Monday, February 13, 2017

Feel Good Hits of the 13th February

1. 'Destroyed By Hippy Powers' - Car Seat Headrest
OK, so I'm late to the party. Extremely late to the party. So late to the party that everyone's fucked off home. But it still has to be said that Teens Of Denial is a great album, and 'Destroyed By Hippy Powers' is one of its very best tracks. Grungy indie-rock from a self-effacing, literate singer/guitarist whose lyrics are shot through with memorable images, imagination and humour: yup, Will Toledo was 2016's Courtney Barnett.

2. 'Internal World' - Cloud Nothings
Compared to previous album Here And Nowhere Else (a firm favourite round these parts), Life Without Sound dials down the dischord and turns up the polish. It's not as good, I don't think, but given 'Internal World's ace approximation of a turbo-charged Idlewild, it's good to know that they're continuing to fight rock's corner.

3. 'Fade Into You' - Mazzy Star
The song that kicks off 1993's So Tonight That I Might See, which I bought a while back on the recommendation of a friend. It pretty much instantly convinced me I'd made a wise decision. Hope Sandoval has one of those "could listen to her reciting the phone book" voices.

4. 'Please' - Blanck Mass
The first track to see the light of day from Blanck Mass' forthcoming third LP World Eater (a reaction to the insanity of 2016, apparently) takes Benjamin John Power further away from the abstract soundscapes of the self-titled debut and continues the progression signalled by 2015's Dumb Flesh. There's definitely an Aphex Twin vibe to the way 'Please' deconstructs, fractures and reassembles soulful club music.

5. 'Nothing Feels Natural' - Priests
Dreamy, bittersweet post-punk somewhere in the sweet spot between Deerhunter and Warpaint. The fact that singer Katie Alice Greer organised an anti-Trump benefit concert featuring Waxahatchee and Speedy Ortiz's Sadie Dupuis should of course endear them to you even more.

6. 'Halleluwah' - Can
No installment of Feel Good Hits would be complete without me admitting to shameful ignorance as regards some band or other. This time it's the turn of Can. Drummer Jaki Liebezeit's death spurred me into properly listening to them - and fuck me if this, and Liebezeit's typically funky, complex beat, isn't bloody great.

7. 'Gather' - US Weekly
Punk fan disappointed by the direction Parquet Courts took after Light Up Gold? US Weekly might just be for you. Here's some proof. Thanks to Gareth for the tip-off - and to the happy accident that resulted in Spotify bringing them to his earholes.

8. 'Risk To Exist' - Maximo Park
The synth-heavy title track of Maximo Park's forthcoming sixth album is very much business as usual - sharp new-wave-influenced indie. Until, that is, you pick out the subtle backing vocals behind Paul Smith, supplied by none other than Low's Mimi Parker. Apparently she appears on four other tracks on the album, in what's one of the oddest musical collaborations I've come across in recent years. 'Risk To Exist' isn't bad, but to be honest she's more than a bit wasted here.

9. 'Near To The Wild Heart Of Life' - Japandroids
This may be another air-punching anthem in Japandroids' canon, but the fact that it's also the name of Brian King and Dave Prowse's third record speaks volumes - they're now merely near to the wild heart of life, not in it. The duo have claimed the LP is a deliberate attempt to make "a proper studio album", which is cause enough for alarm. It was inevitable they'd grow up, I guess - indeed, the warning signs were already there on Celebration Rock  - but a large part of me wishes they could have remained the Peter Pans of punk forever.

10. 'Infra Red' - I Am Lono
Sharp 1980s drum machine beats, a Joy Division bassline and dense walls of synth make for a pleasing combination. As recommended by Six By Seven's Chris Olley, who's apparently so desperate to join them that he's promised to keep his head down and his mouth shut. Watch this space...

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