Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Weekly Spin: 03/03


...Or should that be Fortnightly Spin? Apologies peeps for the sudden vacancy last week; fret not on our lack of keeping the adhesiveness of our listening ears anywhere but the trove of new tracks and single drops, but believe us when we say our drive to push the database is as strong as it's ever been. In light of our absence, we have not seven tracks this week, but a whopping ten select cuts for you and us to look over - ranging no less from the well-known to the well-created. On the third day of the third month, ten was the number MRD brought unto you for this week's select spin:


Coldplay - Midnight



Coldplay's sixth album will be released this year, and already fans of the quartet are deliberating the influences, directions, and styles Coldplay are taking. Atlas represented the so called 'old' Coldplay well, hitting rhythms phenomenally well, keeping the listener entertained through a structure dominated by a typical Coldplay build-up. It's probably why fans of Mylo Xyloto seem so confused with their latest release Midnight. Right from the off, the one name clicks with I, the listener: Jon Hopkins. He produced (and provided music to) Coldplay's successful alt/pop crossover album Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, alongside Brian Eno. But it's Hopkins who caught the ears of Coldplay, and they used his recording Light Through the Veins for the above album. There's no doubt in my mind that Hopkins' glitch/electronica career wouldn’t be as popular if it wasn’t for Coldplay's support back in 2008/2009.

They now look towards Hopkins for inspiration, as heard on Midnight. There's no simple Chris Martin hook, no battering vocal, no catchy guitar riff, no percussion. It's a stripped back Coldplay, without the Coldplay and without the Chris Martin. Yeah, Midnight sounds like a Hopkins recording with a Martin vocal edited on top. Shout Bon Iver, but don't liken it to Midnight. This is a bold move by Coldplay, they're taking themselves out of the rock band aesthetic, and even moving away from the pop heard on Mylo Xyloto. Atlas and Midnight are a world apart, so it's unlikely the former will make the sixth album's cut. It's an interesting way to start the hype, using ambiance and vivid lyricism to create confusion - it envisions the question: where will Coldplay take their next album?

~Eddie Gibson

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Fennesz - The Liar



We haven't heard much from Viennese producer [Christian] Fennesz as of late; it's been nearly six years since his last full-length, 2008's Black Sea, graced our ears with the renowned sense of softening electronics gracing the likes of piano composites and even guitar relays alike. But the time, thankfully, has at last come for one of ambient's most prolific contemporaries to resurface with excited eyes on this end. But with the noting that 2014's Bécs springs many bizarre bell-ringings, in its album cover, to perhaps some futurist-analogue locking-of-horns, could we be seeing Fennesz's ease of tone and melody be taking on much more glistening and psychotic textures?

Well if anything, The Liar is most definitely taking on something - a break perhaps from career-highlights Cendre & Endless Summer eased us into on previous occasions. For even in the midst of this new track's reverberating, distorted glow and sonic colour, the standout element is of course the bee-buzzing hive of crunching, graveling feedback that gets increasingly less visible and concrete, and more abstracted to the mind in what is an extracted shift-of-mood in Fennesz's catalog here. A darker more forceful exasperation of expression from Eastern European perspective? From the looks of things affairs-wise, that's not exactly new or startling. Still, Editions Mego's April 28th declaration will most certainly be a musical conflict many I imagine will tune in to witness.
~Jordan Helm

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E.M.A - So Blonde



After the exciting pre-release single Satellites released in January, good things were expected of E.M.A's follow-up to 2011's Past Life Martyred Saints. As one who holds Ericka in high regard, it's always a joy when new E.M.A material surfaces. So Blonde is an interesting follow-up to Satellites, if not for the production differences, but for the genre styles. Where Satellites smashed the listener with abrasive industrial themes, So Blonde caresses them with a simple guitar rhythm, like the third and final Nirvana album. There's a clear grunge influence here, one which has been a reoccurring influence in Erika's music since the early days. It's layered with punk aspects such as the screaming guitars, forcing the aspect of blonde down the listener’s ears. The video gives more understanding of the song, as seen with GIF clips of blondes, the Californian beach, and blonde hair of Erika shining in the sun. It's a smart attack on the popular culture of a typical blonde haired girl, and the social aesthetic which comes with having a specific hair colour.
~Eddie Gibson 

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The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Simple And Sure



It's a luxury to be a mere two records into your career and have both assortments given the welcome thumbs up by eventual fans and immediate critics alike. Whether you're in the camp still head-over-heels over the New York quartet's stunning self-titled debut, or aligned with continually vesting in their follow-up Belong (in my case, it's the latter), there's no denying Berman and co have built something special for themselves in a genre such as this, the dreaded 'indie' prefix of four-strong assemble pop. Tags aside, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart can't be faulted for delivering some of the [sub-]genre's most charming, knee-tapping, head-bobbing melodies of the past few years.

