Sunday, April 30, 2017

On Repeat: Dirty Projectors - "Ascent Through Clouds"

I just realized that it's been a long time since I've posted one of these! I've become obsessed with plenty of songs over the past four years, but sometimes struggle to find the time to write about everything that I would like to.

In trying to get back to this post, I will start with Dirty Projector's "Ascent Through Clouds" off of their latest album, Dirty Projectors.

The track is neither the best nor my favorite on the record, but does have a feature that appeals greatly to my ear. Between the slightly-rambling verses and chorus are electronic non-vocal breaks. I can best describe the style of these breaks as tribal glitch. While the sound was clearly created by something other than a traditional instrument, it's rooted in a steady, deep drum beat.

And that's why, of all the tracks of the album, it's one that I put on repeat most often. It provides a certain primal satisfaction.

If you haven't heard the record, it's pretty fantastic from start to finish. It was released on February 24 of this year.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Upcoming Album of the Week (Ending April 29)

I spent much of my morning following the unfolding fiasco that is the Fyre Festival. Basically, it's an overpriced "luxury" music festival in the Bahamas, sponsored by a company co-founded by Ja Rule, and heavily promoted by a bevy of young models... and it is not going well. Guests have been held hostage, fed cheese sandwiches (yay fancy food!), and those who haven't already headed to the festival are being told not to bother. Sounds like a great time!

As always, you can view a list of upcoming releases here!

This week the French band Phoenix announced their sixth album,  Ti Amo.

Not to sound like a hipster, but I was listening to this band before they were cool. A friend introduced me to their debut album, United, in college, a few years before they first charted in the US with their fourth album, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Though they generally fall under the broad banner of indie rock, their music has always been heavily indebted to electronic trends in France, something that made them unique when they started.

Their last album was 2014's Bankrupt!. There have been little hints and teasers for a new album since November, when the band's social media images were changed to pictures TV holding screens. Last week, a portion of a new song from the band appeared in a Calvin Klein underwear directed by Sofia Coppola (Coppola is married to Phoenix frontman Thomas Mars).

The band also released the full new song, "J-Boy," this week. Ti Amo is set to be released on June 9.

Also announced this week:

Algiers - The Underside of Power (June 23)
HAIM - Something to Tell You (July 7)
Iggy Pop - The Idiot Reissue (June 2)
Iggy Pop - Lust for Life Reissue (June 2)
Iggy Pop - TV Eye Reissue (June 2)
Kirin J Callinan - Bravado (June 9)
Mura Masa - Mura Masa (July 14)
Palm - Shadow Expert EP (June 16)
Sufjan Stevens - The Great Gift Mixtape—Outtakes, Remixes, & Demos from Carrie & Lowell (October 20)
Tori Amos - Native Invader (September 8)
Young Thug - E.B.B.T.G. (May 5)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

New Music Friday - March 24, 2017

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

Drake - More Life

Word of this "playlist" (his words) from Drake first surfaced late last year. I had initially heard it was set for release on December 23, but that date came and went with no news of the record. It wasn't until March that it got its final release date. More Life is meant to bridge the gap between releases from the rapper, but has become an acclaimed set of songs in its own right, and another hit for Drake.

The Jesus and Mary Chain - Damage and Joy

It's been 19 years since The Jesus and Mary Chain's last record, 1998's Munki, which they released just before splitting the next year. It's been ten years since they reformed, but much of that time was spent re-releasing old music and touring. Jim Reid announced that the band was back in the studio in 2015. Damage and Joy is the result of those sessions, produced by Youth.

Watch: "Amputation"
Watch: "Always Sad"

Kelly Lee Owens - Kelly Lee Owens

This is the debut album from Kelly Lee Owens, who was formerly the bassist for the History of Apple Pie before they parted in 2013. Her solo work can be broadly described as electronic, though she mixes elements of various substyles of the genre. She is indebted to various influences on her debut, ranging from Massive Attack to Arthur Russell, and includes a feature from another, Jenny Hval.

