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 November's best music, highlighting my favorite songs and albums, plus links to relevant features and news, a monthly playlist, and more.

The year is winding up and we'll soon be fully in holiday mode and year-end-list territory. December won't have much in the new release department, but November was pretty action packed. It was so hard whittling down the month's albums to five that I went with six. Some that almost made the cut include Jeb Loy Nichols' The United States of Broken Hearted, µ-Ziq's Hello, SAULT's 11, and Carla Dal Forno's Come Around.

There were even more great songs, and I picked 11 to write about here, and made a playlist with even more. You can listen to that on Spotify or Tidal below.

A note on end of the year since I brought it up. Don't expect the Indie Basement Best Albums of 2022 to just be exactly what has been in these monthly wrap-ups. People change, tastes change, hairstyles change! Some albums have gone down, others have gone up. A few that I never reviewed in Indie Basement might show up. You'll find out soon.

And with the holidays coming up quick, don't forget the Indie Basement section of the BV shop for the classic indie music lover in your life. It's full of vinyl, books, and merch from Love & Rockets, The The, Mogwai, The Flaming Lips, King Gizzard, Pavement, Wet Leg, Mo Troper, Arctic Monkeys, Beach House, Broadcast, Stereolab, Belle & Sebastian, Talking Heads, Spoon, Lilys, Cocteau Twins, Can, Dinosaur Jr and more. Records make great gifts!

Head below for Indie Basement's Best of November 2022...

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INDIE BASEMENT - BEST SONGS OF NOVEMBER 2022

SINGLE OF THE MONTH: H. Hawkline - "Milk for Flowers"

Huw Evans has been making music as H. Hawkline for over a decade, and has also spent time in Cate Le Bon and Aldous Harding's bands. Like them, he's an odd egg but new album Milk for Flowers -- which Cate produced -- finds him approaching pop territory, at least as close as he's likely to get. Powered by a '70s-ish bouncy piano riff and featuring a vocal performance I didn't know he had in him, "Milk for Flowers" delivers hooks and melodies without sacrificing his charming eccentricities.

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Halo Maud - "Pesnopoika"

The inspiration for "Pesnopoika" is traditional Bulgarian music, but the result is pure Halo Maud. Dig the crazy groovy rhythm section with jazzy drumming and backbone-slip bassline, not to mention the layers of angelic harmonies and diaphanous keyboards. There is also Maud's amazing voice, which drifts into Bjork territory every once in a while, and an incredible, ragged and weird guitar solo that I wish had gone on for at least two more minutes. A great first taste of her second solo album, due next year.

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Andy Bell - "Our Last Night Together"

Ride's Andy Bell has become a prolific solo artist, releasing EPs at a regular clip, the most recent of which is Untitled Film Stills that features lovely covers of songs by Yoko Ono, The Kinks, Pentangle and, best of all, Arthur Russell's "Our Last Night Together." The original, mostly cello and voice, is spare and ghostly but Bell turns it into something more full, atmospheric and enveloping. Or as Bell puts it, "‘World Of Echo meets This Mortal Coil doing Skip Spence’.”

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Fever Ray - "Carbon Dioxide"

"Carbon Dioxide" is the kind of song that only Karin Dreijer could create: anthemic,  thrilling (those strings!), unsettling (baby voices?), and a total banger. I am very excited for Radical Romantics.

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Gina Birch - "Wish I Was You"

It's wild to think that Gina Birch of The Raincoats is only just now releasing her first solo album at age 67. If this song is any indication, she's been saving up a lot of good stuff over the last 40 years. "I Wish I Was You" has a distinct '90s alt-rock energy that is amplified by Thurston Moore's guitarwork. Birch brings her own unique style and voice, of course, and producer Youth help her make it soar with an irresistible chorus.

