I’m still reeling from seeing the documentary Minding the Gap at a screening last week. A skateboarding film that quickly becomes a whole lot more than a skateboarding film, it’s possibly my favorite movie of the 40 or 50 I’ve caught this year. I’m militantly anti-spoiler so I’ll spare any details, but there’s a song used in the film to absolutely crushing effect which led me to delve into the artist’s many perfect albums this weekend. I’m not saying any more! Go and see it! It’s streaming on Hulu! And now, for the songs I loved this week which I will refer to by name.
MUNYA: “Hotel Delmano”
It’s far too easy to describe MUNYA, the fairly young project of Québec’s Josie Boivin, with comparisons to the touchstones of French pop. It’s probably because I don’t know enough about the genre, but I’m sorry, I have to say it: “Hotel Delmano” sounds a lot like Air. Sung casually through a colorful fog, propelled by soft and glowing synthesizer leads, it is extremely charming, bordering on enchanting. This one comes courtesy of the always-excellent Fat Possum imprint Luminelle, and if you’re unfamiliar and enjoy this track, I really recommend taking some time to get to know all of the acts on the label.
Mountain Man: “Rang Tang Ring Toon”
When Vermont folk trio Mountain Man entered the world in the blog-rich era of 2009/2010 (Chocolate Bobka, where you at!) they didn’t sound like any other bands at the time. Rather, their music sounded 100 years old, in the best way possible. In that sense little has changed since their debut and only album release in 2010, the incredible, sparse Made the Harbor. One member went on to stardom as half of Sylvan Esso, but I never lost hope for another Mountain Man record — you just can’t drop a project that wonderful!
Their long-awaited sophomore effort Magic Ship comes out Sept. 21, and the video for its beautiful lead single “Rang Tang Ring Toon” dropped last week. In it, we see the band and their friends prepare and enjoy an overwhelmingly delightful dinner before abandoning it to sway in front of a roaring fire. In other words, it’s a wonderful and very true-to-form return for Mountain Man.
Just when I thought Shame’s terrific Songs of Praise would be the only British post-punk album I fell in love with this year, IDLES appeared on my radar. IDLES’ new record Joy as an Act of Resistance snarls to high heaven but it’s also, as in the earnest album title, often positive and constructive in its fury. My early favorite track from the album is album cut “Television,” a song of rebellion against the demeaning ways of the world. It begins with a great line that’s emblematic of the variety of posi-punk energy found on this album: “If someone talked to you / The way you do to you / I’d put their teeth through / Love yourself.”