Wait. Didn’t plucky dream pop goddess Emily Reo just release a full length record? The answer is yes. And yet that means apparently very little as the now Los Angeles based Reo teamed up with those cool peeps over at Portals to film a session featuring an unreleased song “Spell”. It’s like they knew their just wasn’t enough awesome music in the world, even after the release of Reo’s debut full length Olive Juice and sought to rectify that by casting another of one Reo’s experimental pop gems into the digital ether.
One of my favorite things about Emily Reo is how no two song are even remotely the same. While Olive Juice was stitched together more by tonal rather than textural or thematic cohesiveness, “Spell” or at least this version of it populates an entirely different realm. There’s still Reo’s trademark vocal affecting pedal-play but it’s arrestingly sparse, beguiling in its sense of solitude. It’s not until a third of the way through the song that anything vaguely resembling accompaniment establishes itself – appearing like a safety net you were never quite sure was there. And even then – the accompaniment takes the shape of looped harmonies, rather than anything else. It’s an avalanche of beautiful moments stacking on top of each other one by one climaxing with Reo’s emotive howls.
Long story short, “Spell” is downright devastating in its beauty. Despite its complex construction, it comes off with effortless ease and blissful rawness. Don’t be surprised if you find you’ve suddenly got something in your eyes – it comes with the territory.
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Streets of Laredo are Brooklyn babies by way of New Zealand. They made their way around the CMJ circuit last month and turned a many heads, including the two ears attached to my own. Energetic live music doesn’t always translate well to recorded renditions (RIP, Gobble Gobble) but that doesn’t seem to the be case for this band of hooligans. They flirt on the border of folk music, seeping their musical tea-bags in the twang of hot water just long enough before ripping it out with triumphant melodies. The only problem is that they rip the tea-bag so hard, it’s left seeping in the twang a bit longer before they spoon it out with enough reverb to leave one’s head spinning.
I’ve got two things for you to do. 1. Listen to the premiere of their second EP Vol. II exclusively below. 2. Take a wild guess as to what I was doing when I was listening to, then, writing this post.
I was hoping Matt Kivel would eventually get this track — “Double Exposure”, the title track from his gorgeous debut LP — out into the world. The Princeton man’s album is one of my favorite this year, with “Double Exposure” easily cracking my most played of the year. A wonderfully Kinksy, fuzzily lazy, late Autumn tune that’s bound to end up in a Wes Anderson soundtrack sooner or later:
Previously: “Rainbow Trout” / “Tetro” MP3s
Totally worth your time to check out the above Shaking Through session for Celestial Shore‘s “Die For Us”, featuring long time friend and collaborator Empress Of (Lorely Rodriguez). If you’re not familiar with Shaking Through, they document the creation of a song from first take to final mix over two days. The video above is the documentary short, and the stream below is the gorgeous end result:
Celestial Shore are responsible for one of my favorite songs ever covered on IGIF:
It’s kind of a marvel that contrary to her mounting popularity Lorely Rodriguez aka Empress Of only has a couple of songs out. Releasing her first tracks in the form of a 7″ late last year before her Systems EP streeted earlier this year, it’s been a slow and steady build for Empress Of. She serves as an example of the industry getting it right, captivated by her first recordings and only becoming more enamored with each subsequent release. Rodriguez’s full length is probably as hotly anticipated as any and yet Empress Of maintains a careful plod with a full length presumably on the horizon (but no real word of it yet).
“Realize You”, her first single since Systems‘ “Hat Trick” and “Tristeza” sees Empress Of shuffling off in a far dancier direction than we’ve heretofore been privy to. While “Hat Trick” and “Tristeza” spotlighted Rodriguez’s risky but flawless vocals, “Realize You” takes it a step further and pairs them with unconventional beats that still manage to highlight her stellar vocal prowess and pitch perfect melodies. True to form, “Realize You” is an absolutely incredible pop confection that establishes patience as the most important virtue where Empress Of is concerned; another exceptional addition to a gradually expanding catalog of songs.
Above is the beautiful song/video “Shortline” from Australia-via-LA singer/songwriter RY X (formerly Ry Cuming, also probably in the not-from-Berlin electronic duo The Acid) and electronic producer Frank Wiedemann, who is definitely from Berlin, who combined call themselves Howling. Got all that? No? Don’t worry about it. In either intentional hype-building mystery, or ineptitude, or a bit of both, the fog will eventually lift and we’ll all be better for it. But in the meantime, RY X, The Acid, and now Howling are three of the most exciting things I’ve heard this year, they’re all probably related, and they’re all just beginning to scratch the surface of their careers.
