My top listens in April 2022 🎶

The albums I listened to most in the last 30 days, according to

Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher (Dead Oceans)

I reckon more Bandcamp customers have bought this one album than have bought all of the 729 other albums in my collection combined.

I gave Punisher a go when it came out and moved on without a second thought, but then I watched a YouTube video from this channel Professional Musicians React where they had one of the three co-producers plus a guitarist from the band in the studio, and they tricked me into liking it. 😉 I’ve had this very ambivalent thing going on with this channel’s content for a while now. I sort of hate it. On one level, the stuff they gush over is exactly what I don’t, both in terms of their taste in music and what matters to them about the music too. You know, they’re enthusing about playing with Michael Buble or whoever. But on another level, it’s become my light comfort TV, and I genuinely enjoy watching it.

Anyway, lyrics-wise I love stuff that sounds like a string of really, really specific recollections or observations. So it sounds personal, but the whole shifts from confessional-feeling to impossible to read in any one way. There’s often a strong sentiment there, but also a decent kind of mystery. Something to chew on.

Wet Leg – Wet Leg (Sub Pop)

Huh, I can’t embed this one from Bandcamp. Oh well, here’s the video for “Chaise Longue”.

I stumbled over their song “Wet Dream” first a few months ago and found it really fun and funny, then promptly forgot about them until I heard “Chaise Longue” last month… nek minit, I’ve played the whole album multiple times. It’s not one I’ve bought yet, because I’m paranoid it’ll have a really short shelf-life.

As well as the fun, tight music, I really like how the lyrics are kind of chatty and often refer to very contemporary stuff without ever sounding forced IMO. Most of it is pretty mopey, but the music typically isn’t at all. My current fave is probably “Piece of Shit” which covers those contrasts pretty nicely.

Flin van Hemmen & Jozef Dumoulin – New Dance Moves (Shhpuma)

So if I’m going to be honest I don’t remember why I bought this and I regret it. Stink. I listened to it through for the first time while walking around Blenheim on a rainy day. Maybe that spoiled it for me.

Jack J – Opening the Door (Mood Hut)

I loved that one Jack J song “Thirstin'” back in 2005, so when his debut album suddenly appeared all these years later I gave it a good four or five listens. But I didn’t “buy on sight”, as they say, and I don’t think I’ll revisit it.

There’s some sort of reggae numbers, some sort of jazz fusion ones, all in a very indie 80s vein … some songs, some instrumentals … just none of it grabbed me.

Dimitar Dodovski – TUN008 (Móatún 7)

Compared to Dimitar’s last EP, this collection of beautiful electronic instrumentals is much more focused on tuned percussion sounds and interlocking rhythmic parts. Those things are always there, but this EP seems particularly about that and just in general particularly focused. I don’t mean to make it sound like there’s only one thing going on here, because there’s a nice range of feels and tempos. For example “Do While Bamboo” bounces along with crisp drums and deep bass, while “Future Horizon” floats, with nothing like a classic “band” rhythm section to pin it down.

I love letting these things roll around in my head. Perhaps surprisingly I’ve found the EP really good driving music.

Ben Green – Lauchie Cox (Music Company)

I held off on buying this for ages, as I was pretty into it, but I thought it might be too nice-nice for me. Pristine, pretty instrumentals focused on piano, but a full one-man-band thing going on with clean guitar lines, soft electronic percussion, minimal basslines… all with a bright sheen over them. Something in here takes me back to, I dunno, Daniel Lanois, Michael Brook, the Real World label. It would be easy enough to dismiss this as just the noodlings of a decent enough instrumentalist making home recordings. I almost did. But at the start of the month I bought it and I’m really glad I did. It’s just sincere chill out music, I suppose.

Vlad Dobrovolski – Playbacks For Dreaming (Muscut)

So this album by a Russian producer was scheduled to be released on Ukrainian label Muscut. Given Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, the owner of Muscut has said he really can’t release Russian music at the moment, so … now you can’t get it. I pre-ordered and still got the files. So I don’t know if I should even bother to write more about it at this point. I like the music, though.

AFTA-1 – _UNDFND (self-released)

Heh, I actually only listened to this album once last album, but its 19 tracks are enough that it showed up in my top 9 listens.

This came out in 2019 and I’m sure it’s a Karnan Saba recommendation. Kind of a beat tape I guess, but at the mellow and melodic end of such things. Definitely stands up.

Priori – Your Own Power Remixes (Naff Recordings)

I got this EP for the DJ Python remix. I knew and liked 3 of the other 4 remixers on the EP, so was willing to take a punt, but that DJ Python mix is still the stand out for me.

Priori’s own music is very specifically retro, basically pastiche of a kind of very clean almost-trancey-but-pretty-chilled techno from the early 90s. I think of Sun Electric, of Higher Intelligence Agency. I’m not that into it.

DJ Python often has a really 90s vibe happening too, but quite a different one. In this case, his remix puts me in mind of a really specific vein of instrumental trip-hop that I might be the only person in the world to connect up. Kind of bedroom techno and 90s hip-hop aesthetics crossing over. Things that showed up on Mo’Wax, like Plaid remixing UNKLE vs. Major Force, Autechre remixing Palmskin Productions, or that “Street Mix” of Innerzone Orchestra’s classic “Bug In The Bass Bin”. I don’t know if this remix really sounds like any of these things, but it makes me nostalgic, anyway.