In an alternate universe somewhere, the arrival of Johnny Marr would’ve been covered by hovering helicopters and satellite news trucks. I mean, how often does one of the greatest guitarists the world has ever known and the founding member of one of the most influential bands in the history of music come to your town?
While the public at large may have been blissfully unaware, the assembled crowd at the Granada Theater Saturday night knew exactly how special this show was. Continue reading →
NYC’s Holy Ghost, heir apparent to the DFA crown, will release sophomore album Dynamics next month. It’s already been a big year for the synthpop acolytes, opening for their muse, New Order, on a string of US dates.
Today, Rolling Stone debuted the opening track from Dynamics, the slickly soulful “Okay”. It starts off a bit like OMD and busts out the Peter Hook bass for the big finale:
Proof that sometimes a song’s working title ends up on the album, “Dumb Disco Ideas” — another preview of Dynamics — is a floor filler in the cowbell wielding mold of James Murphy:
If you’re liking where this is headed, check out non-album track “Teenagers In Heat” with its ingenious homemade lyric video… and download it free, too:
Can’t wait for this one. Catch Holy Ghost on tour and pick up Dynamics September 10 on DFA.
So yesterday I excitedly posted about the new Neil Halstead project, Black Hearted Brother. Keeping our gaze squarely on the floor, here’s the latest from Dallas Slowdive disciples Little Black Dress.
Theirs is a more pop-centric brand of shoegaze, taking the reverb, guitar textures and buried vocals of the genre into a concisely tuneful direction. “Lowered Lids”, the lead single off forthcoming EP Dunes, drives that point home with its subtly catchy hooks:
The EP is a tidy 4-song package with a couple more dream pop anthems and the heavy-breathing instrumental title track. If you’re into spotify, stream the whole thing here:
Dunes will be available on iTunes via Idol Records August 27.
Seems 2013 is a banner year for shoegaze. Kevin Shields finally released new material from My Bloody Valentine, and now Slowdive’s Neil Halstead has triumphantly returned to the genre. His new project, also featuring Mark Van Hoen of Seefeel and Nick Holton of Coley Park, is a self-described “Spacerock / Light Entertainment fusion group” called Black Hearted Brother.
For those of us who have enjoyed Halstead’s Mojave 3 and solo work, but longed for him to break out the pedal board one more time, he promises debut album Stars Are Our Home will be appropriately shoegazey:
“(It’s) a lot of very long and indulgent space rawk. The idea was to just make a record that was in some ways ‘unedited’, to not worry about a particular sound or style, but to just go with the flow. We all make quite focused records individually so… it’s our ‘guilty pleasures’ album.”
If you think that sounds awesome, then wait til you hear lead single “(I Don’t Mean To) Wonder”:
Stars Are Our Home is due out October 22 on Slumberland.
Denton Texas’ Midlake have taken a long road between 2010′s Courage of Others and this fall’s fourth album, Anitphon. After more than a year of recording, frontman Tim Smith decided to leave the band late last year for solo project Harp and all the material was scrapped. As Smith tells it:
“I knew I was holding them back and I knew some of them felt the same way. There was no huge fight. I just felt it wasn’t going to happen (given there was only 1 song recorded in 2 years that I liked called “Festival”…which I’d love to see released someday) and thought they’d be better off without me and vice versa. I guess that was true cause they wrote and recorded all new songs in 6 months which has never happened with me at the helm. I wish them the best. I love them all and expect they’ll reach a much higher level of notoriety without me.”
While the last point is debatable, the remaining members, as well as new members Jesse Chandler and Joey McClellan, rallied around guitarist and new singer Eric Pulido completing Antiphon in record time. The result, Pulido says is “the most honest representation of the band as a whole, as opposed to one person’s vision that we were trying to facilitate.” The ol’ creative differences story once again.
Midlake Mach II has swerved away from the Brit folk of Courage and turned back to the more progressive ground covered on The Trials of Van Occupanther. Definitely still sounds like Midlake, with more urgency and a neo psychedelic edge. Listen to the title track below and download here for an email address.
