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 Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: breno 
Date:   07-04-17 10:45

1. Slowdive - Slowdive
No surprise that this would turn up at the #1 spot on my list. Most likely it will still be there at the end of the year. What's gratifying is seeing the near universal acclaim for the album, as critics fall all over themselves to praise it. It's a nice change from Slowdive's first time around, when they were basically ridiculed into breaking up, and I must admit I enjoy the big fat "I told you so" feeling I get from the rest of the world finally catching up with what I knew 25 years ago. And not only is the album great at restating what was always special about Slowdive, but on songs like "Star Roving," they address one of the main issues people always had with them, and they fucking rawk. But still sound like Slowdive while doing so.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogCih4OavoY

2. Natalie Hemby - Puxico
Hemby has penned hits for some of the biggest stars in country music, like Miranda Lambert, but on her first solo album she has more in common with Gillian Welch and Iris Dement than her big name clients. Puxico is an album about life in the small town Midwest, attempting to capture a record of a way of life before it fades away completely. Best of the bunch is "Cairo, IL," as gorgeous a song as has ever been written about a once-thriving town that is barely more than a memory now, and sums up the feeling of the place perfectly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3qDgBr8vyo

3. Idles - Brutalism
An aptly named album, Brutalism is as righteous a punch in the face as anyone has released in the last few years. I'm not sure what the song "Rachel Khoo" has to do with the titular goddess of food porn, but she sure seems to have Idles riled up for some reason.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B8Pkvw611Y

4. Chicano Batman - Freedom Is Free
The older I get, the greater a hold nostalgia has on me. So a band that sounds like any given week of America's Top 40 from 1971 thrown into a blender is going to get my attention. Chicano Batman mix old school soul grooves with psychedelia and sunshine pop to sound in a way that does my old, cholesterol clogged heart good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3k9TVfnHH8Q

5. Blondie - Pollinator
I've liked all of Blondie's post-reunion albums for the most part, but Pollinator feels the closest to a good, old fashioned Blondie album that they've done, which is odd, considering that it's stuffed to the gills with guest stars and guest writers. But it seems like Blondie themselves are happier with this album than any of their other recent ones, given the huge push it's been given. There's still a Destri-shaped hole in the proceedings, though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaL-G9zVxzk

6. Land of Talk - Life After Youth
I liked Land of Talk's earlier albums, but I never remembered them being this good. They sound like Madder Rose with a recording budget, which is a very good thing in my book.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ScgvyuJHMo

7. Moon Duo - Occult Architecture Vol. 1
Great scuzzy psych-rock. Like the Black Angels, if that band ever got around to writing more than one song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1B6V8iuY68?

8. Ride - Weather Diaries
The year's other great Shoegaze reunion. Like Lush did with their comeback EP last year, Ride wisely choose to pretend their detour in Britpop never happened and get back to the jangle-gaze that they excelled at in the first place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nW_lRP2RqX8

9. Son Volt - Notes of Blue
He shouldn't have to, but every few years Jay Farrar seems to feel the need to release an album designed to remind people that hey, Tweedy is cool and all, but HE was the soul of Uncle Tupelo and can go toe-to-toe with St. Jeff any time he feels like it. Notes of Blue is one of those albums.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1aHfWdVDRA

10. Charly Bliss - Guppy
It should've been obvious when Letters To Cleo turned up on Parks & Recreation a few years back that a resurgence was nigh. The little girl vocals + crunchy indie rock guitar sound of Cleo, Belly, Veruca Salt, Juliana Hatfield, etc., got a bit cloying back in the 90s, but a 20 year absence can turn annoyance into affection. I doubt if anyone in Charly Bliss was older than a toddler in 1995, but they channel the sound pretty flawlessly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9DEK9mNVRU

Bubbling under the top 10 - Chastity Belt, British Sea Power, Ray Davies, San Fermin, Aimee Mann, Jay Som, Paramore



Post Edited (07-04-17 11:21)

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: mats84 
Date:   07-04-17 11:47

Off the top of my head some stuff that I liked in no order (although I obviously need to listen to more new release stuff because I'm missing all that's on breno's list, but I did like the Ray Davies).

