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"Good Sex" - Kevin Drew

Sex is good for our bodies, important for our minds, and vital to the continued solo career of Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew. “Good Sex” is the first single off Darlings, and its romantic/non-romantic musings about what occurs under our sheets are a good sign that we should start paying attention to Drew’s second solo outing. 

It’s been a good seven years since Spirit If, Drew’s first solo record (and three years since BSS’s Forgiveness Rock Record), and this little dose of Drew’s lax brand of indie-rock might soothe fans who’ve been patient for a long, long time.

Happy humping, everyone. 

- Kyle Minton

"Driver" - Perfect Pussy

When the bandwagon took off for Perfect Pussy last year, pulled by beat up stock cars tearing away at an impossibly fast pace, I was comfortably and obliviously seated in the middle of the trailing dust cloud. I’m on board now, but that’s mostly due to the impossibility of being an internet denizen who’s not clinging to the crowded, rickety car. 

The punks out of Syracuse are quickly capitalizing on the hype. They’re touring North America throughout the rest of January and for the entirety of March. They’ve just released this firebrand, a guided missile that will chase you down and pummel you. You won’t mind. It’s the first single off of Say Yes To Love, their debut full-length due out March 18 via Captured Tracks. I wonder how my dad would feel about this as a birthday gift. 

This album and its oddly sweet title is likely to garner hyperbolic rave reviews from media outlets all over the internet, including this one. BNM’s may not be punk, but everything else about “Driver” certainly is. This wide-eyed ferocity cannot be denied; it burns into your chest as the guitars tunnel, unyielding, into your ears. It’s a Tasmanian devil whizzing around at Sonic the hedgehog speeds. It’s a flaming buzzsaw, which is something that we’ll probably see in Sharknado 2 (it won’t be as effective there). This is the feeling I get when I put on old Fucked Up tracks in my car’s cassette players. I have to go rage now.

Hit the jump for the tour dates. Plan quickly, the first one listed was last night. 

- Tyler Hanan

Say Yes To Love tracklist:

01. Driver
02. Bells
03. Big Stars
04. Work
05. Interference Fits
06. Dig
07. Advance Upon the Real
08. VIII

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Inventions trailer (Eluvium + Explosions in the Sky)

Eluvium’s Matthew Cooper and Explosion in the Sky’s Mark T. Smith have come together to form Inventions. This bit of perfect news was accompanied by a release date and track-listing for the project’s first, self-titled album, as well as a trailer. 

The one minute teaser gives away little, but it does reassure us that, yes, this will likely be the thick slab of elegant grandeur and graceful beauty that this union would have us predict.

The two have worked together before, with Smith playing on “Envenom Mettle,” a track off Eluvium’s gorgeous, expansive double album from last year, Nightmare Ending.

The album will be released on April 1 by Temporary Residence Ltd

1. Echo Tropism
2. Flood Poems
3. Entity
4. Luminous Insects
5. Peaceable Child
6. Sun Locations / Sun Coda
7. Recipient
8. Psychic Automation

- Tyler Hanan

"Plastic Soul" - YACHT

Yacht have premiered a video for new single “Plastic Soul,” there first single last year’s “Party at the NSA” and “Second Summer.” It’s undoubtedly YACHT, but unlike the bouncing, bursting-at-the-seams utopia that was much of 2011’s Shangri La, “Plastic Soul” is a comparatively lethargic mid-tempo single. It lazes in the bright California sun on a beach chair, head slowly bopping and drink dangerously close to slipping from its hand.

The similarly casual, ramshackle video was directed by Clay Tatum and Whitmer Thomas, and it was produced by Jash - you know, that comedy network from Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, Tim and Eric, and Reggie Watts. The cassingle is available through DFA, which has released the past two YACHT albums. DFA is also offering remixes from DNTEL and Gramme.. Whether this is a portent of new material to come or not is unknown. 

- Tyler Hanan

"Mess On A Mission" - Liars

The ever-evolving trio Liars will return later this year with the follow-up to 2012’s WIXIW. Selling new album Mess as a manifestation of confidence and an expression of exuberant fury, they’ve sent out an on-edge first single that pokes and prods with forceps of repetition, spare electric blips, and a spiraling chorus of taught, wild ecstasy. 

Similarly fascinating is the album trailer, with its music having a much more methodical build as it follows a brightly colored string. Two different sonic directions present in the initial press, but both promising something intriguingly off. Mess is due out on March 25 via Mute. Check out the tracklist and trailer below. 

1. Mask Maker
2. Vox Tuned D.E.D.
3. I’m No Gold
4. Pro Anti Anti
5. Can’t Hear Well
6. Mess On A Mission
7. Darkslide
8. Boyzone
9. Dress Walker
10. Perpetual Village
11. Left Speaker Blown

- Tyler Hanan

"Ben’s My Friend" - Sun Kil Moon

Mark Kozelek’s status as a noted wordsmith is in no danger of being questioned, but it’s still a bracing experience listening to “Ben’s My Friend” unfold. It’s a shame to spill the story without going on the journey, but it hardly spoils the experience of listening.

The way Kozelek relates the story, remembering in reverse, is flawlessly executed. Walking us backward from discomfort in a cafe to conflicted feelings driven by age and a touch of jealousy at a youth-infested, massively attended Postal Service show, Kozelek’s autobiographical, horn-laced slice of life is like an Isaac Brock/Jens Lekman baby. Saying that may seem a bit reductive, but it’s meant in the best way. It’s very modern classic, the turn of the century indie folk sound, which means my heart is right up there on the tee for Kozelek to knock out of the park.

