Top Moon Tunes 2018 Volume 5

Relatively hot on the heals of Volume 4 The Moon presents Volume 5 of  monthlyish Top Moon Tunes.  It is not the most diverse so far, as it is mostly all rock 'n' roll or Top Pop with elements of Psychedelia, Folk and Americana. However, it is pretty geographically diverse with 3 artists from Down Under,  just two born and bred Trumpylanders, two Swedes, a Frenchwoman and representatives from 3 parts of the Disunited Kingdom of Brexshit Blighty.

As usual, it is playable from any old internet connected device via a Playmoss playlist and below it there is a bit of guff on each artist.

It is also available in full via Spotify

1. Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert

 A top track from The Moon album of the month and a second entry in 2018 Top Tunes as lead single Cockrow featured in Volume 3. Mr Moffat is on a bit of a hot streak after producing  The Moon album of the year in 2016 and an excellent LP with Bill Wells in 2015. His first significant musical incarnation was with Malcolm Middleton in The Arab Strap (as in The Boy with the Arab Strap) but I never got past their brilliant debut single, as I got the impression it was just more of the same, only not as good. But in recent years Mr Moffat has started to sing more and have less talkie tracks, as I first discovered, retrospectively, on the excellent How to Get to Heaven in Scotland  LP from 2009 with the Best ofs. This new LP kicks off with Cockcrow and then the second track Ms. Locum is as brilliant and as lyrically amusing as one of his traditional re-writes from 2016. Then there are 3 talkie tracks in a row, which initially did make me think it was getting a bit Arab Strappy, but then thankfully, the rest of the LP is more song based. Those 3 talkie tracks have also grown on me, as the first two have great choruses and Quantum Theory Love Song is a highlight. The third, Wolves in the Wood is a short musical highlight in a brilliantly produced album, which I presume has a lot to do with Mr Hubbert. Many of the tracks also feature gorgeous backing vocals and cello from an up and coming singer-songwriter Siobhan Wilson, who released her debut LP last year. They all hail from The Land of More Enlightenment to the north of The North.

2. The Left Outsides - The Unbroken Circle

The Left Outsides are Mark Nicholas and Alison Cotton, a husband and wife duo based in London, Brexshit Blighty and are also one of half of The Trimdon Grange Explosion who released one of my favourite albums of 2017.  They also released a Left Outsides album in 2017 which is not on Spotify, but their 2015 LP is. All three are on Bandcamp along with another LP that was originally released on CDR back in 2007...

The Left Outsides sound is  more straight up and less psychedelic than The Trimdon Grange Explosion and also does not get quite as traditionally folky. But all of the tracks would not be out of place on their other bands LP. Unlike this brilliant opening track, the rest of the album has a more stately pace and lead vocals are mostly and beautifully sung by Ms Cotton.

3. Melody's Echo Chamber  -  Breathe In, Breathe Out

Melody's Echo Chamber is the musical incarnation of Melody Prochet from the south of France. She is due to release her long awaited second LP soon. Crystallized  from her brilliant 2012 debut did feature on A Best of 2013 on The Moon and, on the evidence of this track and a 9/10 review in Uncut magazine, her new LP might match or exceed it. The delay has been caused by the abandoning the making of a follow-up due to the breakdown of her relationship with Kevin Parker of Tame Impala fame, who was also her producer. Then the release of this new LP  was delayed due to Ms Prochet suffering a brain aneurysm and broken vertebrae soon after finishing it in 2017. Thankfully, she was well enough to speak to Uncut recently and I very much hope she is able to recover fully and continue to make her wonderful music.

4. Gruff Rhys - Frontier Man

This is the first pre-release track from the new solo LP from the lead singer of The Super Animals from Wales in Brexshit Blighty. From the two tracks released so far it sounds as though it will match the brilliance and ambition of his last proper solo album, which did feature on A Best of 2014 on The Moon. This new album was originally recorded back in early 2016, but was then put into hibernation  for 18 months until orchestral accompaniment could be added by composer Stephen McNeff and the 72-piece BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

5. Juanita Stein  - Forgiver

Ms Stein is a London based economic migrant from Australia who was the lead singer with The Howling Bells, but is now seemingly pursuing a very productive solo career after releasing one of the best albums of last year, as featured in A Best of 2017, and is now due to release a follow-up. On the evidence of this lead single it is not too soon as it is a cracker and a bit more rock 'n' roll than the gorgeous Americana from her debut. It was apparently co-written with Brendan Flowers  of Killers fame and is one of the best things he has been involved in for years.

6. Boys - Love Isn't On My Mind

Boys is Nora Karlsson, originally from Umeå in the north of Sweden and she was brought to my attention by a Nordic Focus post over on God Is In The TV (GIITTV) as the Scandinavians do more than just make great telly and have socially and economically progressive governments. She has now released her debut LP and this track is just one for many highlights with a sound and song style reminiscent of Melody's Echo Chamber.

7. Hatchie - Sugar and Spice

Hatchie is Harriette Pilbeam from Brisbane in Australia, who is also, or was a member of Babaganouj, but is now seamingly doing a bit of  Julia Jacklin and branching out on her own. This is the most poptastic  track from her debut 5 track EP and she has been described by the NME as "the Aussie dream-pop auteur joining the dots between Cocteau Twins and Carly Rae Jepsen".

8. Arctic Monkeys - Four Out of Five

Gods Very Own Treasures have returned but not as we know them. Though it is another triumph of marketing, no pre-releases, brilliant artwork and then releasing this track as a single which has the same name as every score the album received from every review by generally nonplussed reviewers not wanting upset their readers. It is a pretty good album and this is a cracking highlight, but it is more like a relatively restrained Jarvis Cocker solo LP than an Arctic Monkey one. Anyone who appreciates The Last Shadow Puppets should like it, just maybe not the casual Artic fan who is also an Oasis fan who thinks Noel's latest effort is a bit weird.

For another side of the Arctics check out If You Found This It's Probably Too Late - A Best of the Rest of The Arctic Monkeys on The Moon

9. Phantastic Ferniture - Fuckin 'N' Rollin

This is the second song to be released on Spotify from this band from Sydney, Australia. Gap Year , their first track was released back in 2015 and was brought to my attention by the VPME, but now it has mysteriously disappeared. Fuckin 'N' Rollin is their  "new" track, though this version has been on Bandcamp since 2015. Their lead singer is Julia Jacklin, who released an excellent solo debut LP in 2017 and who featured on A Best of 2017 on The Moon. Her solo success must have put this band project on hold for a while, but it seams it has led to a record deal and they have re-recorded tracks that their long standing fans will know already. So I hope Gap Year will re-appear as I remember it being pretty good. This track is a cracker and would be perfect radio friendly pop-rock, but for the one slight drawback...

10. Lola Kirke - Monster

Ms Kirke is mostly quite famous as an actor over in Trumpyland, though she was born in London and moved across the pond when she was 5. She did a great turn as "left behind" in middle america who befriends but then does over the Rosamund Pike character in Gone Girl.  But her Dad was the drummer in Bad Company and Free and she is a budding singer songwriter with a pretty impressive EP on Spotify of Americana Rock 'n' Roll and now this gorgeous new single.

11. Gabi Garbutt & the Illuninations

Ms Garbutt has been described by Clash Magazine as a "literate punk pixie, adopted Londoner and upright social crusader", and  she was first brought to my attention by GIITTV back in 2017. This is her third single and most impressive so far as it is a great tune with a sound reminiscent of the best parts of the Style Council or Dexy's Midnight Runners.

12. Jessica's Brother - All the Better

This band very much sound as if they should hail from Trumpyland, as although they were brought to by attention by FRUK, their sound is very much reminiscent of the Americana style of  The Silver Jews or Wilco. However they are from Brexshit Blighty and were formed by Jonny Helm,  the drummer of  multiple Moon offenders The Wave Pictures, as a vehicle for the songs of a Tom Charleston. This is the second of three singles so far with an album due out soon.

13. Jess Williamson

Ms Williamson is from Texas in Trumpyland and was first brought to my attention by FRUK with the release of her 2016 second LP, but it did not quite manage to float my boat. However, Cosmic Wink her new LP, is a bit of a step up with a bolder and more confident sound and with 9 songs rather than the 8 of her previous albums. This classic PJ Harvey like track was the lead single and is the opening track. The rest of the album continues in a similar style, if not quite as PJ Harvey like.

14. Erin Rae - Can't Cut Loose

Some proper, if a bit Americana tinged, folk music first  brought to my attention by GIITTV, but has also since featured in FRUK.  Erin Rae McKaskle is from Nashville in Trumpyland and had previously released an album as Erin Rae and the Meanwhiles back in 2016, but will soon be releasing a new LP as Erin Rae. This gorgeous track is on of 5 pre-releases with quite a variation of styles, Wild Blue Wind would not be out of place, in sound and subject matter, on the latest Courtney Marie Andrews LP, while Like the First Time rock and rolls, if a bit politely.

15. Sibille Attar -  I Don't Have To

Ms Attar  is a Swedish singer and songwriter and producer of French origin who was also recently brought to my attention by GIITTV.  This is the poptastic lead single from her just released 6 track EP, which is her first release since her debut LP back in 2013. This is a cracker of a song, although I did wonder if I could cope with a whole album of her singing at the same pitch as on the chorus, but thankfully, it is not repeated on the rest of the EP, which consists of interesting synth psych pop that is similar to Boys and Melody's Echo Chamber.


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