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Angel Olsen

September 21, 2017

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You know what sucks?  Waking up with a fever.  You know what doesn’t suck?  Waking up to an email with details on an Angel Olsen collection of B-sides, rarities, and demos from the past several years.  It’s called Phases, and it’ll be out on November 10.  Enjoy.

PS – Fly On Your Wall is from the Our First 100 Days comp.  Special is a never before released tune from the My Woman recording sessions.

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Top 25 Albums Of 2016

December 12, 2016

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Alright friends, here’s my full album list.  Unlike my Top 50 Songs of 2016, there are Austin acts here. As always, this isn’t some sort of “critical” list, it’s just the albums that I jammed the most this year.  Enjoy.

PS – Here’s a playlist of all the albums on Spotify!

25) Deftones – Gore

While I’ve always liked the Deftones, I haven’t legit loved an album of theirs since 2000′s PonyGore wrapped me up though – it’s really well crafted and features some great songs.  I went back to it often in 2016.

24) Nothing – Tired Of Tomorrow

At first I was slightly let down by Nothing’s sophomore effort, but after I spent some quality time with it I became pretty damn attached.  If you’re into shoegaze, then you need to listen to Tired Of Tomorrow.

23) Explosions In The Sky – The Wilderness

I love me some Explosions In The Sky.  By the way, my instrumental album rankings for 2016 go like this: 1) EITS’ The Wilderness, 2) Russian Circles’ Guidance and then 3) Mono’s Requiem For Hell.

22) Tancred – Out Of The Garden

There isn’t a song on Tancred’s Out Of The Garden that isn’t infectious.  Definitely a must-listen for fans of 90s indie/pop rock.

21) Thao And The Get Down Stay Down – A Man Alive

Thao continues to be one of my favorite singer/songwriters of all time.  I just connect with everything she churns out.

20) Bleached – Welcome The Worms

Bleached took a step away from surf rock on Welcome The Worms and it turned out to be a great move for them.  This album is so energetic.

19) Yung – A Youthful Dream

This kid – 22-year-old Mikkel Holm Silkjær – out of Denmark really impressed me with his debut as YungA Youthful Dream is noisy in all of the right ways.

18) A Giant Dog – Pile

Austin’s very own A Giant Dog have long been a favorite of mine, so I love that they totally crushed it on Pile, their debut for Merge Records.

17) Savages – Adore Life

I was obsessed with Savages’ Adore Life for the first few months of the year.  Eventually I was able to wiggle myself out of its intense pull, mostly.

16) Preoccupations – Self Titled

Just in case you forgot, Viet Cong is now Preoccupations.  In regards to their self titled effort, I love that the majority of it sounds like Interpol on artsy steroids.

15) Cross Record – Wabi Sabi

Wabi Sabi is a rather ethereal effort from Cross Record, a newer band out of Austin.  The whole thing is really damn good and it totally turned me into a big fan of theirs.

14) The Hotelier – Goodness

For those of you that love anthemic rock (with a dash of emo on top), here’s Goodness from The Hotelier.  I passionately rocked this album a lot in my car.

13) Frankie Cosmos – Next Thing

There isn’t a single song on Frankie Cosmos’ Next Thing that isn’t soaked in sincerity.  She has one of those voices that makes everything feel so very genuine.

12) Terry Malts – Lost At The Party

Any time Terry Malts put out an album, you can count on it being high up on my list.  They write super catchy stuff and in general are reliably awesome.

11) Cymbals Eat Guitars – Pretty Years

Pretty Years is one hell of an album.  At one point will the masses open up to Cymbals Eat Guitars?  Those guys should be playing huge rooms.

10) White Denim – Stiff

Stiff is another high quality set of jams from White Denim.  They remain a really big favorite of mine.

09) Whitney – Light Upon The Lake

Light Upon The Lake is quite possibly the most accessible album that I came across this year.  Seriously, there’s not a single track on Whitney’s debut that isn’t instantly likeable.

08) Basketball Shorts – Hot And Ready

Hot And Ready from Austin’s Basketball Shorts was a big go-to for me in 2016.  It’s 20-ish minutes of pop punk perfection.

07) Angel Olsen – My Woman

My Woman made me go from liking Angel Olsen to loving her.  What a next level effort.

06) Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book

For a while there, I only listened to Chance The Rapper’s Coloring Book.  It’s an inspired, energetic effort that features a lot of great songwriting.  It’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here.

05) Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo

Kanye’s The Life Of Pablo is a manic listen with a lot of layers.  He sure does have a lot going on in his head.

