The best of the best of the month
1. ‘The Sinner’ by THE CORAL (Liverpool)
Suppose David Lynch wants to make a Spaghetti Western then this wistful lullaby should be part of the soundtrack. I’m sure he would like it for the shadowy vibe, the psychotic sinner (he likes psychotic sinners) and for the guitar reverberating sparks, thinking that’s it his fav nostalgic Casanova Chris Isaak on guitar (note: Lynch directed Isaak‘s Wicked Game video that featured flashes from his 1990 Wild At Heart movie).
2. ‘Constance Street’ by KRISTIN HERSH (US)
The stirring Throwing Muses/50 Foot Wave songstress has her
new solo LP, titled Clear Pound Road out on 8 September.
Hersh about the song: “I lived on Constance Street in New Orleans
when that song’s story happened. Buying slips in the Irish Channel/broken
prince in fluorescent camo is a very Southern day. I was born a hick and
I guess I’ll always be one.”
It’s a subtly groovin’ beauty
with Hersh poetic storytelling
adding a magical touch.
3. ‘Huevos Rancheros’ by THE IRRATIONAL LIBRARY (The Netherlands)
This Dutch-American rock band has its roots firmly planted in both the regional
and international counterculture. They produce a raw, dirty groove influenced by
punk, Provo, and punk icons. Their poetry is packed with social criticism.
The IL have canned their 4th LP. It’s named Good Busy and arrives via
Floprecords, digitally on 11 September and physically (vinyl/CD) 4 days later.
This first single is a tremendously catchy and melodic tune that mesmerizes from the kick-off. Stimulated by a sparkling and melancholic guitar riff à la Kurt Vile, a foot-stompin’ beat and word-smith Joshua Baumgarten‘s expressive storytelling, it becomes an electrifying pop gem, after a couple of spins. One for which the repeat button was invented for. One that invites you to stop for a while and look around to find the light at the end of the tunnel.
4. ‘We Did Nothing’ by GRAHAM PARKER (UK)
No retirement yet for the imperishable, now 72-year-old, pop-rock songsmith.
From the early 70s on he wrote/recorded/released a countless number of LPs
featuring several masterpieces.
His brand new one, called Last Chance To Learn The Twist,
featuring his new band The Goldtops shows up on 8 Sept.
Ahead of it comes this vintage Parker pearl.
5. ‘I Am A Wave’ by DEATH VALLEY GIRLS (Los Angeles)
Last February the Los Angeles‘ psychedelic garage pop/rock darlings
released their 5th longplayer Islands In The Sky. Their best ever to
my satisfied ears.
I Am A Wave is a new standalone single.
It’s a haunting mid-tempo psych jam, a sonic torch in the dark. The combination of the characteristically high-pitched Bloomgarden vocals, her 60s-sounding Hammond organ, the weeping guitars, the howling backing vocals, the steady drum beat and the glowing finale is just riveting and engrossing.
This is not a Mexican wave, it’s Bonnie‘s wave.
Follow her flow, she’s really kind of amazing.
6. ‘Everybody’s Save Until…’ by PARIS TEXAS (US)
This sharp-rap-cutting Los Angeles duo released their highly acclaimed riot-gun album
Mid Air last month. This 3rd single is nothing less than fucktastic, with a sickly sticky flow, a killer guitar riff and the tandem’s adrenalized vocality.
7. ‘METALLI!!’ by BABYMETAL (Japan)
The kawaii metal girls teamed up with Rage Against The Machine
guitarist Tom Morello for this new head-banging blast. Their mix of
glam metal, pop-punk melodies and pithy/screamy vocals are an
Hell bloody metali yeah!
8. ‘Bauhaus Staircase’ by OMD (UK)
The beloved synth-pop duo is around since the late 70s, and they have no
intention to go and sit in their lazy rocking chair counting their money.
On 27 October their 14th LP, baptized Bauhaus Staircase comes out.
The title track is the 3rd appetizer. A happy-go-lucky summer tune.
Irresistibly infectious. These two manoeuvres in the dark still come
up with vitalizing electro thrills.
The accompanying video is an animated spectacle, that features a nod to the imagery
of various sci-fi films, notably Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, Run Lola Run, and Blade Runner.
9. ‘Your Side Of Town’ by THE KILLERS (Los Angeles)
10. ‘Blue Shadow’ by ASALONE (US)
Asalone is the solo project of singer/songwriter/producer
Adam Stanley Putzer from Buffalo, NY.
His new song is a reflection on returning to the place you
grew up, only to feel like a stranger in your own hometown.
Uplifting tunes like this one are always welcome on my busy headphones.
It’s a richly orchestrated melody that grabs your aural attention straight
away with its jaunty piano touches, scintillating guitar play, a bracing refrain
and last but not least Asalone‘s impassionate voice.
Amplified pop melancholia is what you get here.
Don’t be a stranger, enjoy and embrace the shadow.