I suspect when I catch up that things may look different at end of the year....

Spoon - Hot Thoughts
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - French Press EP
Afghan Whigs - In Spades
Cloud Nothings - Life Without Sound
Paul Weller - A Kind Revolution
Japandroids - Near to The Wild Heart




Post Edited (07-06-17 13:52)

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: BCE 
Date:   07-04-17 16:34

Cloud Nothings - Life Without Sound
The Courtneys - II
Hurray For The Riff Raff - The Navigator
Japandroids - Near to The Wild Heart
John Mellencamp - Sad Clowns & Hillbillies - most overlooked album of 2017
Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.
Lordy - Melodrama
The Sneetches - reissue comp
The Menzingers - After The Party
Wavves - You're Welcome

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: Paganizer 
Date:   07-06-17 10:42

Listened to a few times and partially enjoyed (+best song):
Fucked Up - Year of the Snake
Goldfrapp - Anymore
Pissed Jeans - Bar is Low
Proper Ornaments - Magazine
Ty Seagall - Talkin'
Sleaford Mods - Drayton Manored
Slowdive - Star Roving
Thurston Moore - [all will please the core; nothing will stand out for others]
Wire - Short, Elevated Period

Had hopes but was disappointed :
Spoon - plain
Cloud Nothings - I've liked 'em before. Snooze.
GBV - usually there are at least a handful of good tracks
Fleet Foxes - random easy-listening snatchlets glued together hooklessly. NPR porn. Grammy bait.
Mountain Goats - why no guitar on an album about goth. Why? Whyyyy?
Wavvves - There are two tracks I like and a bunch I'll never hear again (Come to the Valley?). Better luck next time.
Grandaddy - Jeez, I used to like these guys. Maybe just a misstep.
British Sea Power - The most boring thing they've ever done. They've been steering sailing toward this.
Clap Your Hands - Downward since first LP. Maybe back up after this?
Ray Davies - over-produced and soulless
Nick Cave - in some ways it's flawless but I can't listen to this much dreary pain
Real Estate - didn't they already make this album?
Gorrilaz - I always take a look and have appreciated the project but this is just product and embarrassingly so

Can't suss if it's brilliant or twee shite. What say you?:
Saint Etienne

Best vid:
Los Campesinos - 5 Flucloxacillin
(but nothing will ever beat Stealing Sheep - Apparition)


The repeat listeners:

Magnetic Fields - 50 Year Memoir - They don't all work but each has a kernel of originality. It was hubris to put out five discs when it fits on two, but there are a dozen Merritt classics

Rancid - Trouble Maker - You already know what it sounds like, and this will really please fans. It is thought-out and crafted.

Soviet Soviet - Endless - Fresh NuGaze. Not awesome but pretty good.

Mastodon - Emperor of Sand - I give little truck to teen metal, but when the mood strikes... RIYL - erm, Mastodon

Sallie Ford - Soul Sick - What a great singer-songwriter. Stands out from the current bloated pack la Courtney Barnett. Wait, it's always bloated isn't it.

Japandroids - Near to the Wild - How many great albums can they make in a row?

Shins - Heartworms - Some of his best ever. Catchy as shit after a few spins.

Feelies - In Between - Who doesn't love a new Feelies. Several classic Feelies-type tracks.

Jesus & Mary Chain - Damage & Joy - Like the new MBV, better a decade late than never. If you have followed the Reids, you've heard most of this. Jim released a few of these as "Freeheat" and William as "Lazycame" and "Sister Vanilla". But these are re-recordings (except for the recent single and the soundtrack offering), punched up, sonic-fied. The newly-writtens are just as good. You know what it sounds like, but it's great to have them releasing again and it's strong material. You two boys shake hands and play nice!

New Pornographers - Whiteout Conditions - It's an easy assumption that without Bejar it's not going to be the same; that it's an AC Newman solo joint. That would be the wrong assumption. Maybe the best since Twin Cinema.

