Category Archives: Indie

9 of the best – sounds of twenty-tens

It keeps coming… the end of a decade of sound. It would seem that 2014 was peak twenty-tens to these ears. I give you the best of the decade in chronological order:

Beach House – Walk In The Park (2010)

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (2010)

Frank Ocean – Pyramids (2012)

Liam Hayes – Rock & Roll (2013)

Spoon – Do You (2014)

Future Islands – Seasons (2014)

The War On Drugs – Eyes To The Wind (2014)

Car Seat Headrest – Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales (2016)

Sharon Van Etten ‎- Seventeen (2019)


Honourable mentions also go to: A Great Big Pile Of Leaves for ‘We Don’t Need Our Heads‘ (2010); Lana Del Rey for ‘Video Games‘ (2011); Chance The Rapper for ‘Everything’s Good‘ (2013); Daft Punk for ‘Get Lucky‘ (2013); Floating Points for ‘Silhouettes‘ (2015); Kurt Vile for ‘Pretty Pimpin‘ (2015); Julia Holter for ‘Feel You‘ (2015); The Avalanches for ‘Because I’m Me‘ (2016); Kamasi Washington for ‘Truth (2017); Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever for ‘Mainland‘ (2017); King Krule for ‘Dum Surfer‘ (2017); Let’s Eat Grandma for ‘Donnie Darko‘ (2018); Father John Misty for ‘Just Dumb Enough to Try‘ (2018); Snail Mail for ‘Pristine‘ (2018); Weyes Blood for ‘Everyday‘ (2019); and Fontaines D.C. for ‘Roy’s Tune‘ (2019)

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9 of the best – sounds of 2019

Samuelsounds says no to a festive hiatus. Today, I leave you with my favourite sounds of 2019. Tomorrow, the 2010s. The sounds are in no particular order and as ever limited by what I’ve heard…

Sharon Van Etten ‎- Seventeen

Weyes Blood – Everyday

Aldous Harding – The Barrel

Foals – Exits

Big Thief – Not

Michael Kiwanuka – Final Days


Honourable mentions also go to: Lizzo for ‘Juice‘; Kasper Marott for his Forever mix of ‘Drømmen om Ø’; Bill Callahan for ‘The Ballad of the Hulk‘; Cage The Elephant for ‘Ready To Let Go‘; Toro Y Moi for ‘Ordinary Pleasure‘; Tame Impala for ‘It Might Be Time‘; Andy Shauf for ‘Things I Do‘; Caribou for ‘Home‘; Whitney for ‘Giving Up‘; W. H. Lung for ‘Second Death Of My Face‘; and Devendra Banhart for ‘Kantori Ongaku‘.

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Jim James ‎- Here In Spirit (2016)

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The resurfacing of Jim James’s distinct voice is always cause for celebration. In 2016, the My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James released his sophomore solo album. The third track on the album is a heartfelt affair that he wrote shortly after the tragic shootings at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. “The stone is thrown it’s coming fast/ The next thing you know/ It’s crashing through the glass.”

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Big Thief ‎- Not (2019)


It’s been a good year for Brooklyn-based Big Thief. Two albums (U.F.O.F. and Two Hands) and a series of classic songs. ‘Not’ featured on the latter of these recordings; it was released in October. When Adrienne Lenker sings, growls and gasps, it touches your soul.

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9 of the best – sounds of 1989

As we enter the season of best-of lists, I have found myself looking back at 1989. Which songs feel 30 years old and which beg the question: has it really been 30 years? I give you my favourite nine sounds of 1989, in no particular order…

The Stone Roses – I Am The Resurrection

The Blue Nile ‎- The Downtown Lights

The Cure – Lullaby

Kate Bush – This Woman’s Work

Beastie Boys ‎- Egg Man

Pixies – Debaser

Lenny Kravitz – Sittin’ On Top Of The World

Lil Louis ‎- French Kiss

Soul II Soul – Back To Life


Honourable mentions also go to: 808 State for ‘Pacific State 202‘; Happy Mondays for ‘Hallelujah‘, Pixies for ‘Hey; The Stone Roses for ‘Fools Gold‘, ‘I Wanna Be Adored‘ and ‘She Bangs The Drums’; Faith No More for ‘Epic‘; De La Soul for ‘Me Myself And I’; The KLF for ‘3 A.M Eternal (Pure Trance 2)‘; and Frankie Knuckles for ‘Tears’.


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The Stone Roses ‎- Fools Gold (1989)


I started the week with The Rolling Stones; I end it with The Stone Roses. 30 years old this week, ‘Fools Gold’ is as iconic as the ‘Funky Drummer’ break that it is looped around. The band’s guitarist John Squire was in Eastern Bloc Records in Manchester when he heard the potential in Clyde Stubblefield’s drum work for James Brown. The title and vocals of the track were inspired by the Humphrey Bogart movie The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre. The production was heavily influenced by the Dust Brothers-produced Young MC track ‘Know How’. Whereas the bongo-fuelled madness is pure Madchester. The single was originally released by Silvertone Records as a double A-side with ‘What the World Is Waiting For’, but there was only one ‘Fools Gold’. Have a great weekend.

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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 Portsmouth’s Great South Run yesterday, which was was celebrating its 30th anniversary with a 1990s party. It was fun, but no semblance of the decade’s best songs involved. 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)


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)


“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)


‘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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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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