New Music Friday: March 15th 2013
St. Patrick's Day is on Sunday. Now, normally. I wouldn't have plans for it (there's only so many times one can re-watch the parade one took part in for years whilst in primary school, after all), but it turns out I'm going to see Bombay Bicycle Club, Jape and The Cast of Cheers in an 800-capacity venue instead. This comes at the end of a week full of unexpected happenings and plenty of surprises, mostly of the musical variety. Out of the blue, I received three sit-up-and-listen amazing songs this week. I was worried this week would be one of them, as lots of people are currently away at SXSW, but it turns out that (in my humble opinion) this week's selection is actually one of my strongest ever: 13 terrific tracks - or a baker's dozen of brilliance, depending on how you like your alliteration. Let's begin, shall we?
Track of the Week: Young & Sick - 'Continuum'
Not very much is known about Young & Sick. They're a Los Angles-based fashion, art and music project; their website is sparse and their Tumblr is full of pictorial non-sequiturs. They like coming up with unconventional release strategies for their music, or so it would seem: new song 'Continuum' was released online this week, but they released it on 'Deep Web' rather than just flinging it onto a Soundcloud account or something simple. It's been picking up steam since then, and while the group want to maintain some sense of mystery, 'Continuum' is a colossal slice of synth-driven R&B that suggests they may not be able to hide behind mystery for much longer. The mid-tempo, dreamy feel to the song makes it sound completely intoxicating. They don't have much material knocking about - either on the internet or the Deep Web - but nonetheless, their newest offering sounds like the start of something quite special.
Here Is Your Temple - 'So High'
Next up are a band who are more comfortable divulging information about themselves. The majestically-monikered Here Is Your Temple are from Sweden and peddle some fantastic electro-pop. You've probably gotten them down by now, right? Wrong. Occupying a similar place on the musical spectrum as Danish luminaries The Kissaway Trail, the quintet are releasing 'So High' as a single on Monday, as a taster for their sure-to-be-excellent debut EP of the same name, which is out on April 15th via Bolero Records. The song is an expansive, infectious song that is full of exuberance and drive, its pounding drums and confident bassline sweeping it along in glorious fashion. The newest a addition to a long, long, long line of Swedish pop maestros, Here Is Your Temple look set to have a fantastic year.
The Hush Now - 'Arkansas'
I seem to be focused more on the pop end of things this week. My last highlighted track is an astonishingly well-produced and just plain brilliant song from The Hush Now. The Boston quintet have taken a couple of years to get over here - this is the lead single from an album that came out in the US in 2011, and is finally landing in the UK in the summer - but as far as I'm concerned, it's better late than never. 'Arkansas' is an energetic, piano-driven song that shows off the band's fantastic way with melody and features an absolute belter of a chorus. It's insistently catchy, to the extent that just one listen won't be enough. The album's called 'Memos', and it sounds like it's going to be great; its lead track has certainly raised the bar.
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This week has certainly been interesting. There's been one particular event that's dominated the news cycle all week, and it's brought a certain song back into the spotlight. 'Ding! Dong! The Witch is Dead' from 'The Wizard of Oz' is seemingly going to chart rather highly on Sunday. [read more]
I don't know if you heard, but apparently the royal baby was born this week. Did anyone see this widely reported on any news channels or anything? Seriously, though - I followed the story on Twitter, and from the sounds of things, the coverage from elsewhere made social networking sites look like they were trying to keep things quiet. [read more]
Boy, oh boy, am I glad to be getting this one out of the way. Weeks like this are why I started doing this column in the first place, but holy shit, actually deciding what would make the cut this week was, er, difficult. As you can imagine, I get sent a lot of new music in a week; on my best days, I get to listen to roughly half of it. [read more]