Indie Basement is a weekly column on BrooklynVegan focusing on classic indie and alternative artists, "college rock," and new and current acts who follow a similar path. There are reviews of new albums, reissues, box sets, books and sometimes movies and television shows. I've rounded up August's best music, highlighting my favorite albums and tracks, plus links to relevant features and news, a monthly playlist, and more.

August is over and so is summer, basically. It's a typically slow month with the entertainment industry on vacation and this was definitely the case this year, with probably the least exciting slate of releases of any month so far. As always, though, there were still more than a few gems which I've rounded up here. I've kept my album picks to five but records by Ezra Furman, The Chats, OSEES, and Healing Potpourri are runners-up worth checking out.

I've also picked my 11 favorite songs of August, including The Church, Arctic Monkeys, Dougie Poole, Max Tundra, Special Interest and more. There's also a playlist with all my favorite songs from August. Listen to that below.

Over in the Indie Basement basement of the BrooklynVegan shop, the virtual shelves are stocked with records by Stereolab, Broadcast, Mazzy Star, Beach House, Wet Leg, Kevin Morby, Yard Act, Cocteau Twins, The Beths, Aldous Harding, The Cure, Can, Neu!, Mazzy Star, Talking Heads, Just Mustard, Midlake, Pixies, Sparks, Liars, The Kinks, The Zombies, The Monkees, and lots more.

Check out Indie Basement's Best Albums & Songs of August 2022 below.



Arctic Monkeys - "There'd Better Be a Mirrorball"
Arctic Monkeys have extended their stay at the Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino for new album The Car, and I'm 100% ok with that, though thematically "There'd Better Be a Mirrorball" is back on Earth. With lines like and "Yesterday's still leaking through the roof" and "throw the rose tint back on the exploded view," Alex Turner is in wistful romantic mode on this autumnal breakup song sporting giant Burt Bacharach vibes. When he lets loose his falsetto singing the song's title, and the strings swell, it'll get you right here. Swoon.

Badge Epoque Ensemble - "All Same 2 Each, Each Same 2 All"
Max Turnbull, who used to record as Slim Twig and is US Girls' Meg Remy's partner, leads this Toronto group that explores jazz, and the softer side of '70s rock, pop and R&B. "All Same 2 Each, Each Same 2 All," which is from BEE's upcoming second album, starts off extra chill, with smooth sax and fretless bass, before quietly cracking open into a lush soundbath worthy of Donald Fagen.

The Church - "The Hypnogogue"
"I don’t think this song has any predecessor in our history at all," The Church's Steve Kilbey says of "Across the Milky Way," the band's first new music in five years. It's a long history, too (42 years), and thematically Kilbey is probably right. I don't recall another song set in 2054 about a machine, "The Hypnogogue," that pulls music straight from dreams. Musically, though, this is pure The Church, sultry psych rock anchored by Kilbey's still powerful vocals. The video is terrific, too.

Dougie Poole - "High School Gym"
Brooklyn's best urban cowboy, Doogie Pool, made one of my favorite albums of 2020 and here's the first taste of the follow-up. Where The Freelancer's Blues was full of wry tales of overeducated and unambitious ennui, "High School Gym" puts Poole's nuanced storytelling to more serious uses as he looks back on all the people he's lost in his life, as they congregate in an auditorium of his literal dreams.

Greentea Peng - "Look to Him"
I really loved Greentea Peng's 2021 debut album, which mixed acid jazz, trip hop, reggae and hip hop together into a wonderfully automatic, herbaceous blend. "Look to Him" picks up right where that left off with a horn-forward arrangement that nonetheless makes subtle use of its instrumentation. St Francis Hotel, who's worked with Danger Mouse and Inflo, does great work here, making everything sound verdant with Peng's blunted vocal style at the center.

John Cale - "Night Crawling"
"Night Crawling" might not be what you'd expect from Velvet Underground co-founder John Cale who turned 80 this year, but he is an artist fond of left turns. A slinky, synthy tale of Cale and David Bowie on the town, on the prowl and off their heads in early-'70s New York City, "Night Crawling" is as seedy and alluring as it should be.

