Happy St. Patrick's Day! There are no Irish albums reviewed this week, unfortunately, but we do have ones from France (M83), Scotland (Django Django), and Sweden (Death & Vanilla), plus Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Technology + Teamwork (aka Sarah Jones & Anthony Silvester), Philly retro synth band Korine, and The Lost Days (aka Tony Molina & Sarah Rose Janko).

Over in Notable Releases, Andrew reviews Yves Tumor, Deathcrash, The Van Pelt, and more.  Are you in Austin for SXSW? Need some suggestions for what you, the Indie Basement reader, should see? I've got you covered.

If you're in the mood for physical media, the Indie Basement corner of the BV online shop has vinyl, books and merch from Stereolab, Love & Rockets, The Raincoats, King Gizzard, Cocteau Twins, Grant Lee Buffalo, Sleaford Mods, Belle & Sebastian, New Pornographers, Naima Bock, Protomartyr, Mogwai, The Flaming Lips, and lots more.

Head below for this week's reviews...

M83 - Fantasy

M83 - Fantasy (Mute)
It's a return to form for Anthony Gonzalez with his most blissed out, M83-sounding record in quite a while

With their albums Saturdays=Youth and Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, M83 minted a rapturous, nostalgic synth-rock style that was custom-designed to send ecstatic festival crowds into euphoria and would be copied by countless other "millennial whoop" acts. Group architect Anthony Gonzalez seemed to purposefully steer away from M83's signature sound on subsequent albums, to varying success, but is back in familiar territory on Fantasy, the group's ninth album. "I wanted this record to be very impactful live," says Gonzalez. "The idea was to come back with something closer to the energy of Before The Dawn Heals Us. The combination of guitars and synths is always in my music, but it’s maybe more present on this new record than on the previous ones." You can definitely imagine "Oceans Niagara," which give the album a proper opening with blasts of pure M83 radiance, knocking back festival attendees with pure bliss, as if you could feel the sunrise like a tidal wave. Gonzalez is a master of slow ethereal builds, and he deploys them all over Fantasy, with tracks like "Earth to Sea" and "Us and the Rest" not fully kicking in till they're three-quarters the way through. What songs like these show is how much better Gonzalez is at this still than any acts who's successfully ripped him off. Fantasy isn't so much a return to form as a reclaiming of the throne.


death & vanilla - flicker

Death & Vanilla - Flicker (Fire)
Third album from this Swedish group will appeal to fans of the baroque and motorik

Does seeing the words "RIYL: Stereolab, Broadcast" stop you in your tracks? You may already know Malmö, Sweden's Death & Vanilla who have been making icy, groovy, baroque psychedelia for over a decade now. I would never confuse their music for the bands I listed here but they are clearly from the same solar system and probably own a lot of the same records and vintage gear. On their third album, Death & Vanilla favor gently strummed guitars and whispered melodies, flecked with mellotron strings and flutes, and even when things get noisy, they stay polite. Flicker is full of moments of placid, hypnotic beauty, like "Perpetuum Mobile," that glides on two chords for five blissful minutes and as far as I'm concerned could've gone on three times as song. These Swedes are skilled in making the simple sublime.


korine - tear

Korine - Tear (Self Released)
This Philly duo owe a lot to The Cure, New Order and other '80s alt-rock, but they also write ridiculously catchy songs

As someone who came of age in the 1980s, Philadelphia duo Korine push a lot of my buttons, mixing etherial guitars and bouncy synths with anthemic choruses for a style that would be like if the Pretty in Pink soundtrack was condensed down to one duo. Morgy Ramone has the kind of voice that drips of sneery/dejected attitude, coated in just the right amount of Fake British Accent that is perfect for these grey-skied jams. Tear is Korine's third album, and Morgy noted at a recent Brooklyn show that the title could be pronounced as in rhyming with "bear" ("to rip") or as in "tear from your eye," and both feel equally appropriate to the music. Korine could be dismissed as pure pastiche -- these are very specific sounds they are using -- but the songs are too good. "Mt Airy," "Train to Harlem," and "Burn the World" are neon-soaked, bummed-out bangers for the best '80s teen film never made.


django django off planet pt 2

Django Django - Off Planet Pt 2 (Because)
The Scottish dancerock outfit are going to new worlds on their fifth album, which is being released in four side-long parts

