In 2018, on a now defunct blog, I began a series of mini reviews based on the music that Spotify was recommending to me on my personalised Release Radar playlist. There was only one instalment of this series but I am thinking about giving it another go as I believe it is a sound concept.
Here is the original article, reproduced for nostalgia’s sake. Hopefully you’ll find something to enjoy here:
JEFF The Brotherhood – Camel Swallowed Whole
Heartwarming lo-fi Indie Rock from Nashville. Camel Swallowed Whole has a charming laziness underpinning it. The lethargically plodding bassline sets the groove beautifully for the understated guitar melodies and laid-back vocals. A recorder solo adds to the DIY charm. In the back-half of the song a distorted and discordant guitar solo brings some vague hints of Stephen Malkmus’ early work with Pavement. A
Autechre – mirrage
The IDM veterans latest offering is a swelling sea of droning synths and intense reverse reverb. The way the weird little stutters of reverse reverb interact with the bizarrely modulated higher synths lends an illusion of tape-based production, although I suspect it was recorded using the duos unique generative production software. I imagine this would be fairly underwhelming to anyone but the most hardcore fan (of which there are plenty) and unlikely to attract many converts. B minus
J Mascis – See You At The Movies
The self-described inventor of “ear bleeding country” sure knows how to write a pretty little country rock song. See You At The Movies has a jaunty rhythm that bounces along pleasantly under his trademark sad vocals and twisting lead guitar lines (not to mention his legendary grizzled Jazzmaster tone) ensure this track will sound great to even the most casual fan. The sound of a rock genius at rest. A
Barbara Morgenstern – Brainfuck
Pretty acoustic guitar picking nestles up comfortably alongside deep bass drones and stuttering cut up string samples on the intro to this dark electro pop song. The beats on this track are shuffling pops and crackles reminiscent of the crackle and pop of a vinyl record run-off groove. The vocals are sultry and warm, recorded with crystal clarity, lending the whole thing a ‘90’s Trip-Hop vibe. A
TV Smith – No Hope Street
There’s nothing new or original in ‘70’s Punk survivor Tim Smiths latest strum-along social commentary but he delivers it with such heroic underdog gusto that you find yourself nodding and singing along. The lyrics have a nostalgic air to them, with the verses written in the past tense and detailing disbelief at the many misfortunes that have befallen him and the grim determination to stand up to the shadowy establishment figures responsible. B
Cloud Nothings – The Echo Of The World
Spiky guitars and hyperactive drumming are the order of the day on this latest Cloud Nothings single. The vocals are grungily snotty, sounding a little like Billy Corgan in places. The tune has a sense of grandeur that I’ve never really heard in their other work, although they don’t seem to be able to reach the dizzyingly euphoric heights this track seems to be aiming for, ultimately writing a cheque the band are unable to cash. C
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