Watch: Julia Holter – “Words I Heard”

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“I shall love.” The way you might go to the conservatory’s fern room in the dead of winter, the way you might attend a Polish Mass in a moment of crisis, the way you might check your favorite old webzine in the middle of the night, don’t go too far. Ave Maria on Maria Ave, she writes down the address for the Loud City Aviary, cheeping, where you sit and listen to the slowing spinning song, watch them cross, tweet, “Pedestrians are flightless birds.” Unbottled, I follow moss, though it couldn’t drag me away. I’m all all’s swell, sworn in birdsong, chiming in. I’ll forget how “Hello, Stranger” got me through a winter, I’ll forget the words I heard that sealed with wax will get me through this one again. The camera looks up, again and again, a spell to ward off darkness, the seasonal caring commentary of the House kids seeing the falling leaves and mistaking them for butterflies, or maybe saying, “Oh, pretty!” at some of the Virginia countryside. It’s the kettle, it’s the film, it’s feature-length (double LP). Have One On Me In My Wilderness, it’s Julia Holter back at the piano, in the studio, finding herself out of the woods, in the clear, right where you are, that’s where she loves, “in the city of man.” And how!

Aviary is out next Friday, October 26, via Domino.

Music Review: Animal Collective – Tangerine Reef

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Animal Collective

Tangerine Reef

[Domino; 2018]

Rating: 1.5/5

They were the greatest psych-pop band in the world until they weren’t. You know, back in the Merriweather Post Pavilion days, when Obama was in office and love was in the air. But then something shocking happened: social media became a way of life, and we all became narcissistic and bent on beautifying our cyberspace. Amidst all of that, a bunch of non-guitar-based genres gained prominence in the 2010s. Meanwhile, Animal Collective landed safe on a shore of financial stability and fame, just as the kiddos were throwing away their guitars and replacing them for DAWs. We didn’t realize that Animal Collective had swam out to an island and were impossibly alone and trapped in their musicality, until it was too late. They were stuck out there.


Now this: making music for a film about a coral reef that is also a vessel for climate awareness. Collaborating with Coral Morphologic. 2018 International Year of the Reef. Trump in Office. And Avey Tare, swimming through a cloak of seawater and singing to the reef down below, with that style that we know: like he’s perpetually in the summer, at the end of the day, outside, looking up at some trees, with the same tiredness that kids have when they are wrenched from a nap. You know, that childhood vibe. Like as if he spent half of it as a tadpole or a seahorse. That’s one of the reasons why we love Animal Collective: it’s as if they’re still kindergarteners experimenting with kaleidoscopic visuals while playing with instruments as if those instruments were seesaws, merry-go-rounds, swing sets, slides, chin-up bars, sandboxes, trapeze rings, and mazes. We like it when they freak out, because it reminds us of how much of life should be experienced untamed.

Since half of experiencing Tangerine Reef comes from experiencing the visuals it accompanies, it’s hard for me to really vibe with this album as a complete thing. Really it feels less than that, like a side table, a bed frame, or a pierced hole in an ear with no earring in it. Sure, maybe you’ll be reminded once again of the planet’s fragility. Sure, you’ll be reminded once again of Trump’s denial of said fragility. And yes, Avey Tare’s lyrics, as always, are unburdened by the need to demonstrate knowledge in a way that is quantifiable or provable. But honestly, will we the millenials, upon listening, give a fuck about all of this? Will anyone, for that matter? It’s cool to be in the world by being in the protest by being in awareness of how the reef’s breathing quivers with each wave-pull. No doubt about that. But at the same time, Tangerine Reef is more like the sound of pretending to experience something profound. It’s a lull, a moonlit lull on the banks of the ocean in an off-moment, star-lit and discrete. It feels as if led astray. As if it were a fake ointment. Or adding emptiness to emptiness, secretly.

Yet, accompanying the film made by Coral Morphologic, it makes way more sense. Check it out below:

Music Review: Blood Orange – Negro Swan

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Blood Orange

Negro Swan

[Domino; 2018]

Rating: 3/5

Ever since abandoning the tranquil, indie pop tendencies of Coastal Grooves and Cupid Deluxe, Devonte Hynes has become unafraid of taking risks. The nocturnal expanses of Freetown Sound were (and still are) a full-bodied testament to that fact. While Blood Orange may have originated within the confines of bedroom music, the calling of shared histories and experiences, drawing from Hynes’s diasporic beginnings, have come into focus.

