Albums Out Today: Purity Ring, Jeremiah Jae, Heavenly Beat and More

Posted by Billy Gil, July 24, 2012 05:15pm | Post a Comment
Album Picks
Purity Ring ShrinesPurity Ring Shrines
To say Purity Ring’s debut record has been anticipated would be an understatement. Anything signed to the 4AD label generates drool from indie music fans, let alone bands who tease brilliantly formed singles with Cocteau Twins-ish poetic gibberish titles like “Belispeak” and a sound that calls to mind the skewed electro-pop of fellow recent 4AD signee Grimes and the menacing witch house sound of bands like Salem and Unison. Though a newish genre, witch house wants for personality, and it has gotten it in the form of Purity Ring, whose Megan James offers clear, girlishly breathy vocals over Corin Roddick’s paranormal beatwork. Even through murky sounds, the duo knows how to write songs that would sound great even out of context. James sings creepy, culty lyrics that like “Dust off my necklace, familiar…to the culminated piles of bones” in “Ungirthed” — their zombie apocalypse quality may seem over the top, but it gives the song its necessary character and are pretty fun, coolness be damned. Shrines reaches its peak on “Grandloves,” maybe the most convincing combination yet of house beats, hip-hop delivery, courtesy of Young Magic, and shoegaze sonics that help define the nebulous genre Purity Ring occupies. Every time Shrines seems to settle, its brilliant pacing picks it up, like the way “Belispeak’s” horror-movie pop beats cut through the din in the album’s final quarter. It’s a highly successful debut record that promises Purity Ring, and seemingly silly genres like witch house, are nothing to dismiss.
Jeremiah JaeJeremiah JaeRaw Money Raps
The latest protégé on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label unleashes an impressive debut of record of psychedelic lo-fi beats and rhymes. Jeremiah Jae’s spaced out delivery over a stuttering, skipping beat on “Guns Go Off” give lyrics like “all these things get lost in time” a scary acceptance more effective than any heavy-handedness would have. The more instrumental tracks call to mind the head-spinning brevity of Madvillain or Flying Lotus at his most hip-hop, while the catchier bits, like the irresistible posturing and druggy synths of “Money and Food,” are strong enough to appeal to fans of more mainstream (but likeminded) acts The-Dream, Drake and Frank Ocean. Raw Money Raps is indeed pretty raw, but it also holds together nicely over its 19 tracks, and points for big things to come from Jeremiah Jae. (Catch him LIVE at Amoeba Hollywood July 29 at 3 p.m.!)
Heavenly BeatHeavenly BeatTalent
Apparently Beach Fossils’ skeletal guitar-pop perfection extends to side projects, as well — first we got BF member Zachary Cole Smith’s dreamy Diiv record, now bassist John Peña releases divine guitar pop as Heavenly Beat. Peña’s soft jazz chords and lightly melancholic melodies feel like a perfect cocktail in the dead heat of summer. The “beat” part of Heavenly Beat comes in light electronic drums that feel like Balearic beats without the deep pulse, staying crisp and fizzy on “Messiah” in an otherwise cathedral-like song. The steel drums and female backup vocals of “Presence” up the laid-back, island feel, but the melodies are all Sarah Records-style British mope, with nods to Aztec Camera in its spindly acoustic riffs. Just listening to Talent feels like an exotic vacation in and of itself.
Also out today:
MicachuMicachu and the ShapesNever
The second album from Micachu & the Shapes is even more chaotic and messy than 2009’s Jewellry — and that’s a good thing. Whereas that album still concerned itself with being presentable once in a while, Never is truly unhinged. Even at their catchiest, on a trio of songs at the album’s core, “OK,” “Low Dogg” and “Holiday,” Micachu and her cohorts couch the hooks with electronic squelches, strange time signatures and breaks, bits of found sound and other madness. Still, “Holiday” will have you tapping to its weirdo beat.

