2019: Album by Album (August)

As we come into Autumn, I’ve found my mission to document everything I listen to this year, with emphasis on checking out things I hadn’t listened to before, gradually being lead more and more by listening to this year’s new releases. There have been so many great records released this year already which have passed me by. I currently have a list of about 50 to check out and there’s still some big records to be released this year as it is. I’m not sure I will get through all of them, but I’m giving it a good go. I will post my ‘Top Albums of 2019’ list at the end of the year.

If you have Spotify, you can follow my ‘2019: Album by Album’ playlist, which includes a random track from every album and EP, or individual song I’ve listened to since January 1st (apart from ones which I disliked or the track was unavailable), and which I’ll keep adding to.

    Albums and EPs

Mates of State, ‘Our Constant Concern’ – Husband and wife, synth and drums, indie pop duo with lots of feel-good vibes. Highlight: ‘Uber Legitimate’.

Ada Lea, ‘what we say in private’ – Cool art pop which indie rock sensibilities. Bat to Lashes comes to mind. Highlight: ‘what makes me sad’.

Planes Mistaken For Stars, ‘Prey’ – Post hardcore that sounds like it’s had gasoline poured over it and been set alight. Highlight: ‘Fucking Tenderness’.

Mini Mansions, ‘Guy Walks Into A Bar…’ – They mix psychadelic pop, indie, glam rock, new wave, post punk, and art rock, and it sounds awesome. A strong follow up to 2015’s ‘The Great Pretenders’. Highlight: ‘GummyBear’.

Blood Orange, ‘Angel’s Pulse’ – Picking up from where 2018’s ‘Negro Swan’ left off, but I don’t feel there’s that much memorable about this one. I’m generally a big fan of Devonte Hynes, so hopefully this will grow on me. Highlight: ‘Benzo’.

Holding Patterns, ‘Endless’ – A bold post hardcore/punk rock record but just failed to have that ‘lift off’ moment for me. Highlight: ‘At Speed’.

Nirvana, ‘Nevermind’ – My daughter often asks me to put on something heavy. She had yet to hear to Nirvana, so ‘Nevermind’ felt like a good entry point. Highlight: ‘In Bloom’.

Emmy The Great, ‘Virtue’ – A more electric, and more eclectic folk-pop record than her, with themes of existence and being. Highlight: ‘Iris’.

Cultdreams, ‘Things That Hurt’ -Under a new moniker, the band formerly known as Kamikaze Girls retain their riot grrrl influences but invite in some shoegaze and dream pop to add more dynamics to their sound. Highlight: ‘Born an Underdog, Still Living One’.

Lou Reed, ‘Lou Reed’ – Oddly, his debut album has more in common with his post-Transformer and Berlin output with those rock and roll, blues, and soul influences more at the forefront. Highlight: ‘Ride Into the Sun’ (the lyric ‘…but if you’re tired and you’re sick of the city, remember that it’s just a flower made out of clay’ is perfect).

Lou Reed, ‘Transformer’ – Both a blessing and a curse, ‘Transformer’ is the album that was never meant to be an album, but the soundtrack to a musical that never made it to the stage. As a result, putting the songs out as an album with David Bowie producing ended up pigeon-holing Lou, and his output thereafter was constantly criticised. Highlight: ‘Andy’s Chest’.

Lou Reed, ‘Berlin’ – The album that Lou really wanted to make. About a couple destroyed by drugs and violence. Highlight: ‘Sad Song’.

Lou Reed, ‘Sally Can’t Dance’ – This fourth album sounds like a culmination of the first three. Fusing rock and roll, soul, jazz, blues, and grit. Highlight: ‘Kill Your Sons’.

Cave In, ‘Final Transmission’ – Of the little bits of Cave In I’ve heard in the past, I’ve never been drawn to check out more, but seeing as everyone has been raving about this new release I thought I would give it ago – perhaps I had missed something. Alas, it’s just not my cup of tea. Highlight: ‘All Illusion’.

where is my spaceship, ‘Never Unhappy’ – Chaotic, noisy, rowdy pop punk with a touch of ’emo revival’. Highlight: ‘okay’.

