He’s also revealed a new song, “The Knower,” a minimalist pop song with intriguing production. Propulsion is mostly provided by electronics that sound like ’80s toys on the fritz, but these are balanced by a splashy drum beat and horns that show up halfway through. Meanwhile, Powers’ voice has only gotten higher and more ethereal, painting him as the male heir to Kate Bush’s odd empire.
We’ve been dying to hear the new Tame Impala album, Currents, since hearing about its release in the Spring. The album is coming out this week, hitting stores Friday, July 17, and you can listen to the album now via NPR.
Our first impressions are very strong. It’s a synth-heavy affair compared with the band’s previous two albums, Lonerism and Innerspeaker, but still just as psychedelic, as songs like opener “Let It Happen,” which takes its time to move from a pensive, proggish uphill chug to a silky disco beat. While we’ve enjoyed singles “Eventually” and “’Cause I’m a Man,” the album’s other songs are proving just as strong, especially synth-soul ballad “Yes I’m Changing” and crystalline psych-funk jam “The Less I Know the Better.”
The title of Four Tet's new album refers to its two extended tracks, split into a "Morning" and "Evening" side. The release provides dueling meditations that are indeed best listened to at the time period they're ascribed. "Morning" moves with purpose on a skittering beat, but its sampled Indian singer and undulating synth tones feel like they're gently nudging you awake. As such, the 20-minute track evolves and begins piling on more geometric synth runs and string drones about halfway through, seeming to take flight as the beat slowly dials down to just a bass pulse and then nothing at all. "Evening" by comparison, begins more amorphously, unmoored without a beat, its vocal more divided, but it is no less affecting as its tones blink in and out of focus and its arrangement becomes more apparent. Given the suggestive nature of the song title, "Evening's" high-end notes call to mind the sight of stars and sound of nocturnal birds and insects, while its whooshing cymbal sound soothes. Like its predecessor, the track evolves and becomes more saturated with sound about halfway through before becoming more minimalist, its swaying synths evoking a dream state, though a heavy, thudding beat that emerges free of tones suggests nighttime hedonism or a mind-clearing erasure that comes with sleep. As a kind of concept album about how we begin and end our days, Morning/Evening is totally successful. It could be ideal for winding up or down, accompanied by yoga, meditation or quiet listening, but it also stands on its own as an intriguing pair of sound pieces that can be explored at leisure.
Listening to OOFJ feels like watching a film noir from the future. Melodramatic strings, bubbling electronic beats and Katherine Mills-Rymer’s desperately breathy vocals come together for a sound that wouldn’t feel out of place in a new David Lynch or Roman Polanski film. That’s not accidental—while you could draw comparisons to bands like Portishead and Goldfrapp, the band’s composer, Jenno Bjornkjaer, has worked on film scores like Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia, during which he met his musical and romantic partner in Mills-Rymer. The debut album from OOFJ (which stands for “orchestra of Jenno”) pulls heavily from filmic inspiration but manages to put that into four-minute electro-pop songs that are heady and addictively catchy in equal doses.
I took a minute to speak with the duo before their performances at Amoeba Hollywood July 23 at 6 p.m. and their slot playing Amoeba Music’s curated Red Bull Sound Select show July 30 at the Echoplex with Baths and Wrestlers (click here to RSVP).
L.A. experimental singer/songwriter Julia Holter has announced a new album called Have You in My Wilderness, due Sept. 25 on Domino. It's the follow-up to 2013's excellent Loud City Song. The first track is called "Feel You," debuting a sound that's a bit warmer and more open for Holter, though there's still plenty going on beneath the surface—a layering of sunlit strings and harpsichord make the bed for a syncopated beat and Holter's clipped observations and spoken-word bits to skip through. It's just as expressive and sweet as that little dog's face in the video for the song, directed by Jose Wolff, that premiered today on Pitchfork.
Wand – “Stolen Footsteps”
One of our favorite garage-rock bands, Wand, already put out an excellent album this year called Golem, but they’re back at it again with a new album called 1000 Days, which will be released Sept. 25 and will be their Drag City debut. From the sound of “Stolen Footsteps,” the L.A./S.F. band has made some major overhauls to their sound, eschewing the huge distortion of previous albums in favor of floral analog synth runs and gently psychedelic melodies, coming off like The Kinks jamming with Berlin-era Bowie.