Straight from Singapore comes a new Subsonic Eye record. Nature Of Things is their third full-length, but I don’t recall listening to their previous work. The new one has my full attention though. It’s a diverse record. The kind that draws you in upon first listen, but leaves plenty to discover. The guitar work and vocals are particularly strong in the sound of the band, which balances between indie rock and indiepop – Snail Mail comes to mind in several songs. Standout tracks are Fruitcake, Further, Spiral and Unearth (video below).
With Gimme 5! we take a peek into the collections of artists we admire. The premise is simple: artists WE like, share 5 records THEY love.
We are absolutely thrilled to present this week’s curator of Gimme 5!: Scott Davis. Scott is the main man behind Virginia Trance, who released Vincent’s Playlist last year – Niek’s favorite indiepop record of 2020. Scott also played in the psychelic rock band Psychic Ill’s. In his list, Scott challenges us to wander off the beaten path, and discusses the importance of an eclectic listening experience – which we love, and probably should do more often.
Click below to read and listen. Scott added short explanations for each pick. He even throws in his top 5 Lou Reed albums for good measure. We added YT video’s and Discogs links so you can add these records to your wantlist. Thanks a lot Scott!
Swedish musician Henrik Appel played in the bands Martin Savage Gang and Lion’s Den and released his first solo record Burning Bodies in 2018. Now there is the strong successor Humanity, guitar music that automatically moves your feet. The LP evokes all kinds of associations and influences without being able to pinpoint exactly which ones (does the artist’s pleasant sneering voice sometimes really remind me of Noel Gallagher?), but that makes it a captivating listening session. The album is out now through PNKSLM Recordings, both digitally and on vinyl.
Petite League released Joyrider today, their fifth record in six years. I enjoyed their previous outings, with their last one only just missing out on my 2019 AOTY list. New York Girls is still among my favorite songs of that year though. On Joyrider they have retained their distinct brand of catchy lo-fi indierock, but they are not afraid to try out new things and take the foot off the gas every now and then (pun not intended). Upon first listen I am intrigued by this one. So put it on, and while you’re at it, I recommend reading this sincere instagram post from Lorenzo of Petite League on creating the record. Let me finish with the band’s own introduction to the record: “Enjoy the ride! What else is there to do???”
Add to wantlist: Bandcamp
Since 2021 is slow to get underway in terms of new releases, this is a last one that came out in 2020 (on the last day of it, so we can still call this new). In the spring Billy Conquer already made the track Covid – 19 (‘There’s a little virus coming out / I wanna tell you all about’), but the situation hasn’t improved much since then. And what do you do when you are quarantined together as a band for a while? Right, you drink cheap beer, smoke cigarettes, and make music (not necessarily in that order). Joined by Yoshinobu on organ / piano / synth, the American 3-piece wrote and recorded six new songs, with which they say they make the transition from 90s indie rock influences to the garage rock revival category. Garage Hits was mixed by Gordon Raphael, producer of The Strokes’ Is This it and Room on Fire. Listen below to my favorite track 1984, an ode to the 80s (‘What’s that sound / I want more’) with a delicious organ part.
Add to wantlist: Bandcamp
I’ve been checking out several 2020 AOTY lists in the past couple of weeks and have to admit: I missed a few. It happens, right? Perfection is overrated anyway. Here are 20+ releases from all kinds of musical directions that I either overlooked or was too quick to dismiss in 2020. They are on my wantlist now, that is all that matters. Click below to check them out. As always, I’ve included links to the purchasing locations for these releases. ICYMI also check out my favorite 2020 albums, singles and EPs, 2020 playlists and Dennis’ 2020 AOTY list. Happy new year!
If you, like me, have fond memories of Boston punkrockband The Explosion, then you are familiar with Matt Hock’s powerful and distinct voice. Imagine my excitement when I found out that Matt has started a new project with his former bandmate David Walsh, and that Wiretap Records will release their debut a couple of months from now. Here is the first song, which is a pleasant surprise. It’s a departure from the high-octane and tight punkrock of The Explosion. It’s guitar-driven and loose, and influenced by postpunk, britrock and new wave. It’s the kind of song that intrigues and gets under your skin upon first listen.
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!
Last week, I published my Top 50 Albums of 2020. The week before, Dennis published his. Time for the final AtW list of 2020: my Top 40 Singles and EP’s of year. There was a lot to choose from, and I am sure I overlooked and forgot several releases that would otherwise be included on this list. I opted out of the painstaking process of ranking these singles and EPs, so the bands are in alphabetical order. If I had to choose though, Romero probably would be my #1 pick, followed by Hard Action, Civic. Click below on read more to go to the list. I’ve included short explanations and my favorite song of each single/EP, either with a bandcamp embed or a video. If you like what you hear, just click on the title and AddToWantlist. There is an almost complete Spotify playlist of the releases at the bottom of this post – six are currently not on that platform.
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!