Monday, September 03, 2018

Listening Habits: Summer 2018

We’re closing the summer period with the presentation of the new records and reissues that we’ve been listening to the most during this hot season.

At the two top positions of our album list we have a couple of the best releases of 2018 so far, the seventh Beach House LP simply titled "7" and the debut full-length by Australian indie-rockers Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, the excellent "Hope Downs". 

Rolling Blackouts C. F. had already shown us what they are capable of with their first two EPs and especially last year’s stunning Sub Pop debut "The French Press". On "Hope Downs", their Go-Betweens-style pop craftsmanship, bolstered by jangling, multilayered guitars, continues to shine for the duration of 10 excellent tracks that solidify the band’s position as one of the brightest hopes for guitar-rock in an era that the genre desperately needs it.

Meanwhile, the dream-pop journey of Beach House continues and amazingly they seem to keep getting better, slowly evolving and perfecting their sound. Their seventh album in twelve years is undoubtedly one of the highlights of their career so far, successfully mixing contemporary dance-pop elements to their sweet psychedelic swirling sound, while the collaboration with Sonic Boom who took on production duties, proved to be fruitful, balancing perfectly all elements and influences that make up the sound of "7".

The Sub Pop hat trick at the top of our Top 16 Albums list is concluded with another indie-pop gem by Frankie Cosmos, the excellent "Vessel", a record full of melodic, perfectly-formed pop vignettes that stick to your mind despite of (or maybe because of) their brevity.

Other notable entries in our Summer list include "Lush", the debut Snail Mail album that showcases the songwriting and guitar playing talents of 19-year old Lindsey Jordan (who is certainly making her guitar teacher Mary Timony proud), the manic indie-rock thrills of "Snares Like A Haircut" by No Age, the always fine dance-pop experiments of Gang Gang Dance in "Kazuashita", the return of '90s favorites Belly with "Dove", the first LP in 23 years for Tanya Donelly’s successful project after her tenure in Throwing Muses and The Breeders, and the new records by Speedy Ortiz and Soccer Mommy who follow in the path that Belly and their contemporaries created back in the '90s.

And talking about influential bands, a recent reissue that should not go unnoticed is the box set "Seeing The Unseeable: The Complete Studio Recordings Of The Flaming Lips 1986-1990", including the first four Flaming Lips albums on Restless Records plus two more CDs of B-sides and rarities from the first period of the Oklahoma rock mavericks. Essential listening!

Top 16 Albums

2.   7 - BEACH HOUSE
3.   Vessel - FRANKIE COSMOS
4.   Lush - SNAIL MAIL
5.   Snares Like A Haircut - NO AGE
6.   Kazuashita - GANG GANG DANCE
7.   Dove - BELLY
8.   Twerp Verse - SPEEDY ORTIZ
9.   Clean - SOCCER MOMMY
13. Marble Skies - DJANGO DJANGO
14. Consolation E.P. - PROTOMARTYR
15. Seeing The Unseeable: The Complete Studio Recordings Of The Flaming Lips 1986-1990 - THE FLAMING LIPS
16. Made To Be Broken (reissue) - SOUL ASYLUM

Top 15 Tracks

2.   Lemon Glow - BEACH HOUSE
3.   Shiny One - BELLY
4.   Heat Wave - SNAIL MAIL
5.   Your Dog - SOCCER MOMMY
6.   Apathy - FRANKIE COSMOS
7.   Wheel of Fortune (feat. Kelley Deal) - PROTOMARTYR
8.   Popper - NO AGE
9.   Lotus - GANG GANG DANCE
10. Surface to Air (feat. Self Esteem) - DJANGO DJANGO
11. Fast Slow Disco - ST. VINCENT
12. Lucky 88 - SPEEDY ORTIZ
13. In Between Stars - ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER
14. Body Behavior - TY SEGALL & WHITE FENCE
15. Red Line - WOODEN SHJIPS

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