"I do think a good record will sound good the first time but give up its secrets slowly", says Tom Fleming, bassist and vocal half of English art-pop outfit Wild Beasts. And so it is with their fourth full length, Present Tense, released worldwide this week. The cerebral, yet emotive Cumbrian quartet, who have cultivated a reputation for succinct and incisive cultural and social criticism layered within often delicate and meticulously constructed artistic pop structures, have produced a record that suggests a deliberate distance was what was being sought from their previous three releases. Their ever-consistent airing of subject matter that nobody in the mainstream wants to address, and that is the continuing crushing of the middle and lower classes by corporate monoliths and their obedient and cowering governments, the destructive and violent dominance of learned masculinity, the immature, narrow discussions of sex and treatment of sexuality and the environmental degradation that will crush future generations, looms large on Present Tense. But musically, there is a more contemplative, atmospheric, electronic and space laden approach, twinned with the always extraordinarily good vocals of Fleming and Hayden Thorpe, which seem to now be more aligned and complementary despite the obvious tonal differences.
Wild Beasts have stated they wanted to make a 'small record', that is one that steers well clear of the bombastic, over-produced stain that afflicts much of music in the wider domain. In this, they have triumphed. Present Tense is a masterpiece of understatement, where nothing dominates or overpowers but all the while everything quietly informs and entertains. Two singles have been released thus far. The first, the hard hitting 'Wanderlust' is currently in our Indie30 Top 5 while the second, the is ethereal like 'Sweet Spot'. Listen to that as well as the Factory Floor remix of the first single below and buy the album here. Highly, highly recommended.
2 Nature Boy
4 Sweet Spot
6 Pregnant Pause
7 A Simple Beautiful Truth
8 A Dog's Life
9 Past Perfect
10 New Life
This week saw the release of the excellent new double A sided single, 'Prettier Than The Sound/On The Air' from Melbourne based singer-songwriter Amaya Laucirica. Long time readers may remember that we were ultra impressed with her last long player, Early Summer, released back in 2010.
Laucirica's innate musical feel and intelligence and, unlike many of her Australian contemporaries, wide expanse in terms of her obvious willingness to take in multiple musical horizons actually make her sound un-Australian. And that is such a good thing with so much sameness and that quintessential 'Australian sound' still acting as the default position for so many bands and artists coming out of the direction from which she emanates.
The double sided single follows up the release of 'Found Some Secret' from last year. We've included streams of that track and 'On The Air', which along with 'Prettier Than The Sound' will all appear on her long awaited third album, Sway, which will surface in April 18. The album features performances by Adalita (Magic Dirt), JP Shilo (Rowland S. Howard, Hungry Ghosts) and Sam and Adam Sherry (A Dead Forest Index). It's pop sensibility and variety in approach is ultra-impressive. On repeat with us.
You can purchase 'Prettier Than The Sound' (will be in the chart Wednesday) and 'On The Air' here and if you're from or in Melbourne and you're still reading after our little good natured dig at some pockets of Australian music, Amaya Laucirica plays Yah Yah's in Fitzroy tonight. Do your 'new music ears' a favour and get along.
1. Three Heart Delay
2. Found Some Secret
3. Prettier Than The Sound
4. On The Air
5. You Only Say Goodbye
6. Running Out Of Time
7. Not Been Sleeping
8. Falling All Around
9. This Morning's Blue
10. Ocean Wide
On The Air
Amaya Laucirica (AUS)
From the double A-sided single, 'Prettier Than The Sound/On The Air', Self Released.
The eminently danceable and lyrically cathartic 'Fuck Fame', is the second single to drop from the new full length album by pop troubadour and now L.A resident Bart Davenport. Titled Physical World, Davenport assembled a new band line up for the record enlisting Jessica Espeleta (bass), Wayne Faler (guitar), Nathan Shafer (keyboard) and alternating drummers, Andres Renteria and Paul Burkhart for the Luke Top (Fool's Gold) produced effort. Jangly guitar pop and Davenport's unmistakable croon are all across the record and both sit within a variety of styles, all as catchy as each other. Physical World is out March 4 on Lovemonk (vinyl) and Burger (cassette). Pre-order here. Fuck Fame? Couldn't agree more.
1. Wearing The Changes
2. Fuck Fame
3. Dust In The Circuits
4. On Your Own Planet
5. Girl Gotta Way
7. Physical World
8. Every Little Step
10. Loop In My Head
Bart Davenport (USA)
From the forthcoming album, 'Physical World', Lovemonk/Burger. Out March 3/4.
