Friday, July 20, 2018

Feel good hits of the 20th July

1. 'Heat Wave' - Snail Mail
Indie-rock summer jams don't come much better than this. Lush is an effortlessly accomplished record - and all the more remarkable for the fact that it was released (on Matador) a week before its creator, Lindsey Jordan, turned 19. Mary Timony might be keeping us waiting for a second Ex Hex album, but, as Jordan's guitar teacher, she can claim some credit for another fine LP. Lush also partially staves off the hankering for new material from Angel Olsen, whose ice rink video for 'Shut Up Kiss Me' seems to foreshadow Jordan's for 'Heat Wave'.

2. 'Paperback Writer' - The Beatles
One of the consequences of having 1 on practically constant play in the car for the last three or four months is that I'm fairly sure that this is now my favourite Beatles song. Don't hold me to it, though...

3. 'Loner Boogie' - Boy Azooga
The song that has, quite rightly, helped to catapult Davey Newington and chums from being darlings of the Cardiff scene to being on the radar nationally - via an appearance on Later... (as part of a decidedly Welsh-themed episode also starring the Manics and Gwenno), countless plays on Radio 6 Music and a whole host of gigs and festival slots. Back in April, reviewing a stupendous hometown show, I wrote that they were "a band primed for lift-off" and it's no surprise that they've now achieved it.

4. 'Maps' - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Crazy to think, isn't it, that Fever To Tell is now 15 years old? 'Maps' was a revelation at the time, and with hindsight something they were always going to struggle to top. So good it even makes me forget how much of a dog's dinner Mosquito was.

5. 'Don't Go' - Moaning
Shoegazey slacker punk on Sub Pop? Let's face it, Moaning were always likely to be a hit round these parts. While lead track and single 'Don't Go' naturally steals the limelight, I was pleasantly surprised by quite how much sticking power their self-titled debut LP actually has. Moaning aren't the first band to have Alex Newport to thank for making them sound great - if rather more polished than they are live.

6. 'Swish Swash' - Crack Cloud
Crack Cloud look so hipster it hurts, and my initial reaction to both 'Swish Swash' and its video was "What the...?". But after a couple of listens I started to get more attuned to their wavelength (itchy funk rhythms given some Gang Of Four punch and sinister intent) and after a couple more I was ready to hail it as one of the best things I've heard all year.

7. 'Nuraghe' - The Cosmic Dead
A couple of minutes of this absolute beast, from last year's Psych Is Dead LP, was more than enough to convince me that I had to go and see The Cosmic Dead last week. No regrets whatsoever. Mogwai, always play the role of patron with regard to other bands, need to do the decent thing and take their fellow Glaswegians out on the road with them.

8. 'Y Teimlad' - Super Furry Animals
My Welsh nightclass finished on Monday night with us tasked with trying to piece together the lyrics of this song, a Datblygu cover. At some point in the not-too-distant future I'm sure I'll be a card-carrying Super Furries fan - and exposure to songs like this is certainly helping.

9. 'Somewhere After Sunday' - Year Of The Kite
No longer living in Oxford wasn't going to stop me reviewing the debut LP from a band who grabbed my attention shortly before I left. Single 'Somewhere After Sunday' is representative of With Sparks Flying generally: delicately poised, meditative-verging-on-sombre post-rock that refuses to resort to the standard trick of always building to a crescendo.

10. 'Cadi' - Los Blancos
The second Welsh-language track in this selection: proof that I'm going native? An initial encounter with Los Blancos in the supporting role at Wylderness' album launch in March meant that I snapped up reviewing duties for their recent double-A side single. Of the two tracks, 'Cadi' - an ode to a dog (hence the video) - is probably the better, a veritable scuzz-pop rough diamond.

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