What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?- High Fidelity
Clare Maguire, the young British singer-songwriter with a voice reminiscent of Stevie Nicks has released a new single, “Paper Thin.” It’s a brooding, somber, soulful and beautiful gem laced with keys and Maguire’s delicate, enchanting sound – An excellent track if your misery needs company:
Clare Maguire – Paper Thin
The LA-based sisters that make up Haim have done it again – Released yet another ridiculously catchy pop song you just can’t hate. I’m still debating what the lyrics actually mean. Did she cheat on him? Regardless, the “new” single (the track has been around for a while, but they finally created a fine-tuned studio version) is already blowing up blogosphere, and it’s well-deserving. the The trio have yet to release a full-length album, but each new single creates even more hype than the last. Enjoy:
Haim – The Wire
UK dance quartet Rudimental has been giving electro-pop brothers, Disclosure a healthy dose of competition. The group released their album, Home in the UK earlier this year and it’ll soon be hitting US streets in August via Big Beat Records. According to BrooklynVegan, Rudimental has collaborated with “choice vocalists like Sinead Harnett, and even more interestingly, Angel Haze, they’ve also got a track with Internet Explorer commercial soundtracking dude Alex Clare,” and of course Ella Eyre as heard below in the upbeat and infectious track, “Waiting All Night.” Have a listen …and tell me that you want me:
Rudimental – Waiting All Night ft. Ella Eyre
Judson Claiborne is an indie-rock-pop-folk band hailing from Chicago. They’ve been compared to Beck, Rufus Wainwright, and on last.fm someone tagged their music: “makes good goddamn hibiscus rose hip tea.” So, you know, it’s gotta be good. “Neo-Pagan Lovesong” is a romantic new number that can be found on their recently released LP, We have Not Doors You Need Not Keys.
Judson Claiborne – Neo-Pagan Lovesong
GEMS, the Washington D.C. based couple who’ve been taking the dream-pop spotlight by storm (and filling the hole in your heart you have reserved for ‘old’ Beach House sounds) has released yet another “gem.” “Sinking Stone” is a dreamy and nostalgic track, one in which front woman Lindsay Pitts delicately and somberly coos the chorus, “Could you ever love me again? I need to know…” successfully crushing your heart.
GEMS – Sinking Stone
I woke up this morning with a heavy heart. Uneasiness and uncertainty were oozing from my pores like booze after a liquor drenched bender. However, the undeniable and surprising cure-all that stopped my anxiousness dead in its tracks was the unusual, breath-taking and magnetic sound, voice and lyrics of artist, Jenny Hval.
The Norwegian singer-songwriter just released her fourth album, Innocence is Kinky, produced by longtime PJ Harvey collaborator, John Parish. The boundaries Hval pushes in her latest album lyrically and musically, especially with her lightening-quick voice transformations is all-consuming.
In an interview with The Guardian, Hval explains her lyrics for Innocence is Kinky “draw on a dark pool of influences, from the crimes of Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Breivik to Paris Hilton… In her songs, the female body gets lost, burned, chucked out to sea – anything to break it free of the media or male gaze. ‘When you listen to this and to these lyrics, the body could be anything, anywhere.'”
On her site, Hval states that Innocence is Kinky was also heavily influenced by her artistry, as it’s also the name of her 25 minute long sound and light installation. She channeled her desire to play more abrasively in comparison to her 2011 album, Viscera. “I found myself getting more and more aggressive on stage with this material, wanting to play louder instead of working with acoustic, hushed soundscapes, but I didn’t know how. I wanted to sing louder, channel this energy, sharpen all edges, loosen the structures… I was drawn to music very much exploring that position – particularly Nick Cave, Blixa Bargeld and Michael Gira. To work with these powerful expressions – and failing miserably with my voice and body – was creating a specific energy I found necessary for the album.”
Innocence is Kinky is out now via Rune Grammofon. Have a listen two magnetic tracks from the album:
Jenny Hval – The Seer
Jenny Hval – Mephisto in the Water
Cat Power may have graced our ears with her latest LP, Sun back in September, but today, she’s gifted us with an airy, playful music video for the beautiful, hypnotic and slightly somber track, “Manhattan,” (my personal favorite from Sun).
In a stunning, brisk urban scene, Chan Marshall aka Cat Power is seen traversing and dancing (backwards) through the beautiful NYC cityscape, participating in playful subway antics, and kickin’ it with the people who make NYC so magical.
The video was directed by Greg Hunt and Chan Marshall herself. Enjoy:
I saw Mac DeMarco play this weekend on his new album “2our” and it was by far one of the funniest, rockin’ and entertaining shows I’d been to in a long time. It was like a comedy/garage jam/freak show and I couldn’t stop staring, laughing and/or dancing. The crowd, which surprisingly wasn’t all that large, contained a slew of weirdos, geeks, hipsters, etc. and I couldn’t help but look around in amazement at the bizarro fan following Mac DeMarco attracted, obviously myself included.
The entire show made me feel as if I were some sort of fly on the wall witnessing a jam session in progress. DeMarco made goofy faces, flashed wide grins and bursts of laughter, burped loudly into the microphone, busted out Metallica solos in the middle of a jam, and at one point, jumped into the crowd and slow danced with a guy who I’m pretty sure is a bona-fide pedo. All in all, the show was ridiculous amounts of fun… though I’m sure it doesn’t nearly compare to DeMarco’s infamous stage presence in Montreal in which he got “cross-eyed drunk,” naked, and shoved two drumsticks up his ass… regardless, I’m not complaining. He DID play a new song dedicated to his mother apologizing for that drumstick asshole shoving incident, which is sweet.
Anyway, I JUST wrote about Mac DeMarco and his highly anticipated soon-to-be-released album, so in cutting-to-the-chase conclusion: He’s an absolute MUST-SEE live… unless you hate having fun.
While at the show, I also met a fellow DeMarco fan and in a convo about bands, he insisted I check out a recent local electronic duo discovery. I’m surprised by the next morning, I’d actually remembered the name, however, after a little digging, I found Silver Hands, and sure enough, I’m officially addicted. There isn’t much out there about the San Francisco duo aside from a SoundCloud page and a write-up on The Bay Bridged (apparently they recently played with Chaz Bundik aka Les Sins aka Toro Y Moi last week) but it’s enough to keep me and hopefully you listening:
Silver Hands – Skulls
Silver Hands – Visions
Here’s a bonus recent Mac DeMarco interview with CHARTattack: