Members of Sonic Youth, Yeasayer, Bon Iver, Don Caballero, Books, Vivian Girls and Hot Chip turn up in alternative guises in this playlist of some of the best songs I’ve heard so far this year. A lot of electronica, a lot of it retro and some definite Krautrock influences, but all of it good.
Sinkane ‘Jeeper Creeper’ Ahmed Gallab from Yeasayer’s other band. Rhythmically not a million miles away from the latter’s ‘2080’.Saint Etienne ‘Tonight’ seven years since their last album, this sounds like they never went away. Dancefloor friendly pop at it’s best. Labyrinth Ear ‘Humble Bones’ hipster retro. Brotherhood era- New Order feel to this with some breathy female vocals. Miike Snow ‘Paddling Out’ much better than that slightly disappointing Lykke Li collaboration, imho. Roxy Music ‘Love Is The Drug’ (Todd Terje Disco Dub) Todd Terje, the man of the moment offers up this excellent remix of the Roxy classic with one of the best basslines of the 70s. Sleigh Bells ‘Comeback Kid’ first single proper from second album doesn’t fuck with the girly vocals / distorted guitar formula. Of Montreal ‘Dour Percentage’ 70s style soft pop – reminds me of Steely Dan with elements of early Bowie and Psychedelia. Some nice percussion, flute and wordless vocals. Oberhofer ‘HEART’ definite Arcade Fire, Beirut and Animal Collective influences in this modern baroque pop, hints of Brian Wilson. Indie with ambition. La Sera ‘Please Be My Third Eye’ Katy Goodman from Vivian Girls still tapping that rich 80s indie seam.
Butcher Boy ‘The Day Our Voices Broke’ charming throwback 80s indie in an I’m-a big-fan-of-Felt-circa-Penelope-Tree kinda way.Black Marble ‘The Pretender’ I’m sensing Kraftwerk and The Cure and a lot of Clan of Xymox. Grimes ‘Genesis’ pretty art-pop from Montreal’s Claire Boucher. Lower Dens ‘Brains’ Motorik rhythms, mumbled vocals, echo-laden guitars and understated synths add up to a hypnotic whole from this Baltimore band. Disappears ‘Replicate’ more motorik drumming (from Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley), flanged guitar and barked vocals sounds like Mark E Smith meets The Stooges meets Joy Division meets Girls Against Boys. Zammuto ‘F U C-3PO’ Former Books man Nick Zammuto delivers something intriguing with quite a few layers: hints of Pink Floyd circa Meddle, vocodered vocals, 60s melodicism, psychedelic backwards guitar, electronic nosies and some acoustic guitar. Tourist ‘Placid Acid’ Brighton-based producer formerly known as Little Loud delivers instrumental head-nodder. Todd Terje ‘Swing Star Pt 1’ Norwegian DJ/producer plays space disco composed on a vintage ARP2600 analog synthesizer. Retro hipsterism. Clark ‘Com Touch’ Most retro electronica seems to reference the 80s. Warp Records veteran Chris Clark delivers something that taps into the previous decade. SBTRKT ‘Atomic Peace’ After a stellar 2011 the UK producer digs out this unreleased cut from 2009 which samples Múm’s ‘Flow Not So Fast My Old Mountain Radio’. New Build ‘Do You Not Feel Loved?’ Al Doyle and Felix Martin from Hot Chip with their warmer, more engaging side project. Tanlines ‘Brothers’ dance music from Brooklyn featuring Eric Emm (bassist for the late 90s incarnation of Pittsburgh post-rockers Don Caballero) Zola Jesus ‘In Your Nature (David Lynch Remix)’ Like much of Gen Y, Zola Jesus lacks any idea of when something is actually any good or not. The Eraserhead director gives this so-so album track just what it needs to make it special, stripping away the histrionic strings adding an insistent rhythm track and foregrounding the vocals.
Poliça ‘Lay Your Cards Out’ Minneapolis band team up with Mike Noyce from Bon Iver for a bit of 21st Century trip hop.
Aaron + Alia ‘Wicked Game’ Former Chairlift dude Aaron Pfenning and Arrested Development actress Alia Shawkat (Maeby Fünke) with a dreamy version of the Chris Isaak classic.Lambchop ‘If Not I’ll Just Die’ Lush and beautiful opener from the Nashville alt/country/soul/indie band’s forthcoming 11th album ‘Mr.M’ (dedicated to the late Vic Chesnutt).