Jan 8, 2014
I’d describe my blogging style as lazily enthusiastic. Posts may be infrequent, but that’s as much to do with the effort that goes into putting them together as it is to do with, well, idleness and a vague dislike of typing.
Lazily enthusiastic, it seems to me, could also be a prerequisite characteristic of the combos, crooners and computer kids who appear hereabouts, though I expect that’s not in the least bit accurate, just the impression given by their immaculately but unfashionably turned out records.
Take this selection of valedictory tracks from the year that that gave us so many good records, if not so many great ones, each sounding as effortlessly wonderful as the others. I am, as ever, enthusiastically behind the times.
In smithsockland it’s still 2013, when this “experimental indie psych” four-piece received ringing endorsements—why do endorsements always have to ring?—from the NME, Steve Lamacq and, best of all, Lauren Laverne. The first band from Carlisle to feature on this blog mix a satisfying blend of sixties and eighties pop—think c. 68 meets C86—before romping into an indie guitar wonderland. Plus, two of them have the surnames Emmerson and Jefferson, which sound kind of cool in a hazy, late-sixties, early-seventies way.
The Lucid Dream :: Sweet Hold on Me
Travelling that same wonderland is this “female-fronted indie pop trio” based in LA. While the strumming and drumming members of the band are from the US, singer Suzanne May is from Newcastle upon Tyne, which, coincidentally, is where this blog post was lazily but enthusiastically thrown together.
Dark Furs :: Sarah
Also from LA, smithsockregulars Best Coast released their third LP in 2013, albeit one that contains just seven tracks. I really love this band and small truly is beautiful.
Best Coast :: Who Have I Become?
It’s a good question and one, perhaps, to which we’ll never quite find the answer. Likewise, ask the internet about Vienna Ditto and beyond discovering that they’re a duo hailing from three places, London, Oxford and Reading. Go figure, if you wish, or just listen to this, the fourth track from the band’s Liar Liar EP, released last February, though I could equally have chosen Ugly, the eponymous lead track from the band’s most recent single.
Don’t let it put you off, but Huw Stephens, Radio One’s resident indie kid with the impolite, irritable and apparently irredeemable habit of talking over the records he introduces by saying, “This is a band called…”, likes this. Of course it’s a band you tautological twonk. He is, however, right in pointing out the delicious similarity with Portishead. Yum.
Vienna Ditto :: Little Fingers
If there was a better electro pop LP than this in 2013, I haven’t heard it; it’s as if Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys had been born 30 years later, but is in fact the work of a Swede, Tobias Isaksson—orchestral manoeuvres indeed.
Azure Blue :: Willows and Pines
And just in case anyone is falling asleep, this, from a 2011 LP that has recently been made available for zero of your hard-earned and just a small slice of your monthly bandwidth allowance. It’s worth every megabit.
Science Bastard :: A Knock Came and I Thought Warning
Photo: Another day, another beach. by suzirovers; some rights reserved