Music To Start The Week With #056
by: Diego Martínez
October 22, 2012
Time to wake up, smell the coffee (or juice, whatever tickles your bone) and grab a pair of headphones to listen to one of the best reasons to get up on an early Monday morning!
Once again, we bring a carefully curated selection of songs that will guide you on what’s new and not so new in the evolving world of music. From indie, to lo-fi, psychedelic and electro, it’s a feast for the ears. But since this is playlist number 56, your ears are probably used to such delights.
From 1 to 10, here are this week’s tunes:
Kicking off our WILD playlist is the frontman of the indie rock group The New Pornographers, A.C. Newman. Eight years since his last solo effort, 2004′s The Slow Wonder, Newman has released his third album Shut Down the Streets, a record filled with confessional, acoustic compositions and elaborate arrangements. In the LP’s opener and lead single “I’m Not Talking,” the singer manages to meld folksy guitar and bright horns together with spacy synthesizers a-la Freelance Whales. Catchy and easy to listen to, as always.
Meghan Remy has been making some pretty experimental lo-fi rock as U.S. Girls since 2008. This week sees the release of her forth album GEM, continuing her collaboration with producer and mixer Slim Twig. Recently, Meg directed and filmed the video for the song “North On 45,” starring Lulu Hazel Turnbull. The clip was shot with very limited props (one camera, one car, one woman and one silk robe) and it attempts to create an open narrative about a struggle for power. Is Turnbull running away or towards the lights? Can she be doing both? Make your own conclusions while watching the piece and listening to this powerful tune.
NY-Berlin trio Fenster was just one in a bundle of acts who rocked CMJ last week, with a set performed at Trash Bar. If you don’t know about them, here’s a quick recap: Jonathan Jarzyna, JJ Weihl and Rémi Letournelle recorded their debut Bones (out now via Morr Music) with producer Tadklimp in just eight days. Plus, their name means “window” in German and it occurred to them when an actual window fell on Weihl’s head while recording. “Oh Canyon” (from Bones) might have a certain laid-back energy, but its lyrics are definitely dark and sinister. Getting serious Velvet Underground vibes here.
Also on CMJ last week was LA’s Line & Circle, a band born out of the collaboration between friends Brian J. Cohen & Brian Egan. The outfit grew to a five-piece (with guitarist Eric Neujahr, bassist Nathan Gammill and drummer Nick Cisik) and took to the studio with the help of Lewis Pesacov, who previously produced debut albums for Best Coast and Nikki Lane. Their flare for early 4AD dream pop and chiming I.R.S. Records-era guitar rock resulted in a brilliant 7″ entitled “Roman Ruins,” out now on White Iris Records.
Fresh from several gigs supporting breakout New Zealand singer Kimbra, The Stepkids have released a charming single “Sweet Salvation,” which is a preview of the Connecticut trio’s upcoming sophomore album, scheduled for 2013. It takes us on a spacey journey through electronic beats and psychedelic funk/pop. The tune is also matched with a cool and trippy video, directed by the band’s live light show collaborator Jesse Mann.
In four years, Ethan Kath and Alice Glass have gone from polarizing and polemic punks to legitimately musically interesting artists. They may be poised to take that next step forward with their third album Crystal Castles III, out November 13th. We’ve already heard the menacing “Wrath of God” and now “Plague” shows a little bit of that melodic side of Cystal Castles, very much like “Celestica” (from Crystal Castles II). Once again, Alice’s ethereal vocals take center stage for a track that’s basically epic all round.
Another ‘epic’ track that is currently surfing the blog waves is Bassnectar’s “Freestyle,” the first of six other songs off his free Freestyle mixtape. It definitely lives up to its name: a classic 808 hip hop with a series of twists and turns, like wild Tarzan-esque jungle calls and hot rapping courtesy of Angel Haze. Being creative and letting loose on a record never sounded better!
Before she was known to the Western world as Johnny Depp’s wife (now, sadly ex), singer Vanessa Paradis was a household name in her native France since she was only 13 years-old. In 1988, Paradis released her debut album M&J, including the cutesy and jazzy hit “Joe Le Taxi,” the tale of a Paris taxi driver naturally named Joe. Her childlike voice was a shoe-in for a 2003 underground cover by a former junior geisha, Japanese musician Hanayo.
London-based electro DJ Erol Alkan is the focus of a new Bugged Out mix and Bugged In selection for the legendary “Bugged Out.” The compilation includes several of his favorites, like Jimmy Edgar’s “This One’s For The Children.” I’m letting Alkan get his say about this particular song: “Reminds me of all the best bits of 1991 and 2001 combined together (I can hear shades of Gigolo Record and Ministry combined in this one). Jimmy Edgar keeps developing and ever-changing, like all the best artists.” We’ll take his word and dance to it all night.
At last, the final piece in our musical puzzle. It comes from German producers Satin Jackets and it’s all about feeling good. When you have a song that flawlessly fuses together a crisp melody with a background synth progression that is simply on point, what’s not to feel good about? It’s simple, delicate and enough to have you groove to it. Makes for a perfect ending!