Trans Am come from the days of OG post-rock. Post-rock in the early ’90s wasn’t about playing “epic” (read: predictable) instrumental rock. No, it was about exploring vastly different sounds and improvisations within a single song — also it was usually released on Thrill Jockey, and John McEntire probably showed up at some point to do something. Those days are long gone, but Trans Am have kept playing and going wherever their musical inspirations take them, which has led to some extremely rhythmic and propulsive music. Still, their upcoming album Volume X might be the most pop-oriented thing the band has done. Album track “I’ll Never” is a fragile slow burner, filled with the band’s vocoder-inflected vocals and romantic synths, but that’s not the version we have today. This alternate take shows just how much the band can change their sound, speeding it up to the pace of Jesus And Mary Chain-style bubblegum-noise filled with pounding drums, heavy distortion, and a sweeter vocal take. Listen below and check them out on tour.
“Sunbathing Animal,” the title track from Parquet Courts’ upcoming full-length, is a frantically dizzy four-minute spazz out that never lets up its intensity. The song’s video, directed by Andy Capper and Parquet Courts singer-guitarist Andrew Savage, goes about as far in the other direction as possible. It’s four minutes of a cat hesitantly weighing whether to escape through an open window, Inside Llewyn Davis-style, or just chill on the couch and, you know, sunbathe. According to Noisey, it’s an homage to the Replacements’ legendary non-video video for “Bastards Of Young.” Subject yourself to the suspense (if you dare!) below.
The Brighton indie-poppers Fear Of Men specialize in an airy but rhythmically muscular strain of early-’90s-style dream-pop, and they’ll drop their debut album Loom next week. We’ve posted their songs “Alta/Waterfall,” “Luna,” and “Outrun Me,” and now the whole album is streaming over at Pitchfork.
Loom is out 4/22 on Kanine.
Motel Beds are the latest entrant in Dayton’s long line of indie rock greats, and for their contribution to a new Record Store Day split with Torres, they tapped one of their predecessors in that line. Kelley Deal, who besides the reunited Breeders also plays in the Motel Beds’ fellow Misra Records act R. Ring, provides harmonies on the shoegaze-inflected acoustic ballad “Tropics In The Sand.” It sounds a bit like the Breeders, actually, but with tinges of Yo La Tengo’s languid slow jams drifting through the haze. Listen and be soothed below.
Sky Ferreira’s searing, wounded synthpop anthem “I Blame Myself” was arguably the best song on her great debut album Night Time, My Time, and some of us have been wondering for months why it wasn’t a single. Earlier this month, Ferreira performed the song on The Tonight Show, and this morning, she debuted its video. Counterintuitively enough, the clip stars Ferreira as a badass drug-turf enforcer, the type of criminal who deals with police-station interrogations by going into aggressive-seductress mode. It also brings back the old “Beat It” idea that gangs should do choreographed dances. It’s a great, weird video, and you can watch it below (via SSENSE).
The big news from Solange’s Coachella set came when her big sister Beyoncé joined her onstage for a giddy synchronized dance to “Losing You.” But Solange’s Coachella set was still full of indications that she’s the arty weirdo of the Knowles family. She trotted out her cover of Dirty Projectors’ “Stillness Is The Move,” and she also tried out a new cover, doing a house-informed take on Kate Bush’s 1985 art-pop classic “Cloudbusting.” It took forever for fan-made videos of that song to appear on YouTube, but a couple of them are finally up there. One sounds OK, but it’s from pretty far back. Another is right up close, but the sound is a mess. So watch them both and imagine some ideal fusion of them — or, better yet, imagine being there.
Disclosure were a tiny-font band on last year’s Coachella lineup, but this year they essentially co-headlined Sunday night alongside Arcade Fire, drawing a densely packed crowd of revelers to the Outdoor Theater for an exciting run through a setlist that already resembles a greatest hits. They’ll be back in Indio for another Coachella go-round this Sunday, but that’s not all they have coming up. A deluxe reissue of 2013′s tremendous Settle, our #4 album of last year, is coming soon, as are a series of Disclosure-curated concerts known as Wild Life and a number of other festival appearances. I caught up with Guy and Howard before Sunday’s triumphant set to discuss their unconventional approach to electronic music, their ridiculously busy schedule, and their progress on recording the follow-up to Settle.
Pharrell produced Alicia Keys’ Kendrick Lamar collab “It’s On Again,” the big first single from the soundtrack to the would-be summer blockbuster The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Pharrell also had more to do with the movie’s soundtrack, and his contributions include a collaboration with the deeply random duo of Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and film-score A-lister Hans Zimmer. The three come together on the orchestral pseudo-folk ballad “Here,” which is the closest Pharrell has ever come to being a ’70s singer-songwriter. Listen to it below.