Category Archives: Indie

The War On Drugs – Thinking Of A Place (2017)

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If you think nine minutes of Yo La Tengo is long… check this. It’s been a long three years since their 2014 LP Lost in the Dream, but Philly rockers The War on Drugs have decided to return with 11 minutes of ‘Thinking Of A Place’. The expansive and psychedelic sounds are the first from a new work due later this year. Will the fourth album cement Adam Granduciel as the modern-day Springsteen?

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Yo La Tengo – Blue Line Swinger (1995)

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Last week, Broadcast made me think of Yo La Tengo for the first time in a little while. The band hit its stride by the 1990s, releasing a sequence of classic indie-rock albums: 1993’s Painful, 1995’s Electr-O-Pura, and 1997’s I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One. The latter’s superiority is hard to dispute, but Electr-O-Pura boasts the epic ‘Blue Line Swinger’. It grows from a fragile start to something full of musicianship and swagger: an organ, drum fills, the feedback and Georgia Hubley’s “Ba da ba ba-dop, ba da ba ba-dop, ba da ba ba-dop”. Glorious.

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Eels – Last Stop: This Town (1998)

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In 1998, the Eels took an introspective turn for their second release, Electro-Shock Blues. It was still pop music, but much darker than debut Beautiful Freak. ‘Last Stop: This Town’ is about singer-songwriter Mark Oliver Everett’s (aka E) sister Elizabeth, who had committed suicide. The video features a spinning carrot that slowly turns into a clone of E. Yes, indeed.

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9 of the best – sounds of 2000

A compilation for the weekend. My favourite songs of 2000 in no particular order:

Radiohead – Idioteque

Blonde Redhead ‎- For The Damaged

Lambchop – Up With The People

The Avalanches – Since I Left You

Alan Braxe & Fred Falke – Intro

Outkast – Ms. Jackson

Marah – Round Eye Blues

Richard Ashcroft – A Song For The Lovers

Phoenix – Too Young

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Honourable mentions also go to: Grandaddy for ‘He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s The Pilot‘; Erykah Badu for ‘Didn’t Cha Know‘; Daft Punk for ‘One More Time‘; Augie March for ‘The Hole In Your Roof‘; Missy Elliott for ‘Get Ur Freak On‘; D’Angelo for ‘Untitled (How Does It Feel)‘; and Edu K for his remix of Otto’s ‘Bob‘.

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9 of the best – sounds of 2001

A compilation for the weekend. My favourite songs of 2001 and in no particular order:

The Strokes – Hard To Explain

Ian Brown – F. E. A. R.

The Shins – New Slang

Daft Punk – Digital Love

Radiohead – Pyramid Song

Spiritualized – I Didn’t Mean To Hurt You

Lift To Experience – Falling From Cloud 9

Röyksopp ‎- Remind Me

The Strokes – Modern Age

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Honourable mentions also go to: Weezer for ‘Island In The Sun‘; Zero 7 for ‘In The Waiting Line‘; Jay-Z for ‘Izzo (H.O.V.A.)‘; Golden Boy feat. Miss Kittin for ‘Rippin Kittin‘; The Other People Place for ‘Let Me Be Me‘; Muse for ‘Bliss‘; Cannibal Ox for ‘Iron Galaxy’; Roger Sanchez for ‘Another Chance’; Radiohead for ‘Knives Out’; and Yann Tiersen for ‘La Valse d’Amélie‘.

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Jens Lekman – Your Arms Around Me (2007)

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A little bit like The Divine Comedy, Jens Lekman is not easy to recommend. You are relying on the audience looking past the schmaltz to appreciate the creative force. ‘Your Arms Around Me’ features on his 1997 album Night Falls Over Kortedala. “I was slicing up an avocado/When you came up behind me/With your silent brand new sneakers/Your reflection I did not see.” Divine comedy indeed.

