Francisco The Man’s second album is a real DIY product, and the band has – as far as I know – done everything themselves here, from recording and mixing to releasing. It is a really good indie/dreampop/shoegazey album. Lots of wonderful songs. (Spotify)
(more releases after the photo)
Foliage – Silence || Foliage is the solo project of San Bernardino, California’s Manuel Joseph Walker, and I think this is his debut album. It’s a refreshing, dreamy indiepop album, with surfy, reverbed, Marr-ish guitars, warm vocals and amazing harmonies. The 12 songs are between 0.57 and 4:02 minutes long, with the majority around two and a half, which makes them difficult to get tired of. He is very to the point in his song writing. I like that. (Spotify)
Soccer Mommy – Collection || Soccer Mommy is Sophie Allison’s solo project, but this record is recorded as a trio. In the about section on her Facebook it says “chill but kinda sad bedroom-pop jams” . Yes, she’s right. But they are kind of uplifting and catchy as well. The warmth is definitely there. (Spotify)
Tall Friend – Safely nobody’s || This is an intensely beautiful album, and an intensely personal one. Before you listen, you should read singer and songwriter Charlie Pfaff’s words on their bandcamp page about the theme of the album. The opening recording of a phone message from her mother makes your ears very focused on the lyrics of the songs. It is a strong debut album. You should LISTEN. (Spotify)
(more releases after the photo)
Amy O – Elastic || Bloomington, Indiana artist Amy Oelsner has been self-releasing her music as Amy O for many years, but I first heard her on her wonderful label-debut “Arrow” from last year. Her sound has developed since then, and her music now sounds richer, fuller, sharper and with more power than before. She is still a brilliant songwriter and the songs are irresistible. (Spotify)
A Certain Smile – Fits & starts || I have waited for this, and wow, I was definitely not disappointed. The Portland indiepop band sound better than I have ever heard them before. Brlliant, classic melodic, fuzzy indiepop with equal parts of sunshine and melancholy. I am pretty excited about this!
(in a related story… when I first saw the title, I was very tired and my eyes were a bit blurred. I misread the title as “Sits and farts”. Sorry A Certain Smile. I will never read your titles when I am tired anymore). (Spotify)
Girl Ray – Earl Grey || The debut of London’s Girl Ray has been kind of micro-hyped among my friends and on social media after 5 very good singles released before the album, – the first in 2016. Their calm-sounding indiepop is very good for the ear, with lovely vocals and harmonies. (Spotify)
Dårli Te Beins – Dårli te beins || This is the debut album from Trondheim based Dårli Te Beins, who have their origins a bit further north in Norway and sing in their north Norwegian dialect. Their fuzzy guitar-based songs may remind of old favourites like Dinosaur Jr and Pavement, and the strong, yet fragile and emotional vocals of drummer and guitarist Ole Spangrud has a lot in common with J, Mascis’ way of singing. Even if you don’t understand the language, the rough guitars, good melodies and pounding drums are enough to enjoy this. (Spotify)
SPC ECO – Calm || Despite their dark, fuzz drenched sound, Spc Eco’s music is extremely beautiful. If you think they remind you of the 90s band Curve, you are right. This is the project of Curve member Dean Garcia and his daughter Rose Berlin on vocals. Her dreamy, almost laidback – yet powerful – vocals may even remind a bit about Curve singer Toni Halliday. (Spotify)
Walter etc – Gloom cruise || Easy to like-powerpop-ish songs. Fine album out on Lame-O records. (Spotify)
together PANGEA – Bulls and roosters || Los Angeles quartet Together Pangea is presented as a punk band everywhere I find info about them, but if they are punk, then I have no clue what punk is these days. I can stretch as far as saying that it’s kind of garagy and very energetic guitar pop, and that they have infectious melodies. I think I like 2017-“punk”… (Spotify)
Black Belt Eagle Scout – Mother of my children || Black Belt Eagle Scout is Katherine Paul, and she plays all the instruments on the album herself, – I think there are 8 different instruments here. The album is really beautiful, and wanders from lovely, tender folky songs to powerful, fuzzy pop. One of my favourites this month. Truly fascinating. She identifies as a radical indigenous queer feminist, and grew up on a small Indian reservation, where her family was focused on native drumming, singing, and arts. (Spotify)
Widowspeak – Expect the best || On their fourth album, Captured Tracks-band Widowspeak sound more like Mazzy Star than ever before, and that is not the worst thing they can do. With gitarist and vocalist Molly Hamilton’s reverbed, hushed voice in front, this melancholic indie album is easy to daydream to. (Spotify)