Watch: "Anxi" (featuring Jenny Hval)
Listen: "Throwing Lines"

Mount Eerie - A Crow Looked at Me

For 13 years, Mount Eerie (Phil Elverum) was married to Canadian artist Geneviève Castrée. She passed away last year following a battle with pancreatic cancer, also leaving behind a young daughter. While he was always intensely private about his marriage, his eighth studio album deals with the grief of his loss head-on. Stylistically, it's looser than his past work, representing less an effort to write traditional songs, but to exorcise his pain.

Watch: "Ravens"
Listen: "Crow"

Red Baraat - Bhangra Pirates

Red Baraat is a bhangra band out of Brooklyn who also incorporate jazz and R&B. The band was founded by Sunny Jain in 2007 and released their debut, Chaal Baby, in 2010. They've become renowned for their live shows. Bhangra Pirates is their third studio release, which includes a contribution from the incredible guitarist, Steve Marion!

Listen: "Bhangale" (featuring Delicate Steve)
Listen: "Layers"

Other Full-Length Releases

Becca Stevens - Regina

Watch: "Queen Mab"
Watch: "Well Loved" (featuring Laura Mvula)

The Bug Vs Earth - Concrete Earth

Listen: "Don’t Walk These Streets"
Listen: "Snakes Vs Rats"

Johnny Flynn - Sillion

Watch: "Raising the Dead"
Listen: "Heart Sunk Hank"

Matthew Stevens - Preverbal

Listen: "Our Reunion" (featuring Esperanza Spalding)
Listen: "Undertow"

Mike-WiLL Made-It - Ransom 2

Watch: "Gucci on My" (featuring 21 Savage, YG, & Migos)
Listen: "Come Down" (featuring Chief Keef & Rae Sremmurd)

Pallbearer - Heartless

Watch: "I Saw the End"
Listen: "Thorns"

Spiral Stairs - Doris & the Daggers

Watch: "Dundee Man"
Watch: "Dance (Cry Wolf)"

Tonstartssbandht - Sorcerer

Listen: "Breathe"
Listen: "Sorcerer"

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

Fucked Up - Year of the Snake

Listen: "Year of the Snake"

Hannah Lou Clark - The Heart and All Its Sin EP

Watch: "Don’t Sweat It"

Paul McCartney - Flowers in the Dirt Deluxe Reissue

Watch: "My Brave Face"
Listen: "Twenty Fine Fingers" (featuring Elvis Costello) (demo)

PINS - Bad Thing EP

Watch: "Aggrophobe" (featuring Iggy Pop)
Watch: "All Hail"

Tactus Tempus

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Upcoming Album of the Week (Ending April 22)

Happy Record Store Day 2017 everyone! I haven't made my way to the local record store yet (I don't do crowds), but will likely head on over later this afternoon to see what's left over. To see a list of more traditional releases to come, check out my Upcoming Releases page!

This week, Shamir announced and released his sophomore album, Hope.

Shamir released his debut album, Ratchet, in 2015 to a fair amount of critical acclaim. He earned praise for his wise-beyond-his-years lyrics, mix of genres, and countertenor voice. He spent the time after that release touring with Years & Years and Troye Sivan, and getting dropped by his record label.

He recently started considering retirement from music, but spent last weekend, writing, producing, and recording a new album. He dropped the record on Monday, streaming on SoundCloud and downloadable from Mediafire.

He was not interested in making the same type of music as he did on his debut (hence the label-dropping). This new record combines pop, lofi, and outsider music.

