The ‘gum squad is headed upstate to Basilica Soundscape this weekend to see Angel Olsen, Cobalt, Wolves In The Throne Room, Explosions In The Sky, and a bunch of other shit that will sound real good in a big, old, spooky factory. Perfect timing, too, because it’s finally starting to feel like fall. It’s been a great week for new music; check out the best of the best below.
It’s hard to explain why music can feel so good when it hurts so bad, but when you hear a singular, guttural voice like Elaine Edenfield of Warehouse, it gets a hell of a lot easier. The deft control of her vocal cords that she exhibits is enough to marvel at, but then you add some devastating lyrics and the perfect sound environment for the combination to thrive in and you could hurt for days. All of that comes together exquisitely on “Super Low.” Edenfield’s relentlessly piercing reflections on loss and the dark corners the mind can take us to are beautifully offset by a gleaming guitar riff and subtle drums that clear space for her unique voice to shine. This is a song about suffering, but it doesn’t force the listener to suffer. That is a hard balance to pull off, but Warehouse nestled into that bittersweet spot perfectly. –Collin
For Touché Amoré’s Jeremy Bolm, Halloween will never be the same. It will forever be associated with the night that he found out his mom died of cancer while performing at a show on the other side of the country. Death has a way of recontextualizing things like that, leaving painful remembrances in its wake. “New Halloween,” one of the many highlights on Stage Four, takes place on the anniversary of that night, and it finds Bolm rehashing old thoughts he’s surely had countless times since it happened: “Told myself I was where you’d want me to be,” “told myself you would be proud of me.” It’s shocking how long those wounds take to heal, and the track’s stormy rage indicate that Bolm is not yet at ease. He can no longer listen to certain songs — on Benji, on Plans — because the feelings they dredge up are too much to bear; he sees his mother in everything, and is both comforted and haunted by those reminders. “How has it only been a year?” he wonders. When someone dies, life gets separate into pre- and post. Before and after, and the after can often feel both interminable and all too quick. “New Halloween” is about trying to come to terms with that demarcation, between the new way and the old. –James
Jana Hunter says that “Real Thing,” a song sung from the perspective of a happily married woman who likes to go out and fuck strangers, was inspired by a letter in the advice column of the ancient porno mag Oui. “I just love to get out and get it on,” she sighs, investing a melancholy and a dignity into a sentiment that’s not exactly saintly. There are lots of ways for musicians to conjure beauty, but it’s a strange and perverse and fascinating choice to conjure beauty when you’re singing about this. But that’s what Lower Dens do, translating the cosmic drift of fellow Baltimoreans Beach House into a stately old-school prom ballad. The music is lush and gauzy and just flatly gorgeous, but when it reaches the part of the song where Hunter is doing the slow-spoken intonation thing, here’s what she’s saying: “I love you, but it’s not enough. Baby, I just know there’s so much more.” It’s a song called “Real Thing” about not caring about the real thing — a song as audacious as it is rapturous. –Tom
A few years ago, I saw Kim Gordon perform in an experimental round-robin at a church somewhere in Brooklyn. She brought out her guitar, a collection of pedals, and made some sounds that sent a lot of the surrounding audience reeling. It was a torrent of abrasive, grating, overpowering noise, and it totally consumed me. The way Gordon sculpts noise into towering, unconventional melodies reminds me of how limitless our appreciation for sound can be. She did it with Sonic Youth, she does it with Body/Head, and now she’s making that same magic under her own name. “Murdered Out” is as abrasive as it is melodic, a limitless racket that could soundtrack the moments before a car crash. It’s good. I want more of it. —Gabriela
Every new D.R.A.M. single is somehow more life-affirming than the last. In case you were worried history might remember him as just “the ‘Cha Cha’ guy” (or worse, “the guy ‘Hotline Bling’ ripped off”), he teamed up with Yachty for “Broccoli,” a sneakily profound piano-plinking masterpiece that was truly, contagiously beyond all that fuck shit. And now he’s back with another exuberant ebony-and-ivory loop courtesy of the highly underrated Ricky “Wallpaper” Reed, extolling the virtues of finally not being broke. You can practically feel the weight lifting off his frame as he explains, “I used to get the coldest shoulders/ But now I get the hottest ass.” And although his posturing here is verging on elitist — please respect the Five Guys cashier’s hustle! — the joy he’s tapping into could not be more inclusive. –Chris