In the Middle of It – Part III

July 17, 2014 at 9:20 pm | Posted in Lists, Music | Leave a comment
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You guys probably thought this was over. Nah, I was just giving everyone a day of rest. So now we are at the end of the middle of it. A little longer but packed full of worthwhile stuff. I left a few out, because…because why? Because I’m tired and I want to get back to listening to records.

holliecook

Hollie Cook – Twice (Mr. Bongo)

Hollie Cook who is the daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook has mastered it on album number two. Her brand of tropical/pop/reggae/dub sounds so fresh that you will wonder why nobody has come up with this elixir before. Twice has lush orchestration, obscure samples, phat beats and always Ms. Cook’s simmering voice bringing everything to brilliant life.

stream: Hollie Cook – Ari Up

woodentops

You’ve heard it before. Band reunites, makes album after 20 year hiatus. Album sucks. It’s enough to make you ignore your glory days. The Woodentops are here to show you that old people don’t suck. After calling it a day 22 years ago the band are back with a new album. Yes they’ve aged, but they’ve made a record that holds onto the manic energy of their first incarnation, while adding a gravitas that makes up for any spring they may have lost in their steps.  Granular Tales surely isn’t’ the record they would have made as follow up to Woodenfoot cops on the highway 20 years ago. It’s most likely much better.

stream: Woodentops – Third Floor Rooftop High

ramonalisa
Ramona Lisa – Arcadia (Terrible)

Ramona Lisa is Caroline Polachek of Charilift. Her first solo album Arcadia is entirely and electronic affair, but it doesn’t sound cold or stilted at all. It is spacious and playful with a similar aesthetic to a Kate Bush or Goldfrapp record.  She’s also brought an A list of songs so this is anything but some throw away indulgence solo album.

stream: Ramona Lisa – Backwards & Upwards

talbotadams
Talbot Adams – Talbot Adams (Space Case)

Talbot Adams self-titled solo album is wall to wall quality. What kind of quality you ask. Quality in the caliber of Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello and Wreckless Eric. Thing is, it came out on a tiny label and got no press. People complain all the time that music sucks these days. It doesn’t suck you just need to dig because Columbia Records is not bankrolling artists anymore, so you are not going to hear this stuff on the radio or read about it on your favorite indie music web site. Shame.

stream: Talbot Adams – Nashville Avenue

carsickcars
Carsick Cars – 3 (Maybe Mars)

If you hadn’t heard China is rising. The sleeping dragon has awoke so it is only a matter of time before the country moves beyond exporting smart devices and cheap toys and starts exporting rock n’ roll. At the forefront of the invasion and hailing from Beijing, this Chinese trio make noisy grooving kraut influence rock. It certainly isn’t a homegrown sound, but they do it very well. Three (coincidentally their third album) was co-produced by the Clean’s Hamish Kilgour and former Spaceman Sonic Boom.

stream: Carsick Cars – 15 Minutes Older

peoplestemple
The People’s Temple – Musical Garden (Hozac)

Musical Garden might be the best People’s Temple record yet. The Lansing, Michigan band’s brand of heavy psych-gararge- punk hits the right nerve sounding raw, unhinged and just about to take a sip of Kool-aid.

stream: The People’s Temple – Smooth Move

posse
Posse – Soft Opening (BADH)

Posse’s second album Soft Opening is just about perfect in lonely, melancholy and druggy kind of way. It will likely remind you of great records from the likes of Galaxy 500, Versus and Acetone. Its sharp guitar and vocal interplay between co-singer-guitarists Paul Wittmann-Todd and Sacha Maxim compliment each other as if they’ve been playing together all their lives.  It’s a record with a measured confidence giving you the impression that Posse are wise beyond their years.

stream: Posse – Interesting Thing No. 2

asdig
A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Sea When Absent (Lefse)

Every good band evolves of course, and A Sunny Day in Glasgow have progressed from being an airy shoegaze band whose songs sometime floated by without anyone taking notice to being a band that has retained its shoegaze roots but with a major focus on out and out pop. Singers Anne Fredrickson and Jen Goma combine their voices to create powerful attention grabbing songs while the rest of band provide big swirling and sweeping frameworks to hang their voices.

