Friday, March 9, 2018

Young Fathers - Cocoa Sugar

Young Fathers are among the most independent of indie artists.  They seemingly ignore commercial pressures and critical expectations and carve their own space in the world of pop music.  The Edinburgh trio, Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and Graham 'G' Hastings, create their music with elements from multiple points of the musical compass -- pop, rock, rap, soul even Gospel.  The result is unpredictable and exciting, and evinces no fear of how it might be received by critics or listeners.  The focus is on what they want to say, not what they think someone else expects them to say.  If that makes them unclassifiable, then so much the better. because without expectations and pre-conceived context the listener is forces to truly focus on the content -- incisive lyrics hung from the bones of spare beats.

Their latest album is Cocoa Sugar, 12 tautly-constructed tracks offering both experimental and more traditionally linear songs.  The quality is high and consistent, and the performances confident.  The band seamlessly combines surreal imagery with rapid-fire verses and sweet, almost euphoric choruses that dispel the tension.  I've been a fan since stumbling on their first EPs years ago -- this is their best work yet and probably will be one of my favorite albums this year.

Cocoa Sugar is out today via Ninja Tune









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Thursday, March 8, 2018

"Top Love" by Red Sleeping Beauty

Today's question is -- does Stockholm's Red Sleeping Beauty still have what is takes to thrill us?  The answer is "Top Love".  Yes, they have that with plenty in the tank to spare.  What a great song!

Red Sleeping Beauty is Niklas Angergard, Kristina Borg, Carl-john Nasstrom, and Mikael Matsson.  A new album is coming later this year.



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Amaya Laucirica - Rituals


We are here to assure you that life feels so much better with Rituals, the new album by Melbourne's Amaya Laucirica in your ears.  Featuring the hooks of your favorite pop band, the lush arrangements of '80s new romantics synth pop with the depth of the Cocteau Twins, and a voice that tells you everything is going to be all right, this is music that invites you to get lost in its swirling wonder and invites you to share its dreamy wonders.  And while Amaya's voice may be the most compelling element, the special feeling wouldn't exist without the composers ability to create songs that convey both a sense of space and densely layered sounds.  Laucirica has previously released two EPs and three albums, but Rituals is her first international release and it has the feel of the coming out party for a welcome talent.  We expect to have our copy in rotation for a long, long time.

Rituals is out now via Opposite Number in most of the world, and Kasumuen in Australia and New Zealand.







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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Legendary House Cats - Untitled


Titles? Titles? We don't need no stinking titles!  Or such is the thinking of the cool cat behind The Legendary House Cats, John Girgus (Aberdeen).  The project produced the wonderful Greatest Blips, Vol. 1 last year (our post here), but John apparently can't avoid composing music, and we are the beneficiaries.  So just a few months later we have the maxi-single Untitled.  The base track is a soaring, ever-building club track, which is followed by three variations.  It is good, fun, and free!



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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

In Tall Buildings - Akinetic

If musical notes and melodies were colors, then listening to Akinetic, by Chicago's In Tall Buildings, is like diving into a three-dimensional painting of bright colors and varied and layered textures.  This is music that reaches out to engage you, happy to reveal its wonders and delight you at every twist, turn and change.  And it is sublimely structured and executed by an artist who is hyper aware of the breadth of his ideas and the arsenal of tools to express them.  With songs like these, he doesn't need to push you into the painting, but rather just give you a look.  Your immersion then becomes inevitable.

In Tall Buildings is the project of multi-talented Erik Hall, who recorded this album in his home studio with producer Brian Deck.  Akinetic is out now via Western Vinyl.










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Monday, March 5, 2018

The Ancients - Frozen Aisle

Our primary job here is to bring to you music we like and deserving of your attention, rather than to help you look cool with your music friends, but sometimes we can't help giving you a tip that should make you the smartest indie pop consumer in the world.  And today is such a day.  Today is the day we tell you that Melbourne's The Ancients have delivered Frozen Aisle.  The album, their fourth, is a masterful example of hooky pop music delivered through a dream pop filter and decorated with psych pop touches.  The unease in the lyrics is well-balanced by welcoming arrangements and the precision of the performances.  The result is intimate, a bit hazy, and utterly captivating.  This is one of our favorite records of the first quarter of 2018.  Yes, we like it that much.

The Ancients are Jonathan Michell (guitar/vocals/keys), Georgina Ward (bass), Julian Patterson (drums), Hamish O'Neil (guitar/keys), and Sophie Perillo (keys/vocals).  Additionally, Nicole Thibault played trombone on "Frozen Aisle" and "Recluse Grove", and Alanna Lorenzon contributed backing vocals on "Here With My Baby" and "Frozen Aisle".  The album is out now via Brisbane's Tenth Court Records.








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