Also announced this week:

Big Boy - Boomiverse (June)
Cover You Ass, Vol. 1 (May 26)
EMA - Exile in the Outer Ring (August 25)
Laurel Halo - Dust (June 23)
Mavis Staples - Mavis Staples: I’ll Take You There - An All-Star Concert Celebration (June 2)
Sarah Jaffe - Bad Baby (July 7)
Waxahatchee - Out in the Storm (July 14)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Upcoming Album of the Week (Ending April 15)

Throughout this past week, we got further details of Kendrick Lamar's new album, which dropped yesterday. We learned that the name of the record was not ALBUM (that was just a placeholder), but DAMN., and that it would feature Rihanna and U2. Based on the response to the record, it may be safe to say that we already know who's going to be topping year-end lists come December!

Rumor has it he will be dropping another very soon, if that happens, keep an eye out on my Upcoming Releases page for information!

This week, Jeff Tweedy announced a new solo record, Together at Last.

Tweedy has had a long career, mostly spent as the frontman for the Chicago band Wilco, which has been active since 1994. He got his start with Uncle Tupelo in the 1980s and has also released music with Billy Bragg and his son Spencer under the band name Tweedy (they released their debut Sukierae in 2014).

The new album was announced on Thursday and will be comprised of acoustic recordings of past songs of his. Along with the announcement, he also released the album track "Laminated Cat".

Together at Last will be released on June 23.

Also announced this week:

BEAK> - “Sex Music” (June 9)
Bleachers - Gone Now (June 2)
Charlie Fink - Cover My Tracks (June 2)
DANGERDOOM - The Mouse & the Mask Reissue (May)
Jonathan Rado - Born to Run (May 12)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Murder of the Universe (June 23)
Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie - Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie (June 9)
Logic - Everybody (May 5)
Pawns - The Gallows (July)
Peaking Lights - The Fifth State of Consciousness (June 16)
Royal Blood - How Did We Get So Dark? (June 16)
Smidley - Smidley (June 2)

Sunday, April 9, 2017

New Music Friday - March 17, 2017

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

Emma Gatrill - Cocoon

Gatrill is a multi-instrumentalist from Brighton, UK who spent the early years of her career demonstrating her skills backing other bands. She's played clarinet for Laura Marling and been a member of Broken Social Scene's horn section. She released her debut album, Chapter I, in 2012. Her focus on harp may draw her to easy comparisons to Joanna Newsom, but she boasts a wide array of influences, ranging from experimental musicians to modern composers.

Watch: "Skin"
Listen: "Cocoon"

Jarvis Cocker & Chilly Gonzales - Room 29

This collaboration between Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker and pianist Chilly Gonzales is a concept album about Hollywood's Château Marmont Hotel. Each song explores the experiences of the hotel's famous occupants. The composition is simple, mostly featuring Gonzales' delicate piano playing. The Kaiser Quartett, flautists, horn players, and the Macedonian symphony contribute to a few tracks, as well.

Watch: "Room 29"
Watch: "Tearjerker"

Real Estate - In Mind

In Mind is Real Estate's fourth album and, sadly, their first without founding guitarist Matthew Mondanile. He left the group last year to focus on Ducktails (his other band, not the cartoon). He is replaced on this record by Julian Lynch. Lynch is no stranger to the band, he's worked with them before and has also been involved with their side projects, including the aforementioned Ducktails. So, not much changes with their sound due to the shift; the guitars are still jangly and the overall style sunny.

Watch: "Stained Glass"
Watch: "Darling"

Spoon - Hot Thoughts

Spoon may be the most consistent band in indie rock, but also one that never manages to repeat themselves. They make subtle shifts with each record, but maintain some consistent elements in their sound. Their ninth album is their second outing with producer David Fridmann, following 2014's They Want My Soul. Always controlled and precise in their music, this album introduces a little bit of funk to the mix.