Negro Swan is Hynes’s most ambitious undertaking to date. While the blinds are still partially drawn and things feel characteristically brooding, a typical Blood Orange track is no longer sullied by insular drum machine patterns and oceanic reverb: voices are fully present, percussion sits resolutely front-and-center in the mix, and every bass line maintains a warm embrace. The album battles the myriad complexities of black depression, queer existence, and finding safety in a world that was never tailored for you.

You can touch blackness as the Negro Swan. The tactile manifestations of a marginalized person’s life — hair, skin, clothes — become the canvas of Blood Orange’s choosing; “Your skin’s a flag that shines for us all” the emphatic battle cry of a life’s radiance undermined. Tactility is of paramount importance. A crisper take on production results in songs feeling physically closer than they ever have; although a wealth of rewarding grooves exist, it’s the stark, minimal tracks that showcase a side we haven’t experienced before.

There’s close attention to each potent hook, and it shows. “First kiss was the floor” is undergirded by a sway so infectious that it’s easy to overlook the refrain’s devastating personal truth. “Charcoal Baby” features one of the album’s most killer choruses and prominent guitar riffs while posing toward brown/black skin, very tongue-in-cheek, “Can you break sometimes?” (The answer is no.) When somber, “Take Your Time” is a comforting reprieve, where vocals reach for new heights in delirious glory. Singing has never been Blood Orange’s forte, but there is something to be said of its nakedness, especially when pushed to the very brink of each last breath.

Hynes avoids lingering in the spotlight for too long. The album is atypically feature-heavy, but the results are a mixed bag. Diddy’s brief and vulnerable appearance brings plenty of personality to “Hope.” As usual, Georgia Anne Muldrow is in godly form on the Pharcyde love-letter “Runnin’.” But A$AP Rocky delivers an instantly forgettable verse on “Chewing Gum” about his ex, toothpaste, and riding on the dick “with no license and shit.” At best, it’s just about listenable; at worst, it’s puzzling and thoroughly awkward.

There’s no denying that Blood Orange has become, aesthetically, a slicker and smarter project in taking this resolute turn toward regal, monochromatic pop and soul. That being said, Rocky’s feature is just one of the many instances where this newfound approach reveals itself as a cloud of disparate ideas that ultimately dampen the impact of any overarching statement. Most of this issue stems from a tendency to recklessly introduce and eliminate potentially powerful ideas. The gospel-inflected vocalizations of “Holy Will” were a welcome move, sharply contrasted against more rhythmic backbones elsewhere — after all, Hynes is capable of creating juxtaposition. Unfortunately, backloading drums and more syrup synths toward the end of the song provides only a fleeting glimmer of variation that deserved development. “Jewelry” blossoms into an understated electro-soul bop, only for a confused blend of detuned guitars, vocal inflections, and ad-libs to steal the show.

Janet Mock’s narration plays an integral role, as it bridges various musical passages together. But most of the time, it feels conceptually disjointed. That’s not to say that Mock’s insight isn’t valuable, but its collaborative role with the music is largely surface-level, featuring arbitrary trade-offs between her and Hynes. The obsession over performativity and the need to limit self-expression in certain spaces seems to suggest that the subject matter at hand — Negro Swan — represents some kind of unshackled representation of the artist’s voice. If this really is the case, it’s disappointing to see Hynes fall prey to relatively safe resolutions when preoccupied with complex, intersectional ideas. The sheer amount of songs that dissolve into a pastiche of floating keyboards, atmospheric city sounds, and other jazzy detritus is exhausting, and truly accepting these features as representative of the album’s lofty thematic aspirations is not easy. New York City and the confines of bohemian intellectualism (“Got big books and I’m broke”) are motifs that fail to connect. Take the additional battery of tracks, including “Vulture Baby” and “Minetta Creek,” that are 100% vibes but not much else and it gets less appetizing to pick out meaningful assertions among the filler.

