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Music News

STRFKR Finally Announce New LP 'Being No One, Going Nowhere,' Drop Second Single

Music News, New MusicWeston PaganoComment

Over half a year ago, STRFKR (née Starfucker) dropped a single titled "Never Ever" without any news of an album to come. Because of this, we took the leap in assuming it was a one-off, before STRFKR themselves corrected us on Twitter, providing the first hint that a follow-up to 2013's Miracle Mile was on the way.

Then, radio silence. Despite this delay, "Never Ever"'s "What would I lie for?" outro rings true today as the Portlandian trio has appeared again with new track "Tape Machine" and an album announcement for the grimly named Being No One, Going Nowhere due out November 4th via Polyvinyl.

"Tape Machine" is an excitingly groovy and psychedelic first taste of Being No One, Going Nowhere fitting of its delightfully starry cover art, but actually wasn't originally intended for the band. Frontman Joshua Hodges told Billboard,

Tape Machine’ was written with two Dutch friends while I was in Amsterdam visiting my girlfriend and trying to find inspiration. Those two friends and I wrote about six songs together and this was one they thought was too poppy for the project, so I asked if I could use it for this STRFKR record.

Click play and stare at space below.

First Impressions: Notes on Frank Ocean's Visual Album 'Endless'

Music News, New MusicEzra CarpenterComment

Four years of anticipation came, at least in part, to an end yesterday night as Frank Ocean released his visual album Endless through Apple Music - the apparent precursor to an LP proper to come later this weekend. The video, set in the same white-washed warehouse where Frank Ocean broadcasted his website's livestream last week, is roughly 45-minutes long and plays new material behind black-and-white visuals of Ocean constructing a staircase. Transverso took to pen and pad to record some initial thoughts on Endless: 

"Device Control"

  • We return to the warehouse seen in Frank Ocean's live stream; an imposing, stoic voice speaks.

"At Your Best (You Are Love) (Isley Brothers cover)"

  • Two impressions of Frank Ocean work away on workbenches, cutting wood on saws.  
  • The song playing seems to be the studio version of the Isley Brothers/Aaliyah cover Frank Ocean released the day after Aaliyah's birthday last year. 
  • A third Frank Ocean figure emerges.
  • The traditional R&B lyrics of the song, paired with the images of Frank Ocean working construction, convey "love" as industrious.

"Alabama"

  • Descending piano melody plays as Frank opens with quasi-rap verses. 
  • Vocals come in split between the left and right channels, creating an overlapping and disorienting spatial effect. 
  • Distortion on the closing vocals evokes iLoveMakonnen. 

"Mine"

  • Transition between songs is quite unclear. 
  • "Mine" may be an interlude or a song beginning with the forthcoming rap vocals. 

"U-N-I-T-Y"

  • General note: wardrobe changes have occurred with each song.
  • Rap vocals demonstrate a strong improvement in Ocean's rap delivery; his cadence is more carefully paced and restrained compared to rap verses he previously released through his Tumblr. 
  • Rapping style is most kin to that of Earl Sweatshirt's slowest moments on "Doris."

"Ambience 001: 'In a Certain Way'"

  • Interlude plays a record sample of dialogue (seemingly from a film). 

"Commes Des Garcons"

  • Eclectic vocal delivery early on. 
  • Deftly layered synths, vocals, and drum kits.
  • Tempo increase after chorus leads to instrumental based on chamber drums, faint synths, and artificial snares.

"Ambience 002: 'Honeybaby'" 

  • Another brief interlude features the scorching wails of a soul singer crying "Honeybaby."

"Wither"

  • Noise from construction can be heard quite noticeably; one of few times, if not the first, this has happened in the video.  
  • Instrumental is a widely spaced chord progression on a Rhodes. 
  • Frank Ocean's vocal style and signature vocal registers seem unchanged. 
  • Jazz bass-backing is faintly reminiscent of Thundercat. 

"Hublots"

  • Another interlude whose beginning and end cannot be precisely determined without reference.

"In Here Somewhere"

  • Non-vocalist quasi-rap into.
  • Vocal layering compliments sparse synth instrumental. 
  • Varying vocals may be a pitch-altered Ocean, another artist, or  a sample.

"Slide on Me"

  • Slow guitar arpeggios form the foundation for this instrumental. 
  • Instrumental layered with synth-bass backing and hissing and fluttering drum kit accents. 
  • Vocal reemploy split-channel spatial effects.
  • Ocean appears to be spray-painting rectangular boxes black; this is one of the last visuals featured on Ocean's live stream. The boxes are transferred from an aerosol protected paint room to the main warehouse. 
  • Synth outro has a very ethereal aesthetic. 