Max Tundra - "MBGATE" (Kero Kero Bonito remix)
To go along with the reissues of his first three albums by Domino, Max Tundra commissioned an album's worth of remixes by friends, peers and musicians who have taken inspiration from him. The best track on Remixtape is Kero Kero Bonito's "remix" of "MBGATE" (from Mastered by Guy at the Exchange) is basically a new song, sampling the French Touch-y riff, but adding all new and typically snarky KKB lyrics.

The Soft Pink Truth - "The Anal Staircase"
A companion EP to The Soft Pink Truth's (Matmos' Drew Daniel) upcoming disco and house-inspired album, Was It Ever Real? offers four non-LP cuts, including this genius reinvention of Coil's industrial queer classic. The original is intense and sinister but Drew turns it into something that Larry Levan could've spun at Paradise Garage in 1980, making it all the more transgressive.

Special Interest - "Midnight Legend" ft Mykki Blanco

New Orleans group Special Interest's 2020 debut, The Passion Of, was equal parts disco, no wave, noise and rage, born out of their city's underground DIY scene. But the band describe the process for their first album for Rough Trade as "inverted"  -- usually they work out songs though live performances, but the pandemic led to new sonic experimentation. For them, that means some of their most immediate, danceable music to date. Singer Ali Logout says "Midnight Legend," which features Mykki Blanco, is “a love song to all the girls leaving the club at 6 AM," and feels like a distorted rewrite of Black Box's "Everybody Everybody," both more chilled out and more fucked up.

TFD - "The TFD"
TFD aka TOTAL FUCKING DARKNESS aka Stars Torquil Campbell and Young Galaxy's Stephen Ramsay are a musical match made in Montreal, but its beating heart lies in the dreamy, gloomy world of late-'80s British dance pop by way of "the current total fucking darkness in which the world inhabits." This is TFD's debut single, their manifesto, a gurgling jam caked in black eyeliner and teased hair where Campbell whispers, "Death to fascists, death to men, death to politicians and the women who live with them.” It's New Order's "Thieves Like Us" by ways of The KLF, or as they put it, "BLEEP BLOOP ASSHOLES, IT’S TOTAL FUCKING DARKNESS."

Tim Burgess - "Sure Enough"
Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess pours 30+ years of his musical history into this lovely song from his upcoming sixth solo album. The rolling piano recalls the Madchester scene that birthed his band, but the gentle twang and relaxed spirit bely a man who is comfortable where he is now.



hot chip Freakout:Release

Hot Chip - Freakout/Release (Domino)

Yet another quality album from one of the most consistent bands of the last two decades. From the Indie Basement review:

It's hard to believe Hot Chip, the quirky, nerdy, hipstery indie dance group, have been together for more than 20 years. Their 2004 debut album was called Coming on Strong and I'm happy to report that their new and eighth album, Freakout/Release, could've been titled Still Going Strong. While the winking, tongue-in-cheek humour that enlivened nu-rave era tracks like "Crap Kraft Dinner," "Down WIth Prince," and "Over and Over" has waned, they've replaced it with gentle, genuine compassion, all without losing sight of the dancefloor. Hot Chip have become masters of the bittersweet banger and Freakout/Release is full of them.



Oneida - Success (Joyful Noise)

Brooklyn indie rock stalwarts' latest is satisfying and easy going down. From the Indie Basement review:

Oneida have been doing it themselves longer than most people realize there's been a Brooklyn DIY scene. They have always had one foot in the experimental / improvisational world, but on Success they want to remind people that they can rock as well as be weird. “We honestly did not try to make something more straight ahead but it came out that way," says drummer Kid Millions. You may have forgotten they can even do "straight ahead," but these seven roaring rippers make it abundantly clear. They are still weirder and noisier than your average indie rock band, but tracks like "I Wanna Hold Your Electric Hand" have discernable verses, choruses and hooks, even if the next line in the song is "between my teeth."


attachment-kiwi jr - chopper

Kiwi Jr. - Chopper (Sub Pop)