So without question, finding Pains' third album, Days Of Abandon, finally in green-lit confirmed status, brings as much chair-gathered excitement from the bands righteous mass of followers as it does intrigue in where exactly the band are heading not just artistically to keep hungry listeners' appetites met, but in an age chock with four-piece mixed-gender wonders, ensuring that their name remains posted tops on that ever-growing signpost in the wilderness of music defined - even remotely - as pop. Fortunately, Simple And Sure is exactly as its title suggests: no mess, no fuss, no curly-wurly, colour-flurry of sound that gave their former jangling guitar melodies and shared vocal harmonies that engaging click. Sure the instruments and the voices return, but here the sound is much less congealed; deciding instead on a discreet, coherent production for a song that is just as infectious in its guitar strums, as it is its swung grooves bobbing in and out of the bass and drum layers. Now that I recall, I really must make that long-overdue trip to the Big Apple.
~Jordan Helm

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The Horrors - I See You 


Previously on The Horrors: Skying's production (although carried out by legendary producer Craig Silvey) came across as a flat piece of high-pitched noise, rather than the post-punk / shoegaze feel fans of Primary Colours would have been used to. Now don't get me wrong, Skying was an o-kay album - not perfect, but had the quality to keep The Horrors above a level of average-ness they were drifting towards. Faris Badwan's Cat's Eyes dominated 2011 in terms of how a debut album can effect ones last.fm charts. Badwan's side-projected has outweighed (and outlasted) Skying, but that's not to say The Horrors wouldn’t continue their success in to the future.
 

I See You is a throwback to the 80s, but the electronic side rather than the punk. There are elements of ambience, but primarily I See You is electronic rock. You can really hear the improvements in production, especially with the arpeggio synthesizer which crafts the basis of the seven and a half minute song. It seems as if The Horrors have a lot more to offer in 2014, and their fourth album Luminous can be start of a new era for Badwan and co - I embrace it.
~Eddie Gibson

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Tycho - Spectre 


We haven't even popped any (legitimate) copies of his album into our players, and already we're on single number three for Tycho's anticipated forth album, Awake. Read into this what you will - enough stand-out material to afford nearly half the record being out into public knowledge; merely sifting through to separate the worthy from the filler - but there's no denying the Ghostly man (out of context that sounds quite odd) and his new-found live set-up has got people talking. Downtempo shifting to post-rock? Melodies finally shining through over scope? Hard to say really, even with sun-glazed Montana still riding high and billing this to be Tycho's best record to date.

And with Spectre, that same guitar-led sheen and colourful lens-flare remains all the more present and dominant on an album that's becoming less and less electronically absolute. Here however, Tycho's production talents are more existent and obvious - guitar and drumbeats alike given a coat of reverb here and spacious distance there in what is perhaps the sun-setting dusk to Montana's early-morning, rays-through-the-blinds rejuvenation of a new day. Nevertheless, the horizon-spanning breadth of both the lead melody as well as the production treatments still offer up this piece as no less than a daring, glimpsing venture forth into the vast plains Tycho's sound now feels increasingly better suited towards. No more lounge space for you; this album's going on-road, off-road and perhaps no-road altogether.
~Jordan Helm

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Real Estate - Crime 

 

You know what you're getting with Real Estate, pleasant layers of guitar over a backdrop of East coast ambiance and hazy vocals for the dream pop fan. Give them the opportunity, and Real Estate can be a band to change your mind on the in and around Brooklyn scene. They possess real music credentials, such as their right to express sound through Domino Records. It allows Real Estate to really master the sound they've been gunning for ever since their self-titled debut album was released in 2009. As for developing, Real Estate are seemingly stuck in a transition from the basic to the imaginary. Days was fresh and unique, but it lacked in a certain power to keep the listener entertained over its 41 minute length. Real Estate's third album Atlas is out soon, and Crime is the perfect opening to what will inevitably be a successful 2014 for the New Jersey five-piece. Go on, give it a spin, I’m certain you won't be disappointed. Crime is just one of those songs that can't be hated, because it's so easy to understand, move to, and plainly accept as good music.
~Eddie Gibson

