a perfect evening: your phone is on silent, you've made tea, you're sat in your comfiest chair with a good album, you're calm, relaxed, and plotting your sweet, sweet revenge.

quite adept, when asked at a job interview to describe a perfect evening, May 18, 2024

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LomeldaForever (2015)
the debut album by rural texas singer-songwriter Hannah Read is both intimate and melancholic... many of the tracks seem to revolve around a feeling of not wanting to face tomorrow after a night of being unloved... sad music can be the best medicine the morning after a shitty day, and it feels good to feel felt... this album is perfect in that regard...

favorite track: Columbia River
genre(s): folk, indie folk

Work WifeQuitting Season (2022)
this five track EP feels like a full album as all five songs hit the mark... straddling the line between indie rock and indie folk, Work Wife gives off a certain "suburban midwest kids who naïvely moved to new york" vibe... it starts off with a couple hip-swaying bangers and ends with a melancholic head-nodding tune that makes me think about some past relationships in a different light...

favorite track: Apathy
genre(s): indie rock, indie folk

Washed OutParacosm (2013)
a favorite, feel-good record among those who’ve heard it... a paracosm is a detailed imaginary world, often a personal, alternate reality that offers a peaceful place of thought and understanding... the flow from song to song is beautiful... unique and catchy melodies help break up the consistently airy instrumentation... warm synth and reverb help cement the feel and flow on each track... very good album for a road trip or when you just want to feel positive, escape, float away...

favorite track: All I Know
genre(s): chillwave, synth pop

Deltron 3030Deltron 3030 (2000)
an experimental “hip hopera” following the space oddities of the fictional Deltron Zero (the hero) and his assistant Automator (not a hater) in the year 3030... often cited as “slept on” proto-nerd-rap record... though also, paradoxically, often cited as an overrated fan favorite... the album is full of geeky sci-fi references, ironic braggadocio, and clever social critique in its seemingly unending lyrics... I like Del the Funky Homosapien’s flow and canter, despite criticisms that his rap structure is a bit simple...

favorite track: Positive Contact
genre(s): alternative hip hop, rap opera

The Radio Dept.Clinging to a Scheme (2010)
as with 2003's Lesser Matters and 2006's Pet Grief, not a single song on this album is skippable... though it is full of the same saudade, nostalgic softness of their first two albums, Clinging to a Scheme ventures a bit into more upbeat and adventurous, jangly, guitar grooves... we also get to hear Johan Duncanson's lead vocals unfiltered for the first time on a few tracks, which is a good sign of a vocalist's maturation... This album also lays a solid framework for their divergent, follow-up, protest album, 2016's Running out of Love...

favorite track: This Time Around
genre(s): shoegaze, dream pop, indie pop

Belle and SebastianThe Boy with the Arab Strap (1998)
this indie pop record laid solid groundwork for that thoughtful-yet-upbeat indie sound years before a wave of soft and melodic artists in the early 2000s like The Shins and Fleet Foxes... its themes are often dark, despite the bright and occasionally punchy arrangements and silly lyrics... the group switches roles on several tracks, and even switches genres on a few... you’ll catch a stereotypically “twee” sounding song followed by an avant garde, spoken word poetic experiment...

favorite track: Ease Your Feet in the Sea
genre(s): indie pop, chamber pop

Guerilla TossGT Ultra (2017)
drums and synth reminiscent of dance pop mix with cantankerous punk vocals on this sophomore Guerilla Toss album, which is not even remotely accessible to new listeners... this record is best described as dirty and insane, yet still presentable and sound... the first track could easily back a lead-in FMV to a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater game... if you like bizarre, female-led bands and have tried acid more than one time, then give this and their follow-up album, *Twisted Crystal*, a shot...

favorite track: Skull Pop
genre(s): punk rock, dance punk, neo-psychedelia, art pop, ???

TelepatheDance Mother (2009)
I have a soft spot for female vocalists that “half-sing” their lyrics and this album is a great example of that... you’ll know what I mean on tracks that feature flourishing synth and drum beats but lack graceful vocals, which may be the right decision after all... it’s also home to deep bass and layered loops that you’d expect from house music, yet partnered with campy and bright lyrical narratives... this is an enjoyable album that would play in the background of a party in 2010 thrown by the girl in your psychology lecture who really likes Flight of the Concords...

favorite track: Devil's Trident
genre(s): synth-pop, electronica

temachiiflora maniia (2023)
you know an album is a deep cut when the artist sends you a cd that they burnt themselves and drew the slip-cover art in green gel pen... it's intimate bedroom dream pop with catchy melodies and sing-along-able vocals that is impressively mixed and mastered for an amateur debut... you may, like me, find yourself mesmerized by how good this album is, and jealous that you haven't make one just like it...

favorite track: lovin' lowly
genre(s): dream pop, shoegaze

The Von BondiesPawn Shoppe Heart (2004)
garage rock is dead, the white stripes are never getting back together, and the detroit rock scene has decayed as much as the detroit housing market, but if you want to go back and relive those days in the early 2000s, look no further than this masterpiece from The Von Bondies... you may have heard "C'mon C'mon" in a car commercial, or a sports video game, or in a crime tv show that glorifies the police, but you may not have heard the other 11 tracks on this joint that are all pure, raw, shameless rock...

