Welcome to the end of 2020 – a year that will change the course of our history into the foreseeable future. For various reasons, including being here at home full-time, I had a lot of time to spend listening to new music and following some bands I had lost touch with. For this episode, I’m going through my favorite albums, almost month-by-month, and playing my top song picks. You’ll see over the course of the year, things started off pretty strong with the guitargazing of Purple Heart Parade and Ringo Deathstarr, but gradually tended towards an ambient direction later in the year.
As always thank you for listening, it’s been quite an interesting year to say the very least. I look forward to 2021 at least not being 2020.
There are a few threads running through this batch of tracks: a focus on women vocalists; some throwback songs from the 2000s; and international representation from Sweden, Australia and Argentina, including a few that were submitted through the website.
Also, with this episode I’m better aligning the podcast and email newsletter, so I’ll be sending one out every time a new episode is released. Make sure to subscribe to get notified and stay up to date on the latest new music from the Sonixcursions universe!
Today is another Bandcamp Friday – and here’s a rundown of the music I’m tracking and looking to pick up today. Check them out if you can! (This is not an exhaustive list, just what I was able to put together this morning)
Fly Pan Am
Montreal post-rock legends return for an extending single, “Mirror Cracks Seeking Interiority“, on their home label Constellation. As part of “Corona Borealis“, Constellation’s first-ever digital series, the label will be releasing “16 artists with new longplaying singles and accompanying experimental film/video, commissioned as part of our pandemic/post-capitalist response for label-affiliated musicians under current conditions.”
FPA saw their 2020 UK/EU tour (their first in 15 years) cancelled, and have been trading music files and ideas during the lockdown. This is the 6th single in the series.
I’m covering a lot of musical territory on this one – from psych to ambient to a Stereolab cover in Spanish. This episode will trend towards the dreamy around the middle, so get cozy… but don’t worry, the Epic45 track will bring you back to reality.
Starting off is Astrel K, the solo project of Rhys Edwards of Ulrika Spacek recently released on the Duophonic label. “Gnistrande Snö” harkens back to some of the more slack moments of Steven Malkmus, or even middle-era Velvet Underground, forming the perfect backdrop for late summer here in Michigan.
Hello there fellow humans, we’re deep into this pandemic now and things have really slowed down. This has given some artists and musicians more time to compose and record, even if the topic is just the quarantine itself. I’m starting to see quite a few tantalizing releases on the horizon, including a big release for any fans of the old Detroit Space Rock scene (more on that to come). For now, check out these new treats, take care of yourself, and help out those you can.
Fans of Kosmiche-era eletronics will rejoice in the release of Diaphanous Structures, the latest from Listening Center. On this outing, the arpeggios are a little darker and more skeletal – “Hovering Haze” is the sound of a factory devoid of humans, continuing to do their jobs day in and day out. This feeling continues on songs like “A Torn Hedge” and “Sapling One”, which continuously morphs into new sequences of synth sounds. A few tracks, “Concentric Circles” and “Glass Phantoms”, elicit a comparison to the glassy tones of mid-70’s Cluster, while the around-one-minute interstitial material is reminiscent of fellow retrofuturists Broadcast. This is impressive company to be in.
In a similar electronic vein, yet decidedly more fun and funky, is the new album Puzzlewood from Plone – their first in like 20 years, this one on Ghost Box. If you’re prone to the sheer pleasure of dancing by yourself to retro futuristic beats a la the lighter side of Stereolab or the High Llamas, then by all means throw this on and have a time. From the label: “This is unironically joyful and melodic electronica; informed by library music, music for children’s TV and a deep passion for the history of music technology.”
Heya! and welcome to a new year new decade. I’ve decided to revive a series started with the Outersound Underground blog that was once called Weekly Orbitings, compiling some latest releases and news in an easily digestible post. This is changing to a more vaguely titled Random Orbitings, publishing when there’s enough good material to post. With that, here’s some good material that’s been playing around here lately.
Last week saw a new release from Matthew Shaw, once known as Tex La Homa – with an offering called Into the Unknown. Matt has shed the Tex moniker and is going under his given name. After a few years of producing mostly ambient and found sounds work, he returns to a style that harkens back to his more structured sound from the early 2000s.
Next up is an improvised soundtrack to the silent film Nosferatu, by Argentina’s Bosques. Back in 2015, the band “had the opportunity to play live music at the sold out screening of ‘Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens’ (1922) by Friedrich Wilhlelm Murnau, during the Independent Film Festival Festifreak No. 11.” The captured performance – Cómo sanar de lo monstruoso: Música para ‘Nosferatu‘ – is finally seeing a release, and it’s a mesmerizing blend of dark and light that will definitely creep you out if listened to alone.
Meanwhile over in Manchester, the 5-piece Purple Heart Parade offer up a new EP, entitled Desolation Angel, to kick off the year. Staying with the venerable Club AC30 (who pressed a short-run of 250 copies on 180g 12″ orange and purple split vinyl), these guys continue to hone a guitar-driven sound that echoes earlier bands like (the) Verve. Here’s a video for the lead single “Petrichor”.
Lorelle Meets the Obsoletehave announced a month-long US tour with The Underground Youth, starting in early March. I’m hoping to catch them at the Cleveland stop, and they’ll also be playing shows at SXSW and the Treefort Music Festival in Boise, Idaho. The full list of dates are posted on their Facebook page.
Stay tuned for my best of 2019 list, as well as a roundup of my favorite bands of the 2010’s in the coming weeks – thanks for reading, and until next time, pleasant orbitings…