For my final Popdose post until Fall, I am going out with a bang — or better yet, a shake, rattle and roll. Cancer sucks. I am shifting my focus in the months ahead to support my wife through chemotherapy. In many ways, music serves as therapy for survivors, supporters and just about anyone dealing with this thing called life. The rhythms wrap around us, the lyrics comfort us, the beat keeps us moving forward. So let’s focus on the positive. 2016 is proving to be one of the best years in years for great new music from new and beloved artists. Let’s dive in.
New Order • Singularity
For fans of New Order’s 1989 masterpiece, Technique, this is as New Ordery as New Order has been in the New Millennium. Music Complete, one of the top albums of 2015, was a both a bold move forward and a solid reconnection to the sound that put em on the map in the first place. Plus, there’s a cameo by Iggy Pop which brings us to…
Iggy Pop • Gardenia
Post Pop Depression, out March 18, could be the definitive Iggy Pop album that brings together all camps of his fanbase — the Stooges fans (also satiated with louder works like Beat Em Up and Naughty Little Doggie), the art crowd (who dig more meditative works like Préliminaires, Aprés, Avenue B) and Pop’s pop fans (Brick By Brick and Blah Blah Blah). Produced by Josh Homme (Them Crooked Vultures, Eagles of Death Metal and scrappy upstarts, QOTSA), this album promises plenty of kick for young fans and old farts like me who can still mix it up in the pits of his shows.
Nada Surf • Cold to See Clear
Anyone whose ever sat through a tedious PowerPoint presentation at work will find solace in the latest video by Nada Surf. This video accomplishes in 3 minutes what it took the US Version of The Office six years to do. For 20 years and counting, Nada Surf has steadily released awesome studio and live albums. Their latest, You Know Who You Are, arrives this week. Hear it now.
Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons • Your Love
Columbus Ohio’s Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons answer the burning question: “Why do women always fall for those lone wolf bad boys?” We’ve been in love with their latest, Homemade Vision, for months now. Stream the album and read the Popdose interview with Angela Perley.
Banta • Someday
Los Angeles collective, Banta, are behind another one of our favorite albums of the year: Dark Charms. Don’t let the name fool you, this is one of the brightest, deepest, loveliest records of the year. If Fleetwood Mac and Rilo Kiley raised a baby in hipster enclave Echo Park, Banta would be that lovely girl and Dark Charms would be her glorious 20-something coming out party. File your taxes and pick it up April 15. Read about their music, origin story and passion for fashion in their Popdose interview.
Chapell • Heroes
This is the latest single from the decades-in-the-making album, The Redhead’s Allegations (available now), produced by Jerry Harrison of Taking Heads. The track features Sakai Smith and Nikita Germaine of Train and Prairie Prince (Journey, The Cars, Todd Rundgren) on drums. Harrison, producer of one of my Top 10 Albums of All Time (The Bogmen’s Life Begins at 40 Million) and engineer Eric “ET” Thorngren really know how to record every instrument and mix them gloriously so that every sound shines. The production serves Alan Chapell’s uplifting and intimate songs well. This album gets better and better with every spin.
Pauline Andres • Drive Like Steve McQueen
Who better to be the next great voice of the robust Americana movement than someone who was born in the East of France and raised in a coal miner’s town near the German border? Pauline Andres has traveled all over the world and it’s reflected into her stunning new album, The Heart Breaks, out April 15. Get the single here.
Spectacular Spectacular • Her Story
Isley Reust’s dream pop band is rotating and expanding its line up. Her Story, the first new music from an anticipated second album, brings light to the swirling darkness found on their winning debut, Blur. Read “The Spectacular Spectacular Trans Mission of Isley Reust“.
Jennie Vee • So Hard
Jennie Vee’s debut LP, Spying, and EP, Die Alone (Deluxe Edition), combined to land one of the top spots on our list of 2015’s Unintentionally Retro-Heavy Best Albums. While her role as Courtney Love’s sometime touring guitarist seems to be her PR hook, the real hook should be her hooks, amazing melodies and masterful songwriting. She also has looks that kill. Vee is essential listening or fans of the Smiths, the Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen and Book of Love who crave something new and utterly amazing.
POP ETC • Please, Don’t Forget Me
Brooklyn trio, POP ETC, used to be called The Morning Benders. The new name fits them well. They have released a massive pop song, ‘Please, Don’t Forget Me’, from their new album Souvenir. The album is big, ambitious, and totally delivers a ton of potential hits. I am just beginning to explore this album as I take my hiatus. Look for it to rank high on the year-end list when I return to Popdose.
The Coral • Chasing The Tail Of A Dream
In 2002, a band comprised of English teenagers under the name, The Coral, released one of the greatest, most ambitious, innovative, fearless and euphoric albums of the past 25 years. This self-titled debut, produced by Lightning Seeds’ Ian Broudie, was a spectacular mix of 1960s soul, psychedelia and beatnik chic. Subsequent albums were always “good” but none came close to the twists, turns and thrills found in their ambitious first outing. 2010’s Butterly House came close, but then the band took hiatus to pop out some solo projects. Well, they’re back, refreshed, and the new album, Distance Inbetween, is by far their most satisfying album since their debut. It drops tomorrow, I’ve been listening to it for a few weeks, and it keeps revealing more and more with every subsequent play.
The Last Shadow • Bad Habits
Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys made a similar comeback with their last album, AM, before going on hiatus in 2014. Now frontman Alex Turner’s other project, the Last Shadow Puppets, returns from exile with their second album, Everything You’ve Come To Expect, out April 1.
Lee Dewyze • Oil & Water
While American Idol certainly cemented Chicago’s Lee Dewyze with brand name recognition, like most alumni from the show, it has done little to help his career. He’s forged ahead by writing solid songs, touring extensively, and building a solid fanbase one club show at a time that I assume is largely unattached to his tenure as a TV star. With his new album, Oil & Water, Dewyze cements his place alongside kindred troubadours of honest, earnest, melodic fare like Glen Hansard, Fleet Foxes, Mumford & Sons and John Mayer while moving further away from alumni like Adam Lambert, Chris Daughtry, that brooding guy with the beard or this guy.
Blancmange • Last Night
Commuter 23, out in a few weeks in the UK at least, marks Blancmange’s third album of the past year. The first of this trilogy, Semi-Detached, was my #1 album of 2015. The follow-up instrumental album, Nil By Mouth, was good, but off brand and light on the heart and humor that make Blancmange tick both as a duo (ailing Stephen Luscombe who contributed to their first four albums) and solo act (starting with the remake LP, Happy Families Too). Commuter 23 promises to split the difference, so it will be interesting to see how the instrumental and vocal works mesh together.
Fallulah • Perfect Tense
Fallulah is right up there with Lykke Li, Charli XCX and GRIMES among the best female singer/songwriters in the world. Her albums are finally available digitally here in the States and well worth tracking down on CD. Her third album, Perfect Tense, just dropped, so enjoy the first single.
Cait Brennan • Underworld
By far the best album and biggest story to emerge from 2016 belong to Cait Brennan. Read about her incredible journey and discover the music of briskly-selling Debutante in our exclusive Popdose interview. She recently took both New York and LA by storm and released a live album on Bandcamp in the process. For me, the glorious music on Debutante is a rainbow, lifeline, beacon to salvation and total escape. Imagine a world where David Bowie joined the Beach Boys and Jeff Lynne produced their equivalent to Pet Sounds. Join Cait Brennan’s power pop revolution on Planet Cait.
Until our paths cross again Popdose readers, keep the music you love close to your heart and keep discovering and supporting new artists!