Producer and member of The xx Jamie Smith has finallly released his debut LP, and it feels like a game-changer. Favoring melody and atmosphere over showy beatwork, In Colour is able to wrangle a wide variety of sounds into a living, breathing whole. Tracks like “Gosh” layer found sounds and field recordings underneath appealing synth lines. Mellower tracks like “Sleep Sound” and “SeeSaw” are terrific after-hours jams, like passing out outside a rave and letting the beats pulse through your dreams. The xx member Oliver Sim shows up to lend his narcotic vocals to the noirish “Stranger in a Room,” while fellow xx singer Romy Madley Croft smears black mascara all over the heartbreak beat of “Loud Places,” which makes wonderful use of a sample of Idris Muhammad’s “Could Heaven Ever Be Like This” on the song’s rousing chorus. Though it’s a bit jarring to hear rapper Young Thug and dancehall artist Popcaan on the following track, “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times),” the song itself is a worthy hip-hop crossover that enlivens the album as a whole. It may sound cheesy, but In Colour really does prove that trip-hop, post-punk, house and hip-hop can call reside under the same roof, as Smith expertly strings these sounds together into new nocturnal anthems. It’s not too soon to call this a new electronic masterwork.
Spoiler alert: The band appeared as wildling warriors in last night's episode "Hardhome," in which Lord Commander of the Night's Watch Jon Snow tried to rally some wildlings to prepare for the oncoming battle with the White Walkers, only to have the undead come knock down their walls and decimate nearly everyone in sight, turning them into even more undead warriors. As far as TV sequences go, it doesn't get more metal.
Here's what the band's Brann Dailor (which is a pretty "Thrones"-ish name) had to say about it, as reported by Stereogum:
"It was such an incredible experience to be on set as extras for our collective favorite show Game Of Thrones and to be wildlings murdered and then brought back to life by White Walkers was beyond amazing. I watched my best friends Brent and Bill, murdered right in front of me as I myself was stabbed in the stomach and had my throat slit multiple times, and I didn’t mind at all. It made me love being in Mastodon even more. We are more than privileged and honored to have been a part of one of the greatest stories ever told on film, and the catering wasn’t bad either."
Mastodon previously submitted the song "White Walker" for the Catch the Throne Vol. 2 mixtape earlier this year.
L.A. duo Girlpool find something new and intriguing among familiar elements on their debut LP, Before the World Was Big. Twin vocals wrap around lonely bass and guitar lines that wander the empty space left by a lack of accompanying instruments, placing the focus on the Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad's vocals, wide-eyed and untamed like two feral children searching for clarity in a supposedly civilized world. Their debut calls to mind indie-rock heroes of yore from The Breeders to Modest Mouse without really sounding like any band before them—a feat in and of itself—singing of the trappings of a typical life ("Ideal World"), endless tour boredom ("Dear Nora") and the sudden nostalgia that hits at the end of your teenage years, where Tucker and Tividad currently find themselves, evoking the image walking to and from school in matching dresses and feeling like you grew up too fast on the title track. Unlike that of most bands, the hype surrounding Girlpool is entirely understandable—it's rare to find music this special.
Girlpool play Amoeba Hollywood June 2 at 6 p.m. I briefly caught up with Tucker and Tividad before the day of their show, which is also the release date for Before the World Was Big.
Mikal Cronin - "Say" video
The cute video for Mikal Cronin's "Say," off his recently released, excellent MCIII album, stars Cronin and comedian/actors Jonah Ray, Nick Thune and Nelson Franklin in a recreation of Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al" video—plus some murder. Watch it via Funny or Die.
Hanni El Khatib – “Melt Me” video
L.A. garage rocker wanders an arcade moping and singing while seemingly unwitting participants get roped in to this cinema verite-style video. Two cute girls playing Dance Dance Revolution serve as a particularly funny counterpoint to El Khatib’s bummed-out state. The song comes from his latest album, Moonlight, which is out now on Innovative Leisure.
On this new track from PINS called “Molly,” the four Manchester ladies drum up a narcotic girl-group sway, perhaps a comedown from the title in question. Singer/guitarist Faith Vern sings of “wild nights with Molly” while Anna Donigan (bass), Lois Macdonald (guitar) Sophie Galpin (drums) & Kyoko Swann (synths/guitar) create a rockabilly-influenced backdrop. Listen via Stereogum.
It’s the latest from the band’s upcoming sophomore album, Wild Nights, due June 9 on Bella Union. To kick off the album’s release, the band plays Amoeba SF on June 16 at 6 p.m. before hitting the Rickshaw Stop that night.
The other tracks revealed from the album have shown a variety of moods and styles, include the stomping “Young Girls” and brooding “Too Little Too Late.” Check out those videos below. “Young Girls” is particularly haunting, with its Jawbreaker meets The Craft in the English suburbs vibe.