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  Amen Dunes - Lonely Richard



Damon McMahon's solo project has been widely praised for its ambiguity between the genres of folk and lo-fi. Its singer-songwriter without being too Nick Drake, and punk without being too punky. Amen Dunes' sound consists of interesting elements, taking realms of past genres such as 90s dream pop, and 60s psych. on Lonely Richard, vocalist Elias Bender Ronnenfelt of Iceage makes an appearance here, singing surprisingly mellow for such a usual abrasive vocalist. The accumulation of a basic three chord riff and violin screeches makes for an exciting 90s-esque track of the unexpected. It drifts through its five minute duration with ease, plastered with beautiful reverb over lyrical segments such as: 'Have yourself a good time' making the track feel complete through the production work of Godspeed You! Black Emperor members David Bryant and Efrim Menuck. Amen Dunes' upcoming album Love is one of my most anticipated albums for the first third of 2014.
~Eddie Gibson

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Clark - Superscope 


By God, I find myself in the surreal position of offering not one, but two pieces of music for you to digest over in this single entry (you'll see how and why at the end, so bear with me). For all you who took to 2012's Iradelphic and viewed Englishman - and light-shunner - Clark as retreating perhaps to the more organic and habitable territories of electronic beats and composition...well, you thought wrong. Clark has a new 12" marked down in the calendar and Superscope sees the renowned king of unfiltered, blistering sonic electronica return once more with a track taking much from his previous LPs' textural challenges and giving it the full absorbing payload in a track without climax, but needn't requiring one.

From out Superscope's condensed, high-footed bass drums and swiveling brass-like, cavernous echoes, Clark relays all the hallmarks of his past work but this time in an even more tense, extrusive and unsettling delivery that like the video that accompanies it, is riddled with cryptic suggestions and even-greater riddles on what, where and why this sonic territory is in such a state. And to end on said video, not in a while have I been so hypnotically caught into such topographical performances as the video's signal-processing oscilloscope demonstrates in quite the mesmerizing and striking fashion. Am I witnessing (let alone watching) perhaps a darker, twisted antithesis of some 70's sci-fi animation slammed together with a cut from off a Disney song-and-dance set-piece? No, Clark retweeted recently, just this.
~Jordan Helm

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STAR SPIN

Sd Laika - Meshes





Amid all the numerous interactive links, eye-catchers, social buttons and imagery, it's nice to see a label whose home page is devoid of all petty attractors in favor of simply one direct-to-the-point detail: the most important aspect and likely reason why visitors come to their site in the first place. Seeing the cataloged releases from out of Tri-Angle Records, and no more, becomes almost like a guessing, will-it-be-today game at when the next update will come. So upon that moment when you revisit the site and find not only has there been one more release added to the tiling of cover sleeves, but that it's a extreme close-up - and one that immediately reminds me of one of those online morphing programs that in this case has fused the faces of a baby and perhaps someone countless years older -  as displayed on the front cover to [real name Peter Runge] Sd Laika's full-length debut, That's Harakari, there's instinctively surprise as there is an increase in the level of intrigue thereafter. 

Given how out-of-line the sounds are presented on Meshes, you'd think the intention was always to shock the viewer/listener as if to say you think that's something? Well...I have to commend Runge and Tri-Angle alike here for playing mind games with me here, as in the space of merely three minutes, we end up coming out the other end completely clueless as to what we've just witnessed, yet bizarrely, longing for even more. And despite Meshes' fractured, flinching shift between sub-genres - at times cuddling up to funk, at others meddling in UK bass - the very presence of monk-like chants and thudding, tribal percussion enveloping the music, while vocal extracts are sliced and chopped into smaller portions, there is bewilderment...and yes there is an outright recoiling in what exactly channeled its way into our ears. But the fact that I just-as-quickly readjust said neck and hit the repeat button to this crazed, left-field piece, it must be proof such unexplained bafflement has caught whatever sensory functions take to said wild, speckled, sharp offshoots of sound. And to think this is just one of an overall eleven-strong record? Cue the gulping sound effects from myself, but cue also the rubbing of hands in excitement.
~Jordan Helm

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