Archive for the ‘MUSIC’ Category

Former Yuck singer Max Bloom will release solo album “Pedestrian” on June 18th and he’s just shared this new single. “Pallidromes” should appeal to fans of Real Estate.

London indie rockers Yuck announced their break-up back in February, on the 10th anniversary of their self-titled debut album, but by then, their former vocalist and guitarist Max Bloom had already begun his next chapter. The follow-up to his 2020 solo debut Perfume, Pedestrian is another step further from Yuck’s blown-out fuzz-rock sound: Self-described “dadgaze” artist and producer Bloom favours stately piano and gauzy synth on the title track, accentuating his Ben Folds-esque vocal tone, and on the likes of “America” and “How Can I Love You,” he blends acoustic jangle with warm psych-rock riffs, lending a cosmic tint to his meditations on togetherness.

B-side highlight “Twenty-two” is Bloom at his dreamiest, and contented closer “Cat on Your Lap” sounds like dusk on the front porch with its gentle lap steel and piano, as Bloom sings with contagious optimism, “The future looks so golden from what I can see.” To some, “Pedestrian” is a pejorative, but Bloom’s new record is evidence of how the right perspective can turn the everyday into something special. 

Pedestrian (the album) here:​ Written and recorded by Max Bloom. Drums & percussion recorded by Adam Gammage.

All tracks written by Max Bloom, except ‘All The Same‘ and ‘Under Green Skies‘ which were written by Max Bloom & Anna Vincent. Drums & percussion recorded by Adam Gammage. Cover art by Dan Yates

Written and recorded by Max Bloom. Drums & percussion recorded by Adam Gammage. Animation by Max Bloom. © Ultimate Blends 2021

releases June 18th, 2021

WHITE FLOWERS – ” Day By Day “

Posted: June 20, 2021 in MUSIC
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For fans of Beach House, Cocteau Twins, Cigarettes After Sex and Slowdive. For songwriting duo Joey Cobb and Katie Drew of White Flowers, one of the most exciting young bands in the UK right now, it was only on leaving London to return to their native Preston that the dark-hued dreampop of their debut album, “Day By Day”, began to crystalize. The pair had left Preston for London to study at art college, and it was there that they first began to explore the nascent psych scene bubbling under in the few remaining arts-orientated spaces in the east of the city. It soon inspired them to begin work on music of their own.

“There’s something uniquely bleak about the North,” says Joey, speaking from the abandoned textile mill that White Flowers call home, “but in that bleakness there’s a certain beauty.”

The pair found that by using equipment they barely understood, they produced their most innovative work. Beginning on GarageBand, they crafted loops that turned into songs, and by the time they’d worked out how to use it, they’d graduated to a drum machine.

Now very much in control, and with a clear and determined focus, the pair began producing music that, whilst leaning into the North’s post-punk past, possessed a vision and depth informed by their own post-industrial Preston experiences. Creating all of their artwork, visuals and overall aesthetic, they began building a world that stretched beyond the music alone – in an unusual circular fashion, this auteurist-like approach became a way of translating their environment and experiences into a form of escapism from the very place that inspired them.

Nonetheless, it was shortly before leaving London that another creative breakthrough occurred. While performing a small show as a support act, a fan in the audience, impressed by the wall of noise that would frequently extend for minutes at the end of tracks, suggested they work with a like-minded friend. Within weeks, the pair were recording at the Manchester studio of Jez Williams, erstwhile member of Doves.

Williams and Manchester immediately made sense, and it’s that industrial gothic that White Flowers were able to tap into as they built the album during on-off sessions across two years – sometimes leaving the studio for a couple of months to work on ideas, other times crafting the minutiae of details across all-night studio sessions.

The access to flexible studio time was telling, and the band were able to develop an aesthetic that, whilst indebted to the various sounds that defined their youth, also leaned heavily into Kevin Shields’ droning wall of noise guitars, the palimpsestic hauntology of early Burial, and the ghost box sampleadelia of Boards of Canada.

“We like the more alien sounds” explains Joey, “where the focus is on creating atmosphere.” This is perhaps most obvious on the album title track, one of the more sonically enticing tracks on the record with its pulsing drone and Portishead-esque rhythm, or even ‘Night Drive’, a live favourite that the pair take pride in building into a monstrous wall of sound.

