Monday, 5 August 2019

Q#126 - June to July 2019

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Q's Compilations
Vol #126 – June to July 2019

Here we are, at least a couple of heatwaves into summer already. I had a nice but lowkey trip back home for a week and am looking forward to heading back again in November. The concert going has been a lot slower so far this year (we’re in August and I haven’t hit half of what I was aiming for), but that probably shows that I’m happier in general!

01) Top Nachos – Vegan Donuts: When trawling through show listings I felt like I couldn’t not check out a band called Top Nachos… that they’re super fun rockers should not be a surprise.

02) Jawbox – Savory: You can’t hear every band but it does seem surprising that I had never heard of Jawbox until they recently got back together to tour for the first time in 20 years. As far as alternate-rock bands of the 90s go, I felt like I was pretty knowledgeable, and Jawbox would have landed fairly squarely in the middle of my venn diagram at the time. I was out of town when they played a Brooklyn show recently so hopefully they’ll stick around.

03) Purling Hiss – Useful Information: Compared to previous efforts, this tune is fairly hippy-like, though there’s still room for a killer guitar solo. This is from a new digital-only EP called Interstellar Blue which you can listen to on their bandcamp page.

04) The Minus Five – My Collection: I saw The Minus Five recently, who are touring off the back of the just-released album, Stroke Manor. Both of those things are remarkable because Scott McCaughey suffered a stroke in 2017 and was told he may never be able to play music again. Thankfully, McCaughey has fully recovered, looked and sounded amazing, and the album is a corker too. The live band was rounded out by Peter Buck and Mike Mills of REM (they even performed Texarkana which will be hard to top as a gig-moment of the year).

05) Sacred Paws – Almost It: Two-piece Sacred Paws (guitarist Rachel Aggs and drummer Eilidh Rodgers) have crafted one of the most upbeat and catchy records of the summer, Run Around the Sun, which dancey beats, bright guitars and a smattering of horns.

06) Twen – Damsel: Nashville duo Twen are set to release their debut album, Awestruck, next month and this lead single is a delightfully shimmering rocker.

07) White Reaper – Might Be Right: Another catchy and anthemic rocker for you, White Reaper have excelled at Thin Lizzy-esque twin lead guitar parts and shredding solos with pop sensibilities, and this new single might be the most “pop” they’ve ever been.

08) Liz Phair – Why Can’t I?: Emily comments “an extremely horny song”, which is accurate and to the point. Liz Phair caught some flack for her self-titled 2003 album for being too pop and polished, but what people seemed to miss is that the songs are great! She recently played a free show in Prospect Park which was superb.

09) Jenny Lewis – Red Bull and Hennessy: Former Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis has probably just released the best Fleetwood Mac album with On the Line (her first solo album in five years, though there was a Nice As Fuck record in 2016). This was the lead single for the album.

10) Max Pain and the Groovies – Checkin’ Out Late: This Brooklyn-via-Salt Lake City quartet have nailed a psych-rock-n-roll mix over the course of 2 Eps and one LP so far in their discography. This one is from their latest EP, 2018’s Sounds From the Hole.

11) Wand – Thin Air: California’s Wand have been shifting from a Ty-Segall-esque garage rock band to a psychedelic act for a couple of records at least now, possibly reaching their zenith with new album Laughing Matter (released again on Drag City Records). This song is about as close to Radiohead as you can get without actually being Radiohead.

12) The Appleseed Cast – Chaotic Waves: I’ve seen The Appleseed Cast live three times (including May 2019) and have thoroughly enjoyed each one, but have never listened to any of their records. Having said that, The Fleeting Light of Impermanence is the band’s first record in six years and this is an excellent song.

13) Bikini Kill – Rebel Girl: Seminal riot grrrl band Bikini Kill just got back together this year to play some shows, which included one at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn that I went to.

14) Uranium Club – Man is the Loneliest Animal: If jagged, wirey post-punk is your thing then Minneapolis act Uranium Club should be up your alley. This song has more than a whiff of Unwound about it at times but sometimes I want all bands to sound like Unwound.

