Last updated on May 9, 2022
1. “Handles” – Half-handed Cloud. The hectic, blink-and-you-miss-it indie-pop of Half-handed Cloud is back in full form. John Ringhofer blasts through more sonic and lyrical ideas than seem possible in a tidy 122 seconds. Highly recommended.
2. “On Again” – Lightning Cult. Rare is the music video that ascends to the level of short film, but the video for this Grandaddy-esque fuzzy indie-pop cut is a whole real world in 4:19. This is easily the most evocative, thoughtful, interesting music video I’ve seen this year–and for some years before that. Highly recommended.
3. “turned engine” – Joe Rainey, Allie Bearhead. Pow Wow singer Rainey puts his and Bearhead’s vocals forefront above a fusion of elegaic strings (Alistair Sung on cello and Mayah Kadish on violin, of Stargaze Orchestra) and subtly ominous electronics. The song shifts partway through into an exciting field recording of a Pow Wow, augmented by punchy electronic hits. A lot going on in this piece, and Rainey puts it all together smoothly.
4. “Lost Room” – Hourloupe. IC fave Anar Badalov provides the eclectic, vaguely dystopic electro/acoustic soundscapes; Frank Menchaca offers the poetry on top of the nylon string guitars and ominous synths. It’s a distinctive combination.
5. “Musakayike” – Madalitso Band. This duo from Lilongwe, Malawi describe themselves as using “joyful vocals, four-string guitar, babatoni and cow-skin kick drum.” The results are truly enthusiastic tunes that make me want to dance. This one in particular gets my head bobbing and my hips shaking.
6. “Adore” – James McLeod, AARYS. A high-quality, downtempo pop love song; no more, no less.
7. “Holiday Forever” – Saint Social. The new project from IC fave Quinn Erwin hearkens back to early Afterlife Parade pop-rock, which is wonderful. There’s some Leagues-style minimalist vibes in the guitar/bass/drums instrumental approach, and the overall results are joyous and bright.
8. “Gone” – Pete Muller. “Gone” is the rare piano-pop tune that jumps up and smacks me across the face. The combination of lyrics, vocal delivery, piano performance, and the extremely attractive architecture/interior design of the video make this relationship-conflict song a winner.
9. “Other Way Home” – Meredith Lazowski. An easygoing, preternaturally chill alt-folk/alt-country tune that features Lazowski’s excellently delivered vocals. Feels like Lazowski is in the room with me.
10. “You’ll Have 2 Deal With Me” – Chaperone Picks. Another high-quality slice of 4-track acoustic work that blends the specific and the general in a somewhat surrealist vision.