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"Static Kings" - Fennesz

The most recent Fennesz full-length was 2008’s Black Sea, but 2001’s Endless Summer is the release new album Bécs will hark back to. Thirteen years apart, the newer of the Editions Mego releases will be the conceptual follow-up to the bright pop machinations of the older.

This can be heard in “Static Kings,” an almost six-minute clip that shimmers with waves of brilliantly lit sound and static. Gorgeous and pleasant, it certainly sounds like endless summer.

Bécs is out April 28 on Editions Mego. Check out first single “The Liar” and the album’s tracklist below. Read more about the album here, and pre-order it here.

- Tyler Hanan

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"Country Kills" - Popstrangers

Every thought that came to mind when streaming “Country Kill” the first few times were hideously backhanded. Lots of “This is a nice little song!” thoughts.

That’s all bullshit. Listen, besides possessing a fantastic band name, Popstrangers have crafted a fuzzy head-bobber here with a hell of a hook that sweeps in on some “wait for it, waaiit foor iit” verses like the softest of sledgehammers.

I’ve also, by the way I’ve addressed this song, outed myself as someone who never got around to listening to Antipodes. That will change now, though, and I’ll most definitely be digging into Fortuna. With the success of other recent throwback, chill-rock fuzzballs and the effectiveness of this hook, I wouldn’t be surprised if Popstrangers started popping up in more places.

I had to use all my strength not to make a “strangers no more” pun. Fortuna is out May 27 on Carpark Records, a label that actually has a few of those fuzzballs referred to earlier.

- Tyler Hanan

"I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore" - The Menzingers

The continued intermingling of various crowds and the influx of formerly foreign material into new places has been a fascinating thing to watch. The so-called “emo revolution” has been talked to death, but it’s not just emo. Indie(ish) pop is now today’s pop. Specific brands of emo and pop punk have gone from small, cultish (and very similar, even if they wouldn’t like to admit it) genres to being emblazoned on your Pitchforks, your Stereogums, the phones of your coolest kids at school. I have nothing new to say about it - others have said many things, and have said them better - and the whole thing isn’t actually all that suprising. The rise and fall of genres, the borrowing and co-mingling, has been around forever, even before America took to blues-aping rock ‘n roll.

Soapbox stowed, now that I’ve finally put general thoughts to… program?… we have a new, Pitchfork-premiered single from The Menzingers. It has already been a surprising two years since the impeccable On The Impossible Past came out and seized a regular spot in every kid’s listening rotation, and “I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore” is a very comfortable continuation of what the band was doing there. Much like Against Me!, The Menzingers excel at anthemic, fist-pumping cuts with infectious, sing-along choruses. They’re the aggravated youth, but in a way that is widely relatable rather than miserably self-pitying, which is often not the case with the rising tide of the emo-pop-punk melting pot.

The new album is The Rented World. It’s out April 22 on Epitaph, with pre-orders available now. The Menzingers will also be on tour for the entirety of June, with some dates spilling out into May and July.

- Tyler Hanan

"I’m Not Dead" - JFS

The last thing we heard from JFS was “Zero X Infinity" off the split with Forces, which sounded like somebody broke into Maserati’s van and made off with everything but the laptop hidden under the floor mat. The 22-track Black Ephemera, released yesterday on Post-Echo, is a completely different beast. It’s like a Tim Hecker/Daniel Lopatin baby, like he used the latter’s old tools to supplant his own workstation before attempting to emulate the jagged and open soundscapes of the former.

Now that I’ve completely obliterated my usual stance that description by comparison is the weakest of sauces, stream the album below. It’s fascinating - not as fully fleshed and engrossing as the names I dropped above, but definitely a worthy world to wade into. The movements of industrial clanging, sparsest dissonance, and elegiac fogs are woven together… not seamlessly, but quite well enough, with tracks like “I’m Not Dead” and “Millipede 2” coming off excellently.

The direction JFS has taken is an intriguing one and, whether he further refines it or finds some new sounds to play with, it’ll be worthwhile to keep tabs on where he goes.

- Tyler Hanan

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"Paper the House" - Fucked Up

We recapped recent Fucked Up goings-on two weeks ago upon the release of the Glass Boys trailer; the band has now filled out a lot more information on the album. 

There’s a single, “Paper the House,” with some live footage. It’s much in the vein of David Comes To Life: an expansive, scorching rock and roll song with thrilling guitars and a hardcore dude yelling couplets at you. There’s a release date: June 3, with the album being put out by Matador once again (Arts & Crafts in Canada). 

A statement from the band’s website, Looking For Gold

Hey we are pleased to announce our new record, GLASS BOYS, is coming out June 3rd on Matador and Arts and Crafts. We wrote all the songs 2 summers ago and have been recording it since last April. It has tons of drums and 10 songs. That’s the first single above, called Paper the House. It isn’t really an official video or anything, but that’s footage from when we played a bunch of new songs at Long Winter a few weeks ago.

