After all that fun with 1991, it’s time to return back to the present! Here’s some tunage that’s been on my radar since last month.
Radiohead, “If You Say the Word” single, released 3 September. One of the unreleased tracks for the upcoming KID A MNESIAC set due in November. To be honest I kind of like this one better than some of the tracks that made it to the two releases, but I’m not complaining.
Motorists, Surrounded, released 3 September. Kind of nerdy and goofy in that mid-90s slacker sort of way, but super enjoyable! They remind me a bit of Parquet Courts with their wonky-clunky melodies and Television-like vocal delivery.
Amyl & the Sniffers, Comfort to Me, released 10 September. Definitely in that Courtney Barnett pothead-punk type of sound but I love that they completely embrace that style and run with it. Props for having a great name that would make the 70s punk scene proud.
Andrew WK, God Is Partying, released 10 September. Andrew fully embraces…death metal? Didn’t see that coming at all, but hey, I rarely expect anything less than something bizarre and possibly somewhat destructive whenever he’s involved. It’s definitely a weird album even by his standards, but he pulls it off!
Low, HEY WHAT, released 10 September. Following up from their previous record, they once again add overmodulated distortion to their classic slowcore sound. It does take some getting used to, but it does work well with their style.
Saint Etienne, I’ve Been Trying to Tell You, released 10 September. It’s wild that I’ve been a fan since 1992’s Foxbase Alpha, and they’ve gone through so many different song styles between then and now, and yet they still come up with something new. This particular record leans heavily on meandering mostly-instrumental electronica that’s both relaxing and intriguing.
Sneaker Pimps, Squaring the Circle, released 10 September. This was definitely a “wait–when did they release this???” album that very nearly escaped my notice until I happened to hear KEXP playing one of its tracks one morning. This one may not have the 90’s triphop or the 00’s twitchiness of previous albums, but it’s just as dark and unsettling.
Sleigh Bells, Texis, released 10 September. I do loves me some Sleigh Bells, because they’re such a fun band to listen to with the volume pumped up! Guitar crunch so processed it’s crackling, perky vocals hiding darker images, and super catchy melodies.
José González, Local Valley, released 17 September. “El Invento” is such a lovely acoustic track that it completely sold me on checking out the rest of José’s album, and it most definitely delivers. He’s an amazing guitarist and a wonderful songwriter. Highly recommended!!
Public Service Broadcasting, Bright Magic, released 24 September. This time out PSB turns towards retro-disco and classical, and the end result is surprisingly entertaining and fascinating. It almost sounds like they’ve channeled Air on this album, and that’s certainly not a bad thing.
Film School, We Weren’t Here, released 24 September. This is a band I never quite get around to collecting and I’m not sure why. They’re a California shoegaze band heavily leaning towards early Ride; sometimes dreamy and light and other times loud and powerful, but always interesting.
This was definitely a laid-back start to a fourth quarter, but then again, a lot of music this past year and a half has definitely been recorded piecemeal at separate home studios, incomplete due to temporary studio closures, and any other Covid-related reason. But I’m also starting to see a lot of releases — many singles and EPs at that — where things are slowly but surely returning to normal for musicians. Either way, glad to hear it all!