You know how rudimental it works on internet with new songs: one music blog is posting a new single, then another blog borrows it, and so on. Same song on repeat, whatever the quality of it is. Fortunately, this monthly “Essential Tracks” is a constructive step back, giving time to several listening to singles and other songs on a full forthcoming album, for then building a conducting thread, other than being fresh songs (no more than one month). The (many) leftovers are either tracks that don’t come up with something really new, just empty and endless renditions of fashionable sounds (think electro R&B), or will reappear in another themed playlist (for instance, Alabama Shakes “Don't Wanna Fight” )or in the year end lists.
Like in January, the essential indie tracks of February 2015 are also all about Indie Pop and quite dominated by UK bands, I must say. In the below player or directly from pleer, here!
1- This is a complete new debut for London/UK band Portico, ex Portico Quartet. Shorter name to reflect that they are now a trio, new sound, new label, Ninja Tune, same one than Jono McCleery who already posted last November “ Bright Luck”, this track being on Portico’s fourth album “Living Fields” out in April, and more importantly songwriting, for they we’re playing mostly instruments before (check back the tracks “Ruins” or “Lacker Boo” .9 new gorgeous vocal tracks that will certainly give Portico more visibility on the music scene, with Jono McCleery (4 tracks), Jamie Woon (1), and 3 with Joe Newman (from Alt-J) including “101”. Should have been named “103” since he is singing “With a temperature of 103”!
2- Scott Matthew, not to be mistaken for Scott Matthews, English singer songwriter, both having distinctive voices, quite tormented for the Australian native and now living in Brooklyn. “Skyline” is the melancholic second single of his fourth album, full of grace, “This Here Defeat” out in March.
3- In addition to the already long list of Manchester/UK bands , here comes another four member band: Shinies. After a serie of singles and one EP, getting a bit of hate for the “Ennui” video, they released their debut album “Nothing Like Something Happens Anywhere” this February. Rumbling drums and of guitar reverbs is their definition of a slow jam and it’s all in “Waves”. Check the rest of the 9 tracks.
4- We were familiar with the beautiful sonic landscapes of the first 2 albums of American trio from Stillwater/Oklahoma, Other Lives, ex Kunek. “Reconfiguration”, the first single of its third, 14 tracks LP “Rituals” out in May, is definitely in line with “Dead Can” on the “Mind The Gap” EP, which already showed a more electro side of Other Lives compositions.
5- Edinburg based trio, Young Fathers, one of my favourite bands, released a single “Soon Come Soon ” last December, in the same alternative hip-hop vein than its Mercury prize winning album “Dead”, out last year, that won’t be part of the 12 tracks third album due in April, controversially named “White Men Are Black Men Too”. The first single is a more poppy track “Rain Or Shine” as powerful as the band is live.
6- Funky tracks like first single “Feel Safe” are still present in the eponym debut album of Liverpool/UK based band All We Are, but half of the 11 tracks are also catchy synth-pop songs. Since every blog already posted the Scissor Sisters-esque single, “Keep Me Alive”, let’s lend an hear to “Ebb/Flow” which stands out with a deep metallic beat.
7- Birmingham/UK quartet Peace’s second album out this February, “Happy People” has 18 tracks in it! Away from the Vampire Weekend tone of its debut, Peace now found its own way into the sound of the 90’s UK indie styles, especially on "World Pleasure". Not ashamed to say: Give Peace a Chance!
8- Indie Pop/Rock music in the 90’s was at his best in UK: along with The Stone Roses , The Charlatans appeared on the music scene in 1990 with “The Only One I Know” and later “Weirdo”. Despite the years and losses, their 12th latest album, “Modern nature” out end of January and packed with great tracks, is a good demonstration that this band is always alive and kicking along with singer Tim Burgess new oxidized haircut. “So Oh” was an early standout and has also a remix by Anton Newcombe (Brian Jonestown Massacre).
9- Skipping tune, “Where The Sky Hangs”, second single in a row taken from Massachusetts /USA band, Passion Pit third album “Kindred” set for an April release, is announcing a promising set of catchy synth-pop songs like the band is used to.
10- Guitarist Graham Coxon is back again in English band Blur, so a single like “Go Out” taken from a long awaited eight album (12 years!) “The Magic Whip” to be released in April, is always good news. To illustrate thearduous relationship between Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon, in 2006 Coxon released a song called “I Don’t Wanna Go Out” !