A description of the physical release from the press release, per Pitchfork

On the proper version of the album, drummer Jonah Falco plays two simultaneous drum takes, and layered into/underneath that are another two simultaneous takes of the drums played in half-time, which adds a psychedelic, disorienting feel. The limited vinyl edition will include a bonus version that ONLY features the two half-time tracks.

Glass Boys tracklist: 

  1. Echo Boomer
  2. Touch Stone
  3. Sun Glass
  4. The Art Of Patrons
  5. Warm Change
  6. Paper The House
  7. DET
  8. Led By Hand
  9. The Great Divide
  10. Glass Boys

- Tyler Hanan

"No Rest For The Wicked" - Lykke Li

Yesterday, Lykke Li shared these lyrics from a forthcoming song called “No Rest For the Lyrics,” hashtagged with the album title “ineverlearn.” Less than 24 hours later, she dropped that song with a “BOOM.”

I may need time to adjust, as I’m used to the title being blared at me by Cage the Elephant while playing Borderlands.

Whether this could possibly ever supplant the only Cage the Elephant song I listen to is yet to be seen, but it’s certainly a haymaker. That’s almost literal, with a chorus that crashes on the listener in a wave of backing vocals and big, muted percussion. It’s chilly, it’s tragic, and it sounds like it was performed in a sprawling, dripping wet cavern.

I Never Learn is out May 5. Lykke Li also released the song “Du är den ende” from Tommy, a film in which she stars. Stream it below.

- Tyler Hanan

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"Water Fountain" - tUnE-yArDs

Two weeks after the megamix dropped for tUnE-yArDs upcoming third album Nikki Nack, we have our first full cut.

It’s pretty fantastic. Many familiar Merrill Garbus flourishes appear here: a tremendously groovy bass, rapturous polyrhythms, and a vocal performance that includes tuneful melody, hollering of a nigh religious, celebratory fervor, and a talky little tangent.

Nikki Nack is out May 6 (May 5 in the UK) from 4AD - check the newly-revealed album art below. tUnE-yArDs will also be on tour forever, first with Arcade Fire, then with The National, then on their own..

Pre-order includes a limited edition Water Fountain 7” (backed with the “Megamix”) and limited indie store red colored version of the vinyl.


- Tyler Hanan

"No. No… (Tim Hecker Mix)” - The Field

The Field released Cupid’s Head Remixe II on Kompakt on February 24. You can buy it here. It features three remixes of “No. No…” by John Tejada, Tim Hecker, and Tm404. Above is Tim Hecker’s take. Press play. All else fades away.

- Tyler Hanan

A Singular Continent - M. Sage

Without others, my work is nothing. Corporate sponsored household name websites, stylishly designed niche blogs, monstrously well-informed music mavens, and, occasionally, the press email are the suppliers of almost everything I love. My mother was a Brooklyn hipster; my father, Wikipedia.

I stumbled upon M. Sage and this blissful hour-long movement on No Fear of Pop. Wordless compositions involving some combination of subtle electronics, gentle keys, field recordings, a light touch, and empty space have been especially delightful for me as of late, such as the magnificent serenity of East Forests’;Prana EP and Oneohtrix Point Never’s commission “Music For Steamed Rocks.”

M. Sage’s A Singular Continent nestles right into that same fold of my mind that was given such release by those pieces. It flows easily, uninterrupted, and carries the listener to a place that can only be reached by these specific arrangements of these certain sounds. It is a place similar to many other places, but it is just so.

The wonderful thing about A Singular Continent is its vastness. New sounds await in future tracks: more abrasive, of a different tenor, or just simply different. They all serve the greater whole, though, They are different bends and shifts in the river.

The 12” 2xLP and the artbook-including deluxe package is available here. The place this album takes you, “THE IMAGINARY LANDSCAPE,” is here. As I learned from NFOP, in addition to the sounds of Matthew Sage, “A Singular Continent encompasses a collaboration of collage, by Nathaniel Whitcomb, and a collaboration of prose, by Grant Souders.”

- Tyler Hanan

"Music For Steamed Rocks" - Oneohtrix Point Seven

Record Store Day, so successful that it’s spawned a similar day for cassettes, approaches, with this year’s slated for April 19. Though its impact on record sales and local music retailers is a predominant part of the ever-widening embrace of the day, the most delightful part of the proceedings is the odds and ends that are released on that day. Albums are cool, but we can get those every day. Bring on the weird stuff.

One of those weird stuffs is Commissions I. Daniel Lopatin, he of the Oneohtrix Point Never moniker, has done a number of commissioned works for various installations over the years. Tremendous and tremendously odd albums are not enough, after all. With Commissions I, three such works have been brought together on 12” of wax to be released by Warp Records.

The above track, 7 1/2 minutes of minimal tranquility interpreted from Witold Lutoslawski’s Preludes, will lead off the A side. It will be joined by “Meet Your Creator,” which was composed for ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi. B side take on “I Only Have Eyes For You" was created for Doug Aitken’s 2012 Happening.

- Tyler Hanan