stream: A Sunny Day In Glasgow – In Love with Useless (The Timeless Geometry in the Tradition of Passing)

quilt
Quilt – Held in Splendor (Mexican Summer)

Quilt pluck strings from psychedelic era Beatles, unearth dusty jangle from the Byrds and sprinkle misty mountain vocal harmonies from Crosby Stills and Nash all over the place.  The  Boston band’s second album surpasses their good debut with a batch of psychedelic circle dances that sparkle and shimmer, effortlessly creating their own brand of psych with one foot in the past and other in the next star system.

stream: Quilt – Tired & Buttered

Katerine

Katerine – Magnum (Riviera)

Katerine started out making indiepop, then moved onto electronic, got really weird somewhere in there, became an actor, started his own girl group and now has gone disco. Over here in the states there is a large group of folks who worship Serge Gainsbourg. His records get reissued on a regular basis, and he gets tribute records made to him. I can only imagine that after Katerine passes away the same thing will happen to his records. In the meantime you have to call France to buy any of his stiff. His latest Magnum is loads of fun and slightly ironic based on the cover, but it also has some great beats and more than its share of excellent songs.

stream: Katerine – Les Dictateurs

alpacasports
Alpaca Sports – Sealed With a Kiss (Luuxury/Dufflecoat)

Is it possible to like both the angry Sleaford Mods and Protomartyr and happy Alpaca Sports? Maybe I like too much stuff but in my house there is a place for both. This Göteborg, Sweden duo explore the unbearable lightness of being twee on their debut album. It’s full of sunny harmless sounding fun, but underneath there is pain, hurt and anger. Sounding sweet and harmless isn’t as easy as you think and neither is making a record this intelligent and catchy.

stream: Alpaca Sports – He Doesn’t Even Like You

pow
Pow! –  Hi Tech Boom (Castle Face)

Hi-Tech Boom sounds like it was recorded in the 80′s, but it is a commentary on the current state of affairs in the Bay Area. High cost of living and high salaried tech workers pricing everyone out and vanillafying the place. Pow! sound numb,  robotic in their outrage. Like everyone these days they are desensitized to the absurdity of reality. Let this record numb you so you feel no pain as the rich eat you.

stream:  Pow! – Fire Hose

metronomy
Metronomy – Love Letters (Because)

This Metronomy might not be what you’re expecting. It’s full of downbeat bedroom pop. It takes a few listens to adjust to it being so low key and understated, but the rewards are long lasting. Aquarius is the immediate one, but Love Letters soon grabs you with it’s piano riff and then Factory sounding instrumental Boy Racers hits you unexpectedly. Reservoir soon follows and before you know it you even like the most difficult ones.

stream: Metronomy – Aquarius

dougetuttle
Doug Tuttle – Doug Tuttle (Trouble In Mind)

Former Mmoss guitarist strikes out on his own into New Hampshire’s White Mountains  and conjures a brilliantly understated psychedelic masterpiece. Sometimes he sounds like he’s been listening to some West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, but he never goes off on the benders that that band did. The psych with a strict adherence to pop.

stream: Doug Tuttle – Forget the Days

TheeOhSees

Thee Oh Sees – Penetrating Eye (Castle Face)

It’s a brand new Thee Oh Sees. Dwyer decided to split with the rest of his band, but when it comes to records that doesn’t really matter since he usually records everything himself. As far as Thee Oh Sees albums go this one veers towards the more mellow psych side of things, like a sister of the Casstlemania record. Except that it isn’t quite that simple since there are few corkers in this batch of songs as well which contributes to the nice balance between hot and cool which is something new for this band.

stream: Thee Oh Sees – Encrypted Bounce (A Queer Song)

Cheatahs-Cheatahs
Cheatahs – Cheatahs (Wichita)

Cheatahs come from London, but the four guys in the band are from Canada, Germany, the US and the UK. There are obvious similarities to Swervedriver on their debut album as well as Buffalo Tom, My Bloody Valentine and Dinosaur Jr. You may have to pinch yourself as you reach for your copy of Melody Maker to make sure that you haven’t warped back to the 90’s. Nope, you haven’t, but this is good enough to make you think you might have just for a minute.

stream: Cheatahs – Geographic

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