Tags: Animals That Swim, Cheveu, Creation Factory, Field Route, Group Doeh, Gurr, Hollie Cook, Priests, Proper Ornaments, Rose Elinor Dougall, Uranium Club
I must admit, I’ve been distracted of late. I’m sure you all have been as well to some extent. Sometimes you just can’t bring yourself to write about this great new song you’ve heard, because you realize how unimportant it is in the grand scheme of things. That doesn’t mean I don’t save them up, and it doesn’t mean that I have stopped listening to music. If anything I’ve listened to more music lately. It’s a distraction and provides escape, hope and pleasure. So here are a couple handfuls of records that have gotten me through the first month of 2017.
In the it came out in December, who releases a record in December category.
Minneapolis smart ass punks released album number two at the end of 2016. Minutemen/Firehose genius combined with Devo hyperactive geekiness. Too weird to be cool for some but right up my alley.
In the I totally missed it category
Quantic & Flowering Inferno ft Hollie Cook
Hollie Cook has album number three on the docket for this year, but at the tail end of last year the brogues hipped me to this little number she did with Quantic & Flowering Inferno. So good!
The album In My Head by this Berlin duo was on a few best of lists and for good reason. Great indie pop that reminds me a little of the Blake Babies and the Breeders.
In the 7-inch single is not dead and they even sell out category
We are only one month in and Field Route have already released one of the best 7″ singles. Bring it on!
Another classic sounding 7″. Yeah I know the 45 is on its deathbed, but quality over quantity is the rule of the day. I think both of these records are sold out, but each can be purchased as a download.
In the who releases a record this good in January category
Rose Elinor Dougall – Stellular
Former Pipette took six years to follow up her solo debut, but it is worth the wait. It’s swirling blend of the Horrors, Goldfrapp and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Rose doesn’t look very goth, but she certainly leans in that direction ever so slightly.
Priests – Nothing Feels Natural
This record has two personas. The A-side is funk-punk that is a cross of Pylon and the Big Boys, the B-side is the post punk cool down that gets moody and melodic. Thankfully the band put an Interlude to divide things up for those of us who can’t always be in front of our turntables.
Proper Ornaments – Foxhole
Album number two from this trippy Velvet/Chills loving band. Not sure they’ve ever surpassed that first EP, but I love to hear them keep trying.
In the genre bending category
Group Doeh & Cheveu – Dakhla Sahara Session
French punk weirdos Cheveu team up with Western Sahara guitarslingers Group Doueh in an unlikely match. It’s crazy and out there and one of the best records I’ve heard this year.
In the buried treasure gets reissued category
Animals that Swim
Back in the day when you had to read about records and decode whether or not it was something you might want to spend money, I read a review of Animals That Swim debut album and decided to take a leap. I instantly fell in love with their quirky little songs that painted imaculate pictures in my head about the downtrodden, mundane and odd things in life. Pink Carnations, Madam Yvonde, How to Make a Chandalier are all essential. With this reissue you get the original album as well as genius b-sides and unreleased tracks to boot.
I think they might have finally broken the US as you can buy a copy of this reissue from Target, though I’m not sure I’d recommend it.
Tags: Cheveu, Cold Beat, Klaus Johann Grobe, Lunchbox, Nun, Parquet Courts, Sleaford Mods, Slushy, Soundcarries, Vertical Scratchers
Welcome to day two of the second annual Finest Kiss midyear record round up. You are nearly in the middle of the middle of it. It’s like the eye of the storm, isn’t it? Records in a vortex flying around you as you try to reach and grab a few. It should be easier from here on out, because here are ten more excellent records to put your paws on.
Sleaford Mods – Divide and Exit (Harbinger Sound)
Last year this Nottingham duo released the jaw dropping Austerity Dogs album. It was jaw dropping, combining bleakness, humor, profanity and beats to create a rampaging, take no prisoners record. Part John Cooper Clark, Dr. Ocatagon and the Fall the latest Sleaford Mods keeps the boot to the throat with Divide and Exit. Half the time I have no idea what Jason Williamson is going off about, but inevitably he leaves enough bread crumbs on the trail for me to get it, and then it hits like a ton of bricks.
stream: Sleaford Mods – Under the Plastic and N.C.T.
