A cornucopia, a bounty, a plethora, a gallimaufry of new music from the last few months I’ve been listening to, destined to soundtrack summer.
I stumbled on this one a few months ago while watching a Courtneys video on Youtube (who are responsible for another great 2017 album). Amelia Murray is Fazerdaze and she hails from New Zealand, where she’s part of the legendary Flying Nun stable of artists. The music is modern singer-songwriter with electro dream pop touches, and Murray is gifted with the hooks. No, not strange appendages, but the ability to write catchy songs. It’s a testament to the earworminess of “Lucky Girl” that me, a male in his 40’s, can’t get the phrase “I know I’m a lucky girl / I’m a lucky lucky girl girl girl girl” out of his head.
No hazy malaze this fazerdaze.
YouTube: “Lucky Girl”
Taos, NM (by way of Brooklyn and West Saugerties, NY) couple Anne Cunningham and David Lerner are Trummors and they bring their slightly psychedelic country folk, influenced by classic British folk rock and high canyon vistas, to bear on these ten tuneful tales.
YouTube: “Spanish Peaks”
GospelbeacH: Another Summer of Love
70s-styled Americana outfit helmed by Beachwood Sparks co-founder Brent Rademaker. The band’s second, Another Summer of Love, continues the good feelin’ cruisin’ country rock music of 2015’s Pacific Surf Line. While that one had a kinship to the Grateful Dead, this one takes some roads into more rocky, Tom Petty-influenced territory. City limits and desert skies beckon.
YouTube: “You’re Already Home”
Kilbey Kennedy: Glow and Fade
Ever-busy the Church frontman Steve Kilbey teams once again with All India Radio’s Martin Kennedy for another “epic spacey prog-rock/new wave hybrid of an album.” This one’s been getting some of the best reviews of the pair’s careers. From the sprawling and multi-faceted 16-minute “The Game Never Changes” to the floating “One is All”, it’s a rewarding journey. Cover art is by renowned 60s sci-fi artist Bruce Pennington. Atmospheric poetics and stratospheric phonetics (or something like that).
YouTube: “Glow and Fade”
Slowdive’s first new album since 1995(!) They weren’t just sitting around for 22 years, though, as most of the band became Mojave 3. Those years served them well as this is a strong album and easily takes its place as one of the best in the Shoegaze / Dream Pop (whatever you want to call it) genre, alongside efforts by My Bloody Valentine and Lush. Like diving slowly into enveloping washes of electric guitar.
YouTube: “Star Roving”
Hayden Pedigo: Greetings from Amarillo
Guitarist and soundscapist Pedigo returns with a tribute of sorts to his hometown of Amarillo, Texas. While his previous work has been primarily gorgeous guitar pieces, this one sees him branching out into new territory with synthesizers and even a spoken word piece by Terry Allen. An open mind is a valuable quality in a musician, and Pedigo is a voracious listener and explorer of all kinds of music. Looking forward to future directions he takes.
Soundcloud: “Greetings From Amarillo”
Joan Shelley: Joan Shelley
Recorded in Wilco’s Chicago loft studio with Jeff Tweedy, his son Spencer and guitarist Nathan Salsburg. The songs are introspective, mainly acoustic – all wrapped in Shelley’s assured and confident voice. They feel woodsy, concerned with the fields and forests of the heart. Perceptive pastures of pondering, you might say (or you might not).
YouTube: “The Push and Pull”
Tara Jane O’Neil: s/t
This is being touted as TJO’s singer-songwriter album, as much of her other work is more experimental and improvisatory. She’s also a well-exhibited visual artist. The songs evoke a blissed out California mood and this one, like Joan Shelley’s, was recorded (partially) in Wilco’s Loft Studio, and Shelley guests as well. There seems to be a recent trend in music videos to include interpretive dance, and the one for “Blow” is no exception, for better or worse.
Rafiki Jazz: Har Dam Sahara
A multicultural ensemble from England, Rafiki Jazz have been called “Global Utopians.” Their music “draws on Pakistan and Senegal’s mystic Sufi traditions and ancient Middle Eastern Coptic and Hebrew liturgy, driven by the pulse of the orishas of Brazil’s Candomblé and the momentum of Indian sangeet.” Whew. Multi-cultural indeed. Spellbinding and spiritual grooves.
YouTube: “Har Chand Sahara”
Josefin Ohrn + the Liberation: Sister Green Eyes (Single)
This is a reworked version of a song originally from the band’s 2016 Mirage. To me, it sounds like Fleetwood Mac’s “Sisters of the Moon” meets Sugarloaf’s “Green Eyed Lady”, with a detour into 1960s psych with some Eastern vibes. According to the band, the song is inspired by “Forest Bathing,” which is the practice of spending time in the forest for revitalizing and rejuvenating benefits. That may be, but the song is much more moody and dark than that inspiration would suggest. Spooky in all the right ways. [While we’re here, take a look at this cool inventive and hypnotic video for one of Ohrn’s older songs, “Anything So Bright“]
YouTube: “Sister Green Eyes”
Bonus Track: When summer reaches it’s inevitable end, the Wellingtons will help ease the transition into the colder months with the bittersweet power pop jangle, Beach Boys-esque, “End of the Summer”.
YouTube: “End of the Summer”