From the first piano stroke, you can instantly tell that Alice Boman’s “What” is going to be a tearjerker. If the track was as inspired by Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” as its composition leads you to believe, making you cry was the goal from the beginning.
“What” is the first single and introduction to Boman’s upcoming sophomore release simply titled EP II. The song has all the qualities she works so hard to bring to music — simplicity, beauty, and straight-forward emotion. While many artists try to fit as much as they can into three and a half minutes, truly talented ones know how to use silence and space to their advantage as a way to convey what they are feeling.
The Swedish singer-songwriter’s vocals are hauntingly accurate in their aim to make you feel a very specific way. “What” is special, not just in its obvious beauty, but in its universal accessibility. We’ve all felt this way, we can all relate. —Hugh McIntyre
Olympic Ayres used to be a bedroom project, a phrase that brings to mind hushed vocals, strummed guitars, and — perhaps the most bastardized term of all — intimacy. Now that we’ve covered all the clichés, forget ‘em. Presented with a shimmy and a shake, the Australian duo’s bouncy electropop was meant for a sizable audience. Sure, three might be a crowd, but 50 is a party.
Raury sings, writes, raps, and plays the guitar. He’s a 17-year-old from the eastern suburbs of Atlanta and the two songs and video that he released last week made him an instant sensation. In the video for “God’s Whisper”, Raury and his friends show of just how extremely artsy, stylish, thoughtful high schoolers can get. As Raury saunters around the scenery singing about alienation and finding inspiration in the sublime, his friends drink and frolic around bonfires.
This Italian outfit floats gracefully along a tightrope between experimental and accessible, mixing found sounds with real-life instrumentation over an electronic bedrock. The vibe is murky, yet oftentimes ecstatic — dark wave that isn’t so downtrodden; post-rock with room for exploring ideas about time, space and self. Their latest offering is PiecesOfUsWereLeftOnTheGround, written that way specifically to serve as a calligram representative of its intent.
It seems like 2013 came out shoegazing, as evidenced by the long-awaited return of bands like My Bloody Valentine and Medicine. But in the past year we’ve also seen a new generation of shoegazers shuffle forth. London-based four-piece Cheatahs seems to ride this temperamental wave in their debut LP, albeit retaining some of the more traditional staples, like the faint layers of drone that underpin their spectral harmonies. But unlike most of the ’90s pioneers, the vocals prevail well above the surface of aural slush, rendering their sentiments more distinguishable.
Kitsune, the widely respected French electronic label, have unearthed another shining gem of an act, this time in London three-piece, Years & Years. Having already put out records by Hot Chip, Two Door Cinema Club, and Crystal Fighters, Kitsune’s track record for championing infectious, dance-orientated hits has been bolstered further with the release of Y&Y’s “Real” and B-side, “Eyes Shut.” Comprising of frontman and keyboardist Olly Alexander, bassist Mikey Goldsworthy, and synth player and producer Emre Turkmen, Years & Years are a dance act with real soul. Granted, you’ll have heard that a thousand times in the last two years, but when teaming their cutting edge electronic music with the pop sensibilities of their writing and Alexander’s pure vocal that is achingly honest, it generates a belief in the lyrics and the emotion they convey.
A totally unselfconscious high five goes to the budding UK jangle pop savants of Bloomer. You are our Artist of the Week! Guess we’re not the only ones who find this band’s scruffy, fuzzy tunes and DIY style wildly charming. Dig “Long Slow Ride” and see why our readers voted them into the winner’s circle in this week’s poll.
Last night, Jammer—the revered grime producer, MC, and Lord Of The Mics mastermind from the East End of London—shut down the grime Twittersphere when he set free a 15-track set entitled Top Producer. Full of cuts that’d “just been catching dust” on his PC for two years short of a decade, Jahmek Power decided it was finally time the people heard what gems he was sitting on in that “dungeon” of his.
On Top Producer, there are a few light moments from The Murkle Man here (“Sweety Pie”) and there (“Come & Go”) but, mostly, it’s raw to the core and captures that DIY scent grime gave off so strongly once upon a time. With all of the music recorded back in grime’s glory days (2004-2006), the album also comes bearing a few fire-in-the-belly verses from some of the scene’s cherished wordsmiths: Wiley, Dizzee Rascal, Skepta, JME, and D Double E. Download Jammer’s old-new offering, and relive your teenagehood for free.
