This mix represents some of the best moments of February in terms of new releases and live shows we attended but keeps an eye on the springtime that’s just ahead of us. You won’t find many bombastic summer jams, but hopefully that delicious first blush of warmer weather permeates these tracks. Enjoy!
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Mi & L’au – Limouzine: I once sawthis band play in a treehouse. Technically I guess it was a roomsituated around a huge tree, with a bar situated around that. Still,there was a tree! And their songs sounded like the kind of music youmight hear in a treehouse (treehousewave?). If Beauty Is A Crimeis the first new album they’ve put out in a while and at moments itretains an isolated-in-the-woods vibe, here Mi & L’au arebranching out into lots of new territories. This track, with itspulsing, sparkling synths is a great example of those explorations.
Chairlift – I Belong In Your Arms:Caroline Polachek must be taking cues from those she’s collaboratedwith (Washed Out, Guards) in the interim between releasing Somethingand 2008’s Does You Inspire You? Or perhaps it’s just thedifference between putting some thought into making a record insteadof slapping one together because one of your tracks has been featuredin an iPod commercial and you need to capitalize on it instantly. Either way, Chairlift’s new record is a gem filled with soaring newwave declarations, but far less naïve and hokey than its predecessor.
Lapalux – Moments: On this cracklingbeat collage, female vocals (provided by Py) coo “I keep thinkingof you”; likewise, this track is just the kind of earworm thatsticks with you all day. Cascading drum machines, dissonant bells,spacey synths, and tweaked, slowed effects blend seamlessly. Itmight not get a party going, but acts as a perfect anthem for thosestill coming down after the majority of the crowd has shuffled off.
James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream:After seeing a live rendition of this at Carnegie Hall last month,I’ve been listening to this track incessantly. Its slow gorgeousbuild behind Blake’s velvety crooning is almost too much to handle. It seems so sparse on first listen, but every time it slips into therotation, I hear something new come out of it, proving its densityand depth.
School of Seven Bells – Scavenger:We’ll always wonder if this scathing track is about the departure ofhalf of SVIIB’s singing twin duo, but it could just as easily beabout an ex-lover, or an animal that feeds on carrion, I guess. They’re doing just fine without any or all of the above, as new album Ghostory and the live shows they’ve played to promote itprove.
Xiu Xiu – Smear The Queen: I amecstatic that this band is still putting out amazing albums aftertwelve years of making records. The first single from Always,entitled “Hi” is as bold a flirting anthem as they come, andalmost made it onto this mix – until I heard “Smear The Queen”and was blown away by the dual vocals, haywire beats
Hanne Hukkelberg – My Devils: Ifyou’re still confusing Hanne with her Scandinavian counterpart LykkeLi based on the extraordinary prevalence of the letter K in theirnames, please take a moment to realize that this is where thecomparison ends. Featherbrain is far more experimental, representingHukkelberg more as an artist than provocateur. Listening to thistrack is like opening a creepy haunted music-box, her vocals ayearning Pandora struggling to be free of her demons.
Frankie Rose – The Fall: I seriouslycan’t stop listening to or talking about this song. The other day Iwas walking through the park at dusk with this on my headphones,trying to decipher the ethereal layers of lyrics. Every time Ipinned down a line, the next popped up in its place, a mirageshimmering on the aural horizon, superimposed by the nexthallucination.
Grimes – Vowels = space and time:Visions is an amalgamation of everything that is awesome aboutClaire Boucher – bizzaro bedroom pop with Chippettes-esque vocals,long-lost Goth Olsen twin look, deep philosophical musings disguisedby a half-baked twitter feed, a not-so-secret obsession with divas ofthe early 90’s R&B scene. Check out my video below of Grimesperforming “Genesis” last July in an opening set for Washed Out.