Daylight’ pushes forward with a prettiness matched by Katie’s oblique, near-glossolalia vocal. “We don’t like it when things are clean or overproduced” explains Katie, “and there’s something interesting in the instinctive nature of the first thing you sing, because you don’t really know what you’re singing until it comes out and it makes sense.” That psychographic-style process to writing informs a collection of songs that are at once both intuitive and fully-formed.

The oldest song on the record, ‘Help Me Help Myself’, bears witness to this approach. Perhaps their most direct and perfect ‘pop’ song to date, it suggests these songs were always there within, just waiting to be divined. “We’d just started using drum machines and there’s something of a naïve quality to it,” explains Katie, though its naivety has now been augmented by Jez Williams’ impossibly diaphanous production.

The constant upheaval of, well, everything has fed directly into Day By Day. “The songs on the album were written from when we were teenagers up to our early 20s, so it’s come of age in this weird apocalyptic time,” says Katie. “Everything’s surrounded by uncertainty” notes Joey, “but it isn’t all doom and gloom, there are positives, rules are out the window and you can do what you want. There’s some hope in there.”

Released June 11th, 2021

Pale Horse Rider” rides again! Happy physical Release Date to Cory Hanson’s second album, whose digital release date was earlier in 2021. To really kick this celebration off, we’ve dropped the third episode in Cory’s Limited Hangout series – as a little treat.

The Wand frontman Cory Hanson releases a new album Pale Horse Rider, via Drag City Records. Myths and truths of a country on the way down, viewed through a deep-focus lens trained on the city from the deserts on the east; a terminus of unoccupied residential parks and streets fading into craggy footpaths to nowhere, where our passage is seen as diligent, ephemeral and grotesque by turns, forgiven and made beautiful again by the sound.

Cory Hanson’s album “Pale Horse Rider,” was released on Digital and Streaming on April 16, 2021, and on LP/CS/CD June 18, 2021, from Drag City.

ISLAND – ” My Brother “

Posted: June 20, 2021 in MUSIC

When it comes to big, blooming and moving songs, ISLAND have you covered. Today is no different: their new one ‘My Brother’ is out now and it’s yet another atmospheric achievement. 

Building and retreating; ebbing and flowing, ‘My Brother’ is a quintessential ISLAND track: richly layered and flush with emotion, it’s the kind of indie-pop song that transcends barriers and demands to feature on film soundtracks:

Island return with their second album Yesterday Park on tastemaker NYC label Frenchkiss Records. “Yesterday Park” is an album about nostalgia, that feeling of looking back, not to one specific time or place but rather the feeling associated with the hazy blur of childhood and teenage memories. The songs cover a lot of different themes, but at their heart they all stem from formative memories. The album was recorded with producer Mikko Gordon (Thom Yorke, Arcade Fire). Introducing new textures, instrumentation and recording techniques allowed the band to better create that reflective feeling they were aiming for. They drew a lot of influence from the 90s, and particularly beat-driven 90s hip-hop which inspired a lot of the grooves in the album.

On previous release ‘Everyone’s The Same’, we noted that “The verses are stripped back to grungey, distorted bass before taking charge with the noise-heavy choruses. It’s a no-nonsense track that doesn’t wait around to make a point.”

Official music video for ‘My Brother’ by Island

Brooklyn’s Mia Berrin and her band make their full-length (and City Slang) debut with “Death of a Cheerleader”, produced by Sarah Tudzin of Illuminati Hotties. Singles “Lux” and “Head Cheerleader” a riot-grrrl ripper and ultra-hooky statement of purpose, respectively—have numbered among our favourite songs of the year so far, making this record an obvious June standout.

Another stunner of a single, “Crying” is defined, first and foremost, by its raw emotion. Pom Pom Squad songwriter and bandleader Mia Berrin croons about feeling awful when she feels anything at all (“If I’m a bitch at least someone is”), then spiraling into self-pity and -mockery as a meta-response to her own emotional state (“I’m in hell it feels like home”), laying all her complex emotions on the table with a wink and a sob. Half Liz Phair and half Old Hollywood, “Crying” sits at the stylistic nexus of Death of a Cheerleader, somehow fusing heavily distorted power chords to dramatic string arrangements. Even when she’s this far down on herself, Berrin demonstrates the skill that has her band on the way up.