Watch: "Can I Sit Next to You"
Listen: "Hot Thoughts"

Other Full-Length Releases

Conor Oberst - Salutations

Watch: "Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out"
Watch: "A Little Uncanny"

Depeche Mode - Spirit

Watch: "Where’s the Revolution"
Listen: "Fail"

Paul Shaffer and The World’s Most Dangerous Band - Paul Shaffer and The World’s Most Dangerous Band

Watch: "Happy Street" (featuring Bill Murray)
Listen: "Sorrow" (featuring Jenny Lewis)

Rick Ross - Rather You Than Me

Watch: "I Think She Like Me" (featuring Ty Dolla $ign)
Listen: "Trap Trap Trap" (featuring Young Thug & Wale)

Sorority Noise - You're Not As ___________ As You Think

Watch: "A Better Sun"
Listen: "Disappeared"

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

ANOHNI - Paradise EP

Watch: "Paradise"

Julien Baker - "Funeral Pyre"

Listen: "Funeral Pyre"
Listen: "Distant Solar Systems"

Miami Horror - The Shapes

Listen: "Leila"

Scarlet Pleasure - "Deja-Vu"

Listen: "Deja-Vu"

Tinashe - "Flame"

Listen: "Flame"

Ty Segall - Sentimental Goblin EP

Listen: "Pan"
Listen: "Black Magick"

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Get Out

Director: Jordan Peele
Writers: Jordan Peele
Stars: Daniel Kaluuya (Chris), Alison Williams (Rose), Catherine Keener (Missy), Bradley Whitford (Dean), LilRel Howery (Rod)

Get Out is the directorial debut of Jordan Peele. The movie is a horror film with some lighter comedic moments and extensive social commentary. Daniel Kaluuya stars as Chris, a black man, meeting his white girlfriend's family for the first time. In the racially homogenous town in which they reside, a conspiracy against black visitors quickly becomes evident. Chris seeks to get to the bottom of it and avoid the same fate.

First off, this was a spectacular film. It presents an extreme scenario, but reflects back a certain reality in our society: the so-called "allies" who do more harm than good. I would point out a secondary theme that at least spoke to me, the expectations that whites have of blacks in our society. Despite speaking more directly to the black audience, the movie successfully reached a broader audience. My white boyfriend enjoyed the film just as much as I did. It's exciting to see good films being made by black creators and telling uniquely black stories...and doing well at the box office. This should be a hint to Hollywood, make more films like this one!

Mini soundtrack:

Flanagan & Allen - "Run Rabbit Run"
Childish Gambino - "Redbone"
Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes - "(I've Had) The Time of My Life"

Upcoming Album of the Week (Ending April 8)

The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held last night. Included in this year's class were ELO, Joan Baez, Journey, Pearl Jam, Yes, and Tupac Shakur! We'll see if the honor leads any of the still-living acts to release new music. If it does, you can check them out at my Upcoming Releases page!

It looks like we may be getting a new Kendrick Lamar album very soon!

It's been two years since Lamar released the masterpiece To Pimp a Butterfly, and one year since untitled unmastered, a demos album way better than demos are expected to be. This year, he started releasing new songs, beginning with "The Heart Part 4" two weeks ago and following that up last week with "HUMBLE.", which came bundled with an incredible music video.

Yesterday, a new album from Lamar was made available for preorder on iTunes, currently just titled ALBUM. Details are scant right now, but here's what we know (or can presume):
  1. He's working again with Anna Wise
  2. Other collaborators include U2, BADBADNOTGOOD, and James Blake
  3. "HUMBLE." will appear on the record
  4. It will be released on April 14

Also announced this week:

Amber Arcades - Cannonball (June 2)
Beth Ditto - Fake Sugar (June 16)
Chastity Belt - I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone (June 2)
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - On the Echoing Green (June 16)
Kurt Vile - So Outta Reach EP Reissue (May 19)
Kurt Vile - Square Shells EP Reissue (May 19)
Showtime Goma - Smiley Face (June 16)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

New Music Friday - March 10, 2017

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

Hurray for the Riff Raff - Navigator

Hurray for the Riff Raff is a Americana, folk and blues band fronted by Alyndra Segarra. Influenced by a wide range of artists from Bob Dylan to David Bowie, their sixth album stretches the bounds of their past work. It is part autobiography, part political essay, and part concept album, loosely following the character of a Puerta-Rican punk-folk musician named Navita. The content and risks that the album takes has earned an already-celebrated band even more rave reviews!