15) Ellis – The Drain: I went to Central Park Summerstage in May to see Alvvays, who were excellent, but Ellis opened up the show and while it was at times hard to hear over the natter of the disrespectful crowd, I was still won over. Similar to what I said about wanting all bands to sound like Unwound, sometimes I also feel that way about Kitchens of Distinction…

16) Laura Stevenson – Living Room NY: The Big Freeze is Laura Stevenson’s fifth album, and fourth on Don Giovanni. The record has a bit of a cabin-in-the-woods vibe for the most part, which is harder to do well than people give credit for.

17) Sarah Bethe Nelson – Weird Glow: San Francisco artist Sarah Bethe Nelson just released hir third album on Burger Records, of which this is the title track. If you were to think about what a jangle-infused, West Coast indie-country song would sound like, you’d probably conjure up something like this.

18) REM – Texarkana: I mentioned this song earlier so I had to put it on the mix. Hearing Mike Mills and Peter Buck play this live recently really hammered home how much I miss the band since last seeing them in 2008. Anyway, what a great song this is (as are all Mike Mills-led REM songs?).

19) The Sidekicks – Don’t Feel Like Dancing: This song has missed out on being on a mix at least two prior times, so it would be cruel to leave it off again. Happiness was released in May 2018 and this is just one of those bright and catchy pop-rock songs that end up being hard to get out of your head.

20) The Glow – Weight of the Sun: LVL UP broke up not long ago but their members have been releasing some excellent music since. The Glow is the new project of Mike Caridi and he just released the record Am I.

21) Wreckless Eric – Father to the Man: Wreckless Eric may be best-known for his classic Whole Wide World (which in itself is probably more well known for being covered numerous times), he has been churning out perhaps his best albums more recently and in particular, Transcience, which came out in May (this song opens the record).

22) Fog Lake – I’ll Be Around: Montreal-based musician Aaron Powell makes absolutely gorgeous, soulful lo-fi doo-wop as Fog Lake. If the Numero Group put out his Carousel EP and said it was from 1962 then you’d probably believe them.

Fairly short notes again, apologies for that, but hopefully there were plenty of things to enjoy!

As always, Peace and Love - Q

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Thursday, 30 May 2019

Q#125 - April to May 2019

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Q's Compilations
Vol #125 – April to May 2019

Greetings, summer is about to hit its stride, I had a nice holiday in Greece and this is a hastily put together set of notes.

01) Ex Hex - Rainbow Shiner: Power trio Ex Hex returned this year with their second album, It’s Real, five years after their fantastic debut Rips. They haven’t strayed from the tried and tested formula that make them so good, with all the classic rock riffs and guitar solos you could wish for.

02) Mattiel - Keep the Change: Atlanta, Georgia’s Mattiel are set to release second record, Satis Factory on the 14th of June and this is one of the catchiest singles I’ve heard in some time (a self-titled debut was released by Burger Records in 2017).

03) Mal Blum - I Don't Want To: Speaking of catchy, Mal Blum has come up with a near-perfect dose of 90s-tinged pop-rock with this one. New album Pity Boy will be released in July.

04) Halfsour - Blurred Camera: Even more 90s alt-rock influences on this track from Massachusetts trio Halfsour. Sticky was released in March via Fire Talk Records.

05) JJUUJJUU – Camo: This act from LA is about as psych are you can get. I remember buying their debut EP on vinyl about five years ago and getting hooked, but the debut full length, Zionic Mud takes things up a notch, with plenty of grooves and guitars that sound like they need a fire truck to put them out.

06) Nots - Woman Alone: I remember seeing Nots at Death By Audio’s penultimate night and I’ve enjoyed everything they’ve done since. The band’s third album, imaginatively titled 3, came out in May on Goner Records.

07) Mikal Cronin – Undertow: It has been four years since Mikal Cronin’s last album, but he just put out a new 7” record and is touring later in the year, he also has a new email list/fanclub you can sign up for. While there hasn’t been any news of a new full length album yet, this track in particular is something to savour.

