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Showing posts from November, 2021

"Dream Never Dies" - Lo Moon

I finally found my favorite song of 2021, and just about as the year comes to its end. It's the first new song in three years from LA-based band Lo Moon, called "Dream Never Dies." As you might be able to glean from that title, it's a hopeful, expansive, majestic song that deserves to be played over the closing credits of a movie.  Lo Moon acknowledges Britpop as an influence - this song reminds me in places of Elbow and even The Killers at times. But it's uniquely their own. Honestly, if this song doesn't get huge ... or at least some serious recognition ... I will be sorely disappointed. 

"i refuse to die" - Sydney Sprague

"I Refuse to Die" by Sydney Sprague - off her relatively recently released album "Maybe I'll See You at the End of the World" (appropriate for pandemic times!) - is one of my favorite songs of 2021, hands down, bar none. The "feel bad" indie singer-songwriter hailing from Phoenix enlisted the help of Sam Rossner, who had previously partnered with Mac Miller and Pedro the Lion among others.  "i refuse to die" is the empowering, kickass starter to "Maybe I'll See You at the End of the World," and what a starter it is! Listen below: Sidenote: I saw Sydney perform at the Yucca Tap Room a few years ago, and I thought she was an excellent, incredibly talented musician. Excited to see what's next for her! Sydney will be playing at Tempe's 2022 Innings Festival alongside the likes of St. Vincent, Tame Impala, Foo Fighters, and Black Pumas. 

"axl au stade" - AXLAUSTADE

Yesterday, Montreal-based instrumental grunge group AXLAUSTADE (taking their name from an Axl Rose-related incident) dropped their debut self-titled album. The group envisions it as "the soundtrack to a cool story." Very apropos of the height of grunge, the protagonist's love interest is imagined to be a woman who resembles Winona Ryder.  Although instrumental grunge is not a genre I tend to gravitate toward - nor is grunge in general really - I have to say, AXLAUSTADE crafted a compelling record (with the mixing help of Justin Raisen who has previously worked with the likes of Angel Olsen and the mastering help of Mike Bozzi who has worked w/ Childish Gambino). It's certainly heavy in places, much more mellow in others, and it is extremely polished with ventures off into shoegaze periodically. Check out "axl au stade" below:

"Across That Fine Line" - Nation of Language (you need to hear this!)

Photo credit - Piper Ferguson One of my favorite (newer) musical discoveries is the Brooklyn post-punk/new wave band, Nation of Language. Think of The National crossed with something New Order/Joy Division-inspired, and you would have them.  My favorite track off their sophomore album "A Way Forward" - which was just released! - is "Across That Fine Line." Listen to it and see if you aren't hooked immediately: On "A Way Forward!", the band nods toward the sounds of Kraftwerk and Neu!, and it's VERY easy to hear that in their music - with a uniquely 2021 twist. Honestly, it's been a minute since I've heard a good new post-punk band, so I'm happy I heard them this past year.  In 2022, they'll be headlining a tour of the EU. Dates below - if you live in the EU, see if you can catch them. COVID getting worse permitting: Nation   of   Language  Tour Dates: 01/10 - Cologne, DE @ YUCA [ tickets ] 01/11 - Antwerp, BE @ TRIX Bar [ no pre-sal

"Landline" - Little Boots

One other artist I've always enjoyed - in addition to the aforementioned Mr. Little Jeans - is Little Boots. She's a tremendously talented electropop artist I've been fortunate to follow since the beginning of her career. So I'm also happy to share with you today her latest single, the irresistible disco homage "Landline." Also, very cool news for the incredibly talented Little Boots: She'll be joining ABBA on their upcoming "ABBA Voyage" tour as a member of their backing band. So it makes kind of sense to see "Landline" packed full of disco inspiration. Her upcoming fourth album will be in the near future. 

"Jump to Fall" - Mr. Little Jeans

It's always a good time when there's a new Mr. Little Jeans single out! "Jump to Fall" dropped earlire this year, and I couldn't be happier for it. If you've never listened to this Norwegian singer-songwriter before, you're doing yourself a grave disservice, especially if you like light, easy-to-listen-to synthpop music. "Jump to Fall" follows that suit 100 percent - it's bouncy and it's delightful. Her new album - as of yet untitled - will be out in 2022! P.S. if you ever get the chance, catch Mr. Little Jeans live. She won't let you down.

"If You Lie Down With Me" - Lana Del Rey (and an update)

I haven't posted anything about my thoughts on the "Blue Banisters" album, but I really think it's a strong body of work from Lana. She's one of those rare modern artists who barely have a weak link in their discography. The closest she has to a not-that-great album is "Lust for Life," which still delivers some stellar cuts ("Heroin," "Tomorrow Never Comes," even "Summer Bummer" is pretty good.)  I would put "Blue Banisters" somewhere above "Chemtrails Over the Country Club" from earlier this year, but below some of her defining works, like "Norman Fucking Rockwell" and "Born to Die." My biggest gripe with the album is it's slightly all over the place, but that makes sense when you consider a lot of the tracks are B-sides from her earlier works.  My personal favorite on the album is the above "If You Lie Down With Me," which works as a melancholic song with a playful twis