Watch: "The Navigator"
Watch: "Hungry Ghost"

Jay Som - Everybody Works

2016 was a year of hype for Jay Som, aka Melina Duterte. A collection of songs that were initially posted to Bandcamp in 2015 got re-released twice as her debut, Turn Into; initially released in July of last year. She is a true bedroom musician, recording all of her music in a bedroom studio. Where her debut was a collection of demos not necessarily meant for release, her follow-up is more polished, more fully showing the strength of her music and lyrics.

Watch: "Baybee"
Listen: "1 Billion Dogs"

Laura Marling - Semper Femina

I often forget, and find it surprising, that Marling has been so prolific for her age. She is 27 years old and Semper Femina is her sixth album. All of her records are spectacular and she is deftly capable of style progression with each one. She's grown on each release, but has yet to produce anything out of place in her discography. The album's title roughly translates to either "always a woman" or "a woman is a fickle thing," and is Marling's expert take on other women.

Watch: "Nothing, Not Nearly"
Watch: "Next Time"

The Magnetic Fields - 50 Song Memoir

The Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt has been on this earth for 50 years and, for the band's 11th album, he has written a song for each of them. It's hardly the first time they have put out such a daunting collection of tracks, nor the biggest. That honor belongs to 1999's 69 Love Songs. The band started recording this album on Merritt's 50th birthday (February 9, 2015). It's autobiography presented in the form of music; Merritt is one of very few who could pull it off.

Watch: "‘81 How to Play the Synthesizer"
Watch: "‘83 Foxx and I"

Tennis - Yours Conditionally

Yours Conditionally is the fourth album from this husband-and-wife duo. The pair are starting over following 2014's Ritual in Repeat. They are seeking the same inspiration that drove them at the beginning of their career, the sea. They have returned, somewhat, to the sound of their debut album, 2011's Cape Dory. I liked their early stuff, but was far more drawn to their sound on Ritual in Repeat. This is a good record, but not quite my favorite of theirs.

Watch: "Modern Woman"
Watch: "In the Morning I’ll Be Better"

Other Full-Length Releases

Cameron Avery - Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams

Watch: "C’est Toi"
Watch: "Wasted on Fidelity"

Century Palm - Meet You

Watch: "Then You’re Gone"
Watch: "King of John Street"

Damaged Bug - Bunker Funk

Listen: "Bog Dash"
Listen: "Unmanned Scanner"

Jacques Greene - Feel Infinite

Watch: "Afterglow"
Listen: "To Say"

Nathan Fake - Providence

Watch: "RVK" (featuring Raphaelle)
Watch: "HoursDaysMonthsSeasons"

The Shins - Heartworms

Watch: "Dead Alive"
Watch: "Name for You"

your old droog - Packs

Watch: "Help" (featuring Wiki & Edan)
Listen: "White Rappers (A Good Guest)"

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

Beauty and the Beast (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Watch: John Legend & Ariana Grande - "Beauty and the Beast"
Listen: "Be Our Guest"

Blonde Redhead - 3 O’Clock

Watch: "Golden Light"
Listen: "3 O’Clock"

Charli XCX - Number 1 Angel

Listen: "Babygirl" (featuring Uffie)
Listen: "Dreamer" (featuring Starrah & RAYE)

Jim O’Rourke & Kassel Jaeger - Wakes on Cerulean

Listen: "Wakes on Cerulean A"
Listen: "Wakes on Cerulean B"

Mai Lan - Vampire EP

Watch: "Vampire"
Listen: "Pas D’Amour"

Thelma - Thelma

Listen: "If You Let It"
Listen: "Peach"