Identity and the burden of performance are grueling enough to articulate, let alone deconstruct for others. It is deeply, deeply layered. For those without brown or black skin, there’s no beginning or end to this discussion. Negro Swan is certainly an excellent primer, with enough defiance and unapologetic celebration to go around. In being both celebratory and broken, it embodies the disenfranchised human. Hynes takes ownership of that dissonance. Rather than a vague interest in creating bite-sized political fodder, the album is indeed invested in rejecting one-dimensional interpretations of being black and/or queer.

Confrontational moments, however, are scarce. It all sounds incredible, but there is a fundamental, unignorable disconnect between what wants (or needs) to be said and what is actually said. Situating oneself in New York City may be one of the easiest things to do while listening to Negro Swan, which is a fairly lukewarm prospect. Perhaps Negro Swan is merely a step along the way, as Blood Orange continues to contend with monolithic, difficult ideas, but for now, this patchwork of sweltering grooves, amicable conversations, and urban ambience remains limited in its vision.

How to Dress Well announces new album The Anteroom, shares video for new single “Nonkilling 6 | Hunger”

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Tom Krell has an advanced degree in philosophy, and his new How to Dress Well album is called The Anteroom. This is the closest Krell’s come to using a GRE-level vocab word in conjunction with his once-wispy R&B project. (The “What Is This Heart?” cut “Pour Cyril” has a whiff of grad student dweeb humor to it too, with the pun.) Will this minor elevation in diction signal an unexpected shift in sound? A return to the vaporous obscurantism of Krell’s early work after a couple of albums that have spent more and more effort on musical and emotional clarity?? Will there be a PBR&B cover of Fugazi’s synonymously named classic “Waiting Room”??? Only time (and Tom) can reveal the answers to these questions.

(Well, actually, we have the tracklisting, and you can look at it below. It does not include a cover of “Waiting Room”. It does, however, present more evidence that Krell is flaunting that academic background a little more overtly this time around. You’ll see why.)

(Oh, and we have another hint, too: Krell, along with the announcement of the album, has shared a video for “Nokilling 6 | Hunger,” which you can watch below. The video was created in collaboration with Justin Daashuur Hopkins and Cloaking under the aegis of NOH/Wave.)

How to Dress Well also has some tour dates coming up, which you can view below the tracklist.

The Anteroom is out October 19 on Domino and can be pre-ordered right here…right NOW.


The Anteroom tracklisting:

01. Humans Disguised As Animals | Nonkilling 1
02. Body Fat
03. False Skull 7
04. Nonkilling 3 | The Anteroom | False Skull 1
05. Vacant Boat
06. Nonkilling 13 | Ceiling for the Sky
07. A Memory, The Spinning of a Body | Nonkilling 2
08. Nonkilling 6 | Hunger
09. July 13 No Hope No Pain
10. Love Means Taking Action
11. Brutal | False Skull 5
12. False Skull 12
13. Nothing

How to Dress Well North American Tour Dates:

11.12.18 – Washington, DC – Union Stage
11.13.18 – Philadelphia, PA – Jonny Brendas
11.14.18 – Brooklyn, NY – Good Room
11.15.18 – Boston, MA – Museum of Science
11.17.18 – Montreal, QC – Le Ministère
11.18.18 – Toronto, ON – Velvet Underground
11.19.18 – Detroit, MI – The Schvitz
11.20.18 – Chicago, IL – Sleeping Village
11.27.18 – San Diego, CA – Casbah
11.28.18 – Los Angeles, CA – Lodge Room
11.30.18 – San Francisco, CA – Popscene at Rickshaw Stop
12.01.18 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
12.03.18 – Vancouver, BC – The Wise Hall & Lounge
12.04.18 – Seattle, WA – Kremwerk

Julia Holter returns with new album Aviary, shares video for first single

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“LIKE” this post AS SOON AS IT’S CONVENIENT FOR YOU, because Julia Holter is back with more choon for your headtops. Titled Aviary, the (new) album features 15 (new) tracks and serves as her first (new) record since 2015’s Have You In My Wilderness (our 11th favorite album of that year). She describes Aviary as “the cacophony of the mind in a melting world.” Explains Holter:

Amidst all the internal and external babble we experience daily, it’s hard to find one’s foundation. I think this album is reflecting that feeling of cacophony and how one responds to it as a person – how one behaves, how one looks for love, for solace. Maybe it’s a matter of listening to and gathering the seeming madness, of forming something out of it and envisioning a future.

