Stream: Albums from Fawns of Love, the Black Watch and Sugarplum Fairies

Fawns of Love

Unfinished business from 2021: Sample late-in-the-year album releases from Fawns of Love, the Black Watch and Sugarplum Fairies

FAWNS OF LOVE, “Innocence of Protection”

Eighties indie torchbearers Jenny and Joseph Andreotti returned in November with their third album as Fawns of Love, “Innocence of Protection.” They are unabashed fans of artists such as Cocteau Twins (they’ve even collaborated with Robin Guthrie), New Order and the Cure, and from Jenny’s diaphanous vocals to Joseph’s painterly synths and splashes of ringing guitar, they craft beautiful, sometimes-danceable reveries. They certainly meet the conceit of the album, which was, as Jenny explains: “I think when we are children we use make believe as a creative outlet, but as we get older we use daydreaming as a tool of protection when we feel overwhelmed and as a way to have control over something. For this album I liked the idea of recreating what it feels like to float in and out of daydreaming and reality.” Start with the title track, then levitate through “Thoughtless Rage” and “Taboo Daydreaming” and dream away.

THE BLACK WATCH, “Here & There”

“Here & There” is the (wait for it) 20th full-length from irrepressible singer-songwriter John Andrew Fredrick and his rotating band of collaborators. There should be a parade or something. Present are the strong suits of TBW’s guitar-driven indie-rock: lush melodies, Fredrick’s almost professorial lyrics and tasty licks that inject the songs with shots of adrenaline at just the right moments. New are strings arranged by Ben Eshbach and backing vocals from Gretchen’s Wheel frontwoman Lindsay Murray. Front-loaded with “Now & Then,” “The Real You” and “Another for C.,” the album is a fitting milestone for an artist who seemingly embraces his Quixotic quest but keeps making music that is anything but folly.

SUGARPLUM FAIRIES, “Altar Songs (1998-2021)”

Sugarplum Fairies got their start in the ’90s as a collaboration between husband-and-wife duo Ben Bohm and Sylvia Ryder, with Ryder carrying on after their 2013 split. “Altar Songs (1998-2021)” is a value-added retrospective, covering SPF’s dalliances in dream-pop, folk-noir and jangle-pop. The fuzzy, aching ballad “Tears” is a new entry in the catalog, while three blasts from the past — “Heart Hell,” “Sandy Says” and “Sugarfree” — get a makeover courtesy of producer (and Ryder’s son) Marlon Rabenreither (Gold Star), who can also be found singing on 2011’s “96 Dreams,” credited as Johnny Ruby. Broad in scope and incisive in both its diaristic and observational songwriting, the collection is good starting point for those who might not have found SPF on their radar.