Ever since we heard the track, 'Red Eyes' from the Adam Granduciel led outfit The War On Drugs last December, whatever was released between then and now was always going to find it tough to beat it out to the number one spot in our first Top 30 chart of 2014. And so it has turned out. Even the amazing debut single, 'The Brae' (2) from New Zealand trio Yumi Zouma couldn't knock it off, neither the gorgeous piece of reverb laden perfection that is 'Talking Backwards' (3) by New Jersey's Real Estate. English foursome Wild Beasts brilliant 'Wanderlust' (4) and Brighton trio Fear Of Men's 'Waterfall' (5) also made their presence felt in the decision. Pillar Point's night drive, 'Cherry' (6) and Cymbals 'Erosion' (7) came into calculations as well.
Rounding out the Top 10 at 8 is the wall of exquisite acoustic distortion, 'Cockscombs' by Minneapolis artists Kyle Imes who goes under the moniker Deepest Bison. At 9 is Hockeysmith who we featured yesterday with 'But Blood' and Norwegian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Farao, who appeared on Monday with 'The Hours' (10).
The entire Top 30 is probably our strongest opening salvo for many a year. Enjoy! All details, sounds, clips and artist links here and head to our Top 30 player to stream every track from 1 down to 30. A new chart will appear each and every Wednesday throughout the year.
Here's the full list.
1. Red Eyes - The War On Drugs (USA)
2. The Brae - Yumi Zouma (NZL)
3. Talking Backwards - Real Estate (USA)
4. Wanderlust - Wild Beasts (ENG)
5. Waterfall - Fear Of Men (ENG)
6. Cherry - Pillar Point (USA)
7. Erosion - Cymbals (ENG)
8. Cockscombs - Deepest Bison (USA)
9. But Blood - Hockeysmith (ENG)
10. The Hours - Farao (NOR)
11. Captured Heart - Be Forest (ITA)
12. White Fire - Angel Olsen (USA)
13. Up In Mine - Anthems (ENG)
14. It Will Draw Me Over To It Like It Always Does - Ricky Eat Acid (USA)
15. Her Ghost - Woman's Hour (ENG)
16. Copper Thief - Case Conrad (SWE)
17. Falling 4 U - Devyn Rose (USA)
18. Shades - Yellow Ostrich (USA)
19. La Vérité - Frànçois & the Atlas Mountains (FRA)
20. Obstacle Eyes - Morgan Delt (USA)
21. Honey Priest - Alauda (ENG)
22. Beautiful Criminal - ALX (SCO)
23. Stronger - Kidnap Kid (ENG)
24. Moving To The Left - Woods (USA)
25. Going Out - Hospitality (USA)
26. The Space Between Us - +/- (USA)
27. Win Back Your Love - Ang Low (ENG)
28. Gouge - Eternal Summers (USA)
29. Kanute's Comin' Round - Beaty Heart (ENG)
30. Head - Eternal Death (SWE)
We first came across the promising duo that is Hockeysmith in the middle of last year when they released their debut double A sided 12" Let's Bang/Now I Want To. 'Let's Bang' impressed to the point where it made our Top 100 tracks last year at 66. So you could bet we were excited when we heard that a new track, 'But Blood' from the Cornwall duo had surfaced. And, it's killer too as its menacingly builds to its inglorious crescendo dominated by breakbeat like synths and a dirty distorted lead guitar break. Listen to the track and watch the accompanying video directed by The xx's visual creator Davy Evans. Look out for their debut EP soon through Double Denim Records. Cannot wait here!
From the forthcoming EP, 'But Blood', Double Denim. Release date TBA.
Last week saw the release of the self titled debut EP from Norwegian singer songwriter Farao. Farao's creator, multi-instrumentalist Kari Jahnsen recently made London her home, which is a world away from her childhood home Valdres, a three hour drive north of Oslo. Those amazing rural Norwegian landscapes can certainly be imaged in sonic form from her musical approach, largely driven by acoustic guitar, drums and two synths, a Russian Elektronika EM-25 and a Casiotone MT-65. As evidence of her prodigious talent, Jahnsen also lends her support to two bands, Hella Better Dancer with drums and playing bass guitar in Anna Lena & The Orchids. However, for now its definitely full concentration on Farao as her EP slowly seeps into our conciousness. Let 'The Hours' do just that below. Buy digitally here.
