Here is my summary of the singles, albums and EPs I loved the most in JUNE. I am a man of big words and a limited vocabulary, so as usual you should expect superlatives, and the same superlatives used over and over (and over) again. 🙂
This time I have limited the usual Spotify playlist to include only the mentioned releases, to give each song/band more chance to really shine. The rest of the singles I like, will be added to my huge 2018-playlist.
The list is in no particular order, but the albums and EPs I loved the most are marked with a red ||.
SINGLES I LOVED THIS MONTH
I had serious trouble finding the usual 5 best singles this time too, so this is an extended version of the singles.
This month, I especially liked the new songs from:
Oslo Oscillator – “Newlands” Oh wow, this is an amazing song! The band features members of great Norwegian bands like The Loch Ness Mouse, Maribel and Mirror Lakes, and their sound has a touch of 90s indiepop and shoegaze. I love this so much. (Spotify)
Summer Kid – “Wake me up when I’m famous” The duo Summer Kids from Falun, Sweden have made a super-catchy, summery pop song that is full of energy. I get filled with joy when I listen to this song. So good! (Spotify)
Dylan Mondegreen – “A place in the sun” A long awaited new single from Dylan Mondegreen, and what a great song it is! A huge orchestra with 30 members, piano, guitars, his good melodies and warm voice
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. Perfect. (Spotify)
The Fernweh – “Next time around” They are inspired by British folk and psychedelia, and mentions artists like Fairport Convention, The Zombies, Anne Briggs, Fredrick Delius, Basil Kirchin and even Joy Division as influences. I don’t hear much Joy Division in this song, but it has lots of the Zombies/Fairport Convention sound. (Spotify)
(More singles below the video)
Princess Chelsea – “I love my boyfriend” Princess Chelsea never disappoint me. Her new single is about being in a relationship, and loving someone else, and she does it with sugary sweet vocals and a mix between indie/chamber pop and the 60s girl group style. The video is shot in her bedroom with a green screen, and she has directed and edited it herself. (Spotify)
PURRPURR – “Aldrig som dig” Fresh-sounding indie pop from Sweden. “I will never be like you”, they sing in Swedish on their debut single. The duo has been making music for years in other bands, and in their new band they make breezy summer-pop with a dose of melancholy, saturated vocals, shimmering guitars and jumpy drums. (Spotify)
Alpaca Sports – “Nobody cares but me/Baby pop” Two lovely indiepop songs with lots of bap-bap-bap’s, ooh’s and aah’s, sweet pop-melodies and songs you want to sing along to. Both songs are really good. This is the sound of warm summer days. (Spotify)
Hockney – “Twenty-Two” One of my new Norwegian favourites, Hockney, have released four stunning singles so far, and this is one of the best. They have previously worked with Sean O’Hagan from The High Llamas/Stereolab (what a dream-partner that must be!), and the band’s sound could be compared to O’Hagan’s The High Llamas and maybe also The Beach Boys. I can’t wait for an album from these guys! (Spotify)
The Beths – “Happy unhappy” New Zealand four-piece The Beths’ new single is a taster for their upcoming album “Future me hates me”, and if the album is as good as this upbeat guitar-pop gem, it will be amazing. (Spotify)
(More singles below. I just can’t stop, you know…)
Massage – “Lydia” + “Oh Boy” These are two separate singles, but I fell so in love with both them, and I could not just mention one here. Massage is one of my favourite new finds this year. They mention several fine influences, – The Go-Betweens, The Feelies, The Lemonheads, Twerps, bands from Sarah Records and Flying Nun Records. Instead of going too deep into their influences, like many indiepop bands sadly do, Massage do their own thing
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. They sound fresh, and although their inspiration is in the 80s and 90s, they sound very much 2018. Their guitarist Alex Naidus was once a member of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. (Lydia on Spotify + Oh Boy on Spotify)
Grasscourt – “Stones upon my chest/Come alive” I don’t know much about this band, but one thing I am sure of is that I will keep my eyes and ears on them in the future. I want more of this. This is kind of an EP, really, with 4 tracks, where two are remixes. Their label friends on Lost Map, Firestations, have made one of the remixes. In sound Grasscourt has a bit in common with that band and the Firestations’ earlier band Dark Captain Light Captain. Both songs are very good, but my favourite is the beautiful “Stones upon my chest”. (Spotify)
The Cradle – “Sweet dreams” This one calms me down, and make me LISTEN. It is a beautiful folky song, with brass, strings and woodwind instruments. I love the vocals and the backing vocals. Very, very good. Now I need to take a dive into their previous releases. (Spotify)
Shy Boys – “Evil sin” Some call them “The Beach Boys of Robitussin”, and the Beach Boysy harmonies are definitely here in their music. Some of the harmonies, like the opening, sound almost like renaissance music, and other parts is clearly 60s inspired. Their upcoming album will be released on Polyvinyl Records. (Spotify)
ALBUMS I LOVED THIS MONTH
Snail Mail – Lush || This was one of the first albums I heard in full this month, and it was an instant WOW!. I guess “Indie rock” is the genre, but it doesn’t really sound “rock” either. Warm and sincere. You just have to listen to this. It is a very strong album. (Spotify)
Soft Science – Maps || The California band make lovely dreampop, inspired by both shoegaze, 60s pop and 80s/90s bands like New Order and Teenage Fanclub. Surprisingly, I hear a touch of Saint Etienne in there as well. They show many sides of the band here, and the songs are very good. (Spotify)