Space Daze – Forget it || Danny Rowland makes the most beautiful songs, and I don’t think I exaggerate if I say that he is one of my favourite songwriters from the recent years. I have followed his career from the lo-fi “existential twee pop” duo Transmittens via the dreamy indiepop band Seapony to his more folk-oriented solo project Space Daze. Maybe “dream-folk” could be a genre, because these songs are just that. Warm, dreamy and calm, perfect for evening- or early morning-listening. Beautiful music. His band Seapony are also back again with a new EP, and Transmittens have released a 17 song album of “lost songs”, – all three releases were released on the same date, August 24. (Spotify)
EPs I LOVED THIS MONTH
Wow, the EP releases I have picked this month are all amazing. This must be the best month so far for good EPs. I may have said that earlier, and I hope I will say it again every month for the rest of the year. So here we go. My favourite EPs this month are:
Big Baby – Sour Patch || The Richmond indiepop trio has only been playing together for a year, and Ali Mislowsky, the main songwriter had not written songs before she started in Big Baby – but wow, she’s good! The songs are about “the worst year I had after graduating college”, she writes on their Bandcamp page, and the lyrics are really worth listening to. I love everything about this EP. Everything. Wonderful indiepop tunes with catchy melodies and very good vocals, both from Ali and the warm backing/co-vocals from Chris Smith and/or Brian Dove. One of the highlights of the year. (Spotify)
The Darling Buds – Evergreen EP || In the late 80s, The Darling Buds and The Primitives were on every single mixtape I made. Their sunshiny indiepop was the soundtrack to my summer, autumn, winter and spring. Both bands are back, and both bands still make wonderful songs. Although the medium I make mixtapes on has changed, they will still be frequently on my “mixtapes”. 4 great tracks. (Spotify)
TRASH – TRASH || These are songs that are not easy to get out of your head, but compared to the Rick Astley- and Bananarama-songs I usually wake up with on constant rotation in my head, I love having the songs from TRASH up there. The indiepop quartet from Chesterfield make warm, uplifting pop with addictive choruses that you want to sing along to, loud. The four songs on the EP are all single-worthy. I wish I could say that their song “Favourite song” was my favourite song, but it’s “81”, which I understand also is the band’s collective age. (Spotify)
(more releases after the photo)
Swanning/Megaflora – Swanning/Megaflora split || A meeting between two bands from two different continents, Swanning from Philadelphia, USA and Megaflora from South London, UK. Both band have two songs on the EP, and all are good and fit well together. I have heard and like Megaflora before, but Swanning is new to me. Swanning is Cynthia Ann Schemmer from Radiator Hospital’s solo project, but on this EP they perform as a quartet, it seems. Lovely, lovely songs. I will definitely keep my eyes and ears to her music in the future. Fav songs are Swanning’s “April Rain” and Megaflora’s amazing”Nunavut”. Melodic indiepop with a punk-pop attitude. (Spotify)
Sea Blite – Sea Blite || Lauren, Galine, Andrew and Jen from San Francisco are Sea Blite, and they make super-catchy indiepop. If you like 90s-ish indiepop of the jangly kind (Heavenly, Dressy Bessy, Tiger Trap etc), you will love this. I’m pretty sure you will love it even if you don’t like 90s-ish indiepop too, because this is really good pop music. The chorus on “Cerulean” is amazing, and the music itself make my eyes a bit wet because of its beauty. And, as a fan of good illustration, I adore the cover art. (Spotify)
Ring Snuten – spelar Ring Snuten || I love the Swedish project Ring Snuten (which means “Call the cops” in English). 4 lovely indiepop songs, sung in Swedish, with great melodies and lyrics. At least one of these songs, maybe more, are older songs from mid 2000s. If you like artists like Jens Lekman (Ring Snuten has collaborated with him before), Hello Saferide/Säkert, Sibiria or Vapnet, this is for you. Lyrics in Swedish. (Spotify)
Water from your eyes – Feels a lot like || In the July-edition of this series, I featured this band TWICE, – or at least the members of the band twice. Both the singer’s solo project thanks for coming and the previous EP from Water from your eyes were featured. On this new one, they are a lot more accessible and more pop than on the previous, but just as good. (Spotify)
If you like podcasts, you should listen to a new podcast series from Radiotopia called “Ways of hearing”. It is made by Damon Krukowski from Galaxie 500/Damon & Naomi, and is a six part series exploring the nature of listening in our digital world. It is really interesting, and it is a pleasure to listen to Krukowski’s voice and words. It is available from most places where you find podcasts, even on Spotify.
Listen to most of the songs from this list on Spotify: