Back in May’s Black Market, I talked a bunch about the Swiss duo Bölzer, who had just completed two performances at Maryland Deathfest, a pair of sets that pretty much ruled over everything else at the entire festival. That’s no small feat for a band playing alongside At The Gates, Gorguts, Agalloch, and a few dozen others — and an even more impressive accomplishment when it’s the band’s first time ever playing this continent, and still more impressive when that band’s entire discography consists of a 3-song demo, 2012′s Roman Acupuncture, and a 3-song EP, 2013′s Aura. (FWIW, we named that 3-song EP the 12th best metal album of last year.) Now, Bölzer are set to release Aura’s follow-up and companion piece, a 2-song EP called Soma. We already wrote about the first song on Soma, “Steppes,” when it dropped back in April, but today, the whole thing has been made available to stream, and its second half, “Labyrinthian Graves,” is a monstrous conclusion to this 5-track/2-EP cycle. Bölzer won’t be releasing any more new music in 2014, which means these two songs are all we’ll get for a good long while. And that’s fair: These songs deserve to be treasured, obsessed over, revered. Listen.
Cymbals Eat Guitars is a frenetic, emotional, catchy, wildly great band from New York City. The Real Housewives Of New York City is a frenetic, emotional, catchy, wildly — well, ah — wild reality show from New York City (and the mind of Bravo’s Andy Cohen). It’s enough to make you think, “Man, can this band and this reality show about wealthy women have anything more in common?” As it turns out, they can! Sort of! Another commonality is Matthew Whipple, Cymbals Eat Guitars bassist and recent The Real Housewives Of NYC convert. I spoke to him about his love of the show and this week’s season six finale (which included a woman ripping off her prosthetic leg and slamming it on a table while having cocktails).
The prolific and consistently great Brooklyn folk rockers Woods released their latest album, With Light And With Love, earlier this year. Some of the band’s album covers have featured sketches from frontman Jeremy Earl, and his sketches have now been animated by organ/piano player John Andrews in a mesmerizing video for “New Light” that gives life to Earl’s simple line drawings. Watch below.
Last month, Rustie released the first single from Green Language, the very long-awaited follow up to his just about perfect debut, Glass Swords. One of the big surprises was that nearly half the album’s tracklist had vocalists listed, something that’s a major (and somewhat risky) move for the Scottish producer. The most exciting of those vocalists, though, comes right in the center of the album, courtesy of Danny Brown, which makes sense when you consider that Rustie produced some of the best songs on the energetic second half of Old. That song, titled “Attak,” is now available, and finds both producer and rapper at their most aggressive. Listen below.
The Chicago R&B smoothie Jeremih, alongside producer Shlohmo, is half of the tandem that put together the No More EP, one of the year’s better free mixtapes. But that tape came out only a week ago, and Jeremih has already snapped back into solo mode. His as-yet-untitled third album is due this fall from Def Jam, and first single “Don’t Tell ’Em” absolutely bangs. And now he’s announced that he’ll release Not On My Album a new mixtape of stuff that we shouldn’t look for on that LP, next month. Given that Jeremih’s last solo tape was Late Nights, an excellent slow burner, this is good news indeed. The first track we’ve heard from the tape is “She Know It,” a casually badass collaboration with the Chicago rapper Chi Hoover, and it’s already got its own low-budget penthouse-party video from directors Kevin & Tionne. Watch it below.
Diplo has lately been putting in some studio work with Madonna, which is a pretty cool thing to have on your resume. During one of those sessions, he apparently convinced her to record a new version of “La Isla Bonita,” the 1987 hit that’s right up there with “Open Your Heart” and “Burning Up” and “Frozen” on the “Tom’s favorite Madonna songs” list. This time around, Diplo had her singing over a vaguely dancehall version of the original’s vaguely Spanish beat, and the opening line is different, too: “Last night, I dreamed of Major Lazer.” Diplo had the track pressed up on an exclusive dubplate and played its opening for the BBC DJ Annie Mac, and she freaked out accordingly. Watch video evidence below.
Right now, the D.C.-based deep-house duo Benoit & Sergio are working on an album that’s being co-produced by Darkside’s Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington. Before they get to that, though, they’ll release their new Your Darkness EP. The video for the thumping, wistful title track is a sort of moving love letter to the city of Tokyo in the 1980s, and it’s full of drab, workaday images the things you might’ve seen there — the crowded commuter trains, the schoolkids in uniforms, the fascinating architecture, the crowded nightclubs where people actually wore suits. Kateb Habib directed the video, and you can watch it below.
How To Dress Well just released the devastating “What Is This Heart?”, one of the year’s best. But according to Tom Krell, one of the songs that didn’t make it onto the album is, in some ways, the key to the album. That song is the fragile piano ballad “Let U Know,” a “partial cover” of a song by oFF Love, a friend of Krell. Of the song, Krell writes, “In singing ’Let U Know,’ I discovered the title of my album and a lot of its meaning — I needed this song to be heard by people, even though I couldn’t find a place for it on the album proper.” Listen to it below.