After getting their toes wet with singles “Stay With Us” and “White Morning”, Montreal’s Seoul are all-in on their debut full length I Become A Shade and “The Line” establishes that the “ambient-pop” group have no intentions of stripping back the heavy pop lean we heard in last year’s “White Morning”.
“The Line” is by far the most immediate of Seoul’s output so far – fusing elements of sound collage with hard-hitting beats and surging dance-inspiring synths. And even then Seoul never quite go the full on pop route – there’s a languid stretching chasm right at the halfway mark that makes me patiently wait for the resurgence of the track’s dancier A part. It’s refreshing to have that, in a song that could easily do without and perhaps the only flaw with “The Line” is that it just seems to damn short. It’s a radio-friendly 3 minute jam but when that fade happens, it feels much too soon. It’s a song that would no doubt benefit from a longer track time and more ideas explores but Seoul offers up the pop on their terms, not ours offering just enough to entice but leave you wanting more which while frustrating is respectable.
Seoul’s full length debut I Become A Shade is out June 9th on Grand Jury, pre-order is available now on iTunes.
Been keeping tabs on Oakland outfit Waterstrider after they dropped an insane single (“Feathertips”) a year or two ago. Now they’re back after a brief break with “Calliope” »
The frenetic pings and pops, present here and also wildly on “Feathertips”, almost give the band their namesake by now, gliding along surface tension like water droplets felled from a wet leaf. They’ve kicked it up a notch here in the final third, almost to arena anthem levels, as contemporaries Hundred Waters and Phantogram often do. Frontman Nate Salman (still not convinced he’s not a siren) outdoes himself on vocal production in this stretch, eerily cascading across channels, woven between instruments, the fabric that holds the entire tapestry together. If they keep producing tracks like “Calliope”, 2015 looks to be Waterstrider’s year to shine.
Head over to Earmilk for the accompanying video »
Listen to more on Soundcloud / Bandcamp »
Since releasing some of their very first tunes in 2013 like the infectious floor-filler “Make It Good”, Brooklyn via Portland electronic duo MY BODY has certainly had its hands full but never really stopped working on their debut EP. It’s been awhile in the works, with a detour here and there in the form of stand-alone tracks like “My Cat” and the instrumental pseudo-club jam “If I Need You I’ll Call” which was featured on Kitsuné America 3 last summer.
However their debut EP Six Wives is finally out and while it leans a bit more into their R&B influences than they’ve previously explored in their past recorded output, the duo set themselves apart from the pack through a remarkable constant – a fluidity of interesting ideas. Bucking the trend of the doe-eyed ingenue just singing over some other producer’s beats, MY BODY’s Jordan Bagnall, a talented audio engineer, takes a far more active role in both the twosome’s song creation and performance. EP standout “Explode” is written from the female perspective gives glimpses of Bagnall’s latent badassery. She doesn’t sing with an obvious hostility but she makes some pretty fierce threats sung ever so sweetly: “Warning: if you fuck me over, I will find out. And if you try to hide, I will come down harder than you’ve begotten”. It’s a track that’s deliciously multi-faceted: an ecstatic sex jam with an emotionally biting edge. A slow tempo pop gem where the lyrical content has as much weight as the electronic bells and whistles.
MY BODY’s Six Wives EP is out now digitally and available for pre-order on CD/LP out April 30th which comes bundled with two exclusive bonus tracks.
Washington D.C quartet Pree are anything but a normal band. It’s obvious in absolutely every way they present themselves. Their setup may seem like your typical guitar, bass, drum, and keys but what they do with this pairing of instruments is anything but garden variety. “Two Feet Shy”, the first single from their upcoming full length album RIMA functions as a pretty concrete introduction, in fact.
“Two Feet Shy” greets you with a cymbal-born wall of fuzz through which the tune’s first melodies dreamily but sharply cut, before May Tabol’s voice enters itself (more occurs in the first 30 seconds of this track than the entirety of some albums). Tabol’s vocals, with their cabaret-reminiscent pointedness, are easily able to maintain the focus and following them instead of the myriad of instrumental turbulence is its own reward. Tabol’s lyrics are delightfully off-kilter, building off of themselves with pacing that makes their inventiveness all the more obvious. Tabol’s doesn’t draw from the typical singer/songwriter fare, but instead creates an interesting narrative that proceeds with a sort of dream-logic certainty. When she does pause to explain herself, it’s to draw attention to any irregularity in your comprehension. There are winning moments: “you and me and the room make three” Tabol offers, illuminating helpfully the song’s characters.
May Tabol’s no stranger to wellsprings of creativity though–a former member of experimental folk collective Le Loup, she’s teamed up with a talented group of musicians to help color her fanciful lyrical stylings. “Two Feet Shy” is a kaleidoscopic blend of timbres and vibrant melodies. Each part bounces playfully off each other, the guitar brightly shading Tabol’s vocals or proceeding on its own divergent path utilizing a multitude of different tones. There’s an ebb and flow in how the band will gather together or split apart from the main vocal lines that’s interesting to observe in its own right. “Two Feet Shy” is a short track–on the cusp of 4 minutes–but not only is it jam packed with wonderful displays of the quartet’s musicianship but also manages to be remarkably singular. They’re charting a new course in intelligent, engaging indie pop and if RIMA does even half the things that “Two Feet Shy” does, it’ll be a dynamic album for sure.
RIMA, Pree’s follow up to 2011’s Folly is out in February on Paper Garden Records.
One of the plus sides from me taking part in Panda Bear’s most recent PR diversion (a global takeover of sorts where for 72 hours Panda Bear premiered a different track from his most recent album Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper on a slew of different radio programs around the world) is that it reconnected me with radio. With the exception of a radio program or two hosted by friends, I haven’t sat down and listened to a radio program. It was an interesting experience hearing what sort of music is popular in different parts of the world, providing an avenue for musical discovery that took me back to my early teens. And in was in that spirit while listening to FBiRadio’s Up For It! that I happened upon Melbourne electronic trio I’lls.
The music of I’lls isn’t exactly what springs immediately to mind when you think of electronic music but there’s no denying there’s a definite change in trends and expectations that allows something along the lines of I’lls’ “Fifty Phiphti” to exist. It’s not immediate; while there’s an ever-present beat from it’s start, the track takes its time establishing pretty much everything about it. There’s a sparse piano line riding along the introduced beat before various effects are spliced in. It’s an organic growth as everything kind of builds unhurriedly towards that one moment when it all just clicks together. In that moment about two minutes out from the song’s languorous intro the head starts bobbing, the toes start tapping and I’lls give every indication for making a surge for dancefloor readiness. But it’s that patient build: the slow-burning musical world-building in a manner not unsimilar to Jon Hopkins that makes it worth the wait.