Release Date Buffet: 08.24 & 31.18

August 24th

Basement Revolver

Producer(s): Adam Bentley

Label: Sonic Unyon

Genre: Indie Rock, Shoegaze

Self-proclaimed disciples of ambient Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and the “strident” Pixies work (it’s hard to say if the Pixies were ever truly ambient), Basement Revolver’s record sounds more a comrade to the DIIV bands of the urban world. Inner-city shoegaze punctuated by anti-hooks peppering the middle of tracks, it’s not quite old hat, but neither is it surprising; it’s not a bad look or sound either—it helps that the first long and extended players play with a style honed from listening then playing, finding inspiration first then milking it for all it’s worth. But this street is cobbled out of bare necessity, the art doesn’t sound by plan, but rather by convenience. Basement Revolver needed a sound to springboard from, and indeed they do sound like they have unlocked the garage door and sprung into action and into music.


Blood Orange – Negro Swan

Producer: Devonté Hynes

Label: Domino

Genre: Alternative R&B, Sophisti-pop

Hate all people want, but humans are still a species of categories—but Blood Orange and Frank Ocean work apart yet together in defiance of classic categorizations of R&B, soul, funk, jazz and rap, crafting bizarre recipes of contemporary R&B and artistic soul-rap. Drastically mixed, but still recognizable confections criss-cross their records and yet no one bats an ear. It’s almost expected and thus the records remain experimentally easy for the brain to compute, categorize and compartmentalize. Perhaps Negro Swan never strays into anthemic territory, but the long-player is still consistently sensual and groovy and relaxed as any, not matter how funky Devonté Hynes may look on the cover or mix behind the booth.


Devon Welsh (Majical Cloudz) – Dream Songs

Producer: Austin Tufts

Label: You Are Accepted

Genre: Chamber Pop, Singer/Songwriter

At first glance of this record Devon Welsh looks like a poorman’s Billy Corgan. And on first listen, his debut record sounds like what I would expect of Isaac Slade. But to my surprise there’s a surprising proto-nostalgia, albeit very embryonic (seriously, nostalgia is a twenty-year gestation period). My advice: take it as your dreamy chamberpop record and never look back; For if you get sad-drunk and need a record, you need not stress with this on your shelf.


Honne – Love Me / Love Me Not

Producer: Self-Produced

Label: Tatemae, Atlantic

Genre: Indietronica, Alternative R&B

Tom Misch, BEKA, Nana Rogues and Georgia highlight a set of solid summer & beats package. Sublime, sunny, soft, danceable. Just in time for the summer to end. Oof, poor timing there boys, poor timing. I’m never 100% sold on Honne records, but hey, at least this one has some sexy hooks: “Me & You” and “Day 1” are great for the kickback, “I Just Wanna Go Back” is a solid ballad and BEKA is employed with tasteful autotune warble on “Crying Over You.” The autotune on the intro of “Sometimes” is a bit much though.


The Lemon Twigs – Go To School

Producer: Self-Produced

Label: 4AD

Genre: Progressive Rock, Rock Opera, Glam Rock

This is the mix of Jethro Tull and Queen I have always wanted. This is like Diary of the Wimpy Kid meets Yes. It’s the most wholesome concept album of the year. It’s my favourite record of this month already, fuck it, I can hardly contain how much I love this Beach Boys meets Flaming Lips zaniness this record is. It’s like Queen and Jethro Tull had a baby and that baby read Calvin and Hobbes because the absolutely puckish yet inspirant attitude of this record is like a progressive rock reading of Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. All these concepts and more rocket off in my brain when I listen to it, but none as batshit insane as what unfolds: a monkey, raised as a boy, turned a school shooter. That is as dark a Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer parody that can exist. It’s really funny and yet it plunges into themes of isolation, anomie and nihilism with as much manic grace as Robin Williams on a marathon run of jokes.


Major Love – Major Love 

Producer(s): Aaron Goldstein, Kenneth Meehan

Label: Latent Recordings

Genre: Twee Rock, Indie Soul

A mash-up of twee and soul, it stutters where it should be compelling. There’s no feeling that Major Love is a band that equally enjoyed the Byrds and the Shirelles; Sixties beach rock and Motown in all of their glory. Instead there’s a feeling that, aside from the opening track “Tear It Down” and final cut “Get Together,” this is a record that put together their songs part-by-part by what was most convenient. So sure, it could be professionally made, but…this feels like the indie version of a manufactured sound.


