Category Archives: Alternative

Kurt Vile – One Trick Ponies (2018)

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Channelling Neil Young and Tom Petty, Kurt Vile Samuel released ‘One Trick Ponies’ on his 2018 album Bottle It In. He was flying high in 2017/18; no one trick pony.

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The Flaming Lips – Flowers Of Neptune 6 (2020)

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A couple of false posts yesterday, sorry for that – I will release the songs as extras this weekend. Back to today… I’ve not really kept track of The Flaming Lips’ oeuvre since their halcyon days of 1995-2005. In truth, I think that’s because the quality has waned rather than my taste changing. Also, I think Coyne lost his voice through exuberance and all that has followed has been through the mask of experiment. But this month, they released a brand new track ‘Flowers of Neptune 6’ on Bella Union and it’s been reliably produced by Dave Fridmann. There’s enough in the psychedelic production and Floyd-like outro to keep me coming back to this one. Have a great weekend – although I’ll be in touch again tomorrow and Sunday.

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Pixies – Gigantic (1988)

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So far this week, I’ve been wandering through the pantheon of pop music’s greatest acts. In 1988, the Pixies wrote a new chapter in the development of rock with the release of their debut single ‘Gigantic’ and the loud-quiet-loud template that would characterise so many of their treasured songs and all those channelled their indie sound thereafter. A few years later, Kurt Cobain would tell his adoring fans “I was trying to write the ultimate pop song. I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies”. This was his favourite Pixies track.
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LCD Soundsystem – Oh Baby (2017)

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From one welcome return to another… LCD Soundsystem played its goodbye show in 2011. In 2017, at the dying request of David Bowie, they reformed, released a cracking new album, American Dream, and embarked on a world tour. The third single off the album is its opening track ‘Oh Baby’. David Bowie and frontman James Murphy were friends, collaborators and kindred spirits. Murphy had worked with Bowie remixing his song ‘Love Is Lost’, performing percussion on his LP Blackstar and producing Arcade Fire’s ‘Reflektor’ to which Bowie lent his vocals.

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Fiona Apple – I Want You To Love Me (2020)

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Good morning peeps. It’s been eight years since her last album but Fiona Apple has returned in force. The critics love her and a new recording, Fetch the Bolt Cutters, its positioning as a perfectly timed quarantine LP and an outstanding opening track has been welcomed by all in what I’ve read recently. For me, it doesn’t get any better than the sublime ‘I Want You To Love Me’ and it was very worth the wait. Have a great week.

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The National – About Today (2004)

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In 2001, twin brothers/musicians Aaron and Bryce Dessner from The National started the New York artist-operated record label Brassland with their producer pal Alec Hanley Bemis. In 2004, their band released their last recording on the label before signing to Beggars Banquet. The EP was called Cherry Tree and its centrepiece is ‘About Today’. Matt Berninger sings to an acoustic guitar and slow violin in one of his best vocal recordings. It was was the sound of a singer and a band coming into their own.

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Gypsyfingers – Eating Me (2014)

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Luke Oldfield’s musical ventures are always going to be listened to with a greater level of scrutiny. His father is none other than Mike Oldfield. Oldfield Jr’s band is Gypsyfingers, a duo with his wife Victoria Coghlan. Safety in familiarity initially, but then the pair teamed up with bandmates Simon Hedges on bass and Patrick Kenneally on drums and keyboards. By 2014, they were supporting James Blunt and pushing forward. ‘Eating me’ features on their album Circus Life, released that year. Inevitably, critics started to remind listeners that this single has echoes of his father’s work on the first side of Tubular Bells, the 1973 record that first launched the Virgin Records empire.

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Connan Mockasin – Charlotte’s Thong (2018)

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What do you get if you cross psych pop with hazy Fleetwood Mac licks and Mac DeMarco vocals at his most indecipherable? The meandering 9-min-long cut that is ‘Charlotte’s Thong’ would be pretty close. The song opens Connan Mockasin’s 2018 album Jassbusters. Groove and “cry until it’s over”.

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Mild High Club – Homage (2016)

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Alexander Brettin and team wrote this song about J.S. Bach’s standard chord progression which is lifted by so many songs. The lyric “Someone wrote this song before and I could tell you where it’s from” says it all. So, Mild High Club wrote an original psychedelic song about the origin of a chord progression. How originally unoriginal. ‘Homage’ features on their 2016 LP Skiptracing.

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caroline – Dark Blue (2020)

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caroline’s debut single features lead track ‘Dark blue’. You can hear influences of American pastoral folk, classical minimalism and post-rock. Unusual reference points for a London-based band. Ethereal.

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Mustard Service – Taking Up Space (2017)

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Sounding very much like the offspring of Mac DeMarco, Miami-based Mustard Service released ‘Taking Up Space’ in 2017. Lead singer Marco Rivero Ochoa describes the sound as Zest Pop – the title he used for the collection of songs they released that year.

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Retirement Party – Runaway Dog (2020)

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Retirement Party are a pop-punk trio from Chicago. Their new sophomore album, Runaway Dog, is out on Counter Intuitive Records this week. The title track is a showcase for singer and guitarist Avery Springer’s catchy sound – the overall effect really reminds me of the lo-fi work of Guided by Voices, but with mucho drums. Guitarist Nick Cartwright and drummer James Ringness deliver the wall of sound.

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Faye Webster ‎- In A Good Way (2020)

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I missed a slot yesterday; an extra song today. Last year, she sung about my hometown. This year, Faye Webster has tried to make me cry in a good way. The sultry sound of some one exploring their emotions … lounge keyboards, acoustic guitar and lush strings create an atmosphere for her smitten vocals: “I didn’t even know I was capable of being happy right now / But you showed me how”.

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The Strokes – Meet Me In The Bathroom (2003)

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I’ve posted a lot of The Strokes’s repertoire on this blog, but I can’t believe I’ve missed the brevity of this classic track. ‘Meet Me In The Bathroom’ kicks off with Julian Casablancas brilliantly and familiar mumbly slur. “You trained me not to love / After you showed me what it was.” Ace. It features on their 2003 album Room On Fire.

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Caleb Landry Jones – Flag Day (2020)

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Actor and musician, Caleb Landry Jones is to unearth his debut album next month. The Mother Stone will be released on the Sacred Bones label run by Caleb Braaten. Jones had been introduced to his namesake by filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, who had liked what he had heard. ‘Flag Day’ a seven-minute session of psychedelic rock moments. It is underpinned with a piano melody that Jones had originally written for Jarmusch.

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