Juliana Daughery – Light || This is a calm, soft and dark album that calms you down at once you hear Daugherty’s warm voice. She sounds a bit like a mix between Sharon van Etten, Beth Gibbons and many of the folk singers of the 60s and 70s. It is at times very beautiful. (Spotify)
Clay Hips – Happily ever after || The members of Clay Hips were both a part of the fabulous indiepop band The Fairways, and they have kept their strong melodic side in Clay Hips. Now, the sound is more soft and gentle, less jangly, with mostly calmer songs
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. Sometimes I think that this is what The Softies would sound like in 2018. (Spotify)
(more releases after the photo)
Echo Ladies (photo by Ebba Ågren)
Echo Ladies – Pink noise || Once again we’re going to Sweden to find good music, this time from the Malmö-trio Echo Ladies. Their debut album is filled with gorgeous dreamy and fuzzy indiepop-songs. If you like other Swedish bands like Agent Blå, Holy Now, Hater or Makthaverskan, you will love this. By the way, their name is inspired by the name of Echo and The Bunnymen’s drum machine. (Spotify)
gobbinjr – Ocara Wick || Whimsical outsider bedroom pop, similar to Frankie Cosmos and Ó, kind of. The music is good, and she has her own way of writing lyrics. I am not always a fan of what she writes, though. (Spotify)
Watoo Watoo – Modern express || The sad thing is that this is the last album Watoo Watoo will make. The good thing is that it is probably the best album they have ever made. The French duo make soft, gentle indiepop with a retro touch, vintage keyboards and beautiful vocals. Brilliant pop! (Spotify)
Boy Azooga – 1, 2, Kung Fu! || Cardiff quartet Boy Azooga’s debut album is a very interesting release, full of good songs and clever songwriting. It is varied, – sometimes fuzzy and upbeat and sometimes very calm and relaxed in sound. It’s also a bit psychedelic like early Tame Impala and it also has something in common with Super Furry Animals at times. (Spotify)
Azure Blue – Fast falls the eventide || A very good electronic pop from Sweden’s Azure Blue. I have been a fan of his music from his early days in Laurel Music and Irene, and I think this album is a highlight in his career. (Spotify)
(Even more releases after the photo)
Natalie Evans – Better at night || This is an amazingly beautiful album, and the story behind it is fascinating. Natalie Evans has no classical training, but is a good guitarist. She learnt herself how to play the piano and the harp, and the result can be heard on this album. Her vocals are wonderful, and the folky, classical inspired songs are so good. It is a short album, – only 26 minutes with 12 tracks. I want to listen to it again and again and again. Her voice sounds a bit like Harriet Wheeler of The Sundays, by the way. (Spotify)
Smaller Hearts – Smaller Hearts || Oh, this band deserves a lot more attention! I have really enjoyed this album, which I believe is the debut from this Canadian electronic pop duo. I am pretty sure that it will be played a lot on my stereo this year. They have something in common with The Postal Service and artists from the Morr Music label, in addition to classic 80s synth pop, but their sound is also at times both fuzzy/distorted and experimental, so it is a really interesting album to listen to. (Spotify)
The Perfect Kiss – Filter || Cool, melodic synthpop from The Yearning’s Joe Moore and singer Holly Vanags. I need to listen more to this, but I really like what I hear. Their debut was very good. (Spotify)
Melody’s Echo Chamber – Bon Voyage || The new album from French psych-pop artist Melody Prochet, also known as Melody’s Echo Chamber, is highly anticipated by her fans after 6 years of waiting. Now she has moved to Sweden, and collaborated with members of Dungen and The Amazing. The lyrics are in both French, English and Swedish. (Spotify)
Tape Waves – Distant light || Lovely dreampop from the wife and husband duo Tape Waves. Warm, calming and melodic. (Spotify)
(more releases after the photo. I still can’t stop…)
Grimm Grimm – Cliffhanger || “Fragile, otherworldly forays into baroque folk, futurist lyricism and electroacoustic oddities” says the bio for Tokyo born London based singer songwriter experimentalist Koichi Yamanoha. He combines the most beautiful melodies (like the amazing title track or the harmony-based retro-pop of “Still Smiling”) with experimental noises and arrangements in his music. The album demands your attention, but you will be rewarded. This album will probably grow after more listens. (Spotify)
Sobs – Telltale signs || “This album is an ode to falling in and out of love, all in the heat of an endless summer”, Singapore-based Sobs write on their Bandcamp page. While the “out of love” part sounds kind of sad, the trio’s music does not at all sound sad. They play jangly indiepop with strong melodies; sparkly and full of sunshine, with contrasting lyrics of the bittersweet, melancholic kind. (Spotify)
Zach Schimpf – The quiet plains || A unique songwriter. Some of his earlier songs are among my absolute favourites, and I am pretty sure some of the songs on this albums also will come in that category after some more listens. I also find his arrangements, the addition of field recordings and unexpected elements very interesting. Highly recommended! (Spotify)
Red Red Eyes – Horology || In my dream world, everyone would love this stunningly beautiful album from London duo Red Red Eyes. I guess you could call it baroque, atmospheric pop with melodic and tonal choices reminding a bit of Broadcast’s sound. I love the calm, dreamy vocals and the retro sounding twangy guitars. The album was released on WIAIWYA in May, but I fell completely in love with it a month later. (Spotify)
INTERESTING RELEASES I NEED TO LISTEN MORE TO
And before I start with the EPs, here are some albums and EPs that was released just before publishing. I haven’t been able to listen to them in full, but I am looking forward to listening. Here are the Spotify-links.
