I frequently get sent music by bands I've never heard of. It tends to pile up in emails and CDs, but occasionally I'll take a shot on one: reasons for doing so can be fickle – a good name or cover art – but more likely it will be if the music comes from a label I like.
Such was the case for Public Strain by Women (below), a band I didn't know but who are on the Jagjaguwar label. And a good shot it was: the record is a great listen, full of dissonant noises, repetitive guitar lines and art-pop flourishes. It recalls Krautrock, The Feelies and early Sonic Youth. The LP has been available since August, but one track, the surging, Sixties-garage-inflected album closer, "Eyesore", is available as a free download at Ind.pn/ag1ChB, in case you need a sample before taking a shot.
Catching up with old house mates
I lost track of Röyksopp after the success of their 2001 debut album, Melody AM. But now, three albums later, perhaps it's time to catch up again with the Norwegian duo and their brand of ambient house and downbeat electronica. Their entirely instrumental new LP, Senior, is released on Monday; before that, it is currently streaming at Hypem.com/artist/royksopp.
Dispatches from the drone zone
The Altered Zones blog collective, which features contributions from 15 other music blogs around the world, has kicked off a new monthly mix series, which puts together a selection of their favourite music released in the previous month. The August 2010 mix sticks with the site's mission to focus on leftfield pop, experimental and DIY music; much of what appears on the mix is fairly obscure, but that's what makes it appealing. It also suggests that the vogue in the alternative sphere for guitar drones, fuzzy pop and blissed-out sounds is going strong. The mix, a free download at Alteredzones.com, is all strung together in a continuous flow that adds to the airy vibe. Perfect for what will hopefully be some hazy Indian summer days in September.
The roadblock of the new
Between the hyperbole for the latest buzz band, BBC Sound of 2010 and all manner of chatter in between, it can be hard to keep up with the constant streams of new music and which hot new artists are actually worth paying attention to. More praise, then, to Stereogum.com for putting together a list of the 40 Best New Bands of 2010. The list might seem premature, but it was compiled, in part, in response to a similar list by the NME (visit Ind.pn/bWKp9v), with some crossovers. The Stereogum list ranges from the hyped (Best Coast) to the more obscure (Candy Claws), and comes with a track by each band, so you can decide which from the crowd you want to pick out, Ind.pn/b5cYbj.