So this is rather overdue I suppose, but it’s better to allow a little time for reflection of the year as a whole is it not? Yes. Yes it is. That, rather than laziness and lack of organisation, is my reasoning and I’m sticking to it. Well albums tend to get all of the attention come list time really, but you don’t always have time for a whole album right, that’s at least 30 minutes plus. Here’s some shorter releases that, if you missed out on them last year, you need to check out.
Sad City - Gestures
This 12” EP is the debut (under this moniker) from prolific Glasgow based artist Gary Caruth released via Underwater Peoples. Word has it that Sad City first came to the labels attention thatnks to a recommendation from Julian Lynch, whom Caruth studied with in Aberdeen. There is defeinitely a kind of musicology exploration spirit shared with Lynch’s work here as well. Jaya for example opens with a long droning intro before bursting into arhytmic wailing brass and syncopated beats, it’s an oddly captivating racket. Night Time Trail and Shell (Or Wash)’ take a more subtle elctonic approach but are no less mesmerising. This is definitely one of my favourite discoveries of the year.
Standout Track> Jaya
Phantogram - Nightlife
Since I first heard this self proclaimed ‘street beat’ duo from New York I knew there was something a bit special about them. Their debut album Eyelid Movies was a very strong introduction but had some filler, this EP on the other hand is lean as hell without a single track wasted. As far as thoughful beat driven pop music goes there isn’t a great deal out there to get excited about, but the way that Phantogram toy with conventions and meld genres though definitely is. Personally, I really can’t wait for a second album now.
Standout Track> Don’t Move
Jens Lekman - An Argument With Myself
A long awaited return from Jens Lekman, whose last release was way back in 2007. It doesn’t disappoint either, five tracks of wonderfully understated folk-pop packed into a neat package less than twenty minutes. It’s certainly not his crowning work but it is an excellent reminder of how eloquent and witty a songwriter Lekman is. Hopefully it’s not another four years until some more new material.
Standout Track> A Promise
Wise Blood - These Wings
These Wings is bit of a change following Wise Blood’s debut EP Nosferatu which had a whole schizophrenic vibe and was prone to switch paths at any second. What it maintains from that though is a flair for memorable beats and a very interesting way of playing with melodies and structures. Chris Lauffman’s project is constantly evolving and it’s hard to tell what it might bring next but on this evidence it should be great anyway.
Standout Track> Darlin’ You’re Sweet
High Highs - High Highs
The eagerly awaited debut from the much hyped duo delivered on its promise with a short but sweet collection of wistful hazy summer pop. Expectations for their full length will now be higher than ever.
Standout Track> Flowers Bloom