Sunday, September 08, 2019

Listening Habits: Summer 2019

With vacations, festivals and other summer activities behind us, it is time for the summer edition of our "Listening Habits" lists, in which, every few months, we present the albums and tracks that stood out for us among the latest new releases and earned a place in our record collection.

At the top of the albums list for Summer 2019 you'll find one of the best debuts of the year, Black Midi's weird but certainly wonderful "Schlagenheim". The "weird" part, at least for me, is the unusual singing of main vocalist Geordie Greep which took a while to get used to, but the music skills displayed by the dynamic London quartet are undeniable and the end result is one of the most thrilling noise rock rides in recent history. Repeated listening at high volume is highly recommended!

From Black Midi's sublime noise experimentation, a sharp turn towards melody with Big Thief's "UFOF", the folk band's third full length effort and first for the historic 4AD label (which, by the way, is having a stellar 2019). We already knew that Adrianne Lenker is an amazingly talented songwriter but with "UFOF" her band is progressing to the next level, presenting us a confident set of emotionally powerful folk rock songs that flow into each other to create a wonderful whole. With "UFOF" already in the running for one of the albums of the year, the band has already recorded its next record, titled "Two Hands", which is expected in October and if new track "Not" is any indication, it looks very likely that the best is yet to come for Big Thief!

Among the best albums we've listened to this summer is also the self-titled record by Purple Mountains, a new project which was supposed to be David Berman's return to music, but unfortunately turned out to be his final farewell. The Silver Jews frontman was fighting his demons out of the public eye in the decade since he announced the end of his band which gave us excellent albums including "American Water", "Bright Flight" and "Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea". With "Purple Mountains", a record he made with the collaboration of Jarvis Taveniere and Jeremy Earl from the band Woods, Berman made his comeback to songwriting with another great set of songs bearing his unique style and wit. Sadly the darkness that lies at their core could not be exorcised and only weeks after the album's release came the bad news. Although in this case music could not overcome adversity for its creator, you should not miss the opportunity to listen to "Purple Mountains", the last great work of a truly unique poet and songwriter.

Among the rest of the fine albums you will find in our Top 20 below, a special mention is merited for Ty Segall's latest work, "First Taste", his 12th solo studio album. Being overly prolific has the danger of losing the ability to filter properly your work, but it seems that Ty has no such problems as we are now used to having every year at least one of his LPs among the year's best. A year and a half after the amazing "Freedom's Goblin" (and two or three pretty good releases in between), he is back with another rocking record, in which he is not using his guitar at all, but still finds ways to blow our minds and ears. Another year, another album of the year by Ty Segall - business as usual then!

Top 20 Albums

1.   Schlagenheim - BLACK MIDI
2.   U.F.O.F. - BIG THIEF
3.   Purple Mountains - PURPLE MOUNTAINS
4.   First Taste - TY SEGALL
5.   Father Of The Bride - VAMPIRE WEEKEND
6.   Humanworld - PETER PERRETT
7.   Amyl And The Sniffers - AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS
8.   Boat - PIP BLOM
9.   Destroyer - BLACK MOUNTAIN
10. Help Us Stranger - THE RACONTEURS
11. Patience - MANNEQUIN PUSSY
12. Act Surprised - SEBADOH
13. These Times - THE DREAM SYNDICATE
14. Let's Rock - THE BLACK KEYS
15. Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest - BILL CALLAHAN
16. Inside The Rose - THESE NEW PURITANS
17. About The Light - STEVE MASON
18. Proto - HOLLY HERNDON
19. Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery - THE COMET IS COMING  
20. The Magical Record Of Blue Orchids - BLUE ORCHIDS
 
Top 20 Tracks

1.   U.F.O.F. - BIG THIEF
2.   Margaritas At The Mall - PURPLE MOUNTAINS
3.   Ducter - BLACK MIDI
4.   Taste - TY SEGALL
5.   In The Capital - ROLLING BLACKOUTS COASTAL FEVER
6.   Summon The Fire - THE COMET IS COMING   
7.   This Life - VAMPIRE WEEKEND
8.   Master Of Destruction - PETER PERRETT
9.   Daddy Issues - PIP BLOM
10. Got You - AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS
11. Drunk II - MANNEQUIN PUSSY
12. Future Shade - BLACK MOUNTAIN
13. Help Me Stranger - THE RACONTEURS
14. Lo/Hi - THE BLACK KEYS
15. Black Light - THE DREAM SYNDICATE
16. Celebrate The Void - SEBADOH
17. Addicted To The Day - BLUE ORCHIDS
18. Walking Away From Love - STEVE MASON
19. Into The Fire - THESE NEW PURITANS
20. Eternal - HOLLY HERNDON


