Welcome to June 2019 – 15 songs. Our 15 favourite tracks from June. Enjoy listening and reading the accompanying descriptions. If you’re in a real rush, skip to the bottom for the Spotify playlist. I promise I won’t cry.
American Poetry Club – Pro Pic
Pinegrove articulated that the love we have for friends we’ve lost touch with and new ones is often equal on ‘New Friends’. The anthemic album closer forms around the words ‘I resolve to make new friends / I liked my old ones / but I fucked up.’ The album starts with ‘Old Friends’ where Evan Stephens Hall sings ‘should tell my friends when I love them.’
Missouri group American Poetry Club don’t sound a million miles away from Stephens Hall & co. The difference though is the glorious, glorious brass that floats like a helicopter search light over the humans below. Weinstock is also not averse to flying off the hook, his voice self-destructing in fits of passion that sees saliva fly everywhere. The song ends simply with Weinstock declaring “I’m glad you were my friend.” American Poetry Club are proudly sentimental, they get all their sloppy, infatuated feelings across in mammoth doses. Clutch them to your heart.
Daughter of Swords – Fields of Gold
While Alexandra Sauser-Monnig’s debut album as Daughter of Swords may lean towards the lo-fi, ‘Fields of Gold’ is its biggest outlier, its gold spun textures acting like the sparks from a Catherine wheel on a winter night. It’s beginning may be humble but its arm soon stretch out wide as a bongo arrives and Sauser-Monnig warbles an ‘ahhh’ over the lush instrumentation. A glorious entry point to one of this year’s unexpected success stories.
Erin Durant – Rising Sun
The fourth and final single from Erin Durant’s album ‘Islands,’ – our album of the week – Rising Sun’ is its raison d’etre, the grand statement that leads you by the hand into her sprawling, sun-dappled archipelago. Over a gently strolling guitar and muted toms, Durant sings ‘I’m going far, I’m going wide’, signalling her intention to embed you within her travelling time machine. A lesson in sophistication, ‘Rising Sun’ fuses strung-out trumpets with Durant’s balm-like voice. ‘Rising Sun’ is like the lavender you spread on your pillow to induce sleep. Lie with it, doze off and dream of magical lands.
Flying Fish Cove – En Garde
Masters of cheer Flying Fish Cove returned with a new EP this month, mere weeks after releasing debut album ‘At Moonset’. The standout title-track captures their ability to fly you somewhere idyllic, somewhere unreal. The soundscape fuses angelic backing vocals and woozy synths to make something truly lush. A wonderful breakdown is followed by the track’s biggest chorus yet as Dena Zilber sings ‘I would start over today if you asked me’ – a rueful, desperate plea that’s an antidote to the cheerful instrumentation below. Flying Fish Cove Airlines is ready for boarding.
Fresh – Nothing
Our pick from Fresh’s triumphant sophomore album ‘Withdraw’, ‘Nothing’ is a pledge to silence the critical voice sounding loud and clear within our brains. Over the strums of an acoustic guitar and the momentary lilts of a glockenspiel, lead singer Kathryn … has it out with her inner critic. ‘Every day I tell myself that I am Nothing’ she rues. Soon though she becomes emboldened, unwilling to succumb to this daily put down, howling “One day I will tell myself Kathryn you are glowing.” For now it’s just a pledge but once she hears us shout it right back at her, it might just become a reality.
GHUM – Saturn
Internationally assembled post punk/grunge band GHUM open their new EP ‘The Coldest Fire’ with the claustrophobic ‘Saturn.’ Spanish singer Laura Guerrerro Lora laments routine singing ‘From Monday to Sunday,’ the punching, relentless drums echoing the production line-like pattern of her days. It’s wonderfully fraught, its tension constraining you within its suffocating structures. Your whole being wants to break free yet you can’t convince yourself to put the key in the door.
Hatchie – Obsessed
‘Obsessed’ from Hatchie’s debut album ‘Keepsake’ is a glorious assault on the senses. The drum machine pulses and the synths shimmer adorning everything within sight in a blinding light. All the elements of a delightful pop song are here, whether it’s the verse, the bridge or the chorus, it’s precisely choreographed. A hushed ‘I get a little bit obssesed with you’ signals the feet pushing off into the back of the swimming pool, gliding into the sumptuous dapping blue of the chorus ahead. Bathe in its beauty.
Hot Chip – Echo
In spite of their astral soundscapes, Hot Chip are more interested in the energy travelling between humans on earth and the possibilities within on seventh album ‘Bath Full of Ecstasy.’ ‘Echo’ encapsulates that vision best. The energies travelling between us described best when Alexis Taylor sings ‘I only want to be an echo of your beauty.’ The stop-start chorus is anthemic and singing its words, ‘leave your past behind, just to let go, nothing to regret no’ is quite simply liberating. Give it a try.
