If you haven’t heard any new music from Bradford Cox (Deerhunter/Atlas Sound) for a few months, you can guess there is something new and interesting around the corner. If you ventured to guess what the new track “Terra Incognita” sounds like just based previous experience with Cox combined with the 50’s crooner cover of Parallax, you probably would be pretty far off. The track is six and a half minutes of brittle music, a gentle melody that seems to peer into the soul of Cox, as much of the more introspective material does that he releases under the Atlas Sound moniker. Parallax drops November 8th and if the first song is any indication, will be a wonderful and heavy record.
I have had mixed feelings on Wisconsin-by-way-of Russia, goth but not “goth” recording artist Zola Jesus. On one hand I enjoy the hell out of her live. On the other, her recorded music just doesn’t generally move me in the same way. I had thought that after her recent fantastic show at the 7th St. Entry that I might be a lifelong fan but this first single “Seekir” from her forthcoming album Conatus has me feeling relatively cold. Maybe its because the song seems to take a relatively long time to really warm up and get its stride – it starts off sounding like a relatively innocuous disco/electronic pop tune and gradually swells to epic proportions, increasing in volume/density as it slowly reaches an apex. I like it but its definitely not bowling me over. I am only on a couple listens though so I will reserve judgment for the full length LP which will be out on 10/4 via Sacred Bones.
While enjoying the hell out of the latest Grouper double LP A I A Alien Observer/Dream Loss, I never got around to writing words about it (although I still might). I didn’t want to miss the chance to post the latest material from Liz Harris, the ambient queen behind the Grouper Nom De Plume. Like the work on the A I A records, her new single “Water People” b/w “Moving Machine” is a fuzzy, dark and eerie take on ambient pop music, with vocals lost in the haze of the effects and rhythms swallowed whole by the dusty, claustrophobic beats. Harris finds a way to make music that is equally beautiful and unsettling, with her cherub like voice, washed in reverb, serving as the distance but still reassuring beacon of light on the edge of the horizon. Apparently the new 7″ is already sold out, so stream the songs below.
Many a music nerd have sat awake on a (dateless) Saturday night wondering what a Ariel Pink/R.Stevie Moore collaboration would sound like. While the majority of the world have never heard of either artist, the lucky music geeks of the world finally have the resolution the question that (along with mountain dew and video games) has kept them awake at night all of these years. Not surprisingly, the song is a spy, lo-fi pop ditty that features Pink’s trademark tortured pop vocals (alongside Moore’s) backed by a quirky drum machine beat and ramshackle but smooth keys. As far as I can discern this is a one off project, but don’t lose hope, ye of the massive 7″ and rare German import collection, there could be more!
I wasn’t completely hooked on local duo Elite Gymnastics the first time I heard them. Chances are good though that that has a lot to do with my own deep reservations with the current glut of 90’s nostalgia in popular culture than it does their actual music. At least Pitchfork seems to think so (and therefore soon many more will, and so on). I still feel the same way towards 90’s influenced, smooth electronica (so called “chillwave”) however I am trying to give EG another chance. And I have found that with their recent EP Ruin, I am beginning to hear what the fuss is about.
I was initially attracted to the tune “Minneapolis Belongs To You” because I thought the title was a bit ridiculous. The tune is a fast paced combination of breakbeats, hushed, reverb-heavy vocals, as well as spacey synthesizer tones. I particularly like when it sounds like the entire beat gets sucked into the back of the speakers and then spit out again full force. Anyway, I am not sure I am ever going to first guy rushing to the dance floor for this kind of sound but at least I am starting to understand what all the hype is about. Check them out and decide for yourselves – they still have a handful of odds and ends available for download on their tumblr (though Ruin is no longer free).
Dead Gaze go all in with their burnt soul psychedelia on the track “It’s Not Real,” leaving no acid trip stone unturned. The vocals are garbled and the music washes through the speakers under layers of effects. The best part is these throwback freaks are from Mississippi, not exactly the first place I look to for my retro, hazy slacker pop. A great song to help you fade into fall, and definitely a track that makes me interested in checking out more work from the group.
Local folk upstarts Caroline Smith and The Goodnight Sleeps (or CSGS to those of you into the brevity thing) will be releasing a new record this Fall. Little Wind will drop on September 20th and will be accompanied by a national tour (dates below). You can check out the first single off of said album “Calliope” here. If anything its a little less plaintive than Smith’s folkier offerings as it contains a slightly heavier rock beat. too soon to tell if the rest of Little Win will be similarly oriented.
Sept 16 First Avenue Minneapolis, MN *
Sept 17 The Cave Northfield, MN
Sept 18 O’Leavers Omaha, NE
Sept 19 The Hangar Fort Collins, CO
Sept 20 Hi-Dive Denver, CO ^
Sept 22 Off Broadway St. Louis, MN
Sept 23 The Space for Ames Ames, IA
Sept 24 The Mill Iowa City, IA
Sept 25 Replay Lounge Lawrence, KA
Sept 26 Soundpony Tulsa, OK
Sept 27 White Water Tavern Little Rock, AR
Sept 28 Earth House Collective Indianapolis, IN
Sept 29 Schuba’s Chicago, IL #
Sept 30 Club Girabaldi Milwaukee, WI #
Oct 1 The Terrace Madison, WI #
Oct 4 Woodlands Tavern Columbus, OH
Oct 10 The Middle East Boston, MA
Oct 11 The Rock Shop Brooklyn, NY
Oct 12 Cake Shop New York, NY
Oct 13 Union Pool Brooklyn, NY
Oct 21 AS220 Providence, RI
Outside of a track on the 2011 Moon Glyph sampler, we haven’t heard new studio material from Tender Meat since they recorded and released their 2010 Heliotrope set on a great Moon Glyph cassette Live at the Ritz (Ritz on the Fritz) last year. Luckily that has changed with the song “Something Safari” on the groups new (at least to me) Bandcamp page. The good news is the song continues the groups adventurous electronic noodling, with a slight tropical twist added to the flavor. While their live tape was more jazzy, their previous release It’s a Tender World contained the almost instrumental hip hop sound that flavors “Something Safari,” which melds the propulsive drumming and the synth and sample tomfoolery that makes the group so good. The best news on the Bandcamp page is the statement “Just the flavor of things to come,” so hopefully that means the group will be dropping another full length in the very near future.
I was bummed to have to miss the War on Drugs show on Sunday night, even more because I wanted to check out the retro pysch-folk of Caveman and see what they were really all about. The group, who are releasing their debut LP CoCo Beware, seem to hit all of the notes that could easily get them in front of bigger audiences in the near future, but they seem like a band that could really breath life into their songs in the live setting. The breezy “Decide” and “Thankful” both could sit alongside Fleet Foxes and their ilk in the retro, folky songwriting phase that is currently all the rage. while “Easy Water” is a little darker and “Old Friend” splits the difference and is a little more morose than dark, with longing singing and casual instrumentation creating a tapestry of folk jangle. The fact that they are giving you four of the albums ten songs will give you a pretty good idea of whether you want to pick up the album when it drops on November 15th, so listen below and make an opinion for yourself before your local NPR station starts slamming it down your throat.