11. ‘Fingerprints’ by : TREMENDOUS (Birmingham, UK)
Fingerprints is a post-break-up love song starting slowly and smoothly, only with
frontman’s Dudzinski‘s heartbroken voice and his weeping guitar, but 45 seconds
in, the emotions and the decibels go up and turn the song into a goosebumps power ballad, proving once again that lovesickness can lead to compellingly cathartic music.
Think the romantic vibes of The War On Drugs mixed with Noel Gallagher‘s raw guitar
play of the early Oasis days. To my persuaded ears Dudzinski has a torch-burning gem
on his hands. In a normal world, it would be a hit. Hands down.
Check it out.
12. ‘Cosmic Dance’ by COMMON FLAWS (Italy)
Common Flaws is the solo project of Giacomo Oberti,
the singer/songwriter from Italian synth-pop outfit
Cosmic Dance offers ambient vibes, jungle-esque drum beats, scintillating
synth sparks, and echoing vocals. It trips in your mind from the get-go.
Its tempting, playful flow and its melodic resonance have a tranquilizing
effect. A dream-stimulating effort.
13. ‘Prize’ by GHOST PATTERNS
This London-based quartet formed in 2019. They blend psychedelia,
shoegaze and post-punk influences into their music.
Prize is the first 2023 music following a couple of new ones
last year and their excellent 2019 debut album Infinite.
I wonder if they invited Interpol‘s stellar guitarist Daniel Kessler and
give him a license to overdub the guitars at play on Prize. The result is
a wall-of-shoegaze vibrancy that progresses in slo-mo and grows in
intensity along its route, with foggy vocals all over it.
More melodic than My Bloody Valentine, tighter than Slowdive. Is it real or
fantasy? No idea, but who cares when it’s as ear-and-mind pleasing as this.
14. ‘ExtraTerrestial’ by SMALL MIRACLES (Wales)
Small Circles is an indie act from Cardiff, Wales. Inspired by the early New Wave movement, they infuse elements of Punk, Blues and Grunge into their genre-bending sound. Their music has a distinctly queer, underground feel, finely balancing heavy grooves and breakdowns with catchy hooks and choruses.
Mirari tackles all war-greedy political leaders. You can feel/hear
the anger, the frustration and the in-your-face rage on ExtraTerrestrial.
Its cast-iron slow-mo drones, its vocal aggression, its ear-piercing guitar furor
and its razor-sharp Mirari rap sequence combine for a volcanic knockout.
We need big miracles to end all the Warshit!
Feel the heat.
15. ‘The Light At The End Of The World’ by IAN WILLIAMS (UK)
Williams started his music career in Edinburgh (Scotland) in the mid 1980’s as a founder
of Beautiful Pea Green Boat, whose ethereal, atmospheric sound pre-dated the vogue for dream pop by at least twenty years. He is now based in London and more recently, he has worked with singer Claudia Barton aka Gamine, releasing two albums of dark, piano-led torch songs and lullabies.
This new piece will feature on his new, forthcoming
full-length ‘Slow-Motion Apocalypse’, out in October.
Think Vangelis sharing ideas with Tangerine Dream and Jean-Michel Jarre.
Cinematic, with spacey, melodramatic vocals. It could be part of the soundtrack
of a nature documentary about an eagle flying between the sea and the sky. Proud, mighty, fearless and untouchable. These are the images I see on my screen in
16. ‘Body’ by STRESS DOLLS (Buffalo, NY)
Stress Dolls is the moniker of alt/pop/rock artist Chelsea O’Donnell.
Her new single is a fully electricity-charged stunner with O’Donnell
expressive vocals adding a poignant resonance.
17. ‘Rosebud’ by SWAN HILL (UK)
These busy British indies have a new double
A-side single out, with Rosebud and Landlines.
Rosebud is my favorite.
A riff-loaded ripper with a vibrant pop edge.
18. ‘Deadweights’ by SEADOG (Brighton, UK)
The dream-pop duo from Brighton, UK enthrall with their new musing that
will be part of the new, forthcoming album, named Internal Noise, out in
the autumn via Austerity Records.
It features the vocal harmonies of Jack and Lily Wolter,
both from the band Penelope Isles, while Jack also
drums on it.
Singer-songwriter Mark Benton encapsulates his psychologically and physically
crushing insomnia experiences in a bittersweet and melancholic pop tune that
babbles like a sparkling brook, yet underlying this humdinger resonates as if
the after-effects of the sleepless years are still wandering around. In the end
here’s proof again that music can be healing. Beautiful.
19. ‘Alphabet City’ by THE NATIONAL
Last week they dropped two new gloomy ballads to keep
the momentum going. One of them is Alphabet City.
Lit a candlelight.
20. ‘My Submission’ by DEXYS (Birmingham, UK)
Now, after 45 (!) years, several line-ups and several hiatuses Dexys released (only)
their 6th album, the highly entertaining and feel-good full-length The Feminine Divine.
Mastermind Kevin Rowland celebrated his 70 birthday a couple of weeks ago,
and still has the gift to write a goosebumps balledis about. My Submission is
a diamond of a song.