Kozelek’s sixth album under the Sun Kil Moon moniker, Benji, will be out on February 4 on his own Caldo Verde

1. Carissa  
2. I Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love
3. Truck Driver
4. Dogs
5. Pray For Newtown
6. Jim Wise 
7. I Love My Dad
8. I Watched The Film The Song Remains The Same
9. Richard Ramirez Died Today Of Natural Causes
10. Micheline
11. Ben’s My Friend

- Tyler Hanan

"how i spent my summer" - Julia Brown

With To Be Close To You, Sam Ray shrugged off his previous project’s self-seriousness with indie-pop songs about love and the acceptance of loss. Though much of the record deals with unrequited (or at least uncertain) love, the debut has nothing to do with breakups. If anything, spending a literal summer with To Be Close To You taught me how much Ray has to offer when it comes to the concepts of nostalgia, love, and loss. “how i spent my summer” certainly appeases those seeking an aesthetically sad song, but the repetitious musings end up sounding more like fond memories. 

To Be Close To You is made up of a lot of past tenses, but like “how I spent my summer,” they’re almost all projected with warm harmonies and bright instrumentation. Your 2013 summer memories probably won’t sound as nice as this, wrapped up in a lo-fi pop song, but songs like these ought to remind you they’re still worth valuing. 

- Kyle Minton // NSB Songs of 2013

"Living Room" - Grouper 

There are few musicians better to be alone while listening to than Grouper’s Liz Harris. Harris’ music isn’t suffocating or alienating, but I always avoid the company of others when I turn on Dragging a Dead Deer Up a HillThe Man Who Died In His Boat is a batch of songs recorded during that session and “Living Room” is the most vivid shade of gray on the companion record. 

Harris’ vocals are strikingly lucid, easily one of her clearest vocal tracks in her discography, complete with vulnerable lyrics that squirm with discomfort:

I’m looking for the place where the spirit meets the skin/ can’t figure out why that place feels so hard to be in/ we’re all of us at this ill-fitting party / busy pretending to relate.” 

"Living Room" is more than a whisper-quiet anthem about kids with identity issues, however. It’s also a revealing glance at a songwriter who spends most of her time obfuscating her work with static. The droning is still there, packaged in the guitar’s languid pace, but the lyrical clarity changes everything. For a brief moment, Liz Harris is an identifiable character instead of a shroud of beautifully constructed noise. 

- Kyle Minton // NSB Songs of 2013

The Le Sigh Vol. 1 - The Le Sigh

Earlier this year, The Le Sigh released a fabulous bundle through Birdtapes. This bundle included a zine and a tape compilation from the blog, which is one of the better sites giving attention to women in music and art.

At least, I assume it was fabulous - I spaced on it while deep in the mire of less important life things, and I wasn’t aware of my oversight until the zines and tapes had sold out. I didn’t know much about the contents, but I was familiar enough with the work done by The Le Sigh and the plethora of featured artists to know that I, along with many others, had missed out. 

Fortunately for us, the late-passers and no-cashers, this week’s installment of The Le Sigh’s “Monday Mix” series was that very tape. The entire compilation is now available for free download over on Birdtapes’ bandcamp

The compilation includes songs and artists we’ve lauded here before - Infinity Crush, Yohuna, and R.L. Kelly - but there are many other deserving artists we were woefully ignorant of. For instance, Potty Mouth is a group I definitely should have heard by now

Another example: Lizard Kisses is a name I’d heard but not investigated. The luxurious “Little Things" has me scrambling to change that. Winter's “Find Me and its room-filling reverberations were yet another eye-opener, and… actually, I’ve already said too much about how I know too little.

Finish the new year strong with this compilation. Even the more plugged-in music nerds will find something new and delightful. Maybe we’ll all pay more attention when Volume 2 drops. 

- Tyler Hanan

"House Shape" - Mount Eerie

Earlier this year, Phil Elverum released Live In Bloomington, Sept. 30th, 2011. By my recconning, it’s Elverum’s third live album, his first since 2004’s Live in Copenhagen, and his third live album overall (he also had 2004’s Live in Japan under The Microphones moniker). 

With a tracklist spanning numerous Mount Eerie albums, Live In Bloomington is full of recognizable favorites. Hearing them in this setting is the true treat, though. The space has an off-world intimacy, and the arrangements are run through the keyboards and auto-tuned vocals (Pre-Human Ideas precursor) of Nicholas Krgovich and Julia Chirka.

More importantly, they feel right in how they are listed and arranged here. It’s not a “best of.” When the insistent throb of “House Shape” turns to the Twin Peaks surrealism of “Between Two Mysteries,” it feels proper. The omnipotent, all-of-time “Ancient Questions” turns to the homey humanity of “Karl Blau, and that’s the way it should be.

Any number of tracks could be plucked out and propped up as the “best,” especially with the fantastic renditions of “Karl Blau,”  ”Ancient Questions,” and “The Place I Live" that are present here. It is "House Shape" that wrecks me once more, though, just as it first did in the run-up to last year’s Clear Moon. It is a song that, both in its original recorded form and this one, shakes me to my core upon every reacquaintance. It toys with my being as if I am nothing. It leaves me a gelatinous, trembling thing comprised of nothing but terror and deconstructed emotions. 

- Tyler Hanan // NSB Songs of 2013