The tracklist is below. It includes one of the biggest hits of recent memory, “Hotline Bling,” plus recently leaked song “Controlla.”
I missed last week since I was on vacation, so here are my picks for the past two weeks!
Brooklyn’s Diiv are back after four years with an album that delivers on the promise of their debut, Oshin. Musically, Zachary Cole Smith and co. still dole out shimmering guitar-pop nuggets that surf on waves of reverb and atmospheric distortion. Songs like “Under the Sun” offer a pure rush of new wave beats and summery melodies, even as Smith’s lyrics delve into his struggle with addiction. It follows one of The Cure’s best tricks: sounding lively even at their bleakest. Songs like “Dopamine” are far from numbed out — Smith’s jaunty vocal is as close as he’d let himself get to Tom Petty, while still encased in a fog of reverb. Is The Is Are is a bit sprawling at 17 tracks, and after a dynamite opening, some of its shorter tracks in the middle don’t sink in, compared with the relatively taut Oshin. But that also gives Is The Is Are room to roam and the feeling of some alt-rock record of yore, like a Guided By Voices or Sonic Youth album (speaking of the latter, Smith’s girlfriend, Sky Ferreira, shows up to play Kim Gordon on the breathy “Blue Boredom”). Smith also should get credit for expanding his guitar palette while keeping things trim and stylistically consistent, adding My Bloody Valentine-style bends and distortion to his crisp, Felt-ish tones only when necessary. As layers of heavily distorted riffs close out “Waste of Breath” like interlocking corroded piping (epic by Diiv standards at nearly six minutes), Smith’s talents are firmly re-established.
In the video for her song "Go," featuring Blood Diamonds, Grimes goes all Mad Max/Final Fantasy on us with swords and veils in the desert. But then also at the club. 'Cause after all, this was a song Grimes had written for RIhanna but that got turned down. Pretty lame, it would have been nice to hear Rihanna try something different like this, but it sounds great coming from Grimes, too. The song is available to download now from Amoeba.com.
See the video below:
Tim Hecker, Daniel Lopatin - Instrumental Tourist
Tim Hecker and Daniel Lopatin aka Oneohtrix Point Never’s Instrumental Tourist brings out the best in two major figures in electronic music, producing a musical endeavor that’s as interested in pleasing its audience as it is turning over new stones. “Uptown Psychedelia’s” mechanical noise ebbs in and out while an eastern-influenced synth line wriggles chaotically. While more glacially paced, “Scene From a French Zoo” eschews the notion that ambient music need be peaceful or serene; its foreboding tone indicates some unstated melancholy. “Vacation for Thomas Mann” grows more ethereal as the pair set their synths skyward. Appropriately titled “Intrusions” tracks back to themes introduced in “Uptown Psychedelia” with industrial noise bursts, though it retains the ethereal feel of “Vacation for Thomas Mann,” until it gradually gets nastier and disintegrates. “Whole Earth Tascam” builds tension with noise and synthesized vocals before breaking apart to the sound of birds chirping, but then it gets even tenser than before. The song’s intriguing push-and-pull makes it the most soundtracky song on the album and definitely a highlight. “GRM Blue II” makes for a quick, strangely melodic respite full of glassy tones, while the more aggressive “GRM Blue III” is full of squelching sounds like an alien response to earthling radio signals, challenging the listener as the song stretches to nearly six minutes. The albums final tracks continue pushing the album’s ethereal and unsettling qualities in seemingly equal measure, particularly on the Eastern touches and wind instruments of “Grey Geisha,” never losing listener attention, though Instrumental Tourist can be a demanding listen. By keeping things unfussy and not overly layered, Hecker and Lopatin create excitement in their interplay. Their union proves not to be a collective patting on the back but rather another notch in the post of excellence for both artists.
The holidays are just around the corner, which means it’s time for some blockbuster releases from the likes of Green Day, who are releasing their second two of three albums this year; pop stars Alicia Keys, Rihanna and Lana Del Rey; and high-profile indie releases from Scott Walker, Brian Eno and Atoms for Peacel. See highlights of albums up for preorder at Amoeba.com below; a full-list of available preorders is here.
Brian Eno – Lux
CD $14.98 available now
LP $25.98 due 12/11
Consisting of four LP-side-length pieces, the latest from the electronic music pioneer (and one-time Roxy Music member) falls into Eno’s ambient canon. Eno also recently developed an iPhone app called Bloom, which allows the average person to construct their own ambient music without knowledge of how to program or play an instrument.
Led Zeppelin - Celebration Day