Top Moon Tunes 2019 Volume 3

A bit more than a month after Volume 2 here is Volume 3 of the monthlyish Top Moon Tunes for 2019.

It is as diverse as ever and also probably the most geographically diverse Top Moon tunes yet, with some Norwegian prog punk, some Italian Americana and some electro soul from South Africa.

As ever, there is a bit of guff on each artist beneath the Playmoss playlist and it is also available via Spotify

1. Self Esteem  -  The Best

This is the opening track from The Moon album of last month. Self Esteem is the new incarnation of God's Very Own Rebecca Taylor, who was one half of the brilliant multi Moon offending Slow Club. Your Wife, the first Self Esteem single from back in 2017, did not really float my boat, but then the excellent Rollout from late last year very much did and Your Wife does not appear on the albums 15 tracks of consistently classy and brave Top Pop.

2. Yak  - Fried or Heavens Above

Fried is the storming 3rd "single" from the second LP from this band from Wolverhampton in Not Yet Brexshit Blighty. They are previous Moon offenders and this second LP came out with little fanfare in February and, like many second LPs from many great bands in the past, it is quite brave with less "commercial potential" than their debut. However, just as you could with their debut and it's pre-releases, you can create a great playlist by including the 4 brilliant post debut album songs they have released, but not included on the new LP. And, as Fried  is not Playmoss compatible as it is only available via Vevo, I have instead included the A side of a single they released back in late 2016.

3. SASAMI - Not The Time

SASAMI is an LA based multi instrumentalist and scorer of  orchestral arrangements for films, commercials and studio albums who has now become a brilliant singer songwriter with the release of her debut LP. There is an obvious comparison to Mitski in her sound, but this track is the most Boo Radley song I have heard not by The Boo Radleys. It would be interesting to know if she was aware of them or if she just got to the same sound via the same influences. It is an album that has pushed Self Esteem close to The Moon album of last month and it is also very diverse, with the likes of Jealousy sounding more like Bravecaptain than The Boo Radleys.

4. Little Simz -  Boss

Little Simz is Simbiatu Abisola Abiola Ajikawo, a London rapper/actress who, like many, was first brought to my attention thanks to Damon Albarn and his Gorillaz

This track is an explosive highlight for a top and varied album as illustrated by the fact that this track is followed by Selfish  - a poptastic highlight of the year.

5. Jonathan Something -  Outlandish Poetica

According to his Bandcamp page "Jonathan Something is the musical outfit of multi-instrumentalist Jon Searles, resulting from a love for Baroque Pop, Rock & Roll, and Realism". And he seams to have emerged fully formed from Connecticut Trumpyland as this track is his debut single from 2018 and must belatedly take The Moon award for the best debut single of that year.  He has since released an 8 track LP and two more singles in 2019 and he is my discovery of the year so far.

6. Leah Nobel - Steps

Ms Nobel is from Phoenix in Arizona in Trumpyland and has also released music as HAEL and also moonlights as the rapper Lil Cheesecake. This track features on what appears to be her debut LP as Leah Nobel
Much of the rest of the album is more laid back but lyrical Top Pop reminiscent of Lana Del Rey, but this track and the likes of Coffee Sundy NYT are classic Top Pop that should be massive radio hits. Music from her HAEL incarnation has already been used on a number of TV ads so it is maybe only a matter of time until a Leah Nobel track is used in as ad or TV program and she goes George Ezra.
7. Nakhane - Presbyteria

Nakhane Touré is a South African singer songwriter and actor. This is his second LP that was originally released in 2018, but has more recently been re-released as a deluxe version with some new tracks. Back in March 2018 the Guardian described the LP brilliantly as: "fearless – emphatic Perfume Genius pop chronicling a journey to self-acceptance via sweeping strings, 80s synths, mbira-style percussion and the eventual rejection of his religious beliefs. The electronics are a recent addition, after years as an acoustic singer-songwriter in Johannesburg. But after making a club hit with house DJ Black Coffee in 2015, and becoming disillusioned with the folk scene, he ditched the twiddly guitars for strutting glam and electro flourishes" I am not surprised to find out he started as an acoustic singer-songwriter, as beneath all the strings and synths there are great songs and the fantastic production only serves to enhance them. He also has a voice that is very reminiscent of David McAlmont of MacAlmont and Butler fame and so it is a thing of wonder.

