Seoul

Sometimes the best discoveries come just from following your favorite bands’ movements to perhaps an obsessive degree. Case in point, when Mutual Benefit announced that the support for their current in progress European tour would be Montreal’s Seoul, I was intrigued. I had never heard of them before but both the bands’ excitement to be playing together and Seoul’s self-descriptor as ambient-pop could’ve been enough to sell me, the fact Seoul manages to absolute nail what they do with that descriptor is all the better.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Seoul is they don’t revel in the beauty of their own soul like other ambient artists seems to do – there’s a definite sense of motion felt, a forward push toward an eventual conclusion. That Seoul manages to be both gorgeously scenic but artfully concise speaks to the clarity of their intent and the confidence in their musicality. “White Morning” is a sweeping, ethereal yawn; cavernously hollow but exhilarating in its multi-layered rush towards the finish line. Seoul’s song construction is pristine, effortlessly svelte, and almost bewilderingly understated in its complexity – enough so that while they’re never lacking in a clear, distinguished sound, it’s anyone’s guess just how many hands are in the pot.

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FILED: Listen, Seoul

Bedroom pop extraordinaire Emily Reo contributed this fantastic cover to Odd Castles’ stunning new cassette mixtape release, those who were once friends are now fam. Full mixtape is here, but let’s put the focus on Queen Emily for a minute:

Reo’s vocals were always the strongest part of her 2013 album Olive Juice, bewilderingly arranged and harmonized, adding intriguing complication to the songs’ sparse instrumentation. Since that album’s release we’ve been the beneficiaries of two of her best ever productions: her cover of The Pretenders’ “Birds Of Paradise” and now this downtempo, auto-tuned spectacle in the form of a Fleetwood Mac cover. Reo’s vocal modulations pierce even brighter than the manic synths that dance throughout the tracks’s 4.5 minutes, abetting the self-parodying cheesiness of the electronic drums with aplomb.

She’s just toying with us now… I really can’t wait for that next album.

Grab the Odd Castles cassette here »

Conveyor

In a way, the latest single from Brooklyn experimental pop quartet Conveyor is a return to form of sorts. Not to the vibrant, quirky rock pop of their debut self-titled full length which they’ve never really veered away from but the earlier days when Conveyor was far more electronic based in songs like “Twin Bank” and even some cuts from their Sun Ray EP. “Theme I (Edit)”, the first single from their upcoming instrumental album Prime, sees the foursome dipping their brushes in a bit of ambient coloring but not quite dulling their extensive textural pallet. It’s an interesting foray deeper into the world of electronics once more that the band manages to imbue with their unpredictable spirit. From the twangy lead guitar line that would not be at all out of place in Conveyor’s standard pop gems, “Theme I (Edit)” is more or less a development on a simple theme. A development that just so happens to include a swath of rising brass as it undulates forward a la perpetuum mobile before coming to a sputtering finish.

Conveyor’s instrumental full length Prime is out July 15th on double 12″ via Gold Robot Records.

Today NPR premiered the new video for The Acid’s insanely gorgeous song “Fame” from last year’s self-titled EP, featuring a beautifully choreographed dance routine from duo WIFE. Watch below:

Frankie Cosmos

While Beyonce got a veritable boatload of press for stealth releasing an album, that’s pretty much par for the course in the world of Indie. Case in point, lo-fi pop darling Frankie Cosmos has quickly released a follow up to earlier break out album Zentropy in affirms glinting. While Zentropy relied on Greta Kline’s live band/fellow bandmates in Porches., affirms glinting returns Kline towards her laptop recorded solo experiments.  Stripped down and understated, it’s nevertheless a treat – a collection of tracks that runs the gamut of Cosmos’ lo-fi potential. From the nebulous to more concrete pop confection.

Like “Too Dark”, the longest of a series of rather brief tracks, it nonetheless captures an astonishing amount of development. Reveling it a sort of start-stop consistency, “Too Dark” allows itself a bit of telling introspection before catapulting forward with Kline’s more upbeat, momentous guitar-led melodies.  Kline’s knack for engaging melodies is definitely at play here however brief it is. The song could consist of far more of the poppier B part sure but by cutting such a cool music moment to a practical brevity, Kline ensures that you’re sure to heat repeat. That’s the appeal of affirms glinting if not Frankie Cosmos itself.

Frankie Cosmos’ affirms glinting is out now and available for stream/download on Bandcamp.

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FILED: Listen