Indie Basement is a weekly column on BrooklynVegan that focuses on classic indie and alternative artists, “collage rock,” and new and current artists following a similar path. There are reviews of new albums, reissues, box sets, books, and sometimes movies and TV shows. I’ve rounded up the best April music, highlighting my favorite albums and tracks, plus links to relevant features and news, a monthly playlist, and more.
April is going to be a tough month to beat this year for a lot of great albums. You can check out my five favorites this month below, but finalists included Melody’s Echo Chamber’s Emotional EternalAstral K I twinkleJane Inc. Faster than I can takeMick Trouble This is Mick Trouble’s second album.and Papercuts’ Past life regression.
It was also a great month for songs, and I’ve also listed my Top 10 April favorites below. There’s also plenty more in the Indie Basement Best of April 2022 playlist that you can listen to on Spotify or Tidal, below.
Other content related to April’s Indie Basement: We celebrated Pavement’s 30th anniversary Tilted and enchanted with anecdotes from other artists (including Dan Bejar and Matthew Caws of Nada Surf) and collected some very cool covers of Pavement songs from the last 30 years. The plus: a review of the Terror Twilight: Farewell Horizontal box.
The Indie Basement corner of the BrooklynVegan store is well stocked with handpicked vinyl, books and merchandise, including DC Fountains. Lean fia on exclusive limited edition translucent red vinyl and albums from Spiritualized, Wet Leg, YARD ACT, Stereolab, Pavement, LCD Soundsystem, Aldous Harding, King Hannah, Sparks, Cate Le Bon, Spoon, Goldfrapp, Slowdive, Roxy Music, and more . .
Head below for Indie Basement’s April roundup.
INDIE BASEMENT – TOP 10 SINGLES OF APRIL 2022
In alphabetical order…
Besnard Lakes – “She’s an Ice Cube”
Like Spiritualized, Montreal’s Besnard Lakes make variations of the same record over and over – and you don’t want them doing anything else. Also as Spiritualized, they work on a large canvas. “She’s an Icicle” is no different, methodical in its approach, taking two full minutes of ethereal track taxiing before blasting off into the stratosphere. Glorious.
Billy Nomates – “Blue Bones”
“You don’t turn me on like you used to.” Tor Maries follows the end of a relationship on this new single which is his first new music in over a year. With clubby beats percolating under twangy guitars, it’s a little country, a little pop and 100% Billy Nomates.
Bolis Pupul – “Neon Buddha”
Although he’s best known for making music with his partner, Charlotte Adigéry, Bolis Pupul releases his own playful technopop that’s in the same bleepy bloopy orbit as Current dancer. “Neon Buddha” is a perfectly titled track, bright and wonky, big and blobby. I don’t know exactly what a neon buddha is, but it sure is what it looks like.
Helado Negro – “Ya no estoy aqui”
Roberto Carlos Lange continues last year’s ambitious and masterful project far in with this lush and moving new single, he says he is about “loneliness and alienation”. You feel it too. An elegiac and cathartic sadness seeps in from all directions: the drawling beat and the soft waves of sound (keyboards? guitars? we don’t know) to Lange’s plaintive delivery.
Hot Chip – “Down”
When you start playing Hot Chip’s excellent new single “Down,” you might think you pressed the wrong button. A funky loop of Universal Togetherness Band’s “More Than Enough” sounds and there are a full 30 seconds to go before Hot Chip launches in to make it his own. It’s new territory for them and it’s, even with the biggest sample, the most “live” they’ve ever sounded. Playing back the drums gives it real punch, and Hot Chip really makes it sound like they’re having a blast – that’s not something you can take for granted with a band that’s been around (sort of) since 20 years.
Kelley Stoltz – “Your Name Escapes Me”
San Francisco DIY king Kelley Stoltz has a seemingly endless supply of pop songs, not to mention the ability to add new styles to his repertoire along the way. This song hits the wonky palette of current pop psychedelia — think Tame Impala or Mild High Club — that matches her fond, if hazy, memories of a fleeting romance. “Your name escapes me, but I can’t forget those days.”
Martin Courtney – “Corn on the Cob”
There’s something inherently nostalgic about Martin Courtney’s vibe, whether with real estate or solo, which beams like the September sun. In this case, it’s very intentional, a song about being a teenager “smoking weed and driving around with your friends to lose yourself as much as possible”. Pedal steel is a particularly nice touch here, tugging at your heart with its warm glow.
Signature of the Sun – “Golden Air”
Elizabeth Fraser’s voice is one of the true natural wonders of planet Earth and it has remained diaphanous even though she rarely uses it in public anymore. “Golden Air” is his first music as a lead artist in 13 years, part of an EP with his partner (and Massive Attack drummer) Damon Reece due out this summer. Its existence alone is cause for celebration, but its vivid baroque psychedelia is a perfect vessel for Fraser’s talents.
