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.
As this crazy summer continues rolling on, I’ve been immersing myself in all the current music floating around – which has skewed heavily towards the ambient and electronic direction lately. The AirPods will have to be surgically removed from my ears.
Holy Wave gets us started with the opener off of their latest Interloper. “Schlettering” displays a more avant-pop vibe than their previous guitar-based works from a few years back, but the sound has been growing on me.
A shared love of vintage synths and German music from the 70s has inspired a collaboration between Travis Thatcher (Voice of Saturn) and Dave Gibson (Heron & Crane), known as Personal Bandana. After releasing their debut in 2018, they are working towards the release of their second full-length, This Time It’s… in the Fall of 2020, featuring the included track “Chloroplasts”.
Following along the vintage synth path, the aquatic sound of Polyporeslatest album Azureshould help cool things off this summer. “Coral Palaces” serves as your soundtrack for an extended virtual deep-sea diving session.
Moving from underwater scenes to the industrial age, Gilroy Mere gives us “The Age Of Trains” from the recent Adlestropalbum – an aural homage to rural English train stations slated for closure in the 1963 Beeching Report. Quite a fascinating audio adventure.
Jim Musgrave, aka Land Equivalents, continues his exploration of eclectic electronica on “Our Friend And Colleague” from his latest Industrial Accounting EP – blending analog synth sounds with rhythmic fragments that constantly evolve and morph over the course of its duration.
Forest Robots is the work of musician Fran Dominguez, this time around focusing on minimal compositions with his upcoming release After Geography. The track featured here “Of Birds Migrating In The Distance” provides a glimpse into a meditative soundscape while providing an unsettling undercurrent that is hard to get away from these days.
On a slightly lighter note, Japanese multi-instrumentalist Nao Kakimoto – known as [.que] – offers a glistening guitar-based piece, “Film”, from his latest And Inside from the Sound In Silence label. The songs span styles from “gorgeous twinkly folktronica, joyful dream-pop” to “nostalgic melodies, dark atmospheres and complex rhythms” – it’s quite a sonic journey to behold.
For the final track, we are roused by the glitchy beats of Spectrals – “a virtual band created in lockdown times”, made up of Matthew Shaw and John Robb. On “Zip Zam Zoom”, The Happy Monday’s Shaun Ryder recounts a tale of a visitation by a UFO on the streets of Salford, England many years ago.
As always thanks for listening, and sign up for the email newsletter to get monthly updates on these and other bands featured in the podcasts.
A ton of new music is rolling through the doors of Sonixcursions HQ – and I’ve been absorbing it over the long (and hot) weekend here in the states. Most of it has been in the ambient and analog electronic vein, which seems to stretch time out even further when you’re lying in the sun.
To mark this strange season – where it’s really nice outside, yet the ominous cloud of a global pandemic and a toxic political environment make it difficult to fully enjoy – I’ve started a series of mixes on Mixcloud to offer a soundtrack to the “festivities” (more about that below).
Take a virtual deep-sea diving session with Polypores, on Mr. Stephen James Buckley’s latest release Azure. The music here veers toward the aquatic – gentle arpeggios float along the currents, waves and washes follow the tides, echoes from undersea worlds beckon to be explored.
Constant rain during the recording sessions may have played a role in creating this bathysphere: “I was also able to immerse myself in various books, films, and documentaries related to the ocean, particularly the mythology and lore surrounding it”, say Mr. Buckley. It’s well worth the submersion.