"Sideways"

  • Another rap verse from Frank. 
  • Instrumental sputters in and out in a tremolo-style break. 
  • Ocean stacks the boxes by sliding one end over a standing metal rod, forming what seems to be a staircase. 
  • The steps increase in color from bottom to top; from a natural wood grain to black.

"Florida"

  • Interlude featuring chorus vocals accented by layers of harmonies sung by Ocean. 

"Deathwish (ASR)"

  • Instrumental features distant, distorted, high-register vocals.
  • Waning synths are layered with trap-style percussion. 
  • General note: Album is highly contemporary. It incorporates elements of contemporary hip-hop (Young Thug, iLoveMakonnen) without seeming fadish or gimmicky. 

"Rushes"

  • Elongated strums on electric guitar form the base of this widely spaced instrumental. 
  • The staircase is now approximately 7 feet tall. 
  • Song features a female vocal contribution. 
  • Latter end of the song features an increasing distortion on Frank's vocals. 
    • Sounds like what Kanye wished the vocals on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy sounded like. 

"Rushes/Rushes To"

  • The electric guitar instrumental of "Rushes" carries over in greater distortion.
  • High-tempo, bass-heavy spattering percussion.
  • Electronic track serves as either the outro to "Rushes" or the intro to "Rushes To."

"Rushes To"

  • Acoustic guitar instrumental.
  • Song is the most minimal of the album. 
  • Moments of double-tracked vocals. 
  • The closing vocals feature Ocean at his most passionate; it is at the song's end that he strains his voice the most. 

"Higgs" 

  • Dancing instrumental of what sounds like an electronic steel drum. 
  • Slow rap vocal delivery.
  • Some would consider the instrumental to be trip hop. 
  • Shot closes in on Franks lower legs as he climbs the stairs. 
  • The scene then cuts to the visuals featured at the beginning of the video. 

Outro

  • The stoic voice featured at the introduction continues its dialogue. 
  • Dialogue breaks into an avant garde garage house track. 

Notably Missing from Endless

  • New songs performed on Ocean's California Live, You're Not Dead Tour (2013). 

Upon first listen, the extent to which Ocean has broadened his range of musical influences and output is truly impressive. Considering his admiration for Radiohead, the electronic palate of the new material draws a (dare I say) warranted comparison to the magnitude of growth Radiohead demonstrated between Ok Computer (1997) and Kid A (2000). Yet with all that we have been given to savor from this visual album, an additional release is reported to still be due this weekend.

After Five Years Bon Iver Announces New Album, '22, A Million,' Releases Two New Tracks

New Music, Music NewsSean McHughComment

Hold onto your high and tight fades you hipster hopefuls, Justin Vernon has returned from the proverbial woods to bestow yet another (seemingly) immaculate album via Bon Iver (or “Bonny Bear,” if you have only a casual predilection), entitled 22, A Million.

This might seem like yet another “surprise” release in a year that has been saturated with irrefutably tiresome “event” music cycle, but in true Vernon fashion, promotion for the new record has been under operation in plain site for months (even years). The first indication is the conception of Vernon’s passion project, Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival - which Vernon co-founded with The National’s Aaron Dessner. A festival, which was indicated as an annual event in which Vernon would be able to premiere various Bon Iver and non-Bon Iver, related works.

The second indication came more recently, as promotional efforts ramped up with a mysterious YouTube video released on July 22nd featuring the title “#22days” and a tune that we now know as album single “22 (OVER S∞∞N).” Then, in early August, the Bon Iver socials began to tease artwork, and eventually, a “pedestrian” (really just an industry plant) happened upon a street mural featuring similar art to the 22, A Million album cover.

22, A Million  cover art

22, A Million cover art

After the under-our-noses vague promotion, we now know the full, ephemerally wonderful scope of Bon Iver and JV’s shenanigans – 22, A Million is due out on September 30th, via long time Bon Iver label, Jagjaguwar. Vernon and co. premiered the entire 10-track record at Eaux Claires, fully realizing the festival’s purpose, and released two singles from the record immediately following the band’s headlining set.

