Bright Sparks is our attempt at rebranding our Best of the Rest series. In case you missed it, here’s our description of that series, “One of the best/worst things about the whole blogging game is the abundance of great music. Unfortunately there are (still!) only twenty-four hours in a day, most of which are consumed with non-WTD things, so even if we get sent ten great albums then chances are we will only be able to cover three or four. While trying to avoid falling into the listicle trap, we thought the best way to remedy this problem would be a semi-regular round-up”.

A new volume will be posted every few weeks and will offer a collection of really great songs that we’re determined not to let slip past our radar.

Girl K – Neighbors

Girl K is the recording project of Kathy Patino from Chicago, and ‘Neighbors’ is the first single from the forthcoming album, SUNFLOWER COURT. Starting slow and hesitant, the track unfurls like a flower at dawn, growing into a retro-flavoured indie pop number with skippy drums and sugary vocals. Detailing doubt and the self-sacrifice required to give to others, the song ends with a contagious sense of momentum, so that when Patino sings that she doesn’t care, we certainly believe her.

“It’s only me and you in this house for the neighbors.
Will they tell us the truth or continue to leave us?
Cause I don’t care, and I don’t care.”

The single is available now from the Girl K Bandcamp page, which is also the place to keep an eye on for news about SUNFLOWER COURT.

Pavey Ark – Leaf by Leaf

Pavey Ark are a folk five-piece from Hull who utilise finger-picked guitars, crooned vocals and two violins to weave their atmospheric sound. This spring the band put out their debut EP, Leaf By Leaf, and the title track, which happens to be the latest single, is the perfect introduction. Rising out of the warm, autumnal strings, the vocals emerge with a fluid calm, creating a song which is equal parts welcoming and wisftul, like a past time remembered fondly. Check out the the nice video from Patrick Mateer below:

The ‘Leaf By Leaf’ single is out on the 29th September, and the EP is available now from the Pavey Ark Bandcamp page.

Anamon – Stubborn Comfort

Ahead of an album of the same name, Rochester’s Anamon has recently unveiled a single, ‘Stubborn Comfort’. The new songwriting project of Ana Emily Monaco, Anamon uses what the press release describes as “poignant vignettes of heartbreaks and dreamscapes,” a hybrid of folk and rock infused with an empty house ennui and pressing immediacy. The result is a raw and intimate sound that plays like the airing of grievances in private, perhaps a rehearsal or else some cathartic release.

Stubborn Comfort will be released on the 10th November and you can pre-order it via Bandcamp.

Wych Elm – School Shooter

Described in their bio as a “modern, lethargically menacing take on classic lo-fi indie rock”, Bristol’s Wych Elm make music that creeps up and over you, the half-paced vibe holding a kind of ominous energy that invariably spikes and spills over in a clatter of guitars and feedback. Their new EP, a two-song release via Quit Yr Job records, is therefore equal parts spooky and hypnotic, the disaffected drawl of lead Caitlin Elliman worming it’s way beneath your skin in a manner both charming and creepy.

The EP is out now via Quit Yr Job Records and you can get it from Bandcamp

M.A.G.S. – Mexico

Hailing from Buffalo, M.A.G.S. is the recording project of multi-instrumentalist Elliott Douglas. His self-titled sophomore album was released earlier this month, consolidating his beguiling blend of noisy rock and radio-friendly pop into something riotous and relentlessly energetic. Lead single ‘Mexico’ serves as a great starting point for those unfamiliar, dealing with themes of growing up and taking on adult responsibilities, though through a prism of bouncy garage rock that suggests leaving childhood might not be the dour experience you thought it to be.

The self-titled album is out now via Admirable Traits Records and available from the M.A.G.S. Bandcamp page.

Kintsugi San – Time

Based in London, Kintsugi San makes a lo-fi brand of pop based on electronic instrumentation that relies as much on the spaces between notes and beats and words as the sounds themselves. ‘Time’, their latest single, is a song that sounds at once intimate and detached, like those odd occasions where you become mindful of the world around you, an almost heightened state where you grow suddenly conscious of how brilliant everything looks, when ordinary, quiet rooms becoming wonderful and strange. Such sensations are invariably inexplicable and short-lived and all the better for it, small pockets where you pull free from the way of things. Kintsugi San’s music is somewhere between celebrating and recreating this feeling, and begging for its return.

“What it was
I just can’t say
I just listen
And feel the whole
Of what it was
Give me a year
And a day
Give me all time”

You can grab the single now from the Kintsugi San Bandcamp page.

Shamir – 90s Kids

The lead single from a new album, Revelations, ’90s Kids’ shows how the sound of Shamir Bailey has morphed since his major label pop smash debut, Ratchet. Swapping out the good time shine of his dancey previous work, the track finds Shamir writing more personal, intimate lyrics with a cutting edge, wrapped in a semi-ironic sound reminiscent of CHUCK. ” Check out the meme-filled video below:

Revelations is out on the 3rd November via Father/Daughter Records and you can pre-order it now from Bandcamp.

Henry Jamison – The Last Time I Saw Adrianne

In preview of his debut album, The Wilds, New England’s Henry Jamison has given us a glimpse of his delicate folk sound and nuanced lyrics with single, ‘The Last Time I Saw Adrianne’. The song shows Jamison’s songwriting style as one rooted in storytelling. The track came into being after Jamison played a show with Adrianne Lenker of Big Thief, her “incredibly healing and enviably good” songs striking a chord with his lonely headspace, and the opening lines essentially form a tribute to Lenker. The narrative eventually meanders off into other areas, though all the while retaining a poignant, half-heartbroken mood.

“And I knew her singing signalled spring
and where in my heart pounds
for all the want and doubt are now upon me
and I hear it in the sounds
of all the rain in all the baseball games
but it rains out”

The Wilds is to be released on Akira Records on the 3rd November.

Iris Jupiter / Fk Mt. – Split

California’s Iris Jupiter have teamed up with South Carolina stoner band Fk Mt. to put out a split 7″ through Open Door and Bad Break Records. The lead single, Iris Jupiter’s ‘Buzz Cut’, gives us something of an idea as to what to expect from therecord, the frenetic guitars kicking in from the opening seconds and the tumble of vocals descending into communal shouts in the boisterous refrain. Still, beneath the frenzied sound lies something more considered, the lyrics containing a degree of introspection at odds with the outward nature of their delivery.

The split will be released on the 20th October via Open Door Records and Bad Break Records and you can pre-order it now.

SALES – Talk a Lot

Their first fresh music since 2016’s self-titled album, Orlando duo SALES are back with shiny new single, ‘Talk a Lot’. Fans of Lauren Morgan and Jordan Shih will be pleased to find their distinctive sound remains, toeing the line between the lo-fi DIY aesthetic and something a little more refined and minimal to create a dreamy, languid soundscape. As such, the track drips and trickles, the easy-going energy softening all edges and inviting you into its insulated beat.

“Your friends they seem to talk a lot.
You know i’m not that type.
Just pull-up in your shopping cart—
Just throw it all in there, it’s fine.
[Trust the moment]
You’re making it look easy.”

‘Talk a Lot’ is out now and available from… where else? Bandcamp.