Scottish group Django Django have been with us for more than a decade, carving out their own corner of the indie dance market with a string of consistently entertaining records. They're doing things a little differently, however, for their upcoming fifth album, Off Planet, a high-concept double LP with each of the four sides representing a different "planet." Not unlike what Beach House did with Once Twice Melody, the band are releasing whole sides of the album at a time, once a month, with the whole thing out June 16. Drummer David Maclean (whose brother John was in the Beta Band) has always been Django Django's chief creative head, but Off Planet feels more like a solo album, with seemingly little worry for how these songs could be played live or fit within the group's established sound. Maclean is a real crate-digger, too, and you feel that more than on any previous Django Django record; it almost feels more akin to the "Midnight Maxi Mix" mixtapes they released in their early years.

Pt 2 highlights include opening cut "Don't Touch That Dial," an atmospheric club track featuring Japanese rapper Yuuko; ethereal synthpop number "Back 2 Back" featuring Patience (aka former Veronica Falls singer/guitarist Roxanne Clifford), and the jazzy, flute-filled "Squid Inc" that has a little City Pop energy in its veins. Things end with the two most Django Django-esque songs heard so far on Off Planet -- "Come Down" and "Golden Cross" -- but even those find the group reaching in new directions. P1, which featured Self Esteem and Isabelle Woodhouse, was great too, and it will be interesting to hear how the second half of the album holds up to the many highs of the first.


Unknown Mortal Orchestra, V

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - V (Jagjaguwar)
UMO pick up right where they left off with their first album in five years

It's been five years since Unknown Mortal Orchestra released Sex & Food, and Ruban Nielson, Jacob Portrait and the rest of the group make up for lost time with their fifth album. Clocking in at an hour, V is a double that feels more like a "here's what I've been doing" catch-up than a cohesive work, including a handful of songs that were released over the last two years. Not that the album features a disparate range of sounds -- UMO have a well-established style, with watery, wobbly low-fi production doing its best to mask the skill of the players, be it on Prince-flavored tracks "The Garden" and "That Life," or soft rock jams like "Weekend Run" and "The Beach." But you're more likely to cherry-pick a song -- like the wonderful, horn-inflected instrumental "The World" -- than you are to sit down with the whole thing.


Technology and Teamwork We Used To Be Friends debut album artwork

Technology + Teamwork - We Used to Be Friends (Good Way)
Sarah Jones (Hot Chip, Harry Styles) and Anthony Silvester (XX Teens) use both technology and teamwork to create their debut album, loaded with club cuts

Sarah Jones got her start in the mid-'00s post-punk revival as drummer for the underrated London group New Young Pony Club, and when that band called it quits she also spent time in Hot Chip, Bloc Party, Kaiser Chiefs, Bat For Lashes and others before landing a gig in Harry Styles' band, that has taken her around the world more than once. Jones also makes electronic music on her own as Pillow Person, and with fellow '00s survivor Anthony Silvester, who led XX Teens (another group Jones played in), makes clubby pop as Technology + Teamwork. "Our name perfectly describes how we work,” Silvester explains. “Sometimes the teamwork is between each other and sometimes it’s between us and the technology.” Having released their debut single nearly a decade ago, T+T got put on the backburner as both Jones and Silvester's individual careers took off, but they've revived it after six years -- We Used to Be Friends is their very enjoyable debut album. There are a variety of styles on display here, from throbbing electro to more modern EDM, but they always sound like they're having fun.


the lost days - in the story

The Lost Days - In the Store (Speakeasy Studios SF)
Enjoyable if ultimately unsatisfying debut from the duo of Tony Molina and Sarah Rose Janko

Tony Molina and Sarah Rose Janko (Dawn Riding) met at a friend's memorial service and bonded over their love of each others music and a mutual affection for The Byrds and Bill Fox. They began writing songs together and The Lost Days were born. Like a lot of records that involve Tony Molina, In the Store looks like an album but plays like an EP with the 10 songs coming in at a mere 14 minutes. They pack a lot in, though, with expectly constructed hooks and very catchy choruses, and fans of '80s and '90s twee indiepop, and '60s folky psych, will immediately like this. Unfortunately many of the songs just seem to stop, rather than come to a logical end, leaving an unsatisfied aftertaste and making The Lost Days a missed opportunity.

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