Backed by Mari Alé Figeman, Shelby Keller and Alex Mercuri, Berrin celebrates “the discomfort that comes with stepping into your new skin—your own power” on both “Head Cheerleader” and the album at large, asserting her identity in not only her music, but also the world with which she’s sharing it. The result is indie rock gaining a new voice that we’ll be hearing from for years to come. 

Pom Pom Squad’s debut album ‘Death of a Cheerleader’ out June 25th.

Given Dylan’s last album of originals was in 2012, and his standards phase had concluded with a slightly meandering three-disc set in Triplicate, expectations of anything other than an archival release or new tour announcement from Dylan in 2020 were low. You could be forgiven if you thought in recent years that he was once again down for the count. His last album of original compositions, Tempest, had come out in 2012,

“Murder Most Foul” began with cringey rhymes and rose and revolved into a most extraordinary, time-defying meditation and reverie, pulling from the ethyr all the names of power from the 20th century’s canonical list of musical greats. Two more songs soon followed its way onto the internet, and then the album itself, and what an album it was. Rough and Rowdy Ways is among one of Dylan’s best, like all those great albums, it sounds like none of them, and none of them is like each other. You can all but feel Dylan wearing his years singing standards right against his skin, such is the intimacy, delicacy and force of his best performances. The skeletal web of guitar that sustains “Black Rider”, the wave-like motions of the whole band working as one on “Key West” or “I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You”, the shimmering nature of the settings for ‘”I Contain Multitudes” and “Mother of Muses” – they’re one of a kind.

The record’s first track, the understated, percussion-free “I Contain Multitudes,” features a soft blend of strings, pedal steel and guitar and sets the dreamlike, death-haunted tone for much of the album with its opening lines: “Today and tomorrow and yesterday too/The flowers are dying like all things do.” Later in the same song, Dylan compares himself—all in one verse—to Anne Frank, Indiana Jones and “them British bad boys,” the Rolling Stones. He also rhymes the song title with “nudes,” “feuds,” and—in an apparent reference to David Bowie—“all the young dudes.”

Many of his long time lyrical preoccupations remain—especially mortality and love. And he’s still mixing up a unique musical brew whose ingredients include blues, country and rock ’n’ roll. His long time band remains magnificent and in perfect step with his moods.

Musicians such as Fiona Apple, Blake Mills and Bob Britt, who augmented Dylan’s stage band – itself a fresh iteration for what are at present his final concerts of autumn 2019 – added their own signature touches to this album’s soundscape.

As for the lyrics, they spill out like guts from a belly, making prophecies, and they keep on coming. As a lot of listeners have commented over the past months, it feels like you’ll never get to the bottom of them. Here, Dylan’s own legend has become material for him in the same way that the songs and phrases and rhymes of the Anglo-American folk and blues traditions are, as is the poetry of the Classics – this is an album diffused with the light of ancient texts, and ruled by that most strangest and most powerful of muses, memory (Dylan’s is photographic, remember?).

He’s also still heavily into uncredited borrowing, though not to the extent that raised eyebrows regarding 2006’s Modern Times. As he has done since the beginning of his career (and as many other folk artists have done), he pulls ideas and phrases from umpteen sources and uses them as building blocks for something fresh. Here, he takes his album’s moniker from an old Jimmie Rodgers number, lifts the title of “Murder Most Foul” from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and uses a Walt Whitman line for the title of “I Contain Multitudes.” Dylan also weaves in a line about “the winter of my discontent” and a verse from the Who’s Tommy. And the music for “False Prophet” has been said to derive directly from “If Lovin’ Is Believin’,” a 1954 Sun Records track by Billy “The Kid” Emerson.

There are important differences between Rough and Rowdy Ways and Dylan’s other work over the past couple of decades, however. Most notably, this album seems to have been assembled more carefully. It also contains many more specific references to real places, things and especially people: he namechecks Leon Russell, Liberace, Julius Caesar, Jimmy Reed (the ostensible subject of a whole song), Allen Ginsberg, Sigmund Freud, Harry Truman, Karl Marx, and many other well-known figures.