Kiwi Jr finally shake some annoying (to them) indie rock comparisons on their excellent third album. Here's a bit of the Indie Basement review:

"I don't think it was really a question of 'let's change things up for the third record, which is a trap a lot of bands fall into," Kiwi Jr frontman Jeremy Gaudet told Kreative Kontrol's Vish Khanna, "...but we decided to change things up for the third record." Changing it up meant using an outside producer for the first time -- Wolf Parade's Dan Boeckner, who had almost produced the Toronto quartet's first album but their schedules didn't align. Album #3 is probably a better place anyway, as Kiwi Jr had established a sound, steeped in '90s indie rock, that they were ready to tweak. They also had gained confidence as a band that put them on more equal footing with someone like Boeckner who's been in the game successfully for two decades. Whether it was Boeckner's hand or the band's own desires, Chopper manages the always difficult feat of "the same, but different."


Panda Bear Sonic Boom Reset

Panda Bear & Sonic Boom - Reset (Domino)

Old pals Noah Lennox (Animal Collective's Panda Bear) and Pete Kember (Spacemen 3's Sonic Boom) finally make a fully collaborative album and it's great. From my review:

The idea was Kember's: having moved to Portugal and gotten his record collection back in order, he became obsessed with the intros of songs from the '50s and '60s, the parts before the tune really kicked in, and proposed that he and Panda Bear write new songs based around those intros. The result is a musical dive into quantum mechanics, a pop multiverse experiment where the beginning takes you in entirely new directions. Or at least different, if familiar ones. They bring out the best in each other, though, and in an age where samples are being removed from records new (Beyonce) and "old" (Jens Lekman), Reset reminds you that stealing can really be an art.

Pick up the Panda Bear & Sonic Boom album on yellow vinyl.


The Lounge Society - Tired of Liberty

The Lounge Society - Tired of Liberty (Speedy Wunderground)

Yorkshire, UK's The Lounge Society have mostly delivered on the promise of their early EPs with their debut album. Here's a bit of the Indie Basement reviews:

Like a lot of the groups associated with Dan Carey's Speedy Wunderground label (black midi, Black Country New Road), The Lounge Society have a lot going on in their sound, and aren't afraid to take wild swings. Following two EPs, the Yorkshire band have delivered their debut, an ambitious, politically minded concept album about a society that crumbles apart over the course of the record. The Lounge Society's trump card is swagger, and the album recalls everything from The Libertines to Modest Mouse, Joseph K, These New Puritans, and Iceage. Sometimes all within one song. The band are young, not that far out of high school, and that youthful abandon and idealism comes across in these 11 songs that crackle with electricity.


saint etienne presents - Fell-From_the sun

COMPILATION OF THE MONTH: Various Artists - Fell from the Sun: Downtempo and After-Hours 1990-91 (Ace)

Saint Etienne's Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs compile the best 98 BPM classics of the very early-'90s peak UK rave era. Bliss out:

Stanley and Wiggs are musicologists and crate-diggers who used their deep knowledge (and record collections) to come up with unique samples on those early Saint Etienne albums, and together have curated a lot of cool compilations for Ace Records -- from early '70s folk to obscure synthpop -- but they feel especially at home here, and bring their good taste to a genre that could veer towards cheese. The late, great Andrew Weatherall was really at the heart of this just-below-100-BPM scene, and he's represented here with Primal Scream's "Higher Than the Sun" (in its "Higher than the Orb" extended mix), and One Dove (his collaborative project with Dot Allison) and their single "Fallen." There's also Dave Ball and Richard Norris duo The Grid with "Floatation" (whose singer, Sacha Souter, graces the cover of this comp); Moodswings' "Spiritual High,"BBG's "Snappiness," Saint Etienne's own "Speedwell" and more.

These Ace comps are never on streaming services, but as usual someone has made a Spotify playlist for it:


Here's a playlist with all my favorite songs from August in both Spotify and Tidal form:

Looking for more? Browse the Indie Basement archives.

And check out what's new in our shop.



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