DNKL, the Swedish electronic act who impressed us so much late last year with their debut single 'Hunt' have released another quality track in the form of the the slow burner 'Battles'. Again purveying the sounds of light and dark, the track's synths oscillate away as wistful vocals are combined with an unsettling siren's wail. A melancholic presence yes, but that doesn't mean the track gets bogged down in its own mire. Rather the complexity of life is captured beautifully by twinning the battles between hope and despair. Like the Indie30 Top 20 of 2013 track 'Hunt', 'Battles' has generously been made available as a free download. Grab it below. DNKL do four shows in Germany mid March supporting Hundreds before hitting Roskilde in late June.
Rising Detroit post punk/rock outfit Protomartyr have released the second single, 'Come & See' from their forthcoming album, Under Color Of Official Right. The offbeat dominated track packs quite a punch and deals with the often macabre media attention and the concocted and misplaced rescue plans their declining home city has attracted from outside interests. Unlike the unfortunate situation their city finds itself in, Protomartyr's star is definitely on the rise. Both the new track and the first single, the taut, new wave and punk inspired 'Scum, Rise!" have generously been made available as free downloads. Protomartyr kick off an American tour tonight that includes SXSW and playing support to Cloud Nothings for five shows in April and May. Under Color Of Official Right is out April 8 on Hardly Art.
2. Ain't So Simple
3. Want Remover
4. Trust Me Billy
6. What the Wall Said
7. Tarpeian Rock
8. Bad Advice
9. Son of Dis
10. Scum, Rise!
11. I Stare at Floors
12. Come & See
14. I'll Take That Applause
Sat. Mar. 1 - Oberlin, OH @ Dionysius Dance Club (Oberlin College)
Wed. Mar. 12 - Austin, TX @ North Door (Sub Pop day party) [SXSW]
Wd. Mar. 12 - Austin, TX @ French Legation (Pitchfork Day Party) [SXSW]
Thu. Mar. 13 - Austin, TX @ Beerland (Can't Stop The Bleeding day party) [SXSW]
Fri. Mar. 14 - Austin, TX @ Waterloo Records (Waterloo Records day party) [SXSW]
Fri. Mar. 14 - Austin, TX @ The Liberty (Hardly Art/Suicide Squeeze showcase) [SXSW]
Sat. Mar. 15 - Austin, TX @ Beerland (WFMU day party) [SXSW]
Sat. Mar. 15 - Austin, TX @ The Hideout Theatre (Monofonus showcase) [SXSW]
Tue. Apr. 8 - Detroit, MI @ The Lager House (RECORD RELEASE SHOW) w/ Spray Paint
Wed. Apr. 9 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Howler's Coyote Cafe w/ Spray Paint
Fri. Apr. 11 - Cambridge, MA @ Democracy Center w/ Spray Paint
Sat. Apr. 12 - Brooklyn, NY @ Death By Audio w/ Spray Paint
Sun. Apr. 13 - New York, NY @ Cake Shop w/ Spray Paint
Tue. Apr. 15 - Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie w/ Spray Paint
Wed. Apr. 16 - Baltimore, MD @ The Gold Bar w/ Spray Paint
Thu. Apr. 17 - Raleigh, NC @ Slim's Downtown w/ Spray Paint, Whatever Brains
Fri. Apr. 18 - Atlanta, GA @ 529 w/ Spray Paint, Whatever Brains
Sat. Apr. 19 - Tallahassee, FL @ Liberty Bar w/ Whatever Brains
Mon. Apr. 21 - New Orleans, LA @ Circle Bar w/ Whatever Brains
Tue. Apr. 22 - Birmingham, AL @ Bottle Tree w/ Whatever Brains
Wed. Apr. 23 - Nashville, TN @ Stone Fox w/ Whatever Brains
Thu. Apr. 24 - Cincinnati, OH @ MOTR Pub w/ Whatever Brains
Fri. Apr. 25 - Cleveland, OH @ Now That's Class w/ Whatever Brains
Sat. Apr. 26 - Columbus, OH @ Cafe Bourbon Street
Tue. Apr. 29 - Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room w/ Cloud Nothings
Wed. Apr. 30 - Iowa City, IA @ Gabe's w/ Cloud Nothings
Thu. May 1 - St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club w/ Cloud Nothings
Fri. May 2 - Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon w/ Cloud Nothings
Sat. May 3 - Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall w/ Cloud Nothings
Come & See
From the forthcoming album, 'Under Color Of Official Right', Hardly Art. Out April 8.
I woke up a couple of weeks ago and decided to spend some time as I was readying myself for work with Mark Kozelek's latest full length as Sun Kil Moon, Benji. I knew of the emotional intensity of the record from reads about it beforehand but nothing could prepare me for what was about to happen next.
As opening track 'Carissa' progressed and I loaded up the espresso machine, the heartbreaking story about the tragic death of Kozelek's second cousin, a salt of the earth 35 year old Ohio mother of two, unfolded before me. I suddenly begun to sob uncontrollably, and I mean uncontrollably. Standing at the kitchen bench crying my eyes out. It wasn't necessarily because I was listening to such a tragic story, that's definitely part of it, but it was more to do with being reminded about how helpless we all are set up against the randomness of what life dishes out and how in a split second, we can be rendered heartbroken by things completely out of our control - the brittle nature of fate. Now Kozelek hadn't seen Carissa for over 20 years and had left her and his native rural Ohio behind like so many before him looking for more creative and intellectual pastures; leaving behind a 15 year old second cousin pregnant and at the crossroads. Despite not having really giving Carissa a second thought since, her life and death suddenly haunted him - that her life might turn out to be just a life, just an existence. Determined, he wanted it to mean something and by penning this he has succeeded.
Kozelek goes on a diary like journey full of musical poignancy to tackle subjects like his complete love and devotion to his mother and his love hate relationship with his father as well as his mild disgust for his racist uncle, who died virtually the same way as his grandaughter Carissa. Outside the family, other experiences abound; his litany of sometimes awkward, sometimes ordinary experiences with ex-lovers in his youth is covered as is America's prediliction with mass murderers, the arrest of a friend of his father's for a mercy killing as well as the tragic eventual death of a childhood friend, perhaps from the effects of an brain aneurism that left him with a disability years back
Benji is such a direct ride where death surfaces with regularity but that's not to say it is a depressing experience, far from it. As Kozelek processes his life in song, the best way to sum up Benji is that... it just is.
Benji is our current album of the week out now through Caldo Verde. I've decided to feature the bookends of the record below, the aforementioned 'Carissa' and the swooning 'Ben's My Friend'. Please spend some time with this record. While you may start sobbing or even, like I did, become a momentarily hopeless emotional mess, through Kozelek's personal and direct take on life and death you will, in turn yourself, feel very much alive.
"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
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