08) Night Shop - The One I Love: Emily recommended Night Shop to me and his record, In the Break is a fantastic folk/indie/rock mix. It’s possible you may remember Justin Sullivan as the drummer in The Babies, and subsequent Kevin Morby solo albums. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone to learn that you can buy this on Woodsist.

09) Kishi Bashi - Summer of 42: Kishi Bashi’s latest album, Omoiyari, is out on the 31st of May via Joyful Noise Recordings and I’m looking forward to seeing him for the first time in June. The playing and arrangement on this tune in particular are pretty inspiring.

10) Anna Altman – Catcher: While going through gig listings I noticed that Anna Altman is opening for Halfsour in an upcoming show, so I gave their debut album, 2018’s Freghtliner a listen and really dug it. This song is a little slow-core-y which I’m always on the lookout for.

11) Horse Jumper of Love - Airport Security: Speaking of slowcore… Boston trio Horse Jumper of Love are about to release their second album, So Divine in June, and the couple of tracks released so far might go some way to satisfying my pining for Red House Painters.

12) Meat Puppets – Warranty: The big news in the land of Meat Puppets is that original drummer Derrick Bostrom is back in the band for the first time in about 24 years, and they just released a new record to boot, Dusty Notes is a fairly low-key, country-psych record, and that reflected their mood when I saw them live recently too. Meat Puppets just do whatever the hell they like, which makes them one of the most reliable and satisfying bands around.

13) Chromatics - Time Rider: It’s so good to have Chromatics back, the band recently played their first shows in five years and while this new single doesn’t tread any new ground, that’s just fine with me.

14) Grapetooth – Violent: This track from Chicago duo Grapetooth got under my skin after a few listens and I didn’t realise that one half of the band is Clay Frankel of Twin Peaks.

15) Pile - Bruxist Grin: I was surprised when it dawned on me that I hadn’t seen Pile live before this month, since I’ve been a fan for years and they’ve played so many shows in New York. Alas, I fixed that, and the band have just released another excellent record, Green and Gray, once again on Exploding in Sound.

16) Sinmara - Mephitic Haze: I saw Sinmara at Saint Vitus recently and was so impressed by them that I assumed they were the headliners and almost left the venue early. Hailing from  Reykjavik, Iceland, the band released their second album back in March.

17) Blessed – Caribou: Vancouver’s Blessed are a little hard to describe, with punchy post-punk tracks mixed in with slow psychedelic tunes and plenty of other styles in between, this appears on their album Salt that was released in April.

Probably my briefest set of notes, but I’m not sure anyone reads these anyway!

As always, Peace and Love - Q

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Friday, 29 March 2019

Q#124 - February to March 2019

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Q's Compilations
Vol #124 – February to March 2019

Happy Spring, everyone! This mix is mostly a mish-mash of things I’ve liked in passing in recent weeks/months but haven’t spent enough time listening to, so it’s a way to keep them in my mind as much as anything else. I’d like to say it was a well-thought out ode to the change of season but it was thrown together pretty quickly and often times those are the mixes that are more immediately satisfying to me.

01) Petal – Better Than You: Kiley Lotz’s second full-length album as Petal, Magic Gone, was released in June last year and is equally at home rocking out or with solo guitar/vocal tunes. I’m going with the former to open this mix, and with two full length albums and a debut EP, I’ve enjoyed everything in the discography to date.

02) Soccer Cousins – Holy Smokes: Quite often when writing my “Top 5 Shows of the Weekend” column I end up listening to a dozen or so acts I’ve never hear of before, one of those occasions led me to Soccer Cousins, who have a couple of jangle-infused Eps to date.

03) Eyelids – It’s About to Go Down: This Portland band have some excellent indie credentials, and their last EP, Maybe More, was produced by REM’s Peter Buck. Members of Eyelids have worked with Decemberists, Elliott Smith, Stephen Malkmus and were also Robert Pollard‘s backing band as Boston Spaceships.