favorite track: No Regrets
genre(s): garage rock, garage punk

SobsTelltale Signs (2018)
this is the first of two singaporean acts that I can't recommend enough... this album is a must for any summer, whether you're a sprightly, passionate youth or an old fart who wants to reminisce on those glory days... pick any track you want, you can't go wrong, they're all bangers... pop it in your cd player on your next road trip for that endless summer feeling... you do have a cd player in your car, right?

favorite track: Eastbound
genre(s): jangle pop, indie rock, indie pop

Subsonic EyeNature of Things (2021)
the second of two singaporean acts that I can't recommend enough, and the only one I've seen live... this album is more of a indoor-listener in my opinion, despite it going harder... I am enamored by Nur Wahidah's smooth-yet-warbly vocals on top of the buzzy melodic guitar riffs from Jared Lim (who is also in Sobs) on this album and their previous work, 2018's Dive Into... I find it interesting that this album is about pondering the relationship between nature and city life, while being made by kids in a country that itself is one big city...

favorite track: Unearth
genre(s): indie rock, post-punk, noise rock

The Orion ExperienceCosmicandy (2013)
it's all bangers, all the way down... it transcends... it is the gayest album I have ever heard... it's a little devious, glamorous, mischievous, and polyamorous... basically it is the ambiguously gay cartoon villain that we know is in the wrong but clearly has way more fun than the boring, beige protagonist... the best way to describe it is that this was an album that sounds like it was made in 1984 and sealed in a time capsule to be enjoyed by it's proper audience: the internet youth of 2024... it's impossible not to dance to...

favorite track: Obsessed With You
genre(s): pop, electro pop

MONKOORANight Charm (2021)
I've described this as if the r/WitchesVsPatriarchy subreddit made an experimental new wave album... it is full of magicks and hexes and alchemical astral projecting dark summoning spirit water astrology speak that I don't understand... but we all know someone like that, admit it, she tried hard drugs once and went all "aries moon mercury rising" and never went back... so that's the subject matter that acts as the roots of the album, and from there the style of the album branches out in all directions and genres...

favorite track: Bloom
genre(s): art pop, new wave, folktronica, hyperpop, dream pop, goth, experimental

Silversun PickupsPikul (2005)
so I'm sure you know Silversun Pickups and love their first three full length albums (in chronological order) and feel lukewarm about their next three... but maybe you missed their debut EP, Pikul, which has all that raw grungey sound and the sick buildups to crescendo that mark their first three albums... it's a great one to revisit...

favorite track: ...All The Go Inbetweens
genre(s): alternative rock, grunge

Olivia KaplanTonight Turns to Nothing (2021)
Olivia has such a smooth smoky sultry silky voice it's not even fair... parts of this album feel like they belong in the 90s with Sheryl Crow while others sound like much newer folksy bedroom pop... this is one of my favorite albums to sing along to; I feel compelled to on certain tracks... the lyrics are relatable too, if you've had to navigate the modern dating scene and the feelings of insecurity and loneliness that come with it...

favorite track: Ghosts
genre(s): indie folk, indie rock, post-country

MelenasAhora (2023)
I don't speak spanish, but that doesn't mean I can't hear it and feel it... you can pick up the vibe given off Melenas without knowing what they're singing, and the catchy rhythms and infectious synth melodies certainly help... this is both a great road trip album and great background for a chill little party where everybody is skinny and 30 and vegan and in denial about their alcoholism...

favorite track: K2
genre(s): dream pop, garage rock, synth pop

Closure in MoscowPink Lemonade (2014)
when the pacing of a book is terrible, it's a terrible book, but when the pacing of an album is insane, it can make the album quite interesting and enjoyable... this one is all over the place, as evidenced by the title track taking you on a journey through highs and lows and odd tempos, and as evidenced by my inability to decide what genre(s) it is... it's funky, maybe trippy, a little beautiful... it's equal parts Radiohead, Queen, and System of a Down... if that makes sense...

favorite track: The Fool
genre(s): art rock, progressive rock, psychedelic rock, experimental, post-hardcore

Steady HolidayTake The Corners Gently (2021)
this eight-track album is short, but still packed with some thoughtful and delightful songs for people who feel that living life is itself both daunting and wonderful... it's a singer-songwriter joint that came at a perfect time during the pandemic when we were all thinking more intentionally about the direction of our lives and situations...

favorite track: Sunny In The Making
genre(s): indie pop

RatboysGN (2017)
I got to see Ratboys in Chicago open for Snail Mail in a show that also included Lomelda, and I didn't realize how lucky I was to be there to witness three legends until much later... this album is nice and cozy and folksy and fits well with a cup of tea and some calm and caring house plant maintenance... that's about as much as I can describe it... Ratboys is nice and they seem like cool people and I'm still on their mailing list but I never read the emails...

favorite track: Elvis is in the Freezer
genre(s): indie folk, post-country

Sea LemonClose Up (2022)
please try and look past one of the worst album covers I've ever seen and give this five-track EP a listen... it is bubbly and a little introspective with some great melodies that will compel you to sing and possibly even dance along on repeat listens... all five songs are quality; they might not be super deep or anything, but if you want something to jam to for your 20 minute walk to work, well here you go...

favorite track: Turn Away
genre(s): dream pop, indie rock, indie pop