Every year there’s a good amount of records that I come across that are really deserving more attention than they’re currently getting. I like collect and display them all here at the half-year mark and get people in the know before something bigger and better comes out, stealing their attention away from this musical equivalent of day-old bread. Day old bread is just as good, y’all. In fact, this might be more like aged cheese, but I’m getting off topic.
The question is: how do I really get people interested in listening to a record that is no longer brand-spanking new? Is it telling them what it sounds like? Is it comparing it to other things that sound similar? Is it letting them listen to a sample of the music straight away? Or is it describing a bundle of sensations that come along with listening to said record? I feel like I’ve done all four methods separately in the past, so I thought why not just combine them all into one master post.
Below you’ll see the name of the record, what it sounds like, what certain smells come to mind while listening to the record, similar artists, and a track sample, usually from a Bandcamp link so you can stream more or purchase the album. Not all of these objects listed under “smell” are distinct smells per se, but that’s what I was going for. If you read this blog at all, you know you gotta use your imagination a bit. What’s the fun in not using your imagination sometimes? I hope this system answers any questions you may have had about any one of these albums listed here.
[Disclaimer – records with a * indicate that I am promoting that album to college radio at my real life job]
- AIR WAVES – WARRIOR [Western Vinyl]
Sound: Simple, easy-to-love indie rock with fantastic songwriting.
Smell: A library built in the 50s with marble floors and wooden bannisters.
RIYL: Cat Power, Hand Habits, Chris Cohen
- ANENON – TONGUE [Friends Of Friends]
Sound: Instrumental focus on piano/sax, but probably not in the way you’re thinking.
Smell: Natural human oils combined with well-worked steel.
RIYL: Mouse On Mars, Colin Stetson, Ryuichi Sakamoto
- BERNICE – PUFF LP: IN THE AIR WITHOUT A SHAPE [Arts & Crafts]*
Sound: Formless, subtle pop with plenty of jazz, R&B & electronic shades.
Smell: Strolling through a garden of fresh basil and mint at night.
RIYL: Ava Luna, Mr Twin Sister, Julia Holter
- CAROLINE SAYS – NO FOOL LIKE AN OLD FOOL [Western Vinyl]
Sound: Slow-moving, delicate songs that are so weightless they feel like a dream.
Smell: Tea, wool, rubber sandals, homemade fruit popsicles, dust.
RIYL: Bedouine, Eleanor Friedberger, Haley Heynderickx
- COOL MARITIME – SHARING WAVES [Leaving Records]
Sound: New age-y synth explorations. Carbonating your ears.
Smell: A cave with a waterfall in it, wet mossy rock, overturned pillow.
RIYL: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Emeralds, Steve Hauschildt
- DEEPER – DEEPER [Fire Talk]
Sound: Wound-up, wiry post punk.
Smell: Old middle school, glue, lake rocks, car seat.
RIYL: Omni, Women, Ought
- DUSK – DUSK [Don Giovanni]
Sound: Unflappable country rock with endless irony-free charm.
Smell: A bar that used to allow smoking but hasn’t replaced the wallpaper or carpet.
RIYL: Milk Music, Alex G, The Replacements
- ELYSIA CRAMPTON – ELYSIA CRAMPTON [Break World]
Sound: Experimental electronic with wild percussion and emphatic beats.
Smell: Wild grass, paprika, cumin, coal, exhaust, sweat-soaked shirt.
RIYL: Arca, Amnesia Scanner, Rabit
- E RUSCHA V – WHO ARE YOU [Beats In Space]
Sound: Luxurious, balearic synth explorations heavy on mood and feeling.
Smell: Lavender, palo santo, palm oil, tennis ball, sun screen, linen.
RIYL: DJ Koze, Todd Terje, Yasuaki Shimizu
- HILARY WOODS – COLT [Sacred Bones]
Sound: Gothic folk with drum machine, piano & porcelain vocals.
Smell: Campfire, empty apartment, down comforter, gauze, wooded path.
RIYL: Marissa Nadler, Chelsea Wolfe, Jenny Hval
- KAREEM LOTFY – QTT10 [Quiet Time]
Sound: Experimental electronic, beatless, ambient.
Smell: Heat from a server room, rubbing alcohol, rope, petri dish, sea foam.
RIYL: Mono No Aware, Alex Zhang Hungtai, Skee Mask
- LITHICS – MATING SURFACES [Kill Rock Stars]
Sound: Rigid, bristling post punk, closer to no wave.
Smell: Burning rubber, heavy breath, oil, new shoes, magic marker, ball bearings.
RIYL: Shopping, The Fall, Sonic Youth
- LUCRECIA DALT – ANTICLINES [RVNG Intl.]
