Albums Reviews and Streams

Indie Supergroups Amor de Dias and Jonny Deliver Distinctively Delicious Debut Discs

You know indie rock has reached full maturity when longtime genre protagonists are forming "supergroups." Well, that and Arcade Fire winning a Grammy, Pitchfork holding its own music festival, Pavement reuniting, Pomplamoose performing in car commercials, etc.

Guess what comes after maturity, kids? The inevitable decline... so best to enjoy your favorite musical style while it lasts!

Here's a couple of distinctive debut discs from indie supergroups to help you do just that.

Amor de Días features The Clientele's singer/songwriter Alasdair MacLean and Lupe Núñez-Fernández, a Spanish singer/songwriter who is one half of indie pop duo Pipas. Despite their name (which translates to "Love of Days" in English), Amor de Días are based in the UK and their pastoral, mostly acoustic, folk-pop sound is rooted in that nation's long tradition of the same, from Nick Drake through The Lilac Time to early Belle and Sebastian, and many others. Despite the sparse musical arrangements, Amor de Días' songs are sumptuous and languid and both vocalists' breathy singing styles further enhance the mostly melancholic moods created -- something Clientele fans will already be familiar with and that group's "Harvest Time" is reprised here in a compelling, skeletal version. Surprisingly, there aren't a lot of boy-girl harmonies, but Núñez-Fernández's occasional vocals in her native tongue bring a welcome continental feel. Street of the Love of Days sounds like an autumn view of a peaceful landscape through the rain-soaked windows of a centuries-old house looks. Softly out of focus, beautiful and timeless. Stream and/or buy the full album from Merge Records.

After collaborating previously, Euros Childs (of dearly-departed-though-awfully-named psychedelic group Gorky's Zygotic Mynci) and Norman Blake (of Teenage Fanclub) make an official partnership as Jonny. On their self-titled debut, Childs' willful musical unpredictability and Blake's impeccable gift for melody mesh nicely, as do their harmonies, on a set of summery, 60s-influenced material. "Candyfloss" is a sticky-sweet debut single and its charms are replicated on lead-off track "Wich is Wich," the acoustic guitar-driven "You Was Me" and the country-inflected "I'll Make Her My Best Friend." There are just enough psych touches to make the songs stand comfortably apart from TFC's gold standard indie pop -- though the monotonous extended coda to "Cave Dance" stretches the song to a ridiculous length of nearly 11 minutes. Otherwise, the tunes check in at 3.5 minutes or less and the album breezes by so quickly and effortlessly that it leaves you wanting more... exactly as a debut album should. Stream and/or buy the full album from Merge Records. You can also download a free Jonny EP with four songs, none of which appear on the album, here.

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Thomas Bond
Contact: Thomas Bond