I usually like to dick around a little at the top here, make a joke, wrangle a non-sequitur or two. But you know what? Let's just listen to some songs today, huh? Let's all stop trying to be so clever all the goddamn time...
No, we should still try to do that. You're right. I'll do it again next time.
Purity Ring - "Obedear"
This is the first we've heard from Purity Ring's 4AD debut Shrines, and it's pretty much exactly what I wanted it to be. Those frozen water droplet synth blips have some sort of cosmically perfect tone. And while I could take or leave disconnected vocal samples as a production technique in electronic music (I feel like that's a trope that we get too much these days, in general) I continue to admire the way Megan James sings more or less clearly in contrast to them. The Knife influence is obvious, yeah, but it's just that—an influence. That band doesn't really structure their songs like this, and they are much more apt to corrode their songs' main vocal line. This is much more overtly pop-centered, as opposed to dance/house/alienghostfreakout. Both bands could get together for a Cronenberg body creep-out film festival & slumber party though. "All my wrinkles, build on me, build on me...." sings James here. (She's 23...)
Animal Collective - "Gotham"
Less tangled than its A-side, "Honeycomb," this other new Animal Colelctive song is nonetheless grand and swell and human and all that. With a loping bongo-beat, "Gotham" doesn't actually feel super metropolitan to me, It's got more of the campfire sing-along vibe that they made their name on (before the electro high five jams of Merriweather Post Pavillion brought them to another level). Not that anyone could really sing along to Avey Tare, per se. But its got more oomph than that description would suggest. It's loose enough to be an unusually emotive strum-session, but the band hits forcefully behind every sudden and halt and return. It feels big and close together at once. (Maybe that's how they got the title?)
Cozy - "Cola Shock Kids"
I'm rolling my eyes at myself (which is totally possible, and barely even hurts) for picking a song that starts with "Hanging with the boys, making too much noise..." but this thing totally short-circuited my brain. *brzzzzt* *spurk* POWERRRRRRRRRR POP...
VÅR - "In Your Arms (Final Fantasy)"
Pre-emptive name changes to head off litigation are a big moment in every young band's life. But, given the warm, pulsing life in this new single by Iceage side-project VÅR, switching to the Danish word for "spring" does make some aesthetic sense, in addition to calming the funk band lawyers of the world. (You pronounce it the same, which is neat.) "In Your Arms (Final Fantasy)" is much more inviting that the industrial workouts they'd released previously. Elias Rønnenfelt even sings in that beer-drunk Iceage slur here. But he's slow and romantic, eyes a little teary maybe. The video above is more a less a valentine to an Icelandic teen stripper, which is not your typical punk move either.
Oh, and we have to mention that the boys will be making their North American debut at our very own Northside Festival next month. We need to do that.
Also Check Out:
- There's a new one from psych-balladeer Amen Dunes, who just so happens to be joining VÅR on that Northside bill.
- The swell new Beach House record, Bloom, is now streaming over at NPR if you haven't heard it yet. I'll have more to say shortly, here, and in the lil' orange boxes.
- Seattle's The Intelligence have been a steady provider of shit-kicking garage rock since the late 90s. Are you in the market?
- Warning: This electronic folk ballad from New York's Family Band does not feel like springtime, but you should still click over.
- This new Magnetic Fields video has a real sexy young grouches* in love vibe. (*As in: Oscar, the.)
- I was content for Four Tet's new single to just twinkle forever and ever, so I zoned out a little, and then it suddenly sounded like I was buried under snow and a moon boot parade feet above me was packing me down further. Serves me right, I guess?
Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_klingman.