Narco Debut, ‘Strange & Ever-Changing Depths’ – I enjoyed the odd song on their last EP which I checked out earlier this year, so thought I’d give the album go. It fuses prog, pop, rock, indie, math rock, and post rock, and like the EP I found I enjoyed about 50% of it. Highlight: ‘Yukon’.

Prince Daddy & the Hyena, ‘Cosmic Thrill Seekers’
– I’ve been keeping a list of all the 2019 releases I’ve listened to. Up until this month the top 10 had been impenetrable. Along with the Cultdreams record, this album finally changed that. I can’t get enough of this epic record documenting the cycle of the singer’s mental health. Each song rolls into the other, with the album ending on the same palm-muted notes it started on, emphasising that cycle. A fusion of punk, indie, emo, and theatrics. Highlight: ‘Breather’.

Otoboke Beaver, ‘Itekoma Hits’
– I love stuff like this. Music that sounds naive, but is actually really well crafted, stuff that’s bonkers and makes me laugh, but yet despite sounding like it’s going to fall part, keeps itself together. This band fuse garage rock, math rock, noise rock, pop, girl power, and madness. Highlight: ‘6 day working week is a pain’.

Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, ‘Suffer On’
– Mixing folk, indie, and electronic, with earnest and on-the-sleeve lyrics, this record is brooding, moody, and moving. Highlight: ‘Together’.

French Vanilla, ‘How Am I Not Myself?’
– Fun and energetic Talking heads-esque art pop. Highlight: ‘Real or Not’.

Alien Ant Farm, ‘truANT’
– Alien Ant Farm got lumped into the nu-metal cannon, which had it’s inevitable curfew. However, of all those bands, if you listen to a full album, it feels like they outgrew their contemporaries pretty quickly. By the time this second album hit, nu-metal was wringing out its last dregs, and so it didn’t get the time and attention it deserved. Highlight: ‘These Days’.

    Individual songs I hadn’t heard before

Broker, ‘Big Storm Coming’, ‘Heaven’s Gunships’ – These initial offerings from Broker are both captivating and brooding, yet immediately accessible, finding their own place amidst the art rock genre. I can’t wait to hear more.

Jack Stauber, ‘Cupid’, ‘Out of the Box’, ‘Hope’, ‘Coffee’, ‘I Hope You Miss Me in Heaven’, ‘Love Cookie’, and ‘Everything Bagel’ – I can’t get enough of Jack Stauber’s idiosyncratic micropop. Recommended if you like The Mighty Boosh, Luxury Comedy, Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared, and things like that.

Mates of State, ‘Uber Legitimate (original 2001 version)’ – As you can see above, ‘Uber Legitimate’ is my favourite song from their album ‘Our Constant Concern’. When I was looking it up on Youtube to post here, I found this original version of the song played on the piano which I was unaware of.

Haim, ‘Summer Girl’ – There’s definitely a summery vibe to the new Haim single, with some jazz influence, and a Lou Reed-esque chorus. Fitting, seeing as I’ve been listening to a lot of Lou Reed this month.

On The Might Of Princes, ‘For Meg’ – An awesome, powerful post hardcore track with some cool chanting at the beginning.

Shield Your Eyes, ‘Drill Your Heavy Heart – Shield Your Eyes mix blues with noise, math rock, and heavy spasming. There are few bands quite like this.

Guided By Voices, ‘Bury the Mouse’ – Extremely catchy, idiosyncratic indie rock. Will be checking out the new album.

Knapsack, ‘Katherine The Grateful’ – More of that 90s emo you’ll keep finding me listening to. Great song.

Marika Hackman, ‘wanderlust’ – A chilled indie song. I will be checking out her new album as well.

Pixvae, ‘La Fuga’ – Fancy some traditional South Colombian music fused with math rock? No problem.

Blink 182, ‘Darkside’ – I have yet to make up mind about post-Tom Blink 182 but I do feel they are undercutting themselves in terms of what they’re all capable of writing in order to remain relevant to the younger fans.

And lastly, whatever THIS is.

2019: Album by Album (July)

In terms of listening to things I hadn’t heard before, July was quite a slow month. My health hasn’t been too kind to me, so I mostly stuck to things I was familiar with for comfort, and what I did listen to for the first time this year I drew from my collection. So, to make this a more worthy blog post, as well as those albums I listened to for the first time this year, I’ve also included all the repeat listens I made, and have included a new highlight track to check out.

