New Music Friday: 1st February 2013
Spring has sprung! Happy February to all of my readers - you're lucky I can't do the whole 'pinch, punch, first of the month!' thing over the internet. You'll just have to imagine it instead. I couldn't do it anyway, because then I'd get fired, but still probably livetweet the whole ordeal. People do that now, apparently.
With the first Friday of the month comes a whole new batch of music to put a spring in your step and get your weekend off to a great start. I think it's possibly my strongest selection of music yet - there were no less than 5 (!) candidates for my Track of the Week this week, but there can only be one. Please remain calm: it may just be my favourite song of the year thus far. By now I bet you're all just dying to know what it is, so I won't keep you in suspense any longer!
Track of the Week: Blue Hawaii - 'Try to Be'
Featuring a member of Braids, the latest song to be taken from this Montreal duo's forthcoming debut album - which has taken the best part of a year to see the light of day since they finished it in early 2012 - is absolutely stunning, sounding at times like a female-fronted Wild Beasts working off the blueprint of the more chilled moments on Smother. 'Try to Be' is a deceptively simple composition which, through layering and some deft production touches, becomes something else entirely. The moment that massed harmonies pop up in the song's bridge may just be the most glorious moment in music so far this year. The album, Untogether arrives on March 4th via Arbutus Records; do not miss it.
Homework - 'The Edge of Control Was Black'
Electro fans, take note: this lot could be your new favourite band. Hailing from Edinburgh and sounding like latter-period Errors jamming with James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem, the quartet have already picked up airtime on BBC Radio 1, and are set for big things this year. 'The Edge of Control Was Black' is as intense as they come and stretches to 6-and-a-half minutes, with not a second wasted. It's the first taste of debut album 13 Towers, which is due on March 25th. I've heard it. It's great, and therefore you should be quite excited.
Thumpers - Big Heat
Continuing my theme for this week, here's another band who look set to have a great year ahead of them. Summery alt-pop is nothing new, I'll admit, but even though that market is becoming crowded, London's Thumpers are well worth your time. It turns out that their b-sides are just as good, if not better than their singles. There are three of them accompanying Dancing's Done when released on Monday, but 'Big Heat' is the best of the bunch, and arguably better than the A-side. Big drums? Check? Infectious bassline? Check? Psych-pop brilliance? Double check. By the way, London people: if you're reading this, you'd better have already secured your ticket to the single launch at Trinity Center - it's sold out, and no wonder. They could be huge, after all.
This week also features music from We Three and the Death Rattle, John•War, Dream Koala, Lane 8, Apache Dropout, Violetness, Adam Lempel and the Heartbeats, Eric Howl, Southern Femisphere, Starchild Luke, Onra and Sol.
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What did you do this week? Much of my week was spent in the sun, dealing with 38-degree heat. (That's Celsius, American readers.) When I wasn't doing that, I was rediscovering my love of swimming; I hadn't been in any sort of swimming pool for a few years, but my technique is still basically flawless. [read more]
... And now for something completely different. Well, not completely. It's Cloud Corner, Jim, but not as we know it. I've helped come up with a new format for this column, and I think you'll find that it's much more satisfying for those who crave new music. You see, for some people, even the three or four best songs I choose to write about aren't enough, so things are going to be a little different from now on. [read more]
Writing with a sprained wrist is never an easy thing to do, but we all have our crosses to bear. I've been having somewhat of a torrid time this week, certainly in terms of my health, having received an unwanted birthday present in the form of the slapcheek virus. It's neither as comical or as involuntary as its name might suggest, but it wreaks havoc on one's joints. Then I managed to make it worse yesterday. One gold star for me. [read more]
In just over 24 hours, I'll be touching down in Portugal for a few days worth of holiday. It's just as well, because the weather over here has taken a turn for the worse. Man, I enjoyed those few weeks of 'summer' that we had, so it's great that I'm able to jet off to sunnier and less changeable climes - if you're in the Mediterranean at this time of year, it'll either be really hot or really wet, and I'm hoping for the former. [read more]