≡ Menu

Floating vibes coming in by way of Berlin’s Ariana Zustra who has released a fine selection of singles over the past months and is said to be busy putting together a full length album. Her latest piece The Twinkling Of An Eye just came out and spreads easily over vast synths bringing to mind the dancing shapes and determined scapes created by Dalí or Miró. Moustaches and surreal perspectives included.

As luck would have it, Zustra and her flying circus are currently on tour across relevant parts of Europe, making a stop in Hamburg on Monday Feb 17th when she will take the stage at the one and only Fabrique at Gängeviertel. Her latest track is attached below at your convenience, and comes with an animated video, too.

Photo credits go to Christian Schneider and Christian Schneider only.

Seattle’s finest Hibou has been producing a fine blend of dreamy pop and shoegaze for the better part of this century. After acclaimed success with other projects like Craft Spells, he put out his solo debut in 2015, setting the stage. Last year, he released his third record Halve on Barsuk Records, a bad boy of an album, complete with lush riffs, lots of reverb and a general haziness that is hard to resist be it on a palmy Sunday afternoon or your average coastline commute.

To celebrate the occasion, he is currently spending his days touring the larger metropolises of old Europe with support of German rockers Drew Blank. This flying circus is set to play Hamburg tonight (Feb 13), Brussels next (Feb 14), then hitting Cologne (Feb 15) and Rotterdam (Feb 16).

Team Poule managed to get its rusty feathers on 2×2 tickets for the Hamburg gig (tonight!) – pop an email to music@pouledor.com for your chance to call them yours, by 4pm CET. Terms and conditions apply.

Photo credits go to George Baker and him only.

The elusive group of people above that seem to be Pam Risourié have been dipping their hazy toes into the hot waters of the public late last year with an exciting self-released debut EP titled Rituals. The bunch quickly followed up that package of fuzz with a dreamy new single going by the name of Night Flowers.

This misty piece of recording saw the light of day in the early days of 2020 and if you have a thing for the early birds, tune in to the accompanying video produced by the group themselves alongside Gwendal Péron. Night Flowers is out now and equal parts getaway-driving Ryan Gosling aesthetic and breezy summer sunrise on the rooftops, a real steamer in the grey days of post Academy Award February.

Photo credits above go to the flawless and talented Juliette Delivertoux.

morceau du jour: DRAMA – Years

Tonight’s musical guests, are two of Chicago’s finest musicians: DRAMA. The thrilling duo of producer Na’el Shehade und singer Via Rosa has been genre creating on the fine line where R&B and dance pop meet – and just announced their debut album to be released next week, Feb 14th via the elusive Ghostly International. The LP titled Without Me will be a breezy collection of pop songs, serving as a perfect companion for your average Saturday night, the following Sunday afternoon, or even Monday morning commute.

Attached below is Years, their latest output and exhibit A to warm up to them and their wealthy repertoire. As luck would have it, the shiny Americans are touring fair old Europe these days, with Cologne (Feb 5), Berlin (Feb 6, sold out), Amsterdam (Feb 7, sold out) and Rotterdam (Feb 8) on the menu, before hitting the roads of the United States, from Phoenix through California all the way up to Canada and along further East. Find all dates nicely listed on their website.

Photo credits above go to the talented Zoe Rain, while the video to Years here was directed by the one and only Adam Chitayat.

Flattery here out of Chicago, Illinois, is quite possibly just what you were looking for around this time of the year: warm fuzzy riffs, washed out melodies, a healthy bit of reverb and a cool voice talking you through the misty first days of the new calendar.

Attached below is Quiet, her latest dreamy single and it could not be a smoother piece of music to crack on your speakers when it’s grey and cold outside. Although it probably also does the trick in warmer climes. The track comes off her fine debut record Other Essences, that she just self-released, 8 tracks strong, and that will be a joy in the heat of summer, too. The album has a great feel to it throughout, a common language and a great rhythm, like one of those Coen movies.

Quiet can also be found on the official, and frequently updated, Team Poule headquarters playlist Journal – naturally over at the Swedes of Spotify.

2019 has been a difficult year for the music album as a collection of songs connected by some sort of consistent narrative. Physical album sales continued to decline while music streaming services keep gaining market share with Spotify remaining the most important player, no pun intended. But while streaming platforms are very convenient to use and have arguably made music more accessible than ever before, their emphasis on songs, playlists and single track recommender systems disincentives listening to albums from first track to last.

Survey data suggests that less than 20 % of the time spent listening to streamed music is dedicated to albums, according to Musicbiz (pdf). The average listener across all age groups spends 54 % of his and her time listening to single tracks and 28 % to playlists. Among the playlists, platform-generated ones are about three times as popular as those curated by friends, radio stations or the good old fashioned music blog. Needless to say that only a fraction of the streaming industries’ revenue growth ends up in the pockets of musicians.

There are bright spots though. While revenues from digital album and CD sales keep going down, vinyl record sales were up 13 % in 2019, the RIAA reports, offsetting the decline of all other physical formats. Platforms like Bandcamp are on the forefront of this trend and continue to flourish, putting the artists and independent labels at the center of their business. More than 5 million albums can be bought on the platform, both physically and digitally, and 80-85 % of the revenue stream, no pun intended, goes straight to the artists – paid out transparently, on a daily basis. Pretty smooth.

Bandcamp is showcasing the incredible diversity of their catalogue in a record store and performance place in Oakland, California, that opened in February 2019, and which Team Poule strongly encourages you to visit. Their cozy and bright corner space on 19th and Broadway holds a curated vinyl selection from their online store that is updated every day and sports relaxing listening booths to make your way through the maybe 100 records on display quite comfortably.

It wasn’t all grey in 2019 then, but good music, at least for Team Poule, was to be discovered in places outside the streaming platforms and machine-made playlists. It might be idealistic or old-fashioned, but at Poule headquarters, the album, the classic long player, still counts: the LP that has a coherent theme, is a document of the artist’s time, and is under no circumstances to be listened to on shuffle.

So, after consulting the major media outlets, and looking past the great headline making albums by Weyes Blood, Thom Yorke, Little Simz, Helado Negro, Toro Y Moi, Chromatics, Julia Jacklin, Big Thief, Nick Cave, Lana del Rey, Men I Trust, Bon Iver, Nilüfer Yanya, Angel Olsen, and more, here goes Team Poule’s definitive list of 10 or so of our favorite albums that saw the light of day in 2019 and were somewhat overlooked – in no particular order.

***

Faye Webster – Atlanta Millionaires Club / Atlanta, Georgia / Secretly Canadian / 31 mins

Listening to the brilliant Atlanta Millionaires Club and its pure tiki vibes that come wrapped in a perfect summer afternoon drowsiness and Grande Bellezza is as pleasing as swiping through the perfectly arranged Ace Hotel Palm Springs Instagram account. A fine production from horns to keys and her lush vocals take you back to hours spent by the pool, palm tree aesthetics, and food being served under plastic domes. Her third solo album was one of the finest records of 2019.

***

Maria Usbeck – Envejeciendo / Brooklyn, New York / Cascine / 27 mins

Her second album Envejeciendo picks up right where the debut left off. Flawless dreamy Spanish/English synth pop that is just a joy to listen to, be it on your Sunday couch or cruising down your local coastline, windows down, wheels chasing the white lines.

*** [continue reading…]