On “Chorus,” the new single from RVNG INTL artist Holly Herndon, she somehow creates a track that is jittery and darkly hypnotic that still manages to be startlingly beautiful. It coasts along on a wave of synth bass and skittish hi-hats, melding together various parts into a commanding and enticing mix of house, dubstep and pop. The song is nearly seven minutes long, but I loved every minute of it and found myself hitting repeat as soon as the song was over. Watch a video above and stream/buy the single below.
There is not, to my knowledge, much of a post-rock scene here in Minneapolis. Despite not being a hotbed for the genre, one band that does always catches my attention when they drop new material is the duo Paragraphs, who are celebrating the release of their new record You’re Ridiculous (I Love You) tonight at the 331 Club in Minneapolis. The record, which you can stream below, finds the band doing what they do best, which is creating gorgeous swells of instrumental music, all crashing waves of guitars, synths, drums. The songs unfold over 40 serene minutes, using astutely built tension to crescendo towards cathartic releases that ebb and flow to pull the listener back in after serenading them into a colorful haze. Like their previous releases, it is confident and well executed album that should impress fans of the genre and bring in some folks who might not already listen to Nocturnity on Radio K each week. Stream the album below and see the band for free tonight at the 331 Club in Northeast Minneapolis.
Anyone who thinks they are too old to try something new should make sure not to miss this story. 81 year old Leo Welch, after years of playing blues at his church in Mississip, is touring the country and sharing the music from his new gospel infused blues album Sabougla Voices, named after the Babtist church where he wrote many of the tracks. Listen to the sprite “Praise His Name,” below and stream the whole record HERE. Mr. Welch is in town and will be playing a free in-store performance tonight at 6 pm at Treehouse Records.
Vowel hating pop group SCRNS are getting some buzz for their pristine, synth leaning song “TTYN,” which you can see a video for above. If you like your pop music shimmering, this might be your next favorite local band. You can see them tonight at the Minnesota Institute of Art as part of their free Third Thursday series along with the always great Greg Grease. More info on activities at the MIA HERE.
If your new years resolution was to acquire more hard-to-find Michael Yonkers pressings, your year just got a whole lot easier! Drag City just announced that they will be repressing two exceedingly rare Yonkers ventures – 1972’s Michael Lee Yonkers as well as 1973’s Borders of My Mind (purportedly the record that prompted De Stijl’s Clint Simonson to seek out Yonkers in the first place, leading to the whole resurgence of interest, etc). The former is a lo-fi country-inflected collection of outsider folk tunes, which Yonkers recorded on various reel-to-reel tape devices. The latter is a selection of Yonkers tunes that he recorded with (former Mumble) Jim Woehrle, in Woehrle’s living room. You can listen to the titular track from borders below, in which Yonkers and Woehrle can plainly be heard to be having a hell of a good time. If you are interested, don’t snooze on picking up these reissues fast via Drag City once they become available on 1/21 They likely won’t last long.
Real Estate have proven over the last few years to be one of the best in the game at creating warm, chill, atmospheric pop music that builds off the hazy legacy of bands like Galaxie 500. The first single from their forthcoming LP Atlas, the dreamy/shimmering “Talking Backwards,” seems to indicate they haven’t lost a step despite venturing out into various side projects since their last LP. Atlas will drop on March 4th on Domino Records and, if the lead single is any indication, will be a fine addition to their already impressive back catalog.
The band will be coming to Minneapolis for a show at the Fine Line on 3/26.
While I am not an astute judge of just what constitutes “hype” anymore, it does seem that there is a fair amount of buzz surrounding the newest Angel Olsen full length Burn Your Fire For No Witness. At least in certain circles? Or maybe I am just projecting my own excitement onto the consciousness of the nation. Even if Burn hits the nation’s eardrums with a resounding whimper, based on what I have heard so far I am already convinced I will consider it a triumph. The most recent single from the album recently became available for streaming and its excellent. “HI FIVE” is a slightly countrified tune about commiseration that pairs Olsen’s distinctive vocals with wavering guitar fuzz and spare piano chords. Look for Burn in stores on 2/18, and join me in hoping that Olsen will reconsider her 2014 tour plans to include a Twin Cities stop.
If you weren’t already excited for the forthcoming Toki Wright X Big Cats! LP Pangaea (side note–you should be), that probably is going to change as you soak in their new track. Celebrating the life of poet/activist Amiri Baraka a day after his death last week, Big Cats! spreads out a smokey, soulful canvas over which Toki Wright unfolds a meditative spoken word/rap that highlights the 79 amazing years Baraka shared with us. Joined by Lydia Liza and Eric Mayson, it is a quick burst of light, a powerful statement dedicated to someone that both artists say was a big inspiration for them. Listen below and keep an eye out for more coverage of Pangaea in the coming months.
Though there was relatively little fanfare at the time, this past year brought about the return of 80’s electro/hip hop pioneers Death Comet Crew. DCC released Ghost Among the Crew this past month, the title being a reference to the 2010 passing of Rammellzee, who contributed to the crew in addition to core members Stuart Argabright, Michael Diekmann and Shinichi Shimokawa. Ghost Among the Crew is the group’s first studio recording since the eighties, though back in 2004 the Troubleman Unlimited imprint released a collection of their recordings as the excellent This is Riphop. I haven’t heard Ghost as of yet, but the record’s first track is currently available for streaming. Listen to “Me Czar of the Magyars“ below, a piece of vintage afrofuturist electro that nonetheless sounds as fresh as ever.