Unjustly Obscure Albums – Vol. 10

Suburban Light by The Clientele (2000)

Essential tracks: “Reflections After Jane” & “We Could Walk Together

“Even as the Clientele‘s hazy, soft-focus indie pop suggests the influence of virtually every musical ancestor worth acknowledging, the band’s pastoral beauty nevertheless conjures a dreamscape entirely its own; fusing the heady otherness of psychedelia with the gentle caress of folk, Suburban Light swirls and settles like gold dust. Like the artist Joseph Cornell, the titular subject of one of the disc’s most memorable songs, the Clientele assemble and juxtapose found fragments (collected from forebears like LoveNick Drake, and Donovan) and transform their source materials into something magical and new; although the record’s 13 cuts assemble various singles and scattered recordings, the finished product hangs together with a clear sense of purpose and scope. While Alasdair MacLean’s plain-spoken, heartfelt vocals and subtle guitar arpeggios are the focus of the record, it’s impossible to underrate the thoughtful, always supportive bass playing of James Hornsey and drummers Daniel Evans and Howard Monk. Together they create a haunting, poetic, and rich sound that’s unlike any indie pop being created by their contemporaries. Suburban Light is a brilliant introduction to the band, and over repeated listens, the songs grow both more distinctive and more interconnected, boasting a richly nuanced intricacy as intoxicating as it is elusive.” – AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny

 

Six Underrated Albums of 2015

Other Lives, Rituals
rituals
Stillwater, Oklahoma-based atmospheric indie rockers invoke names like Alt-J, Fleet Foxes, and early Radiohead.
 

Ultimate Painting, Green Lanes
greenlanes
Formed by James of Veronica Falls and Jack of Mazes, this duo crafts simple and true ’60s and ’70s-inspired guitar pop.
 

Ryley Walker, Primrose Green
primrosegreen
An accomplished fingerstyle guitarist/songwriter whose music bridges similarities with Tim Buckley’s, Sandy Bull’s, Davey Graham’s and John Martyn’s.
 

Zun Zun Egui, Shackle’s Gift
shacklesgift
Bristol-based band blending an eclectic mix of genres.
 

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Paper Mâché Dream Balloon
papermachedreamballoon
Freaked-out psychedelic madness by way of Melbourne, Australia.
 

Bop English, Constant Bop
constantbop
Colorful retro pop from White Denim frontman James Petralli’s solo project.