8. Pom Poko - Crazy Energy Night

Pom Poko are 4 Norwegian former students of the Trondheim Conservatory of Music, who originally formed for a one-off set at a literature festival but enjoyed it so much they carried on, and were then discovered by the head of the Bella Union label when he stumbled upon one of their electric live shows. They are a unique mix of punk and prog with also some Top Pop. This track is my fave of the punk prog singles, but a whole album of it would be a bit much and thankfully the album is diverse though a couple of the 12 tracks don't quite manage to float my boat.

9. Hand Habits - What's the Use
Hand Habits is the solo incarnation of Meg Duffy, who has worked with previous Moon offenders Angel Olson, Weyes Blood, Big Thief and is a member of Kevin Morby's live band. They were born in Amsterdam in New York and (according to Wikipedia) prefer non-binary gender-neutral pronouns, This track is one of many highlights from this 2nd Hand Habits LP and it is pretty straight up but beautifully sung Americana.
10. Adia Victoria - A Different Kind of Love
Ms Victoria first appeared on The Moon on A best of 2016 part 1 and for her entry I wrote "This is a great track of modern southern blues from a very promising debut album. And she hails from Nashville, USA but the Nashville sound it ain't." And now she has moved further away from the Nashville sound with this new LP that is less bluesy and a bit Top Pop, but in an interesting way.

11. Love Trap  - Another Day Another Sin

Love Trap are an Italian duo, who according to God Is In the TV was "originally born as a jamming project between Stefano Isaia (Movie Star Junkies, LAME) and Marco Spigariol (Vermillion Sounds, Krano)." I had never heard of their respective bands, but on the strength of this brilliant collaboration they should be worth checking out. However, the depiction of a curvy sized zero with gravity defying breasts on the album cover does make me wish that Google would allow us to choose to not let music apps take over the whole of your lockscreen...

12. The Stroppies  - Cellophane Car

The Line of Best Fit describe The Stroppies as an Aussie Supergroup they feature members of Dick Diver, The Stevens and Boomgates, but I have also discovered that another member Claudia Serfaty, formally of the now sadly defunct Primetime who featured on A Best of 2015 part 1 with the brilliant Tied Down.

This relativity epic track is one of the singles but just one of many highlights from a promising debut of Aussie rock n roll with a bit of psychedelia.

13. Karen O and Danger Mouse -  Redeemer

This is a fantastic collaboration between a great producer and a singer whose voice I have always admired. It kicks off with the epic title track which made me think that it might be rather similar to Dark Night of the Soul the brilliantly cinematic collaboration between Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse and various guest vocalist. But with this track and the likes of Turn The Light it turns into surely the most poptastic music Ms O  has produced. And then there is Woman which really must feature on the soundtrack to the next series of Killing Eve.

14. I Was A King - Hatchet

I mentioned on Top Moon Tunes 2019 volume 2 that a Frøkedal sister would soon make another appearance on Top Moon Tunes and here we have Anne Lise Frøkedal as a band member on the 5th  I Was A King album. It is produced by Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub infamy and I presume they have always been fans as one of their early singles was called Norman Bleik and this LP is the most Teenage Fanclub like music not by Teenage Fanclub. It spans the Fannies back catalogue and so this track would not be out of place on Bandwaganesque whilst the equally brilliant Bubbles could be on any album from Grand Prix onward.

15. Jenny Lewis  - On The Line

This is the brilliant title track from yet another brilliant Jenny Lewis record, but it has been sadly overshadowed by the involvement of the disgraced Ryan Adams. It is also sad to find out there is unlikely to be another Jenny and Johnny album, as this LP documents the end of her 11 year  relationship with Johnathan Rice. Reviewers have hailed it as her best solo LP but I would say it is her least brilliant, especially as the sound is as MOR as the last and my least favourite Rilo Kiley LP. However, all the songs are strong and would not be out of place on Acid Tongue, my favourite Jenny Lewis LP but, it just does not have anything quite as brilliant and out-there as Jack Killed Mom.


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