When you talk about lo-fi more or less inspired by folk, the best stuff always carries with it a sense of discovery. Cheap and tinny acoustic music should feel like something you stumbled upon, like maybe you dug it out of an old drawer or rescued it from the freebee bin in the thrift store. And then the force of the music should sparkle through the gr it and hiss and distortion and make you think you understand something about the person making it. It's a romantic notion, one not necessarily based in reality. But the best music in this vein manages to convey a sense of intimacy, as if it's a one-to-one conversation between the artist and the listener.
Vernon wrote these songs to be played with a band, the EP is still imbued with all the intimacy and desperation that made For Emma so beloved.
No one ever wants to admit that summer's totally over, but it's even tougher this year considering how fun it all was-- seems like every other day, an evocatively named band would come about and contribute to this glo-fi/dreambeat/chillwave thing that was perfect for those unbearably humid August nights rife with possibility, imagining an alternate universe where the narcotic of choice in danceclubs were Galaxie 500 and Saint Etienne records.
Like plenty of other bands in the internet era, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart seem poised to attract an audience that will far outstrip that of their easily identifiable precedents-- in their case, groups like Rocketship or Shop Assi stants, each obscure these days even by Approved Indie Influence standards. A few other twee/noise-pop revivalists arguably pulled off that same trick last year, but Pains of Being Pure at Heart are likely to appeal to listeners beyond online name-droppers and Brooklyn scenesters.
The cover of The Crying Light, the third album by Antony and the Johnsons, is strikingly similar to that of its predecessor, 2005's highly-lauded I Am a Bird Now. The latter presented a stark black-and-white shot of transvestite performer Candy Darling lying on her hospital deathbed; this time, we get an even starker image of Japanese Butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno, a hero of bandleader Antony Hegarty since he first spotted her on a poster while studying in France as a teenager. As Ohno leans back, wrinkled and seemingly near death himself, the flower in his hair sits in the same position as the bright blooms that hover above Darling.
Disliking teen-pop gets you cast as some sort of rockist Luddite these days, but beyond the fact that most of it doesn't sound like stuff I'd have wanted to hear as a high schooler, it doesn't feel like music for teens either. (Hell, it's more tween-pop than teen-pop anyway.) But what about the kind of stuff that, say, the "1979" video lionized-- breaking into your folks' liquor cabinet, obliterating the speed limit despite just getting your learner's permit, leaving your hometown for the first time and discovering how small it feels. What about jamming out with your best bud and deciding to call it a band?
She refuses to be a locus of explanation or control, keeping her lyrics generally vague and frequently losing herself in bursts of incomprehensible excitement or fervor.
Girls frontman Christopher Owens grew up in the Children of God cult. His older brother died as a baby because the cult didn't believe in medical attention. His dad left. He and his mother lived around the world, and the cult sometimes forced his mother to prostitute herself. As a teenager, Owens fled and lived as a Texas gutter-punk for a while. Then a local millionaire took Owens under his wing, and Owens moved to San Francisco. There, he and Chet "JR" White formed Girls, and recorded Album, their debut album, under the influence of just about every kind of pill they could find.
That the Knife's 2006 breakthrough Silent Shout didn't set the dominoes on a series of similarly grotesque and unnatural sounding imitators is less an indictment on its impact than a comment on its inimitability. The current apex of ten years' collaboration between siblings Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer, it's one of a handful of albums from the past decade that one might argue sounded like nothing before it. In the three years since, the Dreijers have treaded lightly, touring and remixing in carefully managed bursts before quietly receding back into silence altogether.
A significant step forward from her debut, Natasha Khan's Two Suns is home to some of the year's most thrilling music so far.
What's perhaps the most remarkable thing about the truly remarkable Veckatimest, however, is how very exciting much of it is; no small feat for a painstaking chamber-pop record that never once veers above the middle tempo.
Initially hospital-tile sterile, xx rewards volume and repetition like few other albums this year.
Bitte Orca is one of the more purely enjoyable indie-rock records in an awfully long time; remarkable by any means, but even moreso considering the source.
What they've constructed here is a new kind of electronic pop-- one which is machine-generated and revels in technology but is also deeply human, never drawing too much attention to its digital nature.