After experimental electronic overtones dominated their last two albums, the last released five years ago, Brooklyn veterans Ratatat seem to have returned and added to their guitar driven funk like beginnings with their latest multi-layered dance inspired single, ‘Abrasive’ from their fifth record Magnifique, set for release July 17 on XL. Despite its stilted motorik driven disposition, it’s probably the most accessible thing the instrumental duo have done. Listen below and check out the 4000 image animated video by member Evan Mast. Pre-order the album here.
From the forthcoming album, 'Magnifique', XL Recordings. Out July 17.
Apart from the overt and deceptively good stand alone track 'Death To Facism' released in September last year to coincide with the Swedish elections, we've heard nothing at all from the economical and enigmatic electronic shoegazers, The Radio Dept. since their brilliiant 2010 album, Clinging To A Scheme. That's now changed with the release of an outstanding new seven minute new single, 'Occupied', one that explores new sonic directions, and veers into half motorik/half dance territory. It's part of a three track EP that includes another new track and a renamed remix of the original by Liminal. Grab it on limited edition vinyl here. There are murmurs around that a new album will surface later this year. With their track record on release dates though, we'll all just bide our time whenever it happens. 'Occupied' will be more than enough to tide us over. Thank fuck they're back!
Tuesday sees the physical release of the split 7” single, A Half Of Seven' from Detroit post punk outfit Protomartyr and Kelley Deal and Mike Montgomery's R. Ring. Listen to the hard hitting, four to the floor nature of ‘Blues Festival’ and the scuffed up off kilter rock of ‘Loud Underneath’ respectively below. Pre-order the 7” here through Hardly Art Records ready for release on the 16th June. Rollicking stuff!
From the 7" split single with R. Ring, 'A Half Of Seven', Hardly Art.
Toronto based trio Tearjerker, who graced our Top 100 chart of 2014 at the esteemed position of number 3 with the gigantic, 'You Can' off their EP, Hiding, are set to drop another killer track, the first single from their forthcoming new long player, Stay Wild. Titled 'Obviously Wrong', it follows the band's penchant for constructing delicate and meticulous arrangements and creating a certain atmosphere of feeling through loops around a one simple hook that embeds itself you with consumate ease. In true Tearjerker style, the album, like their previous two and last year's EP has been done in true DIY fashion, home recorded, mixed and produced, self designed and handcrafted. They will be self releasing the record as well.
Taylor Shute explained the process involved in the songwriting and recording, "We spent a lot of time getting everything right with this record. From a hanging note at the end of a song, to a barely audible sample in a breakdown in the middle of a track, we tried to make a record that will reward repeated listens'. 'Obviously Wrong' is the perfect example of that.
Stay Wild is out July 17. The single is below. Enjoy it envelop you.
From the forthcoming album, 'Stay Wild', Self Released.
Norwegian experimentalist and self admitted “outsider artist and writer”, Jenny Hval takes on everything from religion to politics, sex and sexuality and employs surrealist images to represent her representation of complexity and the indefinite on her fifth full length and third under her own name, the brutal, Apocalypse, Girl. It’s an intensely thoughtful and intelligent collection of tracks that won’t be easy for many to digest, the heartfelt honesty piercing through in stark fashion.
Hval also employs visual art like vignettes which appear on the record as dreamy like soundscapes, and noise like visions, ‘White Underground’, ’Some Days’ and the ten minute closer ‘Holy Land’ cases in point. But the aforementioned surrealist complexity is represented by some most easily accessible moments, on the surface anyway, the sassy, noir like, yet withering social commentary of ‘That Battle Is Over’ and the electronically celestial, yet ascerbic like ‘Heaven’.
The production work of producer Lasse Marhaug and instrumental contributions of the likes of Håvard Volden and Kyrre Lasted come through in intimate fashion complementing Hval’s intensely personal style. Percussionist Thor Harris (Swans), jazz pianist Øystein Moen, cellist Okkyung Harpi and harpist Rhodri Davis contribute their collaborations seamlessly and with great care.
In a musical sense, Hval and co. wander effortlessly employing elements of folk, pop, trip-hop and drone and it’s arguably the best her vocals have sounded representing the cerebral like lyrics in recognisably emotive ways. You can sense the feeling of foreboding, the sense of nostalgia and the intense interest of watching from outside herself in those tones. Indeed, Hval has made the point that how to express her writing through song presents a serious challenge, one she almost agonises over. That hard work comes through very clearly throughout the record.