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Hot Chip - "Broken (Jacques Lu Cont Mix)"

One of the best songs on Hot Chip's terrific new album Freakout/Release -- frontman Alexis Taylor calls it the "emotional centerpiece" of the record -- "Broken" is a swaying, yearning dancefloor anthem that is both moving and gets you moving. (There's a little "Dancing on My Own" in there, too.) They've released an EP of remixes that are all great, but Stuart Price in his Jacques Lu Cont guise, takes things into joyous Crystal Waters territory.

The "Broken" video is great too:

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Old Fire - "Blue Star" ft Emily Cross

One of the most underrated, underheard albums of the year is Voids by Old Fire, aka former Earlies member JM Lapham. (You'll also find it elsewhere in this post, see below.) Featuring tons of cool guests (Bill Callahan, Julia Holter, Doverman, more) and a dark vibe heavy on atmosphere, its meant to be consumed as a whole, but there are still a number of standout cuts, like "Blue Star" featuring Loma's Emily Cross. Bewitching vocals intertwine with sci-fi noises, dreamy surf guitar and eerie bursts of free jazz. An intense fever dream you don't want to wake from.

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Pozi - "Slightly Shaking Cells"

London's trio Pozi have previously made arresting music - using only drums, bass, violin and voice -- that rubs you like sandpaper, or at least that bit of sand in an oyster that ends up a pearl. On "Slightly Shaking Cells," their first new music in a year, they are flirting with a friendlier approach that you could call danceable in an early-'80s postpunk kind of way. (Think The Slits or even Tom Tom Club.)  It's still coming at you from Dutch angles, but the rhythms, bouncing in tandem with the violin and Rosa Brook's vocals, is very enticing.

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Quasi - "Doomscrollers"

Please welcome back Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss who are gearing up to release their first Quasi album in over a decade. Always ones to mix the bitter with the sweet, Quasi seem ready made for observing pandemic panic, where "everybody's baking bread, Doomscrolling, going outta their head." It all leads into a swelling chorus of "Blackberry pie a la mode, Black coffee, no future" that is strangely reassuring.

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Spoon Vs Adrian Sherwood - "Wild"

I called Spoon's "Wild," a single from this year's excellent Lucifer on the Sofa, "the closest they'll ever come to U2," swinging with a chorus meant to reach an arena's cheap seats without heading into cheese. In producer/remixer Adrian Sherwood's dubby hands, it's been transformed into a rave anthem a la Primal Scream's "Loaded" (or George Michael's "Freedom 90"), dropping out most of the guitars and giving it a bigger beat with lots of bongos and house piano. The best Madchester anthem in years.

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The WAEVE - "Kill Me Again"

What is so interesting to me about The WAEVE, aka Blur guitarist Graham Coxon and Rose Elinor Dougall, is that it doesn't sound like anything either of them have done before and in that way feels like a true, equal collaboration. "Kill Me Again," is moody and cinematic; midnight synthpop that delivers a big, memorable chorus but takes some interesting turns down dark alleys -- like the wickedly skronky sax solo from Coxon.

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Weird Nightmare - "So Far Gone"

Having spent the last 10 years destroying eardrums with METZ, Alex Edkins showed his power-pop side on his solo debut as Weird Nightmare. He clearly had more songs than he used on the record, as "So Far Gone," his entry in the Sub Pop Singles Club, shows. He's still playing at tinnitus level volumes, but it's the melody that lingers this time -- along with the ringing in your ears.

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INDIE BASEMENT - BEST SONGS OF NOVEMBER 2022

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Acid Klaus - Step on My Travelator: The Imagined Career Trajectory of Superstar DJ & Dance Pop Producer, Melvin Harris (ZEN F.C.)

