The narrative through-line’s essentially non-existent in “Dream Date”, leaving the clip to function and thrive on its own singular energy. Directed by Ben Dodd and Salad Boys’ guitarist/vocalist Joe Sampson, the clip finds Sampson placed front and center in various scenic locations. While his isolation could serve as a commentary on loneliness, there’s a wryness and contentment that centers Sampson’s performance and suggests that being alone can be an extraordinary thing. It’s a deceptively clever setup anchored by a committed performance- and a spry basement pop song- that lends “Dream Date” an unavoidable vibrancy. Irreverent, funny, and impossibly light, it’s the kind of video that can act as a reminder of the joy of simply being alive.
Watch “Dream Date” below and pre-order Metalmania ahead of its September 18 release date from Trouble In Mind here.
Going forward with the onslaught of posts designed to cover some of last week’s most notable music releases, this batch includes full streams and single songs alike, providing an illustrative scope of 2015’s continued kindness in the process. Family Bike’s Everything You Own Is Anagrammedproved to be as hellishly ferocious as expected while Old Table’s Save the Environmentcontinued to expand on that band’s early promise by virtue of being a masterful collection of outsider pop songs. Ultimate Painting’s “Break the Chain” offered an unexpectedly tantalizing glimpse at the band’s upcoming Green Lanes and theweaselmartenfisher continued a masterful run of eclectic covers with a deeply heartfelt rendition of Cat Power’s “Nude As The News“. La Lenguas offers up this collection’s pièce de résistance with “Love You All the Time”.
The first single to be released from the band’s upcoming Tears In My Milkshake, the song’s a sharply crafted blast of doo wop-inflected basement pop that’s reminiscent of latter era of site favorites Sleeping in the Aviary stripped of some of their fuzz. Propulsive and direct, the song’s sound structure and throwaway metaphors suggest that La Lenguas have tapped into a vein of music that’s been, somewhat frustratingly, undermined (at least at this level) over the past few years. There’s a giddy, frenetic energy that courses through the blood of “Love You All the Time”, rendering the tune endlessly playable. Bass runs, sharp melodies, and medium-fi production combine to form a retro aesthetic that suits the band perfectly and helps shape a song that feels like it’ll be part of one of 2015’s most enjoyable collections. Come join the party.
Listen to “Love You All the Time” and pick up the band’s debut EP, Tears In My Milkshake, from Burger.
Continuing on with tonight’s coverage of last week’s events in music, this will be the second post dedicated to showcasing the very best single streams that emerged last week (there were technical complications that disallowed much of anything being posted). With music videos already having earned their showcase and nearly a dozen songs being included in the last post, it’s time to double down on the songs that make up the remainder of last week’s haul. A few of the songs on display here rank among the best these bands have ever produced and deserve quite a bit of attention on their own merit- so, enough talking, let’s cut to the recap.
Dirty Dishes came charging out of the gate wild-eyed and swinging with the vicious post-punk burner “Red Roulette“, Kagoule set about achieving something similar via the decidedly off-kilter (and subtly menacing) “Gush“, and Happyness closed the 2014 chapter of the year’s best series- Art Is Hard’s Pizza Club- with the appropriately scuzzy “Jelly Boy (Jesus, Baby)“. Murder By Death made their return to the fore by virtue of the swirling “Strange Eyes“, Munroe made a deep impression with the starkly arresting “Bloodlet“, and Cloakroom advanced previous hints- in support of the increasingly problem claim- that Further Out will be one of 2015’s finest records via the unveiling of “Starchild Skull”. Mope Grooves cooked up the perfect sub-minute basement pop tune with the helpfully instructional “Don’t Sleep In Your Jeans“, Dick Diver released the triumphantly laid-back “Waste The Alphabet“, and site favorites Girlpool continued their impossibly winsome streak with the surprisingly searing “Alone at the Show“, one of the duo’s strongest songs to date.
Today’s feature falls to another site favorite, Quarterbacks, and their newest track, “Pool”. Quarterbacks had previously carved out a name for themselves via their excellent Double Double Whammy release, Quarterboy. Back when that was released, Quarterbacks (led by Dean Engle) was still very much a solo project but, somewhat curiously, for the project’s upcoming self-titled effort, it’s gone the full band route. Adding even more intrigue to this is the fact that the two songs (“Pool” and “Center“) to have been released from Quarterbacks so far already appeared on Quarterboy. Both songs take on a new vitality in the full band setting, though, rendering all of that background information fairly meaningless. “Pool”, in particular, is accentuated in fairly thrilling ways, with the rhythm section playing up the song’s manic neurosis. In typical Quarterbacks form, the whole thing’s over in under 90 seconds- but it still feels resoundingly complete. With the rate Engle & co. have been going, it’s well within the bounds of reason to fully expect Quarterbacks to emerge as one of 2015’s richest treasures. February 10 can’t get here soon enough.
Listen to “Pool” below and pre-order Quarterbacks from Team Love (who are releasing it in association with Double Double Whammy) here.