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Nick Mulvey – Cucurucu (2013)

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The singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey is a founding member of the band Portico Quartet. ‘Cucurucu’ was his fourth release after leaving the group in 2011 to go solo. It features on his first studio album First Mind, which, like the work of Portico Quartet, also received a Mercury Music Prize nomination. Mulvey has previously revealed that the song’s title is a meaningless noise a child would make, but to these ears, the salsa-infused sound has more to do with the time he spent studying music in Havana. A salsa infusion as it would be sung by Ian Brown, that is.

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Foreign Fields – I (2016)

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Wisconsin-born duo Brian Holl and Eric Hillman met in 2011 and quickly began work on self-releasing their 2013  LP Anywhere But Where I Am. Their brand of electronic folk was well received and they’ve since secured a record deal with Universal. ‘I’ features on last year’s album Take Cover.  The website states: “Take Cover has a noticeable lean toward spirited rhythms which dance anachronistically beneath honest lyrical confessions of doubt and hopelessness.” Ah, the inhibition of self-release remains strong in these ones. Have a great week.

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Father John Misty – Pure Comedy (2017)

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For Father John Misty (aka Josh Tillman) channels Elton John throughout the six minutes of ‘Pure Comedy’, the title track off his upcoming album release, due out in April. Tillman’s songwriting looks as if it’s going to be very topical.

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The Feelies – Gone Gone Gone (2017)

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A band formed in New Jersey in 1976, The Feelies have released five albums in 40 years. The long game. To celebrate their ruby anniversary, they have done that rarest of things and released a new collection of songs. ‘Gone Gone Gone’ has the trademark jangling guitars that so influenced the likes of R.E.M., Brian Jonestown Massacre and Real Estate. The new album In Between drops in late February.

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Real Estate – Darling (2017)

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Like Spoon, it’s been three years since Real Estate last released an album. Time flies when you’re blogging. ‘Darling’ is the opening track off new record In Mind. It has that familiar Real Estate sound, all chiming guitars and harmonies. Martin Courtney sings about his impatience to a patient dream pop sound.

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Family Of The Year – Hero (2012)

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This is a peach of an indie track – conjuring up both 1970s rock and noughties americana. ‘Hero’ features on Family of the Year’s second studio album Loma Vista. It had first appeared on the band’s 2010 EP Through The Trees in a format far too short. Earnest, nostalgic and timeless, the song deserved the extended play.

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9 of the best – sounds of 2016

My favourite sounds of 2016 in no particular order…

The Avalanches – Because I’m Me

Whitney – No Woman

Glass Animals – Life Itself

Car Seat Headrest – Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales

Bon Iver – 33 “GOD”

The Strokes – Threat of Joy

Okkervil River – Okkervil River R.I.P.

The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk – I Feel It Coming

Traumprinz – 2Bad

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Honourable mentions also go to: De La Soul for ‘Trainwreck‘; The Last Shadow Puppets for ‘Everything You’ve Come To Expect‘; Let’s Eat Grandma for ‘Deep Six Textbook‘; Anderson .Paak for ‘Come Down‘; Solange for ‘Cranes In The Sky‘; DJ Snake for ‘Let Me Love You’; Honne for ‘Someone That Loves You‘; and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds for ‘Rings Of Saturn‘.

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Aaron Lee Tasjan – Little Movies (2016)

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Singer-songwriter Aaron Lee Tasjan is an established artist on the American indie folk circuit. This year, he used this platform to do something far more interesting to these ears. He has run his brand of Americana through a Beatles/Nilsson blender. It is difficult for me to listen ‘Little Movies’ without thinking of George Harrison. It’s real good and features on the LP Silver Tears.

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Low – Just Like Christmas (1999)

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Minnesota-based indie group Low did something unusual in 1999. They created a Christmas song with seasonal sentimentality and indie credibility. ‘Just Like Christmas’ featured on their Christmas EP. Happy Christmas Eve!

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