Wednesday, January 28, 2015

ESSENTIAL INDIE TRACKS FOR JANUARY 2015: Iain Woods, C Duncan, BC Camplight, Petite Noir,…

Don't seek further! The new indie tracks of January 2015 you have to hear are playlisted here.
Among hundreds of new releases, the essential ones this month are all about Indie Pop music. Sophisticated pop music, not the one you could find in the pop charts. Classic songwriting style, experimental, creative or simply melodious, all highlighted in this January 2015 playlist. With exceptionally 11 tracks, since Björk was rushed to release her new album this month instead of March, in the below player or directly from pleer, here!
1- Multi-instrumentalist Christopher Duncan aka C Duncan comes from Glasgow/Scotland/UK. Since this angelic little track “And I”, B- Side of the single "For" out last December, might not be on his forthcoming LP due to be released in summer 2015 on FatCat Records, here it is! With “Saythe second single, it is sounding like a very promising debut album.

2- It’s not with her ninth album, “Vulnicura”, that Björk is back into the pure pop world of her first albums: with the help of Venezuelan producer, Alejandro Ghersi, aka Arca whose debut album “Xen” came out last November, she is deeply into the experimental pop world. “History of Touches” is the shortest and most harmonious track.

3- Fan of Björk, British Art-Pop artist Iain Woodsfirst LP “Psychologist” issued 1 month ago on his soundcloud, was once a project called “Autophobe”, under his moniker name “Psychologist. After a few EPs (Stanislavsky, Waves of OK , Propeller EP in 2011 with a strange video) Psychologist, at that time, described his LP as “A trash-pop romp through an existential crisis” which is still the case after the releasing of "Psychologist" under his real name: it’s an Unidentified Flying Object.11 tracks as diverse as the featured Massive Attack-esque track “When Particules Collide”, the only one from his previous works who made it on the album, extracts of speeches( Panic Over), Timbaland-esque beats(The Dirty Movement), jazzy (Fiend), bluesy(Smoke), rock (Bella).Certainly intriguing.

4- It’s with a pinch of psych-pop that Canadian musician Alex Calder, once a collaborator of Mac DeMarco’s outfit Make out Videotape, released his debut album “Strange Dreams” this month, after 2 EPs in 2014. “Strange Dreams”, the first single, and “No Device” are examples of his dazed sound and vocals.

5- In UK, the young (under 25) generation of pop musicians, is over publicized with the guitar boys (Ed Sheeran, George Ezra,..) and the blue eyed soul ones (Sam Smith, John Newman,…) but there is an alternative approach that could be led by South London singer songwriter Alex Burey. His “Inside World” debut EP is out next February on bandcamp and he already delivered 2 tracks on soundcloud, last one being “The Intimidator”. Definitely intimidated by his talent!

6- The first single “Bored in the USA”, doesn’t reflect the variety of the 11 songs on the second album “I Love You Honeybear”, out next February, of Joshua Tillman under the Father John Misty moniker he is using since 2012 : folk, country, rock and pop. “True Affection” is the most sophisticated pop track with the synth beats.
7- Trying to understand Noah Lennox (aka Panda Bear) lyrics has always been a difficult task unless he repeats several times “Are You Mad ?” like in the track “Come To Your Senses”, the poppiest song of his fifth solo album “Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper” issued this month.

8- With 3 albums and several EPs, how come Fuji Kureta  remains quite unknown? Certainly because the synth-pop duo made of Deniz Öztürk, Şahin Kureta is coming from… Istanbul/Turkey. “Yetunde” EP is the latest release with the single “Open Up”. Oddly enough to mention, Deniz, has a deeper voice sounding like Björk, and also sings in French

9- Cape Town-based Yannick Ilunga aka Petite Noir's single in 2012, “Pressure, was labelled as Noirwave sound, but since “Noirse”, Petite Noir is close to the “neo” Kwaito sound, with exotic percussive loop samples, and his 5 tracks EP “The King of Anxiety” out this month and single “Chess” is a good taste of it. 

