Guess who’s back? Back again?
Well, sorry to disappoint – it’s just me.
It’s been a hectic 2018 for everyone’s least favorite mod, and it’s proven to be a rather large undertaking to keep up with everything I’d like to do around here. But because I already tried retiring (twice), I’ve decided to go the opposite route this time and just push my nose even harder against the grindstone and hope that real life/work/marriage makes way for the obvious priority: the Sputnik blog.
My 4 fans here (5, if Irving is reading this) will remember that at the beginning of the year, I vowed to divorce mainstream releases in favor of reviewing exclusively under-the-radar albums. To be fair, I never expected to make 100% good on this promise because the alluring potential of a surprise Taylor Swift Reputation Pt.2 album always looms large — so I’ve compromised. I’m still going to cover as much new obscure material as I can (hence this Hype Machine series), but I’m also still going to review the super popular stuff that brings me joy. Because at the end of the day, who gives a fuck.
It’s been since February since I’ve had time to do something other than train hard at my new real life job, so here we are months removed from Sowing’s Hype Machine #2 — which featured the likes of The Republic of Wolves, Endless Heights, and Lo Moon (all of which received a 4.0+ from me because old age has made me weak) — and I’ve finally discovered three albums that I’ve decided you should be excited about too. Well, maybe not excited, but at least aware of.
In case you forget how this works, I scope out three upcoming releases and assign them a projected rating, or a hype score, from 1-10. Then, once the album drops, I make every effort to review it and see if it lives up. Please study the below releases carefully. Because when the specified release date comes around, I won’t be able to shut up about it and you’ll be glad you know that one song that I embedded below as ammo to defend your 2.5.
Genre: Experimental Indie/Electronic Pop
Release Date: 6/29/2018
Hype Rating: 9
Let’s Eat Grandma had one of their songs reviewed by Pitchfork, so I’m not sure how “under the radar” they qualify as anymore, but the 20 total votes on their 2016 debut album suggest they could use some additional exposure on this site – and also, if social media is any indication, they’re still under 15k followers…so it’s not exactly like they’re big time, at least. Anyway, that’s all about to change with I’m All Ears. This is a band on the very precipice of breaking out into stardom. The pieces are all in place, anyway, from their super awkward band name to the fact that their sound hits every single check box on what you might possibly want from a pop band in 2018. Super edgy and experimental? Check. Indie as fuck? Double check. Catchy and obviously talented? You get the point. They remind me a bit of FKA Twigs circa M3LL155X. Let’s Eat Grandma appears to be the real deal, and I’m excited to lead the hype train on this one. For a taste, listen to the insanely eclectic “Hot Pink” below.
Listen to “Hot Pink”:
Release Date: 5/25/2018
Hype Rating: 8
I’m sort of going super out-on-a-limb here, but to be honest that’s basically what I do with all these. Puff strikes me as an album I won’t be able to resist though. There’s clear psychedelic/dreamy influences, yet it has a crackly retro feel. Their facebook page has 3k likes so they’re still very much a small-time outfit. It has all the makings of one of those “finds”, that special gem that you order directly from the band’s website (because nowhere else will carry it non-digitally) and then feel proud of each time you spin it. I don’t know, maybe I’m an insufferable hipster. Yeah. Regardless, this is worth investigating – it’s odd yet familiar, and very warm. There are other good tracks that have been released in advance of Puff (check “Passenger Plane” too!), but “He’s The Moon” seems to best personify the overall tone that I hope this promising record will maintain.
Listen to “He’s The Moon”:
Release Date: 6/29/2018
Hype Rating: 7
Just so you know, every album across all three installments of Sowing’s Hype Machine has had the word indie somewhere in the genre. Just a bit of fun trivia for those not keeping track. So this seems like it will be a pretty interesting indie-pop venture; the vocalist has personality and the songs are catchy as all hell. Reminds me a bit of Chvrches if they were less electronic. The song structures of the two singles released thus far (“No Muse” below, and “Boyish Wave”) are relatively basic and uninteresting though, so I’m capping this thing’s preliminary potential at a 7 (or a Sowing 3.5). It could be better than that, but every song on the album will need to be as good as the one I embedded here. Either way, this could be a fun summer release.
Listen to “No Muse”: