New album: Neil Brogan || Weird Year

Anyone who likes jangle pop is probably familiar with the Irish band Sea Pinks (otherwise listen to Art Imitating Life, for example). Neil Brogan, their founder / songwriter / singer / guitarist, has now also released a (digital) solo album. Weird Year is a song diary of the weird year 2020. It was recorded at home as the months slipped away, a period of cancellations, miscommunications and garden visits. Fortunately, this alienating time has resulted in a nice retrospective. However, let’s hope 2021 will be less weird and indeed brings some cheers.

‘The inverse of what’s real and within touching // is what’s there to fear // not for nothing // do I hold you // So dear.’

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Bingo Trappers || Giddy Wishes

In 1995 Waldemar Noë visited Wim Elzinga to record a few songs at his home, the start of Bingo Trappers. Now, 25 years later, the Dutch lo-fi band still works that way. They make 60’s/70’s-influenced psychedelic garage pop with a twang. Old-fashioned craftsmanship. Their new album Giddy Wishes, follow up to Elizabethan (2018), offers ten new melancholic tunes that bring a little light to these dark days. Most of the songs are a bit more subdued than before, but the singer’s ‘Whoo!’ exclamation halfway through the stand-out track What’s the score (listen below) shows the enthusiasm that the band still has. The album title refers to an old-fashioned postcard: ‘Some giddy wishes from a confined place – mind and heart are free to travel from A to B.’ Just what we need right now.

Add to wantlist: Almost Halloween Time || Grapefruit || Morc Records  (Bandcamp) || Morc Records (website) || Unread

Music Year-End List || Niek’s Favorite Singles And EPs of 2020

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.

New album: Degurutieni || Dark Mondo

Obviously, cool things are happening in Japan. Strange things too: just listen to this album by Alco Degurutieni (アルコ デグルチーニ), a one-man band from Osaka that has been making songs for almost 40 years. Apparently you should actually see him live (pre Covid-19 he was touring through the world constantly), an experience as incomprehensible as unforgettable. Dark Mondo is a compilation with older songs (self released or on tiny labels) and new ones, songs that deserve a larger audience according to the people at Voodoo Rhythm Records. They describe Degurutieni’s music as weird, wild, obscure, spooky, exotica burlesque toy junk muzak trash made with broken cassette desks and fucked up record players. And that’s not even all you hear or see. Fascinating. RIYL Tom Waits, Captain Beefheart, cinematic weirdness.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Voodoo Rhythm

New songs: Jakob Mind || Rock’n’Roll’s Got Me All Messed Up/Watch The City Burn

With 2020 stumbling to the finish line, let’s focus on something to look forward to in 2021: In April, Jakob Mind will release his debut The One That Got Away on Lövely Records. Jakob Mind is a new solo project by Jakob Arvidsson from Sweden, who you may know from garagepunks Rotten Mind, or the pretty awesome Undertonesque poppunk band Real Tears. Currently, Jakob has leaked two songs of the album, watch and listen below. These songs are fast, melodic, and insanely catchy. Hope they make you as curious about the rest of the record as I am.

New Album: 錯乱前戦 (Sakuran Zensen) || I Am Sakuran Zensen

There is a lot I hate about the Internet, but here’s something I love. Two years ago, I received a LinkedIn request from someone from the US I hadn’t met. Let’s call him Dan. Apparently, Dan followed me on Spotify, appreciated some of my playlists and wanted to say hi. That in itself I thought was a cool thing of him to do. Fast-forward two years, I messaged him that my AOTY list was up and that I started this blog with my brother. Dan replied and shared his own Top Ten of 2020 which he was working on for his friends’ annual poll. Dan’s top 10 included 9 excellent picks, and one completely unknown one from Japan: 錯乱前戦 (Sakuran Zensen). I have been playing their latest album I am SAKURAN-ZENSEN nonstop this morning. What an exciting garage rock-‘n’-roll record. Just one look at the album cover and the video below tells me: these guys know exactly what they are doing and are destined for bigger things – they remind me of early Hives in that sense. So thank you, Dan. And welcome to the wantlist 錯乱前戦!

Lookout for a list of records we overlooked in 2020 sometime in the near future.

Add to Wantlist: Discogs 

New song: The Shop Window || Sad Eyes

It’s always nice when an artist not only makes good music, but also embraces a bigger idea. As The Shop Window (UK) does. The art work of the five songs they have released so far have the same layout (including the band name mirrored) and the Spotify playlists of the band members are “shop windows” of their favorite tracks. But I certainly appreciate their jangly indie pop too, especially this new song Sad Eyes.  After an impressive visit to his 104-year-old grandmother, composer Carl Mann reached for his guitar as soon as he got home and this song wrote itself (video on YouTube). Beautiful. Unfortunately, this track will not be on the forthcoming album The State Of Being Human, due out in the spring, but is now available digitally and will be released early 2021 on 7 ”vinyl through Spinout Nuggets.

‘I see you sitting in your chair // Waiting there, watching time // All you have now is the past // The future has gone beyond your grasp’

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Crosstown Killers || Exotic Psychotic

The idea behind this blog is that we share the work of relatively unknown artists, work that we would like to have in our collection, work you might want to add to your wantlist. That’s not always that easy. This week, through a Spotify playlist, I discovered Exotic Psychotic, the second EP by Australian psych rockers Crosstown Killers. I immediately dragged the track This World is a Modern Day Jail to my favorites list, but it seems there’s no option to pay for the music. They have a website and some social accounts, but unfortunately no page on Bandcamp, no physical release either. Too bad for you and me, but also for the band, I guess. I found a song on Soundcloud to give you an idea of what you’re missing.

So apparently the EP is not for sale, but it can be heard on Spotify.

UPDATE: Message from Crosstown Killers: ‘We’re in the process of making some hard copies for sale.’ 🙂

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!

New song: Daniel Young || The World Ain’t Gonna Wait

American singer-songwriter / guitarist / drummer / sound engineer / producer Daniel Young knows how to capture the Zeitgeist in this new song. ‘We’re all locked up in our homes, trying to figure out just where to start’, he sings with a country sob in his powerful voice, assisted by Tyler Lambourne (bass), Ryan Tanner (piano), Marcus Bently (backup vocals), Andy Joy Chase (hand claps, yeah!), Sadler Vaden (guitar) and Trevor Nealon (B3 organ). A beautiful song, but also an important one, because ‘The world ain’t gonna wait for us, wondering what we did with our lives’.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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