Happy May! This week's edition of Indie Basement features reviews of new albums by Modern Cosmology (Stereolab's Lætitia Sadier + Brazilian group Mombojó), SQÜRL (Jim Jarmusch & Carter Logan), Flasher, Westerman, LA Priest, The Lemon Twigs, and Immaterial Possession.

Over in Notable Releases, Andrew reviews new albums from billy woods & Kenny Segal, SBTRKT, Conway the Machine, and more.

Other Basement-forward news from this week: Siouxsie Sioux played her first show in a decade; New Order's Power, Corruption & Lies turned 40; Sweeping Promises announced the follow-up to one of my favorite albums of 2020; Belly are back;  so are The Hives; and Bush Tetras announced their first album in 10 years.

We're now in May but if you need to catch up on April, Indie Basement is here to help.

Finally, a reminder that Indie Basement has its own corner of the BV Shop that is full of great records, including our exclusive, limited edition color vinyl variant of Alvvays' debut album, our exclusive, limited edition swirled vinyl edition of Thee Oh Sees' Live at Levitation, plus albums by The Lemonheads, Primal Scream, King Gizzard, The Raincoats, Radiohead, Grant Lee Buffalo, Belle & Sebastian, Deerhoof, Protomartyr, Mogwai,Love and Rockets, Kevin Morby, The The, Naima Bock, The Flaming Lips and lots more.


Modern Cosmology - What Will You Grow Now? (Duophonic)
Stereolab's Lætitia Sadier and Brazilian group Mombojó team again for a second record of spare, sad tropicalia psych. 

Stereolab singer Lætitia Sadier met Brazilian group Mombojó in the mid-2010 when the band's Marcelo Machado lent her some of his amps to use on her Brazilian tour -- with the condition he got to meet her, one of his idols. Marcelo brought along his brother, Vincente, and the rest of Mombojó, they hit it off instantly, and Modern Cosmology were born. The group released the Summer Long EP in 2017 and are now back six years later with their debut album. Tropicalia has been a building block in Stereolab's sound almost from the start, and Modern Cosmology don't stray too far from the space age bachelor pad, but there's less emphasis on analogue synths, and arrangements are spare, spacious and lonely. The pretty and melancholic "Making Something," "Le Train Ne Passera Pas," and the especially excellent title track and closer "A Time to Blossom" have lots of room to swim around in, as they set a deliberate end of summer -- or end of something -- mood for what is Sadier's best post-lab record to date.


SQURL Silver Haze

SQÜRL - Silver Haze (Sacred Bones)
Jim Jarmusch and Carter Logan enlist Charlotte Gainsbourg, Anika and Marc Ribot for their second album of atmospheric rock

It's bit hackneyed to call the musical project of filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and his producing partner and sometimes film-score-composer Carter Logan "cinematic," but it's also undeniable. SQÜRL are big on atmosphere, setting an eerie mise-en-scène with beautiful, droning, ambience. The second long-player from this duo, who first got together to score Jarmusch’s movie The Limits of Control, is a further exploration of spectral blues and hazy stoner rock, with elements of trip hop and spoken word in the mix. For it they found a partner in crime in Randall Dunn, who has worked with Sunn O))), Boris, and Earth and knows how to make things sound deafeningly loud yet soft and slow. Jarmusch and Logan also brought in Anika and Charlotte Gainsbourg to provide vocals on "She Don't Wanna Talk About It" and "John Ashbery Takes A Walk," respectively, while Marc Ribot provides signature guitarwork on "Garden Of Glass Flowers" and "Il Deserto Rosso." John Ashbery is a touchstone here, too, with Gainsbourg and Jarmusch providing poetic narratives, like on "The End of the World" where Jim paints a vivid portrait of youth running wild in a post-apocalyptic suburban landscape in his deadpan downtown vocal cadence. You can imagine Jarmusch making videos for every song here, but no need -- SQÜRL's music projects movies in your mind.


flasher in my myth

Flasher - In My Myth (Domino)
DC duo add hazy shoegaze atmospherics to their melodic indie rock style on this terrific EP

DC duo Flasher released the excellent Love is Yours less than a year ago and are already back with this new EP. “In My Myth is a collection of songs written in between tours and between coasts,” Flasher say. “These songs are about reckoning with our own self-mythologizing, the sinister side of ‘wellness,’ watching relationships shift over time, and not being done yet.” It's also another step in the right direction of the band's musical evolution, seamlessly adding elements of noisy shoegaze into their brand of poppy indie rock. Picking up where Love is Yours left off, these four songs also smartly have Taylor Mulitz and Emma Baker singing together. Their voices, along with the songcraft, are chief among Flasher's charms.