04) King Tuff – Thru the Cracks: 2018 saw the release of The Other, King Tuff‘s fourth record, featuring some excellent guest performances from the likes of Ty Segall, Jenny Lewis, Greta Morgan, Mikal Cronin and more. Gone are the 70s classic rock influences and guitar hooks of the last couple of releases, they’ve been replaced with a kaleidoscope of psychedelic pop. Certainly one of those underappreciated records that got forgotten on end-of-year lists (ours included).

05) Flasher – Pressure: Washington D.C.’s Flasher released Constant Image via Domino Records, in June and it does an incredible job of taking a host of influences but packaging up into something distinct. There’s some Magazine, a little Pixies, some Flying Nun sounds, all nicely packaged up in a coherent record. The band features former Priests bassist Taylor Mulitz on guitar.

06) Better Oblivion Community Center – Dylan Thomas: Put two folk-indie-darlings in Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers together and you have Better Oblivion Community Center, their self-titled album was released in January and it’s a very nice record. One critique might be that the album sounds exactly like you’d think it would sound without hearing it based on the collaborators alone.

07) Lala Lala – Destroyer: The Lamb, Lala Lala‘s second album, was released in September via Hardly Art and is absolutely bursting with melody. It’s the kind of record you discover something new each and every time you listen to it, even the melancholic moments (which is possibly the default state of the album) somehow possess a beauty that the best pop songs struggle to capture.

08) Anya Marina – Over You: New York singer-songwriter Anya Marina just released a new EP called Over You, and this is obviously the title-track. I recently saw her at Rockwood Music Hall and while I probably preferred the guitar/bass/drums live version we got, this more pop-oriented tune is still excellent.

09) Molly Nilsson – Gun Control: Swedish synth-pop maestro Molly Nilsson released her eighth album, Twenty Twenty last November and she just writes great songs…

10) Current Joys – Fear: Lo-fi tales of heartache, what could be better? Different Age by Current Joys is a delectably downbeat joy. I’d write more, but I think I nailed it just there.

11) Matt Kivel – L.A. Coliseum: One of my favourite songwriters of the last few years is Matt Kivel, so I was delighted to see his announcement of an upcoming album in May called Last Night in America. This is the only song released from it at the time of this mix, but I’m sure it’s going to be another gorgeous album.

12) Garcia Peoples – Wold’s Illusion: Portland (Oregon) act Garcia Peoples are in a creative streak, having released Cosmic Cash last August, the band are releasing another record, Natural Facts this month (which features this track).

13) The Zells – Brunch: Pittsburgh’s The Zells sound like they should have come from Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium scene. Alas, Shea is no longer around but I’ll take any band that reminds me of it. Failure to Slide was released in October on Crafted Sounds. “Go fry some eggs an’ shit.”

14) Weakened Friends – Blue Again: We had a Portland, Oregon band earlier (Garcia Peoples) so here’s a Portland, Maine band for balance. It’s hard for me to dislike any act on Don Giovanni records and Weakened Friends keep that record going. Big 90s vibe on this and that is not a bad thing.

15) Drahla – Twelve Divisions of the Day: Leeds has had good post-punk cred over the years and Drahla keep that tradition going swimmingly. Recently signed to Brooklyn’s Captured Tracks which seems like a great fit.

16) Vundabar – $$$: Boston trio Vundabar released their third album, Smell Smoke, last year, which married melodic hooks and anthemic choruses with without somehow sounding like an indie-pop band (though this track is maybe a bit more like Ty Segall / Thee Oh Sees).

17) Dark Blue – Waterfront Crystals: I saw Dark Blue at Death By Audio in 2014, just as their debut album was coming out (and the venue was sadly about to close), I thoroughly enjoyed their set but then they went off my radar a bit. The Philly rockers have just released their third album, Victory is Rated, and this is the first song from it. They haven’t changed a whole lot, but in this case, it’s not a bad thing.  

18) Have a Nice Life – Defenestration Song: Connecticut duo Have A Nice Life have released two full length records that mash up industrial, shoegaze, goth, post-rock,drone and doom (basically all the upbeat genres). This is taken from 2014’s Unnatural World.