Between the two singles, it's obvious that the Teenage Engineering OP-1 that Vernon had casually mentioned in a handful of interviews to promote Eaux Claire’s inaugural year in 2015 played a far more substantial role in JV and Bon Iver’s creative process for 22, A Million than anyone could have imagined. “22 (OVER S∞∞N)” and “10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⊠ ⊠” both feature every iteration of Bon Iver channeled through OP-1 production styles and effects. Conceivably, Justin Vernon has managed to do the impossible by not only maintaining Bon Iver tenants of musicality, composition, and lyricism, but progressing the entity itself without any repercussions from such growth.

Outside of the two singles, which include the classic lyrical cryptic messaging and phraseology, not much else is known about 22, A Million, and it's likely little else will be revealed until the album’s 9/30 release date. That being said, for the uninitiated that desire to find out more, it should be noted that the number 22 has played an immeasurably substantial role in Vernon’s life, via a press release for the album:

22 stands for Justin Vernon. The number's recurrence in his life has become a meaningful pattern through encounter and recognition. A mile marker, a jersey number, a bill total. The reflection of '2' is his identity bound up in duality: the relationship he has with himself and the relationship he has with the rest of the world. A Million is the rest of that world: the millions of people who we will never know, the infinite and the endless, everything outside one's self that makes you who you are. The other side of Justin's duality is the thing that completes him and what he searches for. 22, A Million is thus part love letter, part final resting place of two decades of searching for self-understanding like a religion. And the inner-resolution of maybe never finding that understanding. When Justin sings, "I'm still standing in the need of prayer" he begs the question of what's worth worshipping, or rather, what is possible to worship. If music is a sacred form of discovering, knowing and being, then Bon Iver's albums are totems to that faith.

Seeing as the album is set to release in early Fall, a 2016 tour announcement seems unlikely, but do not be surprised if Bon Iver hits the road in early 2017, as by that point, 22, A Million will have likely achieved indie-immortality that demands JV and Bon Iver’s presence once more.

Listen to “22 (OVER S∞∞N)” and “10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⊠ ⊠” and see the full tracklist below:

22, A Million

  1. 22 (OVER S∞∞N)
  2. 10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⊠ ⊠
  3. 715 - CRΣΣKS
  4. 33 “GOD”
  5. 29 #Strafford APTS
  6. 666 ʇ
  7. 21 M♢♢N WATER
  8. 8 (circle)
  9. _45__
  10. 00000 Million

Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam Announce New Album Details, Release "In a Black Out" Single

New Music, Music NewsWeston PaganoComment

Now that we've listened to the first taste of ex-Vampire Weekender Rostam and The Walkmen's Hamilton Leithauser collaboration "A 1000 Times," the duo have filled in the details of their upcoming album and given us a second single to listen to as well.

"This is probably my favorite recording I've done in the last few years," Rostam said of "In a Black Out" on Twitter, and it's understandable why. Though much of peak Walkmen-era Leithauser vocals are delightfully thrown against a clash of reverb and electric guitar we have them gently laid over a bed of acoustic here, while a most likely Rostam-procured "Step"-esque choir combines to beautifully fill the space.

A 10 song LP titled I Had A Dream That You Were Mine is due out September 23 via Glassnote Records, the closing track of which features Angel Deradoorian, formerly of Dirty Projectors. Check out "In a Black Out," as well as the tracklist and album art, below.

I Had A Dream That You Were Mine:

  1. A 1000 Times
  2. Sick as a Dog
  3. Rough Going (I Don't Let Up)
  4. In a Black Out
  5. Peaceful Morning
  6. When The Truth Is...
  7. You Ain't That Young Kid
  8. The Bride's Dad
  9. The Morning Stars
  10. 1959 [ft. Angel Deradoorian]

Here's Some Good News for People Who Love Bad News: Modest Mouse Frontman Causes Car Crash

Music NewsWeston PaganoComment

Well, here's some good news for people who love bad news: According to The Seattle TimesModest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock was the catalyst for the unconscious coupling of multiple vehicles in Portland yesterday after falling asleep at the wheel and rear-ending a government truck that began a chain reaction of collisions. He was cleared of any intoxication and walked away unharmed.

No black Cadillacs nor baby blue sedans were involved, and it remains to be seen if he will blame it on the Tetons. You could say he just drove off; sometimes life's okay. It's understandable, for it was a long drive for someone with nothing to think about. Brock should be careful next time he takes interstate 8.

