Chastity Belt put out the wonderfully titled No Regerts earlier this year, which takes a more serious tone than Julia Shapiro’s other project Childbirth (who got 2014 off to an awesome and funny start with the maniacally impish “I Only Fucked You As A Joke“). Chastity Belt’s dynamic was established in part by the stylish black and white video for “Full” this winter. Now here’s another dramatic clip. “Black Sail” begins with a group of settlers burying a body and performing a funeral, and it’s best to just leave it at that. Be warned that this gets pretty violent, but it lends a somber gravity to subject matter that’s a heavy trope in 2014. Watch it below.
Sea Oleena will soon release an album titled Shallow, though her new single, “If I’m,” sounds anything but. It’s a wonderfully atmospheric piece that stretches the definition of a singer-songwriter to its most ambient and spacious limit. Oleena’s work has been deservedly compared to Grouper’s most song-oriented material, but “If I’m” weaves in some snapping beats and sharp strings, building tension without releasing it too soon. Where you might expect the song to finally boil over, it moves instead into an even lovelier ambient comedown, as if the whole thing just evaporates right in front of you. Listen.
Experimental guitarist Luke Wyatt aka Torn Hawk might get the award for most accurate song title of the week. “I’m Flexible,” the first single off his upcoming Let’s Cry And Do Push Ups At The Same Time, mangles synths, drum machines, and guitar playing in the same way he has through many releases, but here it hits with a muscular heaviness. It’s a beautiful piece of music filled with sounds that are grindingly abrasive. The dichotomy makes “I’m Flexible” a song that you can sit with and appreciate for all of its art, or simply enjoy the aural wonder. The best comparison from this year is probably Mark McGuire’s Album Of The Week Along The Way, but Wyatt covers much more ground. It conjures the same inward-looking space sounds of pre-Replica Oneohtrix Point Never, but with the a pure-pleasure electronica that reminds you how great that first Ratatat album was. This is around the time of the year when I expect the unexpected, a late in the season game changer that makes me reconsider what my favorite recent music is. That might have just happened. Listen to it below soundtracking one of Wyatt’s “visual mulch” constructions.
Yeah the Blood Orange set completely caught me off guard! I usually go into a festival with an idea of what I’m most excited for or a prediction of what might be my favorite (like Kanye at Outside Lands recently). But here I wasn’t even sure I was going to see Blood Orange, but ended up being completely blown away.
I didn’t end up seeing the Blood Brothers! I wanted to see Darkside because I never had. I guess I chose the breakup show over the reunion show since the Blood Brothers will have a lot of other stuff happening. So I did Darkside and then ended up staying for John Talabot, who I didn’t include here, but was fantastic and doing a lot of new material. I definitely went into the festival planning on covering the more electronic side of it, but I totally understand that a lot of people were really excited about that reunion.
Yeah it’s such a good combo. Kind of reminds me when Sigur Ros played the sold out Madison Square Garden show and chose Tim Hecker for their opener.
Thanks for the kind words man. Covering this strange scene throughout the year has been so much fun.
We thought the video had value because there was a really entertaining animation made with it. If it were just a song as you said, it wouldn’t be as newsworthy.
Secondly, DuckTales and Mega Man 2 are namedropped frequently because they are that great, but they’re also so iconic which is why they seemed to fit better. Personally I like Mega Man 3 more than 2 as a score (and a game, but that’s neither here nor there), and Kirby’s Adventure is just below Metroid for my favorite NES music.
I actually do know some things about video games! You implied as much a couple weeks ago when I was talking about Grim Fandango in a post and I was very happy someone appreciated that!
two albums in TWO YEARS. Sorry about that typo, my excitement got the better of me.
And yeah while I was writing the post in the office I was saying what you said almost verbatim! I had just the slightest misgiving, but now that it’s clear this was written by Walker (and just as importantly it’s co-produced by Peter Walsh who has been so essential to making Climate Of Hunter, Tilt, The Drift, and Bish Bosch what they are in terms of sound design) I’m so much more excited about this.
Also I couldn’t agree more about the live performances. I’ve got very high hopes that this will be the album he’ll be able to actually play. I can’t even imagine what it would be like. I’m not sure if you’ve seen Sunn O))) play live but it’s one of the most overwhelming things I’ve ever experienced.
You’re right, I had KISS’ solo series on my mind, but just fixed it. Thanks for pointing that out.
And hey, don’t beat yourself up about misspelling “they,” everybody makes mistaks!
I needed to maintain a somewhat professional tone in the post but….OH MY GOD THIS IS THE BEST NEWS.
I appreciate that. I thought it was best if I was the one to post it though. They’re a band I really loved writing about, and it’s nice to do something on them one last time (though I’m hoping these guys will be making music in other ways).
I like Salad Days! There’s just other stuff I liked this year more.
That said – as a fellow fan of pinball I’ve really respected Mac DeMarco since I saw him mention his love for Simpsons Pinball Party, which is like a Top 5 (maybe Top 3) table for me.
FTFY: “This wait will be unPallbearerable”