19) Daughters – Ocean Song: I have my friend Pete to thank for turning me on to Daughters’ excellent 2018 album, You Won't Get What You Want, which was a well deserved entry in our top 25 albums of the year post. I saw them live a few weeks ago and whilst the first couple of songs made me wonder why they had such a great reputation as a live band, they went on to play an incredible set.

20) Hilary Woods – Inhaler: Dublin artist Hilary Woods released her debut solo album, Colt, on Sacred Bones, and it’s a beautifully soothing record. Awash with layers of piano and synth, it really is quite lovely. I hadn’t realised that Woods was the bassist in JJ72, an indie-rock trio who had a couple of decent records in 2000 and 2005 (I saw them opening a show in Oxford in the early 00s and it’s bugging me that I can’t quite place it, The Bluetones, perhaps)

And that’s it! Hope there were things to like on here, I’m pretty happy with it. Looking forward to a trip to Greece, summer concerts and more in the coming months.

As always, Peace and Love - Q

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Thursday, 31 January 2019

Q#123 - December 2018 to January 2019

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Q's Compilations
Vol #123 – December 2018 to January 2019

Happy 2019! As usual, the first mix of the year is a “best of” what happened in the last 12 months. Music took a bit of a step back in 2018, I only went to 52 shows, but that probably says more about my general happiness taking a big positive swing. As always though, there were some fantastic records released this year, and here are some of my favourites.

01) Bat Fangs – Turn It Up: Winner of best Thin Lizzy impression of 2018 goes to Bat Fangs’, the duo of Betsy Wright and Laura King. Their self-titled debut on Don Giovanni records is a joy to behold, not trying to be anything other than an anthemic ode to 70s classics, and sometimes that’s exactly what you need. Wolfbite appeared on Q#122.

02) The Dirty Nil – Bathed in Light: Another unadulterated, no-frills rock and roll album (possibly the best of its kind for the year). Ontario trio The Dirty Nil released Master Volume in September via Dine Alone Records and really should be a massive hit. Huge choruses, driving drums, slick lead guitar licks, what more do you want?

03) Superchunk – Lost My Brain: What a Time to Be Alive is another superb record to the band’s discography (and continues their high energy comeback since 2010’s Majesty Shredding). This is their first record with a political slant, and this 90-second fist-pumper is a highlight. The title track for the record appeared on Q#118.

04) Bad Moves – One Thing: Tell No One, Bad Moves’ debut album (another on Don Giovanni Records), should appeal to any self-respecting power pop fan. You may remember Spirit FM from Q#121 and this is another expertly catchy tune.

05) The Beths – Future Me Hates Me: My absolute favourite album of the year was Future Hates Me by The Beths, every once in a while a band comes along that lands straight in the middle of my venn diagram, and their upbeat music/downbeat lyrics are a perfect combo. Album opener The Great No One was on Q#121 and I could quite conceivably put the rest of the record with a few extra tracks as this entire compilation.

06) Screaming Females – Soft Domination: All at Once was Screaming Females’ seventh studio record and managed to contain both their poppiest and least commercial work to date over the course of a 15-track double LP. They remain one of the best live bands you can see! I’ll Make You Sorry featured on Q#118.

07) Denzel Curry – 13Lack 13Alloons: One of the pleasures of putting together the top 25 albums of the year on Free Williamsburg is hearing some excellent records you didn’t hear up to that point. TA13OO tries, pretty successfully for the most part, to run the gauntlet when it comes to hip hop and I’ve certainly picked one of the most commercial picks, but I couldn’t help but plump for this tune that could have been plucked from the mid 90s.

08) Fat Tony – 10,000 Hours: Another Don Giovanni artist, Fat Tony released 10,000 hours, his fifth overall. As the song suggests, and the track delivers, Fat Tony has become an expert in his field.

09) The Holydrug Couple – Ikebana Telephone: I shouldn’t have to remind anyone about my liking of Chilean bands, and one of the Blow Your Mind heavyweights released their fifth album, Hyper Super Mega in September (in the US it was released on Sacred Bones). The keyboard influence of Moonlust go a step further on this album and has more of a pop flavour than their earlier psych work, and they’re equally adept in both worlds. Forever End appeared on Q#122.

