Category Archives: Alternative

Princess Chelsea – The Cigarette Duet (2011)

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Continuing the unusually fey electropop this week, it’s Auckland’s Chelsea Nikkel. On ‘The Cigarette Duet’, the Princess sings alongside fellow singer-songwriter  Jonathan Bree for her debut studio album Lil’ Golden Book.

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Kelly Lee Owens – Anxi (2017)

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Good morning. The Welsh singer-producer Kelly Lee Owens draws on dream pop and ambient house for ‘Anxi’, the title song off her 2017 debut album. The track is a collaboration with a Norwegian musician, singer-songwriter Jenny Hval, who provides the moody vocals, Have a great week.

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Gorillaz – Sleeping Powder (2017)

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Gorillaz are back in 2017, cutting their edge between music and technology. ‘Sleeping Powder’ is the first new song to be released since their ‘Humanz’ album dropped in April. Damon Albarn is gone with the self of the day, gone. Have a great week.

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Mazzy Star – Look On Down From The Bridge (1996)

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Making up for the lost morning this week, we have a double-header. It’s always a good time for Mazzy Star. The band formed in Santa Monica in 1989 from the group Opal, a collaboration between guitarist David Roback and his then-girlfriend, ex-Dream Syndicate bassist Kendra Smith. Relationships being what they are, Smith left early in the band’s life and Hope Sandoval swiftly became the lead vocalist. In 1996 the band released its third album Among My Swan, for which David Roback wrote all the music apart from the mysterious ‘Look on Down from the Bridge’. That sound was pure Sandoval; it is the closing track on the album.

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Evan Dando – Whoops (2003)

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Evan Dando returned to music in 2003 after a long, long lost weekend. The former Lemonheads frontman released the lo-fi Baby I’m Bored, which featured the track ‘It Looks Like You’. Released as a single, its B-side was the jaunty ‘Whoops’. “We all fall short, but it’s a long way down.” The man had seen the dark side; perhaps that’s why the song was incomprehensibly consigned to a flip-side.

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Ryan Adams – AMY (2000)

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Inspired by Ryan Adams’ break-up with industry publicist Amy Lombardi, ‘AMY’ is the self-evidently one of the emotional outpourings that underpin his debut solo album ‘Heartbreaker. Released in September 5, the entire album was was told over fourteen days in a studio in Nashville. Pitchfork have called it “a drinker’s album” and “an ode to sadness”. No regrets Ryan, no regrets.

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Arcade Fire – Creature Comfort (2017)

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With ‘Everything Now’ at the beginning of the month, and last week’s release of ‘Creature Comfort’, early signs are very good for Arcade Fire’s new project. The influence of collaborators Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Portishead’s Geoff Barrow are strong. The result is a synthesised intro that M83 or Chromatics would be proud of; and then the fatalistic chants… arenas get ready. Have a great week.

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Tame Impala – The Less I Know The Better (2015)

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‘The Less I Know the Better’ was released by Tame Impala towards the end of 2015. Selected as the third single off the album Currents, the song flows from Kevin Parker’s love of “dorky disco”.

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Kevin Morby – Come To Me Now (2017)

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Kevin Morby is releasing a new album City Music this week. The majesticCome to Me Now’ opens the album with the Texan’s haunting vocals and the sound of a pedal pump organ. Have a great week.

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Arcade Fire – Everything Now (2017)

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Daft Punk + Arcade Fire = ABBA, evidently. The disco-tinged title track of Arcade Fire’s new album Everything Now is co-produced by Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter. Released next month, the album is the follow-up to 2013’s Reflektor. Have a great weekend.

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Mac DeMarco – Chamber of Reflection (2014)

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Mac DeMarco’s nod to Shigeo Sekito has already featured is this blog. For his 2014 album, Salad Days, he lifts one of Sekito’s electone organ melody for ‘Chamber of Reflection’. The result is less jizz jazz, more 1980s synth and very appealing.

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Phoenix – Ti Amo (2017)

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Last month, Phoenix announced that their sixth album, Ti Amo, will be released on June 9, 2017. The title track remains true to the band’s ambition to deliver an album about summer and Italian discos. “Don’t tell me/Don’t tell me no.” It’s a further move away from the security of their soft-rock Strokes sound. Have a great week.

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The National – The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness (2017)

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This month, The National released a new song, ‘The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness’. Rejoice. While the dulcet tones of Matt Berninger are still there, there is a definite pop swagger that might be more expected from the likes of Spoon. I really like the shift and the Aaron Dessner’s guitar solo is an added bonus. The new album Sleep Well Beast is out in September.

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The Handsome Family – Far From Any Road (2003)

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Husband-and-wife duo Brett and Rennie Sparks explore some dark, wistful americana on their 2003 album Singing Bones. With its mandolin and trumpet, ‘Far From Any Road’ evokes dusty backcountry, far removed from The Handsome Family’s Chicago.

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Pavement – Spit On A Stranger (1999)

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Pavement’s last album had some serious back catalogue competition. The Nigel Godrich-produced Terror Twilight may not be their best, but it was really good and it featured ‘Spit On A Stranger’. Have a great week.

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