Another standout is the melodious “I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You,” a touching and complex statement of devotion that echoes the lyrical intensity of songs like Empire Burlesque’s “I’ll Remember You.” 

And then there’s the accordion-flavoured “Key West (Philosopher Pilot),” a brilliant, rambling ballad that appears to be about an old man, perhaps on his deathbed. He was “born on the wrong side of the railroad track” and “never lived in the land of Oz” but has now found some kind of peace in Key West, which he calls “the place to be if you’re looking for immortality.”

This album’s centerpiece is “Murder Most Foul,” the longest song Dylan has ever recorded. (“Highlands,” on Time Out of Mind, is only 23 seconds shorter, but such epics as “Tempest,” “Just Like a Woman,” “Joey” and “Brownsville Girl” all wind down well before this one does.) Dylan talks/sings over piano and mournful, dirge-like strings, offering a sprawling and intriguing lyric that uses the assassination of President John F. Kennedy—an event that has interested him for years—as a jumping-off point for a romp through an American dream world.

“It was a dark day in Dallas, November ’63/A day that will live on in infamy,” Dylan begins. “President Kennedy was a-ridin’ high/Good day to be livin’ and a good day to die.” Subsequent verses continue the assassination theme with references to the grassy knoll, the Zapruder film, the swearing in of Lyndon Johnson, Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby, but Dylan also manages enough sidetracks to mention everything from Gone with the Wind, the Aquarian Age and Marilyn Monroe to Wolfman Jack, The Birdman of Alcatraz, Lindsey Buckingham and The Merchant of Venice. He also names more than 70 songs, ranging from “Ferry ’Cross the Mersey” and “Down in the Boondocks” to “Moonlight Sonata” and “That Old Devil Moon.”

All these elements combine and regenerate into a seemingly effortless Burroughsian commingling of diverse sources and routes. There is no “I” in these songs, no single figures in a fixed landscape. These songs progress via the multitudes of the associational rather than the linear. They are songs of many shifting figures in many different landscapes where nothing is fixed and everything flows like Heraclitus said it would. There are moments that are intimate, that express love, that emit warmth and heat, but often set alongside the indifferent, the celestial, the bestial, murderous, violent and cold. Such is life, such is happiness, as one of his beautiful lines tells it. These are fully tenanted songs, lived in by multitudes. They strike me as unlike anything he’s ever done, and that only he could do them.

This is special stuff. In an extraordinary year, Dylan released an album that equals and perhaps even surpasses the best work he’s done. That’s amazing.

The Hiders from Cincinnati, Ohio produce untainted midwestern, somewhat retro, heartfelt, homemade rock /psych/Americana.”Songwriter/guitarist Billy Alletzhauser continues with his group The Hiders. Sounds range from Tom Petty to Black Mountain, from Van Morrison to Smashing Pumpkins

The Hiders’ sound is a unique brand of roots Rock that’s sometimes spacious and ethereal and sometimes relatively straightforward, but almost always transcendent. There is a soulfulness to the songs that is hard to describe, but that’s part of The Hiders’ magic. There is a vibe that just works and sticks with you like a haunting memory after just one listen. When Harris and Alletzhauser’s voices meld together on choruses, for example, they often cause goosebumps. Great songwriting with equally great, emotive performances. There are rootsy elements to The Hiders’ sound, but labeling them “Alt Country” or “Roots Rock” never feels right. Like avowed influence Mark Linkous, Alletzhauser is one of those rare songwriters whose work transcends easy

A truly remarkable band, a great live experience, tons of great songs…The Hiders are real contenders. They bridge the musical gap as well as any band I’ve heard in a long, long time…” Dan Reed WXPN/WorldCafe’

released June 19th, 2021

Soccer Mommy

Soccer Mommy has released a new song, part of the soundtrack to the new comic book movie “Dark Nights Death Metal”. “Kissing in the Rain” appears alongside other songs by Mastodon, Idles, HEALTH, and others.