Nothing – Dance on the Blacktop

Producer: John Agnello

Label: Relapse

Genre: Shoegaze, Alternative Rock

Balancing noise, shoegaze and metal at all once is tricky business. It’s balancing a triangle on the point of a single record, without making it fall too heavy into one category. Each genre also can obscure emotional responses, a virtue of their overwhelming maximalism. Nesting hooks behind ten anoraks of sound means mobility is a challenge. Thus, this record moves slowly, but no less calculated. Psychedelic daydreams give way to piano ballads which give way to droning choirs.  For those who hate metal, Nothing dress it up into palatable style, forging an enjoyable crossing of the genres of shoegaze and metal and drone. Subcategorizations that don’t find much mash-ups despite, as Nothing proves on Dance on the Blacktop, their incredible number of synchronicities.


Rubblebucket – Sun Machine

Producer: Self-Produced

Label: Communion

Genre: Indie Rock, Alternative Soul, Electropop

Rubblebucket returns with their indie dancerock effort, Sun Machine, detailing the duo’s breakup from… each other? Aight, this is like Rumours but without the Los Angeles sunshine, ex-fueled vitriol, the mountain of cocaine and Christine McVie hooking up with the sound guy, among other things. And honestly, it doesn’t matter how good the record is, the lack of pettiness begets a lack of interest. The horns are solid, yes, the rhythm guitar can chuck with the best of them, yes, the kick drum slap is a solid ass-shaker, sure, but it’s a break-up album with no bite! Where’s the fun in that?!


Steady Holiday – Nobody’s Watching

Producer: Gus Seyffert

Label: Barsuk

Genre: Dreampop

Steady Holiday’s second record, Nobody’s Watching, is a classic dreampop record. Just how classic? Well, I was making good time on these impressions when I popped this sucker on and it sent me into a three-and-a-half-hour coma. Now, if this were any other record, I would be furious, but this dreampop, right? Well, not only is the music lovely if you can stay awake, but it’s also just great for those of us who need music to soothe the brain and help us fall asleep lest we spend the greater half of our night promptly solving world poverty, peace and hunger instead of sleeping for work at 7AM the next day. This record then? Thumbs *yawn* up, excuse me.


White Denim – Performance

Producer: Self-Produced

Label: City Slang

Genre: Neo-Psychedelia, Indie Rock

A good day when a neo-psychedelia record does not induce a splitting migraine as if conducting the bones into a choral scream centering on the head. No, this is a neo-psychedelia record that falls away from the Elephant Six canon and actually plays not unlike a T-Rex or King Tuff record. That is a sneakily fun record. There is not nearly the same level of volume or drone—not a terrible trade-off—but there is a more fun, more relatability, more, well, classic rock. And sometimes, being crowded out by all the new-fangled shit that comes out every week, sometimes a record that calls back to classic rock, but never imitates it, is just what was needed.



/u/giraffeking on the indieheads subreddit compiles a fantastic list of independent music, rock or otherwise, here

HipHopDX has an incredible interactive month-by-month releases widget here 

AllMusic also does its fair share of listing, providing a good sieve for good records here

And Consequence of Sound will prep you for next week with a summary list here

August 31st

Alkaline Trio – Is This Thing Cursed?

Producer: Cameron Webb

Label: Epitaph

Genre: Pop Punk

Alkaline Trio derive from that same pop-punk movement of the late nineties that spawned everything from Greenday to Third Eye Blind to No Doubt. This is not new, but honestly, that whole pop-punk Nineties movement was not the jam of my childhood. I listened to such refined acts as the Backstreet Boys and N’SYNC and Brittney Spears. Yep. However, 20-years on it should corrected that I very much enjoy the Alkaline Trio’s origins, even if this is not going to spin itself anywhere out of the late-Nineties throwback playlist. But damnit, when that Nineties party finally comes, the playlist will be ready and “Blackbird” will sound the Alkaline Trio for battle.


Big Red Machine (Justin Vernon & Aaron Dessner) – Big Red Machine

Producer(s): Self-Produced, Brad Cook

Label: Jagjaguwar

Genre: Art Rock, Indie Folk

Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner are from two of modern alternative rock’s darling bands: the National and Bon Iver and their side-project, the Big Red Machine (named after Cincinnati’s run of World Series appearances in the 1970’s) sounds exactly like what a collaboration between Bon Iver and the National would sound. It’s subdued, it’s quietly intense and it unfortunately peters out by the end. It’s by no means not a contender for album of the year lists, there’s just too much good in this record—it will just take a grind to pick it out. This record is a hard listen, but will probably yield many great little moments for those so inclined.