If you have Spotify, you can follow my 2019 playlist here, where I’m continually adding a track from every album I’ve enjoyed this year (the ones I can find on Spotify, at least), as well as the individual songs I’ve liked.

    Albums I hadn’t listened to this yet this year:


Outer Spaces, ‘Gazing Globe’
– Dreamy singer-songwriter style indie rock. Definitely one of the best albums to come out this year. Highlight: ‘I See Her Face’.

Friends, ‘Manifest’ – Hook-laden pop music. Fun, playful, summery, and indulgent. Highlight: ‘A Thing Like This’.

Arctic Monkeys, ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ – When I heard the cosmic lounge rock of this record last year, it quickly became my favourite AM release. I love how much grows on you with every listen, and how off the beaten Arctic Monkeys track the band went with this one. Highlight: ‘American Sports’.

Semifinalists, ‘Semifinalists’ – Indie rock/pop that draws heavily on 70s and 80s influences, joyous and undeniably catchy. This band were way too underrated and everybody needs to hear them. Highlight: ‘You Said’.

David Bowie, ‘The Next Day’ – The first album of new material Bowie put out in ten years and deserved all the praise it got on release. Highlight: ‘The Next Day’.

Last Days of April, ‘Might As Well Live’ – On this album LDOA bring a more slightly more saccharine flavour to the indie-emo table they’ve laid for fans in the past. This album is second to none, as you’d expect. Highlight: ‘Melbourne’.

British Sea Power, ‘Do You Like Rock Music?’ – It took me years to start listening to British Sea Power, purely because I didn’t like their name. As soon as my friend played this to me I was sold. It’s rich, climatic, and lifts you off your feet. Highlight: ‘No Lucifer’.

The Kinison, ‘What Are You Listening To?’ – A post hardcore/punk band that exist somewhere between the brashness of The Blood Brothers and the kookiness of Les Savy Fav. Coming up during the Myspace explosion, they were unfortunately overlooked. Highlight: ‘You’ll Never Guess Who Died’.

    Albums I’d already listened to this year:

Pedro the Lion, ‘Phoenix’ – Emotional steady-rocking indie. Highlight: ‘Powerful Taboo’.

Sun Kil Moon, ‘I Also Want to Die in New Orleans’ – I listened to this again whilst in the bath dying with the flu. I’ve been getting more and more into this. Highlight: ‘Day in America’.

Parquet Courts, ‘Wide Awake’ – Bridging the gap between punk and indie. My highlight this time around is appropriately one of their more tender tracks. Highlight: ‘Tenderness’.

Haim, ‘Days Are Gone’ – Pop rock to not feel guilty about. My daughter loves this album at the moment, so it’s been played a lot this month. Highlight: ‘If I Could Change Your Mind’.

The Appleseed Cast, ‘The Fleeting Light of Impermanence’ – Another fine album by one of the finest bands going. Blending post rock, emo, indie, and experimental. Highlight: ‘Last Words and Final Celebrations’.

Settlefish, ‘The Plural of the Choir’ – Italian indie-emo with plenty of art rock and continental influence. Highlight: ‘The Marriage Funeral Man’.

Forth Wanderers, ‘Forth Wanderers’ – Slacker indie with vocals that soar over the top of the instrumentation. Highlight: ‘Temporary’.

Sunny Day Real Estate, ‘How It Feels To Be Something On’ – 90s emo. A must-hear album. Highlight: ‘Guitar And Video Games’.

The Appleseed Cast, ‘Sagarmatha’ – This album grows on me more the more I listen to it. I feel it’s underrated amidst their incredible discography. Highlight: ‘Raise the Sails’.

    Individual songs I hadn’t heard before:

Land of Talk, ‘Heartcore’ – Luscious. The vocal melodies here are pure pop brilliance. My mate pointed out a similarity to Fleetwood Mac which I can’t stop hearing now he’s said it.

Gemma Hayes, ‘Out Of Our Hands’ – More great pop music.

