All the way back to the 1998 Mercury Music Prize winner for this Sunday’s listen. Gomez are a 5-piece band hailing from Southport (the North West’s eleventh most populous settlement in the North West for those of you who were wondering). Their music sits somewhere between blues, indie and rock. Anyway, it’s a classic, and if you don’t know, then at least check out tracks #1 and #2. Classics.
Heavy Beach House vibes coming at you this Sunday from Swedish band I Break Horses. Some intense shoe gaze combined with synth pop and mysterious female vocals. Even a touch of atmospheric organ. It’s a strong formula. And in The Prophet, I Break Horses are bringing it to the max. Feel it.
Something a little different for you to dive into today. Song Exploder is a podcast that gets artists to open up about a track they have made. It goes deep on why and how they made it. It will honestly add a whole new layer of appreciation to some of your top tracks and artists.
At the time of writing there are 194 episodes, each at about 20 minutes in length, so plenty to choose from. Scroll through to find your favourites, including: Phantogram, Fleetwood Mac, Tame Impala, Robyn, Bon Iver, Little Gradgon, Gorrilaz, Bonobo, DJ Shadow, Mobb Deep, and whole load of others. The best I’ve listened to so far was Caribou, explaining both the message behind Home, and the techniques he employed in the production.
You can subscribe via your favourite Podcast provider here. Shout out to Ollie Lyth for the recommendation.
The last real proper gig I went to was on the 14th March, to see these guys, and it was fucking awesome. (God I miss it so much). Since then Diva and Alex have been busy, and last week they came out with their second full album, Hyper Romance.
Since Melt Away a lot has changed. They have moved from London to Bristol. Gone are the masks and the alter egos – in comes stripped-back intimate honesty. Gone is the electro-pop sound they became known for – in comes a grungy style that occasionally borders on shoe-gaze. They built up their new sound in their basement studio, using cheap amps and distortion pedals. If nothing else, the album is a showcase of their enormous potential as a duo. Plenty of promise to keep developing and growing.
But are they living up to this potential in Hyper Romance? There are some notable highlights – Metal Violets and Burning Hour are up there with my favourite JD tracks – but in general I think the release falls short on spark. The creativity and originality of their former releases aren’t quite hit with the same regularity. Granted I’ve set them a high bar, but hey, I think they are good enough. Looking forward to the next one. Also I hope they don’t read this because I would like to be their friend.
Notable mention to the title track Hyper Romance which samples the 1984 documentary Streetwise (about homeless kids in Seattle) in a subtly beautiful and incredibly emotional way. Definitely worth a listen.
Put simply, Sylvan Esso are the band we all need right now. Let them take you to your happy place with their hotly anticipated third album Free Love which dropped on Friday. Ferris Wheel, Frequency, Free and Rooftop Dancing were all released before, but my pick is Numb (and Frequency is also bit nice).
To present the release they hosted a virtual album launch. It is full of live performances, behind the scenes content, bits of art, and little previews of things to come on the album. Also a sensationally dodgy DJ mix by one of their mates. But anyway, all wholesome. All lovable.
Remember New Navy? Well the producer from that (James Chave-Dubois) is back on the airwaves. He has combined with singer Jazz Barry to create Pèt Nat. Probably your new favourite Australian indie electronic duo. Their debut single is Thin Skin, it’s out now, and it’s lovely. Keep your eyes out for more soon.
Bonus track: fun fact, I once convinced a random American that I was on tour as a part of New Navy. Just about obscure enough to get away with…
Today I present to you my favourite track of the Summer so far.
It’s US three-piece Khruangbin doing what they do best. The track drips with a simple, understated beauty. Magic.
I didn’t know that there is another track out there with such strong Pure Shores vibes. And yet, here we are, and here it is.
Lo-fi indie rock from Sweden. Not a genre I know a lot about, but when a song is good, it’s good, y’know?
A bit of a change of pace here – something to nurse your Sunday heads. Meg Duffy’s Hand Habits was my most-played band of 2019; I’m slightly hooked on their particular brand of wistful folk . Lead singer Meg Duffy’s vocals waver in a fragile kind of way that draws emotion right to the surface. It’s beautiful, it’s calming and feels real. I hope you like.
Bonus album: placeholder is her second album, but the first, Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void), is just as nice. Enjoy.
There’s a lot more to say about Meg Duffy, but I don’t really feel qualified. If you want to read more about how her album is “staging queer stories against a wistful Americana backdrop” then read this Pitchfork review.