10- UK indie darlings Belle and Sebastian might find a younger generation of fans with their more playful ninth album “Girls in Peacetime Like to Dance” out in January. Among the 12 tracks, classic pop is still here along with "not so nice" dance pop tracks. “Perfect Couples”, that reconciles the 2 rhythm orientations, is quite an unusual track with its exotic percussions.
11- Despite the name of his third album, “How To Die In The North”, and after eight years since his last album, it’s a resurrection (from depression) for New Jersey’s pop songwriter Brian Christinzio, aka BC Camplight, and a relocation (in Manchester/UK) that lead to this 9 tracks album out this January. With a little help from 5 musicians on “You Should've Gone To School” he delivers a catchy tune full of sunshine-pop of the 60’s.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


For this fifth and last “Indie Tracks Best of 2014”, choosing 10 songs in the Indie Folk/Pop/Rock music genres out of hundreds heard this year was an unquiet business, so there is a little bit more! In addition to the tracks already recommended in the monthly essential Indie tracks (that you can check back in the older posts), the “Best of 2014” of No Music is above 110 tracks! Below or directly from pleer.
1- Nicole Miglis’ voice from Hundred Waters is one of the most elaborate female voice I’ve heard, from high pitched vocals to delicate wisp (around 1:36 “Yesterday was your birthday, happy birthday”) especially on this gorgeous track “Murmurs” part of their sophomore album “The Moon Rang Like a Bell” out last May. Along with her fellow musicians from Gainesville/Florida, now based in LA, they are creating a mosaic of bright digital sounds (even a police siren) and textures with an aery resonance.

2- English singer-songwriter from Devon, Ben Howard, also released a second album “I Forget Where We Were” last October. Being a surfer, he was once named the UK’s response to Jack Johnson or a new James Blunt and he is not the only British guy with guitar(to name a few, Ed Sheeran, Marcus Foster or more recently George Ezra), but his very recognizable husky voice makes the difference. “End Of The Affair” was the first single, “Small Things” video is made of cuts from Sean Penn’s movie “Into The Wild”.

3- The voice of Brisbane/Australia singer songwriter Benjamin Forbes is taking another magnitude on his solo project, Banff.Different from his vocals in disbanded indie rock outfit Little Casino, with a more pastoral folk twist. “Stand In Line” is a take from his upcoming EP, “Future Self”.

4- After a couple of EPs, 4 piece band from Melbourne/Australia, Lowlakes released their debut dark dream-pop album “Iceberg Nerves” last February. Frontman Tom Snowdon’s voice ranges between Antony Hegarty and Hayden Thorpe (Wild Beasts). Funnily, “Cold Company” beats reminds me the ones from a French band in the 70’s, Martin Circus "Je m'éclate au Sénégal".
5- From Birmingham/Alabama, comes Orenda Fink. Apart from playing in Azure Ray and having another project (on hiatus for the moment), O + S she issued a third solo album last August, “Blue Dream”.The "Ace of Cups" Tarot card's meaning is of joy and inner peace from friends and family, which perfectly reflects the tone of this track, warm and enveloping.

6- 23-years-old and ex NYU students, Jesse Aicher and Matt Walsh, are Prelow.They have a few songs on their soundcloud and are preparing material for an upcoming EP. “Mistakes like This” is a song from/for an uninhibited generation (regarding sex and pronunciation!).

7- “So What?” is the expression used when we don’t give a shit about something and it’s the title of this track from Californian Avi Zahner-Isenberg aka Avi Buffalo second album “At Best Cuckhold” out last September. The chorus cheerfully repeats 16 times “So What?”. What a treat!

8- Escaping from the duo he is/was in with Giacomo, London graffiti artist Sam Sure released a solo single, Hunger, with remixes to fill an EP last October. Synth Pop at its best !

9- Cosmo's Midnight is twin brothers and remixers Cosmo & Patrick Liney from Sydney/Australia. After a few EPs of their own material, bouncy single “Snare, featuring Wild Eyed Boy (not Bowie himself) was out last November on soundcloud.

10- I’m a big fan of English band Breton since their debut in 2010. “Got Well Soon” from their sophomore album “War Room Stories” was already in the February 2014 Best Indie Tracks  and “Envy”, with the perfect introduction of speedy steel beats at 1:34, is their catchiest track ever!
11- "Inside Out" is about time: some bands don’t disappear and for 20 years, this has fortunately been for Austin/Texas band Spoon. Alex Fischel, part of Divine Fits with Britt Daniel and Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs and new band Operators)is also in Spoon’s eighth album “They Want My Soul” out last August.