10) Olden Yoke – Gamblers on a Dime: Fans of the band Quilt will recognise Shane Butler, who is the driving force in Olden Yoke. The project essentially started off as a solo project but they are now a quartet and their self-titled debut was one of the low-key triumphs of the year.

11) Thou – The Unspeakable Oath: Speaking of low-key triumphs, Thou had an exceptional year, and deserved all the praise they got for their album Magus (In the Kingdom of Meaning featured on Q#121), but they also managed to release a trio of Eps, one of which was the acoustic/slowcore Inconsolable. If you hadn’t guessed, that’s where this track appears. I’d love to know who they were channelling on this but it does make me pine for Red House Painters.

12) Shannon Shaw – Love I Can’t Explain: I’ve enjoyed Shannon and the Clams over the years and have seen them live a few times, but Shannon Shaw released a really great solo album this year, Shannon in Nashville. As most solo albums don’t quite manage, the material here steers away from her main act enough to make the whole thing worthwhile, but also ends up being the best thing she’s ever released. Broke My Own appeared on Q#121.

13) Tsunamis – 4AM: I will admit, I was struggling a little bit to fill the last few minutes of this mix, then I remembered that Chilean outfit The Tsunamis, released a 7” single in November (on Blow Your Mind Records, obviously). This is a lovely, laid back and hazy trip to the desert - or at least that’s what it sounds like to me.

14) Dusk – Stained Blue: Oh yeah, another Don Giovanni release! Dusk is the country side-project of Amos Pitsch, who you may know from the excellent band, Tenement. This track opens the record and is perhaps the rockiest things get on the album, almost drifting into REM territory. Eyes in Dark Corners appeared on Q#120.

15) Anna Calvi – Alpha: The years between Anna Calvi records can be lonely but Hunter (her first in five years) was always going to be worth it. Lead single Don’t Beat the Girl Out of My Boy appeared on Q#121 and between the two songs you get a pretty good idea of the record, the guitar work takes a step back but Anna herself steps forward.

16) Ought – Disaffection: Montreal quartet Ought have yet to put a foot wrong over the course of their three albums. Room Inside the World was released on Merge Records and they have really widened their influences and scope, spending more time in the studio to craft one of the finest records of the year. Desire appeared on Q#118.

17) Horrendous – Soothsayer: It’s always hard trying to figure out where to put the black metal song on the mix… they usually go at the beginning or the end, but here we are. My favourite metal album of the year was Horrendous’ Idol, with guitar solos and killer riffs everywhere to be heard. The Idolater closed out Q#122.

18) Daughters – The Lord’s Song: Another delightful discovery from the Free Williamsburg list was Daughters’ You Won’t Get What You Want, which is one of the more intense records of the year and probably a record that should be in the Nine Inch Nails discography somewhere. I have a ticket to see them in March and imagine it’s going to be a great show.

19) Big Bliss – Conscious Being: One of the hardest working local bands in recent years, Big Bliss released their debut album, At Middle Distance this year and it’s an accomplished debut, not losing any intensity from their live act. The reverb is perfect and while the influences are there to hear, it knits everything together excellently.

20) The Spirit of the Beehive – (Without You) In My Pocket: Hypnic Jerks was one of those records that really crept up on me towards the end of  the year, just how good it was. I’m just going to reproduce what I put on Philly quintet Spirit of the Beehive hit the jackpot this year with Hypnic Jerks, a record with something for every alt-indie fan but everything for a few. In lesser hands, the whole mishmash of styles and tempos would fall apart in a blundered mess, but they have managed to craft a masterful blend, mixing layered psych harmonies one minute with laid-back stoner folk to driving rock and roll, peppered with psychedelic and sampled interludes throughout. Hypnic Jerks is an album in the truest sense, greater than the sum of its collected parts, best consumed as its own snaking, all encompassing experience.

21) Snail Mail – Golden Dream: Lush is probably the one album you’ll see on most end of year lists that also crops up on this mix. There’s a reason for that, it’s a good record! This was the last song to end up on the mix but I think it fits in rather snugly, a lot is made of Lindsey Jordan’s age and there’s a reason for that too, it’s an amazing feat for a teenager.

