Fischerspooner – Odyssey (Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify)
It was hard to avoid Fischerspooner for a period of time in 2001-2002. They were everywhere and it seemed like everyone was talking about them. Their first album went crazy on the backs of licensed tracks (Emerge was in so many movies and TV shows) and with the reputation of their insane live stage shows. But their sophomore album really contains the best songwriting and production out of the duo. Tracks like Just Let Go, Never Win, and We Need A Warare just aggressive enough, with comfortingly menacing electronic production that helped everyone freaking out about “electroclash” realize that it just meant harder synth pop and the gateway to electronic music finally going mainstream.
James Irwin – Unreal (Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify)
Hushed, perfectly constructed pop songs that are uplifting in the same way that a cool beer on a warm evening can be. I just want to wrap myself up in this album and let it soothe me. Highly recommended.
Rival Consoles – Night Melody (Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify)
I have a real thing for music that exists in the place between pure compositional experimentation, ambient field recordings, and solid jams. Some of my favorite music starts discordantly and slowly coalesces into something that really inhabits my head and gets me moving. Rival Consoles has such an ability, and his music has been something I’ve only discovered recently. This is your guaranteed productivity music of the week.
Viridi OST – Michael Bell (Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify)
The Viridi app/game (iOS, Android, Steam) is a virtual succulent garden that you have to weed and occasionally water. It’s extremely mellow and very low-maintence; I treat it like a little zone of calm on my phone and computer. Aiding the low-poly plant visuals is a perfectly quiet, twinkly soundtrack that puts me perfectly at ease. It’s chiming and mellow like a low-key Lullatone track (and honestly owes a sonic texture debt to them) but it is a excellent respite from a hectic day.
Yumi Zouma – Yoncalla (Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify)
Like me, the people in Yumi Zouma are big fans of Air France and other balearic Swedes from the Sincerely Yours record label. Like SY, YZ has mastered the art of chill pop songs that sound timeless but are still unmistakably modern. Fans of Carly Rae Jepsen’s new album (and B sides!) will absolutely find things they like here.
Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool (Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify)
Wolf Alice is what you get when you combine a love of Kate Bush, 90s grunge and 2000s Hot Topic goth rock with a classic 70s rock swagger. Ignore the singles and go straight for You’re a Germ for the secret gateway into this band, it’s easily the most fun singalong at the very least.
The Avalanches – BBC Essentials Mix (STREAM)
The last time that The Avalanches did a BBC mix was 15 years ago. I still listen to that one regularly. This one is pretty different but still sounds classically Avalanches: it has that combination of forgotten funk gems, weirdo novelty albums and solid modern jams so heavily intertwined that the tracklist is indecipherable and borderline useless. They also use one of my favorite field recordings ever: Postal Workers Canceling Stamps at the University of Ghana Post Office
Vapor Lanes – aum ovata #1 [mix] (STREAM)
This is a late night mix that really works better the darker the night is. It’s the kind of thing that might be perfect for listening to in bed when you don’t want to do anything but you can’t really fall asleep. Beware though, because it might end up with you deciding to feel productive at 2 in the morning.