Lunchbox – Lunchbox Loves You (Jigsaw)
Oakland, California’s Lunchbox fluctuate between calling themselves Birds of California and Lunchbox. Who cares what they call themselves when they make records this good. Lunchbox Loves You is full of sugary pop that is guaranteed to put a skip in your step. They hit a number of classic 90’s indiepop reference points including Stereolab, Apples in Stereo, Rocketship and Sprites while sounding still sounding fresh and new.
stream: Lunchbox – Die Trying
Cold Beat – Over Me (Crime On the Moon)
With Grass Widow on ice, bassist Hanna Lew started Cold Beat and since Lew sings and plays bass in both bands Cold Beat has similarities to Grass Widow. But where Grass Widow had a folksier sound, Cold Beat look to the more austere sounds of punk and post punk luminaries like Wire, Tubeway Army and Devo for inspiration.
stream: Cold Beat – Mirror
Cheveu – Bum (Born Bad)
There’s no getting around the fact that this is a weird album. So if you don’t like weird keep scrolling. If you do appreciate the absurd and catchy then these French tricksters may be right up your ruelle. Burn is full of prog-y art school rock that is hard to ignore.
stream: Cheveu – Slap and Shot
Slushy – Pastime Gardens (Grabbing Clouds)
Chicago duo Slushy make fuzzy lighthearted pop in the vein of the Bay City Rollers and early Pooh Sticks and Pop Will Eat Itself. Pastime Gardens is packed full of two minute pop songs that are full unbridled enthusiasm and are certified to provide a good time in any situation.
stream: Slushy – Good Luck Charm
The Soundcarriers – Entropicalia (Ghost Box)
The Soundcarriers mine similar earth as Broadcast and Stereolab. Entropicalia, their second album, is full of space age grooves and psychedelic meanderings. Part spy movie soundtrack, part Free Design tribute and part deep space exploration. All good.
stream: Soundcarries – Low Light
Vertical Scratchers – Daughter of Everything (Merge)
Although this album came out major indie Merge, I feel like it flew under the radar of almost everyone. Vertical Scratchers is the brainchild of John Schmersal who was in Brainac and Enon. The album is chalk full of fractured pop that is part Elephant 6 Collective, Cheap Trick and the Kinks. Killer stuff that deserves more attention.
stream: Vertical Scratchers – Pretend U Are Free
Klaus Johann Grobe – Im Sinne der Zeit (Trouble In Mind)
This Swiss duo combine disco, kraut and prog to come with a ton of fun. This is viscous stuff that sticks in your brain even if you don’t understand the lyrics. The lucid spacey production sounds like they’ve been listening to Peter Thomas and Bertrand Burgalat records.
stream: Klaus Johann Grobe – Between the Buttons
Nun – Nun (Aarght!/Avant!)
Total Control seems to get all the attention for being the Australian punks gone coldwave, but Melbourne’s Nun do piercing, dark and synthy just as well and maybe better. Their debut album sounds so authentic that you will be check to see if it’s a reissue of some lost first generation coldwave band.
stream: Nun – Suppress Electricity
Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animals (What’s Your Rupture?)
I was prepared not to like this album after last year’s pretty average stopgap EP Tally All the Things That You Broke but they won me over by not repeating themselves. Sunbathing Animal pulls back a little bit and lets some space in to positive effect. Everyone compares them to Television and Pavement, but on this album I hear Spoon in their use of space and percussion and that makes this second Parquet Courts just as good but slightly different from their first one.
stream: Parquet Courts – Always Back In Town
Tags: Born Bad Records, Brainiac, Cheveu, Devo, Hawkwind, The Intelligence, Wall of Voodoo
I like weird and I like good and Cheveu fits that description. The French band has just released it’s fourth album titled Bum and it just might be their best and weirdest record yet. How could they surpass their cover of Vanilla Ice‘s Ice Ice Baby in terms or strangeness you ask? Ok, maybe Bum isn’t their overtly strangest album. Actually they dial down one kind of weird and dial up another kind. Before they came off as arty punks willing to graffiti over anything, on Bum they are more into a prog rock otherworldly weirdness. They take elements from bands like Hawkwind, Wall of Voodoo, the Intelligence, Brainiac and Devo and come up with something all their own.
You can stream/buy/download the record from Born Bad Records’ bandcamp page.
stream: Cheveu – Juan In a Million