Since releasing her second album “Color Theory” last year, Soccer Mommy’s Sophie Allison has covered The Cars, Jay Som, MGMT, and The Chicks. Allison issued a deluxe edition of Color Theory with demos and more last fall, too, and Soccer Mommy is set to tour the United States beginning in September.

“Kissing In The Rain” appears on the Dark Nights: Death Metal Soundtrack,

May be an image of flower, outdoors and text that says 'Efterklang Windflowers New Album October 8'

Danish trio Efterklang have announced a new album, “Wildflowers” its first single, “Living Other Lives”. “Wildflowers” is due out October 8th via City Slang Records.

Wildflowers is the follow-up to 2019’s “Altid Sammen” which was their first album in seven years and released via 4AD. Efterklang consists of Casper Clausen (vocals), Mads Brauer (synths, electronics), and Rasmus Stolberg (bass).

Clausen had this to say about the new single in a press release: “Living Other Lives’ started out as a jam in my Lisbon studio during Spring 2020 lockdown. I was playing around with my 404 sampler and I found that kind of groove that makes my head bop—put some samples on it, and I could listen to it forever—a good sign. So I was just having that on loop while scrolling through my Instagram feed. The lyrics sort of came out of that moment; living other lives, imagination jumping from one life/image to another, revisiting, updating myself, absolutely bodiless, while scrolling up and up with my thumb. It’s a fascinating world we’re living in, so strangely symbiotic and aware of what everybody’s doing, I feel I’m living multiple lives all at once. Watching all these people expressing and changing themselves far away, out there around the planet.”

Søren Lynggaard Andersen directed the “Living Other Lives” video.

Andersen had this to say about the video: “I visited Efterklang in the studio when they were in the process of recording their new album. I had packed this old Russian 16mm camera and I wasn’t even sure if the camera actually worked, but thankfully it did (sort of). The video that came out of it I feel is a charming and genuine look at the band together in the studio and in the nature of the island of Møn in the south of Denmark.”

‘Living Other Lives’ by Efterklang. Taken from the new album ‘Windflowers’ released October 8th 2021 on City Slang Records.

May be an image of 4 people

Piroshka are releasing their second studio album, “Love Drips And Gathers” due on July 23rd via Bella Union Records. This week they shared the album’s second single, “V.O” via an intriguing video for it. The song is a tribute to the late Vaughan Oliver, who was 4AD’s in-house designer and responsible for many iconic album covers for the label, including ones by bands like Lush, the former band of Piroshka singer Miki Berenyi.

The band is fronted by former Lush singer Miki Berenyi (vocals/guitar) and also includes former Moose guitarist KJ “Moose” McKillopModern English bassist Mick Conroy, and former Elastica drummer Justin Welch. The band’s first album, “Brickbat” came out in 2019 on Bella Union.

Berenyi had this to say about the album in a previous press release: “If Brickbat was our Britpop album, then Love Drips and Gathers is shoegaze! It wasn’t intentional; we just wanted a different focus. I’ve always seen debut albums as capturing a band’s first moments, when you really have momentum, and then the second album is the chance for a more thoughtful approach.”

Berenyi had this to say about the song in a press release: “I wrote this originally as an instrumental but the rest of the band convinced me to put a vocal on it. The lyrics are snapshot snippets of Vaughan Oliver’s funeral in January 2020—lines from the speeches, fleeting impressions of the day. I’m getting to the age where the people I grew up with are dying and I find funerals a comfort in the sadness, formal but emotional, a celebration of a life, a space for the living to reconnect.”

Connor Kinsey had this to add about the video: “We wanted to put this ominous-being center frame and allow the viewer to reflect on fear and loss whilst also embracing hope and futurity through its life experiences. Giving the subject no recognizable features meant that it’s emotional journey through the different timelines felt more relatable to a wider audience.”

Previously Piroshka shared the album’s first single “Scratching At the Lid”, Piroshka features members of various iconic British acts.

Conroy added: “Brickbat was our classic first album; noisy and raucous. On Love Drips and Gathers, we’ve calmed down and explored sounds, and space.”

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“Scratching At The Lid” is taken from the Piroshka album “Love Drips And Gathers” released 23rd July 2021 via Bella Union Records.