Today the consistently wonderful The Quietus have shared this exclusive track by the similarly brilliant Leyland Kirby. Titled Remember Us, it was recorded alongside his latest album Eager To Tear Apart The Stars: “Something resonates there that I can’t put my finger on,” he says of the track. “I guess it slipped through the net when I was compiling the last album, a missed chance. Always missing chances. It really provokes something within me when I listen to it, strange beauty about reflection and time passing”. It’s a really great interview which you should read here.
If the name Meg Baird is familiar to you then chances are it’s as one of the founding members of cultish psychedelic group Espers, who released a trio of great albums of dreamy and doomy folk over the last decade. In-between which Baird released one solo album in 2007, Dear Companion, which combined unique takes on traditional folk songs and cover versions for the most part. Here though Baird delivers us (almost) a full album of her own original material.
Her songs are all minimal traditional folk in the mould of Vashti Bunyan or Marissa Nadler, only more pastoral, the tracks here are intricate acoustic numbers full of delicate sigh and sway. Lacking in the droney ritualistic moments which coloured Espers best work, Seasons On Earth does occasionally lapse in to beige background noise; consistently pleasant but sometimes too much like country pastiche to evoke full investment in the songs. This being said there are also plenty of moments where the sparse neutrality of the songs are soothing, they feel light of the pressure of days, offering a form of blissful escape.
Here’s a brand new track from electronic/trip-hop duo Phantogram, whose debut Eyelid Movies was one of my favourite records of last year (as reflected by its mention in my best of list here). After touring that pretty solidly for the last year they’ve finally found time to record a new batch of tracks which, on the basis of this, could prove to be even better. That new batch of tracks will be in the form of a new EP called Nightlife and is due out through Barsuk on 1st November.
After the release of their stunning debut album Violet Cries at the beginning of the year, Brighton trio Esben and the Witch look set to end 2011 in similar fashion. This track is taken from their forthcoming EP Hexagons, which includes a new version of album track Hexagons IV as well as five new tracks, each by the same name. Whilst it might be a very Esben sounding track it does also seem a little less sombre than usual, the glimmering guitar and ethereal vocals sounding more ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ than ‘bottomless pit’. Needless to say it’s still pretty great. Hexagons Ep is being released through Matador on November 6th.
We can probably drop the whole “vanguard of chillwave” shtick for Toro Y Moi now, right? Unlike his peers, Washed Out and Neon Indian, who’ve perhaps prematurely been touted as outgrowing the tag, Chaz Bundick seems to have truly transcended his micro genre beginnings. His second album, Underneath The Pine, embraced a much more expressive style of full band instrumentation melded to that same understated wobbly aesthetic. Now this EP, the appropriately named Freaking Out, sees him emerge from the shadows even further and stand exposed under the flickering spotlight of 80′s funk pop.
What makes this pop persuasion so interesting though is that his genre defining debut, Causers of This, was arguably one of the least accessible of all the acts (and there were many) slapped with the chillwave tag. Sounds were manipulated and twisted sometimes beyond recognition of source, and the final product often sounded distinctly like someone having too much fun applying effects. To me, at least, it always seemed as though Bundick displayed a great level of talent more in spite of, rather than due to, this. It was a promising debut but one with many a noticeable fault. One of the main concerns being the musician/producer’s proclivity to mask his vocals in effects, when a clearer lead vocal could often have elevated these “interesting” tracks to truly great ones.
Benoît Pioulard has released a string of great albums over the last few years, through the Krankly label. With a mixture of acoustic guitar and electronic textures he plays what you might categorise as ambient singer songwriter, a style which is relatively unusual. This new track is missing his usually transfixing forlorn vocals but is really rather nice all the same. It is taken from a new 12” titled ‘Benoît Honoré Pioulard plays Thelma’, due to be released on Desire Path Recordings November 1st.