New Music Friday: 23rd November 2012
... 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. Funnily enough, I'm celebrating my birthday today, but you're the ones receiving the presents in this inaugural edition of New Music Friday...
I decided to mix things up because, as you may have guessed, we get sent and discover so much stuff that we can't always fit everything in. From now on, I'm casting the net a little wider than I'm used to. For this edition I've scoured the internet to bring you some of the best stuff happening in the world of music today. There are 15 slices of delicious new music on offer - I was feeling extra generous, maybe because Thanksgiving was yesterday and I wanted to help our American readers fill up on more than just turkey. So grab a plate and dig in - I'm absolutely positive that there's something on this smorgasbord that'll be to your taste.
Track of the Week: Embers - 'Hollow Cage'
Every so often, a song comes along that leaves you genuinely speechless, your mind reeling as you try to take in what you've just listened to. Our Track of the Week is absolutely monumental in scope, and comes from a band who are surely destined for big things. Manchester's Embers have been picking up steam this year; a 7" single they put out in September is now sold out and highly sought after. If you've heard them before, you haven't heard them like this. Hollow Cage is a 7-minute post-rock behemoth, ebbing and flowing through dynamics and moods as it builds inexorably to a speaker-annihilating finale, drums pounding, guitars soaring, and plaintive vocals adding an even greater level of intensity. It's a most unexpected change of pace from an extremely promising band, and it's one of the very best songs of the year.
Rules - 'Telepathy'
I don't know much about this - the mysterious Washington DC-based producer who's responsible for the sonic wizardry that drives Rules's debut EP isn't giving much of anything away (in one sense) - but what I do know is that I like it a lot. Telepathy is the lead track from the aforementioned EP, introduced by a chiming three-note melody and some well-chosen vocal samples that later open out into some future-garage magic. What they are giving away is the EP itself, which can be downloaded for nothing from Bandcamp - you should get on that. Whoever said the best things in life don't come for free?
Blackie & the Oohoos - 'Black Hole'
This Belgian duo are definitely on to something. They recently released their second album, Song for Two Sisters, and one of my favourite things this week is one of the album highlights, a darkly romantic song called Black Hole. It is both grandiose and wonderfully intimate, those two sides of the band set brilliantly against each other as the song's brooding melody sweeps the listener along. It also has an impressive chorus that, without much effort at all, will be going around in your head for days after you first hear it.
I'm back! Hope you didn't miss me too much. If you feel like your weekend is in need of some new music to give it some extra pizzazz, then you've come to the right place, because normal service resumes from today. I've picked out a host of new stuff for you to wrap your ears around this week, including the return of one of my favourite artists of 2012, as well as your introduction to a band you'll see me gushing over in the coming months. [read more]
The last few weeks haven't exactly gone as planned. At least I can blame the cold that I was fighting for a good week and a half on the Irish weather; even if I'm not supposed to be dealing with that sort of stuff at this time of year, it makes for a convenient scapegoat. [read more]
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]
I seem to spend half my life on trains. That's the major drawback to living somewhere where things don't happen. So I'm headed to Dublin again for another gig, to cap off a week in which - even by the usual standards - there's been a veritable avalanche of new music to get through. I work three days a week (at a non-music-related job, sadly), so it's a wonder how I handle it. [read more]