New Music Friday: May 3rd 2013
You know that saying, 'April showers bring May flowers'? Well, that may be true, but in my part of the world, April showers only beget further showers. The weather's been awful this week, and I'm currently looking out at one of those horrible, overcast skies that seem to be so common in Ireland around this time of year. Luckily, though, Monday's a bank holiday, and it just so happens that my selection for this week's edition of New Music Friday is a lot more colourful. I was left entirely to my own devices in choosing which tracks would make the cut this week; there are usually some that get passed on to me from our New Music Team, but I struck out on my own this week, and was briefly buried under an avalanche of new stuff. I've managed to claw my way out of said avalanche, however, and have whittled this week's column down to 13 tracks from... oh, easily double that. I've been busy, and hopefully this means you're kept busy with what I've come up with. Let's get started.
Last Days of 1984 - 'Lost Hearts' (Track of the Week)
I'm incredibly glad that these guys are back. They'll be new to many of you who are reading this, so I'll keep it brief: Last Days of 1984 are a Dublin-based electro duo who captured my heart with their debut album last year, Wake Up to the Waves. Since then, they've moved on in a rather impressive manner, with new track 'Lost Hearts' giving their sound a darker edge, but their melodic prowess is undiminished; the new song features an excellent synth hook and chiming guitars setting the scene in the background, before a pounding 4/4 beat enters and things kick off, Darren Moloney's braitone vocals lending a sense of gravitas to the whole thing and managing to keep it grounded - until the chorus hits and the track takes flight. It's a very busy-sounding track, but its sonic adventurousness is never in doubt. It's unclear where 'Lost Hearts' will end up yet, but here's hoping the pair have more in store.
laki mera - 'Sweet Warm Dance'
Also making their return this week are Glaswegian trio laki mera. They've gotten a great reception on the 405 before, but 'Sweet Warm Dance' is my first taste of them, and I'm excited to hear more from them in the future. This song is being released as a single a week from Monday, with their second album Turn All Memory to White Noise arriving on July 15th via Just Music. That label is the home of bands like Marconi Union, and while the link between the two bands' sounds may be tenuous at best, upon listening to their new single, one can see why laki mera would find a home on there. 'Sweet Warm Dance' is a downbeat affair that is nonetheless transformed by the crystal-clear vocals of frontwoman Laura Donnelly, whose voice give the song an atmosphere not too far removed from School of Seven Bells's more recent material. Keep an eye out for the album - these three have a big year ahead of them.
Gavin Miller - 'Fotograf (Part 1)'
The last of my highlighted tracks for this week is a complete stylistic U-turn from what came before; we're moving from downbeat to ethereal with some new material from Gavin Miller, who's releasing a single on This Is It Forever Records today. He's part of Ghosting Season and worriedaboutsatan, but Miller's solo material moves in completely different circles, taking a more ambient approach than what we may be used to from him. His debut single is a two-part stunner called 'Fotograf', which runs to almost 16 minutes in total and makes great use out of subtlety and nuance; each new element that enters the fray as the piece unfolds is akin to an electrifying jolt, its slow tempo and delicately layered compositional style helping the song to create its own world for the listener to get lost in. The first part is almost 12 minutes long, but there's not a second wasted.
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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]
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]
It's all about planes, trains and automobiles for me this week. I'll be doing a lot of travelling over the next while, and I've also bought my tickets for my first full festival - in England - so I'll be on the move a lot during August. There's about 7 weeks or so left before I go to college for the year, too, so as you may have guessed, I'm a busy man. I quite like it, though, because these days it feels like I'm spending half my time listening to music, and the other half writing about it. [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]