04) The Coathangers – Nosebleed Weekend

The Coathangers really hit a home run with Nosebleed Weekend.  It has a ton of great hooks and just the right amount of snarl.

03) Frank Ocean – Blonde

Frank Ocean’s Blonde is a hypnotic experience.  I’m not even sure how often I’ve listened to the entire thing after only intending to revisit one particular song.

02) Car Seat Headrest – Teens In Denial

They may not sound alike at all, but Car Seat Headrest’s Teens In Denials is like Frank Ocean’s Blonde – they’re both really hypnotic listens.  That Will Toledo is one hell of a songwriter.

01) White Lung – Paradise

Of all the EPs and LPs I listened to 2016, White Lung’s Paradise is the one that I jammed the most.  It’s loud and heavy and the best modern rock album I’ve come across in years. Congrats to the band for nailing it and grabbing the top spot on my list.

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Top 50 Songs Of 2016: Part 5

December 2, 2016

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Here’s the end of my “songs I liked a whole lot this year” list.  Enjoy.

PS – Just a reminder that there are no Austin acts to be found in any part of this list.  I’m going to be doing a two-part year-ender via 101X Homegrown (my radio show) that will detail my favorite local tracks.  Look for Part 1 to air on 12/11, and then Part 2 on 12/18.

Part 1 is HERE.
Part 2 is HERE.
Part 3 is HERE.
Part 4 is HERE.

PPS – I got a ton of take down notices, so you’ll have to listen via Spotify.

10)  :P.O.S. – Wave (Featuring Moncelas Boston And Sophia Eris):  P.O.S. didn’t put out an album this year, but he did release a handful of singles.  This slick-sounding effort finished the year as my favorite of the bunch.

09)  :White Lung – Kiss Me When I Bleed:  White Lung’s Mish Barber-Way commands all with her vocal work in this heavy track that aims to pummel.  Turn it up.

08)  :Chance The Rapper – Angels (Featuring Saba):  Chance The Rapper and Saba are as pleasant as can be in this joyous track – it’s infectious stuff.

07)  :Whitney – Golden Days:  This song from Whitney was a big go-to for me every time I needed a breather in 2016.  It’s so damn accessible and laid back.

06)  :Coathangers – Squeeki Tiki:  Admittedly, a part of me couldn’t pass up the opportunity to put a squeaky toy-enhanced track in the top 10 of my year-end song list.  Also, it’s scuzzy and creative and perfect and deserving of everyone’s love.  Thanks for the jam, Coathangers!

05)  :Shura – What’s It Gonna Be?:  This one from Shura is easily my favorite straight up pop tune of 2016.  It may also be the winner of this year’s “song that John poorly sang-a-long to the most” award.

04)  :Cymbals Eat Guitars – Have a Heart:  If I were to rank out every Cymbals Eat Guitars song, I’d be tempted to put this one in the top spot.  What a track.

03)  :Frank Ocean – Solo:  This is one seriously hypnotic effort from Frank Ocean.  That fella is a hell of a crooner.

02)  :Angel Olsen – Shut Up Kiss Me:  Every time I hear this song I just want to high five Angel Olsen and go rollerskating.  I love the way she pulls no punches here.

01)  :Kanye West – Ultralight Beam:  Is this song absolutely ridiculous?  Yes.  I mean, it’s Kanye West, so of course it’s ridiculous.  It also happens to be amazing though, and I love it.  Definitely the song I blasted the most in 2016 … probably because it was the most ridiculous year ever and I needed the right song to accompany me through it.

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Quickdraw: Tacocat, Happy Diving, Field Mouse, Angel Olsen, Tycho

July 5, 2016

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Tacocat – I Live For The Sun (The Sunrays Cover):  Tacocat will soon be in a town near you, and they’ve released this Sunrays cover to help get you excited about it.  Turn up the volume and take in all of its catchiness.

:Happy Diving – Head Spell:  “Tender yet loud” is how this Happy Diving track is referred to in its press release, and once you hit play you’ll see for yourself just how fitting of a description that is.  I think it’s a good sound for them.  Electric Soul Unity will be out August 19 via Topshelf.

:Field Mouse – The Mirror:  Here’s a nice slice of 90s-enthused pop rock from Field Mouse.  Their upcoming album is one that I think I’m really going to dig.  Episodic is due out August 5 via Topshelf.