Phantogram Announce Third LP, 'Three,' Drop Single "You Don't Get Me High Anymore"

New Music, Music NewsWeston PaganoComment

Amidst their #FestivalKillers summer circuit with Big Boi, Phantogram have dropped some much-hinted-at music of their own. Following 2014's fantastic Voices and last year's self-titled EP as Big Grams, the upstate New Yorkers have released "You Don't Get Me High Anymore," the lead single from their forthcoming third LP due out this September, Three.

Sarah Barthel's breathless vocals dance over Josh Carter's heavy, fuzzed-out beats in a way that implants the flashing lights of their live show directly into your head at first listen alone. As Barthel told PitchforkThree's conception was steeped in loss, from that of Bowie to Prince, and even her own sister who tragically passed in January, and the lyrics reflect that through restless angst: "Walk with me to the end / Stare with me into the abyss / Do you feel like letting go? / I wonder how far down it is."

Check out the track and tour dates below, and revisit our review of Big Grams EP here.

The Avalanches Announce New Album, Release First Track in 16 Years, "Frankie Sinatra"

Music News, New MusicAndy TabelingComment

As we approach the 16th anniversary of The Avalanches’ classic debut Since I Left You, the Australian group has finally announced the release date of their impending second album, Wildflower, on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show. The record will be released on July 8 via XL Recordings and features a slew of collaborators including Father John Misty, Toro y Moi and Biz Markie. Along with the announcement and the group’s first major interview since falling off the map after Since I Left You’s release, the group also dropped the first single, the delightful “Frankie Sinatra,” complete with a hallucinogenic music video.  

The track, built around a sample from Wilmoth Houdini's “Bobby Sox Idol,” is a bit less dense and layered than some of the debut records’ more famous jams. Instead, the focus is put on the two featured MCs: Danny Brown and MF Doom. Brown especially delivers two spirited, humorous verses that flows effortlessly over the quirky, strange beat. If this first sample is an indication of the group’s direction on Wildflower, we’re in for a treat.

of Montreal Announce New Album 'Innocence Reaches,' Hear First Single "it's different for girls"

Music News, New MusicWeston PaganoComment

of Montreal has debuted new single "it's different for girls" on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show and announced new album Innocence Reaches will follow-up last year's Aureate Gloom on August 12 via Polyvinyl.

Right off the bat it's clear the (American) Athenian psychedelic darlings have re-enlisted frontman Kevin Barnes' brother David for the art direction, with this newest kaleidoscopic offering exploring the “wonderment for the female anatomy." The track itself also harkens back to a more pre-Lousy With Sylvianbriar glittery sound and bears at least a passing resemblance to label-mates STRFKR.

According to Kevin, the forthcoming tunes are indeed more inspired by his contemporary peers than past work,

Forever I’ve been detached from current music. I got into this bubble of only being in some other time period. I came up picking apart the Beach Boys, the Beatles, and symphonic pieces. But last year, I was hearing Jack Ü, Chairlift, Arca, and others, thinking about low end and sound collage. It was an extra layer to geek out on.

At least one other song from Innocence Reaches has been performed live already as well. Listen to "it's different for girls" and check out the full album art and (all lowercase) tracklist below.

Innocence Reaches

  1. let’s relate
  2. it’s different for girls
  3. gratuitous abysses
  4. my fair lady
  5. les chants de maldoror
  6. a sport and a pastime
  7. ambassador bridge
  8. def pacts
  9. chaos arpeggiating
  10. nursing slopes
  11. trashed exes
  12. chap pilot

Read our in-depth interview with of Montreal here.

Wild Beasts Announce 5th LP, 'Boy King,' Drop Lead Single "Get My Bang" Music Video

New Music, Music NewsWeston PaganoComment

Enthralling experimentalists Wild Beasts have announced their forthcoming 5th LP, Boy King, due out August 5 via Domino with the release of lead single and video, "Get My Bang" and a host of European tour dates.

Wild Beasts have never been afraid to evolve across albums, and this first taste of Boy King - leather jackets, immensely '80s cover art, and all - is no exception. More straightforward than previous works, a linear drum base and unabashedly direct lyrics shed much of the painstakingly clever wordplay and dynamic brooding that set apart their past discography as "Get My Bang" reignites much of their signature libidinous themes but with an altogether different sort of polished package. "No getting it right / No getting it wrong / Just getting it on," indeed.

Co-frontman Hayden Thorpe explains,

After five records there had to be an element of ‘what the fuck?’ It became apparent that that guitar almost became the character within the songs, that phallic character, the all-conquering male. I’m letting my inner Byron fully out, I thought I’d tucked him away, but he came screaming back like the Incredible Hulk. I think ‘Boy King’ is an apocalyptic record. It’s about swimming in the abyss. When you think about sex, you’ve got to think about death, they’re one and the same.

