What I’ve Been Listening To: Summer 2021

Welcome back to another quarterly new music feature! This is just a short roundup of new releases from the past few months that I’ve been enjoying and I share my thoughts and some information on the musicians and the music. If that sounds like something you’d enjoy, keep on reading!

1. A New Beginning – Man Tau

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy to listen to, thank you Man Tau! Man Tau is a musician who takes a DIY to his music, which he describes as Rainbow Rock. What does that mean? Rainbows are colourful, and so is life. Our emotions, feelings, and moods are the colours. He has been making music since 2019 and coming out on the 10th of September is a new album called A New Beginning, and doesn’t that title describe life after the pandemic? This Beatles, Bowie, and Lou Reed inspired album is about life and it’s realistic, looking at the ups and downs, especially in love and relationships, with this album being about a breakup. One of the playlists I’ve been adding a lot to is my Classic Rock Therapy Sesh playlist, which is basically sad classic rock songs I listen to when I’m down. I know, counterintuitive, but it makes me feel better. This album fits right into the feel of that playlist. The highlights in my opinion are “Don’t You Want Me, Too?”, “What We Are Made Of”, “Is It Me”, “Honeybee” (probably my favourite on the album, I love the guitar solo), “Wave of Tears”, and the title track. Overall a great listen! Below, you can find the single “Is It Me”:

2. “Better Make Hay” – Roderick August

This summer has been a tough one for me. Actually, make it this year. Friend of the blog Roderick August (who I’ve interviewed last year), sent me his latest single in advance and as always, it’s beautiful. Great folk rock and cheered me up. Thank you so much Roderick!

3. “Stand With Me” – The Moons

The Moons have released a new single, “Stand With Me”, now available to stream and it’s a great psychedelic track with a bit of that drone sound I love about that rock and roll subgenre. One I can play on repeat and not get sick of! Perfect for those 60s inspired DJ sets! Hopefully we can get back to that again! One of my favourites of the summer!

Check out my interview with Andy Crofts here!

4. New music from Jim Basnight

Jim Basnight doesn’t just have a new single, “Middle of the Night” b/w “Rebel Kind”, he also is re-releasing The Rockinghams’ 1999 album “Makin’ Bacon” for the first time on digital download and streaming platforms. The new single has a sound that’s a mix of power pop and punk. Definitely worth a listen for 70s power pop and punk fans! My favourite tracks on the album are “Need A Car” (haha I can relate to that title), “Ho Chi Minh”, “Hello Mary Jane”, “Lattes”, “Space”, and “Uncertain”. It’s not technically new, but it might be new to you!

You can check out my interview with him here.

5. “What do you think would happen” – Mary Devlin

My friend Mary released a new single. As always, a great acoustic song and she has such a great voice, very pleasant to listen to!

You can check out my interview with her here.

6. Your Psyche is Showing – Generous Gods

This is a band I found out about through Instagram ads and what an incredible find! Great 60s sounding garage rock from this Atlanta, Georgia based band, but sounding like it’s straight out of California. This music makes me think of when I was in San Diego, LA, and Joshua Tree. Good times! Would love to see a whole album from them one day!

7. “Erkilet Güzeli” – Altin Gün & Los Bitchos

Two great bands collaborating? Turkey meets London for this psychedelic fusion of world music. Love the music of Turkey and Latin America and want to hear it with a rock and roll twist, you gotta listen to these two bands! It’s world music for classic rock fans! I was pleasantly surprised to log into Spotify one day and see a new release from Los Bitchos, who haven’t released anything in a while and I had recently found out about Altin Gün so I was happy to give this a listen.

8. This Is My Happy Face – Tom Tikka

Coming out later this month is a new album from Helsinki based musician Tom Tikka, who I’ve interviewed earlier this year. He sent me an advance copy of his new album to review for my blog. Thank you so much! The album’s artwork has a clown motif and the songs were all inspired by a documentary about psychic mediums and the few seconds before death where your entire life flashes before your eyes. Sound wise it reminds me most of 80s and 90s music.

What an interesting concept and very unique and creative! And his hard work and creativity have won him an ISSA Award for Male Emerging Artist of the Year. A perfect album for the Halloween season. Autumn to me has always been a sad time whether it was going back to school or just seeing the days get shorter and the weather get cooler and gloomier. I particularly liked the songs “Heart’s On Fire”, “Doormat”, “(I Wish I Could) Fly to the Moon”, “Hunger Lines”, and “Garden of Judas”. Keep on the lookout for it on September 17th! Below, you can find “Heart’s On Fire”:

You can read my interview with Tom Tikka here.

9. Double Dippin’ – YAM YAM

I found this funk band from Pennsylvania on the subreddit /r/listentothis and it’s a great place to discover new music that you might not have otherwise discovered. Lately my Spotify suggestions have been going in a more R&B, soul, and funk direction and I’m happy with that change. My favourite era of these genres of course is the 60s and 70s, so really old school here and when I find some new funk and R&B that sounds like it’d fit in the 60s or 70s, I’m really happy! Those decades are so special and magic to me for many reasons and I love to hear millennial and Gen Z’s takes on it. This summer, their album Double Dippin’ came out and it’s a great listen. “Cashew” has some prog rock elements and “Juice Box” reminds me of disco and a tiny bit of city pop – totally something I can picture hearing in a video game. I also really like the song “Treason” If you’re a fan of Vulfpeck and Neal Francis, you’ll love YAM YAM!

