“Retrograde” - James Blake
Well! It’s about time right? After steadily releasing material in a rather prolific fashion, Blake took two years off to refine his sound and develop a strategy for his next album. Shedding his dubstep past for the new R&B influx, Blake really shines in this moody crooner, more in-line with his “Case of You” cover from last year than any of his older material.
The video depicts a girl biker dealing with supernatural influences, rocks floating, meteorites, and above all, herself. It’s beautifully shot and a great depiction of Blake’s direction.
Overgrown, is due April 8th. Expect more track leaks in between.
“Dropla” - Youth Lagoon
Trevor Powers may still be the aurally timid, mousy-looking young man that wrote 2011’s The Year of Hibernation, but outward appearances are all that lingers in the new Youth Lagoon track “Dropla.” The skeletal compositions that drove Hibernation have been filled with striking color, and even Powers’ lyrical ambiguity has been sharpened: “You weren’t there when I needed,” Powers poignantly declares. You can probably attribute the surrealist motions of the music to the involvement of producer Ben H. Allen, but Powers’ gentle spirit remains underneath the louder textures. Download the track for free and then wait patiently for Wondrous Bughouse to drop March 5 via Fat Possum.
- Kyle Minton
“Pretty Boy” - Young Galaxy
Something about the last Young Galaxy album, Shapeshifting, made me think it was going to blow up. It had such a current sound I thought everyone would be into it, but I found my friends couldn’t absorb it’s depth in the same way I could. Maybe because it’s so plain? There’s nothing new about the sound of Young Galaxy. There are no ideas. They aren’t doing anything fancy or interesting. But they can take a step back and let the songs speak for themselves.
“Pretty Boy” is a new track from their upcoming album Ultramarine, due in April from Paper Bag. It adds layers of strings and an emotional build absent from anything on Shapeshifting; proof of growth, and a nice touch that makes the new release nothing but promising.
“Love (Dub)” - Fort Romeau
Kingdoms was one of my favorite albums last year. It had an intrinsic understanding of house music, what worked, and how to make it better. Fort Romeau continues the formula here, basically combining “Theo” and “Night Bridge” (two of my favorites) into a new track that would easily fit on the album. It’s nothing new for the band, but it still sounds exciting and vibrant, like a classic sound that couldn’t ever age. Can we have the next release already?
“Havana Tonight” - Dear Blanca (Nothing Sounds Better premeire)
We’ve been given the lead single off the upcoming Dear Blanca album, Talker, to share today. It’s a slow, folksy track - very emotional in that “down home,” little big band way. Dylan Dickerson warbles and waves with a raw voice for a one-time lover. “I will love you forever,” he says. I’m not sure who sings to; I hope it’s not the gentleman on the album art (that rather worse-for-wear gent to the left).
Dylan Dickerson is the former drummer of Pan, another piece of Post-Echo talent. Talker comes out February 12th through Post-Echo.
“Library” - Julia Brown
Does a man like Sam Ray ever sleep? After wooing us all last year in morbid lo-fi indie-pop with Teen Suicide, the prolific songwriter has involved himself in a new group called Julia Brown. The band’s Facebook page has already released the name of the record—it’s to be close to you, for the record—along with the artwork, though it’s thanks to Mat Cothran (Coma Cinema, Elvis Depressedly) that we all get to hear the first taste, “Library.”
The disembodied vocals and talk of apparitions should feel familiar, but it’s the haphazard elegance in the string arrangements that brings to mind images of comfort: the aimless flail of dancing with friends, a flickering lamppost guiding you home, and maybe even the longing of the winter we’re all currently experiencing in the States. If nothing else, it’s a song to stay warm to.
- Kyle Minton
“Don’t” - Butterclock
If you picked up last year’s oOoOO EP, then you’ll be familiar with this singer. After being featured on the tracks “NoWayBack” and “Springs,” Butterclock is moving on to release her debut EP, First Prom. It’s got that irreplaceable combination of downtempo beats and hazy vocals that make it clear why she was featured on Our Love is Hurting Us. In this video, she’s found in a myriad of places like a hazy rave room or a city square while playing with sparklers. While there is no specific date available, the First Prom EP is set for release in February. Pre-orders are currently available at FANTASYmusic.
- Kevin Tappin
“Glowing” - Dream Curtain
Someone describe the adjective “trill” to me. I feel like applying it to this track, but I don’t know the specifics of it. “Glowing” is definitely “chill,” but I feel like that isn’t quite adequate in putting a name to what’s happening here. It’s chill while also being upbeat enough to bop your head to; it’s lo-fi and bedroom-y, but it’s also quite refined and soars a bit higher than what you’d normally label “bedroom pop.” It’s… living room pop? We’ll workshop it.
“Glowing” (which premiered on Neighborhood Tapes, it should be noted) is fairly standard at first, all falsetto singing paired with hazy, floating pop electronica. It does have that subversive bass beat, though, and when the album hits a more down to earth, instrumental movement at about 1:18, the track really takes off. William Hamparsomian then adds a waving synth to a beat that’s somehow oceany without being aqueous at 2:04, amping up a track that’s already surprised once. Hamparsomian’s return at a lower register late in the track is a much more effective vocal, leaving us with a track that has a really nice structure and build to it. I hope his other songs turn out as well as this one did, as I’ll definitely be diving into a few of them later.
- Tyler Hanan
“White Noise ft. AlungaGeorge” - Disclosure
We feature Disclosure here a lot. We love Disclosure. We also feature AlunaGeorge a lot. We love AlunaGeorge. Now they have a track together. And I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking ‘wow, supergroups suck. I can’t wait to see how awful this track is. Just like the awful new music I’m sure the Postal Service will put out in three months.’ But you listen anyway. Because you have to. Because you have to know what it’s like. Just like that new Postal Service track due in three months. It will be there. You will sigh. You will expect utter disappointment. You will expect shame and guilt. You will hit play.
AND THEN YOU WILL DANCE BECAUSE WHAT WERE YOU THINKING THIS SHIT IS AMAZING
“Liberty” - JFS
Post-Echo-backed creator of art both audio and visual JFS (Jason F. Stroud) has announced the release of his first full-length album, Artax Lost Forever. Check out the nifty album art below, with it’s mix of brightly lit tree-man and modern font. For a taste of what the album could sound like, check out this JFS single from late last year. It has a really heavy curtain of a beat backdropping the entire track, cloaking an at times quite busy, very deep space surface. It sounds very “serious business,” and it’ll be interesting to see if the whole album takes on that dire tune.
- Tyler Hanan