Phosphorescent – C’est La Vie

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“If you’d have seen me last year I’d have said, ‘I can’t even see you there from here'”. Matthew Houck may have become a parent and started writing songs about his young son. But fear not, the essence of the old Phosphorescent still shone as brightly as ever.

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Sparkle Hard

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks- Sparkle Hard

“This is a verse about a man who dared, To fall head over heels for a woman who shared, Similar interests, similar looks, Similar taste in similar books”. A typically eclectic mix from the (grand)father of indie rock. Includes the best song about a bike lane that you’ll hear all year.

The Rock*A*Teens – Sixth Sense

The Rock*A*Teens- Sixth House

‘Take a deep breath and blow the cobwebs away”. The Rock*A*Teens returned with a new beginning, proving that teens still know how to rock, even once-upon-a-time ones.

Shakey Graves – Can’t Wake Up

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“Tonight!, I’ve got nothing on my mind but you, Somewhere, somehow, You’ll feel it too”. Alejandro Rose-Garcia really doesn’t like Abba. The song ‘Aibohphobia’ confirmed that.

Mount Eerie – Now Only

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In a category of its own. Do not send these songs to your friends or play them at parties! They are some of the most emotional pieces of music of the year though.

 

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Wig Out At Jagbags

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A Stephen Malkmus album is always chock full of irony. And this one is no exception. Take the title. It suggests an uncontrolled frenzy with plenty of long, FX-heavy guitar jams. In fact, though, this is a really tight album. Sure, there are some wig-like guitar sounds on some of the songs, notably the opener ‘Planetary Motion’. But this is a very restrained Stephen Malkmus. There’s no room here for anything like ‘1% Of One’, ‘No More Shoes’, or ‘Real Emotional Trash’. Instead, this time he just wants to get the hook into your head and move on. Mission accomplished. A Stephen Malkmus album is also always jam-packed with fancy word plays. And, again, this one doesn’t disappoint. While there’s no room here for a full-blown, whacked-out story like ‘Hopscotch Willy’, there’s still plenty of space for some truly surreal nuggets. How about: “We lived on Tennyson and venison and The Grateful Dead”? Or perhaps, “Pictionary, Nixon-Kerry, Condoleezza’s Rice, Scattered on the floor”? No. Well, maybe “Shanghaied in Oregon, Cinnamon and Lesbians” is more your thing? Despite the familiar elements, there are some changes. This album contains perhaps his quietest, most laid-back, late-night, wound-down song ever. Complete with gentle trumpets and soothing synths, ‘J Smoov’ will have die-hard Pavement fans turning in their bedsits. There’s also a more upbeat brassy sound to ‘Chartjunk’. It’s a moot point as to whether it works. It’s not in-your-face brass, but it’s certainly an acquired taste. Generally, though, the whole thing is reassuringly Malkmusesque. So, when he channels a punk spirit on ‘Rumble At The Rainbo’, his tongue is firmly in his cheek. “Come slam dancin’ with some ancient dudes”, he sings, “We are returnin’, returnin’ to our roots, No new material just cowboy boots”. Well, this is Stephen Malkmus. So, those boots were made for talking. And that’s just what he’ll do.

The Guardian review

The Irish Times review

Spin review

This Is Fake DIY review