This Week's Best Album Streams: 29th May 2012
With the current heat wave burning our knees (or maybe just mine) opting to lounge outside, quaffing ciders at noon, rather than sit at our desks is understandable. Luckily a decent WiFi connection stretches to the garden so avoiding albums streams is impossible.
Besides North London has a lack of babbling brooks, so an album stream is the nearest one can get to the cooling, rushing, chatter of foot tempting water. So let me share the soundtrack to my hazy afternoons, with these eight wonderfully chilled and mesmerising album streams.
Ladyhawke – Anxiety ( nme.com )
There’s a deep retro feel to Anxiety which is pure delight. From the glam lollop of Girl Like Me and Sunday Drive’s China Girl sass, to Cellophane’s subtle ambition, there’s a sense of classic virtuosity. Fuelled with storming bass and pulsing synths she’s blasted herself to the pinnacle of rousing subtlety, which humbles any doubters. The four years since her debut has hardened Pip Brown, with the sheen of 80’s naivety replaced with a dirgy vitality.
Fixers – We’ll be The Moon ( undertheradar.com )
Fixers are lucky. They’ve managed to avoid being like the god-awful Fun by trying to be Foster The People instead. Their happy-clappy melodies and sprightly syths make a great introduction to potential Animal Collective fans, while maintaining a sunshine personality. Although it lacks any real bite it’s a great example of when Fearne Cotton tries to be a bit Zane Lowe and alt. It’s perfectly acceptable pop which warrants a little smile.
Citizens! – We Are Here (3voor12.com )
Bands with punctuation in their name are brilliant. They have a point to make; “yeah, look at us. We’re a statement” they say. Then we listen to them...and it’s a treat. True Romance is a bit like a gloomy Hot Chip and Monster is Radio 4 (the band) goes Communards; surprising and poppy. The record takes the 80’s pop sensibilities of so many bands in 2012, but this time it is fun.
Grass Window – Internal Logic ( stereogum.com )
Being original is so last year. If you’re gonna be hip you gotta be retro, well, that’s according to this San Fanciscan trio. They are the living embodiment of 1986 anorak and ray-gun jangle indie pop, a world where the Marine Girls loiter shyly with The Flatmates around a fanzine photocopier. In other words brilliant. Their triple harmonies and woozy dynamism are indie in its truest form.
Many Places – Another Oath (brooklynvegan.com )
This song writing project of Chicagoan Kevin Rieg is an intimate and gritty journey through ambience and lo-fi folk. The mixture of instrumentals and vocals allow the albums themes of repetition and rejuvenation to causally develop, as though watching cloud shapes from a shady spot. It feels naturalistic as its rhythmic pendulum stutters between sedate vocals and majestic melodies. Kind of a Lo-Fi Timer Timbre, but much more beautiful.
Kind Tuff - King Tuff ( clashmusic.com )
It refreshing to hear guitars played how they’re meant to be; with fuzz slashes and bit of 12 bar angst. Chuck in some Teenage Fanclub harmonies and you have a proper rock record. Kyle Thomas deploys duelling riffs and hand claps during album opener Anthem, before Marc Bolan is reincarnated for Keep on Movin’. It’s Dazed and Confused stoner rock even includes, “hanging with my crew at losers wall.” What more do you want from a record.
Lil B - Choices and Flowers ( hypetrak.com )
To say The Basedgod is prolific, is an understatement, but this time he’s only gone and released a classical album. Well, It’s classical is a loose sense, it’s more of a synthesised soundscape which veers toward Vangelis. It’s more of a play around with Garageband than musical masterpiece by Dustin O'Halloran, but it has broken new ground for a rapper and is genuinely compelling.
Teen Daze – All Of Us Together (music.cbc.ca )
You all know the Chillwave score by now, dreamy synths and all that malarkey. Cushioned between Teen Daze’s shimmering synths, however is a contemporary techno edge which gives these bright compositions a hard clubby edge, particularly during Erbstück and Lake. Brookly Sunburn proves hipsters do sometimes venture out of coffee shops, yet proudly basks in its own wallflower detachment.
What a week it's been for comebacks! Prince, Parenthetical Girls, Phoenix... yep, the 405's new music section is just dripping in P. So, naturally, absolutely none of the album streams I've selected for you discerning readers and listeners this week are by bands whose name begins with that over-exposed letter. [read more]
Hey, it's May Fools Day! The day when newspapers, websites, the young and the young at heart, the lovably wicked and the total arseholes are united in their playing of pranks. Hm? A guy genuinely lost his live savings through playing a carnival game? The Instagram Act is a real thing? Ace of Bass are actually Nazis? And May Fools Day isn't a thing? Christ. I need a lie down. Maybe I'll listen to some new music while I do so. [read more]
I won't be alone in saying the only music I've cared about since Friday has been the Beastie Boys' back catalogue. As I charged along Camden's pavements during the Crawl it was the Beasties I was listening to; even while watching the bands, I was just waiting to put my iPod back on. [read more]
What a week! By which I mean, what a week for less excellent album streams. The Strokes continue to try and sabotage each other's careers by making the most identikit music they can (this time referencing A-ha for a joke). Peace reach even further back, to psychedelic sixties garage rock, and are even more boring in the process. Depeche Mode are old. It's all a little disheartening, isn't it? [read more]