In a rare double-blessing, the last two years have given us not only a new album by My Bloody Valentine but another artist iconic of the ’90s, Aphex Twin. Syro plays as a collection of just about everything Richard Davis James does best, fusing jungle beats to gorgeous ambient tapestries on stunning opener “Minipops 67 [120.2][Source Field Mix],” taking us through dense synth explorations on tracks like the 10-minute “Xmas_Evet10 [Thanaton3 Mix]” and vibing off hip-hop and synth funk on “Produk 29 .” Vocals appear now and then (from James and his family), offering skewed, incomprehensible chatter that adds to the liveliness of “Produk 29 ” and giving “Minipops 67 [120.2][Source Field Mix]” its grabbing human element, pulling you into the rest of the album. Though he used some 138 pieces of equipment and shifted his set up every few minutes while recording Syro, that seems to have had an energizing effect on James, and the result is a sharp, if varied piece of work that hangs together beautifully, flowing from scenic but heady pieces like “4 Bit 9d Api+E+6 [126.26]” to hard-hitting bass tracks such as “180db_ .” There aren’t many shocking moments on Syro like, say, “Come to Daddy’s” shrieking wail, nor does it push listeners to their extreme limit like the challenging Drukqs did, but accessibility doesn’t mar Syro. Rather, even despite their straight-off-the-hard-drive titles, tracks like “Papat4 [Pineal Mix]” are really breathtaking pieces of music, designed for immersion rather than to filter listeners out. Just like mbv, we had no right to expect Syro would be this good, much less that it would be released at all, which makes it all the better. Simply put, it’s one of the most instantly enjoyable collections of music James has ever released.
On her new single, Faithfull teams with Nick Cave, and the results are predictably brilliant. Faithfull delivers a devastating, detailed account with a tinge of Cave's cadence over a wintry orchestration. Hear the song below:
The song comes from Give My Love to London, her 20th studio album, which is out Nov. 11 on Easy Sound. The album was produced by Rob Ellis and Dimitri Tikovoi and mixed by Flood, and features appearances by Adrian Utley (Portishead), Brian Eno, Ed Harcourt, Warren Ellis and Jim Sclavunos (The Bad Seeds), with songwriting contributors from Cave, Roger Waters, Steve Earle, Tom McRae and Anna Calvi and lyrics largely by Faithfull.The tracklist is below:
"I wanted it to be a single but, everyone said we couldn't have a one minute single," she says in a press release. "So now we have a single, one minute video instead."
The video for "Double Dutch," as you might guess, features some fancy footwork as Keds kick up dust and things go in and out of focus. It feels like a dream you have after waking up and trying to fall back asleep. The clip was directed by Goma and bandmate Luisa Conlon, who also made the documentary series "The Working Life," says Pitchfork.
See the clip below:
The new single from Kendrick Lamar is an upbeat ode to keeping your chin up when everything's trying to tear you down.
"How many times the city makin' me promises?" he raps over a sample of The Isley Brothers' "That Lady" before declaring "I love myself." It's a song closer in vibe to Pharrell's "Happy" than a song like his own alcoholism-laden "Swimming Pools," the lead single from his last album, good kid, m.A.A.d city. But Lamar promises in an interview with Rolling Stone that the follow-up to that album will have more tales of growing up in Compton that couldn't fit on m.A.A.d city. Sessions continue for the new album, and a release date has yet to be announced.
Speaking of m.A.A.d city, the album is enjoying neo-classic status, having been named the second best album of the 2010s by Pitchfork.
Hear "i" below:
Ever the prolific songwriter, The Replacements' Paul Westerberg says he has plenty of songs rearin' to go, including songs such as "Are You in It for the Money?" and "Dead Guitar Player." No word on when that might be, but the band is set to pay its first show in New York since 1991.
The band also made it seem like this reunion was one that would last—more of a DInosaur Jr. than a Pavement. "How many people do you know that you can call up and get a guaranteed gut-wrenching laugh?" Westerberg said of his bandmate, bassist Tommy Stinson. "Sometimes it's worth all the money and kissing and hugging in the world."