10: Dressy Bessy – KINGSIZED
Yep Roc Records – 05/02/2016
I get people’s aversive attitude towards the basic distorted chord changes and the skewed vocals. Did that stop any punk aficionados, though? When it doesn’t work it doesn’t work, needless to say, and sometimes the bits that do work are so mundane it beggars belief that you like them. I’m still questioning it myself.
Highlights: “These Modern Guns”, “Cup ‘O Bang Bang”
9: Cavern of Anti-Matter – void beats/invocation trex
Duphonic Records – 19/02/2016
Stereolab’s Tim Gane set up this project and added the likes of the erratic Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox to the fray. I’ve heard enough space fabrications and electronics for one month but this one was near the top of the pile.
Highlights: “blowing my nose under close observation”, “melody in high feedback tones”
8: Postiljonen – Reverie
Hybris – 09/02/2016
This had a jazzy twinge to it that I enjoyed, almost suspiciously. Mia Bøe’s vocals replicate all of her dream pop contemporaries but the attenuated beats and occasional sax fills are endearing as they are typical.
Highlights: “How Can Our Love Be Blind”, “L.I.E”, “Blood Flow”
7: Radiation City – Synesthetica
Polyvinyl Record Co. – 12/02/2016
It takes a while for you to get into and take seriously. It’s not as fetching as my ears told me initially but some little dance gems in the middle will get you in the mood. “Fancy Cherries” reminded me of Dana winning the Eurovision. Don’t ask.
Highlights: “Butter”, “Come and Go”, “Milky White”
6: Burnt Palms – Back On My Wall
Self-released – 05/02/2016
Good job that only one of these “songs” elapses the three-minute mark for you’d grow tired of the “rhythm” section’s fast-paced breakaways and thudding. But it has a menacing charm to it even if your ears say otherwise.
Highlights: “Never Met You”, “Fold”
5: Junior Boys – Big Black Coat
City Slang Records – 05/02/2016
This neo-dance-soul effort from Canadian electro-pop group Junior Boys has some nice floor-fillers as well as just fillers.
4: Mass Gothic – Mass Gothic
Sub Pop Records – 05/02/2016
Hooray for Earth’s Noel Heroux decided to do this dance-pop number after that band decided to call it quits. I’m glad he did. A mostly enjoyably listen with the progressively heavy “Mind Is Probably”, the modernity of “Want To, Bad” and the guttural “Soul”. Decent show, Noel.
3: Basia Bulat – Good Advice
Secret City Records – 12/02/2016
This Canadian folk-pop princess is self-aware and delivers to us what’s wrong with the love world. But her vexed niceties about this world are fine as she has no qualms in inhabiting it, and I have no qualms in listening either.
Highlights: “La La Lie”, “Long Goodbye”, “In the Name Of”
2: nonkeen – The Gamble
R&S Records – 05/02/2016
Most pretensions of European space electronics are hard to bear, and sometimes this is no different. But I got a feeling early on from Nils Frahm’s latest project that I’d hang in there. I did, and I still do. Not as – shall I say – “pop” as Kraftwerk and not as – shall I say – “weird” as Karlheinz Stockhausen, though the latter I question quite a bit.
Highlights: “The Invention Mother”, “Ceramic People”, “This Beautiful Mess”
1: The Jezabels – Synthia
Dine Alone Records – 12/02/2016
The Australian outfit have hit their stride with occasional dream pop that I can stomach, euphoric synths/keyboards that draw the line at sickly-sweet (just) and hedonistic yet compassionate vocals from Hayley Mary. A slightly rougher and less playful exterior is evident here away from their “coming-of-age” period of previous albums. Well, from the bits I’ve heard anyway. This is pseudo-melancholy but just short of a sappy appearance possessing enough guile and forward momentum to ward off Mary’s over-sentimentalities.
Highlights: “My Love Is My Disease”, “Smile”, “Unnatural”, “Come Alive”, “Pleasure Drive”
- Field Music – Commontime (Memphis Industries Records – 05/02/2016)
- Venetian Snares – Traditional Synthesizer Music (Planet Mu – 19/02/2016)