THE GREAT DICTATORS (FEAT. JAMIE STEWART) - "BY THE THROAT"
Joining the Danish indie-rock band in this downcast, death-facing track is Xiu Xiu front person Jamie Stewart. Stewart’s contributions include a characteristic caustic screeches and electronically manipulated growls and death rattles. This perfeclty muddles the Great Dictators sweeping gestures of facing death head on with a surprising amount of grace and acceptance. A lovely pairing.
PICNICS AT HIS ADAMAH! - "PHRASE OF LOVESONGS"
I love the cross-pollination of geography-specific music genres spilling across continents. “Phrase of Lovesongs” is a faithful Midwest emo track (American Football, Very Secretary) by the Japanese artist Picnics at his Adamah! This track has everything, delicate arpeggios, whispered middle-aged man singing, horns at the emotional climax, gentle falling into light synthesizers. So happy to hear music still being made like this.
IRAH - "SIU HINAMA"
Taking heavy cues from groups like Cocteau Twins and The Knife, the ethereal, haunting vocals and intricate synthesizer work of Danish duo of Stine Grone and Adi Zukanovic are joined by the expressive sensory percussion of Seb Rochford. The resulting live drumming catapults the track into the stratosphere. Utterly engaging and unmissable.
THE EMPTY SLEEPS - "GOOD PLACE"
The Australian shoegaze band operates under the opaque cloud of shimmering hazy guitar effects and ear-worm catchy songwriting reminiscent of bands that rode the harder/noisier edge of shoegaze greats like the Drop Nineteens, loveliescrushing, Yellow6 and more recently Deaf Cult. “The Good Place” is one of those always ascending songs that never rests into verse-chorus drudgery but relies on an always increasing lift to propel it along.
SUMMER PARADOX - "ANOTHER DAY OF ENDLESS THOUGHTS"
This debut single by Summer Paradox is a gorgeous piece of ambient lift propelled forward by the updraft of overlapping and cresting drones rising from the bathwater warm droning overtones that saturate this track. “Another Day of Endless Thoughts” tracks a similar trajectory to the way the stately tonal shifts in Eluvium’s classic “Talk Among the Trees” make their mark and then recede back into the ether. Beautiful stuff.
BIG BEND - "FOUR (FEAT. LARAAJI)"
The second single off of Ohio-based Nathan Phillips features the legendary musician Laraaji, Clarice Jensen on cello and Rob Narrin on bass. The four-piece explore every nook and cranny of this resonance-rich set up. Improvised and highly expressionistic, the group uses the warm vibrato and rich interplay between structural percussive instruments and harmonic strings to create a stunning pastiche of experimental artists at the top of their game.
ED CARLSEN - "YEARN"
Released on World Piano Day, this Italian artist overlays his emotionally evocative and reverb-heavy piano line with strings, synths, arcing guitar tones and electronic percussion. The result is a beautiful and stately piece of work that celebrates the piano’s ability to the percussive center of a track that skirts the line between post-rock and neo-classical composition.
WAALS - "NO"
Based out of Morocco, Waals produces intense and building electronic compositions that are punctuated with massive bursts of percussion that sound like a nuclear bomb recorded and played back in reverse. Following a similar palate as Ben Frost and Vatican Shadow, Waals folds beautiful and soothing ambient textures into bold and sometimes unsettling blasts of volume and aggression.
Listen on Spotify
ROB BURGER - "ROADSIDE DEAL"
Boasting an impressive pedigree of contributing to artists such as John Zorn, Laurie Anderson and Iron & Wine, Rob Burger’s debut on Western Vinyl sounds like a vintage NoCal private label New Age pioneer that was recently rediscovered. Instead, Burger’s fascination with komische synths, Harmonia-style locked in groove and an inherent playfulness when it comes to massive chord clusters seem fresh and relevant as ever.
CORNELIUS BOOTS - "BLACK EARTH"
Cornelius Boots is a modern master of the Shakuhachi – notoriously difficult to learn and play woodwind instrument crafted from the root of the bamboo. From this instrument Boots is able to craft a eliding, slightly mournful composition that showcases his ability to pull a surprising range and depth from the instrument. Pitching notes up to trilling stanzas or down to create deeply resonant bass hits. Truly impressive work.