Boy King was recorded in Dallas, enlisting producer John Congleton (St. Vincent, The War on Drugs), while the accompanying visual was shot in Belgrade and directed by Olivier Groulx (Arcade Fire, alt-J). Check out the video, tracklist, and tour dates below.

wild-beasts-boy-king-new-album.png

Boy King

  1. Big Cat
  2. Tough Guy
  3. Alpha Female
  4. Get My Bang
  5. Celestial Creatures
  6. 2BU
  7. He The Colossus
  8. Ponytail
  9. Eat Your Heart Out Adonis
  10. Dreamliner

Tour:

6/18 – Madrid, ES @ MadCool Festival
7/26-27 – Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
7/28-29 – Brighton, UK @ Hove Old Market
8/18 – Brecon Beacons, UK @ Green Man Festival
8/26 – Dumfries, UK @ Electric Fields
8/27 – Helsinki, FI @ Modern Sky Festival
9/02 – Vlieland, NL @ Into the Great Wide Open
9/04 – Laois, IE @ Electric Picnic
9/24 – Hamburg, DE @ Reeperbahn Festival
9/28 – Bristol, UK @ Motion
9/29 – Oxford, UK @ O2 Academy
9/30 – Margate, UK @ By the Sea Festival
10/01 – Sheffield, UK @ The Foundry
10/03 – Cambridge, UK @ The Junction
10/04 – London, UK @ The Roundhouse
10/07 – Newcastle, UK @ Northumbria Uni
10/08 – Glasgow, UK @ QMU
10/09 – Manchester, UK @ Academy
10/12 – Belgium, BE @ Botanique Orangeries
10/13 – Paris, FR @ La Gaite Lyrique
10/14 – Tourcoing, FR @ Le Grand Mix
10/15 – Strasbourg, FR @ La Laiterie
10/16 – Cologne, DE @ Luxor
10/18 – Copenhagen, DK @ Pumpehuset
10/20 – Berlin, DE @ Kesselhaus
10/21 – Prague, CZ @ Lucerna Music Bar
10/23 – Zurich, CH @ Rote Fabrik
10/25 – Milan, IT @ Magnolia
10/26 – Lyon, FR @ Epicure Moderne
10/29 – Bilbao, ES @ BIME

 

Michael Cera and Willow Smith Team Up for 2016's Most Baffling Collaboration Thus Far

Music News, New MusicSean McHughComment

Take heed! The collaboration we’ve all been chomping at the bit for has finally willed its way into existence – the ever-illusory 15 year-old, Willow Smith, and everyone’s favorite perpetual teenager, Michael Cera, have teamed up to create the most unforeseen collaboration of 2016 to date.

“Twentyfortyeight 2.0” marks yet another surprise musical release from Cera, who once moonlighted as Mister Heavenly's bassist, while marking the Superbad actor’s first “celebrity” collaboration. The track features the youngest Smith expending that familiar Smith progeny egotism, as the 15 year-old opens the track speaking aimlessly about “a yellowish hue” which she goes on to describe as "kind of nebulous." In typical teenage fashion, Smith appears to over-exert herself when trying to imaginatively masque her lack of world experience with bushy tailed sentiments of “being all that is” and “it feels like it's trying to tell me something” mixed with 420 tropes of “is it true that we really are?” It appears as though Willow has been spending far too much time in the whimsical company of her older brother, Jaden.

All of Willow’s aimless opining aside, the song actually isn’t “bad.” There’s a wandering innocence to Willow’s empty lyrics that almost elicits a state of wonder – whether aided by psychotropic substances or not – that endears the listener to Willow’s rambling state. The best part of the track is Cera’s production, which feels like its been ripped directly from a Juno or Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist outtake. In more recent pop culture lore, “Twentyfortyeight 2.0” sounds like a spiritual companion to M83’s “Raconte Moi une histore” from the band’s 2011 Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.

The wandering video-game synth arpeggios sweeten an already saccharine song that allows the listener to distract themselves when Smith reaches the end of the track talking about societal struggle – “We’ve manufactured the society the runs on the backs of those with truth for them to victimize” – but instead of rolling your eyes, feel free to lose yourself in a wonderful wandering menagerie of stream of consciousness musing, echoing harmony hums, and lullaby beat production.