Originally I made sure this will be in the top three because I own every vinyl from them, yet the more I listen to this the more I realise that favouritism isn’t the reason why its third but simply it’s because it is a brilliant album. ‘Hello Sadness’ continues with the dark fuelled indie pop and it certainly doesn’t hold back, neither does frontman Gareth Campesinos! who is certain to make sure that if you are breaking up you may as well be fucking dead. Each song carries forth his personalised self-loathing lyrics which prove the reason why he is consistently cited as one of the best lyricists currently. The title track has Gareth repeating the same four lines as the guitar slowly raises, the bass line hums and progressively shatters glass windows into a blast of self-hate and feedback rhythm. “Your tongue the tide/your lips the shore /I am the jetsam overboard,” now tell me how heartbreaking that sounds. Los Camp has thrown away their twee-like attitude (coloured vinyl) and has matured into a group who – like on ‘The Black Bird, the Dark Slope’ – believe that they are doomed. Because in the end don’t we want to embrace sadness?
2. Panda Bear
One of the best albums of 09 was Animal Collective’s ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’ which held their trademarked experimental sound yet it was easily embraceable with a pop aesthetic. Panda Bear (whom is a member of AnCo) continues his solo career which deeply plants him as king of the supposed “chill-wave” genre and sprouts forth a collection of dreamy, surfy and ambience array of classic songs. Going back to an electric guitar ‘Slow Motion’ transcends on a wave of surrounding synths and a muffled drum that continues to inspire psychedelic echoes. The title track builds with his harmonic voice which has a spiral of synths and ‘Surfer’s Hymn’ continues with his beautifully layered inviting voice that resonates into a bouncy orchestral performance. An album that is built on a dreamy laid back atmosphere funnily enough manages to get your feet moving as every song just stands out perfectly.
Past Life Martyred Saints
Every song is a confession and every knife wound is a statement. Erika M. Anderson is EMA and she is doing to noise rock what Patti Smith did to punk, Anderson is crafting it as her own field building up a wall of noise and then crashing it down. “Fuck California!/You made me boring” EMA begins before confessing everything she is sorry for to the sound of single sorry notes on piano and to the backdrop of a whiny guitar building up, and the deep echo of a drum. Everyone sees California as a magical city but all Erika M. Anderson sees is a place that “corrupted us with your sexuality” before crying out in calm state that “I’m just twenty-two/ I don’t mind dying”. The stand-out is ‘Marked’ it can only be described as full of tears. EMA’s voice sounds drowned in sorrow as her wispy voice sounds as if she is cutting herself to pieces “I wish that every time he touched me he left a mark” she croons into a state of emotional breakdown. Every song is filled with emotion even the noisy ‘Butterfly Knife’ which she screams in a confusing maze of fast paced guitar “twenty kisses with a butterfly knife”. This is Erika M. Anderson’s solo endeavour after the breakup of her folk-noise band Gowns and it is beyond exceptional; she has done everything herself in a traditional lo-fi trademark. If you are going to the Laneway Festival go and watch her perform, because when I listened to Past Life Martyred Saints for the first time I had to choke down my tears and that is what Erika M. Anderson wants you to do. You experience her pain, her pleasure and her ferocity.