Viagra Boys – “He’s not a thief”
In addition to the general debauchery on display, the Viagra Boys’ live shows featured the band in a more new wave slant than their punk-leaning studio album. These worlds seem to merge with their new album, cave worldas lead single “Ain’t No Thief” hammers out a manic disco beat and a dirty, relentless synth bassline that launches them into a grim, technopunk future world.
Weird Nightmare – “Wrecked” ft Bully
Toronto’s METZ occasionally lets a few pop melodies sneak into their brand of tinnitus-inducing noise-punk, but vocalist-guitarist Alex Edkins brings them to the fore on his solo debut as Weird Nightmare due out on the 20th. May on Sub Pop. A duet with Alicia Bognanno of Bully, “Wrecked” is all hook but still has plenty of fuzzy guitars. The video, meanwhile, is the best Canadian indie canine content since Caribou’s “You Can Do It.”
TOP 5 INDIE BASEMENT ALBUMS OF APRIL 2022
Spiritualized – Everything was beautiful (Big opossum)
Jason Pierce has made his best record since Ladies and gentlemen, we’re floating in space. In my opinion:
Everything was beautiful is one of the brilliants. The album boldly evokes Spiritualized’s 1997 masterpiece Ladies and gentlemen, we’re floating in space, from its prescription drug artwork to its recording (using studios around the world with dozens of musicians), to the way it opens with a female voice whispering the album title, sounding like a transmission of Saturn’s third ring. (In this case, it’s his daughter, Poppy.) Doing so makes you feel like he knew how good this one was, and he largely stands up to comparison.
Get Everything Was Beautiful on deluxe pink vinyl and standard black vinyl, plus other Spiritualized albums, from the BV Shop.
Wet leg – Wet leg (Domino)
British duo Wet Leg have been by far the most hyped British band since the mid-2000s of Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys, and their debut album has lived up to the hype. In my opinion:
wet leg plays like a snapshot of your 20s, when the hangover starts to get worse but doesn’t stop you from going out all the time, and you start looking for more serious relationships while still wanting to fuck anything that moves, and questioning the direction your life is taking – all set to ridiculously catchy indie rock. The songs are peppered with memorable and sassy lines – “Baby, will you come home with me? / I have Buffalo 66 on DVD”, “I hope you choke on your girlfriend”, “I have the big D” – but Wet Leg also knows the value of a chorus “la la la” or “ah-eeh- ah”.
To pick up wet leg on yellow vinyl, and also get the “Chaise Longue” 7″ in the BV shop.
Fountains DC – Lean fia (supporter)
DC Fountains may be struggling with their sense of Irish identity on their third album, but their desire not to do the same thing twice has served them well so far. From the review:
Even if you’re not aware of the specific lyrical genesis of Lean fia, the discomfort is palpable. The screaming punk rippers who embodied their early days, Dogrelgave way to dark, textured guitars closer to early 80s postpunk (The Sound, The Chameleons) filtered through late 90s British alt-rock and dance music, with thick basslines and increasingly adventurous drumming, creating music that is both expansive and claustrophobic.
To pick up Lean fia on a limited edition translucent red vinyl exclusive to our store.
The Aluminum Group – The Aluminum Group (self-released)
Frank and John Navin return with their first album in 14 years and their elegant jazzy pop is as sharp as ever. In my opinion:
Les Navins have not lost a step and have delivered another exquisite and lush album that finds magic in the mundane details of life and love. The album opens with “Drag Yourself”, “Color My Lips Hot Pink” and “Rock”, three songs as good as any in their catalog, full of pop hooks, lively orchestral arrangements and insightful observations. “Drag queens, as a rule, are worse than kids,” they sing on “Color My Lips Hot Pink” against a disco background. “Dressing for school…mornings?” Sometimes twice. All messy, then fabulous. ” A son PlanDave Trumfio tempers the esoteric flights of the Navins with an emphasis on pop hooks and beats, creating a better-of-both-worlds environment and a most welcome return.
Sondre Lerche – love avatars (PLZ / InGrooves)
Norwegian singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche’s sprawling new album is also one of his best. Perhaps the better. From the Indie Basement review:
love avatars is unlike anything he has done to date but is also very clearly a Sondre Lerche album. He still favors jazzy chords and warm, swelling melodies but these songs stretch in unexpected directions. It swings for the fences with every song and connects more often than not, with the kind of grand orchestral gestures Father John Misty wishes he could pull off with such momentum.
Here’s a playlist of 57 songs and nearly four hours of all my favorite April songs:
Do you want more ? Browse the Indie Basement archives.
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