Category Archives: Alternative

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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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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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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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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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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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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Beach House – Drunk in L.A. (2018)

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“I had a good run playing horses in my mind/On a hillside I remember/I am loving losing life.” Victoria Garance Alixe Legrand and Alex Kristian Scally know how to create an atmosphere. Church organs, grinding guitars and cinematic synths feature large on this standout song from this year’s album release, 7. ‘Drunk in L.A.’ Have a great weekend.

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Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks – Solid Silk (2018)

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As we approach the end of the year, one thinks about the best sounds January to December. Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks’ Sparkle Hard must get a mention, so rare is a poor moment on the album. Listen to the song ‘Solid Silk’ and hear the class. Have a great week.

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Richard Swift – Broken Finger Blues (2018)

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Very unfortunately, The Hex was a posthumous release for singer-songwriter Richard Swift. Following his untimely death earlier this year, his fans were treated to one of his best works. The song ‘Broken Finger Blues’ seems to draw on the influence of 1960s soul and chamber pop. For me, you can hear more than a touch of Smokey Robinson. Well done Mr. Swift & R.I.P.

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The Good, The Bad & The Queen – Merrie Land (2018)

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You may not agree in the politics, but you have to admire the artistry. The title track of the The Good, The Bad & The Queen’s album Merrie Land is scathing portrait of This Sceptred Isle. The country’s leadership is certainly in a bit of a mess this week and Albarn cleverly uses the sounds of a funfair to depict his take on the direction of travel.

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You La Tengo – You Are Here (2018)

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Good morning. A measured start to the week in the guise of Yo La Tengo’s ‘You Are Here’. It’s the opening track off the LP There’s A Riot Going On that they released earlier this year. Have a good one.

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9 of the best – sounds of 1994

As we approach the end of another year and the greatest hits that follow, I give you a compilation of sounds from 24 years ago. Britop was at its zenith, but the angelic voice of a Californian rose above all ….

Jeff Buckley – Grace

Oasis – Cigarettes & Alcohol

Pulp – Babies

Blur – To The End

Mazzy Star – Fade Into You

The Dust Brothers – Chemical Beats

Beastie Boys – Sabotage

Grant Lee Buffalo – Mockingbirds

Jeff Buckley – Last Goodbye

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Honourable mentions also go to: Portishead for ‘Roads‘; Mazzy Star for ‘Fade Into You‘; Plush for ‘Found A Little Baby‘, Johnny Cash for ‘Drive On’, Jeff Buckley for ‘Grace‘; Blur for ‘End Of A Century‘; Nas for ‘N.Y. State Of Mind’; Green Day for ‘Basket Case’; The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion for ‘Bellbottoms

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Jonathan Bree – You’re So Cool (2017)

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Good morning folks, it’s a Monday. Sleepwalking is Jonathan Bree’s third solo album released via his own label, Lil’ Chief Records. There’s more than a touch of baroque pop (e.g. Jens Lekman, Scott Walker…) about his work, and in ‘You’re So Cool’, Bree reflects upon “morning coffees by the bed”. He took the words out of my mouth. Have a good week!

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Plush – Found A Little Baby (1994)

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A little later in the day than usual, something soothing is required. The mercurial Liam Hayes wrote and released ‘Found A Little Baby’ as a B-side to his 1994 debut single ‘Three-Quarters Blind Eyes’. More recently, it has featured on a tribute compilation for one Mr. Brian Wilson. Listen and you will understand why. Have a great weekend.

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