Sure the Irish trio Bell X1 have been offering up musical giftings for a while now, a dozen years in fact, but my kind ears seem to have only recently tweaked after hearing some of the exquisite samples of sounds from their upcoming sixth studio album Chop Chop. They are “shrinking the palette” and offer an almost absolute taste of rich and effortless orchestral rock themes. From the mesmerizing “Starlings Over Brighten Pier” and its looping piano and visuals to Paul Noonan’s apocalyptic narrative in “The End Is Nigh”. The rhythms are delicate, lyrics vastly expressive and the riffs swoon-worthy.
A ‘Talking Heads’, ‘No’, ‘Springsteen’ and ‘Sunshine Underground’ feel – their level of impressiveness ballooned further by The National‘s longstanding producer Peter Katis having produced this album. Available from the end of June, chop chop give it a go!
I got a nice message today from Ryan Kennedy, formerly of the band Rikers that I’ve covered on this site in the past. But, it has been a while since those posts and I was recently wondering what the band (or its members) were up to. Well, Ryan has started a project called Kennedy Cult and they’ll be releasing one EP each month in 2013. They’ve already put out 4 EP’s so far and the newest one came out this week (titled “Healing“). Head to their bandcamp to listen/download as they are available as free or pwyc.
Ryan has this to say about his new project:
KENNEDY CULT is really a bit of a reaction to the struggles I’ve gone through with rock bands and labels/radio/industry in Canada . I have made a few mistakes in my day and put commercial goals ahead of artistic ones and I’m working now to make sure that doesn’t happen again . Each KENNEDY CULT Ep is recorded in a 48 hr period and we place different sonic restrictions on ourselves with each release (ex: no cymbals / no guitar etc ). I write all the songs myself and the other band members don’t hear them until we’re in the studio and the clock is running. I’m really focused on capturing the initial spark that comes from playing a song for the first time . Not all songs end up being first takes but it forces us to work quickly and not over think things . We work off a very minimal template that forces lyrics and vocals to the forefront.
Shall we get to some music? I was drawn to the 2nd track off the Healing EP, “I Can’t Surf”, not only because it is fantastic, but also because I can’t surf.
Small Black have announced that they will embark on a North American tour this summer with Heavenly Beat. The band will visit Boston, Toronto and other major Canadian cities, Chicago in the Midwest and Los Angeles and the West Coast before returning home to New York for a headline show at Music Hall of Williamsburg on June 30.
To celebrate, the band have shared a new single, “No Stranger”.
Ahead of the release of his album Silver Wilkinson on May 14, Bibio reveals a video for ‘À tout à l’heure.” The video, directed by Bibio and editied by Russell Weekes, features Bibio in silhouette, alongside various animals and instruments, interlaced with over 13 years of footage filmed by Bibio himself.
Whilst everyone is talking about Daft Punk’s new track ‘Get Lucky’, what’s really catching my attention right now is Daughter‘s cover, recorded for Huw Stephens on the BBC Radio One Live Lounge. It truly is a great take on the original, exploring a more melancholic side of it. Daft Punk’s track is perfect for driving and dancing like it’s the 70s, but the London trio’s version wins when I’m in a more introspective setting. Funny how two approaches to the same thing can make you feel so differently…
For those going to festivals in Europe, Daughter will play at Primavera Sound (Barcelona) and Field Day (London) this month, as well as a number of other countries in June and July.
Austin’s SPEAK are coming off of a solid debut record, but with the release of their new track, “Peaks“, we find the synth-pop outfit’s hooks in a belated rendezvous with their influences.
The clandestine harp echoes in the beginning make way to a layered track that combs through new wave guitar, early nineties R&B rhythms, and tight vocal harmonies. Both haunting and enrapturing, the second half of the song transforms these elements into what I can only describe as one of the most infatuating tracks around this year.
To call this impressive is an understatement. Stop what you’re doing.