Quick Thoughts: A while back I mentioned El Michels Affair, which sent me down a rabbit hole of international music. Among the finds was TEKE::TEKE, a Montreal-based band that merges 1960s-70s psych folk with traditional Japanese instrumentation and songwriting. Some songs, like "Kaminari," sound almost cinematic, while "Yoru Ni" feels like a more direct rock song. I am so, so glad I tripped up on TEKE::TEKE - my musical life is so much better with them in it.
Songs of Note: "Yoru Ni," "Barbara," "Kaminari"
Album: A Color of the Sky
Quick Thoughts: This is such a nice, subtle album. I loved so much of this record, and I hated that I missed it so early on. It's got a serene quality to it that counters some really complicated songwriting and gorgeous vocals. I wish I had more to say about this one, because it's truly a record that shouldn't be missed, but it's absolutely going to do the trick for you if you're seeking something different.
Songs of Note: "The Return," "Song of the Bell," "A Color of the Sky"
Quick Thoughts: Along with TEKE::TEKE, Altun Gün is a recent post-El Michels discovery. It's Turkish folk rock by way of the Netherlands, and it's such a chaotic blend of music that just works. It absolutely tickled my brain in a way little music has as of late, and I've found something new to love in this album on every listen. This, along with their Grammy-nominate Gese from 2019, should absolutely make your rotation.
Songs of Note: "Bulunur Mu," "Kara Toprak," "Yekte"
Album: Bristol County Tides
Quick Thoughts: Annie Keating is a country-tinged singer-songwriter from New York who gives me real Kathleen Edwards/Lucinda Williams vibes. I loved a lot of this, it has a lot going for it - it's got the right balance of rock and folk and would fit right in with any alt-country record over the last few decades. I hadn't heard of her prior to this week, but I'll definitely be digging into the back catalog.
Songs of Note: "Nobody Knows," "Blue Moon Tide," "Kindness"
Album: West Coast Love Stories
Quick Thoughts: Amon Tobin has so many side projects these days, it's getting hard to keep track. This one, an ambient-adjacent affair, is something I kept getting surprised by - it has a real proggy feel to it which is unexpected, but is still a solid listen from start to finish. If you like electronic stuff, give this a listen.
Songs of Note: "A Well Run Road," "West Coast Love Stories"
Quick Thoughts: Tashaki Miyaki had one of my favorite albums of 2017, and I have impatiently waited for the follow-up. This album moves away from the hazey gazey wall of sound that defined their debut in favor of a crisper alt/pop rock sound, and while it doesn't burn a hole in my consciousness quite the same way, it's an evolution for the band that works. There are a lot of good moments throughout this record, and plenty of room on the bandwagon that I'm driving.
Songs of Note: "Help Me," "I Feel Fine," "Good Times"
Album: Our Beautiful Baby World
Quick Thoughts: I don't quite know how I tripped up on Izzy True, but this album is such a great slice of indie rock that I didn't want to ignore it and didn't want it to end. There's a hidden dynamic complexity to these songs that stand out in unexpected ways, and the result is a record that shouldn't be ignored and should end up on some year-end lists.
* underscores - fishmonger (A solid slice of hyperpop.)
* Ellie Holcomb - Canyon (Christian Contemporary without being too Christian Contemporary.)
* iNTeLL and DLP -Computers For the Hood
* 2nd Generation Wu - Hereditary
* The Go! Team - Get Up Sequences Part One
* LoneLady - Former Things
* Polo and Pan - Cyclorama
* Izzy Johnson - Earth Tones
* Jesse Marchant - Antelope Running
* DZA - Bascar
* Montener the Menace - Anyone Home?
* Blinker the Star - Arista
* Bobby Gillespie and Jehnny Beth - Utopian Ashes
* Speed Stick - Volume One
* Laura Mvula - Pink Noise
* Desperate Journalist - Maximum Sorrow!
* BONZIE - Reincarnation
* Backxwash - I LIE HERE BURIED WITH MY RINGS AND MY DRESSES
* Bicep - Isles
* Molly Lewis - The Forgotten Edge (A champion whistler with a fun EP.)
* Bep Kororoti - The amazaon-naut
* Twin Oaks - Lock and Key
* Mr. Airplane Man - Winter Palm
* Tiberius b - Stains
* Chinatown Slalom - Meet the Parents
* Lisa Bastoni - Backyard Birds
* Indigo Maya - Martyrs
* Jenn Champion and Oyster Kids - Love Nobody EP
* snow ellet - suburban indie rock star
* Doom Flamingo - Flamingo