Photo by Flickr user Nana B Agyei (Creative Commons).
I have had an awful start of the year healthwise, and a general feeling of exhaustion has kept me from publishing my monthly “Best of”-posts so far in 2018
. I am truly thankful for all well-wishes from you and I hope I will be able to keep these lists coming for the rest of the year.
Here is my summary of the releases I loved the most in APRIL.
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 only mention five singles here, but this month it was so difficult to pick only five, so here is an extended version. From the singles in April, I especially liked these ones:
Superorganism – “Night time” I am truly fascinated and charmed by this band, especially after seeing their party of a performance at NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts. This song is so catchy and at the same time so original and fun. (Spotify)
Avind – “Du kan bruke mørket innafrå til lys” They sing in Norwegian, but this song is so good that you will probably love it no matter if you don’t understand a word
. The title means something like “You can use the darkness from inside as light”. A really good indiepop track. (Spotify)
Featherfin – “Atmosphere” My own dreampop cover of Joy Division’s classic. Is it worth a place on this list? I don’t know, but because I can, and because I want you to listen, I add it here anyway. 🙂 If you don’t like it, you can listen to the original instead. At least that one is good
. My debut album will be out later this year. (Spotify)
The Essex Green – “Sloane Ranger” Wow, it is so good to have this Elephant6 band back again, and especially when they make a song like this. (Spotify)
Boys – “That weekend” Boys is 22 year old Nora Karlsson from Stockholm, and she has delivered several great singles earlier this year. This is a sad popsong wrapped in an uplifting package. “I fucked it up once or twice, or really a million times/ I can’t see how you still believe in me.” (Spotify)
Hatchie – “Sleep” This big-sounding track is a bit dangerous to listen to, because it may be stuck in your ears. Synth-heavy, lovely vocals and a take-off chorus. She has released several very good singles earlier this year too. (Spotify)
The Sideways – “Isle of you” Very fine indiepop from the fjords of Nordmøre, Norway. Their melodic and catchy songs are clearly influenced by 60s pop and have a touch of the Byrds/Teenage Fanclub-sound. This song will definitely be a part of the soundtrack for my summer of 2018. Lovely! (Spotify)
Mitski + Xiu Xiu – “Between the breaths” I would never imagine that this collaboration would be possible or sound like this. The outstanding melody maker Mitski meets the avantgarde Xiu Xiu. The result is a wonderful upbeat dreampop track with lots of synths and fuzzy guitars. INTENSE ending! (Spotify)
Soft Science – “Undone” A very good shoegazey track out on the always good Test Pattern Records. I have loved the band’s albums, – both “detour” and “High and lows” are recommended listening, – and this track makes me looking forward to another album from them
. The B-side is a cover of The House of Love’s “I don’t know why I love you”. (Spotify)
You will find even more of my other favourite singles in the Spotify list.
ALBUMS I LOVED THIS MONTH
Emma Tricca – St. Peter || I rarely say “oh my god”, but I will say it this time. Oh my god how beautiful this album is. Fragile, warm, heartfelt music, that sounds like a 2018 version of 60s folk a’la Nick Drake, Vashti Bunyan, Joan Baez or Phil Ochs. A very, very strong album. (Spotify)
En Attendant Ana – Lost and found || This is lovely, and a very pleasant surprise, since I hadn’t heard the band’s previous releases. The quartet from Paris make upbeat, infectious songs that are as rough and noisy as they are sophisticated and dreamy. Rough Trade write on their site “a refreshing blend of nouveau French pop, C86 indie, and foggy Flying Nun influenced jangle (…) For fans of La Luz, Stereolab, Dolly Mixture, Velvet Underground and Shop Assistants.” I agree on that. (Spotify)
Say Sue Me – Where we were together || The South Korean four-piece Say Sue Me make wonderful big-sounding popsongs with lovely melodies and vocals. Jangly guitars, sweet melancholy and elements from both classic indiepop, surfpop and a tiny, tiny bit of shoegaze. Great soundtrack for the spring. (Spotify)
Fenne Lily – On Hold || This is one of the better and most beautiful albums I have heard so far this year. Her fragile and warm voice is amazing, and her songwriting is outstanding. This is an album that really calms me down. Modern folk/acoustic. (Spotify)
(more releases after the photo)
Confidence Man – Confident music for confident people || This is my favourite party record, and even if I rarely party anymore, it works perfectly when I am preparing food in the kitchen or doing house work. Everything feels like a party with Confidence man.