22) Wand – Pure Romance: LA band Wand have been building up a fine discography over five years and managed to combine all their influences and sounds on their latest EP, Perfume, in May (the title track appeared on Q#120).

23) Mint Field -Para Gali: You may remember Ciudad Satellite from Q#121, and to be lazy, I’m going to copy another of my FreeDubya write-ups: Whenever I play this record, I can’t help but get caught up in it and I’ve not heard a more beautiful sounding album all year. Mint Field are duo Estrella Sanchez (vocals & guitar) and Amor Amezcua (drums & synths), hailing from Tijuana in Mexico. Over the course of 13 tracks, Pasar De Las Luces ranges from shoegaze, soundscapes and krautrock, with soaring vocals painting an extra layer of texture rather than a lyrical one; think My Bloody Valentine meets Cocteau Twins feel in that regard. While the album at times wears its influences on its sleeves a bit too unabashedly, the jump between their albeit promising 2015 EP and this, their debut full-length, shows a band massively growing in confidence. I’d say the sky is the limit for Mint Field, but their music already sound like it’s in the clouds as it is.

Hope this is an enjoyable mix, I’m relatively happy with it, though the next mix will inevitably include a bunch of stuff I should have used instead! 2018 was for the most part a really wonderful year, I hope it was for you as well.  
As always, Peace and Love - Q

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Saturday, 1 December 2018

Q#122 - October to November 2018

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Vol #122 – October to November 2018

Greetings, happy thanksgiving, happy winter, merry christmas, all that jazz. Things are good here and while this is another hastily prepared mix, I think it’s pretty good. Hope you do too.

01) Bob Mould – Sunshine Rock: This is the title track for Bob’s upcoming album, which will be out in February via Merge Records. It sounds like it should be another rocker just like the last few, and there’s even an 18-piece orchestra on some of the new songs.

02) Cloud Nothings – Leave Him Now: Talking about rockers, Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings just released their fifth album, Last Building Burning, and it’s their most intense and raw to date (and probably their best).

03) RVIVR – Cut the Cord: A few months ago I paid into a kickstarter for one of my favourite labels, Don Giovanni Records, to help them raise funds. Because I have so many of their albums already, they let me pick which ones I wanted, which included RVIVR’s self titled debut. I didn’t know anything about them but figured a rock band from Olympia, Washington, would be in good company since I love Unwound. Turns out my instincts were right and this record is a lot of fun. “Everybody’s talking shit you get used to it”

04) The Scientists – Last Night: Australian punks The Scientists recently played their first ever shows in America, I was lucky enough to grab a ticket for one of their shows at Union Pool. Their live set didn’t include many of the power-pop tracks for which their better known, but they played great, even if a few more BPM wouldn’t have gone amiss.

05) Bat Fangs – Wolfbite: Another request from Don Giovanni Records. Bat Fangs is Betsy Wright of Ex Hex and Laura King of Flesh Wounds, and together they have crafted a fist pumping 70s classic rock-tinged delight of an album.

06) Kurt Vile – Loading Zones: This track leads off Kurt’s eight studio album, Bottle It In, which came out in October. It’s not exactly breaking any new ground for Kurt, who sounds as relaxed and melodic as ever, makes for great records, but I have to confess he has been dreadfully dull whenever I’ve seen him live.

07) Why Bonnie – Practice: Whilst searching for shows to write about on my Free Williamsburg column I began scouring the openers as well. Why Bonnie are on tour with the (also very good) Snail Mail and have released two lovely dreampop Eps this year that you should check out.

08) Israel Nash – Rain Plains: A colleague at work sent this to me, figuring I’d dig the Neil Young vibes, and of course, he was right. This might be a little too derivative for some, but I think it’s great and his other tunes sound good too, with a fair amount of variation.
09) Duster – Heading for the Door: There has been some nerdy excitement from slowcore fans about Duster getting back together, and as a lover of the genre I was fairly embarrassed that I had never heard of them before. I have a ticket to see a headline show at Baby’s All Right but have not had the time to listen to more than a couple of tracks. This is right up my alley, however.

