Alternative Rock

New song: RECKLING || Spiders

Early this year, RECKLING (Kelsey Reckling) recorded 24 Hours for the Burger Records Quarantunes compilation series. I liked that song enough to start following her on Bandcamp. She released her debut full length on cassette in 2018, which is worth checking out if you are into garagepop/rock. Last week she released another great tune, Spiders. This garagerock track has a strong ’90’s alternative music vibe. It’s the kind of song MTV would have played to death in the nineties, and I wouldn’t have minded that at all. The song features Max from Fidlar on drums, who also produced the song. Fingers crossed RECKLING will release her sophomore album in 2021.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Best of 2020 Playlists || Niek’s Favorite Songs of 2020

At the start of each year, I create a playlist to keep track of newly released songs I like. Then, at the end of the year, I pick out the best song from this list to create a year-end mixtape, a playlist I like to return to every now and then, and revisit or rediscover songs and memories of a specific period of time. The thing is, I am not a very efficient person. So basically I drag songs to the playlist for 350 days resulting in quite the mess – the playlist currently has 1944 songs, almost 92 hours of music. Then, with the year coming to its close, I frantically go to work trimming down the playlist to its essence. That’s the hard part, because I am way better in adding stuff than throwing things away, or so I am told.  I usually end up with a playlist around 300-400 songs, in spite of my good intentions to keep it shorter. This year is no exception. What I did do differently this year however, is split up the songs in two playlists that reflect my two musical taste buds: a playlist with more straightforward punk, powerpop and garage hits from 2020, and one playlist with a little less distortion (i.e., indiepop, jangle, twee, but also postpunk, and more fuzzy and surfy popsounds). As always, one song per artists. Click read more to check them out. Hope you’ll like ’em, and will uncover some new favorite tunes! BTW, in case this is my final post of the year, take care, be well and see you in 2021!

Music Year-End List || Niek’s Favorite Albums of 2020

I am a sucker for year-end lists. They help uncover releases I missed, artists I overlooked, and curators worth following. I equally love the process of creating my own lists. There is an instrinsic value and joy in revisiting and reflecting on the records that come out each year. It offers a reminder that some records take time to appreciate, while others’ immediate appeal ultimately proved to be short-lived. One noticable trend in this streaming age is that artists release a crazy amount of great songs, whereas their albums often fail to live up to that promise. Quite a lot of my favorite songs of the year were on releases I left out my top 50. This top 50 celebrates the art of great collections of songs, records I own, records that are on my wantlist,records I’ve played and enjoyed front to back. What about those great individual songs? I will share my favorites in a playlist before the year is over (Update: I made two). I will also publish a list of my favorite singles (7″, digital) and EP’s of 2020 next week (Update: it’s here). And, of course, don’t forget to check out Dennis’ favorite records of 2020.

Ok, less talk, more rock. Below you’ll find my favorite records of the year. Mostly punk, garage, powerpop, rock-‘n’-roll, indiepop and indierock releases.  I’ve added short descriptions of what I love about each record, and sample songs and video’s. If you like what you hear, just click on the album title and AddToWantlist. Oh yeah, and for you streamers out there, there’s a playlist with my favorite song of each record at the bottom of this post. Let’s go!

Music Year-End List || Dennis’ Favorite Albums of 2020

OK, let’s start with the obligatory cliché intro text. The only good thing about 2020 was that by being at home more often you could listen to even more music and for those who want to hear it, enough good music has been made. Since January I have checked out 1,100+ new albums. Sometimes after half a minute I knew it wasn’t for me, sometimes I just couldn’t get enough. No doubt I missed a few things that I should not have missed, but right now this is what it is. And it doesn’t really matter either. Music lists are by definition debatable, because they say something about taste and taste is personal. What follows does not really say anything about quality, but simply reflects what I have played and enjoyed the most. In my list guitars and distinctive voices predominate, it’s mostly rock orientated (alternative, garage, jangle, roots, post-punk, …) plus a little bit of soul, with both debuting bands and old rockers with renewed energy who could have been their grandfather. It turns out that 2020 was not that bad at all!

New album: Micko & The Mellotronics || 1​/​2 Dove – 1​/​2 Pigeon

I scrolled through some year-end lists this week to see if I missed any good records this year. In Louder Than War’s Top 50 I came across the name Mick & The Mellotronics at no.27, unknown to me but described as a ‘classy, intelligent art-school guitar band’. At Bandcamp I was immediately enthusiastic about the cool art work: a pigeon with an Elvis wig! The music and lyrics are so captivating that it pays to spend your time on them; the LP gets 9/10 reviews for a reason. The debut album ½ Dove – ½ Pigeon is available via Landline Records.

“I titled the record ½ Dove – ½ Pigeon because I thought it was an honest reflection on how most people see themselves.” – Micko Westmoreland

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: NewDad || I Don’t Recognise You

As far as I know, the Irish alternative-rock band NewDad – none of them can call themselves a dad, not even the girl from the gang – haven’t released a physical release yet, but their previous track Blue already got quite a bit of airplay in the UK. Now they present fifth (digital-only) “single” I Don’t Recognise You, in which dreamy vocals and powerful guitars alternate. The lyrics are quite heavy, but the accompanying video shows what the band stands for: ‘Fun, easy going and desperately trying to sound cooler than we are.’ An EP is said to follow in early 2021, one to look forward to.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Spunloves || Too Deep For The Desert

Another band from Australia, Perth to be precise, who make delicious likeable jangly guitar music. What’s in the water over there? Too Deep For The Desert, The Spunloves’ second full length album is one you would love to play again and again. Listen to Love Letter (Return to sender) below, my favorite track from the LP.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Album: Eaten by Snakes || Calming Pink

I am terrible in estimating a band’s popularity. Here is a band, a duo actually, that have a sound for which clearly there is a wide audience. Think Superchunk, think Bob Mould, think Japandroids. They release a well produced filler-free record that sounds mature and self-assured. A record that is instantly satisfying, but also becomes better with every play. A record that has great artwork as well. I am talking about Calming Pink by Eaten by Snakes. That band has 175 monthly listeners on Spotify. Shakin’ my head in disbelief.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Shield Recordings

New album: Thelonious Monster || Oh That Monster

I did not see this one coming, but this fanboy is very happy with it. You probably know that Bob Forrest first had too many Sammy Hagar Weekends and later used those experiences to save others from Running with Monsters. And now, 34 years after his first and 16 years after his last album with Thelonious Monster, he is back with 10 new tracks. These sound more like the old 80’s work than the songs on their most successful LP – Beautiful Mess, but that’s not a bad thing in this case. The band will be touring again in 2021 and will also return to the Pinkpop festival – that show will not be as legendary as in 1993, but no doubt it will sound better!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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