The recipe: Take tons of confidence and decadence, a good dose of “tongue in cheek”, some cheezy and fun party-pop from the late 80s/early 90s (think S’Express, Right Said Fred, Yazz, etc), add a bit of inspiration from Madchester and maybe a bit of Shamen and Primal Scream, add some dirty words and a very edgy and naughty woman and man, stretch everything as far over the top as you can, and before you put everything in the oven, add some fun, a lot of good mood, a couple of smiles and laughs + some addictive melodies and highly infectious rhythms. Funnily enough, it sounds unique in 2018. (Spotify)
Many Rooms – There is a precense here || Many Rooms is the project of Brianna Hunt, and her new album is calm, atmospheric and dark in sound, and she sounds like she puts all of her emotions in every word and every strum on her guitar. I guess the best listening experience will be after dark, alone, listening. (Spotify)
kathinka – Kathinka || Dreamy guitarpop from Bergen, with big “larger than life” choruses and just the right amount of fuzz and noise. They have clearly listened a lot to dreamy 90s shoegazers like Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine and Curve, but their sound is still unique and their melodies are of the kind that make me warm inside. A strong debut. (Spotify)
(more releases after the photo)
Moon Racer – Is it really a secret? || This one has slowly become one of the real favourites of mine this month. Moon Racer’s Autumn E. creates fuzzy keyboard pop songs in her bedroom in Durham, North Carolina, recorded on a Tascam 4 track cassette recorder. It is lo-fi and charming and so so so beautiful. Her fragile vocals me of both Stina Nordenstam and The Innocence Mission’s Karen Peris. Lovely! There is also a very fine cover of The Magnetic Fields’ “Meaningless” on the album. (Spotify)
Spring Onion – I did my taxes for free online || I am really not sure if you can call this an album or an EP; 8 songs in a total of 15 minutes, – with songs that last from 0:53 to 2:26. Spring Onion is Philadelphia artist Catherine Dwyer, who also is the bass player in Remember Sports. Gentle, warm, personal bedroom pop. (Spotify)
The National Jazz Trio of Scotland – Standards vol. IV || They’re not jazz and they are not a trio, but they are from Glasgow, Scotland
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. And, yes, they have released 4 albums, but if I am not wrong, only 3 of them are called “standards”. Bill Wells is the mastermind behind this, and I don”t think I have ever not loved anything he has done. Just listen. You just have to. It is good. (Spotify)
Blush Response – Hearts grow dull || A really enjoyable shoegaze/dreampop album. Soft reverbed vocals, layers of guitars, pounding drums, beautiful and dreamy melodies. The sound is very airy and “floating”, sometimes really soft and sometimes it goes into explosions of noise. I like this a lot. (Spotify)
(more releases after the photo)
Holy Now – Think I need the light || One of my (many) favourite Swedish indiepop bands at the moment. Their previous EPs and singles have all been amazing, and I feel that every song on this debut album could have been released as a single. All the 8 songs on this album are really good. (Spotify)
Dropkick – Longwave || Edinburgh-band Dropkick’s new album is pleasure to listen to. Their music can be placed close to Teenage Fanclub and The Byrds in sound. Lovely harmonies and super-melodic popsongs. (Spotify)
Nectar – Knocking at the door || This is a really good indiepop/punky pop/powerpop album that is full of energy and catchy melodies. Rough guitars and lovely vocals. (Spotify)
Still Circles – 27:36 || Still Circles play beautiful, dreamy electronic music, close to both ambient and trip-hop, with otherworldly vocals from Natalie Kolowiecki. The vocals sometimes remind of Elizabeth Frazier of Cocteau Twins and the droney soundscapes remind both of Massive Attack, Samaris and The Future Sound of London. Refreshing. (Spotify)
Brazilian Girls – Let’s make love || Their first album since 2008. Brazilian Girls got my attention long after their “break up”, when singer Sabina Sciubba released her solo album in 2014. I love her voice. The new album is intelligent electro pop with catchy choruses and a great vibe. (Spotify)
(more releases after the photo)
Foliage – III || 20 year old Manuel Joseph Walker is already kind of an indie-veteran, with 3 album releases (+ a demo version of the tracks on his album”Silence”). He is also a true diy artist, and he does everything himself on his albums. Dreamy, beautiful janglepop. (Spotify)
