Swedish quintet the Amazing introduced their upcoming album Picture You with the title track, which made the cut for The 5 Best Songs Of The Week last fall, then released the second single “The Headless Boy” earlier this year. Today, the band drops a third preview from the album, “Safe Island.” The track opens with a menacing sweep and is then driven by densely-amped guitars, and a smooth syncopated drum pattern with a rhythmic drum roll transitioning between bars. Check it out below.
As teased last month, Los Angeles grunge group L7 are back, and to announce their reunion they’ve enlisted Rob Zabrecky to star in a playfully eerie clip entitled A Night At The Morgue. In the video, Zabrecky unearths a box of old mementos marked 1985 to 2001 — the band’s active years — and the news of their reunion literally appears in his hands.
First things first: All hail Björk’s Vulnicura. It’s the best album that’s come out in the past week, but you already knew that, and we already wrote about it. So, as usual, let’s use this space to dig a little deeper.
This week was a two-horse race, and it was close. There were more than two albums’ worth of good music, of course, and if you’re sleeping on Menace Beach’s ’90s alt-pop fuzz-blast Ratworld or Aphex Twin’s trickier-than-it-needs-to-be Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 EP, you should stop. But the thing that decided this week was a knock-down drag-out between two young singer-songwriter ladies from opposite coasts who draw on your parents’ record collections and make hushed, intimate, ridiculously pleasant music. This week was the war between Prass and Pratt. Jessica Pratt, the California folk singer who records solo and lo-fi enough that you can hear her fingers squeaking on strings, made On Your Own Love Again, a breeze of a record that drifts past you like summer breeze. Other than one moment where Pratt’s guitar intentionally lurches out of tune for a bar or two, On Your Own Love Again asks nothing of you. It flutters and whispers and throws scented-candle calm vibes all over your living room. It’s great at what it does, and I changed my mind about 15 times before I finally sat down to write this thing. But I ultimately went with an album that refuses to settle even as it creates its own atmosphere. The self-titled debut album from the Virginia-reared and Nashville-based Natalie Prass is dense and rich and complex, so overstuffed with instrumentation that your ear doesn’t quite know where to settle. It has a lot going on. And even though its music isn’t confrontational in any conventional sort of way, it asks things of you just because you have to train your ear to hear that many fucking flugelhorns at once. Natalie Prass makes you put in ear-work, and it rewards that work.
New Zealand trio Yumi Zouma introduced the world to their wispy dream pop on last year’s self-titled EP, and the plans to follow it up have already been set in motion. EP II will be out in March of this year, and today they’ve shared the video for their new single “Catastrophe.” Is anyone else getting strong Twin Peaks vibes from the diner scene coffee close-ups and the sleepy small-town minutia? By the time everyone starts succumbing to a mysterious force, it almost feels like a natural extension of the eerie vibes. The clip was directed by BANGS, who has previously done videos for the likes of Hundred Waters and Mutual Benefit. Also, it is apparently part one of a two part film — so the cliff-hanger ending will be resolved soon. Watch it below.
Covering Chris Isaak’s 1989 boudoir ballad “Wicked Game” isn’t exactly an original move; indie types have been cranking out their own versions of the song for years. (The last time one popped up on our radar, it was Lydia Ainsworth in December.) But it’s not like it’s ever a bad idea to refashion that song. It’s a great song, and new versions of it usually turn out pretty lovely. The latest to take a stab at it are POP ETC, the former Morning Benders, who recently dropped a cover of the Gin Blossoms’ “Follow You Down” on us. POP ETC are working on a new album, and we’ve lately heard new originals, like “Running In Circles” and the Yoko Kanno collab “ís.” From songs like those, it’s clear that they’re on a real roll lately. Their new “Wicked Game” cover is further evidence; it’s a great showcase for their idiosyncratic vocal arrangements. Listen to it below.
Do you believe in Magic!? Well, the Junos do. The Canadian music awards announced their 2015 nominations today, and as Global News reports, the white reggae bruddahs lead the field with five: Breakthrough Group Of The Year, Pop Album Of The Year, Single Of The Year, Juno Fan Choice, and Songwriter Of The Year. Kiesza and Leonard Cohen each have four nods. Hedley, Nickelback, and Serge Fiori follow with three apiece. Drake, Arcade Fire, the Weeknd, and Michael Bublé are also among the nominees. Notably, Alvvays will compete with Magic! for that Breakthrough Group award, but based on these figures, bet on Magic! Mac DeMarco will compete with Kiesza and others for Breakthrough Artist Of The Year. Another interesting category is Electronic Album Of The Year, where Caribou, Lydia Ainsworth, and Ryan Hemsworth will face Deadmau5. For a full list of nominees, click here.
Vancouver-based producer Sleepy Tom is a member of what can at this point be considered the “Fool’s Gold Family” — the Brooklyn-based label that has evolved from its foundation in musical dealings and transformed into more of a lifestyle brand. Today, Sleepy Tom released the jaunty dance track “Pusher,” which features vocals from fellow Fool’s Gold associate Anna Lunoe. Hear the original track and club version below.
The unidentified force behind American Wrestlers has released the follow up to “I Can Do No Wrong” in the form of “Kelly.” Although the second track sounds jauntier and full of the same buzzy, lo-fi energy, it’s apparently about a mentally-ill homeless person named Kelly Thomas who was beaten to death by the police. As the chorus makes its namesake into a mantra, the songwriter hints at deeper, post-modern themes, saying the song addresses “artless strips of neon over a trough that spreads further than any animal could ever walk.” With that in mind, listen below.