These last few months have been spent reminiscing over fifteen years of list-making, CD-stomping, and favorite music lobbying, while revisiting lots of Idle Time-approved bands in the process. As luck would have it, some of those artists have made recent returns to the studio, and our early working lists of favorite recordings has us partying like it’s 2004. May’s Tunes of the Month is a rousing Welcome Back, featuring new songs by veteran bands, some of whom have been riding the wave from cassette mixtaping to CD playlist-burning through online Mixcloud streaming. The more things change, and all that…
Speaking of Mixcloud, bookmark Idle Time’s new page, future home of all of these playlists, from the five-track Tunes of the Month mini-jams to the LP-length Playlist By Committee compilations.
The Thermals – “Hey You”
The new Thermals’ LP, We Disappear, is their best since ’06’s The Body, The Blood, The Machine and one of my favorite releases in the young year. This single, taken from the album, is major standout, and it even got a sweet 7″ release for Record Store Day (the B-side is killer too). And, by the way, kee-rist. Y’all are one of the best punk bands of our generation. Put out some more seven-inches fer crying out loud.
Wolf Parade – “Floating World”
Wolf Parade is one of those “Idle Time bands” whose entire body of work falls within the fifteen years since we opened our clubhouse doors, and whose every recording has been featured on one of our corresponding annual favorites lists. We love these guys. And not just one or two Idlers either — we all love Wolf Parade. So when news broke that they were coming off hiatus and new tunes were imminent, the buzz around the (literal) campfire picked up steam, and “I’ll Believe in Anything” caught a little extra lightning in our roulette session. “Floating World,” from the recently released EP, is an acid rock march worthy of the legacy. And we’re all pretty excited for more.
Nada Surf – “Cold To See Clear”
I’ve had a pretty special relationship with these guys for the last fifteen years. Let Go was featured on one of our first compilations, and “Happy Kid” has remained a personal anthem to this day. I can still hear JDG, who was maybe nine at the time, singing “Always Love” in the backseat of the car on just about every road trip in ’05. Bands evolve and mature, sometimes in terms of roster, but more often simply in terms of style and direction. Some bands grow up with us, and others veer away like friends who move out of state. But then you hear Matthew Caws singing on the other end of that long-distance phone call, and it reminds you of how much fun you used to have together. This new album, You Know Who You Are, couldn’t be more aptly titled.
Junior Boys – “Over It”
Junior Boys garnered a lot of love from us with ’06’s So This Is Goodbye and their latest, Big Black Coat, is the Canadian duo’s first full-length release in five years. “Over It” is one of the first two singles, and it’s just the kind of sultry electogroove track we were hoping for. Moving on from heartbreak rarely sounds so good.
Poliça – “Lime Habit”
Although they haven’t been around as long as the other bands on this list, both of Poliça’s prior albums made the cut for our year-end favorites: their 2012 debut Give You the Ghost, and the 2013 follow-up Shulamith. If Channy Leaneagh’s vocals don’t get you, that R&B-inspired synth-driven mojo will. United Crushers, their latest LP, figures to make some noise when favorite 2016 releases get narrowed down later this year.