Grouper – Grid of points || Album? Mini album? EP? Not sure. 7 songs, 21 minutes. Short albums seems to be the thing now. Grouper’s calm, atmospheric piano/vocal based music fits the format. The songs demand your attention, and I guess we’ve all got short attention spans these days. The album is intensely beautiful, and if your attention span is better than most, just play it on repeat. (Spotify)
Great Earthquake – Thinking & Making || Melbourne-artist Noah Symons is the drummer of the post-Lucksmiths band Last Leaves, and this is his third solo album as Great Earthquake. It is released on the fine Lost & Lonesome label, and if I am not wrong, some of his Last Leaves colleagues have also participated on the album. It is darker and more experimental than Last Leaves, but definitely a very interesting listen. (Spotify)
Forth Wanderers – Forth Wanderers || Melodic indie rock, released on SubPop. I have some trouble describing it, but it is good
. Listen! (Spotify)
(I just can’t stop… even more releases after the photo)
Firestations – The Year Dot || I would put myself in the category “biggest fan” of this band, and I have been a huge fan of their work even before they started. Before Firestations, several of the members played in Dark Captain, Light Captain, – a band I loved and still love. The new album from Firestations has everything I could ever want. A warm, interesting sound, great vocals and wide harmonies, driving motorik drums, shimmering guitars, a touch of psychedelia combined with a good dose of indie noise and an interest in exploring sound and experimenting. And the occasional brass. And of course, very good songs. Close to perfect. (Spotify)
Winter – Ethereality || Winter, named after lead singer and songwriter Samira Winter’s last name, make dreamy, blissful guitarpop, with a sound that remind of both shoegaze and the 90s music from bands like Pavement, The Breeders and Dinosaur Jr.. While many shoegazy bands often seem more interested in the sound than in the songs, the opposite is what Winter do. The good songs are in the focus. Samira Winter’s vocals give the music a floating, dreamy feeling
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. Great album. (Spotify)
Triptides – Visitors || When I listen to Triptides, I SEE sunshine, – and a lot of colours. What I hear is lovely songs, with an inspiration from the 60s’ psych pop. A very good album to listen to when the warmer season arrives. (Spotify)
The New Tigers – Do Xao || The Soliti label have introduced me to so many good artists from Finland, and The New Tigers from Turku is one of them. I believe this is the band’s third album, and it is filled with colourful, slightly jangly and interesting indiePOP songs. (Spotify)
EPs I LOVED THIS MONTH
Tiger Lion – Beyond the mountains EP || Very, very interesting French trio based in North London, fronted by writer and visual artist, Clementine Blue. They describe their music as “immersive Dreampop melodies inspired by nature”. Their sound is almost “visual”, – etherial and atmospheric – and they blend in elements from ethnic music with their unique dreamy pop. Clementine Blue’s airy vocals are amazing, and the only comparison I can think of is Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance. Incredibly beautiful music. (Spotify)
Nah… – Summer Failing EP || The last word I would use to describe this band’s music is “nah…”. “Yes!!!” is more like it. This Munster/Amsterdam based duo is one of the most interesting indiepop bands I have heard this year. They play jangly sunshiny pop with the loveliest melodies and harmonies. These 4 songs will make even the greyest days feel sunny and warm. Their title track features Kenji Kenji from Clay Hips/Friedrich Sunlight/The Golden Eaves. (Spotify)
Tennis System – P A I N || Powerful, noisy shoegazey songs from Los Angeles-trio Tennis System. All the 7 songs on this EP are great, and when you start listening you will soon get a strong desire to turn up the volume and jump around. (Spotify)
Sibille Attar – Paloma’s hand || Swedish artist Sibille Attar has been a member of some of my favourite bands from the past, like Speedmarket Avenue and [ingenting], and she also participated on the wonderful Camera Obscura album “Let’s Get Out of This Country”. She is one of those rare artists who sings her heart out and who is really inside of her music when she performs. Her performance makes you feel the songs deeply and everything she does feels honest and real. (Spotify)
My Brightest Diamond – Champagne || I have been a fan of My Brightest Diamond for many years, and it has been a while since she released something. On this new EP, she shows a more electronic side of her music, and I like what I hear. I am a bit disappointed that the 5 track EP only feature two original songs, and 3 remixes of the title track. Both the new songs are really good, though, and it’s good to hear new music from her. (Spotify)
Listen to most of the songs from this list on Spotify: