Disco Inferno - “The Last Dance”

Probably the prettiest song off DI’s compilation The 5 EPs.

This comp covers the ‘92-‘94 period, documenting the period between the band’s epiphany (“hey I’ve got a crazy idea, why don’t we hook up our instruments to samplers?”) and the release of their uncompromising watershed album, the dense and clattery D.I. Go Pop.

To be honest, I was kinda shocked to hear such an easygoing tune from these guys. Actually a lot of the music on this compilation is far more pop-oriented than Go Pop. Irony alert!

Parquet Courts - “You’ve Got Me Wondering Now”

Totale #20yearmode slacker punk action! I was initially attracted to this band by their record covers - with their amateurish “hello, we like The Fall!” style collages.

So musically you had to know what would come next. Sez that guy from Pavement: “Those guys are cool. I was in this hamburger place the other day in Portland – they were playing the Parquet Courts record and I thought it was Pavement.”

Strawbs - “Sheep”

Oddball track from the UK folk/prog act’s 1971 LP, From the Witchwood. For the first three minutes of the song, the band whips up an organ-driven stomp worthy of The Stranglers. Accidental proto-punk, anyone?

Junip - “Without You”

A track from Junip’s debut album Fields (2010). This Swedish motorik folk rock trio features Starbucks-approved singer songwriter Jose Gonzalez on vocals, with Tobias Winterkorn on keyboards and Elias Araya on drums.

This is way better than I was expecting, given Jose Gonzalez’ solo records tend towards coffeeshop blandness. I think what makes it work is Winterkorn’s work on keyboards - they provide a droning wall of sound that contrasts Gonzalez’s light’n’wispy vocals, creating a tension in the band’s sound that lifts the group out of the retro-singer songwriter dustbin.

7% Solution - All About Satellites and Spaceships (1996)

Just picked this up, part of my haul on my latest run to the local record shop. This LP was on my wantlist for nearly 20 years. Amazing I even recognized it when I was flipping through the racks.

On first listen, it’s a really solid slice of 90s space rock/dream pop/slowcore. Part of that decade’s explosion of indie artists Americanizing the pioneering ideas of UK acts like Slowdive and Spacemen 3 … RIYL Helio Sequence, American Analog Set, Low, etc.

Realm - “Eleanor Rigby”

Thrash Beatles! Because why not?

Fog - “Plum Dumb”

Andrew Broder on an ambient soudscapey tip. From Ether Teeth (2003).

Nothing is most definitely something. Working in a #20yearmode, reminding me of early 90s Swervedriver and Catherine Wheel. Stadium-sized shoegaze-into-alt-rock. Sweet-n-sour candy for your ear, like letting pop rocks melt in your mouth.

Hammock - “Holding Your Absence”

Not sure how I was unaware of Hammock until a few weeks ago, given my interests in music of the portenteous-post-rock-meets-skywards-reaching-drone variety. If all their albums are as great as their latest Oblivion Hymns, then I’ve got some serious catching up to do.