Orbital – Monsters Exist

Monsters Exist
Release Date:  14th September 2018
ACP Recordings

I think a band like Orbital needs to be heard in a certain time and place for it to leave a musical scar on your mind. The acid house sounds like it came out of the 90’s, as it did, and stayed there. If you weren’t there you probably had to find that feeling in the early hours of the morning some place else, that funny time when the past and the present are mingling. That’s how I found Orbital, for of course I wasn’t part of the rave scene when I was in my single digits.  But lying on a mattress, drunk on rum, listening to the pulsating rhythm of ‘In Sides’ back in the early hours one morning in 2010, that was when. And if that ‘In Sides‘ was ‘Monsters Exist’, I feel I may have only got away with a minor scratch, scar free.
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Iceage – Beyondless

Release Date:  4th May 2018
Matador Records 

Despite punk rock being dead since the kids started saying ‘punk’s not dead‘, the feeling continues through the music. Bands such as Iceage are doing that punk rock thing proud, and Beyondless is just that, as they play around like The Replacements once did, as Mudhoney still do. They new kids on the block might suit up and go for that Ian Curtis look, but they aren’t post punk, they’re simply beyondless. I bet they wanted someone to write that, even if it is a massive hyperbole. To write such a thing is enough to make me gag, and here we are. Gagging whilst listening to a pretty cool record. Is that punk? Or is it beyond punk? Or is it beyondless?

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Snail Mail – Lush

Snail Mail
Release Date:  8th June 2018
Matador Records 

I like most things lush. The 90’s shoegaze band was my favourite kind of lush until I saw them bitterly play out their final show, not much ‘Sweetness and Light‘ was heard that night. The store is pretty good too (I have friends who work there or have worked there, just so you know…), and I tried my first bath bomb the other day. It was certainly neat seeing all the colours in my tub that weren’t black or grey.

And so we end up here, with another lush I like, this time the debut album from Snail Mail. A friend told me to check them out earlier this year, round about the same time YouTube was spitting ad after ad for the album at me. Those adverts talked about this being the future of indie rock or something, and it’s not that. But it’s certainly lush in the present of indie rock.  Continue reading

Hop Along – Bark Your Head Off, Dog

Hop Along 
Bark Your Head Off, Dog
Release Date:  6th April 2018
Saddle Creek

Hop Along is the band the internet assured me I’d like. I even went over to Piccadilly Records for further assurance, and they all passed me around with the same recommendation. Or they just wanted me to get out of there by saying ‘hop along’. I picked up the album with the fruit bowl on the cover, which one was that? ‘Painted Shut’, that’s the one! So I went home and listened to that album, and time went by. I forgot all about it, for I didn’t find the indie rock shimmer too bright when surrounded by other 2015 albums I stuck it between. My fault, perhaps.

Now it’s 2018, and they have a new one out, and I remember that band, trying to figure out if I liked them or loved them. So here we are with ‘Bark Your Head Off, Dog’, and album title which evokes Yo La Tengo’s ‘I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass.’ Good start, for I can already see the CD case glimmer, even if the case is made out of card.
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LateNightTales – Agnes Obel

Agnes Obel
Release Date:  25th May 2018

Agnes Obel made a bunch of mixtapes back in the day for her friend, now partner, and some of the music from that time helped formulate her choices on the latest LateNightTales. The past often dominates the night, and on this compilation you can listen to someone else’s past, a muddle of emotions from back when and now then. Also features Nina Simone, because it wouldn’t be a LateNightTales without her. When I received mixtapes, they contained tracks by The Fall, and Rollins Band. When I made mixtapes, they contained tracks by The Knife, and Pavement. My late nights tended to be Simone free, and that’s why my LateNightTale will never be. But at least with Agnes, there are stories to be told with the tracks she chose, not just your expected picks to make the early hours feel smooth.  Continue reading

Ty Segall/White Fence – Joy

Ty Segall/White Fence
Release Date:  20th July 2018
Drag City

After a long hiatus, Ty Segall is back with a brand spanking new album, collaborating with his buddy White Fence once again. Last time they worked together ‘Hair‘ was the result, but as there is less of that to go around these days, at least if we take ‘Take Care (To Comb Your Hair)‘ from 2017 at face value, we now have ‘Joy’ which seems to come from the two being together, along with their rather lovely pets, as pictured on the album sleeve. I mean, doesn’t it just scream ‘joy’? I feel happier already! Though, when it comes to the duo’s new tunes, well, maybe there isn’t quite as much joy to go around.  Continue reading

Nine Inch Nails – Bad Witch

Nine Inch Nails
Bad Witch
Release Date:  22nd June 2018
Null Corporation 

After the diluted radio bait that was ‘Hesitation Marks’, Trent Reznor delved back into the world of EP’s to try and work it out. What we got was a series of old NIN, new NIN, NIN NIN, and experimental welcome to the future NIN. ‘Bad Witch’ is the finale, the culmination of the previous musical doodles, of the EP trilogy, but Trent insists this one is an LP, purely under the basis that no one buys EPs. Fair enough, for what is an EP anyway? Is it determined by the amount of tracks? The length? The intention? The quality of cardboard they use to make the CD case? Who can say, it’s not as simple as the rules of the novella versus the novel. Despite being an EP trilogy, here is the LP at the end of the background world.

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