Category Archives: Alternative

Jay Som ‎- Superbike (2019)

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After the weel-received dream pop of her 2017 debut Everybody Works, singer-songwriter Melina Mae Duterte (a.k.a. Jay Som) has taken a new turn. Guitars are aplenty on her ‘Superbike’ from her new album Anak Ko. Fans of Cocteau Twins, Lush and shoegazing take note; you will love the outro to this song.

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Sharon Van Etten ‎- Seventeen (2019)

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I end the week with one of the best songs from 2019, released almost a year ago now. As with ‘Comeback Kid’, Seventeen’ is another single off Sharon Van Etten’s superb album Remind Me Tomorrow. A slice of synth-infused indie depicting a bygone time in Van Etten’s NYC. It’s a bonafide classic. Have a great weekend.

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LCD Soundsystem – I Can Change (2010)

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On their 2010 album This Is Happening, LCD Soundsystem feature the slice of pure early-80s synthpop that is ‘I Can Change’. Think Soft Cell or Depeche Mode as you listen to the songwriters (band member Pat Mahoney and band frontman James Murphy) looking to save a relationship by becoming a completely different person. “I can change, I can change, I can change, if it helps you fall in love.” No trouble there then.

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Mitski ‎- Happy (2016)

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Good morning readers and listeners. I did not know much about Mtski and her work until relatively recently. The ambitious Puberty 2 is the fourth studio long player by Japanese-American wunderkid Mitski Miyawaki. Released by Dead Oceans in 2016, the album opens with ‘Happy’ an exploration into the fleeting nature of joy. Have a great week.

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The Magnetic North ‎- Bay of Skaill (2012)

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The Magnetic North was a musical collaboration between folk-rocker Erland Cooper, multi-instrumentalist Hannah Peel and The Good, The Bad & The Queen’s guitarist Simon Tong. In 2012, they released a concept album Orkney: Symphony Of The Magnetic North as a celebration of the Islands. The second track on the album is the ethereal sound of the ‘Bay Of Skall’ on the west coast. “It’s all there/Coming in like an arrow/Coming up over the sea.” The vikings are coming…

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of Montreal feat. Janelle Monáe ‎- Our Riotous Defects (2012)

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Some blog gremlins today… sorry about that. Nitzer Ebb will have to wait for another day, but I can’t take back of Montreal. Consider it a cotton-candy wrapped gift, in which founder and singer-songwriter Kevin Barnes tries to win over a girl only to discover she’s a fish-murdering crazy girl. The song was the second track on the band’s 2012 long player False Priest. I am not sure what part Janelle Monáe had to play in all…

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Alberta Cross ‎- Find A Home Out There (2018)

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I am a fan of Brooklyn-based, Swedish-born Petter Ericson Stakee. The singer-guitarist has announced a tour this week after a run of recent single releases: ‘We Lose Each Other’, ‘Keep The Damage To Myself’, ‘What Are We Frightened Of?’ and the most recent ‘Something Real To Defend’. The flurry all started with last year’s all started last year’s ‘Find A Home Out There’ that got a feature on the ABC drama A Million Little Things. I think that we can expect a new LP from Alberta Cross soon, the first since 2015’s self-titled album. Lest we forget this is an americana band that was Born in London. Stakee has travelled a long way.

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Lambchop – So Modern And So Tight (2019)

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It feels as if Kurt Wagner is on the final leg of a protracted musical journey. ‘So Modern And So Tight’ is so far removed from the americana of 2000’s Nixon and 2002’s Is A Woman, that it would be unrecognisable as a Lambchop production was it not for Wagner’s voice (albeit via a vocoder). Their new digital work certainly tips its hat to Justin Vernon, but the bands’s honest alt country roots and unexpected tack make the sound more than just derivative.

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Whyte Horses – The Snowfalls (2014)

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Self proclaimed purveyors of mystical pop Whyte Horses are excited to announce a new album, Hard Times, due for release in January. Back in 2014, this shape-shifting collective seemed to be more aligned to Merseybeat with their single ‘The Snowfalls’. It features on their 2014 collection Pop Or Not. It takes me back to the ‘beat revival of 1989/90; halcyon days.

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Andy Shauf – Things I Do (2019)

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Another singer returned in the last week or so is Andy Shauf; he is most welcome. For his new single, the singer-songwriter questions why he does what he does. ‘Things I Do’ will feature on his new long player The Neon Skyline, all written, performed, arranged and produced by Shauf, and due to be released in the New Year. “Seems like I should have known better / Than to turn my head like it didn’t matter.”

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Smith Westerns ‎- All Die Young (2011)

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Good morning folks. I hope you had a good weekend. A forerunner to Whitney, Smith Westerns were an indie rock band from Chicago. In 2011, they released their second full-length outing Dye It Blonde. At its centre is the song ‘All Die Young’. Despite the unhappy title, the track is a clear celebration of a Ziggy Stardust/Marc Bolan-indebted glam sound. Have a great week.

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(Sandy) Alex G – Station (2015)

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Philly-based Alexander Giannascoli is better known by his stage name (Sandy) Alex G (formerly Alex G). After launching his career with a number of self-releases and his label debut DSU on Orchid Tapes, Giannascoli signed to Domino Records and released the long player Beach Music. Its exploratory production was well received; the track ‘Station’ is sung in a lower pitch than much of the album, as Alex G expresses the psychedelic moment of a man breaking into a liquor store. Have a great weekend.

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The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio (2010)

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By 2010, The National were no longer just another band from Brooklyn. After two successive, successful slow-burn albums (Alligator and Boxer), they had grown into one of the most feted indie bands. That year they released High Violet, which features their gig staple ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’. The track kicks off with Bryan Devendorf’s persistent drum solo that lays the ground for the instruments that follow. This was a high watermark.

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Wolf Parade ‎- Against The Day (2019)

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Wolf Parade have released a first new single since 2017’s Cry Cry Cry. The synthesised track ‘Against the Day’ is a change in direction for the Montreal indie-rock band. Dan Boeckner’s vocals mulls over the apocalypse with a loved one. “All is calm now/Seconds fade but the centuries remain, love.”

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Vagabon ‎- Mal à L’aise (2017)

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Halfway through Vagabon’s 2017 debut Infinite Worlds, multi-instrumentalist Lætitia Tamko steps away from her brand of New York indie rock to feature the track ‘Mal à L’aise’. With its synth loops and reverb-heavy mutterings in English and French, the album’s detour is experimental and welcome.

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