Tennis System, ‘Turn’ – They’ve been touring the US with The Appleseed Cast, so I thought I should check them out. A three piece rock band with a huge sound, and touches of post-punk and shoegaze.

Penelope Isles, ‘Leipzig’ – Indie rock. A really nice song.

Maricka Hackman, ‘the one’ – Funky indie with a hint of Blondie peeking through.

Metronomy, ‘Walking In The Dark’, ‘Salted Caramel Ice Cream’, ‘Lately’ – Based on these three playful and summery singles, the new Metronomy album is shaping up to be a good one. The videos are worth a watch on their own merit too.

2019: Album by Album (June)

June was a great month for new music because the new Appleseed Cast record came out at the end of the month, and so that automatically tops everything. I also checked out a full album by Red Animal War which instantly became one of my favourite albums ever. How has it taken me so long to listen a full album by that band?

I’ve been doing a lot of listening on my itunes recently, so there was a lot of listening to albums that I hadn’t heard in a while, whilst the rest of my listening was generally taken up with checking out some new releases from this year.

If you’re curious to know what else I’ve listened to so far this year, you can scroll through my previous posts. Otherwise, here’s everything I listened to in June which I haven’t already blogged about.

    Albums and EPs

The War On Drugs, ‘Lost In The Dream’ – Somewhere between Dylan, Springsteen, and the syncopation of krautrock stands The War on Drugs with a euphoric infectiousness that will make you laugh and cry at the same time. Highlight: ‘An Ocean Between the Waves’.

Connan Mockasin and Devonte Hynes, ‘Myths 001’ – As part of a recording residency at Marfa Myths festival, Mexican Summer have been putting a couple of artists together each time to record a limited edition EP. This one fuses the pair’s individual influences of R&B, funk, soul, indie, psychadelic pop, post punk, and more to produce three varied tracks that just begs for them to produce a full length together. Highlight: ‘La Fat Fur’.

Woahnows, ‘Young and Cool’ – A whirlwind of indie, punk, and pop. As with previous albums, there’s a lot of fun to be had on this 2019 release. Highlight: ‘I Know I Knooow’.

Sun Kil Moon, ‘I Also Want to Die in New Orleans’ – Mark Kozelek’s trajectory seems to be about making his lengthy, talky Americana more and more inaccessible. Thankfully, this doesn’t apply to everyone, and this album currently stands at No. 10 in my top ten of 2019 releases. Against the odds, ‘Couch Potato’ manages to be one of his catchiest songs since his ‘Benji’ output. Highlight: ‘Couch Potato’.

The White Octave, ‘Style No. 6312’ – Amidst leaving Cursive, going to law school, and starting Criteria, Steve Pedersen founded The White Octave, playing ballsy emo that cried out for a place on the Deep Elm roster. Highlight: ‘Appeals for Insertion’.

J. Robbins, ‘Un-Becoming’ – The debut solo album from ex Jawbox and Burning Airlines frontman is punchy and full of hooks. Highlight: ‘Un-Becoming’.

Owls, ‘Two’ – Their second album, some thirteen years after their debut, brings the same scatty math rock to the table, as if they had never the left, with the only acception of these songs being a little more focused and polished. Highlight: ‘Ancient Star Seed…’.

The Mountain Goats, ‘In League With Dragons’ – I’d heard the Mountain Goats mentioned a lot, so thought I’d check them out but I really don’t get it. This album was inspired by Dungeons and Dragons apparently. I can’t find a highlight as such, but this song is the closest to going anywhere: ‘Cadaver Sniffing Dog’.

Everything In Waves, ‘Echoes’ – ‘Emotronic’. I didn’t like it. No highlights, but here’s a taster: ‘Looper’.

Red Animal War, ‘Black Phantom Crusades’ – I loved the few RAW songs I heard on Deep Elm compilations back in the day. I am so upset with myself that I slept on this incredible album for so long. Every song’s a hit. Highlight: ‘Mouse’.

Astronoid, ‘Astronoid’ – Post-metal enthused with dream pop, with beautiful, ethereal vocals. Highlight: ‘I Dream in Lines’.

Old Solar, ‘SEE’ – Everything you want from a instrumental post rock record. Highlight: ‘Summer Solstice: Dancing Days in the Garden Well-Watered’.