1. Tell A Lie
3. The Hours
4. To Sleep Apart
Indie rock quartet Yellow Ostrich are set to release their hard hitting but complex and varied third record, Cosmos later this month. Led by the songwriting chops of band founder Alex Schaaf and more than ably assisted by drummer and percussionist extraordinnaire, Michael Tapper, who also plays in L.A collective Fools Gold, along with second guitarist & keyboardist Jared Van Fleet (ex Voxtrot) and bassist Zach Rose (who both joined mid last year), Cosmos is a melodic kaleidoscope of prog and psych rock virtuosity with its eyes and ears firmly on the wonders of this world and beyond. The hypnotic repetition of 'Any Wonder' is the latest taste from the record to add to the the early 70s sounding 'Shades', with its worm like mini-riff wrapped in a winding bass line - the latter will chart on Wednesday. Cosmos is out on Barsuk February 25. Pre-order it here.
2. Neon Fists
4. My Moons
5. You Are The Stars
6. In The Dark
7. Any Wonder
8. How Do You Do It
9. Things Are Fallin'
10. Don't Be Afraid
Yellow Ostrich set off on an American tour beginning the week of the album release in Allston, Massachusetts. It will take in SXSW in mid March and end back in Shaaf's adopted hometown at the Bowery Ballroom, April 4. Tour dates in American date form below.
02/27 Allston MA - Great Scott
03/03 Washington DC - DC9
03/04 Raleigh NC - Kings
03/05 Atlanta GA - The Earl
03/06 Nashville TN - The High Watt
03/07 Birmingham AL - The Bottletree
03/08 New Orleans LA - Circle Bar
03/09 Houston TX - Fitzgerald's
03/10 - 03/14 Austin TX - SXSW
03/15 Scottsdale AZ - Pub Rock Live
03/16 San Diego CA - Casbah
03/18 Los Angeles CA - The Echo
03/19 San Francisco CA - Bottom of The Hill
03/21 Portland OR - Doug Fir Lounge
03/22 Seattle WA - Barboza
03/23 Vancouver BC - Media Club
03/25 Salt Lake City UT - Urban Lounge
03/26 Denver CO - Hi Dive
03/28 St. Paul MN - Turf Club
03/29 Madison WI - High Noon Saloon
03/30 Milwaukee WI - Turner Hall
03/31 Chicago IL - Schubas
04/01 Indianapolis IN - Do317 Lounge
04/03 Philadelphia PA - Boot & Saddle
04/04 New York NY - Bowery Ballroom
Yellow Ostrich (USA)
From the forthcoming album, 'Cosmos', Barsuk. Out Feb 25.
Last month saw the release of the impressive new record, Three Love Songs from Maryland DIY producer Ricky Eat Acid, (when outta the house, Sam Ray). Written and recorded over twelve months and incorporating delicate electronics, piano, stilted d&b beats and dissonance in a myriad of warped samples, vocal and otherwise curated to Ray's will, repeat listens will open you up to the strange yet inviting world of this curious artist. Check out the unadulterated affecting ambience of 'Outside Your House; The Lights Went Out & There Was Nothing' the trance like 'In My Dreams We're Almost Touching' and the loop laden, 'Inside Your House, It Will Swallow Us Too' below to enter the world of Ricky Eat Acid.
The second pressing of Three Love Songs in transparent vinyl (200 only) can be purchased here through his Toronto based label Orchid Tapes. The baby pink, of which there were only 50 is gone. Many of the tracks can be downloaded at his Soundcloud page here. We strongly encourage you to spend time with this.
1. There Is Only You In The Light & Nothing Else
2. Driving Alone Past Roadwork At Night
3. Inside My House; Some Place I Keep Dreaming About
4. Big Man's Last Trip Outside
5. In Rural Virginia; Watching Glowing Lights Crawl From The Dark Corners Of The Room
6. Inside Your House; It Will Swallow Us Too
7. It Will Draw Me Over To It Like It Always Does
8. In My Dreams We're Almost Touching
9. God Puts Us All In The Swimming Pool
10. Outside Your House; The Lights Went Out & There Was Nothing
11. I Can Hear The Heart Breaking As One
12. Starting Over
Outside Your House; The Lights Went Out & There Was Nothing
Ever since we heard the understated little gem 'Green Sea' from Fear Of Men back in 2012, we've been keeping a keen eye on developments from the Brighton pop trio. Over the past two years, they've followed 'Green Sea' with a string a singles including the gorgeous 'Mosaic', all of which were collated a year ago on the compilation, Early Fragments. So, it was with great excitement that we received the news that their debut album, Loom will be out in April on Kanine. This past week saw the release of the first new taste from the record, the dual opener, the delicate intro 'Alta' and the pensively melodic 'Waterfall'. You can listen to them together below and pre-order Loom here. It's out April 21. Cannot wait!
3. Green Sea
Fear Of Men (ENG)
From the forthcoming album, 'Loom', Kanine. Out April 21.
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