Deconstructionist indie rock band Battles create music that defies expectation. Ian Williams, Dave Konopka and John Stanier interact like triplets, crafting live loops of staccato guitar and synth noise with which Stanier creates mammoth, syncopated live beats, wielding his crash cymbal like Thor’s hammer. Epic opener “The Yabba” stops and starts with chopsocky electronics, swaying guitar swells and a skittering groove, building to an intense climax of all cylinders firing. On “Dot Net,” stuttering Konopka and Williams’ loops seem to communicate with one another like two robots speaking in binary, over which Stanier lays an expressive beat as counterpoint. The muscular groove of “FF Bada” ends up building to an anxious synth melody for one of the album’s most intense moments, while “Summer Simmer” recalls brainy analog electronic groups like The Art of Noise, if they were reborn as trance-inducing drill sergeants. You won’t miss former vocalist Tyondai Braxton on this release, as Battles instead focus all of their energies on their chemistry as a trio, with results that are rarely short of breathtaking. For fans of this kind of innovative, body-awakening music, La Di Da Di is truly an awesome experience.
Kelela – “Rewind” video
Some serious Janet vibes from this new Kelela video. A co-production between Kelela, Kingdom and Nugget, the song is not only Kelela’s catchiest yet, it’s her warmest, in which we get the best sense of her as an artist beyond she of incredible production, a rolodex of brilliant co-producers and a velvety smooth voice. It’s on the much-anticipated HALLUCINOGEN EP, due Oct. 9 on Cherry Coffee/Warp.
Wavves – “Way Too Much” video
For the video to their snappy power-pop gem “Way Too Much,” Nathan Williams and co. play in a basement while a bloody Underground Empire Wrestling match happens. Williams says he’s a big wrestling fan and has viewing parties at his place, but this was something else. “They had a baseball bat with duct tape wrapped around it, and thumbtacks stuck in there, and they were hitting each other in the head with it,” he tells Rolling Stone. Yikes. Watch below, and check out Wavves’ V when it hits Oct. 2.
Out Sept. 25
The Scottish trio made electro-pop gems splattered with emotion on their beguiling debut. For album No. 2, they’re just getting craftier on songs like the anthemic “Never Ending Circles.”
The Intelligence – “Whip My Valet”
L.A. garage weirdos have a new one on the way called Vintage Future, due Sept. 25 on In the Red. “Whip My Valet” plays a little like Devo on adderall, hurdling through jagged chords as singer Lars Finberg cries unsettlingly, “I think I’m devoid of pleasure and all pain.” Listen via Noisey.
The Mantles – “Police My Love”
The wonderful jangle-pop band The Mantles are releasing a new album called All Odds End on Oct. 16 via Slumberland, and they’ve just unveiled another new song from it, the sonically saturated “Police My Love.” Some echoes of The Clean here with the scuffed-up energy of the Bay Area’s garage scene as the band charges through “Police My Love” like a kid heading down the slide headfirst. Wheeee!
Slowcore greats Low add some electronic touches to their spare sound and come out with their best album in years. Mimi Parker’s tender vocals float through space and malfunctioning electronics on haunting opener “Gentle.” Alan Sparhawk leads the band through the Western-tinged “No Comprende,” which ambles along unhurriedly but with a gritty beat and tense, muted guitars. Despite slight changes in the band’s sound, exemplified on the “What Part of Me,” in which Sparhawk and Parker’s vocals waltz over a light synth-pop pulse, Low are still at their best when crafting intensely intimate music that seems to fill huge, empty spaces with overwhelming emotion, such as on the simply stunning “Spanish Translation.” Whether you’re new to Low or just needed a reminder of their greatness, Ones & Sixes does the trick.
I missed this one last week, but it’s worth mentioning anyway because of how rad it is. Hanna Lew (Grass Widow) releases a second album with her new band, pairing jagged post-punk riffs with coldwave synths and Lew’s floating, layered vocals. The results range from the melodic Blondie-style pop of “Broken Lines” to the pulsating, thrilling “Cracks.” Into the Air works because Lew and co. seem to know what to put into every song, pulling from influences as needed — a little Kraftwerkian rigidity here, a little punk fury there — rather than stuffing it all into every song. As such, Into the Air’s songs stand alone, the towering synth-popper “Spirals” a perfect apotheosis of their various tendencies, and hang together masterfully at the same time.