American Football, ‘LP2’ – Coming seventeen years after their debut, LP2 brings a more mature bite to the twinkly emo that built them a cult following after splitting up. Highlight: ‘My Instincts Are The Enemy’.

Modest Mouse, ‘Strangers to Ourselves’ – Increasingly criticised with every album by OG fans for straying from their more lo-fi roots, personally I love both eras of Modest Mouse, and this album is no exception. Highlight: ‘The Best Room’.

Fresh, ‘Withdraw’ – I really enjoyed the title track on this indie-punk record, but the rest didn’t do it for me. Highlight: ‘Withdraw’.

Dark Blue, ‘Pure Reality’ – I thought I’d check this out based on the one track I’d heard. They’ve got a really cool post punk sound, but theirs not enough dynamics between the songs to really tell them apart. Highlight: ‘Never Afraid / Never Alone’.

Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson, ‘Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson’ – Delicate and dreamy post-rock from Norway that’s not afraid to go into bolder territory when needed. I really liked this. Highlight: ‘Puzzle: I’d Rather Listen to Weston’.

Haim, ‘Days Are Gone’ – Unabashed pop rock with an undeniable penchant for a great pop hook. Highlight: ‘Don’t Save Me’.

The Appleseed Cast, ‘The Fleeting Light of Impermanence’ – On their new synth-heavy record, there’s elements of their previous albums ‘Two Conversations’, ‘Sagarmartha’, and ‘Peregrine’ all wrapped into one. Clearly a contender for album of the year. Highlight: ‘Reaching the Forest’.

Coheed and Cambria, ‘Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness’ – A few years ago I realised that I still love the first few Coheed records and only owned one of them, so I bought the other two. Prog rock for pop fans/pop for prog rock fans. Highlight: ‘The Willing Well III: Apollo II: The Telling Truth’.

A Classic Education, ‘Hey There, Stranger’ – 3/5s of Settlefish went on to form this more chilled indie band, still retaining a continental and organic influence. Highlight: ‘Devilish Coast Sway’.

    Individual songs I hadn’t heard before

Brandtson, ‘Nobody Dances Anymore’ – Nobody told me Brandtson did dance punk.

Viagra Boys, ‘Sports’ – I enjoyed the novelty of this, but not sure I’d listen to a full album.

Ada Lea, ‘Mercury’ – Very cool, brooding indie rock.

Pixies, ‘On Graveyard Hill’ – Picking up from where ‘Head Carrier’ left off, with a touch of goth on this one.

Lightspeed Champion, ‘Waiting Game’ – As someone who was sure he’d heard every Lightspeed Champion song, I’m not sure how this one eluded me for so long.

The 1975, ‘Love It If We Made It’ – Sometimes you just have to scratch that itch for some pop jams.

The 1975, ‘I Like America & America Likes Me’ – And again.

Black Midi, ‘Talking Heads’ – Insane post punk put through an odd pop blender.

Blink 182, ‘Generational Divide’ – Frantic, and I was going to say relentless, but it ends after 50 seconds.

Phoenix – ‘Entertainment’ – Great indie pop song with Japanese vibes. Need to listen to more of this band.

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
Wait’
.

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.

2019: Album by Album (April)

April’s listening covered every decade from the 70s, and included stuff I’ve loved for a long time, stuff that I hadn’t checked out in full before now by bands that I love, and stuff that I’d never come across before (thanks for those recommendations!), and it had been a very strong month in terms what I liked – near enough all of it.

If you know of an album, EP, or song that you think I might like, please leave your suggestion in the comments and I will check it out when I can, and follow my blog to stay updated. Here’s what I listened to in April (not including what I’ve already listened to this year – check out January, February, and March’s blog posts for more). Click through to check out my highlights.

    Albums and EPs

The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die, ‘Whenever, If Ever’ – Probably the biggest sound to come out of the emo revival scene. A powerful album and my favourite of theirs. Highlight: ‘Heartbeat in the Brain’.

The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die, ‘Harmlessness’ – Bigger in it’s scope, but well worth sitting with. Highlight: ‘Rage Against the Dying of the Light’.

