It’s that silly time of year when we ascribe arbitrary rankings to the music created by our favorite artists. And, I’ve already seen a few lists from the likes of Paste or Rolling Stone (among others) that I find completely off the mark. Now, our ATH End of Year list will be a team effort, so here is a list of records I adored that probably won’t end up on too many other “Best of Lists,” though I think they should! Again, no particular order, just ten albums you should enjoy. …that you might have forgotten about.
We’re at that point of the year when music slowly starts to fade as people scramble to tell you what you should have listened to in 2017. I’m guilty of it myself, but a release that’s still fairly fresh, and still getting constant play, is the new Mammoth Penguins (& Friends) LP, John Doe. It’s a concept album centered around the title character, told through various characters. But, don’t get lost on the idea of what is or isn’t a “concept” album; sit back and enjoy the dedication to the songwriting that’s prevalent throughout. Think of it as a great pop record for people who love to read books! If you haven’t gotten a copy, you can grab yours from WIAIWYA.
You’re going to love Elva, and in fact, you probably already do without even realizing it. The band is comprised of members of the disbanded Allo Darlin, and Making Marks. Today news broke that the group will be releasing their debut 7″ for WIAIWYA, and we’ve got one of the songs below for you. It’s the perfect execution of understated pop, focusing on the natural melody created by the vocals, as well as the instrumentation behind. Tight drumming keeps a slight bit of pace to keep your toes-a-tapping. And of course, combining male and female vocals in unison is always going to hit home for fans of the genre…though I’d say for any fans of great music. This here is a gift that will make your day; it has already made my day better. Look for the limited edition release to drop right before Christmas; go grab it HERE before it runs out.
You undoubtedly are aware of my Emma Kupa fandom. It seems like this is her year…she’s already released a great Hayman Kupa Band LP, she’s playing with Suggested Friends and in the last two weeks her band Mammoth Penguins have announced their newest album, John Doe. The angular chords chopping from the get-go kick off this new tune, allowing Kupa to rock a stellar vocal performance as the rest of the group fill the track with percussion. There’s almost a shuffling boogie from the chorus, keeping listeners hooked with that sugary pop vibe. Look for the new album on October 13th via WIAIWYA.
As of late, I’ve been really getting stuck into broad sweeping pop ballads, and this new track from Famous Problems is doing just the trick today. There’s a little guitar tinkering in the song’s latter half, but that powerful voice keeps me coming back and back again…it’s akin to some of Richard Hawley‘s work, though imagine it stripped way down. This song will appear on an excellent 7″ from WIAIWYA, which is one of the many reliable boutique labels out there…look for it on April 7th.
I always check in on WIAIWYA, one of my favorite micro-labels overseas. They just put up information on Deerful and the project’s Home EP. For me, it’s great, as the music really sounds exactly like the early Nintendo games, just with the heavenly voice of Emma Witson singing atop. I guess in that, there’s a huge level of familiarity, but also an endearing enchantment that’s let me get sucked in completely. Sometimes, the simplest approach is often the most rewarding, and I feel as if this song proves exactly that!
I think all of us can relate to the sentiment within the new Freshcard track; it’s a feeling for longing to be with your friends. The German songwriter has a bit of an accent (at least to my Americanized ears), but that makes her delivery on this number all the more appealing, providing it with an added layer of longing. Seems like she just wants a little sign from her friends that they love and miss her too, “that’s all.” I don’t think it’s too much to ask, especially if she keeps writing such endearing tracks. Look for her new album Sunday Night on September 30th via WIAIWYA.
Hope you saw what I did there. But, putting that aside, this beautiful track from Nancy Sin is absolutely marvelous. It’s not quite indiepop, but it’s not quite bedroom dreamy either…it lurks somewhere in the middle, somewhere you let yourself go. If you do so, you’ll find that you drift gently into the perfect emotional state, where only great tunes can lead your soul. Not going to lie…I’ve been playing it on repeat all morning long. This tune’s been floating around for a while now, and I think it’s high time you fell in love with it. Grab it from WIAIWYA.
One of the little labels of the world that I follow closely is WIAIWYA, who don’t release too often, but when they do, they always have their finger on the pulse of great tunes. They’ve just upped this brand new song from Whoa Melodic, reminding me of just how well they are at picking up great acts. This track definitely has a somber feel to it, but in doing that, there’s also a lyrical promise to be true to one’s self. It’s got that same musical sentiment as M. Ward, but for some reason, feels more accessible and sincere. As of now, looks like this will be released as a 7″ come November.
I can’t take credit for this find; Nathan really knows how to pick some winners. Citizen Helene is a solo artist with a touring band that encompasses a psych sound with layers of jazz and indie pop. Based out of London, her sound is perfect ambiance for gloomy days like today. This song below is called “Bridges” and it’s taken from her upcoming 7″ release with Wiaiwya. Once you hit play on the song, you’ll immediately notice the same sort of melancholy indie pop that bands like Camera Obscura and Belle and Sebastian pioneered. But as the song progresses, you start to pick on more of the jazzy elements of the sound. It’s a damn good track, which you should take a listen to and get excited for the release of the 7″ How Can You Find Someone To Love/Bridges which will be out June 7th.