2019: Album by Album (May)

The spectrum was broad for May’s listening and there were a lot cool albums that I hadn’t before. It included a bunch of new releases too. 2019 is shaping up to be an impressive year for new music. If you’re inclined, you can check out what I listened to in January, February, March and April. Otherwise, here’s everything that I listened to in May (excluding the albums that I’ve already blogged).

Christie Front Drive, ‘S/T’ – Subtle, driving second wave emo. Highlight: Radio.

Heartscape Landbreak, ‘The Remedy’ – Pummeling, chaotic, visceral, experimental rock with an underlying pop fluidity. Highlight: ‘Now When It Rains’.

Theophilus London, ‘Vibes’ – Less immediate and more chilled than his debut, which I checked out in April. Some great songs here nonetheless. Highlight: ‘Neu Law’.

Hot Chip, ‘Coming On Strong’ – Playful, electronic indie packed with hooks and a summery vibe. Highlight: ‘Beach Party’.

Unwed Sailor, ‘Heavy Age’ – Instrumental post-rock packed with emotion and a pace that carries you through the album. Highlight: ‘Moon Coin’.

Vampire Weekend, ‘Father of the Bride’ – An epic pop album for modern times, with a very Paul Simon feel. Highlight: ‘Sunflower (feat. Steve Lacy)’ and ‘Flower Moon (feat. Steve Lacy)’ (I can’t decide between them).

Tim Kinsella Sings the Songs of Marvin Tate By Leroy Bach Featuring Angel Olsen – A unique project in which the aforementioned translate the poems and stories of Marvin Tate into minimal, playful and cheery singalong-style tunes. Highlght: ‘The Crossing Gaurd’.

The Appleseed Cast, ‘Low Level Owl, Vol. 2’ – The second installment in their seminal opus that bridges the gap between second wave emo and space rock. Highlight: ‘Rooms and Gardens’.

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, ‘Dirt’ – A mix of noise and metal with aspects of J-pop and C-pop, and much more. I heard a snippet of the chorus in ‘Yandere’ and was compelled to check out the whole album as something that’s generally out of my comfort zone. Can’t say I got into the rest of it. Highlight: ‘Yandere’.

Cursive, ‘The Ugly Organ’ – An unrelenting and hard-hitting canivalesque commentary on the writer, their audience, and their industry. Highlight: ‘Some Red-Handed Sleight of Hand’.

The Get Up Kids, ‘Problems’ – Their recent ‘return’ with their EP ‘Kicker’ suggested this new album was going to be something to get excited about. It hadn’t dissapointed. All killer no filler. Highlight: ‘Common Ground’.

Prawn, ‘Run’ – Upbeat, melodic, catchy revival-era emo. Highlight: Greyhound (but I had that in February’s blog post), so here’s ‘Hunter’.

Les Savy Fav, ‘Inches’ – A collection of songs previously only released on vinyl, fusing their usual rainbow of post punk, art rock, post hardcore, and indie. Oodles of fun. Highlight: ‘Fading Vibes’.

The Fire Theft, ‘The Fire Theft’ – When Sunny Day Real Estate split up, 3/4 of the band formed The Fire Theft, drawing on prog and classic rock to expand upon their emo roots. Highlight: ‘Waste Time’.

Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man, ‘The Lay of the Land; the Turn of the Tide’ – Having not heard of this band before, when I saw them as openers on Lightspeed Champion’s 2008 (?) tour, I was expecting some sort of indie pop fare and wasn’t that excited. Instead, I got this, a mix of prog and goth with indie sensibilities. They were hypnotic to watch and I went straight out and bought this EP off the back of that show. Highlight: ‘Where Dead Voices Gather’.

Solange, ‘A Seat At The Table’ – Easily one of the best albums of 2016. This record combines neo soul, funk, and R&B to discuss experiences of black culture and identity, independence, despair, and empowerment. Highlight: ‘Don’t You

Weyes Blood, ‘Titanic Rising’ – I wasn’t sure on the first listen. It all felt a bit dreary. On my second listen it grew on me slightly and I could appreciate the ephemeral nature of it a little more. Highlight: ‘Something to Believe’.

Solange, ‘When I Get Home’ – Given how much I enjoyed her last album and EP, I really wanted to like this one, and there are some great moments, but overall its heavy focus on repetition and the general uneasiness of the vocals and instrumentation grated on me. Highlight: ‘Way to the Show’.

Mac Demarco, ‘Here Comes the Cowboy’ – For someone who essentially writes pop songs, here Mac gives the listener way more work to do than necessary. After a few listens, a few songs begin to stand out, but there’s also a good handful that are just filler (I’m looking at you ‘Choo Choo’) and this feels so far from the quality of his previous work (sigh). Highlight: ‘Heart to Heart’.

Homeshake, ‘Helium’ – The fourth album Mac Demarco’s ex band mate Peter Sagar, and it offers exactly the slice of chilled, lo-fi, R&B enthused bedroom pop you’ve come to expect from him. Highlight: ‘Anything at All’.

Sun Kil Moon, ‘Universal Themes’ – Not as well received as his previous record ‘Benji’ but in my opinion, another really great album that deserves just as much attention. Mark Kozelek’s matter-of-fact ramblings over ever-shifting backdrops of Americana, folk, and slowcore, all hit the mark again. Highlight: ‘This is My First Day and I’m Indian and I Work at a Gas Station’.

Foals, ‘Antidotes’ – The kinetic jerk-pop of the debut album, for me, still holds up as their best album. Understandably, they couldn’t repeat this formula for future albums to come without it growing it old quick, and as it stands I never tire of going back to this one. Highlight: ‘Electric Bloom’.

The Appleseed Cast, ‘Illumination Ritual’ – Euphoric, heady, experimental. Underrated Appleseed Cast. Highlight: ‘Barrier Islands (Do We Remain).

    Individual songs I hadn’t heard before

The Appleseed Cast, ‘Time The Destroyer’ – I cannot emphasise enough how excited I am for the new Appleseed Cast record. This is hands down the best song to come out in 2019 so far.

Modest Mouse, ‘Poison the Well’ – This new Modest Mouse track is punchy, to the point, and leans slightly towards the punkier end of the scale. I love it.

Modest Mouse, ‘I’m Still Here’ – Another punchy new track, this one’s not quite so in-your-face, but clocking in at a whopping 1min 33seconds.

Sky Ferreira, ‘Downhill Lullaby’ – An imminent, brooding, and dramatic new song. Definitely a grower.

The Get Up Kids, ‘Close to Me’ – A great cover of a great song by a great band…by a great band.

+/-, ‘Megalomaniac’ – A nice, steady-rolling indie rock song. I enjoyed the instruments more than I did the singing.

Pet Fox, ‘How to Quit’ – The lead guitar on this indie rock track is such an earworm.

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