The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die, ‘Always Foreign’ – This one gives me a more sunshine-y vibe than the others. Not my favourite of their albums, but great none the less. Highlight: ‘Hilltopper’.

Patti Smith Group, ‘Wave’ – Full of hooks, and still retaining her unique punk poet approach to songwriting. Highlight: ‘Frederick’

John Vanderslice, ‘Romanian Names’ – Beautiful, chilled, experimental indie. Highlight: ‘Too Much Time’

Narco Debut, ‘Garden Dreams’ – Polished post hardcore with vocals not dissimilar to Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria. Highlight: ‘Governor Switch’.

Theophilus London, ‘Timez Are Weird These Days’ – Slick hip hop with indie sensibilities. I’d heard half of these songs years ago. Regret sleeping on the full album for so long. Highlight: ‘Why Even Try (feat. Sara Quin)’.

Turbolens, ‘Tro, Håb & Kærlighed’ – Ex Mew guitarist teams up with a bunch of kids to make dreamy indie/avant garde pop (if there is such a thing). Highlight: ‘Rastløse Bevægelser’.

The Human League, ‘Dare!’ – Syncopated synth pop from 1981. Highlight: ‘Seconds’.

Shut Your Eyes And You’ll Burst Into Flames, ‘Drop the Decade’ – Two dance punk songs that sound like the amalgamation of Les Savy Fav, Test Icicles, and The Blood Brothers. Highlight: ‘Drop the Decade’.

Jets To Brazil, ‘Orange Rhyming Dictionary’ – Grainy, gritty indie/emo. Highlight: ‘Starry Configurations’.

ELO, ‘Greatest Hits’ – Each song is an irresistible slice of pop rock. Highlight: ‘Sweet Talkin’ Woman’.

Battles, ‘Mirrored’ – My daughter has a penchant for the album ‘Painting With’ by Animal Collective. She asked me to put something on that was just as, if not more, ‘crazy’. I picked Battles. Emmy’s highlight: ‘Atlas’. My highlight: ‘Race: In’.

Strange Ranger, ‘Daymoon’ – Indie rock with slacker sensibilities. Highlight: ‘House Show’, but I had that in February’s blog post, so here’s ‘Everything All at Once’.

Owls, ‘Owls’ – Wonky math rock from 4/5 of Cap’n Jazz. Highlight: ‘Everyone Is My Friend’.

Cursive, ‘Happy Hollow’ – Loud, anthemic, and taking no prisoners. Highlight: ‘Big Bang’.

Henryk Górecki, ‘Symphony No. 3’ Performed by the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra – A melancholic piece that tells the story of a mother and son separated by the war. Highlight (I can’t really separate the movements of this one, so here’s the whole thing): ‘Symphony No. 3’.

Pixies, ‘Indie Cindy’ – Packed with hooks from start to finish. I really enjoyed this and it’s hard to pick a favourite track. Highlight: ‘What Goes Boom’.

Pixies, ‘Head Carrier’ – I listened a few times, and apart from the odd song, it fell flat and failed to take off for me. I’m hoping it’s a grower. Highlight: ‘Head Carrier’.

PUP, ‘Morbid Stuff’ – Very hook-laden punk rock with an indie tinge. Highlight: ‘Free at Last’.

    Individual songs I hadn’t heard before

Outer Spaces, ‘Teapot #1’ – Singer songwriter indie with hypnotic vocals.

Sissy Bar, ‘Gin & Juice’ – A lo-fi indie-pop of the Snoop Dogg classic. Not really sure what I make of this. It makes me smile though.

Troubled Minds, ‘Birdie’ – Twinkly pop punk with some really nice guitar work.

The Chemical Brothers, ‘Free Me’ – When I found out Diane di Prima’s great, chant-notic ‘Revolutionary Letter #49’ had been sampled here, I had to check it out. I wish they’d sample so much more of it though.

dust from 1000 yrs, ‘order from chaos’ – Experimental, distorted indie-folk track with a bluesy vocal line.

dust from 1000 yrs, ‘bad shit’ – More of the above, but this one goes a little bit harder.

