I hate to bring you bad news, I really do, you’ve had enough of it, yes I know, me too, but unfortunately, there’s a tummy bug going round and it’s best to stay in I think. Like, it’s pretty serious. Sorry, what’s that? Glastonbury will lift your spirits? Well…it’s been cancelled…I’m so sorry. Yes, and that Jake Bugg gig. And, The Who! Stop it, don’t cry, I’d offer to hand you a tissue, but you wouldn’t believe me if… no, really, I’m sure you could go down the pub and drown your sorrows whilst checking up on how Liverpool are getting on, however…
Look, basically the streets are extremely quiet, every town and city globally have dressed themselves in post-apocalyptic attire, things really could not get worse right now, everyone is in existential dread and the majority of the global population have isolated themselves to stop the spread of the tummy bug, (I’m sure you’ve seen enough of it’s scientific term about on the socials, so like an adorable and overbearingly happy nursery teacher, I have opted to name it something cute to lessen the tragedy) with a few people in quarantine that are in the same boat of using all of their resources around them like John Wick in a Pound Stretcher, running out of content as they burn through it.
So I am taking it upon myself to deliver five albums that’ll lift your mood, broaden your palettes, you’ll fall in love with, and then maybe you can stop listening to that one Pulp album over and over. Yes, I’m looking at you.
SURFER BLOOD – ASTRO COAST
This debut album from Florida surf-rock band Surfer Blood is an experience like no other. It’s very rare that an album can paint a colourful picture for you within the first second of the opening track, but this LP picks you up carefully, sets you down gently in a sun-soaked environment and immediately gets you up on your feet to look you in the eyes and say ‘Isn’t this great?’. And it really is! From immensely catchy guitar hooks that are as hummable as the vocals themselves, the narrative has everything covered for you in the way of what you might need on a part-time quarantine basis.
Astro Coast may be a sun-dripped ocean explosion of imagery, but at its core, it’s tightly grounded and can be very personal, tackling romance, fears of the future, excitement about the future, loneliness, and getting yourself back on track. This album spots you sat alone amidst a vibrant group of people at the house party, takes you to sit on the kitchen floor with a drink, asks you to share your worries and your doubts, shares theirs, and you wake up the next day with the sun on your face, whether it’s physically there or not.
THE AQUADOLLS – THE DREAM AND THE DECEPTION
I would do anything, yes, anything, to get this band at the forefront of everything. Melissa Brooks is one of the most vibrant, talented and exciting personalities I’ve experienced in years, and I am of course not forgetting the incredible wonders that are Jackie, Keilah and Kate. A band of powerful women that can and will end any negativity you have in your world by directly tapping into your social bubble and helping out with anything you need inspiration for. Definitely for fans of Kate Nash, The Cure, Dream Wife, Wolf Alice, with touches of Blondie and Best Coast, giving you a glowing feeling breaking through the dreaded barrier of quarantine. This dreamy pop-rock album is perfect for lying on your bed thinking of things to create and feelings to overthrow, and it’s been on repeat since 2018, still feeling as new as when I fell in love with it the first time. Support these girls, I want to personally fund them to come over to the UK when all this tummy bug panic rolls over as I feel like we really could do with them right about now. Aquadolls Forever!
COMPUTER MAGIC – DANZ
Have you had enough of the past? Do you despise the present? Well there’s only one way to head and aside from swimming through neo-Tokyo retro-futurist art (isolate yourself with Akira, Blade Runner/2049, Altered Carbon and Maniac! Do it now!), head towards the future! Here to take you on your personal tour is Danielle ‘Danz’ Johnson with her cyber laptop surfing sci-fi project, Computer Magic, to show you what the world can be. It’s hard to pick which album from Danz is necessary for losing yourself in self isolation, her entire back catalogue invites you into a romantic Blade Runner setting where there is a lot more to the material than futuristic 80s synth drenched beats, however this LP has more of a homecoming feeling to it, to help you come to terms with yourself and where you want to be after everything has settled via this vividly imaginative piece of otherworldly art, and Danz’ vocals warmly show you around the joint, showcasing that the future can be beautiful if you make it so.
LOS CAMPESINOS! – WE ARE BEAUTIFUL, WE ARE DOOMED
Let’s go back to 2008 now, where the medium of indie was at its peak, the radio was dominated by the likes of Vampire Weekend, Arctic Monkeys, Florence & The Machine, Foals, Mystery Jets, MGMT, Fleet Foxes, Oasis, Arcade Fire…and yet one of the more interesting bands were making waves of their own under the glare of the indie mainstream, Los Campesinos!, ramping up a gathering of loyal followers that still cling onto the words of this Welsh indie-noise-pop group twelve years later, and rightfully so as they always have something enigmatic and intriguing to say, on a frighteningly relatable level.
What sets We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed aside from the previous two entries picked is that you have to find happiness yourself in the record as at face value, Los Campesinos! cover topics that are self-loathing, anti-romantic and despair.
Some of the best self-development you can achieve is from getting annoyed about a date that went wrong, dancing about death and admitting that you still think dirty things about your ex. Every word you’ll be hooked on, sing along to, dance with as you come to terms with everything falling apart around you, and the interactive element of this LP (originally meant as an EP) is the best part of this album, no, this band.
Using this time in quarantine and isolation to build character and come out of it stronger and less self deprecating, yet holding the same amount of angst and understanding may be the greatest gift of all to yourself, and this album (again, this band, listen to everything they’ve brought out, I might be wrong but I reckon you may have some time to do so in the coming weeks) will help you become the best version of yourself you can be and that’s something that you know you deserve. Let’s celebrate the fact that yes, we are beautiful, and we are doomed.
BEASTIE BOYS – HOT SAUCE COMMITTEE (PT.2)
Come on, don’t look at me like that, yes I know you’ve heard the Beastie Boys. From the indie circuit to the most hardcore punk scene, they tap into everything and have inspired the majority of your favourite artists. But did you give their final album a go? Well? Did you? Yeah I thought now! Did you think they were ‘past theirr prime’? Good grief. What a sad little life Jane. This is heralded as one of the best outlets created by Ad-Rock, MCA and Mike D, and its critical acclaim is so deserved. It’s energetic, experimental, far too intelligent for its own good and drops more pop culture than someone delivering the hardest Chun Li’s Spinning Bird Kick to the face of Bob Iger. I can imagine the boys sitting in a studio, researching contemporary hip-hop trends for hours and just saying ‘We’re having absolutely none of that’, throwing away the Dummies Guide To Hip-Hop and just weaving this carefree statement without a real fear of losing anything, of which they only gain from this entry.
This LP is perfect for wandering about your accommodation doing the odd bit of work with a soundtrack in your headphones, blissfully unaware of the real world, and being transported to the downtrodden alleys of New York City looking for a party you aren’t supposed to be at, the lyrical content bringing a smirk to even the most arduous of household chores. Every track is perfect to slide around the kitchen in your socks to, and to forget the outside world for 45 minutes is what we could all do with right now, and the Beastie Boys will ensure that you’re still rocking it ‘til the break of dawn.
Words: Roscoe Martin