"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
"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:
- Echo Boomer
- Touch Stone
- Sun Glass
- The Art Of Patrons
- Warm Change
- Paper The House
- Led By Hand
- The Great Divide
- 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
"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
"Interference Fits" - Perfect Pussy
It’s a wicked and furious 23 minute clamor, everything you’d expect of Perfect Pussy and not at all what a newcomer would expect from an album with the title Say Yes To Love.
If you’re still here, let’s quickly run down on the lead-up to this album. The above track, “Interference Fits,” debuted last week, joining first single “Driver" in rocking socks and dumping gas on the buzzfire. The album follows up last year’s home-recorded breakout EP that everyone and their kid sister was toting, I Have Lost All Desire For Feeling. That’s rundown enough. Go listen.
Say Yes To Love is out next week on April 18 via Captured Tracks.
- Tyler Hanan
Glass Boys trailer - Fucked Up
Spring is coming. This afternoon, the interior of my car was nigh-toasty form sitting in the sun, a stark change from the ungodly cold that has greeted me after a few hours of inactivity throughout the past few months.
Even more exciting than my commute being slightly less uncomfortable, signs of life are popping up in the Fucked Up camp. Sure, there have been rumblings here and there - a live performance of “Year of the Dragon” at Le Poisson Rouge, a set at 285 Kent’s final show - but the next few months promise a new Zodiac 12”, a new album , and, it would seem reasonable to think, a new tour.
First, the biggest and latest news: Fucked Up will be releasing a new full-length this summer on Matador called Glass Boys. Given the previous albums’ success - 2008’s The Chemistry of Common Life won the 2009 Polaris Music Prize and 2011’s David Came To Life made the longlist for 2012’s award, with both albums being bathed in critical acclaim - it’s likely this album will be fairly huge. Given the recent trend of Fucked Up’s music - from hardcore roots to, really, some of the biggest and most ambitious popular rock records of their respective years - it’s apt o be pretty great. This trailer is only the briefest glimpse of the tidal wave to come. I wonder how many times Self Defense Family will get asked for their Fucked Up thoughts on tumblr this time.
In older news, Fucked Up will be releasing Year of the Dragon this spring.
As noted by Spin and others last fall, thought this will be the sixth Zodiac record official released, it is actually the eighth in the series. The band is working on releasing the actual sixth and seventh Zodiac releases, Year of the Hare and Year of the Rabbit.
Tankcrimes will be putting out Dragon sometime this spring. The label has released a compilation that includes an album version of “I Wanna Be A Yank.” Stream that and everything else mentioned after the jump.
"Cavity" - Hundred Waters
Two weeks ago, we were riveted by Hundred Waters’ “Down From the Rafters” and its art. Yesterday brought confirmation of the new album we assumed “Down From the Rafters” hinted at, along with the first single and video. The followup to 2012’s debut full-length, currently without title, will be released May 27 on OWSLA.
The first single is “Cavity,” a slice of ethereal and peculiarly fantastical avant-pop. It very much meets the expected parameters of a Hundred Waters track, only even prettier than one could hope for.
Though the song is indeed beautiful, its pairing with the Michael Langan-directed video is what takes listening to “Cavity” to another plane. Its focus on slivers of Nicole Miglis’ face, and on rotating and replicating them, two dimensional slices in a three dimensional space. When the sliver finally opens to reveal Miglis’ face, it is revelatory.
Langan explained to NPR how he created the video:
The director, Michael Langan, says he wanted to “play with the idea of hollowness, attempting to define emptiness by its edges, visually.” The effects in the clip were made not with computer graphics, but by using “a single flashlight, drawn slowly over the landscape and later ‘echoed’ up to 500 times to create patterns that fill the scene with light,” Langan says. “We used a projector mounted on a motorized lazy Susan to achieve the ‘sliver’ shots of Nicole.”
The way the video fits and enhances the otherworldly nature of Hundred Waters’ instantly recognizable style of pop is uncanny. The individual parts are fantastic on their own, but the whole is exemplary.
- Tyler Hanan