2019: Album by Album (March)

Continuing on with logging every album, EP, and song I’d not heard before that I listen to this year, here’s what I listened to in March (not including stuff that I’d listened to previously this year – check January and February’s blog posts for more). It’s been quite an eclectic month with music ranging from math rock, to hypnogoric pop, to glam, to folk, to classical, and dating back as far as 1937. Click through to check out my highlights. If you have any suggestions for an album or song you think I might enjoy, leave a comment and I’ll add it to my ever-growing list of stuff to listen to.

Albums

Long Hallways, ‘Close Your Eyes to Travel’ – Epic, jazzy post rock. Highlight: ‘January’.

Prince, ‘Purple Rain’ – I’ve seen the film. I thought it was about time I listened to the album. Highlight (other than the title track): ‘When Doves Cry’.

Prince, ‘1999’ – More Prince. This one’s a lot heavier on the synths and programmed drums. Highlight (other than the title track): ‘Little Red Corvette’.

R.E.M, ‘Out Of Time’ – Jangly and poppy, occasionally veering into darker waters. Highlight: ‘Low’.

Holger Czukay, ‘Movies’ – Highly entertaining avant garde from the ex-Can bassist. Highlight: ‘Cool in the Pool’.

Emmy The Great, ‘Second Love’ – A departure from her folk roots for an alt pop record about love in the technology age. Highlight: ‘Swimming Pool’.

Blondie, ‘Parallel Lines’ – The iconic new wave album. Highlight: ‘Heart of Glass’.

Second Monday, ‘If It Calls Out To You’ – Their insanely tight debut EP (they were only 15/16 when they made this). Highlight: ‘Without Answers’.

Lightspeed Champion, ‘Falling Off The Lavender Bridge’ – Indie pop meets country music and some of the best vocal melodies going. Highlight: ‘No Surprise (For Wendela) / Midnight Surprise’.

Settlefish, ‘The Plural of the Choir’ – A perfect album by a perfect band. Highlight: ‘Oh Well’.

Heavy Vegetable, ‘Frisbie’ – More fun, kinetic odd rock from Rob Crow. Highlight: ‘Cotton Swab’.

Suede, ‘The Blue Hour’ – Dramatic, moody brit rock. Highlight ‘Flytipping’.

Life Without Buildings, ‘Any Other City’ – Infectious, catchy, punky art rock. Highlight: ‘Juno’.

Neutral Milk Hotel, ‘In the Aeroplane Over the Sea’ – Beautifully shambolic folk rock. Highlights: ‘King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1’ and ‘King of Carrot Flowers Pts. 2 & 3’.

Sparks, ‘Kimono My House’ – They took ‘glam rock’ and ran it through a contorted banshee zoo. Highlight: ‘Hasta Manana, Monsieur’.

Telling The Bees, ‘Untie the Wind’ – ‘Darkly crafted folk’. Highlight: ‘The Worship of Trees’.

Deerhoof, ‘La Isla Bonita’ – Experimental, noisy, and off kilter indie rock. Highlight: ‘Last Fad’.

Lewis, ‘Even So’ – Incredibly moving indie-emo. I love this album so much. Highlight: ‘Bitter Days’.

Steve Strong, ‘Turbo Island’ – Until you see Steve Strong live, you couldn’t guess that he’s a one man post-rock looping and drumming beast. This album is full-bodied and seamless. Highlight: ‘Mirapid’.

Shostakovich, ‘Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Op. 47’ Performed by The State Symphony Orchestra of the USSR – Under brutal Stalanism came Shostakovich’s response, ‘…a Soviet artist’s creative response to justified criticism.’ Highlight: ‘Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Op. 47, IV’.

Mayday, ‘Bushido Karaoke’ – Gritty, gutsy, gothic Americana from the Saddle Creek camp. Highlight: ‘Continental Grift’.

Queen, ‘A Night At The Opera’ – Epic and operatic as the name suggests. Highlight: ‘I’m In Love With My Car’.

The Fiery Furnaces, ‘EP’ – Playful, experimental indie rock. Highlight: ‘Tropical Island’.

American Football, ‘American Football’ (or ‘LP3’) – Their third album brings a Steve Reich influence to the table sounds like the like the sun coming up on a winter morning (like the cover implies). Highlight: ‘Every Wave To Ever Rise (ft. Elizabeth Powell)’.

