Spare Oom Playlist, February 2021 Edition

Normally, February does provide one with some new and interesting sounds, but I’m well surprised that this time out there’s an avalanche of good stuff out there! Enjoy!

Miss Grit, Impostor EP, released 5 February. “Blonde” popped up on Cheryl Waters’ playlist on KEXP a while back and stopped me in my tracks with a whoa, what the hell is this? It’s got the grimness of Sneaker Pimps-like triphop, the droneyness of Lush, and the blast of shoegaze. She only has a few singles and this EP out at the moment, but I highly suggest checking her out on Bandcamp.

Foo Fighters, Medicine at Midnight, released 5 February. Dave Grohl and Co return to a lighter and more melodic sound similar to their late 90s/early 00s albums There Is Nothing Left to Lose and One By One, though still retaining the power and strength of their more recent albums, and it’s a supremely inviting and memorable listen.

Teenage Wrist, Earth Is a Black Hole, released 12 February. A recent find thanks to AllMusic, they’ve got that excellent melodic emo sound similar to bands like Jimmy Eat World, with catchy riffs and the classic punchy choruses.

Django Django, Glowing in the Dark, released 12 February. Always a weird and quirky band, always full of incredible pop gems that sound both polished and lo-fi at the same time. This is truly a fun listen.

Goat Girl, On All Fours, released 12 February. Apparently picking up where Chairlift left off, this group mixes a warbly synth/guitar hybrid with odd lyrics and sounds and turns it into something surprisingly catchy and fun. I’ve been listening to this one quite a bit during my recent writing sessions.

Pale Waves, Who Am I?, released 12 February. Snotty, fun pop-punk that’s perfect to listen to on long and frustrating days. Sometimes goofy, sometimes angry, but it’s definitely a joy.

Mogwai, As the Love Continues, released 19 February. They’ve come a long way from their extended drone-blast days, and numerous movie scores have definitely tamed their sound somewhat, but they’ve only gotten better and grander with age. (Plus I hear they hit number one on the UK charts with this record recently!) This one is already a writing session staple, of course.

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, Carnage, released 25 February. Cave and Ellis, who usually work together for movie scores, surprise-released their first studio-only project and it’s a dark and gorgeous masterpiece. It’s some of the saddest and quietest music Cave has ever done, but it’s absolutely beautiful.

Back Garden Light, Back Garden Light, released 26 February. I somehow stumbled upon this and I keep coming back to it. It fully and shamelessly embraces that 311/POD/Lit funk-metal-emo groove and it’s all kinds of fun! (Extra points for clever and unexpected use of 8-bit bleeps and beats to keep the mood light!)

Lost Horizons, In Quiet Moments, released 26 February. The second outing from Simon Raymonde (former Cocteau Twin) and drummer Richard Thomas (ex-Dif Juz) is just as lovely and moving as 2017’s Ojala, if not more so. There is definitely a heavy old school 4AD influence here (“Every Beat That Passed” sounds shockingly like Cocteau Twins circa Treasure) but they’ve made it their own sound and it’s just lovely.

Cloud Nothings, The Shadow I Remember, released 26 February. Their latest record, released only two months after their previous record (December 2020’s Life Is Only One Event) and less than a year after the one before it (July 2020’s The Black Hole Understands), this band has been incredibly busy — and prolific — despite the barriers that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused.

*

*Whew* …and that was only a handful of what came out last month…!! I’m still wrapping my head around a lot of these releases, but there’s a lot to choose from and they’re all amazing. Now I’m curious as to how the next couple of months will be…