The former Girls frontman Christopher Owens has been slowly sharing songs from his second solo album A New Testament for about six months now, and we’ve already heard “It Comes Back To You,” “Stephen,” “Nothing More Than Everything To Me,” and “Never Wanna See That Look Again.” The album finds Owens tackling some heavy themes and playing around with classic American sounds like gospel and old-timey country. But there’s a summery, chipper lightness to many of the songs here, and if I had to guess, I’d name Buddy Holly as the single greatest influence on the whole project. It’s a strong step up from Lysandre, Owens’ 2013 solo debut, and you can now stream the full album at Pitchfork.
A New Testament is out 9/29 on Turnstile Music.
Paul Smith and Peter Brewis are best known for their bands Maxïmo Park and Field Music, respectively, but this year they’ve collaborated on a very different-sounding project. The new album Frozen By Sight pairs lyrics based on Smith’s travel writing with lovely chamber arrangements by Brewis. Below you can listen to the elegant “Exiting Hyde Park Towers” check out and a trio of UK tour dates set up for this December.
Today Kele Okereke drops the second single off his sophomore solo album, Trick, to be released this October. The former lead singer of Bloc Party went solo in 2010 when he released The Boxer, and he has spent the last few years releasing EPs, including last year’s Heartbreaker. “Coasting” is an airy track, somewhere between synthpop and house, with a catchy, soaring chorus. It’s a follow-up to “Doubt”, which was released last month. “Coasting” shows a softer side of Okereke: more R&B and less moody dance-pop. Listen below.
“New Dorp. New York” is the first single from Wonder Where We Land, the new album from the masked British producer SBTRKT, and it’s one of the strangest first singles from an anticipated album in recent memory. It’s a shuffly, skittering thumper that has Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig half-scatting nonsense about New York, and there’s a good chance you either really like it or are completely baffled by it. You will probably feel the same way about the song’s brand-new computer-animated video. The opening seconds of director Fons Schiedon’s clip show a praying mantis, in silhouette, devouring a beetle. It goes on to show a mammalian predator stalking dark city streets, doing predatory things, its presence and actions basically unexplained. Check it out below.
The legendarily dark British singer-songwriter Marianne Faithfull has been making music for 50 years now, and she’s celebrating her five decades in the game by putting together a new scorched-earth album called Give My Love To London. Case in point: Nick Cave wrote the song “Late Victorian Holocaust” for Faithfull, and it sounds a lot like something that could’ve ended up on Cave and the Bad Seeds’ Push The Sky Away, except somehow darker. Bad Seeds members Warren Ellis and Jim Sclavunos played on the album, as did Brian Eno, Ed Harcourt, and Portishead’s Adrian Utley. Cave and Faithfull also co-wrote a song called “Deep Water.” She also worked on the album with songwriters like Roger Waters, Steve Earle, and Anna Calvi, though she wrote most of the songs herself. Below, listen to the stark and menacing “Late Victorian Holocaust.”
Over the weekend, Chicago rap icon Common headlined AAHH! Fest, a rap festival in his hometown. Or anyway, Common was billed as the headliner. Things didn’t really work out that way. The festival, which Common curated, also featured appearances from Dave Chappelle, Jay Electronica, Lupe Fiasco, and De La Soul. And Kanye West, who apparently everyone knew would be a surprise guest, came through to do a full 16-song greatest-hits performance. Consequence Of Sound reports that Kanye brought Common, Jay Elec, and Vince Staples to the stage when he performed “Clique,” but no video of that performance has yet made it to the internet, and I haven’t been able to figure out whether those guys actually rapped on “Clique” or what. Also of note: Someone crowdsurfed in a wheelchair while Kanye was on; that’s what’s happening in that video. Below, you can check out fan-made video of Kanye and Common doing the College Dropout oldie “Get ’Em High” together. (Warning, though: You can’t hear much of anything.)
Manchester producer Andy Stott has been making music for about a decade, but he truly found his voice with a pair of grim and dubby EPs in 2011. Then, more importantly, he found another voice. Pairing with opera singer Alison Skidmore, Stott crafted 2012′s Luxury Problems, a breakthrough in every possible way. Though he did work Millie & Andrea, this year’s fun, jungle-heavy side project with Demdike Stare’s Miles Whittaker, we’ve only just now gotten the news that Stott will return with the follow-up to his career defining album. Faith In Strangers (which once again includes contributions from Skidmore) will be out this November, and from the first single there’s a lot to be excited about. “Violence” is a hugely spacious track that sounds miles away from the claustrophobia of something like “Numb.” If anything, however, Stott’s production has only become more aggressive and atmospheric, as “Violence” gradually introduces crushingly heavy beats that sound as sharp as razor blades. Listen to it below.
Since embarking on their latest U.S. tour at the beginning of this month, the Black Keys have been covering Edwyn Collins’ early ’90s hit “A Girl Like You.” Collins’ punchy instrumentation on the orgiinal almost sounds like a proto-Black Keys production, so it didn’t take much tinkering for the group to adapt the song to their live set. Watch video from a recent Columbus, Ohio tour stop below.