Westerman - An Inbuilt Fault

Westerman - An Inbuilt Fault (Partisan)
Second album of expertly crafted glitchy folk from this talented UK singer-songwriter

William Westerman had his sound figured out from his first EP, a lush brand of nuanced folk that has drawn comparisons to Arthur Russell and Nick Drake and also feels informed by Talk Talk and Massive Attack. It's a mood, windswept, verdant and decidedly English. For his second album, Westerman teamed with Big Thief's James Krivchenia to co-produce and they brought in a large stable of contributors including Luke Temple, Mega Bog's Erin Birgy, Mat Davidson (Spirit Family Reunion), French Touch producer Marco Dos Santos, and Booker Stardrum (Cloud Becomes Your Hand). Needless to say, An Inbuilt Fault is a gorgeous record, with spacious arrangements that have an almost surround-sound feel, with wonderful percussion cutting through the ether of harmonies, acoustic guitars and synths. The album could use stronger hooks -- more songs like the excellent, memorable "Take" -- but it's superior, often striking wallpaper.



LA Priest - Fase Luna (Domino)
Third solo album from onetime Late of the Pier frontman Sam Estgate

Remember Late of the Pier? The nu rave band only made one album, 2008's Fantasy Black Channel, but it's a lost classic of the era that put a distinctively weird spin on the whole post-punk revival. They didn't last too long after that album but frontman Sam Estgate continues down his own unique path as LA Priest when not designing bespoke drum machines. Fase Luna is his third album under this banner and, like on 2020's Gene, you can feel the residual influence of his Soft Hair collaborator Connan Mockasin in the liquid effects that coat nearly every sound on the record. It could all drift into Mac DeMarco territory but Estgate has a singular vision that steers away from other records in a similar style. Fase Luna is on the chill side but it's hard to resist breezy bangers like "It's You," "Star" and "Neon" that are both familiar and foreign.


the lemon twigs everything harmony

The Lemon Twigs - Everything Harmony (Captured Tracks)
Fourth album from Brian and Michael D’Addario is another displaced-from-time collection of glammy, baroque pop

Brian and Michael D’Addario are a supremely talented musical anomaly. Since their teens (which was just a couple years ago), they've been making expertly crafted, often theatrical, pop-rock that has much more in common with Todd Rundgren, Paul Williams and The Raspberries than any music from the last 40 years, let alone ones since their birth. Even the cover art to Everything Harmony, their fourth album and first for Captured Tracks after three on 4AD, feels like it's dusted off from 1973. (It's also a bit of a nod to the cover art of Paul Williams' Someday Man.) It's hard not to be impressed with the detail, the harmonies, the arrangements, the performances -- all by Brian and Michael, both polymaths -- on these songs that occasionally veer a little too far into saccharine, puppy love territory. But even when they do, like on Brian's "Corner of My Eye," there are moments of baroque genius. Better are the songs that lean more toward power-pop, like Michael's jangly "In My Head" and "What Were You Doing" that recall Big Star and Chris Stamey. Once it was easier to spot the brothers' individual fingerprints on songs but their styles are more in line with one another here, for the better, too, making everything a little more harmonious.


-immaterial possession - mercy of the crane folk

Immaterial Possession - Mercy Of The Crane Folk (Fire)

Athens, GA's musical heritage is long and storied, a college town and haven for artists and eccentrics in the bible belt that gave us one of the most influential scenes of the late-'70s and early-'80s (REM, B-52's, Pylon), the Elephant 6 collective of the mid-'90s, and more. Immaterial Possession have ties to E6 -- Kiran Fernandes' father is Olivia Tremor Control's John Kiran Fernandes -- and their psychedelic sound owes more than a little to that, though they also could've sprung from the late-'60s as well. Mercy of the Crane Folk has major hippy vibes but more on a groovy tip than the commune folk plane (though there is some of that too). Songs like "To The Fete" and "Siren's Tunnel" are flute-flavored technicolor dance jams for your next vintage trip.

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