Five Albums You Should Be Listening to Right Now: Under the Radar
Under the radar picks from, er… Under the Radar.
Each week, the titans of the mediasphere give Nerve their music recommendations. This week’s edition is brought to you by Laura Studarus of Under the Radar.
1. Acid House Kings, Sing Along with Acid House Kings (2005)
A perennial favorite, and one I’m sure will be canonized as one of the hallmarks of ‘00s indie pop. Acid House Kings were adorably singing about love (and all things twee) back when Tigermilk was still a glimmer in Stuart Murdoch’s eye — and over the years have continued to trump Belle and Sebastian in terms of consistent quality. The title’s winking kitsch is deliberate — early copies of the album were packaged with a karaoke DVD. But every tongue-in-cheek moment (Sample lyric: “They say your middle name is trouble / but I know it’s Caroline,”) is countered with very genuine, instantly hummable hooks.
Listen: “This Heart is a Stone”
2. Still Corners, Creatures of an Hour (2011)
Almost every Still Corners track captures that most crucial of cinematic moments: the one where madness is revealed, the lover is accidentally killed, and the fog closes in, leaving the protagonist confused, disoriented, and alone. Needless to say, this is dark stuff, wrapped though it is in gossamer pop.
Listen: “Endless Summer”
3. Porcelain Raft, Strange Weekend (2012)
The bedroom recording project of Mauro Remiddi, Porcelain Raft takes common lo-fi tropes (tape hiss, guitar loops, whispered vocals) to a far more rockin’ place. Strange Weekend is a musical response to years spent globetrotting; Remiddi has created a space where the dreamy refrains of “Backwards,” and ‘80s-leaning “Unless You Speak From Your Heart” can live alongside tracks such as “Shapeless and Gone” — a tune that owes more to The Jam than Beach House.
Listen: “Shapeless and Gone”
4. Air, Le Voyage Dans La Lune (2012)
I’m a film school-educated brat/current French pop fanatic, which means that Air all but plastered my name across this project. This is Air’s soundtrack to the restored version of the classic French short film A Trip to the Moon, stretched out to full-album length. In addition to Air’s signature slinky synths, Le Voyage Dans La Lune makes good use of over-the-top, moon-goddess vocals from Beach House’s Victoria Legrand on the centerpiece “Seven Stars,” and Au Revoir Simone also stops by to do their best naif-in-space impression on “Who Am I Now?”
Listen: “Seven Stars”
5. Big Black Delta, BBDLP1 (2011)
Big Black Delta frontman Jon Bates is crazy (musically at least), which is what makes his debut album under the Big Black Delta moniker so delightful. Think: ear-shattering beats, dark drones, cinematic ambiance, and a view of life, love, and eternity that swings between sentimental and grounded. Throw in some guest vocals from Morgan Kibby (White Sea/M83), and two female drummers who join Bates on stage to beat the crap out of things and look good while doing it (totally a skill I hope to have when I grow up), and you’ve got a trippy, addictive listen.