I forgot both members of Coil have passed away. It makes me sad to remember such deep influences are gone…John Balance ten years ago, Sleazy just four.
Their catalog is vast, andI learned a lot about experimental music from digging through their many albums, EPs and side projects as a teenager. While I don’t love everything they produced, it was all visceral and deeply earnest.
Julianna Barwick has returned with the single ‘One Half’. Off the forthcoming Icelandic influenced Nepenthe, the lead video offers a shift in style and an interesting interpretation of personal duality. The two halves of Julianna’s self occupy vastly different places; one in a halogen lit empty car park and the other in a lush, surreal forest populated by a psychedelic cake. The song, while utilizing the same looping ambiance, uses discernible vocals as elements in the layers. They’re structural, less as lyrics to tell a story but an functional part of the tonal whole. It’s charming, etherial as always, but somewhat grounded by the tangible english.
The whole album isn’t as different as ‘One Half’, with much the rest of the album remaining true to what you’d expect from Barwick’s shimmering vocals. A few tracks feel heavily influenced by the Icelandic recording location, the hand of producer Alex Somers and cameos by members of local heavyweights Mum & Amiina. ‘Pyrrhic’ feels the most imbued by the land, built out of sighing strings, high choral vocals and an enveloping ascending melody akin to Sigur Ros’s finer moments. The album on the whole works, both newly arrived elements and familiar ones.
You can stream Nepenthe over at NPR Music. You can also pre-order the album via SC Distribution. First run of the vinyl comes in a limited edition gold and includes a poster worthy of the Icelandic tourism board.
Longtime friends and twin sisters Katie and Allison Crutchfield, (Waxahatchee and Swear, respectively) were commissioned by the music blog Rookie to record a cover for their site’s monthly theme. Their choice of ‘Oblivion’ was an odd one on paper, but the simple synth bounce translates well when fed through the jangle and reverb. I’m always happy to be wrong.
You can read Rookie’s interview with the Crutchfield twins here.
Continuing the precedent of Adult Swim’s dedication to bring you amazingly good compilations for free, 2013 has brought us the filthy stomp of Garage Swim. Who can say no to such a fine bunch of musicians, as per this track listing below:
1. Bass Drum of Death – “Dregs”
2. Apache Dropout – “Constant Plaything”
3. Thee Oh Sees – “Devil Again”
4. King Tuff – “She’s on Fire”
5. JEFF the Brotherhood – “Melting Place”
6. Black Lips – “Cruising”
7. King Khan and the Gris Gris – “Discreate Disguise”
8. Mikal Cronin – “Better Man”
9. Mind Spiders – “They Lie”
10. Cheap Time – “Kill the Light”
11. King Louie’s Missing Monuments – “Covered in Ice”
12. OBN IIIs – “A Good Lover”
13. The Gories – “On the Run”
14. King Khan – “Strange Ways”
15. Weekend – “Teal Kia”
Download the compilation over at adultswim.com. As well, check out 2 video features on Mikal Cronin and King Tuff by Yours Truly while you’re there.
This year’s collection has tracks from Run The Jewels (Killer Mike & EL-P), Metz, Autre Ne Veut, MadLib, Mac DeMarco, Lightning Bolt, Lil B, Captain Murphy, Pig Destroyer. Free downloads will be doled out weekly over the course of the summer.
Previous Williams St. Records complinations include:
Lupe Fiasco’s recent release uses a chunk of this year’s also amazing ‘Ingenue’, by Atoms For Peace. His version of the song pairs the meandering synth lead and skittering beats with a dense critique of, well…a lot of things. The song is incredibly layered and a reminder that the frequently outspoken MC is a vastly talented writer. He announced this year that his finished album Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Part 2 will be shelved and he is “starting with a new album that’s called Tetsuo & Youth. It’s a different angle and twist.” No word on if Animal Pharm will be on Tetsuo & Youth.
Let’s not forget that ‘Ingenue’ is also one of the better singles of the year, with what will probably end up as one of my favorite videos of the year. Though every music blog on the internet posted about it back in February, but as internet years are like dog years squared, take another look:
The simple set-piece was designed by Wayne McGregor, resident choreographer at London’s Royal Ballet. Yorke’s coconspirator in the video is Fukiko Takase, a dancer who is part of McGregor’s renowned group Random Dance. McGregor was also the man behind the moves that most everyone thought were spasmodically improvised in the previous Radiohead clip for Lotus Flower. It’s quite awesome to release his movements are intentional in that video.
The video’s director, Gareth Jennings was one half of the now defunct directing duo Hammer and Tongs. That pair has created a bunch of interesting clips over the years: including Vampire Weekend’s spazzy A Punk, the classic Coffee & TV video for Blur and the mostly maligned, but still I love it feature adaptation of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
Well, that was interesting…from Lupe to Hitchhikers Guide in 5 moves. Not bad.