:Angel Olsen – Shut Up Kiss Me:  While I’m still not sure how I feel about Angel Olsen’s other single, I’m 100% in love with this one.  I can’t get it (or the video) out of my head.  My Woman is due out September 2 via Jagjaguwar.

:Tycho – Division:  Tycho just released this headphone-worthy effort.  It didn’t come with any news on a new album, but I’m really hoping it means that one isn’t too far off.  His last effort, 2014′s Awake, is still a big favorite of mine.

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2014 SOTO Staff Picks

December 11, 2014

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I’ve rambled on long enough about the music I liked in 2014.  Here are the staff’s picks.  Enjoy.

Turns out that aside from the crippling bodily ailments and the inability to control my bladder, getting older has made me absolutely awful at listening to music. Don’t hate haters, I’ve just gotten over the hump of 30 and all of sudden I just can’t focus enough to listen to a whole album. Blame it on the SNES I brought home for my girlfriend’s birthday, blame it on the imposition of real life, blame it on the encroaching approach of a potent mix of early onset dementia and Adult ADHD – I’ve just been really bad at music listening this year. Thus, my teensy tiny list of music is culled from a pond not nearly as large as I’d hoped it to be. That said, the music I liked, I loved and that’s the music that ended up below.

Parkay Quarts – Content Nausea
Mac DeMarco – Salad Days
Caribou – Our Love
Vince Staples – Hell Can Wait
Perfume Genius – Too Bright

Since 2010, rock music hasn’t changed all that much. There’s presently a general look back to past niche musics from the 1960′s onward. But through the nostalgia haze, there are a great deal of both old and new artists finding new latitudes. Here’s my major jams this year.

1. Thurston Moore – The Best Day (Matador)
2. David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights – End Times Undone (Merge)
3. Steve Gunn – Way out Weather (PoB)
4. Datashock – Keine Oase in Sicht (Dekorder)
5. William Tyler – Lost Colony (Merge)

I’ve been staring at my 2014 list like a student procrastinating on their end of the semester term paper.  I go back and forth on who to include, who to leave out, and recalling releases (d’oh!) I never got around to checking out. There are also the nagging doubts such as wondering if I gave an album enough listens to put it on my list. Like last year my list focuses on my local Austin favorites. Narrowing it down to the Top 5 wasn’t easy but I stand by my choices of my faves that earned multiple listens. So many good bands to choose from but oh what a problem to have, right?

In no particular order, I present to you :

The Sour Notes – Do What May
Abram Shook – Sun Marquee
Alex Napping – This Is Not A Bedroom
She Sir – Go Guitars
Shivery Shakes – Three Waves and A Shake

Honorable Mentions: The Ugly Beats – Brand New Day, Roger Sellers – Primitives, Genuine Leather – Losers

Compared to last year, 2014 left much to be desired when it comes to the sheer number of amazing releases. 2013 offered probably 15 to 20 “crap your pants while listening best record of the century” type stuff but then after that it sort of fell short in the real meat of the pack by not having a lot to deepen the core of metal. The reverse of which is true this year, I have attached to a few records as rising to the tippy top of the heap, but the real glory came in the form of the fat of the genre, so many decent albums from so many artists, many debuts, but several just continuations on great careers, but few to get all wigged out about.

My Top 5 you can see here are pretty clear choices though when you look at what they accomplished on these albums, Devn Townsend Project made two albums into one, and continued the story or Ziltoid the Omniscient, Anaal Nathrakh did what they do, but better, Job for a Cowboy somehow made bass a relevant instrument in death metal, At the Gates reunited after 900 years and proved they still have it, and Black Crown Initiate stole the show with their debut mixing death metal and melodic anthems into something technically proficient and sufficiently mind blowing. I was not let down this year, but I know I will be surprised in a few years with what I actually retained from 2014, not sure if you would agree, but that’s how I see things …

5. Devin Townsend Project – Ziltoid 2 (Century Media)
4. Anaal Nathrakh – Desideratum (Metal Blade)
3. Job For A Cowboy – Sun Eater (Metal Blade)
2. At The Gates – At War With Reality (Century Media)
1. Black Crown Initiate – The Wreckage Of Stars (eOne Entertainment)

I guess I’ll start by saying that 2014 hasn’t been an amazing year for hip hop, but it hasn’t been a completely terrible one either.  Here are my choices for the best releases this year, in no particular order:

Open Mike Eagle – Dark Comedy
Run The Jewels – RTJ2
Vince Staples – Hell Can Wait
Big K.R.I.T. – Cadillactica
Shabazz Palaces – Lese Majaesty

T’was a solid year for melancholy songs. Albums that truly destroyed the center of the cardiovascular system were aplenty. We’re living in a golden age of audio misery! There were SO MANY great releases that dehydrated our tear ducts but since you, the readers, are demanding a definitive ranking of the saddest albums of the year, so be it. I’ve done the requisite soul searching and came up with this predominantly lady-heavy list of my fav weepers of the year. They are full of gut wrenchers, soul crushers … and they are all fantastic. Way to bring the pain this year, ladies!