No idea what “melting world” she’s referring to, but then again, I’m a Music Critic, so I have it pretty damn good. Anyway: Aviary. October 26. Domino. Watch the Dicky Bahto-directed video for the album’s first single, “I Shall Love 2,” below, followed by the cover art, tracklist, tour dates, and a bunch of annoying ads.


Aviary tracklist:

01. Turn The Light On
02. Whether
03. Chaitius
04. Voce Simul
05. Everyday Is An Emergency
06. Another Dream
07. I Shall Love 2
08. Underneath The Moon
09. Colligere
10. In Gardens’ Muteness
11. I Would Rather See
12. Les Jeux To You
13. Words I Heard
14. I Shall Love 1
15. Why Sad Song

Tour:

10.14.18 – Lake Perris, CA – Desert Daze Festival
11.24.18 – Leeuwarden – Explore The North Festival
11.26.18 – Amsterdam – Paradiso Noord
11.27.18 – Bochum – Schauspiel
11.28.18 – Antwerp – De Roma
11.30.18 – Berlin – Funkhaus
12.01.18 – Hamburg – Elbphilharmonie
12.02.18 – Frankfurt – Brotfabrik
12.03.18 – Munich – Kammerspiele
12.05.18 – Paris – Petit Bain
12.06.18 – Manchester – Gorilla
12.07.18 – Bristol – Fiddlers
12.08.18 – Dublin – Button Factory
12.10.18 – Edinburgh – Summerhall
12.11.18 – Leeds – Howard Assembly Rooms
12.12.18 – London – Hackney Arts Centre
02.19.19 – Washington DC – U Street Music Hall
02.20.19 – Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts
02.22.19 – New York, NY – Warsaw
02.23.19 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
02.24.19 – Montreal, CA – La Sala Rossa
02.26.19 – Toronto, CA – The Great Hall
02.27.19 – Detroit, MI – El Club
02.28.19 – Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
03.01.19 – St. Paul, MN – Turf Club
03.04.19 – Vancouver, CA – Imperial
03.05.19 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir
03.06.19 – Seattle, WA – Neumos
03.08.19 – San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
03.09.19 – Los Angeles, CA – Lodge Room

Music Review: Tirzah – Devotion

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Tirzah

Devotion

[Domino; 2018]

Rating: 4/5

i.
“I’ll make you fine again,” she reminds. Is fineness what we want?

Lovesick, we said once, all our musculature and skeleton whacked out imbalanced, dripping like this fluttering organ, this spinning coo. “I’ll make you,” and a blip, a spin, and back “I’ll make you fine again, again.” Devotion was pressreleasedly pitched as “straight-up love songs,” but devotion is the holy wholly. Things repeat — the feeling falling can’t be straight-up. It’s all at once interdirectional. It’s arrhythmic, full of blood and air popping, lovesick. And then,

“This is so pure, this feels rare, I just want you to know that I’m here for you you make me stronger so I’m here to catch you don’t worry ‘bout worries I won’t let them get you,” and I feel fine.

ii.
“Do you know, I think I’d be fine if you met someone/ It’s not even like we were doing nothing wrong/ I just need to find something that would take me back to how I was before.” Unfine, we circle our selves. Devotion’s move into rhythm and blues, ballad and bang, is defined by all of love’s contradictory aspects. We meditate when we could mediate. “Fine Again” trusted that want’s weight wouldn’t break the skin; “Do You Know” retreats into monologue and repeats its one question until you don’t, you can’t, you never know. “She brings this chaos, this unraveling to the project,” Tirzah said of her friend and collaborator, Mica Levi, who produced these songs. In a sound like this, where moments loop just as quick as they start, instability feels sustainable. Loving feels logical, backwards. Levi’s lolls and blips envelop the ache of Tirzah’s alto, essentially, fundamentally. What if loving is part chaos? Take me back to how I was before? How were you before? Isn’t it how you were now?

iii.
“All I want I want you to try and remember what it was like to have been very young. And particularly the days when you were first in love; when you were like a person sleepwalking, and you didn’t quite see the street you were in, and didn’t quite hear every thing that was said to you. You’re just a little bit crazy. Will you remember that, please? is you.”

