Marissa Nadler’s latest is one of her best yet, adding a little warmth to her haunting rendition of goth-Americana. Whether she’s playing vague with evocative line, as in “Divers of the Dust” (“the waves were screaming/city streets/you look out the window to see/seven lines of stunted trees”), or singing directly, as in “Katie I Know” (“it’s hard to know when to let go/cause I can bury this heart of mine”), Nadler’s words and voice cut deep. Musically, Strangers is a blend of old and new sounds, but the mixture works. “Hungry Is the Ghost” effuses spectral beauty, with slowcore guitars and swelling cosmic sounds, balancing out a song like “Skyscraper,” which is full of spare acoustics and medieval flutes. Though the feel is wintry as per her usual style, “All the Colours of the Dark” is actually one of the sweetest sounding songs Nadler has put to tape, full of genteel fingerpicking, Southern sounding strings and layered organ and piano. Wading through the album’s melancholia, which is pleasurable in its own way, it gives way to the sighing steel guitars of the title track, as well as perhaps her best song yet, “Janie in Love,” in which her swooping, birdsong voice calls out in shudder-inducing beauty, “you’re a natural disaster, and I am watching you blow up everything, you touch and the earth will crumble.” Though bleak, Nadler’s previous albums have never been short of stunning. This time, the music offers not just commiseration but light at the end of the tunnel.
Radiohead recently revealed a couple of new songs and then promptly dropped information on the release of their ninth album, A Moon Shaped Pool, which will come out June 17 on LP, limited color vinyl and CD. You can preorder from Amoeba now.
Here's a breakdown of what recently went down in the world of Radiohead. First, the band deleted its online presence May 1, leading to speculation about a new album. Then, May 3, the band released a new single and stop-motion animation video, "Burn the Witch," which you can watch below. Then, May 6, the band released another video, from The Master director Paul Thomas Anderson, for the song "Daydreaming." Both songs feature a symphonic sound more in line with guitarist Jonny Greenwood's recent soundtrack work and less like the more digital sound found on the last Radiohead album, The King of Limbs, as well as Thom Yorke's solo work and supergroup project, Atoms for Peace. Then the album was released digitally over this past weekend, and the band announced details for the physical album, which brings us up to speed.
Just as the artist formerly known as Antony has chosen to go by the name ANOHNI in her personal and professional life, Hopelessness, her debut sans the Johnsons, dramatically refashions the artist’s sound world. With production by Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke, ANOHNI takes her socially conscious lyrics to the world of experimental synth-pop. Read more here.
On her bold new album, Beyonce takes on the image of the wounded lover and owns it while continuing to make heartfelt, intelligent pop music of the highest order. As her previous, self-titled album was a vibrant ode to fidelity, Lemonade represents the other side of relationships. Read more here.
The tracklist is below. It includes one of the biggest hits of recent memory, “Hotline Bling,” plus recently leaked song “Controlla.”
Brian Eno’s latest album combines the minimalist approach to his ambient work such as Music for Airports with the intrigue of his more pop-oriented work. On opening track “The Ship,” individual tones, thick, thin, solid and wavering create a transfixing horizontal drone. Vocals enter after a few minutes, deeply intoning strange truisms behind some swan-diving notes and radio noise that sound like a TV left on in another room. “The time is still, the sky is young,” the voice says, and the music feels eternal while the found sound of advertisements feels ephemeral. Through its contemplative, extended tracks, The Ship is a little unsettling but ultimately gives a sense of peace, a reminder of our short time on a greater vessel that sets us free from our preoccupations. Includes a gorgeous cover of The Velvet Underground’s “I’m Set Free.”