1: Beck – Morning Phase
2. Lykke Li – I Never Learn
3. Divorcee – Self Titled
4. Jenny Lewis – The Voyager
5. Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

Best Reissue: American Football – Self Titled

Narrowing down my top albums is a tortuous process. I’m an old-school guy. I still listen to entire albums from start to finish and only occasionally opt for a playlist of singles. Immersing yourself in an album is the most satisfying way way to connect with the music. So I get really dialed into my favorite albums each year, which makes narrowing down the lot a difficult task.

Before we get to my top five, let’s take a minute to recognized the amazing amount of quality music released this year by 12XU. It was far and away the top Austin label in 2014. They featured not only one of my top artists (The Dead Space) and but also three others in my top 10 (Flesh Lights, Jonly Bonly, The Gotobeds).

1) Ghetto Ghouls – Self Titled
2) The Dead Space – Faker
3) Protomartyr – Under Color of Official Right
4) Ex Hex – Rips
5) OBN IIIs – Third Time To Harm

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Top 50 Songs Of 2014: Part 3

December 3, 2014

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We’ve now arrived at the middle section of my Top 50 Songs of 2014.  Check out Part ONE & TWO if you haven’t already.  Otherwise, get on with cruising today’s list!  Enjoy.

30)  :The Dead Space – Behind The Wall:  Pretty much all of my dark-corner-brooding in 2014 was done while listening to this stellar piece of post-punk from Austin’s own The Dead Space.  From Faker.

29)  :We Were Promised Jetpacks – I Keep It Composed:  This swirling song reinvigorated my love for We Were Promised Jetpacks.  I’m honestly not sure they’ve ever sounded as good as they do here.  From Unraveling.

28)  :Angel Olsen – Forgiven-Forgotten:  While I like Angel Olsen’s slower and more intimate material, I found myself coming back to this little rocker of hers the most.  From Burn Your Fire For No Witness.

27)  :Shannon And The Clams – Mama:  This Shannon And The Clams song is splendid and permanently on my go-to list for whenever I’m in the mood for soul/doo-wop-enthused music.  From the band’s split with Guantanamo Baywatch.

26)  :Saint Pepsi – Fiona Coyne:  My “song of the summer” this year was definitely this Saint Pepsi track.  It’s immensely catchy.  And danceable.  And super fun.  From the Fiona Coyne single.

25)  :Tennis – I’m Callin’:  I love this song for two reasons.  1) It’s wonderfully easy on the ears.  2) It fully completes Tennis‘ transition from lo-fi indie band to full on pop act.  Not sure they could have done it any smoother.  From Ritual In Repeat.

24)  :Screaming Females – Wishing Well:  Screaming Females usually go right after your face, but for this track they decided to dial things back a bit.  It worked.  In fact, I think this is probably their best song.  From the Wishing Well single.

23)  :Phantogram – Fall In Love:  Phantogram blew up in 2014, and it was partly because of this single.  To be honest, I think it ranks a little lower than some of their older songs, but I still love it.  From Voices.

22)  :The War On Drugs – Red Eyes:  The War On Drugs really got me with this track.  I had only ever just appreciated them and their Springsteen-ish ways, but this is so damn good that they’re now a favorite of mine.  From Lost In The Dream.

21)  :Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting On You):  This fantastic synth-pop song totally helped Future Islands wrangle in just under a bazillion new fans.  Good for them.  They deserve it.  From Singles.

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Stream This

November 21, 2014

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Please note that the majority of the streams expire as soon as the albums are released, so don’t wait too long to check them out.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Ariel Pink – Pom Pom

Two Inch Astronaut – Foulbrood
Flake Music – When You Land Here, It’s Time To Return
Your Old Droog – Self Titled
Gala Drop – II
September Girls – Veneer EP
Squrl – EP #3
Sunbeam Sound Machine – Wonderer
Cursive – The Ugly Organ (Deluxe Edition)

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Run The Jewels

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Quickdraw: She And Him, Nots, Mourn, Ipps, Angel Olsen

November 3, 2014

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Music!  Enjoy.

