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.
I've decided to play through the pain barrier this week, though - I'm sure you all expect that level of dedication from the 405 staff anyway - and with good reason. This week has been a rather good one in terms of unearthing new music. I've taken a trip round the world without leaving my chair, and I've come back with some treasures. Aural treasures, that is. New Music Friday starts here, with a total of 15 songs on offer.
Track of the Week: Dan Friel - 'Ulysses' (Edit)'
To include this, I had to cut one of my other chosen tracks from the round-up below. It's pretty last-minute, but one listen will make you see why I chose it as this week's Track of the Week. The ex-Parts & Labor man released one of the singles of the year last month - in the form of 'Valedictorian / Exoskeleton' - and this edited version of the whopper opening track from his forthcoming second solo album Total Folklore (out February 18th) is only the tip of the iceberg, a thrilling slice of noise pop that is the perfect indication of how good its parent album really is.
Moss of Aura - 'Changes'
You may not know it, but my first two picks for this week are related. Mr. Friel had one of his tracks remixed by this man (it turned up on the B-side of the aforementioned single). When he's not busy crafting remixes for the likes of Danny Brown, or not tied up with, y'know, that whole Future Islands thing he has going on, Gerrit Welmers makes stuff like this, an intensely melodic and up-tempo electro-pop winner, which eschews any sort of vocal line for some synth wizardry and skittering beats. It's been knocking about for 5 years, and is brilliant. He should probably release it.
GEMS - 'Void Moon'
This Washington dream-pop duo were holed up recording last month when things took a rather unexpected turn. You all know what I'm talking about, of course: for a while, it was GEMS vs. Hurricane Sandy. The latter eventually won, of course, forcing them out of the beach house in which they were putting the finishing touches to 'Void Moon', a song which they had written a year previously - but not before they wrapped it up. As the imagery in the lyrics will make clear, they couldn't have timed it better.