2. Top Producer
3. Sweety Pie
4. Big Out Here
5. Murkle Man
6. Murkle Man (Remix)
7. I’m A Big Man
10. Come & Go
11. Broken Window
12. In 2 Deep
13. Too Much War
14. Be Someone
15. Biblical Grime
On April 21, songstress Tirzah will make another appearance on the always delivering Greco-Roman imprint with her sophomore EP No Romance. Tirzah recently streamed the title cut, and — while temporally removed from her debut solo effort I’m Not Dancing by only four months — the upcoming EP sounds like it will be a welcome continuation.
Using ample percussion for the floor but also not hiding behind the beat was an approach that garnered acclaim for tracks like “I’m Not Dancing” late last year. Similarly, though less UK-sounding in terms of production, “No Romance” sees Tirzah combining her endearing British-accented vocals with spare beats. —Words by Michael Scala
Earlier this week, Ana Tijoux’s new pan flute-rich album Vengo was released. Argentina’s Barrio Lindo is also highlighting the traditional Andean woodwind in his work, in addition to an array of other indigenous instruments from around the world. In true hippie style, the musician and producer constructs his own instruments.
The folkloric influence on his forthcoming LP Menoko, also comes from his interest in the Mapuche tribe’s influence on Argentinian culture. The word menoko refers to Mapuche sacred sites of purity. Barrio Lindo’s hip-swaying nu-cumbia-meets-new-age has the organic feel of artists Chancha Via Circuito or Atropolis. Chancha Via Circuito lends a hand on “La Cueva,” which also features what sounds like a funky didgeridoo.
Menoko comes out on double vinyl and cassette via Project: Mooncircle on April 7th. Lend your ear to “Garza Bruja” in the meantime:
From the depths of the Chinese underground, Carsick Cars emerge once more with their new album,3. Though it’s been five years since their last release, You Can Listen You Can Talk, these highly-acclaimed rockers have hardly been slacking off. Frontman Shouwang got a sweet gig recording with Glenn Branca’s symphony and the band joined the ranks of the indie elite at SXSW from 2010 to 2013.
If you missed them during their previous tour with Sonic Youth (R.I.P.), you have until April 5th to catch them live in the US and Canada. Get a taste by checking out this live studio performance of “15 Minutes Older,” followed by their tour dates below.
Carsick Cars U.S./Canada Tour Dates:
Mar 21 Pat’s Pub Vancouver, Canada
Mar 22 Kootaney Coop Radio, Nelson, Canada
Mar 23 Local 510 Calgary, Canada
Mar 24 Wunderbar, Edmonton, Canada
Mar 25 Vangelis Tavern Saskatoon, Canada
Mar 26 West End Cultural Centre, Winnipeg, Canada
Mar 27 Cause, Minneapolis, MN
Mar 28 The Burlington, Chicago, IL
Mar 30 Izakaya sushi house, Toronto, Canada
Mar 31 The APK, London, Canada
Apr 01 Divan Orange, Montreal, Canada
Apr 02 Middle East, Cambridge, MA
Apr 03 Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn, NY
Apr 04 Carsick Cars as SICK CAR SICK w/ White+ : Venue TBC New York, NY
Apr 05 Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY
Habibi formed when frontwoman Rahill Jamalifard and guitarist Lenny Lynch, two Detroit expats, met for the first time after both had been living in New York. Jamalifard’s Iranian heritage crops up in her visuals and the sprinkling of verses she sings in Farsi, but for the most part the Middle Eastern shadings remain in the background alongside traces of surf and Motown.
The New York/Jakarta duo brings a bite to their passionate fuzz pop that suggests a shelf life far past the dog days of summer. “Telephones” in particular sounds like the best demo Interpol forgot to record, while “Apes” and “Foxes” are the work of a band that has an ear for Sonic Youth-style dissonance.
When asked to describe themselves recently, they responded, “Le robó el peinado a tu papá, los calzones a tu mamá y el corazón a tu hermana” or, in English, “the kind to steal your father’s style, your mom’s panties, and your sister’s heart.” If given the chance, we’d steal their band tee depicting Milhouse in brown face.
You might think the members of Bloomer have time traveled from three decades ago, seeking revenge for being excluded from NME’s legendary C86 compilation. But having really been born long after 1986, Bloomer currently coasts through London’s DIY scene, supplementing many abrasive garage punk bills with a healthy dose of plushy twee pop.
Scavenged from the ashes of a previous band, Barzak, this trio from Bangladesh unites a deep-seated belief in left-hand mysticism with classic heavy metal influences to create modern, pulverizing death/thrash tunes. Orator have carved a niche for themselves in the Bangladeshi metal scene, ripping through shows and releasing their full-length in 2013, Kapalgnosis.