Just as the winter months tend to bring a mellower, melancholic feel to life, so too can music. And some of this month’s more obscure releases do just that. If you’re looking for an album to check out on a dreary winter morning, look no further.
That’s not to say at all that they’re bad releases. One can quickly point to the likes of Bon Iver or Radiohead as figureheads of melancholy. They’re just different from the bubbly pop one might hear a lot on the radio.
Blue Hawaii: Untogether
The second album from the electronic Montreal duo is a mix between a folky, organic sound and a fractured, electronic one — all polished with a sleek feel. They come off as introspective and ambient but still manage to string together a few really catchy songs. With almost a whisper, Blue Hawaii sing about realizing their shortcomings, growing up, and being themselves.
Highlight: Try to Be
Day Joy: Go to Sleep Mess
Another ambient, experimental folk rock group, Day Joy makes lush dream folk landscapes caressed with crooning and heartfelt melodies. The group recently released Go to Sleep, Mess on Paste, where they were also hailed as one of the top 10 Florida Bands You Should Listen To NOW. This album blends perfectly with that seasonal affective disorder that starts to sink in in late February, moving from Beach Boy-ish, reverb laden songs like “Animal Noise” to darker, more volatile songs like “Talks of Terror.”
Highlight: Go to Sleep, Mess
Fear of Men: Early Fragments
“Meet me in the doldrums,” lead singer and guitarist Jessica Weis croons on Early Fragments cut “Doldrums.” She could be referring to parts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean or a period of depression or unhappy listlessness. Based on the rest of Early Fragments, I’m definitely more inclined to go with the latter. The songs are beguilingly sweet while the lyrics are often bleakly nihilistic — juxtaposing iconic museum imagery and lyrical themes of loneliness and fragmentation with buoyant pop melodies.
Highlight: Green Sea
Brandon Hook is the Online Assistant at Sojourners.
Photo: Bevan Goldswain / Shutterstock.com