I’m super into this New Bums album right now. Casually twisted country folk from Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance) and Donovan Quinn (Skygreen Leopards) - wrote a full review here.
The Soft Moon - Feel
In no particular order:
Janélle Monae - The Electric Lady
Los Campesinos - No Blues
Old Amica - The Burning Dot
Forest Swords - Engravings
Cloud - Comfort Songs
Now Wakes the Sea - God’s Light Withdrawn
Jetplane Landing - Don’t Try
Moonface – Julia With Blue Jeans On
Oliver Wilde - A Brief Introduction to Unnatural Light Years
Katie Gately - Katie Gately
Follakzoid - II
Kanye West - Yeezus
Conquering Animal Sound – On Floating Bodies
Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe
Young Fathers – Tape Two
Killer Mike + El-P - Run the Jewels
Paramore - Paramore
There Will Be Fireworks – Dark Dark Bright
Kurt Vile – Wakin On A Pretty Daze
Adam Stafford – Imaginary Walls Collapse
Grumbling Fur – Glynnaestra
Iron and Wine – Ghost on Ghost
Grouper – The Man Who Died in his Boat
Julianna Barwick – Nepenthe
King Krule – 6 Feet Beneath The Moon
Au Revoir Simone – Move in Spectrums
Tim Hecker – Virgins
Young Galaxy - Ultramarine
Jim James - Regions of Light and Sound of God
Julia Holter – Loud City Song
Mark your calendars. 25th November - the new album by There Will Be Fireworks.
The National Jazz Trio of Scotland - Hillwalk
I reviewed Julianna Barwick’s wonderful new album Nepenthe…
Describing how Barwick’s music sounds is easy enough; it’s all abstract haunting vocal loops which are sublimely weightless and uplifting as the enveloping strands of vocal layers take on a mesmeric drone like quality. Describing what it feels like to listen to her songs on the other hand is a much more difficult question, and it’s the question which matters most because that description of her sound could just as easily be applied to some tacky new age spiritualist compilation or, perhaps even worse, Enya. The difference to me is that those examples seem very much like products engineered towards a target market, whereas Barwick’s ghostly creations feel overwhelmingly genuine; each arrangement a primal purging of tangled emotions seemingly untethered from the physical world – just pure soul and impulse.
“Staring at the world, have you figured it out yet”
The coming-of-age genre has always been a strong tradition of classic cinema, but it’s never really struck as strong a conceptual chord for the LP. Listening to Comfort Songs it’s tough to figure out why that is though, cause this is a perfect soundtrack to angsty development. Technically the third album by LA based 21 year-old Tyler Taormina & friends (albeit their first full release), it’s full of big ideas which are executed with a sort of admirably ramshackle naivety and an emotional tone which is fluctuant to say the least; bouncing regularly between awe and confusion; anger and sorrow; ego and ineptitude; it is drinking in the whole world and immediately throwing it all back up.
Musically speaking it absorbs what to me (and probably a lot of early-mid 20s music nerds) feels like a tangible spirit of youth; the wiry guitars and Taormina’s spirited but uneven yelps are built from a template of classic 90’s emo. On top of that the group make use of delicate piano strokes, brass wails and well placed strings to ensure there’s an elegant sadness shot through and everything takes on this interesting middle ground of youthful exuberance and stately maturity – like Braid meets Low or American Football mashed up with Bark Psychosis.
Locrian - Eternal Return
I’ve only ever been vaguely familiar with noise trio Locrian. Mainly due to them being a 30 limited run CD-Rs a year kinda band that are impossible to keep up with, and they never really impressed me enough to try. This is some Grade-A noise right here though. Somehow they find an amazingly propulsive little melody in among really dense droning synths and monolithic drum patterns, and it’s a perfect counter to those painfully asphyxiated raw vocals. All in all it’s just totally fucking monstrous. I’m off to to check out the album right now.
