Category Archives: Indie

9 of the best – sounds of nineties

Good morning. It’s a little bit later than normal but hopefully worth the wait. I participated in The Great South Run yesterday, which was was celebrating its 30th anniversary with a 1990s party. It was fun, but certainly not a collection of the decade’s best songs. I give you my favourite nine sounds in chronological order. I have to say this is by far the toughest best-of list that I’ve published… just look at the quality of sound that I demoted to honourable footnotes.

Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy (1991)

R.E.M. – Nightswimming (1992)

Jeff Buckley – Last Goodbye (1994)

The Smashing Pumpkins – 1979 (1995)

Oasis – The Masterplan (1995)

Sparklehorse – Cow (1995)

Radiohead – Let Down (1997)

Mercury Rev – Holes (1998)

Wilco – She’s A Jar (1999)

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Honourable mentions also go to: Cocteau Twins for ‘Cherry Coloured Funk‘ (1990); Pulp for ‘Babies‘ (1992); Pavement for ‘In The Mouth A Desert‘ (1992); Blur for ‘To The End‘ (1994) and ‘The Universal‘ (1995); Beastie Boys for ‘Sabotage‘ (1994); The Flaming Lips for ‘Placebo Headwound‘ (1995) and ‘Race For The Prize‘ (1999); Radiohead for ‘Fake Plastic Trees‘ (1995); Red House Painters for ‘Have You Forgotten‘ (1996); Spiritualized for ‘Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space‘ (1997); and Röyksopp for ‘So Easy‘ (1999).

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Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken? (1984)

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The release of Rattlesnakes in 1984 was one of the finest debut albums of the 1980s. A collection of indie jangle pop songs that closed with the beautiful ‘Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?’.

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Pavement – In The Mouth A Desert (1992)

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“I’ve been crowned the king of it and it’s all that we have/ So, wait to hear my words and they’re diamond sharp/ I can open it up and it’s up and down.” The “king of it” is Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus. 1991 may have belonged to Nirvana, but 1992 was all about Pavement’s debut Slanted And Enchanted, “the quintessential indie rock album” (Rolling Stone) . ‘In The Mouth A Desert’ was the fourth track on Side 1 of the L.P.

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Andrew Bird – Manifest (2019)

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‘Manifest’ is the third single released off Andrew Bird’s most recent album My Finest Work Yet. He could be right.

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Big Thief – UFOF (2019)

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Good morning! Let’s kick off this week with something very contemporary. On the title track of Big Thief’s latest album U.F.O.F., Adrianne Lenker says goodbye to her UFO friend. “Polarize, polarize/The seasons will bend/There will soon be proof/That there is no alien/Just a system of truth and lies.” The sound is great and a supernatural imagination is on display. Have a great week.

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The Charlatans – North Country Boy (1997)

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The entire band share the writing credit on the rolling ‘North Country Boy’, a single from The Charlatans 1996 LP Tellin’ Stories. However, not all of them saw its release; tragedy struck halfway through the recording when keyboardist Rob Collins died in a car accident. Primal Scream’s Martin Duffy stepped in to help the band complete the album. Thank goodness…. they were making some of their best sounds.

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Weyes Blood – Everyday (2019)

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Professionally known as Weyes Blood, singer-songwriter Natalie Mering has amplified her talent through her notable collaborations with Ariel Pink. But, there’s nothing ‘Everyday’ about her recent solo work. This wonderful song features on her latest album Titanic Rising released on Sub Pop Records.

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Delta Spirit – California (2012)

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Delta Spirit are from California and we know it. The group consists of Jonathan Jameson (bass), Brandon Young (drums), Matthew Vasquez (vocals and guitars), Kelly Winrich (multi-instrumentalist) and William McLaren (guitar), but it’s Winrich who wrote ‘California’ about his East Coast girl. They were having troubles. The song features on their self-titled third studio album. Have a great weekend.

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Palehound – Carnations (2017)

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Boston-based Ellen Kempner dominates the sound of Palehound. Well it was initially her solo project, but even though she’s now joined by Jesse Weiss on drums and Larz Brogan on bass, the frontwoman creates a classic indie sound with her storytelling and laced guitar. ‘Carnations’ features on 2017 album A Place I’ll Always Go.

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Beirut – Gallipoli (2018)

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Gallipoli will be the fifth studio album by indie folk band Beirut. It is expected to be released on 1 February 2019. The album is named after the Italian town where the title track was written. Welcome back Zach.

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Snail Mail – Pristine (2018)

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Don’t you just love an indie riff?! To instrumentation that echoes the work of New Order and The Cure, Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan sings of innocence and abandon. ‘Pristine’ features on the band’s 2018 album Lush.

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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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Nilüfer Yanya – Thanks 4 Nothing (2018)

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This next year could be the breakthrough year for 22-year-old Nilüfer Yanya. She grew up listening to Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse and the Pixies and if you listen carefully and open your mind, you can hear the references in her indie soul. ‘Thanks 4 Nothing’ featured on her 2018 EP Do You Like Pain.

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Lana Del Rey – Mariners Apartment Complex (2018)

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The world of Lana Del Rey is so alluring. The siren is certainly not as sea on her most recent single ‘Mariners Apartment Complex’.

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9 of the best – sounds of 1995

A compilation to get the ears humming this weekend. My favourite 9 sounds of 1995, the swansong year for Britpop. Needless to say, Oasis and Blur feature.

The Smashing Pumpkins – 1979

The Flaming Lips – Placebo Headwound

Oasis – The Masterplan

Underworld – Born Slippy

Radiohead – Fake Plastic Trees

Sparklehorse – Cow

Teenage Fanclub – Versimilitude

Blur – The Universal

Moby – When It’s Cold I’d Like To Die

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Honourable mentions also go to: Pavement for ‘We Dance‘; Yo La Tengo for ‘Blue Line Swinger‘; Ol’ Dirty Bastard for ‘Shimmy Shimmy Ya‘; Rob Dougan for ‘Clubbed To Death‘; Sparklehorse for ‘Saturday‘; and Radiohead for ‘Planet Telex’ and ‘Street Spirit’.

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