The New (and Old) Music Thread for 2016


Finally listening to that Mitski track and it just exploded gloriously. Bring on Puberty 2! Thanks, forge.


Finally listening to that Mitski track and it just exploded gloriously. Bring on Puberty 2! Thanks, forge.


Good new stuff! (With Spotify links.)

The Goon Sax - Up To Anything

Low-key indie band formed by the son of Robert Forster of the Go-Betweens. Appealing lyrics, simple charm.

Grant Lee Phillips - The Narrows

More country than ever, dependable as always.

Chris Forsyth and The Solar Motel Band - The Rarity of Experience

Immensely satisfying psychedelic guitar jams that go from rollicking to dreamy and back again. Beautiful album cover!

Also really digging the latest albums by The Field, Bibio, and Black Mountain.


So far I haven’t gotten past The Goon Sax. It’s hitting my Small Factory obsessiveness like a ton of bricks.


So Trapper Schoepp’s second album–four years in the making, after being handed off from one record label to another before landing with big UK indie Xtra Mile–is finally out.

His debut record is a very country affair with all sorts of northern plains rootsy music in the sphere of your Jayhawks or BoDeans.

This new record?

This new one is a different breed of cat. For me the biggest surprise is the horns. They’re everywhere on this, and they sound GREAT. They give these songs a wonderful throwback sound that makes this record a whole lot more Bruce and Stones than anything Schoepp has hinted at before. I also couldn’t help but notice how great the production is on this record, so I looked that up…and holy shit. Duh! Brendan Benson (Raconteurs and solo god) produced this. It’s a BIG production. Yuge, even. It sounds like there’s a half dozen backing singers on some of these tracks, and that gigantic production is just…well dammit, I love overproduced stuff as much as I love underproduced stuff.

At any rate, it may not be your thing. There are times when it sounds like you’ve tuned in some crazy AM radio station from 1975. Sometimes Schoepp’s lyrics try a little too hard. For instance, what has to be the only song ever written about being stranded in a motel during a blizzard in a small town in Nebraska, “Ogallala”, you’re treated to “I felt like Martin Freeman when he was first leavin’”. What’s great about Schoepp is that you’re getting all cynical and thinking how dorky that is, and then the chorus comes up like a tidal wave and fuck it. You don’t care anymore.

That’s Schoepp’s greatest virtue here. He’s so goddamn earnest. He believes everything on this record. He loves everything on this record. There’s a true-believer sincerity here that’d be unsettling if it wasn’t so sweet. And so for all the giant production flourishes here, there’s nary a moment of artifice.

“Tornado Alley” (Which is about driving through Joplin, MO shortly after the May 2011 tornado)


Spotify link.


I’ve had Trapper in my on-deck circle ever since I noticed your facebook comments about it. I’ll check it out directly.

I also wanted to mention how much I loved that Pinkshinyultrablast album you picked last month. The Cherry Pit? SO GOOD.


that Mitski track is pretty intoxicating.

And I, uh, still need to listen to the Grant Lee Phillips record, which is probably more a reflection that I’m all good on my monthly Americana/roots needs from Trapper Schoepp at the moment.

And I really want to sample Protomartyr and Ought too, and I will. Because I ought to. (GET IT?)

But man. I feel like I’ve gone down a pretty great rabbit hole, music-wise.

Lemme start at the beginning.

Seems there was a band in the south bay area of SF called The Cosmos. They apparently came to their senses and realized that name was one shared with about a dozen other bands. So…they dropped it.

They started calling themselves the Magic Bullets. And The Magic Bullets put out two records and broke up in 2011. Kind of. They also released some singles. Last week they re-released their debut EP, which is nice, and they also put out a record of unreleased stuff they recorded in 2008 and 2009, and this is how I heard 'em.

I should mention that if you didn’t know better, on hearing The Magic Bullets, you’d assume they were from England or Scotland, sometime circa 1983. Think young, yelpy Edwyn Collins or Roddy Frame and Aztec Camera. Not sure if lead singer Philip Benson is American born and just sings in that quavery new wave Britcroon because he can, or if he’s an expat. Here, this is “On Top Of The World (First Version)”, from the new comp release.

Anyway, the core of the band is three dudes who have been friends since schooldays. and one day in 2011 or whenever, they got drunk and laughingly started writing songs on a lark that sounded a bit different, the idea being “Let’s see how many songs we can write drunk and still remember tomorrow.” The result is them trying to sound like punks. Sorta.

They decided the new stuff they were doing was so much fun–and the Magic Bullets were sadly going nowhere–that they ceased to be the Bullets and became Terry Malts. And as Terry Malts, well…the idea is to kind of be a punk band. But Benson can’t help but still sing on key and smoothly…so they sort of sound like a punkier Wedding Present. Here, try “Waiting Room” (Not a Fugazi cover, btw.)