Ride - Weather Diaries - Different than the two I love dearly [Nowhere-US & Going Blank Again] but in a good way. Better with each spin.

edit::
From the sounds of the live material the new Fall [this month] will be welcome.
Found this thread but never found the Best-of-2016, to post mine. Maybe I'll dig it up later if anyone has interest.



Post Edited (08-17-17 04:53)

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: Delvin 
Date:   07-06-17 11:47

Afghan Whigs - In Spades
British Sea Power - Let the Dancers Inherit the Party
Cloud Nothings - Life Without Sound
Dude York - Seriously
Japandroids - Near to the Wild Heart of Life
The Jesus & Mary Chain - Damage & Joy
Ride - Weather Diaries
Spoon - Hot Thoughts
White Reaper - The World's Best American Band
Wire - Silver/Lead



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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: breno 
Date:   07-06-17 12:16

Quote:

Grandaddy - Jeez, I used to like these guys. Maybe just a misstep.


Yeah, that one's my disappoint of the year so far. I was really looking forward to it, and it starts off okay but boy, the back 2/3 are a slog.

Of course, that's based entirely on my memory of my one listen to it the weekend it came out. The front 1/3 might be a slog, also, if I get around to listening to it again.



Post Edited (07-06-17 12:19)

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: mats84 
Date:   07-06-17 13:51


Just curious if this one has gotten to the ears of most TP'ers. Knowing the love that all kind hearted people have for the Go-Betweens I really think that would go over like gangbusters once heard. Posted a Youtube link for it below, for the curious who maybe missed it so far:

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - French Press EP

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEnSnJrOWVs&t=706s




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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: Delvin 
Date:   07-06-17 17:21

> Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - French Press EP

Yes, we have that one at KSER. Good stuff.

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: Aitch 
Date:   07-06-17 20:06

I found it hard to get into Do To The Beast. Is In Spades superior?

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   07-07-17 10:07

Absolutely. I had the same problem with Do to the Beast. In Spades is superior, in my opinion.

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   07-07-17 10:11

Gonna have to check these guys out, but holy crap, what a terrible band name.

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: zwirnm 
Date:   07-07-17 10:22

Listening now and I definitely hear the Go-Betweens influence.

Terrible band name.

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   07-07-17 10:35

Since that's not an influence one hears very often these days, that's pretty much requires me to give 'em a spin.

I gotta say, though, All Music Guide comparing them to Parquet Courts, a band I know most everyone loves but I can't stand, gives me pause. I will assume that's AMG being, well, AMG, and ignore it.

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: zwirnm 
Date:   07-07-17 10:47

I cannot stand Parquet Courts either, having seen them a year or two ago, but I can definitely see the Go-Betweens/Flying Nun references for RBCF...

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   07-07-17 10:58

Are you familiar with an Australian band called Dick Diver? A pal of mine is recommending I listen to them instead of RBCF.

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: mats84 
Date:   07-07-17 13:32


Dick Diver are a fine band but not one to listen to at the expense of RBCF imo (maybe in addition to, time permitting) and I say that for the worst of all reasons first and foremost...........RBCF seems completely in tune with making it (on Subpop) and have been really savvy I think about those 2 EP's and SXSW appearances whereas Dick Diver I feel might have missed their moment but maybe not.......I haven't heard much from them lately.

Calendar Days by Dick Diver was a very good record a couple years back and while I do like their jangle pop very much I'm not sure I get the same chills from them that I do from RBCF. But, your mileage may vary there.......




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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   07-07-17 14:08

I just spun RBCF and am now listening to Dick Diver's Melbourne Florida. I'm not getting chills from either one, but thus far DD is doing it for me more than RBCF.

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   07-07-17 14:32

I need to give RBCF another spin, for sure. But so far Dick Diver is hitting me the same way the Go-Betweens, Aztec Camera, the Apartments and the Bats do, and that makes my grizzled old college rock/Trouser Press/120 Minutes-loving heart happy.

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: zwirnm 
Date:   07-10-17 13:14

Did Australia impose a punitive import tariff on any decent band names, making them prohibitively expensive for young musicians?