Albums from The Essex Green – “Hardly Electronic“and Modern Leisure – “Super sad Rom-com“, EPs from Discus – “EP“, Lia Pamina/Dario Persi – “So far tonight”, Fufanu – “dialogue i” and
Slighter – “Cause/Effect”.
So, on to the finest EPs:
EPs I LOVED THIS MONTH
The Kickstand Band – Summer means fun || This is perfect summer pop, like the title hints at. Clearly influenced by the melodic 50s and 60s-pop, but I also hear the rough sound of modern powerpop and garage in their music. Great popsongs all the way through. (Spotify)
Jübl – Thinking sweet || Do you remember A.R. Kane, who released their dreamy, innovative and very underrated music on 4AD 30 years ago? Or M/A/R/R/S, who made the popular house track “Pump up the volume”? Both bands included Rudy Tambala. So does this new project Jübl. The EP includes two new songs + a 9 minute continuous mix of the songs. And yes, he still makes extraordinary music. (Spotify)
Air Sea Dolphin/Sloshy – Air sea dolphin/Sloshy split || Air Sea Dolphin is a project from Robert Schneider of Apples in Stereo, James Huggins of Elf Power / Of Montreal and friends. As a long-time AiS fan, I like almost everything he puts his trademark sound on. The first Air Sea Dolphin track is great, the second is almost unlistenable weirdness. Sloshy is a band I’ve never heard before, but I really like these two songs. The title of the first song is a strong contender to the best song-title in the world, “The B-est of B-sides”. (Spotify)
ViVii – Savant || Swedish couple Emil and Caroline Jonsson are ViVii, and their music is a fine mix of electronic pop and modern folk. They both sing beautifully, and it is a very good EP. (Spotify)
Various artists – The official Matinée World Cup EP || 5 of the finest indiepop bands have made songs for the Football World Cup, and it has become a strong compilation released on Matinée Records. The bands are The Royal Landscaping Society, Red Sleeping Beauty, The Popguns, Last Leaves and Pale Sunday. (Spotify)
Space Daze – Terrestial Mosey || New EP from Danny Rowland (ex Seapony). Soft, mostly calm guitar based songs with a touch of meloancholy in the sound
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. The EP has 6 tracks, where the opening and end-track are instrumentals. (Spotify)
Blushh – Thx 4 asking || Rough indie with choruses that explodes into loud and rough catchiness. Shab Ferdowsi’s songs are so emotional, strong and powerful. (Spotify)
Red Sleeping Beauty – Always on your side || Another gem from the Swedish band Red Sleeping Beauty. The EP has four synthpop/indiepop songs, and as usual from this band, the melodies are wonderful. The band includes members from Acid House Kings/The Charade/The Shermans, and this time they have also included their fine cover of “Just For Fun” by Alpaca Sports. (Spotify)
OTHER THINGS I ENJOYED THIS MONTH
– RIDE is one of the few “old heroes of mine” who have had a really interesting comeback. They have developed, and do not desperately cling to the old sound to please their fans. Their 2017 album has now been remixed in full by a lot of interesting artists, like Cavern of Anti-Matter, Mogwai, Glok (RIDE guitarist Andy Bell’s electronic side project), Oren Ambarchi, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and others. It is not the usual four on the floor techno remix album, but has become a very interesting album to listen to as a whole.(Spotify)
– The compilation 1 + 1 = x, released by the neo-classical Erased Tapes label for their 10 year anniversary is now available on Spotify. It is a set of exclusive music from every artist on the label, and they have all come together to make the album as a collective. Sharing the same space, instruments and each others’ capabilities during a residency at Vox-Ton studio in Berlin, they recorded 20 songs to mark the label’s 10-year history. Artists include A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Nils Frahm, Kiasmos, Douglas Dare, Peter Broderick and more. (Spotify)
– If you want to hear what Simon Raymonde from Cocteau Twins did between 1981 and 1982, before he joined the Cocteau’s, you can listen to the newly released EP of The Drowning Craze’s “singles 81-82”. Post-Punk. It is more of an aged document than something I will spend much time listening to, but it was fun to hear. (Spotify)
Listen to the songs from this list on Spotify: