The kind of trajectory that The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have taken with their sound can be appreciated visually through their album covers. Compared to the elegant black and white of their excellent debut, Belong is an explosion of pastel hues and even softer tones. Album opener and title track Belong stands out for me, I love how heavy handed they have been with the distortion on the guitars, the brash crunchiness quickly makes way for the softly sung vocals which pack a punch of their own in terms of melody. It’s not necessarily the most memorable song on the album but for me its the most complete. To be honest, as much as I am enjoying the record, I do find its sugary centre a bit much. To listen too many times in a row is comparable to over indulging on sweets, a threshold that is easily reached and instantly regretted. The key, obviously, is moderation and in small doses, Belong is a phenomenal follow-up to their self-titled debut. Check out the opener below:
This is probably me being a dick, fully highlighting my inability to follow simple instructions, but I think Kompakt have fucked up the release of the new Panda Bear single. It was my understanding that a copy had to be reserved in advance by email. Then on release day (today) the single could be purchased as normal through Kompakt, the orders would be matched to reservations and shipped accordingly. Seems fair, I was also led to believe that reserved copies would be held over until tomorrow. Having visited the Kompakt site to order my copy tonight I was greeted with ‘Sold Out’, and no way of adding to my basket, even when logged in to the site. Thankfully, I sourced a copy elsewhere without too much bother but surely all of this could have been avoided if Kompakt had done the decent thing and released the 7″ for pre-order, like the other labels did for the first three releases. It pisses me off because the 4 7″s will make up a set and by way of reward for buying the first three, fans are being made to jump through hoops for the fourth. Not only that but surely this release will sell out regardless, by causing a fuss or building hype, Kompakt are just creating opportunities for people to rip off fans on ebay. Not cool Kompakt, not cool!! what is cool though is the B-side to Surfer’s Hymn, a remix by on-fire UK producer Actress. MP3 below:
Panda Bear – Surfer’s Hymn (Actress Primitive Pattern Remix) MP3 (Right Click / Save As)
Finally, I have written a review of Yucks debut album for Buzzpost, check it out HERE.
Big K.R.I.T drops new album Return Of 4 Eva tomorrow, I’m really looking forward to this one as Wuz Ere was one of my favourite albums of 2010. Check out the video for first single Dreamin below. You can also head over HERE to download the song as well as another new song American Rapstar in exchange for nothing more than an email address. I’m liking both songs, K.R.I.Ts southern twang compliments the warped soul sample in Dreaming perfectly, American Rapstar though does a better job at demonstrating his skills as a rapper. They are both far more polished than anything from Wuz Ere, hopefully not too much of that albums charm has been lost on the new record.
I have spent pretty much the entirety of today getting totally lost in the stunning new album from bass saxophonist Colin Stetson. The record is titled New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges and the sounds that this guy makes on this thing are unbelievable. Before even getting in to how this album was recorded, it should be noted that this is easily one of the most unique and captivating albums I have heard for quite some time. The method used to create this beautiful noise was unusual in as much as the whole thing was recorded live and in one take in a room with around 20 microphones positioned in various locations ranging from on the sax itself to the opposite side of the room. Presumably the tracks were then built up using the different recordings and layering them accordingly, Stetson was in good company throughout this process as Godspeeds’ Efrim Menuck lent a hand on production duties. What really strikes me about this music is that it sounds like there could be a full band performing these songs, various techniques were employed to create this effect such as the tapping of fingers on the sax to mimic percussion, the projection of voice through the instrument to provide rhythm as well as circular breathing to negate the need to break for air. Much of this is evident in the track Judges which you can listen to below but to truly appreciate the magnitude and importance of this music you should check out the entire thing.
Colin Stetson – Judges MP3 (Right Click / Save As)
Radio 1 previewed a couple of new Burial tracks last night, both taken from the new single which is due for release on Monday through Hyperdub. Chances are that it will be pretty much impossible to get hold of one of these when it is released, you can worry about that on Monday but for now check out two of the three new songs below. I’ve given these a few listens and although the chat is incredibly annoying it is worth persevering as these songs sound amazing. I’m enjoying how much they sound like Burial, that may sound stupid but he has been involved in various collaborations and other bits and pieces since releasing Untrue, all of which have sounded somehow different, this is the first thing he has done since then that has gotten me genuinely excited. Street Halo especially which features those all so familiar ghostlike vocal samples and dark atmospheric beats. I have this pre-ordered, whether or not I get a copy anytime soon will remain to be seen but I am itching to get decent versions of these songs as well as the third track (titled NYC I believe). Check them out for yourself:
Bloodcargo and Burden may well have landed the enviable job of supporting Kyuss Lives on their sold out European tour this year, but if it were up to me I would have given these Israelis a shot. They make serious noise for a three-piece and deal in the kind of crushing weed-hazed doom that would be an ideal precursor to Kyuss’ own brand of desert rock. Relapse put out their debut album Saved By Fear late last year and if you’re in to that monotonous kind of sludgy vibe then it’s well worth checking out. The track below ‘Run’ starts out with a drum solo and some pretty quick fire riffing before settling in to a much steadier pace, a kind of rolling pace that’s impossible not to slowly nod your head to. The vocals are barely audible but when the riffs are this heavy and dense the last thing you want is over produced growls obscuring them. For this reason I would definitely say that the production has been perfectly judged, Dukatalon know exactly where their strengths lie and do a good job of making sure they are stuck firmly out front. Highly recommend you check this out.
Dukatalon – Run MP3 (Right Click / Save As)
Walter Schreifels deserves a little more respect than to be labelled as ’emo’, it’s a detestable genre tag at the best of times but with an emotive voice and a solid history in both hardcore and post-hardcore, it’s one that he would do well to avoid. His CV is impressive and he will be remembered critically for Quicksand, commercially for Rival Schools and criminally not at all for Walking Concert. As well as all of this he released a solo record and of course featured in the legendary hardcore bands Youth Of Today and Gorilla Biscuits. With such a stellar career to date it is a shame to see the new Rival Schools album being largely ignored and in some cases written off by certain circles, it shouldn’t be forgotten that Schreifels had the dignity to distance himself from the ’emo’ scene (that he arguably contributed to creating) before it got too ugly.
Like so many others, United By Fate soundtracked a certain point in my life, mainly my years 17-20 and whilst this review might read a lot like that of The Get Up Kids comeback album, this is unashamedly the kind of shit I listened to back then. So what can Rival Schools bring to the table a decade later? True to previous form they have delivered 10 SONGS of driving guitars, passionate melody and bittersweet lyrics. Don’t get me wrong, they haven’t added a whole hell of a lot to their arsenal, nor will they convince anybody that doesn’t want to be convinced but this is more than a decent album. From where I am sitting I am finding it hard to argue with 80-90% of these songs. You may dismiss this review as my younger self speaking, but I don’t think so. I’m not one to suffer a dodgy comeback gladly, nor am I one to pay this much attention to a lacklustre cash fuelled resurgence.
A few years back an internet leak proclaiming to be a scrapped second Rival Schools album surfaced online, some say it was merely B-sides but either way, when you measure Pedals up against said release, it is clear that it did Rival Schools good to take their time. After listening to Pedals almost religiously over the last week I was ready to claim that it stands tall alongside United By Fate. Before making such a bold statement I decided to re-visit their debut and of course, it’s nowhere near. I would however, attribute this to the pure quality of United By Fate rather than detracting from Pedals. This new release lacks anything that comes close to the intensity of ‘The Switch’ and they are still yet to better ‘Undercovers On’. Pedals is full of highlights though, ‘Wring It Out’ and ‘Racing To Red Lights’ provide ample melody and anthemic choruses whilst ‘Eyes Wide Open’ brings a bit of that intensity to the fore. Overall that much loved rawness is missing and Pedals is far more streamlined and polished than previous efforts. When all is said and done though, I am always happy to hear from Schreifels, he is an incredible songwriter and remains one of my favourite vocalists of all time. With Pedals, I sincerely believe that he has produced some of his best and most appropriately timed work to date.
Check out the video for ‘Wring It Out’ below, I can’t be as complimentary about this ropey ‘made for Kerrang TV’ video as I have about the record, but the song is great.
I have been listening to two very different albums today from two very different producers, separated by a rather large ocean. Each album is incredible in its own right, representing the absolute cutting edge in urban, moody electronica. The two songs below could not be any more different, Bristol producer, Guidos Orchestral Lab is exactly what it professes to be, providing immediacy through orchestral melodies and hard-hitting dirty bass. Nicolas Jaars Keep Me There on the other hand is more restrained and injects a bit of culture through smooth brass and beats that sound like giant raindrops. Jaars album has taken a while to sink in for me, the bee-bop style vocals in this track specifically, didn’t sit right with me initially. Today though after listening intently for what was god only knows the number ‘th occasion, it all just clicked and molded in to place. Cannot recommend these two albums highly enough, there is no particular connection between the two and there is no particular similarities but whilst the rest of the world is enjoying SXSW, they have provided perfect soundtracks to a rather dull day.
Guido – Orchestral Lab MP3 (Right Click / Save As)
Nicolas Jaar – Keep Me There MP3 (Right Click / Save As)
It’s not been long since The National released the astounding High Violet, blazing hot on its heels is a new song for the movie Win Win. Entitled Think You Can Wait and sounding more like a Boxer cut than a High Violet B-Side, it’s a typical slow-burning, broody affair. Backing vocals for National tracks may normally be taken care of by Sufjan Stevens, this track however features the incredible Sharon Van Etten. Not that this makes a huge difference, as always this is all about Matt Berringer and his gloomy yet glorious compatriots. Check it out below:
Thom York, Burial and Four Tet have collaborated on a new 12″ that has already sold out on pre-order. The Radio DJ on the below rips might well joke about looking forward to hearing these tracks on YouTube, but in all honesty how else are people going to get to hear these delicious jams. The most noticeable aspect of both songs is that it sounds like a collaboration between Burial and Thom Yorke rather than the three artists providing equal weighting. Four Tet may well be in the mix but the beats are all about the dark, ambient and shuffling sounds that featured so heavily on Untrue, complimented nicely by Yorkes distinctive falsetto. Radiohead have released a new album recently, Four Tet not so long ago, so what I would really love to hear is a new Burial full-length. There is no chance of getting a copy of this 12″ so the rips below will have to do: