The month of January 2019 was definitely live and interesting for the lovers of rock music, in particular for what concerns the sub-world of independent and experimental indie rock. I’m presenting in this article the key events that happened so far and I’m doing it by introducing those album which, according to my opinion, have been the most interesting releases of the first weeks of the new year.
As usual, that’s not intended to be a report of everything that was published all over the world, but it’s still a good selection of the most relevant events in indie rock. In this respect, as far as geography is concerned, we have one band from England (TOY), one from Scotland (The Twilight Sad), one from Australia (Married Man), one from U.S. (Deerhunter) and even one from Brazil (George Belasco & O Cão Andaluz).
Let’s start with the review and stay tuned for future episodes!
“It Won/t Be Like This All the Time”, by The Twilight Sad
If I look back and analyze what happened in the world of indie rock in this first month of the year, it’s easy to say that the most important event was the publication of the new album of the Scottish band The Twilight Sad: It Won/t Be Like This All the Time.
This LP is a real masterpiece of modern rock, and one of the best of the band’s discography. I believe that we have already one of the contenders for the best rock album of 2019, if not the best among of all genres. I have published a full review of the LP, you can check it out.
“Hard Bargain”, by Married Man
Initially started as the solo project of Sydney musician and artist Sarafina Pea, the indie rock project Married Man has become a three-piece formation with bassist Kim Sukit and drummer Marnie Vaughn who recently entered as permanent members of the band. Hard Bargain, the newest album of Married Man, is also the first with the new lineup.
The music played by Married Man is extremely scratchy, rough and with a decidedly low-fi approach. Basically, it looks like someone took a post-punk record and played it in slow motion. The final effect is that of a caress on the cheek but made with sandpaper. Nevertheless, the songs ofHard Bargain possess a special charm and they bring a sense of genuineness, freshness and immediacy that nowadays may be considered precious qualities for a rock album, especially if we count how many pre-packaged and anaesthetized records are released worldwide. And beyond the initial hostility that one can feel for a style of music that’s so little warm and welcoming, there is something special in this music that keeps you listen to it again and again.
“Os Cães Veem Coisas”, by George Belasco & O Cão Andaluz
It is definitely uncommon, at least here in the Old Continent, to listen to an album from Brazil that’s not extreme metal nor jazz or world music. That’s why I was very intrigued when Bandcamp proposed in its weekly selection this work by George Belasco & O Cão Andaluz, called Os Cães Veem Coisas (“Dogs see things”).
This is actually a very nice, fresh and curious album which puts together many different influences, from garage rock to punk to surf rock, all played with an “indie” feeling that gives immediacy and catchiness to all of the tracks, despite their experimental nature.
“Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?”, by Deerhunter
One of the most anticipated released for early 2019 was Deerhunter‘s new album Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?, released by the American rock band in the second decade of January. The LP signs the definitive incorporation in the band’s style of psycho-pop sounds, despite the songs still present a persistent sense of restlessness which makes their pieces quite complicated to be assimilated in the first listenings.
In general, if we exclude a couple of more catchy and enjoyable songs, I have the impression that the lyrical and atmospheric aspects of Deerhunter’s music have taken a much prominent role when compared to the purely melodic and musical ones. For this reason, I’m struggling to get connected with this LP. Maybe, with time, the opinion will change for the better.
“Happy in the Hollow”, by TOY
Let’s conclude this first edition of the INDIE RADAR with a brand new release from the UK: it’s Happy in the Hollow, the fourth LP by British five-piece band TOY. The album maybe is not the best of their discography so far, but it still manages to achieve that fascinating combination of indie rock and psychedelic music that the band has pursued since their formation. The result is definitely interesting and many songs are animated by an internal dynamic that makes them feel fresh, alive and absolutely intriguing to hear.
I’ve published a dedicated review of the album, you can read it from here.
If you’re a lover of indie rock you can’t miss the playlist INDIE INSIDE, which collects all the best and newest releases. Listen to it, follow it (it’s continuously updated), and spread the word!