Searching for Sugar ManSearching for Sugar Man Soundtrack
The film Searching for Sugar Man tells of fabled folk hero Rodriguez, an American folk singer who never made much of an impression in the U.S. when his two lone albums were released in the early ’70s but whose tales of urban blight and oppression hit home for people in South Africa. In this context, Searching for Sugar Man serves as a healthy one-stop shop for those interested in Rodriguez’s music who may not have heard him previously. It has all of his major highlights, from the intimate psychedelia of “Sugar Man” and “Crucify Your Mind” to politically charged songs like “This is Not a Song.” and “Inner City Blues.” It helps Rodriguez’s legacy that his lyrics remain as potent today — “Politicians using/People they’re abusing/The Mafia’s getting bigger/Like pollution in the river/And you tell me that this is where it’s at,” he sings with something like disgusted nonchalance in “This is Not a Song.” Though clearly in the vein of Dylan and Lennon both stylistically and thematically, it’s hard not to think that Rodriguez’s time may just have been now when hearing lyrics like “Mama, papa stop, treasure what you’ve got, soon you may be caught without it” in “Inner City Blues.” Though Rodriguez’s work stands on its own and is of its time, it’s also never been more relevant.
Passion Pit GossamerPassion Pit Gossamer
Passion Pit may have hit it big with a couple of songs on the radio and in commercials, but they haven’t lost much of the weirdness that made them appeal to people in the first place. After the relatively wide-reaching and catchy “Take a Walk,” whose lyrics about financial strife and missing one’s family belie the song’s gentle nature, they get right back into it with “I’ll Be Alright,” maybe their craziest song yet. Its broken down electronics and spazzy arrangement, complete with chirping vocals, make Passion Pit sound like a band of ‘80s toys come to life. So it goes on Gossamer, as Passion Pit balance melodic choruses with tweaked out noises. Luckily for fans, they’re great at both, from the childlike singalong of “Carried Away” to the alien disco of “Cry Like a Ghost.”
The AlchemistThe AlchemistRussian Roulette
Producer The Alchemist makes a grand tapestry of obscure funk, soul and pop samples while rappers such as Danny Brown, Schoolboy Q and more lend rhymes over 30 tracks.


L.A.-based Anywhere consist of Christian Eric Beaulieu (Triclops!), Mike Watt (Minutemen) and Cedric Bixler-Zavala (The Mars Volta), while the sound borrows from various worldbeat genres to create a panethnic psych-rock stew. Bixler-Zavala’s vocals sound angelic rather than aggressive, sounding feminine and dreamy on songs like “Rosa Rugosa.”

Blood Red Shoes Blood Red Shoes In Time to Voices
Blood Red Shoes are the kind of female-led alt-rock group you just don’t hear enough anymore, rocking hard and delivering breathy vocals, courtesy of Laura-Mary Carter, without going too theatrical. When drummer Steven Ansell jumps in on vocal duty, they offer the all-to-rare male-female rock duet and align themselves among post-alt elite like Silversun Pickups and Autolux.

Bonnie Prince BillyBonnie Prince BillyNow Here’s My Plan
Noir folk superhero Bonnie Prince Billy is no stranger to re-recording his own music — his 2004 album Sings Greatest Palace Music featured new recordings of songs from his ’90s Palace Music/Palace Brothers era. This six-song EP features Will Oldham and co. (Ben Boye, Van Campbell, Emmett Kelly, Danny Kiely, Angel Olson) new renditions of such BPB classics as “I See a Darkness.”

Fang islandFang IslandMajor
More heavy, melodic indie rock from Brooklyn’s Fang Island. The follow-up to their 2010 debut album is a more mature affair, featuring the single “Sisterly.”

FoalsFoals Tapes
The latest from the Britpoppers is a mixtape of sorts — two sides of original music, one rocky, the other dancey.

OmOmAdvaitic Songs
The new album from drone-metal band Om features monastic and Tibetan chanting amongst the heavy riffery. 

Laetitia SadierLaetitia SadierSilencio
The second solo album by onetime Stereolab frontwoman returns her lyrics to her Marxist ideology while musically she exudes orchestrated lounge cool on songs like “Find Me The Pulse Of The Universe.”

shawn leeShawn LeeSynthesizers in Space
Multi-instrumentalist Shawn Lee offers kitschy, jazzy instrumentals featuring all matter of moog.

Summer Camp AlwaysSummer CampAlways EP
Summer Camp’s debut record was a lot of fun, gauzy lo-fi pop with a fondness for C86-style Britpop and ’60s pop touches. “Always,” by comparison, is very 2012, with throbbing synths and soaring male/female vocals. Which means it also sounds kind of like New Order and Soft Cell. And also WHO CARES IT’S SO FUN.

Relevant Tags

Heavenly Beat (2), Jeremiah Jae (4), Purity Ring (7), New Releases (215), New Albums (213)