Monday, September 02, 2019

New Releases: July - August 2019

Time to catch up with the latest new releases: here's our list of the most interesting albums, singles and EPs released in the second half of the summer:

Albums

PURPLE MOUNTAINS - Purple Mountains
TY SEGALL - First Taste
SLEATER-KINNEY - The Center Won’t Hold
THE MURDER CAPITAL - When I Have Fears
TROPICAL FUCK STORM - Braindrops
JAY SOM - Anak Ko
HTRK - Venus In Leo
RIDE - This Is Not A Safe Place
REDD KROSS - Beyond the Door
THE FLAMING LIPS - King's Mouth
THE HOLD STEADY - Thrashing Thru The Passion
THE FUTUREHEADS - Powers
BLEACHED - Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough
MARIKA HACKMAN - Any Human Friend 
LANA DEL REY - Norman Fucking Rockwell 
SERATONES - Power
JESCA HOOP - Stonechild
OLYMPIA - Flamingo
BLANCK MASS - Animated Violence Mild
OH SEES - Face Stabber
KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD - Infest the Rats’ Nest
VERSUS - Ex Voto
!!! - Wallop
FRIENDLY FIRES - Inflorescent
HERE LIES MAN - No Ground To Walk Upon
SHEER MAG - A Distant Call
BIG STICK - LP
JASON LYTLE - Arthur King Presents Jason Lytle: Nylonadjuno
MARK MULCAHY - The Gus
MODERN NATURE - How To Live
THE SOFT CAVALRY - The Soft Cavalry
ADA LEA - What We Say In Private
SHANNON LAY - August
SALAD - The Salad Way
JOYERO - Release The Dogs
CFM - Soundtrack For an Empty Room
CEREMONY - In the Spirit World Now 
TOOL - Fear Inoculum  
FOLLAKZOID - I
RUSSIAN CIRCLES - Blood Year
OH, ROSE - While My Father Sleeps
KHRUANGBIN - Hasta El Cielo
IMPERIAL TEEN - Now We Are Timeless
DARREN HAYMAN - 12 Astronauts
MANEKA - Devin
KAISER CHIEFS - Duck Album
DUDE YORK - Falling
CURSE OF LONO - 4am And Counting: Live And Stripped Back At Toe Rag Studios
KOKOKO! - Fongola
METZ - Automat

Singles & EPs

SPOON - No Bullets Spent
JEFFREY LEWIS & THE VOLTAGE - LPs
THOM YORKE - Not The News Rmx EP
THE VACANT LOTS - Exit EP
THE STROPPIES - It's A Hit! EP
DRY CLEANING - Sweet Princess EP
AUTOMATIC - Calling It
WORKING MEN'S CLUB - Teeth
SINEAD O’BRIEN - Taking On Time
BUSH TETRAS - There is a Hum
THE WEDDING PRESENT - Jump in, The Water’s Fine
IDLES - Mercedes Marxist
GIRL BAND - Going Norway
SPINNING COIN - Visions At The Stars
BEAK> - Life Goes On EP
GABE GURNSEY - I Get Harder
KNIFE WIFE - Family Party EP
GHUM - The Coldest Fire EP
TERRY - Who's Terry? EP
SLAVES - The Velvet Ditch EP
FLAME 2 - Dive / Rain
FLOATING POINTS - LesAlpx / Coorabell
GEORGIA - About Work the Dancefloor
GEORGIA - Started Out
CAGEWORK - Cagework EP
WILDHONEY - Naive Castle
MOLLY BURCH - Ballads
AIDAN MOFFAT AND RM HUBBERT - Cut to Black
ELBOW - Dexter & Sinister
THE SPITFIRES - Enough is Enough


Jeffrey Lewis & The Voltage - LPs