:She And Him – Time After Time (Frank Sinatra Cover):  Doesn’t it feel like a full-on covers album from She And Him has been a long time coming?  They’re totally built for that sort of thing.  Anyhow, this track is slinky and warm, and I like it.  Look for Classics on December 2 via Columbia.

:Nots – Reactor:  I know that Nots have been tooling around Memphis for a few years because their press release told me so, but I think you can also hear that “process” in this song.  They totally sound like a band that’s bursting at the seams and ready to get out in the world and do something.  We Are Nots is due on November 11 via Goner Records.

:Mourn – Silver Gold:  Three 18-year olds and a 15-year old make up Mourn.  I know it’s lame to just focus in on age, but I’ve listened to this 90s-heavy rock track probably 10 times, and I still can’t believe a bunch of teens crafted it.  Good for them.  The band’s self titled album will be out on February 17 via Captured Tracks.

:Ipps – U Need 2 Bleed:  I found this oddly infectious Ipps number over at Pitchfork this weekend.  The lyrics are a little silly and overall the track itself feels/sounds kind of lackadaisical, but I just can’t get it out of my head.  Everything Is Real is currently available through Bandcamp.

:Angel Olsen – May As Well:  Here’s a dusty number from the upcoming expanded version of the album that Angel Olsen put out earlier this year.  It makes me want to drink whiskey.  The deluxe edition of Burn Your Fire For No Witness is due out November 18 via Jagjaguwar.  See her at Fun Fun Fun Fest this weekend.

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Stream This

September 19, 2014

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Please note that the majority of the streams expire as soon as the albums come out, so don’t wait too long to check them out.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Perfume Genius – Too Bright

Alex Napping – This Is Not A Bedroom
Spray Paint – Clean Blood, Regular Acid
S – Cool Choices
Whirr – Sway
Terry Malts – Insides EP
Dntel – Human Voice
Foxes In Fiction – Ontario Gothic
Tweedy – Sukierae
Mr. Twin Sister – Self Titled
King Tuff – Black Moon Spell
Sondre Lerche – Please
Alt-J – This Is All Yours
Black Moth – Condemned To Hope
Erasure – The Violent Flame
Suicide Year – Remembrance
Youth Code – A Place To Stand
The Aislers Set – The Last Match
Goat – Commune
Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems
Mapei – Hey Hey
Weird Wombs – Laziness EP
Pink Frost – Traitors EP
Teach Me Equals – Knives In The Hope Chest
Redinho – Self Titled
Roz And The Rice Cakes – Need To Feed

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
The Raveonettes

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Angel Olsen

February 25, 2014

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Angel Olsen has yet to receive anywhere near enough attention from me, so today I’m sliding in a mention for her and hoping you’ll quickly fall in love and then go watch her (along with AMBA performer and nominee Jess Williamson) play Red 7 this evening.  That’s called taking care of business, man.  Or something.

Anyway, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten completely lost in White Fire.  Headphones are a must.  By the way, if slow and stripped down isn’t your thing today, Forgiven/Forgotten is the bonus video and it’s fairly upbeat.

:Angel Olsen – White Fire:

Burn Your Fire For No Witness came out just last week via Jagjaguwar.

Bonus Video:

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Stream This

February 14, 2014

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Phantogram – Voices

The Tontons – Make Out King And Other Stories Of Love
Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness
Pillar Point – Self Titled
Lost In The Trees – Past Life
Solids – Blame Confusion
New Bums – Voices In A Rented Room
Shocking Pinks – Guilt Mirrors
Evan Only – Not Matter What EP
Dawn Landes – Bluebird
Guided By Voices – Motivational Jumpsuit

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
The Sour Notes

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Stream This

February 7, 2014

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Speedy Ortiz – Real Hair EP

Cynic – Kindly Bent To Free Us
Cheatahs – Self Titled
Total Slacker – Slip Away
Sunn O))) & Ulver – Terrestrials
Modern Baseball – You’re Gonna Miss It All
The Casket Girls – True Love Kills The Fairy Tale
The Burlies – Self Titled EP
Cibo Matto – Hotel Valentine
Illum Sphere – Ghosts Of Then And Now
Helms Alee – Sleepwalking Sailors
Majestico – When Kingdom Come
El Ten Eleven – For Emily EP
Com Truise – Wave 1 EP
Secret Colours – Positive Distractions: Part 1
Temples – Sun Structures

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
The Julie Ruin

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