Sleater-Kinney | Bury Our Friends

Sweater-Kinney were always one of those bands I saw in mixes and compilations alongside other late noughties indie bands that I was, at the time, obsessed with. Yet for whatever reason I just never gave them the time of day. Certainly not down to any form of prejudice, I just always glossed over what they were doing. After being on hiatus for 5 years since 2007, this year saw the band announced a new album “No Cities to Love” that will be released January 19th on Sub Pop. Seeing this as a perfect chance to engage with a previously untapped research I listened to the leaked song from the album “Bury Our Friends.”

It’s nostalgic for me and I can’t help it. It’s Millennium era College Rock and for that I love it in it’s entirety. It reminds me of an era of pre-responsibility and endless attempts to straighten my fringe to appeal to the cute girls in glasses with Rilo Kiley badges on their blazers. Only kidding, there was never anyone that cool at my school.

Owl John | It Get’s Cold

I really wasn’t sure whether to post this under Owl John or not as on Soundcloud they are under the name “Christmas John.” Scott Hutchinson, whether with Frightened Rabbit or here with Owl John, has always been an absolutely king of the festive song. With at least two Frabbit Christmas Tracks, “It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop” and “Boxing Night,” it’s no surprise that this fine tradition has continued here with these fine festive offerings.  This tune “It Get’s Cold” hit yesterday and I highly advise to hit up Soundcloud for the free downloads of all 4 songs released over Christmas as they are impeccable (as always) and disappear come the new year. Don’t ever turn your nose up at something free but it’s criminal to let it run away without you. Any student will surely understand the need to take every freebie offered to you and find a use for it later. It’s how any of us survive. The Christmas period may be over but it’s the best time to stock up on the only things that will get you through next year.

Rhodes | The Lakes

I’ve written plenty about Rhodes since I started this including seeing him play a set at King Tut’s, Glasgow, on Halloween. At the aforementioned show he promoted the fact that he was working on his first full length LP. On Boxing Day he dropped this track below as a perfect post Christmas treat which is available for free. Christmas used to be my favourite time of year but has slowly been usurped due to seemingly endless familial ennui. Rhodes drops in nicely for the new year and is wetting the appetite for an LP that you can use to fill out some mixtapes to the attractive boy/girl at the back of Science Class.

Or you could do things less creepy than I did at high school and just listen to it in your car.

The Milk | Deliver Me

Ask anyone with a substantial music collection to pick out 10 albums, more often than not, they’ll pick something of the Blues/Soul sound to compliment the rest of their subjective niche tastes. Put some Otis Redding on with some friends and everyone starts crooning for some form of unrequited passion. Everyone knows the words and no-one asks for it to be switched over.

The Milk bring the tradition back and give us some thing new to spin and cry over. Metaphorically obviously as I’m a product of a male-centric society so I just have to pretend I don’t have emotions. Just wobbly stiff upper lips. “Deliver Me” is a prelude to their second full length which will be released on the Wah Wah 45s label. Even better the song is an available free download from here.

Dan Mangan + Blacksmith | Mouthpiece

Sometimes when an album becomes an evocative reminder of a point in your life it is hard to accept subsequent recordings because they just aren’t quite right. It’s hard to disconnect yourself from it and sometimes you just have to give it a decent amount of time. This was very much my relationship with Dan Mangan after “Nice, Nice, Very Nice” was released way back in 2010. It was the album for that period of my life and so when “Oh Fortune” was released I enjoyed it but it wasn’t Dan Mangan, or at least my definition of what Dan Mangan was.

But man, sometimes we need to remove our heads from our arses and recast a look to what former favourites are still doing. Going by Dan Mangan + Blacksmith now, the band are gearing up to release their new album “Club Meds,” 13th of January 2015 on Arts and Crafts Records. Now I’ve disassociated myself from the arrogance that I can define a musicians ouevre, “Mouthpiece” off the previously mentioned album is fantastic. Darker than old Mangan and haunting whilst still possessing his ability to rouse you out your seat, “Club Meds” could end up making Mangan and co household names.

Until then pretend you’re cooler than everybody else by listening to these guys “first.”

Dutch Party | Paper Moon

Inside every guy with a Macbook and a domain name for a music blog is a small kid who’s first glassy eyed moment of clarity was to some ever-so-sweet indie pop. It’s impossible to avoid, no matter how cynical I become, I can be instantly charmed by jangly guitars and piano that could, if I was facetious, be described as plinkey-plonkey. It distinctly reminds me of summer’s in which I would inevitably curate some sort of whimsical sound-track through my iPod for me to enjoy throughout the months.

Enter stage left Dutch Party from LA. Paper Moon is their second single and really does transport me back to days of endless Belle and Sebastian listening and evenings spinning Spoon endlessly. It has that 60s attitude with just enough edge to not be Simon and Garfunkel. Listen below and keep your eyes peeled for these guys. They could just be big.

Liu Bei | Goodness

Mummy, I’ve been very bad. Beer For The Ear began with much promise but, along with many others, I am overly susceptible to the pressures of pub and stress. I would make a big resolution for the new year but judging from my history on keeping such promises then best not eh? It’s been a case of listening to old comforts as I moved to a new place and retreated into myself faster than a snail on speed.

Anyway, having got up and into the world a little after the whiskey haze of Christmas, I recently discovered Liu Bei. After searching for info on the band turns out Liu Bei is also a monumentally famous Chinese warlord/famous person. Goodness is the title track off their upcoming EP out on Museumgoer Records (which I think is newly founded) so keep your eyes peeled for that to hit. Until then please pester me to be more reliable.