Sound: Unsettling experimental electronic music with sinister vocals.
Smell: A warm hospital gown, ammonia, freezer burn, stainless steel.
RIYL: Laurel Halo, Eartheater, Yves Tumor
- MØL – JORD [Holy Roar Records]
Sound: Blackgaze, AKA BIG BEAUTIFUL GUITARS WITH SCREAMING.
Smell: Sulfur, myrrh, feathers, ash, wood.
RIYL: Deafheaven, Between The Buried And Me, Converge
- OCEAN HOPE – ROLLING DAYS [Hush Hush Records]*
Sound: Blissed out, ultra-wavy synth pop that flirts with chillwave.
Smell: Summer air blowing past a car’s open backseat window (again, at night).
RIYL: Cocteau Twins, John Maus, MGMT
- PINKSHINYULTRABLAST – MISERABLE MIRACLES [Club AC30]
Sound: Incredibly bright noise pop with chiming synths and waves of guitar.
Smell: Bubblegum and candy on the beach.
RIYL: School Of Seven Bells, Postiljonen, No Joy
- RENATA ZEIGUER – OLD GHOST [Northern Spy]
Sound: Indie rock employing brain-busting melodies that keep you on your toes.
Smell: A sun-warmed wildflower patch, snail slime, bee pollen.
RIYL: Anna Burch, Mitski, Alvvays
- SAY SUE ME – WHERE WE WERE TOGETHER [Damnably]
Sound: The best Yo La Tengo record put out this year.
Smell: A bright, cloudless winter day in a port town.
RIYL: Yo La Tengo, Forth Wanderers, Fazerdaze
- SUN JUNE – YEARS [Keeled Scales]
Sound: Quaint, homespun folk pop with a slick country edge.
Smell: Apple slices, picnic blanket, red wine, fresh-picked peas, morning drool.
RIYL: Joan Shelley, Bonny Doon, The Weather Station
- TESS ROBY – BEACON [Italians Do It Better]
Sound: Synth pop with some very unique textures and songwriting quirks.
Smell: Yerba mate, paint, clay, fresh-cut grass, perfumed silk scarf.
RIYL: Half Waif, Blue Hawaii, Eskimeaux
- VIRGINIA WING – ECSTATIC ARROW [Fire Records]
Sound: Puzzling synth pop with a lot of organic sounds and percussion.
Smell: Rosewater, air-drying laundry, raspberry-lime seltzer, orchids, brass.
RIYL: Chairlift, Stereolab, Blouse
- WAYFARER – WORLD’S BLOOD [Profound Lore]
Sound: Black metal from the great plains and rocky mountains. A whole new lore.
Smell: Pine smoke, blood, flint, fields of wheat, pre-thunderstorm air.
RIYL: Panopticon, Krallice, Wolves In The Throne Room
- WISHED BONE – CELLAR BELLY [self-released]
Sound: Warbly, woozy, minimal folk songs.
Smell: Opening windows in an old attic, used notebook pages, dandelions.
RIYL: Katie Dey, Lomelda, Coma Cinema
- YOUNG GALAXY – DOWN TIME [self-released]
Sound: Futuristic synth pop with subtly developing electronics & great melodies.
Smell: Perfume of a passerby, clean laundry, ocean air, latex.
RIYL: Purity Ring, Braids, Austra
- 700 BLISS – SPA 700 [Don Giovanni]
Sound: Moor Mother + DJ Haram = rap with club beats & Middle Eastern touches.
Smell: Drinks spilled on linoleum floor, open-air markets, 3am club sweat.
RIYL: Moor Mother, Chino Amobi, Elysia Crampton
- Air Waves – Warrior
- Anenon – Tongue
- Bernice – Puff LP: In the air without a shape
- Caroline Says – No Fool Like An Old Fool
- Cool Maritime – Sharing Waves
- Deeper – Deeper
- Dusk – Dusk
- Elysia Crampton – Elysia Crampton
- E Ruscha V – Who Are You
- Hilary Woods – Colt
- Kareem Lotfy – QTT10
- Lithics – Mating Surfaces
- Lucrecia Dalt – Anticlines
- møl – JORD
- Ocean Hope – Rolling Days
- Pinkshinyultrablast – Miserable Miracles
- Renata Zeiguer – Old Ghost
- Say Sue Me – Where We Were Together
- Sun June – Years
- Tess Roby – Beacon
- Virginia Wing – Ecstatic Arrow
- Wayfarer – World’s Blood
- Wished Bone – Cellar Belly
- Young Galaxy – Down Time
- 700 Bliss – Spa 700