Sunday, July 28, 2013
Round-Up: July 2013
Admirers is a new project from Mikey James, a multifaceted musician with a groovy streak. His debut album Involuntary Memory (which is available now) will likely resonate with fans of acts as diverse as M83, Basement Jaxx, and even Michael Jackson. The default tone of the album's funky synth-pop is one of exhausted joie de vivre; James wrote the entire thing during nighttime sessions, and tracks like "Return" and "High Street" exhibit a sort of subdued sparkle appropriate for that brief pocket between midnight and closing hours at your local nightclub. For listeners whose best time of day is that nebulous period, Admirers is a must-listen. Here's a stream of album single "Spirit Lamp" to whet your appetite.
Winning the award for sexiest EP of the summer, LA-based pop-rock trio Cable Car snaps, crackles and pops on its new release Ride. Placed front-and-center is a scorching performance from frontman Nathan Mott, who can get as wide-eyed as Jazon Mraz or raunchy as Adam Levine--often at the same time, offering completely heartfelt performances in both modes. The EP's a whirlwind tour through different corners of the pop-rock square: "Two.Time.Love" and "You're Killing Me" are irresistibly upbeat jams, but on "Songs That Groove" and "It's You," the band taps into its sweeter side, rising out of the depths with some of the best ballads from a nominal rock band in recent memory. And then there's closer "Wait For Me," an out-of-left-field folk stomper that showcases both Cable Car's emotive talents and its ability to craft some really honkin' tunes. There couldn't be a more appropriate title for this EP than Ride, let's leave it at that. Here's a stream of "You're Killing Me," which again...appropriate title.
Hailing from Montreal, electronic musician Michael Silve, better known as CFCF, has released his new EP Music For Objects. The theme of the work is intriguing, each track crafted to express something intangible about the object it is named after. Silver's work does a lot with very little, however. "Glass" wobbles in geometric to-and-fros, carried by a bouncy piano pattern; "Camera" plays on a textural dichotomy between crystal-clear piano and hazy pan-flute overtones; "Key" pushes repetition over four minutes to build grand possibilities, all waiting to be unlocked with one simple turn. Those curious to see how the boundaries of electronic music continue to be challenged need look no further. Here's a stream of "Camera" to give you a snapshot of what you'll be in for.
One standout from July is Fever Forms, the new album from Austin art-pop gang The Octopus Project. Much as that title suggests, it's all about the blending of disparate elements and whirling 'em all together into a fever pitch. "The Falls" opens the album with a bang, welding ferocious tribal rhythms to jagged guitar streaks and a sparse but scorching vocal line, and the eleven tracks following it cook up some more devious recipes: "Pyramid Kosmos" is a playful post-rock assault on the senses, getting more convoluted and noisy as it progresses from an 8-bit synth hook into an uneasy melange of guitar fog and drum static. Meanwhile, "Whitby" dilutes all of The Octopus Project's eccentricities into a three-minute slice of bubbly Billboard-bound electropop, "The Man With The Golden Hand" serves up a sample-heavy take on dance-rock, and "The Mythical E.I.C." imagines Lymbyc Systym as a marching band. Chemistry bored me in high school, but Fever Forms is a humbling reminder of why even musicians must study it in the classroom. Stream "Whitby" below.
Lastly, Minneapolis-based band Party House has released Tonight, a three-track EP which showcases sublime instrumentation and simple songwriting. The title track is one of the finest you'll hear this summer, a soft-rock piece that evokes a wistful joy beneath the hushed melancholy of vocalist Gwen Ruehle, who invites comparisons to Daughter's Elena Tonra but carves out a sunnier patch of grass. Other tracks tread into heavier territory, such as "Cowboy," a slow burner in the vein of something Explosions In The Sky would do as a shoegaze/pop act, but each approaches an otherworldly beauty not easily shaken--here's a stream of "Tonight" so you can judge for yourself.
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