If devotion throws us out, it throws us back, too. Devotion is the sound of the whole love at once, a love song extrapolated, a kiss as a cosmos, gladly. “I like you/ You’re like to me. If it’s not strictly Euclidean, it’s at least similarly dissimilar: we can match each other with what we give and what we get, what we take and what we make.

iv.

v.
And, in the end, if you come onto me, then I’ll come onto you. Reciprocal want is the geometry of ordinary experiences. Bodies and feelings get flung up and laid down like lines in triangles, like plucked pianos and the kiss of chimes. The disaffected “Affection” doesn’t come after or because of “Holding On,” because love and loss and want and won’t are part of the same patchwork. Devotion moves the “straight-up love song” up and over and out of its self. “Don’t say you want only affection.

vi.
Tirzah Mastin, Tirzah, began making music at Purcell School for Young Musicians, in Watford, in England, where she met Mica Levi, where she was learning how to play the harp. She enrolled at London College of Fashion, studied textile design, released I’m Not Dancing in 2013, then No Romance in 2014, both on Greco-Roman, both recorded with Levi. In addition to her music, Mastin works full-time as a designer at a print agency; she and her partner, Kwake Bass, recently had a baby.

“She says that I bring the calm,” Tirzah told Colleen Kelsey in a Times interview, regarding Levi, mostly regarding her self. Chaos and calm, the lasering synth spiraling and the steady stepping beat of “Basic Need,” is love via Devotion. Like a garment stitched from a universe of textiles, love is what we say about love, how it was and how it will be.

vii.
And then “Guilty,” a shock of electric guitar. “And then, distortion.” If it didn’t break down, it wouldn’t integrate into. Distortion is metabolism, the crunch of closeness. Distortion teaches us we can love again, even in loving. Loss is love removed. This is a stunning love song. “And then the silence of space,” loss, shows us what to do.

“What are you gonna do what are you gonna do about it?”

viii.
“So listen to me.”“So listen to me.”

ix.
A reminder: “Don’t raise your voice to me.” If love is an equalization of wants and gets, it’s important to call out when it’s not love. Maybe that’s why the drums land harder on “Go Now,” why Tirzah’s athletic voice sounds resolute. Devotion is off-kilter, an exploratory treatment of feeling love that paints a sound where all lovings are valid, where it’s not longer a singularly homogenized sensation. Love can sound like anything, can look like anyone. This is quietly radical. But if love is everything, not everything gets to be love. Things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other; things have to help each other, equally.” Don’t raise your voice to me.” Don’t lose track of that.

x.
“I think it just came about like that, really. We thought, Wait a minute. We’ve got loads of love songs, and we just need to make a straight-up kind of love song album… It’s really just a matter of trying to be sincere. I think it was just trying to be sincere with each thing and hope that it resonated.” (Tirzah Mastin, in conversation with Nylon.)

xi.
“I know we are made from love and fantasy/ I know we will be here for eternity,” Tirzah sings on the last song, “Reach,” over boom and snare, her voice curling. We want, try, and time splits those markers. We give and we lose, erode and scar and hoist. Tirzah’s Devotion, these 14 numeral moments, sketch a way toward communicating loving better. Love and its songs are all these things, fashion and textile, joke and confession, milled piano ballad and club-drum slap. It has to be everything, chaos and calm and resolving and receding, shapeless resolute — how could love sound like one thing?

And in the end (as at the beginning), devotion isn’t sensation between two people, but in and of and over every one’s version of life, the sound of love as it was, as it can be, as it will be. The sound of loving is consistent, even as it appears in radically different instances. The mechanism of love song fits all bodies, all modes. It lands on ears, it laps and licks and it does no harm. If it did harm, we wouldn’t listen. If it didn’t receive every devotee, it would be a lie. If it didn’t make us sing, we wouldn’t call it love.

Text your friend “Bobby”: (Sandy) Alex G is coming on tour to a city near you!!

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You know what Keith Richards says when he’s all strung out on hemp seeds and journalists ask him how he’s been touring non-stop for the better part of 50 years? He says (in my head at least, with that loose Cockney accent of his): “You know, love, it’s a young man’s game…”

This is odd, since Keith is older than the hills now and is closing in on the tail end of the British male life expectancy faster than a Joe Satriani guitar solo. But it is true; touring is a young man’s game, and Philadelphia’s Alex Giannascoli — a.k.a (Sandy) Alex G — probably knows this as well as anyone at this stage in his career.