And don’t confuse the overt song titles for any sort of religious fervour. They simply record Hval’s connection to Norway’s bible belt when she was young. She’s far too intelligent to be of a religious bent and anyone familiar with her past work would render the need to say that impotent. She is a voyeur in every sense of those subjects aforementioned but at times embraces her subjects, like Mette Moestrup's metaphorical banana as soft dick that straddles the first two tracks, in intimate, yet still distant ways. And on the subject of politics, Hval states those who are outsiders or of a left bent have their own personal reasons for finding that reassurung space but that doesn’t mean we aren’t weak when it comes to the witheringly powerful commercialism and consumerism that is omnipresent.
Apocalypse, girl, despite Hval’s aversion to calling herself an artist is a true work of art in every sense, lyrically, musically, visually and intellectually. One that makes us truly ponder the insides and outsides of living with our simultaneous certainties and uncertainties. The album is out next week on Sacred Bones. One of the best of this year. Of that there is little doubt.
James Stocker - June 9, 2015.
This video for 'That Battle Is Over' directed by Zia Anger and featuring Cornelia Livingston and Melissa Auf de Maur is the perfect representation of not only the subject matter of the track but the surrealism that abounds on the record. Watch it below and enjoy another track, the beguiling 'Sabbath'.
Three in, three out this week as The Legends, 'Something Left To Die For' (23), Kotomi (for the second time in 2015), 'Bright Side' (26) come into the chart along with the sparkling and upbeat new single, 'Hey Nineteen' (25) from Philadephia's Work Drugs, a band we featured heavily on this site a few years back. The new single is below. Go here and here to sample some of their previous work too.
Montreal duo Essaie Pas jump into the Top 10 to 7 with the infectious 'Danse Sociale' while Stockholm's Little Children do the same at 10 with the energetically emotive 'We're Falling'. Liza Anne remains at 1 for the third week with 'Take It Back'.
All chart details here while everything is streaming it's arse off in the Top 30 player.
Labrador records founder and member of multiple bands Johan Angergård (Acid House Kings, Club 8, Pallers, Eternal Death among others) is set to release his fifth record as The Legends, It’s Love. It details rather recent personal events surrounding Angergård’s personal life where a complex relationship and a disconnect from the label coincided with him turning 40. The emotive, yet ultra understated and smooth second single is ‘Something Left To Die For’ which you can listen to below. Brooklyn Vegan is streaming an even newer track here, ‘Winter Is the Warmest Season’, a duet with Karolina Komstedt of Club 8. while the first single, ‘Keep Him’ is also below. It’s Love is out on vinyl through the ever reliable pop label Cascine on June 30. Pre order it here.
1. Keep Him
2. Smoke And Mirrors
3. Love You
4. Something Left To Die For
5. The Great Unknown
6. All About Us
7. Winter Is The Warmest Season
Something Left To Die For
The Legends (SWE)
From the forthcoming album, 'It's Love', Cascine. Out June 30.
The Legends (SWE)
From the forthcoming album, 'It's Love', Cascine. Out June 30.
Los Angeles artist Lauren Hillman’s Kotomi project just keeps the pop gems coming with her new track, ‘Bright Side’. It’s the fifth self released track self released by the independent and DIY Hillman this year, the first of which, ‘The Last Time’ graced out charts earlier this year. The very subtle ’Bright Side’ boasts a simple, gentle chord progression which breathy vocals and synths swirl around leading into an affecting scuffed up lead guitar outro that adds a further dimension to the track. Listen to it below and grab it for a NYP arrangement here. And look for its entry into the Top 30 on Wednesday. Stream all five tracks at her website link below.
This post is going to short sharp and shiny. All four new entries from Postiljonen "Wait' which hits the top 10 on debut, Essaie Pas, 'Danse Sociale' (13), Destroyer, 'Dream Lover' (20 and Neon Indian, 'Annie' (27) have been featured in the past week.
So nothing new to see or hear below. Details for everything here and all as usual in the player.
Right in time for the Northern Hemisphere summer comes the brand new single, ‘Wait’ from Swedish Balearic dream pop trio Postiljonen. It follows up the excellent Indie30 Top 30 listed album Skyer from 2013 and the stupendous number two track in our Top 100 from the same year, ‘Atlantis’. Soaring as ever with dreamy nostalgia, complete with graceful husky like airy vocals, starry synths, subtle guitar, eclectic beats and that unabashed signature saxophone, the track keeps to the same formula that made us love this band in the first place and for that we are most grateful. How six minutes can just glide by so quickly is beyond us. Listen below.
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