It’s always unfortunate when bands splinter under pressure, but it seems Midlake proper will successfully carry on. And we’ll always have “Roscoe”:
Calhoun have been the forebears of Fort Worth, Texas’ burgeoning indie scene for years now, earning album of the year from the Fort Worth Weekly for 2011′s Heavy Sugar and gaining a passionate local following.
With this fall’s EP, Paperweights, they have their sights set higher. The foundational elements of Tim Locke’s incisive songwriting and delicate harmonies are still present, but they’ve fully embraced the pop songcraft that began to creep into their Americana sound on Heavy Sugar. If lead single “Fatal Flaws” is any indication, this EP will pack a suitcase full of hooks.
For an idea of where they’ve evolved from, here’s the ‘hit’ from Heavy Sugar, “Knife Fight”, which was shot all profesh-like to promote the band’s SXSW showcase last year:
Chillwave as a genre came and went, but as a state of mind it lives on. Ernest Greene’s bedroom project Washed Out releases its second album next week. Less immediate than debut Within And Without and even more lush than the Life of Leisure EP (so verdant, a cut was borrowed for the Portlandia theme), Paracosm is legal mood enhancement.
Greene strives to get lost in his sonic paracosm, inviting you along for the journey. It’s a dense forest of world rhythms, nature sounds, swelling strings, bright percussion, shimmering synths and his lazily detached vocals. The music washes over you like the gentle ripples of a sensory deprivation tank until all the thoughts polluting your mind float away. Give it a shot:
Lollapalooza 2013 packed record crowds into Chicago’s Grant Park. More than 300,000 trampled the grounds over the weekend, witnessing the triumphant stateside return of Nine Inch Nails and a delightfully old school 1-2 punch of New Order and The Cure.
As is the custom these days, live webcasts of select sets (no New Order, unfortunately) were available over the weekend, which if they’re worth a damn, eventually end up on youtube. Here, we’ll dispense with the also-rans and focus on the heavy hitters. First up, Trent Reznor and his revamped NIN live lineup. By all accounts, this was a killer set that bodes well for the rest of the tour and new album Hesitation Marks.
Copy of A
Came Back Haunted
March of the Pigs
Help Me I Am in Hell
Me, I’m Not
Find My Way
What If We Could?
The Way Out Is Through
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like a Hole
While the world hasn’t fallen in love with Bankrupt! quite as hard as Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, the quirky Frenchmen have grown to arena/festival closing status. Unlike their Coachella set, Phoenix had no surprise guests… just a tight collection of crowd pleasing hits.
Long Distance Call
The Real Thing
Too Young / Girlfriend
Run Run Run
Trying to Be Cool / Drakkar Noir / Chloroform
Love Like a Sunset / Bankrupt!
S.O.S. in Bel Air
If I Ever Feel Better / Funky Squaredance
Finally, The Cure have been crushing the international festival circuit for the past several years, but this was their first appearance at a U.S. festival in recent memory. Robert Smith knew his audience and leaned on the pop side of his catalog to dazzling effect.
This past April, OMD released its 12th full length, the second since Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys’ comeback in 2010. English Electric‘s third single is set to be the wistfully sweet “Night Cafe”, based on the art of Edward Hopper. You know, the guy whose painting Nighthawks was bastardized to include Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and James Dean?
Anyway, have a listen:
By the way, OMD made their first appearance ever on Jools Holland this year. Here’s English Electric‘s “Kissing The Machine” and the immortal “Enola Gay”:
As for the “Night Cafe” single, it’s a deluxe 10-track package with all the album b-sides. Check the track list:
The Great White Silence
No Man’s Land
Night Cafe (Vile Electrodes ‘B-Side the C-Side’ Remix)
A few weeks ago at Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, Cut Copy debuted a new tune in a rather elaborate way — hand cutting a limited number of 12″ singles for fans lucky enough to buy one. The track, “Let Me Show You”, is a throwback to early 90′s house music. From the piano breakdown at the 3:50 mark through the chants of “go” over the molasses thick bassline of the song’s climax, it’s a dead on homage.
Yesterday’s official upload is accompanied by some ‘magic eye’ art not for the easily seizure induced:
Kind of like the Andrew Weatherall remix of a love child conceived at a Primal Scream/Happy Mondays show.
If you’re interested watching hipsters wait patiently as vinyl is cut before their bespectacled eyes, here’s how it was done: