It’s Monday, Let’s Swear – #15

Agent Bla – Rote Learning (2017, Kanine Records)

A while ago a friend introduced by to an app which allowed you to listen to radio stations from across the world.  It’s called Radio Garden and its amazing.  I’ve literally lost hours down Internet radio rabbit holes, listening in to incredible live jazz sessions on French speaking Caribbean stations, or finding myself blown away by songs that features instruments I’ve never heard of on a Malian station that only appears to broadcast on Wednesday nights. 

One morning I was busy scrolling through the thousands of stations and I stumbled across the terribly named ‘Indie X FM’, a station dedicated to playing alternative music that is based in Los Angeles.  It was about 3 in the morning in Los Angeles and despite the terrible name their input at that time is extraordinarily good.  Old 80s indie records sit comfortably alongside new releases from the likes of Wet Leg and The Clockworks.

Pretty In Pink – Psychedelic Furs (1981, Columbia Records)

Angelica – Wet Leg (2022, Domino Records)

But regardless of that it was the stations carefree attitude to songs that are potty mouthed that hooked me in. Take ‘Rote Learning’ by Swedish ‘death pop’ sextet Agent Bla.  If the UK equivalent of Indie X FM (which would be the really awful Radio X) played ‘Rote Learning’ at any time of the day it would be kicked off the radio for good.

For those in the dark (which included me until about 20 minutes ago) Agent Bla are from Gothenburg who formed a band after discovering a shared loved of Joy Division and Slowdive.  They are signed to LA based Kanine Records and combine (it says here at least) goth, dream pop and post punk to make something they called ‘death pop’.  Folks they sound like Beach House with fuzzed up guitars and they might just be my new favourite band.

The Best Stuff I Have Heard This Year #5

I know that I said that these were in no order, and that it doesn’t matter if one thing was better than another and I stand by that. But…these four tracks here are I think my favourite four tracks of the year. They are certainly the ones I have played and enjoyed the most.

Let’s start on the Isle of Wight with Wet Leg, who if the hype is to be believed might just be the best new guitar to have emerged since, well, ever. Certainly ‘Chaise Longue’ is probably the most addictively catchy debut single since ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ with its downright suggestively filthy talk of buttered muffins and worrying mothers.

1.Wet Leg – Chaise Longue (2021, Single, Domino Records)

Talking of addictively catchy, before ‘Chaise Longue’ dropped, there was ‘Rhythm Is Our Business’ by bonkers London group Snapped Ankles. A song which pretty much soundtracked my summer, with wonky keyboards and its mutant sounding guitars.

2. Snapped Ankles – Rhythm Is Our Business (2021, The Leaf Label)

Next up over to South Wales and a band called The Vela Incident, who at the start of the year released a huge sweeping record full of crashing drums, and swooping soundscapes which to me sounded like all the best bits of an early Verve record (i.e when they were brilliant, rather than just very good). I know very little about The Vela Incident but if any of their other records are anywhere near as good as ‘For All Lost Souls then world domination surely beckons.

3. For All Lost Souls – The Vela Incident (2021, Single)

and finally over to Japanese Breakfast – whose third album ‘Jubilee’ is probably the best record of the year (although Little Simz, Bicep, Dry Cleaning, Kacey Musgraves might all have something to say about that). The lead single to it was ‘Be Sweet’ which turned out to be ace as well, a mishmash of 80s synth pop and shoegaze-y vibes that just rattles away with positive energy. Plus it has persimmons on the cover of it, and they are coolest fruits around.

4. Be Sweet – Japanese Breakfast (2021, Dead Ocean Records)

And Today Christmas Song is this piece of (lovely) old cheese – but only because Songwhip didn’t have the Andrew WK version of ‘Do They Know Its Christmas?’. Sort it Songwhip.

White Christmas – Frank Sinatra

Merry Christmas – back in a few days,