We’re all winners, is what I’m trying to say.
Just a month ago, we were introduced to the endlessly infectious summer summoning vibes of Katonah, NY duo Yellerkin‘s “Solar Laws”. So infectious in fact that since first hitting play, I’ve had a very hard time listening to anything else. Nearly at 6,000 plays on Soundcloud I can attest that a large portion of those are most likely from me.
Instantly charmed, when the duo promised more, I was elated that Yellerkin would continue their total domination of my ear drums. It may have taken a month but Yellerkin’s new track “Vines” is here. For those expecting “Solar Laws” Pt. 2,”Vines” is nothing of the sort; trading in its buoyant elation for simmering balladry yet not completely without a bit of a forward push. It’s not until a breakdown right before the end that “Vines” picks up. Until then “Vines” is content to revel in its vocal-showcasing slow jam potential.
Yellerkin are currently at work on a EP and if “Solar Laws” and “Vines” are anything to go off of, it’s going to be downright majestic. Here’s hoping it’s coming soon.
Philly’s resident “sex pop” glam rockers Night Panther come back with what seems like their hundredth gorgeous opus of the year with “Pleasure To Meet You”, the opening track to their self-titled debut LP which dropped late this summer. If you’re down with organ based anthems with some of the best vocals this side of the Mississippi, this track with be just the Wednesday wake-up you need (via yvynyl):
Say what you will about the “Loudness war” and audio peaking, some songs were just meant to be loud. Distractingly, explosively, jack-hammeringly loud. And when you pair these kinds of subsonic organ bellows with such angelic vocal harmonies, and set upon that sonic substructure a frenzied melody so addictive that even heroine addicts would drop the needle in a wide eyed stare, what can you expect but that your listeners be blanked, melting like wayward ice into parched soil. Some people like passive listening, music-as-background-filler, but Night Panther thankfully reject that. Here’s hoping they keep churning out the gold.
“Nada Em Vão” is the hazy opening track off Little Joy guitarist and frequent Devendra Banhart collaborator Rodrigo Amarante‘s latest record, the beautiful, sleepy and occasionally stunning Cavalo.
Listen to Cavalo streaming in full at Rodrigo Amarante’s soundcloud page »
One of the overlooked little tidbits of industry banter I picked up at this year’s CMJ was that Colin Caulfield, the Chicago artist known as Young Man, hung up the microphone and moved to New York looking for new/bigger/better things. Young Man, who produced three fantastic albums and an EP in their four year span, are no longer. (This was apparently always the plan, three “volumes” to be released before shutting down the project). While I’m incredibly bummed by that, and also by the news that he’s currently a keyboardist in DIIV (put down the gun, Colin), I trust he’ll find and blaze a new path soon and we’ll all be better for it. Sounds like he’s already recording new material.
In the meantime, I stumbled upon yet another gem in the overwhelming sea of his creativity: a cover of Rufus Wainwright fan favorite “Going To A Town”, from 2007′s Release The Stars »
DIIV bros, you can keep Sky Ferreira. Just please give us back our Colin safe and sound, no questions asked.
The mystery surrounding Hypeworthy Berlin band The Acid continues with this aptly dark and spooky video for EP highlight “Animal”. When you’ve got a singer with Justin Vernon like chops and the sort of nuanced and free flowing production inherent to the music, you really can’t stay anonymous forever.
I have a feeling we’ll find out soon enough: additionally there’s a new press photo, showing the darkened faces of the trio’s members. I still get a feeling that one of them is RY X, but that can’t yet be confirmed or denied.
Until we know more:
Listen to the entire brilliant EP streaming at The Acid’s soundcloud page »
Considering how much horror movies inspired the creation of his latest album Huntress, I really wasn’t that surprised when Camp Counselors‘ Kyle Reigle announced that the cassette label he co-founded, Snowbeast Records, would be releasing a Halloween themed compilation.
Featuring contributions from Field Mouse, Psychic Twin, and countless others, the real stand out of the compilation is a sprawling 7 minute track by Snowbeast Records’ co-founder/Cemeteries band member Jon Ioviero’s own side project Seismograph.
“The Fear” is perhaps less obvious in its Halloween inspiration than many of the compilation’s other tracks that make explicit references to things that go bump in the night. Instead its pervasive sense of eerie calm really taps into the feeling of walking alone down a dimly lit street or watching a scary movie in the dark. It’s the feeling of a quiet, seething mystery that spirals into and fuels those spooky things, the jumping off point that earns chilling thrills and terrifying scares.