Sheffield producer Adrian Flanagan has been involved in electronic music for over 20 years, with projects (some still active) including The MoonlandingzInternational Teachers of Pop and the Eccentronic Research Council. (He was also briefly a member of The Fall.) For his solo debut, he's set the bar for himself very high with a concept album about, the title helpfully explains, the "Imagined Career Trajectory of Superstar DJ & Dance Pop Producer, Melvin Harris." This concept framework is also an opportunity to time-jump through a variety of dance music styles, from the acid house that inspired his punny moniker, to techno, trance, house, chillout, europop and more, with help from Eccentronic Research Council bandmate Dean Honer, Sheffield legend Richard Hawley, Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger's Charlotte Kemp Muhl, and actress Maxine Peake. Flanagan is a dextrous, clever producer whose love and deep knowledge of the last 50 years of electronic music keeps the banger quotient very high. [Full review]

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Weyes Blood: And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow (Sub Pop)

Weyes Blood's Titanic Rising was BrooklynVegan's favorite album of 2019. How does her follow-up fare? Very well. An especially empathetic songwriter, Mering is in sublime form this time, weaving the intensely personal with the universal, the macro and micro, and wrapping it in melodies, harmonies and arrangements that make it cosmic. Nowhere is this more evident, right in the title, than on opening track "It's Not Just Me, It's Everybody," where Mering sings about our loss of real connection while we seemingly have everything at our fingertips: " Fragile in the morning / Can’t hold on to much of anything with this hole in my hand / I can’t pretend that we always keep what we find / Yes everybody splits apart sometimes." [Full review]

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Daniel Avery – Ultra Truth (Mute / Phanstasy Sound)

Ultra Truth is a gorgeous and often thrilling album that finds Daniel Avery a master of a variety of dance styles that he whips into his own alluring blend of techno, drum-n-bass, shoegaze, trip hop, chillout and ethereal electronics. It’s bullet train that rockets through neon urban cityscapes, glaciers and waterfalls, and blooming valleys, all under a skyfull of stars. His best record yet. [Full review]

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Special Interest - Endure (Rough Trade)

New Orleans dark dancepunk outfit Special Interest gained a following through their intense live shows (a electric drill was in their instrument list), so what happens when the clubs all shut down and touring stops? They make Endure, the band's first album for Rough Trade, which they describe as "inverted," as the songs were for the first time worked out in the studio instead of the stage. The band experimented more than ever and were as inspired and empowered by the studio as they were the pandemic, Black Lives Matter and the 2020 election. As fiery as all that sounds, Endure is a much friendlier sounding album than 2020's The Passion Of, and tracks like "Herman's House" and "Midnight Legend" are full of disco rhythms, fuzzy basslines, house piano, and big, chant-along choruses. There are also a few intense, raw nerve tracks that show they still know where the power tools are stored. [Full review]

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Spoon vs On-U Sound - Lucifer on the Moon (Matador)

Spoon's sound has always had a lot of space and headroom and is perfect for dub production, as this reimagining of this year's Lucifer on the Sofa shows. Producer  Adrian Sherwood rips these songs apart and reassembles the parts in a whole new fashion. In some cases, songs are given an entirely different backbone, with conga-and-tom-heavy percussion and new reggae arrangements, while others get more of the echo box trip to outer space. Lucifer on the Moon may have started as an experiment, but turned into a very cool album that not only stands on its own but is equal, in its own way, to the original. [Full review]

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Old Fire - Voids (Western Vinyl)

Producer and composer John Mark Lapham, who was a member of mid-'00s band The Earlies as well as The Late Cord and MEIN, also records eerie, atmospheric music as Old Fire . His second album under the name, Voids, features guest vocals from Bill Callahan, Julia Holter and Loma's Emily Cross and Adam Torres, and also features instrumental contributions from Doveman's Thomas Bartlett, saxophonist Joseph Shabason, The Earlies' Christian Madden and more. Voids is in many ways a modern analogue to This Mortal Coil, the project of 4AD Records founder Ivo Watts-Russell and producer John Fryer, and is very much a late night album -- featuring some cool covers -- heavy on vibes. Despite all the cool guests and the amazing sounds within, this excellent album seems to have gone almost entirely unnoticed. Give this one a chance. [Read John Mark Lapham's breakdown of every song on the record]

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And here's the December playlist with selections from all the above, plus more of December's best stuff, 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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