As someone who loved Low’s last album but is only vaguely familiar with their extensive back catalogue, I’ve spent the week trying to play catch up as much as possible in anticipation of their new LP HEY WHAT which arrived today in all its melancholy, distorted glory. It’s been quite a week, and while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend piling through that much Low at once (the darkness! the depths!), it’s been interesting to trace the developments of their 20+ year career in just a few sittings. As a fairly new fan, I certainly don’t have any authority in ranking these things, but also: HEY WHAT is categorically their best album, and Hey is its emotional zenith.
I love The Antler’s 2014 album Familiars a quite ridiculous amount. It’s probably in my top 5 all time, definitely top 10, so to say I was hyped for the new LP Green to Gold was somewhat of an understatement. After a few listens, I’m sure of at least one thing: the title track is one of the loveliest things they’ve ever recorded. Rolling along on hushed drums, softly twanging guitars and with Peter Silberman’s extraordinary vocal providing the backbone, it’s a lazy, sun-drenched, perfect afternoon at the beach/park/wherever distilled into song form, which, despite being more than seven minutes long, could easily hang around all fucking day and be more than welcome company.
ttypes is the solo project of Michigan-based songwriter Tim Krauss whose music ranges from ambient instrumental, to piano pop, rock, electronic pop and various other styles. His latest – as the title suggests – is an ode to Hollywood icon, (former) cocaine enthusiast and everyone’s favourite irreverent cyborg, Robert Downey Jr.. Not that you’d necessarily be able to tell from the record itself which is a frantic rush of syrupy bleeps and washed out vocals, but check out the video for one of the purest hits of RDJ you’re likely to find outside of a Marvel set.
The new single from LA noise-pop duo MUNNCAT is, according to the band, “about the growing frustration of trying to meet people in the middle who have no intention of compromising”. Now, generally speaking I am terrible at paying attention to messages in songs, but I can hear no discernible frustration in The Bygone Goodbye at all: only pure, unadulterated fun and positivity. I haven’t been this wrongfooted by a track for a while, as it’s not what I generally consider the music I gravitate towards (see: moody, nostalgic, synthy, maybe a little depressing), but I absolutely love it. So much energy, kinda reminds me a little of The Phenomenal Handclap Band, but with a lot more edge.
Girl is the latest single to be taken from Irish producer Sal Dulu’s forthcoming debut album, Xompulse, which is set for self-release via his own Duluoz Records this February. The last track I featured of his was the impeccable Alien Boy 96, and while Girl is similarly constructed of hazy, sun-bleached sample, it’s loser and more laidback, sitting somewhere between the carefree nostalgia of The Avalanches and the free-wheeling beats of J Dilla. I’m a big fan of everything he’s been putting out recently, so consider this your formal warning to jump on the hype train before the album lands next month.
Music was one of the few things that made 2020 bearable, and Gia Margaret’s album Mia Gargaret stood out amidst even the best releases of the year due to its almost paralysing beauty. Solid Gold came out today, and unsurprisingly it’s wonderful, with yearning, Americana-esque guitars lolling gently in the background accompanied by a steady, hushed pulse of percussion. With or without her voice, she’s one of the most consistently mesmerising artists out there, and we should treasure her.
On a blazing hot Sunday afternoon last June I watched This Is The Kit perform on Glastonbury’s West Holts stage, and it was absolutely magnificent: exactly the kind of relaxed yet quietly invigorating vibe I was looking for, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Was Magician is the latest in a run of singles from her forthcoming album Off Off On which is out later this month, and is delicate, sparse and very lovely indeed.
This is the latest single from Norwegian trio Orions Belte, a band supposedly inspired by “Nigerian 70’s rock, postcards from the French Riviera and Formula 1” and while I’m not an authority on either Nigerian rock or Formula 1, the breezy, heady melodies of Conversations absolutely call to mind sitting on a warm beach gazing out at the gentle swells of the Mediterranean. It’s an intoxicating blend, easily accessible yet with enough of a punch to stay with you for some time afterwards.
Emily Cross, Dan Duszynski and Jonathan Meiburg formed Loma in 2016 when they met on tour. They released their debut self-titled LP back in 2018, which I became mildly obsessed with for a while, especially the majestically sad I Don’t Want Children. Don’t Shy Away is the latest single from their forthcoming sophomore album – also called Don’t Shy Away – and it’s completely brilliant. Breathy, ethereal vocals and a gently strumming guitar that gradually build, fade, build again to a restrained, devastating denouement.
The theme of Pray It Away – which concerns a battle with Hannah Georgas’ own conservative family about same-sex marriage – is serious and weighty, but the record is anything but. Poignant, yes, but also light and delicate, as if she’s delivering the song floating high above the unfolding scene below. Perhaps that’s my own projection of detachment, having never been through anything similar with my own family, but she certainly seems to have found some resolution. Regardless, it’s a wonderful song, taken from her excellent new album All That Emotion, which I very much recommend checking out.