The Antlers – Kettering (2009)

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In 2009, Brooklyn band The Antlers recorded an ambient tour de force. They had turned from one-man project to a creative experimental rock band… Peter Silberman (founder and frontman), Darby Cicci (keyboards) and Michael Lerner (drums) . On the trio’s first album Hospice resides the emotional sound of ‘Kettering’. Have a good weekend.

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Round Two – A New Day (1995)

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Change of scene… deep house. Round Two’s ‘A New Day’ is a classic of the genre with moody vocals to suit. A sometime backup singer for Yazz and Tears for Fears, Andy Caine delivers the soul against a backdrop of synths and drums. But this sound was not emanating from Motor City; this was Berlin’s Moritz von Oswald and Mark Ernestus in 1995.

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Paul McCartney – Maybe I’m Amazed (1970)

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An oldie but a goldie… ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ by Paul McCartney. McCartney recorded his eponymous album during a period of depression following John Lennon’s announcement in 1969 that he was leaving the Beatles. This song is dedicated the song to his wife Linda, who had helped him get through those dark days that led to the break-up.

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Sufjan Stevens – I Walked (2010)

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“Lover, will you look at me now?/ I’m already dead to you/ But I’m inclined to explain/ What I could not before.” Five years after the success of his masterful LP Illinoise (and the existential crisis that followed), Sufjan was able to exorcise himself on The Age of Adz. The album features the beautiful, melodic and electronic ‘I Walked’.

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Emilie Simon – Mon Chevalier (2011)

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Émilie Marie Simon is often painted as France’s answer to Björk. Her quirkiness was heightened in 2009 through misfortune; her fiancé François Chevallier died of the flu while on holiday in Greece. Two year later, Simon released the album Franky Night – it kicks off with the single ‘Mon Chevalier’. Have a great week.

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Julia Kent – Overlook (2011)

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Julia Kent is a Canadian cellist and composer. In 2011, she released the gothic Green and Grey. It features the soothing, dark and epic sound of ‘Overlook’. Have a great weekend.

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Crumb – Locket (2017)

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It’s early days for Brooklyn quartet Crumb and they are creating something special. Last year’s EP Locket feels jazzy but no too experimental, and indie but laced with the type of psych-pop that I like. The title track is a beauty.

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Snail Mail – Pristine (2018)

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Don’t you just love an indie riff?! To instrumentation that echoes the work of New Order and The Cure, Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan sings of innocence and abandon. ‘Pristine’ features on the band’s 2018 album Lush.

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Yuno – No Going Back (2018)

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Fans of Tame Impala, prick your ears. It’s been far too long since the release of Currents; and Innerspeaker and Lonerism seem like distant memories. So what a delight to hear the psychedelic pop sounds of Yuno Moodi, a 27-year-old from Jacksonville, Florida (his parents are British and of Jamaican descent). Last year, Sub Pop signed him and shortly thereafter, Yuno released Moodie. The EP features ‘No Going Back’. Rejoice Sub Pop. Rejoice Juno.

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King Tuff – Psycho Star (2018)

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Good morning folks. After touring in Ty Segall’s backing band ‘The Muggers’ for a year, Kyle Thomas was encouraged to revisit his garage rock sound and change things up. His latest album offering, The Other, is still released under his King Tuff alias, but the songs have progressed. ‘Psycho Star’ features the lyrics: “We were always dreaming/Of castles in the sky/Dreaming of another planet/How could we be so blind?” Thomas has come to terms with his music.

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Graham Nash – Better Days (1971)

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Well I’ve started the year with some golden oldies and there’s no need to stop quite yet. Also released in 1971, this most personal song features on Songs for Beginners, Graham Nash’s debut solo album. The singer-songwriter was mulling over ‘Better Days’ he’d had in the past and better ones he expected of the future. With its double-tracked vocals, this transcending message was poignant in the aftermath of Nash’s break-up with Joni Mitchell. Neil Young plays piano on the track, performing under the name of Joe Yankee. Have a great weekend.

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The Who – Behind Blue Eyes (1971)

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From one pair of blue eyes to another. Pete Townshend wrote ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ in 1971 to help explain how lonely it can be in the limelight. The song is Roger Daltrey’s favourite track by the band; and in a large part, I think that’s because he does such a good job on lead vocals, perfectly complementing the acoustic guitar. Like their other tracks I’ve posted on this blog, this song also featured on The Who‘s 1971 classic album Who’s Next.

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The Velvet Underground – Pale Blue Eyes (1969)

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And now for the come-down… three months after The Stones were chanting in ‘Sympathy For The Devil’, The VU released ‘Pale Blue Eyes’. It featured on the their self-titled third studio album. It was the first recording after John Cale’s departure from the band. Linger on…

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The Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil (1968)

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Happy New Year listeners! It’s been 50 years since The Rolling Stones released Beggars Banquet. I was reminded last night what a sensational album it is. Not only does the album feature the brilliant ‘No Expectations’, ‘Jigsaw Puzzle‘ (which is one of my Desert Island Discs), ‘Street Fighting Man’ and ‘Stray Cat Blues’, but it also opens with the balls-to-the-wall classic ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ and its “ooh ooh” chorus. That chorus features Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman, Nicky Hopkins, Marianne Faithfull, Jimmy Miller and Anita Pallenberg. That is what I call a party.

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9 of the best – sounds of 2018

Samuelsounds begins a short hiatus for the festive season. As is my way, I leave you with my favourite sounds of 2018. They are in no particular order. Merry Christmas, have a great holiday and see you in the New Year, when I will whittle 12 to 9. (Done!)

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Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Talking Straight

Father John Misty – Just Dumb Enough to Try

Natalie Prass – Lost

The Good, The Bad & The Queen – Merrie Land

Stephen Malkmus – Solid Silk

Vasser – Valerians

Let’s Eat Grandma – Donnie Darko

Oscar L – Monster Tube

Kokoroko – Abusey Junction

Honourable mentions also go to: Childish Gambino for ‘This Is America‘; Phum Viphurit for ‘Lover Boy‘; Fake Shark for ‘Wake Up‘; Phosphorescent for ‘New Birth in New England‘; Bodega for ‘Jack In Titanic‘; MorMor for ‘Heaven’s Only Wishful‘; Kanye West & Kid Cudi for ‘Reborn‘; Christine and the Queens for ‘Damn, dis-moi‘; Lana Del Rey for ‘Mariners Apartment Complex‘; The Voidz for ‘Leave It In My Dreams‘; Nilüfer Yanya for ‘Thanks 4 Nothing‘ and DJ Koze for ‘Pick Up‘.

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