IDLES – Joy as an Act of Resistance

Producer: Nick Launay, Adam Greenspan

Label: Partisan

Genre: Post-Punk, Art Punk

IDLES have made a record with Nick Launay—a notable collaborator with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Arcade Fire—and my gosh it spits acid like a jolly Johnny Rotten project. The post-punk sonic works wonders across the long-player shifting the effort between straightforward punk whataboutisms and new wave echo-play. But, whatever you do, do not tell Joe Talbot—he’ll criticize the post-punk label with glee. And it is all fair and good, post-punk seems a bit cheap for bands that have so consciously matured well past the expiration date of post-punk complexity. If anything IDLES deserves, just as Parquet Courts deserves, the simple nomenclature of punk. Modern, minced, poriferan punk.


Iron & Wine – Weed Garden EP

Producer: Self-Produced

Label: Sub Pop

Genre: Indie Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Quite astonishingly, Sam Beam’s afterthoughts are just as pensive as those poised on Beast Epic. Sure and weathered, he’s the opposite of any Jack Johnson or Mumford and Sons mixture—he does not ham it on. And Weed Garden plays with that soft-spoken assuredness—sure enough to make it a point.


The Kooks – Let’s Go Sunshine

Producer: Brandon Friesen

Label: Lonely Cat

Genre: Indie Pop

The Kooks are not a one-hit wonder band, but, much in the vein of the Killers or Maroon 5 they are talked about as if they just had that one record that totally made for a generation. It’s understandable for Maroon 5, but the Kooks, the Killers? A decent sophomore follow-up, and then hit-or-miss indecisiveness. This is where we begin to separate the talents from the icons. And unfortunately it sounds like talent on Let’s Go Sunshine has never progressed past they year 2008.


Mass Gothic – I’ve Tortured You Long Enough

Producer: Josh Ascalon

Label: Sub Pop

Genre: Indie Pop

Mass Gothic is a husband/wife duo moonlighting as a band. No seriously, their music is darkwave that’s digestible, like a goth asking for attention; earnest but disconcerting. It dives right into all the cute little indie references of shoegaze, electropop and hypnagogia. In that way they do sound like a pop gothpunk version of Tennis (some of their sophomores tracks bop and hop with all the enthusiasm of a goth). But I do have a question: is loving a record really meant to be this easy? Eh, maybe the moment will pass—but there was moment with this long-player.


Tash Sultana – Flow State

Producer: Self-Produced

Label: Mom+Pop

Genre: Psychedelic Soul, Indie Rock

Probably indie rock’s most “feels good” artist of 2018, Tash Sultana’s new record Flow State is an absolute opaline motherlode. While her extended-player, Notion, was a testament to her streetside improvisation and a love note to the stadium rock sonic of the late Seventies and early Eighties, Flow State changes gears—Tash Sultana reveals another trick: she can mix like nobody’s business. She mixes between mind-melding riffwork and rasping, Amy Winehouse vocals while the music shakes to psychedelic punchbowls. That she completely flipped the script on her latest record demonstrates three things: Sultana has recording chops, Sultana has musical chops and Sultana cannot be stopped.


Wild Nothing – Indigo

Producer: Self-Produced, Jorge Elbrecht

Label: Captured Tracks

Genre: Dreampop, Electropop

Eighties nostalgia, what a thing—right on schedule too; the music was due for a fair review (Yacht rock in particular was done dirty post-1991) and the video games are classics and the movie aesthetics were puckish to the last (maybe because it was all about those pesky teenagers). It’s a comfortable world to enjoy and so it’s no surprise then: Wild Nothing fell into the same pit as Death Cab for Cutie! Flock of Seagulls, Tears for Fears, Huey Lewis and the News, all this and more must have inspired Wild Nothing just as they did for Death Cab for Cutie. The good news? Wild Nothing pulls it off better than those hailers of Death Cabs.



/u/giraffeking on the indieheads subreddit compiles a fantastic list of independent music, rock or otherwise, here

HipHopDX has an incredible interactive month-by-month releases widget here

AllMusic also does its fair share of listing, providing a good sieve for good records here

And Consequence of Sound will prep you for next week with a summary list here



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

About BenJamsToo

A young dude with an old soul from Portland, OR but currently teaching and writing in rural France. A lover of rock n roll since his mother first spun The Police’s “Roxanne,” he’s also dabbler in soul, funk, jazz, blues, electronic and hip-hop. Perhaps it’s easier to list what he doesn’t like; most gangster rap, country-western and modern metal disagrees with his stomach. Spends all day wondering what Ruban Nielson eats for breakfast, why Danger Mouse hasn't made a through and through GOOD record since St. Elsewhere, if Kamasi Washington is the Kanye West of jazz and just what the hell people hear in mumble rap. Between those things he writes for Atwood and his own blog, Come here for the nice clean thoughts; go there for the ramblings of an insane man.