In the realms of the music video there was an equally plentiful pool of treasures that included Diarrhea Planet’s oddly compelling fantasia in “Kids“, Metronomy’s stunning woodland-set magic surrealism in “The Upsetter“, and Spider Bags’ subtly nightmarish visual effects collage “Eyes of Death“. Additionally, there was Dream Generation’s stark “The Spirit of America“, She Keeps Bees’ gorgeous “Owl“, Owen Pallett’s inexplicably powerful “In Conflict“, and Corners’ masterfully executed “The Spaceship“. As if that wasn’t enough, the full streams that appeared over the past few days matched the rough output of both the single song and music video output with some truly outstanding efforts coming to light- like Caddywhompus‘ strong bid for Album of the Year contention with Feathering A Nest. The Paperhead emerged with their latest throwback-heavy gem, Africa Avenue, while Parkay Quarts built on their renewed buzz with the wiry Content Nausea. Open Wide released a demo of quietly stunning folk-leaning ballads, Ex Cops threw a darkly-tinted dance party with Daggers, The Jazz June resurfaced with some shockingly strong material in After the Earthquake, and Nots left burn marks with the scalding punk tantrums of We Are Nots.
All of those items are worth sitting down and spending time with but it was recent Carpark Records acquisition Chandos’ “..Pretty Sure it’s ‘Tang Top'” that gets today’s feature spot. It’s a vicious piece of sharp, 90’s-indebted punk, equal parts Acid Fast, PS I Love You, and Speedy Ortiz, “..Pretty Sure it’s ‘Tang Top'” flies along, never bothering to do anything but build momentum through its myriad twists and sharp left turns. Tempos shift, personality gets exuded, and Chandos (formerly Chandeliers) wind up with something that sounds as raw as it does inspired. On Carpark’s ridiculously impressive roster, Chandos falls somewhere between Cloud Nothings and Popstrangers, which is really just shorthand for saying that Chandos’ upcoming record- Rats In Your Bed– is well worth an extremely high level of anticipation. If “..Pretty Sure it’s ‘Tang Top'” is any indication, Chandos is in the midst of a creative peak that will likely yield the band’s strongest material to date. If everything clicks as well as it does in this song, Rats In Your Bed could very well be the first great release of 2015 when it’s released on January 27. Mark the calendar now.
Listen to “..Pretty Sure it’s ‘Tang Top'” below and pre-order Rats In Your Bed from Carpark here.
A few of 2014’s most interesting releases surfaced this week and continued to expand 2014’s shockingly great output. There was Glish‘s unflinchingly heavy and absolutely monstrous self-titled shoegaze stunner, easily both one of 2014’s finest and most fascinating records. Sundials continued crafting excellent 90’s punk-indebted left-field powerpop with their KickEP, which is also their first effort for Topshelf Records and Espectrostatic offered up the eerie, foreboding ambient psych masterpiece Escape From Witchtropolisjust in time for Halloween- and some seriously great accompanying album art. Then there was the full stream of a record that’s (rightfully) earned a lot of love on this very site: Happy Diving’s BigWorld.
Ever since Happy Diving came roaring into view with songs like the irresistibly charged-up “Weird Dream“, Big World has been the kind of record teeming with enough potential to elicit salivation. Now that it’s finally out in the world, all of that anticipation has been obliterated; Big World annihilates those expectations. Savage, fuzzed-out, damaged, and absolutely massive even before it hits the halfway point, it’s a record that pays off Father/Daughter Records’ early investment in the band with what’s easily one of the year’s most essential records. Sequenced and produced to perfection, even the minutiae manages to come off as enviable. Only a little over a year into their career, Happy Diving are swinging for the fences and connecting with just about everything that falls into their aim(s). Bottom line: don’t miss this and support something great while it unfolds in the present.
Listen to Big World below and pre-order it from Father/Daughter here.
There are days where it can be difficult to scrounge up enough great new releases to warrant an introductory paragraph round-up and there are days that are so generously overflowing with great material it’s nearly impossible to figure out what to feature. Today fell squarely to the latter. There were no less than four outstanding releases in each of the major categories: single stream, music video, and full stream. Cool Ghouls’ psych-laced basement pop rager “And It Grows” gave some new promise to the upcoming record. Mean Creek‘s Chris Keene unveiled the most recent look at his Dream Generation project with the sparse “The Four of Us” and September Girls teased their upcoming EP with the snarling “Veneer“. Veronica Falls‘ James Hoare and Mazes‘ Jack Cooper started a new project called Ultimate Painting, who instantly turned some heads with the carefree open-road ramblings of “Ten Street“.
Over in the realms of the music video, Grubs, Frankie Teardrop (warning: heavy strobes), and Cloud Nothings all released clips defined by lo-fi experementalism while Snævar Njáll Albertsson’sDad Rocks! project dipped its toes into a gorgeously-lensed narrative involving a heavy existentialist crisis with “In the Seine”. In the space occupied by full streams, Dark Blue offered up their heavy-hitting Album of the Year contender Pure Realityand Tomorrows Tulips did the same for their career-best effort, When. Ex-Breathers made all 12 tracks (and 11 minutes) of their vicious upcoming 7″, ExBx, available for the world to hear, while Zola Jesus occupied similarly dark but incrementally softer territory with her upcoming effort, Taiga. A Winged Victory For The Sullen rounded out the full streams with another ambient near-masterpiece titled Atomos. Of course, there was one another full stream- but the link is being withheld until it’s accompanied by a forthcoming review. In the meantime, today’s focus will be on the song that defines that record: “Against the Moon”.
