Top Moon Tunes 2019 Volume 4

A month on from the last monthlyish Top Moon Tunes here is volume 4. It is quite Trumpyland heavy with 50% of the artists featured, but it is stylistically diverse with some straight up and Top Pop rock n' roll, some Americana, some spooky and freaky folk rock, some soulful guitar-based indie pop and then ends with some soulful subversion.

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

1. Orville Peck - Dead of Night

From The Moon album of last month, this is the opening track of a fantastic album of Johnny Cash meeting Chris Isaac and getting a bit far out under the big sky's of middle America.  He is from the Trumpyland heartland of Nevada and on his Bandcamp page he describes himself as a "Psychedelic outlaw cowboy" who "croons love and loss from the badlands of North America."

2. Garcia Peoples  - Feels So Great

Another opening track from the second album from this band that first appeared on The Moon on Top Moon Tunes 2018 Volume 10 back in December. This new album is 9 tracks long, as opposed to the 7 tracks of their debut, but then it does not contain a 13 minute opus that is really 3 songs in one. However, it does carry on very much in the same vein as their debut. They come from New Jersey in Trumpyland and though I was introduced to them originally via  Folk Radio UK (FRUK), this release was brought to my attention by the well hidden new releases feed of artists in my Spotify account. Back in December I compared their sound  to King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard and it seems they may also be as prolific, as their Bandcamp page says they "have hit launching speed, writing albums’ worth of material too fast to release."

3. Priests - Seduction of Kansas

Another one from Trumpyland, but this time from the heart of the Deep State and the swamp of Washington DC. I was aware of their previous album thanks to God Is In The TV and they are also a fave of the AV Club, who introduced me to this track. Their last album did not quite float my boat, but this Top Pop single was an instant floater and indicated quite a change in direction from their punkish previous LP,  but thankfully on the LP as a whole, they have stayed pretty punk, just with better tuneage.

4. Cage The Elephant  -  Ready To Let Go

Yet another Trumpyland artist and one that first appeared on The Moon back in A Best of 2016 part 1 with a track from their 2015 album. Then I compared them favourably to The Coral , but this new LP is less Anglophile and more poptastic in a Prince or INXS style. But it is done very well as illustrated by this cracker of a track.

5. Wild Reeds  - Don't Pretend

And yet another Trumpyland artist and my discovery of the month, thanks to the NPR blog who do a good job in highlighting Trumpyland acts that are hard to categorise. This gorgeous track is from their third LP and is the most Americana track on it. Much of the rest of the LP is more contemporary and poptastic, and the LP it most reminds me of is Summerteeth from Wilco

On Spotify they describe themselves as "black metal sparkle folk" and are LA based.

6. Alex Rex - Amy, May I

Finally a track from the not yet Brexshity Blighty and it is from the multi Moon offending Alex Rex

He last appeared on Top Moon Tunes 2018 Vol 2 as part of his now former band The Trembling Bells. But, as with his first album, this new album features The Bells lead singer Lavinia Blackwall and so the spirit of their former band very much lives on and she will be releasing her own solo material. As with his debut LP, the sound is a bit less folky and more alternative rock n' roll than with The Bells and this track is his most Copian yet, although it is not quite as brilliantly deranged as Song For Dora, which was The Moon song of 2017.

7.  Weyes Blood - Everyday

Back to Trumpyland with another ex Moon offender, first appearing on A best of 2015 and then on A Best of 2016 on which I wrote:

"She was born in Santa Monica, CA, USA  but grew up in Doylestown, PA and for this, her third LP the sound has developed to a more fuller and LA pop sound rather like Lana Del Rey singing Father John Misty composed and produced tunes."

This LP takes that LA classic pop sound further, which is well illustrated by this track.

8. Nilüfer Yanya - In Your Head

Ms Yanya is from West London in not yst Brexshity Blighty and she is wonderfully hard to categorise. On Spotify her sound is described as "soulful guitar-based indie pop". This track is one of the more guitar driven tracks on a very promising 17 track debut.

