Part two of the best tunes of late February (listen to part one here). This features big hitters from Santigold, The Shins, and The Magnetic Fields plus my favourite track from the new Tennis album, the return of M. Ward and The Mynabirds plus tracks from Stockholm, Copenhagen, Brighton and Olympia, WA. Mainly indie with a handful of electronica at the end, including a Depeche Mode remix that’s a couple of years old, but somehow found its way into my music folder last week…
Santigold ‘Disparate Youth’
This is the best track I’ve heard so far this year. A bunch of producers and collaborators have worked on the new album but I reckon this has the fingerprints of David Sitek on it (presumably the title is a pun on TV On The Radio’s ‘Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes’).
Has it really been five years since the last Shins album? Considering it’s called Simple Song, this actually has some fiddly prog bits on it and a proper pop vocal performance from James Mercer.
The Magnetic Fields ‘Andrew In Drag’
I was immune to the appeal of Stephin Merritt and The Magnetic Fields for quite a while, until I heard ‘Strange Powers’ over the credits of an episode of Bored To Death. This is up there with that song, wonderfully played and arranged, great lyrics and all comes in at 2 minutes 13 seconds.
Last year’s debut album ‘Cape Dory’ was a real grower. ‘Young & Old’, the second album from the husband and wife team is much more instant, chock full of surf and 60s girl group sounds like this bright pop soul number.
La Sera ‘Break My Heart’
Katy Goodman-from-The-Vivian-Girls’s other band. Sixties influenced indiepop.http://www.myspace.com/iamkatygoodman
The Mynabirds ‘Generals’
A departure from the debut Mynabirds album, which was wonderful but couched in much more classic 60s production techniques. This is a glam gospel stomper with handclaps. Reminds me a little of Danielle Dax circa Big Hollow Man. Free download over on the website.
Indie troubadour Matt Ward takes a break from She & Him to record a new solo album. This reminds me a little of Ed Harcourt. Must be that insistent piano riff.
http://mwardmusic.com/ Simian Ghost ‘Wolf Girl’
Swedish pop with classic influences, sounds like a featherlight version of Phoenix.
http://simianghost.com The Kills ‘Pale Blue Eyes’
I love The Kills. This surfaced in the middle of last year when they recorded it for Levi’s Pioneers Sessions, but it’s now getting a physical release so I thought it was worth revisiting. Covering an iconic Velvet Underground song is always a risk, but they’ve pulled it off with aplomb, bringing heir own highly stylized sound to it while retaining al the delicate charm of the original.
http://www.thekills.tv/ Dot ‘Simple Simon’
Glitch-y instrumental from 20 year old 20-year-old classical composer, pianist and opera singer-turned-producer Kate Ellwanger.
http://soundcloud.com/iamdot Tourist ‘Jupiter’
Second appearance this year from Brighton’s Will Phillips who previously recorded as Little Loud but is now going under the name Tourist. This, like the previous track, is taken from his Placid Acid EP. WhoMadeWho ‘Below The Cherry Moon’
Former Danish dance-punks continue their evolution into purveyors of “melancholy minimal techno-pop”. Like a moodier Hot Chip.
http://www.whomadewho.dk/ Depeche Mode ‘Fragile Tension (Kris Menace Universe Remix)’
Not quite sure how this one creeped into my music folder, think this first surfaced in 2009 and was on the Depeche Mode remix album last year. Too good to leave off.