In an effort not to mince words, one thing should be noted before going any further- namely that Plowing Into The Field of Love is a masterpiece. No record this year has seen a more stunning creative growth or felt more important than Iceage’s new behemoth. Only three records into their still-young career and they’ve already emerged with a full-length that not only operates as a radical left turn but one that rivals anything from the creative rebirth of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds (or, the Let Love In era). Iceage’s first two records, New Brigade and You’re Nothing, were menacing works that a few people chalked up to exhilarating exercises in intimidation. On Plowing Into The Field Of Love the band relents from that approach and serves a hyper-literate Southern Gothic-indebted masterwork that sees them flexing boldly experimental muscle and an untapped well of what now appears to be endless ambition. No song on Plowing Into The Field of Love illustrates this more than the slow-burning “Against the Moon”, a song that’s well out of the confines of anything the band’s ever done but still feels wholly suited to their identity.
Opening with the quasi-mournful strains of a brass section, it quickly undercuts its brief introduction with shuffling drums and the sustained hums of a chord organ. In those opening 15 seconds, the band manages to establish an astounding grasp on a style that was previously completely foreign to them. By the time the string and piano arrangements kick “Against the Moon” up a few levels into the breathtakingly sublime, it’s one of the bravest things any band this year’s committed to a studio recording. As instrumentally thrilling as “Against the Moon” is, it’s the startling emergence of vocalist Elias Bender Rønnenfelt’s vulnerability that shifts the song from the sublime to the transcendental. For the first time, Rønnenfelt’s lyrics and vocals are given a platform that demands the listener’s unwavering attention and that level of investment is paid off in full. From the song’s arresting opening stanza, enhanced by Rønnenfelt’s world-weary drawl, it’s clear that his personal transition directly correlates with what the band’s accomplished in terms of musicality. “On a pedestal, shining bright. Justify me. Make me right. I can fight it; make it roam- but a fugitive has a tendency to return home.” is the kind of opening line that suggests a genuinely great writer- that the rest of Iceage seems to have embraced and experienced the same level of maturity and rapid artistic growth as Rønnenfelt in the short year that’s followed You’re Nothing is nothing short of mind-bending.
A song that literally arrives with horns, “Against the Moon” stands as Iceage’s definitive entry into the band’s sudden new era, the strongest representation of Plowing Into The Field Of Love‘s myriad of sudden changes, and one of the most immediately striking songs to emerge from the past 4 years. Stripped back far enough to be completely exposed, Iceage shows the world all of its scars, all of its imperfections, and all of its entire being- and it’s a tremendous thing to experience. Even considering all of their previous sonic aggression, nothing they’ve ever produced has hit with a fiercer impact. For a band that’s aim has always been to wound, it’s a devastating reverse that leaves them sounding wounded- but bravely resilient. It’s extraordinarily effective and unflinchingly courageous. Most importantly, “Against the Moon” is the crown jewel of what deserves be regarded as one of this decade’s most important records. Make sure to give this the attention it deserves.
Listen to “Against the Moon” below, pre-order Plowing Into The Field Of Love from Matador here, and keep an eye on this site for a full review at some point in the coming week.
With another good day for great music winding to a probable close, once again, we’re left with a few things to cover. Among them: an outstanding Yves Saint Laurent-commissioned single from Cherry Glazerr called “Had Ten Dollaz“, the first look at former Texas is the Reason vocalist Garret Klahn’s upcoming 7″, and a catchy bit of weirdness from Trouble in Mind psych-poppers The Paperhead. Over in the more visual mediums, Mazes made one hell of an impression by balancing the nightmarish and the surreal with a comedic touch in their video for the already-outstanding “Salford“. Even with that taken into consideration, the temptation to feature Sonic Avenues’ music video for their most recent effort (and not the reissue of their should-be-classic self-titled effort) proved to be too much, so today’s feature falls to “Teenage Brain”.
Mistakes has proven to be one of 2014’s easy highlights and “Teenage Brain” still managed to stand out, so giving it a video was a logical move. What defies traditional logic is how the David Dunham-directed video gets maximum impact out of decidedly minimal effects. “Teenage Brain” on its own is a coursing, no-holds barred basement punk ripper with a tremendous amount of pop influence- recalling (to an almost frightening degree) the music Jay Reatard was cranking out during his transition from Goner to Matador. All the video does is throw the band over various low-budget effects creating a manic psychedelia that plays into the band’s penchant for frenzy extraordinarily well. Everything clicks here on a level that surpasses any expectations that the pitch for this video likely brought about. To top the entire thing off, they included a credits end-tag brimming with a distinctive brand of subtle humor. None of this should work as well as it does but it’s hard to argue against perfect execution. All in all, this is easily one of this month’s most compulsively watchable videos. Watch it and hit repeat.
“Teenage Brain” can be seen below and Mistakes can be orderedfrom Green Noise here.