10. “Spider” – Jiminil

Jiminil is a folk musician born in Belfast, but raised in Nottingham. His music is a mix of a lot of lovely styles of music: pastoral folk, psychedelic rock, and jazz. All sorts of music that I’ve been listening to lately! His biggest influences include Bert Jansch, John Fahey, Joni Mitchell, and Van Morrison. Love the sombre mood of the music with the acoustic guitars. I get a bit of a gothic, but 60s feel from it too. Something mesmerising and I could easily play this on repeat. If you like Roderick August’s song I mentioned above, you’ll also like “Spider”! Keep on the lookout for “Family Tree”, coming out later this month, which tells the story of a broken family, described as a gothic folk tale.

11. “The Fifth Season” and “Remember a Dream” – The Small Breed

I found out about this band from a Dutch musician named Fleur (her yé-yé music is amazing!) who shared it on her story on Instagram. The Netherlands seems to have a pretty cool rock scene with a bunch of musicians who revive that 60s style and I love to hear it! I gave their 2018 EP a listen and it’s brilliant, so much that it’s hard to pick a favourite track, but I’d have to say “Theory of Mind” is! I had to add it to my This Isn’t Classic Rock playlist! It’s vibrant, big sounding psychedelic rock, with a bit of baroque pop sounds. Their description is perfect to me: “Think of The Beatles sharing a special pot of elderflower tea with The Pink Floyd, The Pretty Things, and future members of The Millennium, circa 1967”. What a beautiful image!

Now they have their debut album coming out on October 1st called Remember A Dream. In the meantime, you can listen to two singles from it: the acid trip inspired “The Fifth Season” and “Remember a Dream”.The latter was inspired by singer Guus van den Heuvel’s lucid dream about a floating village, but it turns out the dream was basically an accurate recreation of an M.C. Escher painting he’d never seen. These songs make me think a bit of early psychedelic era Status Quo as well. As always, truly magical music that takes you to a new world! Love it and can’t wait for the new album!

12. “Love Boat” – Yoon Jong Shin

Yoon Jong Shin is a prolific Korean pop musician who releases a new song every month and he’s been in the music industry for a couple of decades now. I found out about his music thanks to my friend on Twitter, Crimson Firewill. He knows I love city pop and he said I had to give his new song a listen because it’s very city pop inspired and includes his signature ballad vocals, making a beautiful combination. Straight out of the 80s! And it makes sense because this song was inspired by the TV show, The Love Boat, from around that time. I love city pop because of the optimistic summer, beach-y sound it has. Makes me think of happy times and since this summer hasn’t been much of a summer for me and many others, we need escapism: music, movies, books! Whichever you prefer!

13. The Sum of Our Fears – The Howlers

On the 26th of August, London based West Coast style trio The Howlers released their debut EP. This day and age is full of music that is more realistic in theme and about finding the beauty or the positives in the less than ideal situations, and isn’t that something we’ve all lived through? I suppose that’s why shows like Bojack Horseman are so popular and well-loved (still miss it!). And that’s what this EP is all about. It’s self expression and coming to terms with hardships. Lots of exciting things coming soon for this up and coming band with a UK tour in November and December. This album combines the optimistic 60s sound but with more sombre, emotional lyrics. Reminds me of that meme of two houses: one black gothic looking house, and one pink barbie looking house and on top is: the lyrics and the music. That’s what this makes me think of. All the songs on the EP are great! If you like surf rock, garage rock, and psychedelic rock with a little bit of power pop (especially heard on “Never Enough”), you’ll love The Howlers!

14. A Day in the Life – The Parlophonics

The Parlophonics are a German band who model themselves after 60s and 70s British classic rock bands. Looking at their Spotify, I love how they describe themselves: “Are you a mod or a rocker? We are Mocker”. A great listen for people who are fans of The Beatles and Oasis, and power pop like Big Star and Badfinger (can hear some of these elements on “Higher Ground”). I think the highlights of this album are “A Day in the Life”, “Feel The Light”, “Higher Ground”, and “Make it Alright”.

15. “Better When You’re Around” – Rhona Macfarlane

Rhona Macfarlane is a folk singer-songwriter from Scotland. Her biggest influences are Joni Mitchell, Nick Drake, and John Martyn. She has been performing music since she was a teenager, when she was part of the Hit the Road touring project for teenage musicians, and during this tour she played live on the Janice Forsyth Show on BBC Radio Scotland. She released her debut EP called The Tide in 2017 and now she has a new EP coming out soon and the lead single from it is “Better When You’re Around”, an uplifting song about friendship. Beautiful voice and honest lyrics! Having the right people around is key to having a happy life. Family and friends are what’s most important and I think it’s important to let the people in your life know how much you appreciate them. Take the time to do that!

That concludes the quarterly new music feature! If you want a playlist with these songs and more, here you go:

Shoutout to Patrick and Jeffrey from Maryland for supporting the blog!

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