Jade Imagine – Remote Control
Julia Jacklin-backed fellow Australians Jade Imagine appear in our ‘15 songs feature’ for the second time in two months with ‘Remote Control.’ The follow up to the fuzzy, shoegaze-esque ‘Big Old House,’ ‘Remote Control’ has more in common with Stereolab than Slowdive it’s throbbing synths channeling the sound of a frequency dialling. It’s much cleaner, even glossier, than the preceding single, with a sumptuous, absorbent chorus. ‘I don’t know why I can’t stay here tonight flicking the remote control’ Jade McInally sings, a glorious two fingers to obligation, to adulthood. Forget that tasklist stuck on your fridge for a minute.
Mermaid Book Club – Skateboard
Montana’s Mermaid Book Club idle in a way not too dissimilar from Frankie Cosmos and Sidney Gish. Their single ‘Skateboard’ beautifully glides, its structures unfettered and seamless. Johanna Kohorst bemoans the fact that things don’t get easier with age, worrying how people are going to feel seeing her crying at the age of 25. With a runtime under two minutes you might dismiss ‘Skateboard’ as a flash in the pan, but it lingers in the mind much, much longer.
Michael Cormier – Dinners
The lead single from Michael Cormier’s album ‘Days Like Pearls’ is symbolic of its episodic nature. The songs are based on fleeting memories from Cormier’s childhood years in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, the handheld camera zooming in and out, catching glimpses, snatches of conversation, the insect flying in the distance.
On ‘Dinners’ Cormier is particularly anxious to relive those memories, so much so that he’ll riff on anything that floats in his subconscious – the lipstick on the glass, the buzzing light by the window, the telephone by the piano. This banal-heavy approach sees Cormier follow in the footsteps of masters of mundanity, Frankie Cosmos and Sidney Gish.
Instrumentally ‘Dinners’ fuses hushed toms with meandering William Tyler-like guitars, the instrumental quality of Cormier’s band Hour making its presence known. ‘Dinners’ seeps ever slowly until it takes an intense stranglehold, so much so, that you start to count Cormier’s memories as your own. Staggeringly good.
Palehound – B*******
When describing Sun Kil Moon’s ‘Micheline,’ How To Dress Well quite simply remarked “It’s the perfect song I think.” The same could apply to ‘B*******,’ the standout from Palehound’s third album, our recent album of the week ‘Black Friday.’ The album reveals Ellen Kempner, Palehound’s IRL name, as a companion, a friend who sits and listens to friend, her compassionate ear helping them figure things through.
‘B*******’ is the fulcrum of that companionship, the classic, timeless song opening with the words ‘I tried to cheer you up.’ Ultimately though she fails, singing in the year’s best chorus yet, ‘What can I do when all my truth sounds like bullshit to you?’ Kempner’s friend may not have gained solace but in penning ‘B*******,’ Palehound has provided us with a place to go every time we fail to connect.
Tummyache – In Between
Remember the name Soren Bryce. After releasing an album under her own name last year, the Texas songwriter/producer is back under a new pseudonym, Tummyache– a project named after one of the side effects of severe physical anxiety. Today we premiere the first Tummyache single ‘In Between.’
Combining the rich tones of Sharon Van Etten and the vulnerability of Julien Baker, Bryce sounds rawer than ever on ‘In Between.’ Throwing off the armour of her more folk-indebted past, Bryce surrounds herself with fraught, meditative guitars that match the emotion present in her voice. She sounds brooding, pregnant with her own emotion, casting it off only when an army of drums transports her above the surface. Once there, a primal desire emerges, “I wanna feel better” she sings repeatedly, desperately even. Bryce might not be at her happiest but as Tummyache she’s found her true calling.
Vagabon – Flood Hands
Vagabon’s electronic talents lingered in the shadows of her debut album ‘Infinite Words’, opting instead to put guitar-driven melodies front and centre. On new single ‘Flood Hands,’ the first taste from forthcoming album ‘All The Women In Me’, Laetitia Tamko brings it to the fore, merging carousel-like synths with a venomous bass evocative of James Blake. Tamko’s voice is like a pole-vaulter, rising suddenly and falling dramatically, tuning into that idiosyncratic baritone she’s so well-known for. Indeed ‘Flood Hands’ is one of the best showcases for her vocal gymnastics yet. It’s a song packed with moments – dramatic drums that sound like they’re going to bang through your door any moment, an infectious chorus that leaves you powerless and that slinky, killer bass line. It’s bolder than anything she’s done before. A lead single that sees our excitement reach fever-pitch for the forthcoming record.
Yohuna – Stranger
On sophomore album ‘Mirroring,’ Yohuna carves out her own sonic world. Vocals melding together, appearing and vanishing within each other’s thrall, is a trademark of the palette. Friend Emily Yacina contributes to the effect in ‘Rain and Prairie Snow’ but it’s at its strongest when Yohuna loops her own voice around itself on ‘Stranger.’ The vocals are riff-like here, on an even playing field with the threading guitar and drum machine. Sharing characteristics with Julianna Barwick and Jessica Pratt, the vocals are primal, enveloping you like two plumes of smoke racing one another around your being.