I’m discovering that lots and lots of the 40-odd Magic Bullets songs and 25 or so Terry Malts songs are all pretty much aces.


We should probably also mention here how great the new Quilt album that came out back in February is, right?

I mean, holy shit. This song and video…just the tip o’ the iceberg too.


Yeah, these guys are really great. Amazingly energetic live show and their first album is surfey J&M Chain meets Boyracer lo-fi punk-pop drenched with echo and distortion and also incredibly fun! You know you’ve got an embarrassment of great songs when a track like this doesn’t make the cut for their debut album:

Unfortunately they rushed out a second album within a year or so of their first one, and it suffers for it, I think…though still with a few memorable tracks (“Human Race”, “I Was Not There” stand out).

The Magic Bullets were indeed very Postcard mixed with The Feelies-inspired jangle. I saw them at one the local Popfest shows and they were terrific, but I must say I slightly prefer the more-unhinged TM sound.

Despite mostly radio silence since 2014 apparently Terry Malts are still together, though not gigging as frequently as they were in 2012-2013. They’re opening for Real Estate soon. Unsurprising, since one of their early bandmates in the Magic Bullets went on to play with Girls and now is playing keyboards for RE.


Cool, thanks for the info. Was hoping you could help fill in some blanks!

I’m kinda split on whether I prefer them as Magic Bullets or Terry Malts, but both kick my ass.

It sounds as if they were on a bit of a vacation, but with them starting up their own label to release vault stuff like Young Man’s Fancy, hoping that means a new TM record in the next year or so.


Oh hells yes! Hi there Beat Happening, I missed you!


That reminds me, don’t think we’ve talked about Palehound, another recent darling of the Boston indie scene. Interesting bit of trivia, Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis was a camp counselor to Palehound’s Ellen Kempner and then sometime later they were also roommates.


New Tim Hecker album drops today. For fans of dreamy abstraction. I think it’s quite lovely.


The new Joy Formidable album is pretty good, if maybe a bit too reminiscent at times of earlier albums. Seeing them Tuesday night.


What he said. :)


Has anyone heard the new M83 album? Is it worth getting? I want another Midnight City-caliber song. Or another Saturdays = Youth caliber album.


I’ve been digging around the music of that Xavia Rudd guy from australia, and this moved me:

'The Making of ‘Spirit Bird’ (one of his albums, and the title track):

He has a bit of an accent obviously, but a really great story about how the track came about, and this is the track:

And an incredible live version in Bali last year:

Very powerful, especially in relation to the struggle of the Aboriginal people of australia, but also an echo of a pattern repeated all around the world.

Edit: And this is a fantastic free album, on his own youtube channel, i think due to his partnership with the UN to highlight indigenous peoples difficulties. I get a very strong bob marley vibe from it, very nice to listen too:

And (cause i’m on a serious kick with his music right now!) this is a full concert (1hr 35mins) he did last year in North Carolina:

Loving his PNG keyboard player :)


I was trying to enjoy it at work the other day and it was mostly not leaving much of an impression until I hit the fifth track, Moon Crystals, which is so aggressively bad that I stopped listening. Maybe the rest of the album is brilliant but it will take me a while to get back to it. (For the record, I loved Hurry Up We’re Dreaming and the Oblivion soundtrack but have never gotten around to listeing to their older material. So I’m one of those fans.)

Edit: Reading some reviews on Metacritic:

I am one of those people, at least so far as these musical stylings are concerned.



And while we’re dealing with Disappointment, the new Joy Formidable album is yet another step in the wrong direction.

Wolf’s Law eventually grew on me but I can’t see Hitch doing the same. There are one or two good songs, a bunch of forgettable ones and then a really, really unfortunate one which makes use of flute, a decision Ritzy unwisely tried to defend on Facebook with a snarky reply to a snarky review. (Always a bad sign when one of your favorite bands starts replying to critics.) This is not the hill you want to die on Ritzy.

I keep waiting for something to come along this year that excites me. It’s already April! The Hamilton soundtrack is not from this year but it sure as shit excited me so I don’t think it’s my head space.


I just listened to it. Didn’t care much for it. They seem to have gone a bit too pop, IMO.

By coincidence, though, I watched the movie “You and the Night” from few years ago over the weekend. M83 did the soundtrack for it and that music was really quite good. It was mostly incidental music, but it was lovely incidental music, not entirely unlike the “Drive” soundtrack. It made me go back and revisit those earlier brilliant M83 records. This current album is nothing like those, sadly.