Axes, ‘Glory’ – More math rock madness, and the title ‘Glory’ really captures the triumphant sound of this album. Highlight: ‘Chun Fai Pang’.

Foals, ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1’ – With it’s more funky approach, this feels like the closest they’ve got to the sound of their jerk-pop debut. Highlight: ‘On the Luna’, but I posted that in February, so here’s another highlight: ‘Syrups’.

La Dispute, ‘Panorama’ – A more progressive approach to their spoken-word-post hardcore prowess. Not as immediate as ‘Rooms of the House’. Highlight: ‘VIEW FROM OUR BEDROOM WINDOW’.

Individual songs I listened to

Duck, Little Brother, Duck!, ‘732 Seconds’ – A slow and weary number that bursts open into blast of noisy post hardcore.

Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson, ‘All I Remember is Punk Rock’ – A transcendent blend of indie and post rock from Norway.

Joie De Vivre, ‘April, 2009’ – More glorious emo revival fare from Joie De Vivre. They’re becoming regulars here.

Weezer, I’m Just Being Honest’ – Curiosity and hopefulness keeps getting the better of me, but apart from ‘High As A Kite’, the ‘Black’ album keeps disappointing.

R.E.M, ‘#9 Dream’ – A pretty cool cover of my favourite John Lennon song.

Morrissey, ‘The Boy Racer (Unreleased Demo)’ – An early acoustic version of one of the best songs on ‘Southpaw Grammar’.

The Get Up Kids, ‘Satellite’ – If this lead single is anything to go by, the upcoming album will be awesome.

The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die, ‘January 10th, 2014’ – A euphoric track with some great male/female vocals going back and forth. Emo revival at its most progressive.

Matrix Metals, ‘Flamingo Breeze, part 1’ – A summery slice of hypnogoric pop.

Jack Stauber, ‘Cooking with Abigail’, ‘Good Morning Blondie’, ‘Lima Bean Man’, and ‘ring ring’, ‘Deploy’ – Surreal micropop to put a smile on your face and make you question life. The videos are great too.

Watterson, ‘Talking Shit About A Pretty Sunset (Modest Mouse cover)’ – Noisy indie version of my favourite Modest Mouse song.

Armando Martins, ‘Dirty Fingernails (Modest Mouse cover)’ – Cool, minimal version of this classic MM song, some nice added piano.

Unraveler, ‘Polar Opposites (Modest Mouse cover)’ – Lo fi acoustic cover with some nice female backing vocals.

Jumping Ship For Comfort, ‘Bukowski (Modest Mouse cover)’ – A stripped down version, nice but not bringing anything different to the table.

Prom Kids, ‘Trailer Trash (Modest Mouse cover)’ – Fun midi cover but the vocals are way too high in the mix and over-egged, spoiling it.

Festiva, Dramamine (Modest Mouse cover) – Psychadelic indie pop cover, a pretty fun listen.

Turing Cops, ‘Custom Concern (Modest Mouse cover)’ – A subdued cover that gets old quick.

Jeff Rosenstock, ‘Festival Song’ – Fun-filled indie punk rock.

Logic, ‘Probably Gonna Rock Your World’ – The rapper, with the aid of Mac Demarco’s production, opts for a chilled out R&B/bedroom pop jam with this one.

Shipping News, ‘Untitled w/Drums’ – Tender, moving post rock.

‘You Said I Can Nurtue’ in Bold + Italic

My poem ‘You Said I Can Nurture’, taken from my book ‘Zygote Poems’ appears as one of two featured poems about forthcoming parenthood alongside Jamie Houghton in issue 3 of Bold + Italic.

Jamie’s poem tackles the subject of not feeling adequate enough as a mother to home a baby in the womb, and trying to get things just right for her (I know it’s a ‘her’ as said baby has now been before).

Mine tackles the subject of becoming a father with what I considers inadequacies and fears of not being a good enough human myself to raise another.

Check out our poems and read more about what each of us were trying to convey, and then check out the other poems, prose and artwork selected for this great issue:

Jamie Houghton – Ants are Pickier than You
Richard Thomas – You Said I Can Nurture