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   07-10-17 13:45

Dick Diver sounds like a porn star, but it's a reference to F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night, so I'll give 'em that one. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever is indeed terrible, though. I guess they can't all be King Snake Roost.

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: breno 
Date:   07-10-17 14:18

Were there two bands, Rolling Blackouts and Coastal Fever, that merged or something? Or were they deeply divided on two different names and compromised by smooshing them together? Because that's what it sounds like.

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   07-10-17 14:34

There was an American (I think) jam band called the Rolling Blackouts for a while, so maybe they wanted to avoid confusion. (Didn't work - I thought it was the same band with an album called Coastal Fever.) Though why they didn't just change their name to something less of a mouthful I don't know.

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: mats84 
Date:   07-10-17 16:06


I have to say fellow TP'ers I'm a bit saddened that a band (to my ears) as good as RCBF have so far generated more discussion for their (awful) name than their (excellent) EP.

Then again, what do I know, I hold all Aussie bands to the "Lubricated Goat" name standard ..........




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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   07-10-17 16:20

I've given RBCF another spin and will likely do so again. Not a bad band, by any means. But I'm also not hearing anything that makes them extraordinary. I don't mean to give them hell over their name (I could do the same with probably a good 80% of today's modern rock acts) at the expense of their music, but said music isn't distracting me from the awfulness of their name, either. And like I said, Dick Diver hits the Go-Betweens chord more truly for me than RBCF. One's mileage always varies.

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: Familyman 
Date:   07-12-17 10:21

John Foxx and The Maths: "The Machine"
Echo and the Bunnymen "It's All Live Now"
The Suburbs "Hey Muse"
Garland Jeffreys: "14 Steps to Harlem"
Pama International "Love and Austerity"



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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: breno 
Date:   07-12-17 14:48

I do like that new Bunnymen live album, and the fact that their cover of "She Cracked" is (mostly) of the less commonly heard Kim Fowley version of the song. I prefer the Cale version, but like the Fowley version an awful lot, also.

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: Familyman 
Date:   07-16-17 21:25

I forgot to add the incredible new single "Damned for Eternity" from Brix and The Extricated (which is Brix Smith Smart, Steve Hanley, Paul Hanley, Steve Trafford, and Jason Brown--most of whom, of course, are ex-Fall members...).



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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: Familyman 
Date:   07-16-17 21:56

Breno,

When I first encountered Echo and the Bunnymen with the release of "Porcupine" back as a teenager in 1983, I was so dopey and unaware of the The Doors/1960s psychedelia influence (see the Byrds homage "Angels and Devils"--an "Ocean Rain" related b-side to "Silver" that I didn't encounter until their box set "Crystal Days") on the band. I hated The Doors and everything that "classic" rock represented--I thought the Bunnymen and all the post-punk/new wave bands I was listening to were a clean break from all that, right?! But when I heard their cover of "People Are Strange" on "The Lost Boys" soundtrack, the connection was painfully obvious. I've forgiven Mac long ago and my love for the band has only deepened over the years.

Their Richman cover is awesome and even though this is sort of odd album, all of these tracks work quite well in their Bunnymen interpretations (and "Crocodiles" and "Do It Clean" fit in with everything else). Will Sergeant, Les Pattinson, and Pete De Freitas (RIP) were brilliant, as always.

Steve



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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: STEVE 
Date:   07-16-17 23:15

time to drum up Mac interviews (subtitles are optional) on youtube. I'm out.



Post Edited (07-16-17 23:31)

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 Re: Faves from the first half of 2017
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   08-16-17 14:29

Has anybody heard the new album from Australia's Stevens, called Good? It's a lot more derivative than Dick Diver or RBCF, trawling through the files of Guided By Voices, the psychedelic end of the Flying Nun roster and - especially, to my ears - the Elephant 6 crew, most specifically (but not solely) the Apples in Stereo. But though they seem more comfortable borrowing other identities instead of developing their own, they do each of these things very well, and have some darn solid songs on which to hang their thievery. It's definitely scratching an old school alt.rock/pop itch.

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