Oliver Wilde - Perrett’s Brook
Spending a lot of time with this album just now. Beautifully abstract pop music. Full review here.
Here’s a surprising and brilliant collaboration that I can’t believe I didn’t know about until today. Pint sized queen of pop Kylie gets all breathy and ethereal over the glitchy ambience of Icelandic folktronica troupe múm. I would love a whole album of this.
What fun! Sounds like a fun time with two fun guys.
This is now the UK’s fifth biggest selling song of the year. This song about how great it is to degrade women. Well done everyone.
Deja Entendu is 10 years old this week.
10 years! This is one of the first albums I really got. I remember going into Virgin Megastore on the high street clutching my paper round money and buying it along with the first Funeral for a Friend album. As a 15 year old just trying to find my feet with discovering my music tastes this was a huge purchase. I had loved Your Favourite Weapon quite intensely, but I didn’t really expect what I heard on first listen to this follow-up. The FFAF album was quickly discarded and I listened to nothing but Brand New for months. The gentle ambient ripples of Tautou that opens the album had a quiet grace I was unaccustomed to getting from my pop-punk/emo/screamo collection, and even as it creeps louder the displaced vocals made it sound, to my young ears, like something completely new. There are still hints of the youthful angst of the first album there but it’s channeled so much better with a dark subtlety dripping through the whole album, songs like Play Crack The Sky and The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot really opened me up to the idea of slow morose music being something I would want to listen to in my later life, rather than the more metal influenced stuff I was into at that point. Jesse Lacey’s heartbreaking turns of phrase and the beginning of his toying with more vivid and macabre imagery stoked my own tendency to obsess over specific lines in songs. I’m so glad that they’ve gone on to continue being a creative force, and I think now I would have to list The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me as my favourite of their albums, because it’s much more fully realised, but this will always be their most important for me. There are a whole bunch of albums I could point to as a big influence in my tastes, but this is the number one. Without it I probably wouldn’t have a music blog to write this. Let’s all go back and listen to Deja Entendu again.
Throughout his career, Kanye West has proven himself to be perpetually paradoxical. True to form, Yeezus is one of the most brilliant and vulgar albums of recent times, as its ten tracks perfectly sum up the baffling dualities of the man.
On 18 May, Kanye performed two new songs on Saturday Night Live, two tunes which stopped the internet dead in its tracks. ’Black Skinheads’ and ‘New Slaves’ showcased a leaner, more aggressive and militant side to West’s music; the caustic beats and stark minimalism of the melodies offered a perfect canvas for him to make a big statement. The lyrical content seemed to match as well, most notably his widely de-constructed calling out of the privatised prison system, and in recent interviews he has spoken of starting movements and placed himself in the tradition of politically motivated artists like Gil Scott-Heron. It seemed he was tapping into something big, and like many others, I was ready to be blown away by the brazen, primal voice of disenfranchised black America (as we all know, he has previous). This should be where it all falls into place. The potential has always been there – his dissatisfaction with materialism, disavowal of hip-hop’s culture of violence, and wry observations of institutionalised racism have long been tomes of his verses. Sadly, this is not quite that record. Despite being an impressively abrasive album for a multi-million selling rap artist, it also feeds back into many of the frustratingly puerile aspects of the genre which he has always seemed keen to distance himself from. Almost too much so, but I’ll get to that.
And In The Endless Pause There Came The Sound Of Bees
I’ve been re-visiting this Johann Johannsson album quite a lot recently, and more so than I did on it’s initial release I think it stands up as one of the most essential albums in the post-classical field. It strikes a really great balance between subtle ambient shifts and grandiose classical swells, and has these really haunting melodies which worm their way into my head in a way that not many others in this genre do. The short film which it was recorded for is also really good.
This Chihei Hatakeyama song is stunningly mesmeric. I need to admit that not many songs can hold my attention beyond the ten minute mark these days never mind twenty, but this keeps pulling me in deeper as it goes on. Gorgeous drones.