Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds from Another Planet

a2628204520_16

I couldn’t stop listening to the Soft Sounds of Japanese Breakfast over the summer. Expecting some wonderfully Proustian moments in years to come.

Dan Michaelson – First Light

DM

Dan Michaelson’s first solo album was built around a plaintive piano. His second features a string section. Plaintively, of course. With the sound perfectly complementing the sentiment, “Don’t dwell on old kisses you’ll always regret”, First Light is scarcely a blast of Christmas cheer. But released only a few days ago, it proves there really is a Sanity Clause.

Frontier Ruckus – Enter The Kingdom

frontier-ruckus-enter-the-kingdom

Sounding like songs of innocence, these were more like songs of a certain type of suburban experience. “Everyone’s home in sweatpants for the series finale of their discontinued fall prime time”. For sure, the neighbours may be slightly passive-aggressive, “And if I am not mistaken, You still owe me, 27 dollars”, but the air is thick with tender melodies and exotic instrumentation.

Widowspeak – Expect The Best

a3234087548_16

There’s a density to the sound of Widowspeak, but there’s also a sensitivity to melody that keeps the tunes in your head long after the record has stopped.

Robyn Hitchcock

robyn-hitchcock

Sparky riffs. Erudite lyrics. Robyn Hitchcock rolled back the years and delivered one of his finest albums in years. Meanwhile, therapists are still pouring over the lyrics. “I’m naked in the water, In the amniotic sea, Inside my real mother, She opens up for me”. Oh boy.

Sometimes summer disrupts the routines that build up across the rest of the year. But then that’s the point. Here are three top-notch recent releases.

Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds from Another Planet

a2628204520_16

This album has been a constant companion.  There’s more than a touch of Angel Olsen both in the sound and the sentiment. “I can’t get you off my mind, you can’t get yours off the hostess”. The opening track, ‘Diving Woman’, is utterly compelling, but there’s much more than that. Try ‘Boyish’ and ‘The Body Is a Blade’ for starters.

John Murry – A Short History of Decay

John_Murry_1400_X1400

John Murry seems to have lived more than one life already. He catalogued at least one of them in his harrowing, but magnificent previous release, ‘The Graceless Age‘. Five years on, the memories are still raw and they’re present on his new release. But in between John Murry has upped sticks and made a new start in rural Ireland. ‘A Short History of Decay’ captures both the bad times and the recent turn for the better and all in the manner of a dark Americana.

Robyn Hitchcock

robyn-hitchcock

An erudite songwriter with rollickingly good tunes, Robyn Hitchcock is a legend. From Virginia Woolf to The Ramones, all of human life is here. Or the quirky and interesting bits at least. There’s ‘Mad Shelley’s Letterbox’, ‘Detective Mindhorn’, and a host of other characters in between. And just when you think it can’t get any better, there’s always the sublime closer, ‘Time Coast’.