12- After a first solo album "Phrazes for the Young" in 2009, The Strokes frontman, Julian Casablancas, has teamed up with The Voidz to release his second one, “Tyranny” last September. “Take Me In Your Army” is unexpectedly very poppy.

13- As previously said here, the surprising discovery, at Pitchfork Festival in Paris last November, came from the 4 piece Montreal based and punk-esque band Ought.Even though the comparison with David Byrne sound and look -alike member, guitarist and vocalist Tim Beeler was too obvious, especially on this track “Habit” from their first "proper" full-length album “More Than Any Other Day”, issued in April, they overstepped this cliché.They released a third EP “Once More With Feeling...” last October.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


Now that Austin Psych Festival has revealed the first names of the 8th edition for May 8-10, 2015 (with Tame Impala, hopefully with new material) and to continue the Smoke Filled Haze playlist from last March with Temples, Holy Wave,… by discovering what was new in the indie-psych genre since then, here below are the 10 best new psych tracks of 2014 from pop, rock to even rap ! Directly from pleer here .
1- The psychedelic inside Sunbeam Sound Machine, project of Nick Sowersby from Melbourne/ Australia, comes out of dreamy, hazy pop. After 2 Eps last year, his 13 tracks debut album “Wonderer” was out in November with a preview single “Real Life”. The scratching guitars at the beginning of “Wandering,I” sound like the debut of “While you Wait for the Othersde Grizzly Bear.
2- Comparison with Tame Impala regarding Milwaukee quintet Canopies was obvious on “Miss You Now”, first 2014 single and on the second one “Getting Older. Now that their debut album “Maximize Your Faith” was out this December, there is more to expect from them. The swirling synths in “The Year Of Jubilee” are gorgeous.

3- Swirling guitars this time in “Hips” track of Portland/ Oregon three piece, Astro Tan. As they are quoting on their bandcamp page “Let's not put a label on it...” their music range goes from americana, jazz, rock, blues. All these sub genres clearly perceptible in the “Soma” EP out last July. They also released “Circle The Wagons” EP last November.
4- Hailing from Porto Alegre/Brazil, the 4 guys of Wannabe Jalva are playing “psychedelic groove rock” and always singing in English.For his vintage groove, “Miracle” is taken from their sophomore EP “Collecture” available on soundcloud last August.

5- VanaprastaAccording to the Indian spiritual tradition, “Vanaprastha” is the third stage in the life of a person that leads to go to the forest to meditate towards self-realization. The five guys from Silver Lake/Los Angeles have been around for a while in the psychedelic rock scene but their single NYF (Numb Your Feelings) dropped last January with its reverb-warmed guitars, might well be their break out one.

6- Also coming from Silver Lake, the now trio band, Lower Heaven made no updates on its Facebook page and its website, despite a third album “Pulse” released last July with a following EP “Home and Away” to a global media inattention!Although Marcos Chloka, the band singer songwriter, is creating impeccable reverb hypnotic rhythms.  Entropy” is one example.

7- Already a fourth album out last August "Time Is Over One Day Old”, for Brooklyn trio Bear In Heaven. With metronomic drums and rock anthem chorus, “Time Between” is right into the psychedelic space-rock sphere.

8- Perth/Australia quartet, Pond is the closest band to Tame Impala, since they are sharing 2 members. "Elvis' Flaming Star” is the glam Bowie-esque track (Modern Love), taken from 6th album 'Man It Feels Like Space Again' out on Jan 23.

9- Last November, the Leeds/UK psych-punk band Hookworms returned with a second album “The Hum”. “On Leaving” is a classic krautrock track with a slowly growing energy.


10- Action Bronson is Arian Asllani from Flushing/Queens. Before becoming a hip hop rapper, he was a professional chef and he is still appearing in videos dedicated to food, using his signature phrase: "F---, that's delicious" for Munchies, the website and digital video channel from VICE. By sampling Mazhar Ve Fuat "Adımız Mıskınder Bızım", “Easy Rider” the single of his forthcoming album “Dr.Wonderful” has a good 70’s psych groove.Check the video

More Indie Best Tracks of 2014 to come...