What’s so impressive about Darlingside’s new album Birds Say is how fully developed it feels. From the first minute it has an identity, its acoustic arrangements and rich, four-part vocal harmonies hearkening to ‘60s folk (the CSNY influence is massive) yet the foursome still take the music in a direction that feels contemporary. It’s rooted in traditional music but has a very subtle experimental mentality that gives the music a quirky charm of its own. It’s not easy for a band to sound like they hit the ground running, but Darlingside do that on a record that, if there’s any justice in this world, should click in a huge way with the indie folk crowd.
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Having opened in the past for the likes of Temples and the Horrors, New York band Spires are set to release their debut self-titled EP 18 September on 401K Music. Derived from the Jesus and Mary Chain and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Spires tosses in a little bit of twee as well for a good balance of braggadocio and sensitivity.
The brainchild of New York singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Nick Kinsey, the aptly named KINSEY dives shamelessly into the melodic and hook-oriented indie pop of A.C. Newman and Dan Bejar and emerges with an identity of its own on the charming new album My Loneliest Debut, which comes out 18 September. There’s an anything-goes quality to Kinsey’s writing that’s impossible to resist, his kitchen-sink approach making for idiosyncratic yet vibrant music.
Suddenly finding himself evacuated from his Glasgow home after it was found to have structural damage, composer John Lemke embarked on a couch-surfing journey for the next six months with his piano and a bag of clothes. The creative result of that upheaval is the fittingly titled new album Nomad Frequencies, which comes out 25 September. Featuring his trademark minimalist piano adorned with such accoutrements as analog synths, tape echoes, and meditative tuning forks he’s created something that sounds both meditative and restless, a dynamic beautifully present on the standout track “The Unwinding”.
Evan Sawdey: I’ve been listening to Alex G’s album for about a month now, and outside of the occasional stretching-the-limits-of-tolerable-weirdness interlude, there is a basement-built sonic universe here contained in this disc, heartfelt tales married to DIY guitars and electronic sounds, finding actual soul in the intimate, the amateurish touches of effects being so deliberate and so imbued with what makes the songs great that you can’t imagine them in any other context. “Salt” is definitely a highlight, which features a picked melody line so simple that almost anyone can do it (and beginning guitarists probably stumbled across by accident), but those little background details—the warped vocals, the occasional extra guitar slide—all add to its charm. This is about as indie-sounding as indie gets, but the rewards to be reaped from it are second to none. [8/10]