9. Marisa Nadler and Stephen Brodsky - For The Sun

Ms Nadler is an other multi Moon offender. Last appearing on Top Moon Tunes 2018 Vol 8 with a track from one of the best albums of last year. And now she has released a wonderfully Gothic Spooky Folk record with Mr Brodsky who is described on Spotify as "the frontman for Cave-In as well as a fill in bassist for Converge, his solo efforts are more of a step toward experimental indie pop than his normal array of Iron Maiden-influenced metal-core."

10. Copper Viper - Fly

This track was a track of the day on Folk Radio UK (FRUK) back in December and they have since released their debut album in April and been FRUK's artist of the month. They are a London based but Anglo-American duo and the album was recorded in Trumpyland. Their sound has been described as Simon and Garfunkel channelling the Milk Carton Kids and Gillian Welch.

11. Marry Waterson, Emily Barker - Perfect Needs

Another LP brought to my attention by FRUK and it is from two artists they have previously highlighted with their more straight up Folk and Americana solo work. It is an excellent advert for collaboration, as their solo material had been pleasant, but had not really floated my boat. This track had an instant impact and is straight up rock n'roll, as is much of the album, though Twister is a folky highlight. Ms Waterson, is one of God's Very Own and is folk royalty as her Aunt is Norma Waterson and Eliza Carthy is her cousin whilst Ms Barker is the sole Australian on this edition of Top Moon Tunes.

12. Martha - The Only Letter That You Kept

Martha have been  multiple Moon offenders since the release of their debut LP back in 2014. This is from their 3rd LP. I was initially a  bit disappointed that their sound has not developed more, but then as ever, the lyrics and melodies do shine through given a couple of listens. They have no designated front person, but I would like to hear more vocal contributions from Naomi Griffin. This track is just one of two on which she takes the lead, but as with many of their best tracks no one person does all of the vocals.

13. Fat White Family - Tastes Good With the Money

More multiple Moon offenders who first appeared on The Moon back on A Best of 2013. For this album this bunch of South Londoners relocated to Sheffield Sex City in God's Very Own County and have managed to produce their strangest, but also most poptastic album to date. This track is a highlight and has an added extra in the form of a cameo from Baxter Dury.

14. Fontaines DC - Roy's Tune

This Irish band got the best new artist award on The Moon last year due to the cracking 6 tracks they released on their first 3 singles. I did worry that, like many new bands, they would not manage to keep up to the standard of their initial releases and also hoped their sound would diversify. Too Real the first single released this year, did keep up the standard but also kept up the Fall like sound. With the album they have mostly kept up the standard with only a couple of fillers, and they have missed out a couple of the cracking tracks from last year and the very good B side from Too Real. And with the likes of this track and especially Dublin City Sky they have showed a bit of diversity with a sound and style that is more Pogue or Idlewild like and it is a positive indication of what may follow.

The tracks on the LP that were previously released in 2018 have been re-recorded, but I think they have lost a bit of their energy and so I would recommend sticking with the originals that are still available on Spotify. A playlist of all their songs released so far in date order is a cracking listen.

15. Bhi Bhiman -  Beyond The Border (Ballad Version)

Mr Bhiman first appeared on The Moon back in 2015 with the release of his last album. He is probably the most wonderfully impossible artist to categorise. In 2015 I wrote:

"He should be massive but, as Wikipedia describe him as "a first-generation Sri Lankan-American folk-rock recording artist whose voice and songwriting have been favourably compared to Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen", he is very hard for the marketing types to categorise.

To me, it is Soul with Soul reminiscent of Myron & E but also very up to date like Cody ChesnuTT or Janelle Monáe."

This new album is a worthy follow up to his last one, with versions of this powerful song opening and closing it and it is consistently brilliant in-between.


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