10) Big Ups – Fear: If I had to make a list of my favourite Brooklyn bands in the last 5 years, Big Ups would be right up there. Unfortunately, the band have decided to take a hiatus and will be playing their final show in January.  This is from their third LP, Two Parts Together, released earlier this year.

11) Ryley Walker – Spoil with the Rest: Ryley Walker’s record from May this year, Deafman Glance, is one of the low key success albums of the year, the tunes sound meticulously crafted but loose at the same time, a lovey combo.

12) The Damned – Spirits of Evil: This is the title track of the band’s eleventh album, released in April this year after a successful kickstarter and was produced by Tony Visconti of David Bowie fame. It had been nine years since I’d seen the band live and I managed to catch a fantastic show at Irving Plaza in October.

13) Sharon Van Etten – Comeback Kid: Remind Me Tomorrow will be released in January 2019, which will be her fifth full length album. If this track is anything to go by, it’s quite the left turn for her.

14) Nine Inch Nails – Shit Mirror: I picked up a last minute, half price stubhub ticket to see Nine Inch Nails and the Jesus and Mary Chain at Radio City, not a bad combo (though I’ve seen JAMC enough times now…). Having never seen NIN before I figured it was better late than never and they played an immense show, Bad Witch is the ninth record in the discography and while I haven’t listened to it that much, and at 30 minutes long, it’s just about long enough to be called a record in the first place!

15) The Holydrug Couple – Forever End: Hyper Super Mega was released earlier this year on Blow Your Mind Records (and Sacred Bones in the US), and the Chilean heavyweights have crafted another blissful record. Unfortunately, their NYC had to be cancelled so hopefully they’ll be able to reschedule.

16) Thom Yorke – Unmade: While on a tourbus in San Miguel I was also frantically trying to purchase tickets to see Thom Yorke at Kings Theatre, thankfully after an hour of trying (I was also trying to pay attention…), I managed to score a seat in the first row of the mezzanine, a spectacular seat in New York’s most beautiful venue. The show was at the end of November and was excellent (he also ended the show playing this solo). This is on the soundtrack Thom did for the new version of Suspiria (which I have yet to see).

17) Marissa Nadler – For My Crimes: This is the title track to Marissa Nadler’s eight studio album, released on Sacred Bones in September. Featuring Angel Olsen on backing vocals, the record also features Sharon Van Etten and Kristin Kontrol and is another fine record in Nadler’s discography.

18) Public Practice – Foundations: I caught a short set of Public Practice down at Coney Island in the summer and loved their New Order/LCD Soundsystem dancey pop. The band consists of members of local acts Beverly and Wall, so far they have one EP, Distance is a Mirror, which is pretty good.

19) Crash Test Dummies – I Think I’ll Disappear Now: People think of Crash Test Dummies as a bit of a joke band, or a one hit wonder at best, but that’s grossly unfair and I’ve always really liked them. Turns out that their breakthrough album, God Shuffled His Feet is 25 years old now, and the band are playing a very rare tour to celebrate. I’ve got a ticket to see them on the 8th of December and am greatly looking forward to it. Credibility be damned, like what you like!

20) Courtney Barnett – City Looks Pretty: I went home for just a few days recently, but managed to cram in quite a lot in a short space of time, including seeing Courtney Barnett at the 02 Academy in Oxford. It had been three and a half years since I saw a breath-taking performance at Bowery Ballroom, and she has since gone on to play much larger spaces, so it was great to see her in another modest-size venue (even if the 02 is not the best of spaces… if only it were upstairs in the old Zodiac space). Anyway, Tell Me How You Feel is her second record and was released back in May and is another lovely record.

21) Horrendous – The Idolater: I seem to be getting into the habit of closing out compilations with a metal track rather than my usual lullaby. Philly’s Horrendous released Idol in September and it’s probably my favourite metal album of the year. I caught their show at Saint Vitus recently and they were excellent.

Next mix will be a “best of” the year, hopefully in January. As always, Peace and Love - Q

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