After finishing up virtually all of the past twelve months on the road (with the likes of Fleet Foxes and Dr. Dog), Alex has just announced a string of headlining North American tour dates, which will be commencing November 1 at Toronto’s Mod Club and concluding December 14 at Warsaw in Brooklyn.

Instead of playing second fiddle to his Philly compatriots Dr. Dog, though, this time around Alex will be le plat principal — sharing the spotlight with no one other than his trusty (Sandy) bandmates.

Tickets for the tour will go on sale Wednesday, August 15, and you can snatch them up here via any form of major online payment. And in case you need a little pumping up up for a live, in-the-flesh Alex G (FADER has audaciously cited him as “America’s greatest living songwriter”), here’s his fiddle-laden hit single “Bobby” from the wickedly successful 2017 LP Rocket:

(Sandy) Alex G tour dates and locations:

11.01.18 – Toronto, ON – Mod Club*
11.02.18 – Akron, OH – Musica*
11.03.18 – Detroit, MI – El Club*
11.04.18 – Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall*
11.05.18 – Milwaukee, WI – Colectivo*
11.06.18 – St. Louis, MO – Duck Room at Blueberry Hill*
11.08.18 – Dallas, TX – Deep Ellum Art Co*
11.09.18 – Austin, TX – Barracuda*
11.11.18 – Tampa, FL – Crowbar*
11.12.18 – Orlando, FL – The Social*
11.13.18 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade – Hell*
11.14.18 – Durham, NC – Motorco*
11.15.18 – Washington, DC – Black Cat*
11.16.18 – Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Church*
11.18.18 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club*
12.14.18 – Brooklyn, NY – Warsaw ^

* Half Waif
^ Duster, Harmony Tividad

Mmm…Blood Orange three ways: new video released, new album on the way, and tour dates announced

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I might be way off base here, but methinks modern day renaissance man Dev Hynes isn’t one to sit around and binge watch “The Handmaid’s Tale” or “Riverdale” like the rest of us time-wasters. Besides stints with/as Test Icicles/Lightspeed Champion respectively, Hynes’ accomplishments are the sort of staggering stuff that stirs envy and resentment in others (writing and producing for the likes of Solange Knowles, FKA twigs, Carly Rae Jepsen, A$AP Rocky, Kylie Minogue; improvising live with Philip Glass; film-scoring Gia Coppola’s Palo Alto).

No matter the moniker, everything the man touches turns to gold soundz. Over the span of ten years and three enthusiastically-received albums, Hynes’ main outlet has been as Blood Orange. The fourth Blood Orange album, entitled Negro Swan, is out August 24 through Domino Records (pre-order here or directly from Domino). And the first video from Negro Swan, “Charcoal Baby,” can be seen below.

Hynes has had an ear for the sounds of the human soul ever since he heard note one: “My newest album is an exploration into my own and many types of black depression, an honest look at the corners of black existence, and the ongoing anxieties of queer/people of color,” he says. “A reach back into childhood and modern traumas, and the things we do to get through it all. The underlying thread through each piece on the album is the idea of HOPE, and the lights we can try to turn on within ourselves with a hopefully positive outcome of helping others out of their darkness.”

Fresh off his set at Pitchfork’s annual fete in Chicago, Hynes has also slotted the Blood Orange band into some juicy festival lineups and mouth-watering club dates. See ‘em all after “Charcoal Baby” below. Hynes is a particularly hot piece right now, so many of these shows might sell out quick. You’ve been warned, slackers and binge-watchers!


Negro Swan tracklisting:

01. Track 1
02. Track 2
03. Track 3
04. Track 4
05. Jewelry
06. Track 6
07. Charcoal Baby
08. Track 8
09. Track 9
10. Track 10
11. Track 11
12. Track 12
13. Track 13
14. Track 14
15. Track 15
16. Track 16

Blood Orange live:

08.05.18 – Montreal, QC – Parc Jean-Drapeau, Osheaga Festival
09.14.18 – Vancouver, BC – The Orpheum, Westward Music Festival
09.15.18 – Seattle, WA – Moore Theatre
09.16.18 – Portland, OR – Roseland
09.20.18 – Oakland, CA – Fox Theatre
09.21.18 – Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theatre
09.22.18 – Las Vegas, NV – Downtown Las Vegas, Life is Beautiful Festival
09.26.18 – New York, NY – Central Park Summerstage
09.27.18 – Philadelphia, PA – The Fillmore
09.28.18 – Washington, DC – Lincoln Theatre
10.01.18 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall
10.02.18 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall
10.06.18 – Austin, TX – Zilker Park, Austin City Limits
10.13.18 – Austin, TX – Zilker Park, Austin City Limits
10.29.18 – London, UK – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
10.30.18 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Melkweg Max
11.02.18 – Paris, France – Grande Halle de la Villette, Pitchfork Music
Festival Paris
11.03-04.18 – Turin, Italy – Lingotto Fiere, Club to Club Festival
11.06.18 – Berlin, Germany – Columbia Theater
11.07-10.18 – Reykjavík, Iceland – Iceland Airwaves Festival
11.08.18 – Copenhagen, Denmark – The Grey Hall

George FitzGerald taps Moby for contemplative new rework

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George FitzGerald taps Moby for contemplative new reworkGeorge Fitzgerald PC Rhodri Brooks 12 300 Dpi

George FitzGerald has tapped the inimitable Moby for a brand new remix of his All That Must Be track “Burns.”

Though FitzGerald’s recent album as a whole is severely contemplative, “Burns” is a considerably melodic standout with fleeting vocals and a soothing melody. Moby takes “Burns” hand-in-hand and slow-dances with the track, creating an emotional new rendition of the tune with equal parts house music wisdom along the way.

FitzGerald is gearing up for a fresh new set of live tour dates, with performances locked in across North America and the UK later this fall.

Music Review: Pram – Across the Meridian

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Pram

Across the Meridian

[Domino; 2018]

Rating: 3/5

There’s an odd charm to the Japanese New Wave. Spanning through the 1960s and encompassing the works of Nagisa Oshima, Shohei Imamura, and Seijun Suzuki, the film movement took the lead of their European counterparts (Godard, Truffaut, Resnais, etc.) and further pushed their provocations both formally and thematically. Yet, interestingly, rather than using rock music as a signifier of youth rebellion, most Japanese New Wave films boasted jazzy scores. Hence, we get to see their abject rebels and nihilistic antiheroes against a background of hard bop and modal jazz. And that’s what makes these movies even better: the combination of universal and local themes, very dated and somewhat timeless tropes, adds up to much more than the sum of its parts.

Pram’s work across the last couple of decades shares that capacity, turning an apparent aesthetic dislocation into their most potent weapon. How else can one describe the appeal of a band creating experimental pop music with stylings from before pop took the shape we know? Across the Meridian, the Birmingham band’s first album in over a decade, provides a worthy new chapter to their 25-year career. In the smoky, jazzy vein of 2003’s Dark Island and 2007’s The Moving Frontier, the new album adds a dreamier hue to Pram’s palette. A bit more laidback than its predecessors and encapsulated by exotic shades, Across the Meridian sits somewhere between Les Baxter’s lovable cheese, the playful ingenuity of Pierre Bastien, and the more twisted corners of a 1970s European TV station library music.

Indeed, Across the Meridian sounds ready to score a black and white movie featuring a trip to Cipango, a 1950s Martian lounge, or a Eurotica-leaning noir story. Yet what gives these songs character and brands them as part of the Pram canon is the eerie undercurrent running through them. That spirit comes to the surface often too, via some ghoulish organs and slightly dissonant guitar work (“Thistledown”), grooves two metal scraps away from summoning Tom Waits (“The Midnight Room”), or an exotic sense of menace (“Footprints towards zero,” “Mayfly”). In total, an uncanny beauty very few artists are able to attain.

Across the Meridian’s 12 tracks partake in the strange elegance that has always characterized Pram, reminding us what hauntology was before all those triangles, inverted crosses, and Polaroid-by-way-of-Instagram filters became trendy. Therefore, even if at times it feels tentative and slight, Across the Meridian is a solid work by a band settling into maturity, drifting from post-rock to a less defined version of psychedelic music, leaving a post-punk rooted gene pool to join pastoral experimentalists like Broadcast, Robert Wyatt, and even The Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Considering the band’s catalog as a whole, such a process is as much a rediscovery as a reinvention. And certainly more than enough to spark our curiosity for what a band as restlessly inventive as Pram might want to do next.