This playlist collects new music that The Dowsers’ Maura Johnston has fallen for in her workaday life as a music writer and her semi-professional life as a DJ for WZBC, Boston College’s independent radio station.
One of the most pleasant surprises of 2017 has been my personal rediscovery of a few labels that began putting out high-octane indie pop decades ago, and continue to release sweetly catchy records today. Elefant Records out of Madrid has been plying its wares since 1989, and La Bien Querida, the project of Bilbao-born Ana Fernández-Villaverde, hits all the high spots of the genre on “El Lado Bueno”—warm opening chords, hooks that split the difference between agitated guitar pop and hopping synth pop, Fernández-Villaverde’s assured vocal serving as a guide. Matinée Recordings, which launched in 1997, is still at it as well; their high-quality roster of artists includes The Last Leaves, whose lineup includes three-fourths of the beloved Australian outfit The Lucksmiths and whose debut single is made for long walks in autumn’s fading daylight. This month’s slate of songs is full of delights from new artists (Chicago’s Varsity, Los Angeles’ Blushh) as well as super-confident statements from veterans like Julie Doiron (of Eric’s Trip) and Beck.