Quarterfaves: Jan-Mar

jan-mar

So I hadn’t really intended for IMW to be a ‘music discovery’ blog, as such; rather I think of it more as a place for reflections, experiments in music writing, and plenty of digressions and tangents. But I thought, as a bit of a recurring feature, I might post every three months or so about some recent music I’ve enjoyed, a quarterly update on current listening, a few recommendations of recent releases I think are worth checking out. So that’s what this is. Here goes…

ANNA MEREDITH • VARMINTS

This is probably the most interesting record I’ve heard so far this year. It’s a bit all over the place: very experimental and electronic one moment, classical the next, then suddenly making a hard left turn into some very poppy territory. Some of it is just incredible. Other parts puzzle me. Somehow it sort of all hangs together. Sort of. Just about. It’s really worth a listen.

CRATER • TALK TO ME SO I CAN FALL ASLEEP

This is really good electro pop with a kind of industrial bent to it. I love the lyrics to the opening track, ‘Crater Head’, an early contender for song of the year. They barely coalesce into whole sentences but hint at something of the lonely black hole a long night on the internet can become: words billow through the thick mist, phrases like ‘speak perfectly’ and ‘stalking endlessly’ and ‘break-up sex’ and the album title itself, which is the central line in the song. The whole thing is lit in the blue glow of a smartphone in a dark room.

The video for the song, meanwhile, is the perfect counterpoint to it – a beautifully choreographed dance, all physicality and connection. The contrast is wonderful. Watch below.

ANNA HOMLER AND STEVE MOSHIER • BREADWOMAN & OTHER TALES

This is actually a reissue, collecting various recordings made by the pair in L.A. in the 1980s, and it’s a pretty unique-sounding collaboration. To me it sounds like very, very ancient music. There’s some kind of quasi-mythical character at the centre of it, the titular Breadwoman, but to be honest the sounds themselves are strange enough and the story isn’t needed. The whole thing feels very DIY, very out-there. It’s definitely worth a listen.

CROSS RECORD • WABI-SABI

Sticking with an ancient, elemental vibe is this dark take on dream pop. I like how Paste described it: ‘not so much post-rock as pre-rock’. Recorded on a Texas ranch, in the rather wonderfully-named Dripping Springs, where according to the town’s website they have a swimming hole and something called the ‘annual tomato round up’. Wabi-Sabi is apparently a Japanese term for the acceptance of imperfection. The songs, too, are perfectly imperfect – they crackle and break in all sorts of interesting, unexpected ways.

MATMOS • ULTIMATE CARE II

It’s a record made entirely from the sounds of a single washing machine. If that isn’t enough to make you want to listen, well, I can’t do anymore to help.

QUILT • PLAZA

Laid-back psych-y sounds, a bit Beatles-y at points – not a million miles away from bands like Real Estate and Woods. Also, parts of the verses in ‘Roller’ remind me of the Bangles! This is a good thing!

MARY LATTIMORE • AT THE DAM

Finally, this is still the most straight-up beautiful record I’ve heard so far this year. I blogged a little bit about it already but wanted to stress again just how good it is. The music does the talking for itself, really, and there’s not a lot more I can add.

UPDATE: Here’s a Spotify playlist with some of these tunes and a few added bonuses!

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