One of the best/worst things about the whole blogging game is the abundance of great music. Unfortunately there are (still!) only twenty-four hours in a day, most of which are consumed with non-WTD things, so even if we get sent ten great albums then chances are we will only be able to cover three or four. While trying to avoid falling into the listicle trap, we thought the best way to remedy this problem would be a semi-regular round-up, ‘Best of the Rest’, where we include all the songs we think you should hear but don’t quite have the time to tell you why. Inclusion here is no comment on quality – this isn’t a runner-up prize, just things we have missed!
Slows Down – On and On
We’ve featured Slows Down, the recording project of British Berlin-based DIY solo artist and multi-instrumentalist Alexander Hawthorne, twice already here at WTD. His self-titled EP contained ” humming, moaning drones…spiky, cathartic crescendos and a dash of psychedelic hypnotism”, while EP2 sounded like “dream pop acts such as Beach House with a darker, post-punk edge”. Hawkthorne is now back with a third EP called, you guessed it, EP3, a four-track release that promises “a focus on rich and diverse tonality and texture…melodically spare and playing out in deconstructed pop structures, like post-rock that has been pulled back into traditional song formats”. First single ‘On and On’ confirms this, all snaking guitars and marching drums and blown-out bursts of noise. Check it out below and then order EP3 on cassette from the Slows Down Bandcamp page.
Folly Tree – In the Stone
Folly Tree are a folk pop band from Tel Aviv, who are readying their debut debut album, Consolidate, for release in February. To whet our appetites, the band have released a video, shot on the streets of Old Jaffa, Israel, an acoustic take on the song ‘In the Stone’. The video was shot by the folks at Albatross, and strips back the track, placing emphasis on lead Alex Moshe’s yearning vocals. If that sounds good to you then check out the full album ahead of release on the Folly Tree Soundcloud page.
Jake Levine – White Moon
Jake Levine is a folk singer from New Jersey who takes his inspiration from the greats like Dylan and Young. Levine has just released his debut album, In Country Sleep, a record he hopes “can give company to those nursing some broken part of themselves”. Now that’s a message WTD can get behind. To pique your interest, here’s ‘White Moon’, with its strong storytelling and a sense of wistful melancholy.
You can get In Country Sleep on a name-your price basis from the Jake Levine Bandcamp page.
Nam Wayne – Falling on the Waves
Self-described as an “American tape-rocker and reverb junkie of Scottish Vietnamese ancestry”, Name Wayne (pronounced Nom Wayne) makes fast-paced indie rock covered in a glossy veneer of nostalgia. This is perhaps unsurprising, considering the journey from inception to release for Wayne’s debut album reads something like a Mark Leyner blurb. Starting writing back in 2005, he planned to get the whole thing sorted in a single week, though trials such as tape equipment failures, the vinyl manufacturing bottleneck, the economic downturn, a band mate’s coma (“no joke”, reads the press release), and Nam’s crippling perfectionism mean that the record hasn’t seen the light of day. February 7th sees that change, so keep an eye on the Nam Wayne Bandcamp page to see if it’s been worth the wait.
El Anillo de Kim – Tangerines
Georgia residents Reagan Byrd and Taylor Cotton, grew up in the same town outside of Atlanta and spent years listening to, playing and writing music together. Recently, the boys finally got their act together and made a record using two microphones and garageband. El Anillo de Kim, make lo-fi garage rock that is tons of fun but with an edge of emotion. What better metaphor for being young? This track, ‘Tangerines’, is taken from their album Books on Tape, and is half pristine, Dusted-esque, build up and half straight out fuzz.
Check out the El Anillo de Kim Soundcloud page for more.
Surf Rock is Dead – In Between
Brooklyn band Surf Rock is Dead make pedal-heavy shoegazey indie pop, a kind of fusion of NYC shadows and surfy melodies. Their latest single, ‘In Between’, was released a few weeks back and proves a great intro to their sound. In an interview with Billboard, band member Kevin Pariso said that it’s “a song about going back to where you’re from and not feeling like you belong anymore yet not feeling perfectly in place where you currently are”, kinda unsurprising for a band who’s members relocated to New York from Australia and Chicago.
You can get ‘In Between’ as a name-your-price download from the Surf Rock is Dead Bandcamp page.
Jake Aaron – Record Player
Jake Aaron is a British folk singer and guitarist. He has recently released a five-song EP, that provides a mix of classic folk (such as ‘Record Player’ with it’s brashly masculine, yet strangely poetic lyrics), emotive ballads (like the paino-led ‘1790’) and a fingerpicked guitar track (see ‘High Rolling’). It’s a nice little collection of songs and paves the way for a full-length release, hopefully in the not-to-distant future.
Caitlin Pasko – Barking Dogs
Caitlin Pasko weaves a conventional singer-songwriter sound with something altogether dreamier. Her new album, Glass Period, is due for release next month, and in preparation Pasko has unveiled the first single, ‘Barking Dogs’. The piano-led track was initially focused on Pasko’s experiences with anxiety, but tragedy struck as she was writing and the song naturally became about the immediate aftermath of the death of her father. It’s a very strong start to an album that I’m excited to hear, one which promises to be at once personal and ambitious. The blurb on the Bandcamp page page describes it thusly:
“On Glass Period, we find a small chapel to personal grief. There’s a chapel’s sense of calm, of refuge from the world, but also its starkness, its lack of cover from fear, its welcoming of the large and the small. There are small terrors that we must occasionally sit with for a while, which can be their own source of strength.”
Pre-order Glass Period now via the Caitlin Pasko Bandcamp page.
Les Bohem – When We Used to Get High
Les Bohem is a musician (and screenwriter) from Los Angeles who played in pop bands in the 80s and has written for the likes of Emmylou Harris and Randy Travis. Now Bohem has decided to step into the limelight himself and is releasing his debut solo album, Moved to Duarte. Pitched as “somewhere between Harry Chapin & Keaton Henson”, the album packs a heavy emotional punch. First single ‘When We Used to Get High’ confirms this, a bleary-eyed and reflective folk song, with Bohem’s gruffly whispered vocals front and centre.
Pre-order the album now from Bandcamp.
That’s all folks. Be sure to check back on this tag for previous things we have missed.