“The Fear” creeps forward like shadows in low light with its growing intensity in the periphery, cultivating a spooky chill without having to resort to theatrics. It’s also an enjoyable slow burning pop number featuring Reigle on backing vocals, for what it’s worth.
Toronto-turned-New-York native Warren Hildebrand, aka Foxes in Fiction, has certainly had a lot of his plate as of late. From a relocation to the US, co-founding limited-run cassette label Orchid Tapes, putting the finishing touches on a forthcoming full length album, and mastering a proverbial boatload of other people’s albums, he’s been a busy man indeed and yet aside from a one-off track produced with Cemeteries for Stadiums & Shrines earlier this year, there’s been a real shortage of new music.
Created for brand new compilation cassettes in support of Orchid Tapes’ showcases, Foxes in Fiction finally has some new tracks. Well sort of new. “Breathing In”, the brief dreamy number featured on the second Orchid Tapes compilation Angeltown, is constructed from bits and pieces of another Foxes in Fiction song looped into something incredibly different. While it’s sort of a “blink and you might miss it” sort of affair, it’s a rather captivating 2 minutes of ethereal atmospherics that stick with you long after it fades away.
Meanwhile “Revisions”, featured on the first Orchid Tapes compilation What Would Your Closest Friends Do?, turns it’s succinctness into a billowing sprawl that fills every second with mesmerizing swells that’s essentially Foxes in Fiction’s trademark.
They may not be all that long but it’s nice to hear some new sounds from Foxes in Fiction while he puts the finishing touches on his full length. Until we’re lucky enough to get that in our ears, these short pieces will do quite well.
While the cassettes for each compilation you can pick up digital downloads at the Orchid Tapes Bandcamp store »
What: Floating Fest CMJ 2013
When: Thursday, October 17th (2013)
Duration: 1:00 PM – 6:30PM
1:00 – The BOTS
2:00 – TV Girl
3:00 – GEMS
4:00 – The Preatures
5:00 – Wild Cub
6:00 – holychild
1:30 – The Everywheres
2:30 – School of Night
3:30 – J Fernandez
4:30 – The Range
5:30 – Psychic Twin
I have no idea what it is about Florida — Gainesville, in particular — that breeds such innovation but someone needs to put some research into it and start pumping whatever’s in the water down there into the general water supply. Experimental pop trio Hear Hums‘ recently released EP takes world music fascination and explodes it – cramming it with a multitude of sounds from bird chirping to floor creaks, to non-lyrical vocal moans and groans.
The EP functions so cohesively: buoying the energy from each track into the next one that it’s hard to place just one or even two tracks that properly sum up what Hear Hums do so effortless on EP. “Ceiling Scraper”, however, comes mighty close. You see “Ceiling Scraper” is the moment on the EP where the vocals truly make themselves known. Sure there’s it’s predecessor “Porch Pursuits” with it’s barely-there hints of vocals and whistles but “Ceiling Scraper” sees the vocals presented in earnest.
Amid a sea of percussion composed of clattering drumstick taps, the vocals play a dual part, taking on a percussive edge while harmoniously in tune with each other. They’re pleasant but not without purpose, driving things forward in much the same way drums would. There’s even a slight electronic haze for an added textural flavor without obscuring any of the track’s simple-seeming assortment of layers.
Cate Le Bon‘s incredible new album Mug Museum is almost here (November 11th), and there’s no better way to get psyched than with this lovely pearl of a track featuring a duet with Perfume Genius‘s Mike Hadreas. The Welsh artist blends seamlessly with the Seattle soloist, with her effervescent pop lightly dusting the air the way that Serge Gainsbourg and Nico did decades ago. I really could listen to music like this all damn day:
Mug Museum is out November 11th via Turnstile Music. Preorder the vinyl here »
Yellerkin is a dude living in Brooklyn, but like all dudes living in Brooklyn he’s really from somewhere else. This particular somewhere else is Katonah, NY, named that way after the Sachem of the Ramapough Indians of the Algonquin tribe. Yellerkin mentions on his Soundcloud page that Martha Stewart tried to name some shitty product of hers “Katonah” in 2007 and was abruptly bitch-slapped with a lawsuit by the tribes’ descendants. Truth, Justice, the American way.
A fun bit of color for one hell of a colorful song:
Kudos to Lee from Knox Road for jumping on this back in July.