Watch: Pieces of Juno “Saffron” (exclusive)

03 Apr 2014 — Tonje Thilesen

For the past three months, Norwegian producer Pieces of Juno has spent her time running between studio sessions in L.A, briefly working with people such as BC Kingdom and Axel Morgan; co-writer of Kendrick Lamar's M.A.A.D City. "Saffron", on the other hand, is a lush and honest approach from Kine Sandbæk Jensen, perhaps a little different than what she's been working on down in L.A. The track was originally released back in January alongside the B-side, "Heliophilia", and we're very happy to show you the first glimpse of the video for it below, directed by Kristine Meling Enoksen. Needless to say, keep your eyes open for this girl. 

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Watch: Karneef “Swimming” (exclusive)

02 Apr 2014 — Parker Bruce

The video for "Swimming" by Montreal's Karneef from his 2013 album Love Between Us is kind of like watching a documentary about a painter, but it's also the story of a man and his bass. Karneef has produced the new EP by fellow Montrealer Mathematique as well as been a bass player for Sean Nicholas Savage. "Swimming" was directed by fashion designer/artist Renata Morales who is known for works she has done for Yelle, Arcade Fire, and Phi Create. The song itself has hunky bass for miles and what sounds like someone giving a kiss into a megaphone. The video is tantalizing and even sexy, both filmically and in the stilted, lanky, and herky jerky movements of Karneef himself. It's a pretty great sight to see Karneef lick his bass and then smile. A bunch of "Swimming" remixes by NFOP faves ¡FLIST! and Rich Uncle-Skelleton (aka a member of Syngja) will be out soon but meanwhile, dive into the video below. 

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Penny “Pen#3 (Yola Fatoush Remix)” (exclusive)

02 Apr 2014 — Henning Lahmann

A little while back, we presented the stream of the convincing inaugural effort by Penny, the new project by Old Apparatus and Saa member Asher Levitas together with visual artist and writer Michael Crowe, describing the self-titled EP's sound as 'nocturnal' and 'gritty'. While this assessment most certainly holds true for the closing track "Pen#3", London duo Yola Fatoush nonetheless found some brighter elements buried deep within the track's opaque arrangement to play around with. The result comes in the form of their "Zero Discipline Refix", complete with absorbing vocal manipulations and an almost alienating grooviness. Were it not for a slightly unsettling thunderstorm halfway in, we'd find the remix even light-hearted. This way however, we suspect something sinister going on right under the surface.

The Penny EP is out on Overshare Records. Get it here.

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FAY “Can’t Fall” (exclusive)

31 Mar 2014 — Henning Lahmann

LA artist FAY's massive 2012 debut DIN caught us completely off guard with its bold blend of uncomfortable rhythms and forward-thinking arrangements. Now, Fay Davis-Jeffers returns with her sophomore LP Deathwatch, an effort that is both more adventurous and refined. Vastly expanding the variation of sounds, the new album still emphasises the artist's uncommon and challenging approach to rhythmic patterns, but the whole piece still manages to come across as an ultimately somewhat smoother and more coherent listen. "Can't Fall", premiered below, is a case in point. Integrating elements of drone and built around a few losely composed, reduced piano chords, the track would strike an almost comforting tone were it not for the seemingly randomised noise interruptions that perforate the otherwise peaceful setting, providing an uneasy structure that never allows for a convenient decrease of attention.

Deathwatch is out today on Time No Place. Highly recommended.

(Photo by Patrick Mapel)

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Stream: Albert Swarm “The Cage EP”

29 Mar 2014 — Kelsie Brown

Finnish producer Albert Swarm has returned from the shadows with a brand-new set of three tracks. Recorded in his homeland of Finland, The Cage EP continues with that anxious darkness Albert Swarm has conquered. "Truths" and "Restraints" keep that delirious night club feel, while the addition of vocals in closing and title track "The Cage" warm things up a bit, but not so much that the shadows are lost.

The Cage EP is out now via pay-what-you-want at Ceremony Recordings' new Bandcamp page, where you can also download all of Ceremony's previous releases.

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Orchid Tapes “Boring Ecstasy”

28 Mar 2014 — Noah Klein

“Can you see it’s bloom?” It’s a mindful foundation for Orchid Tapes’ Boring Ecstasy compilation to begin with a question, one oh so relevant to both the Springtime currently taking root and the nature of its internalized conversation. Over the last four years, beyond nurturing a family of musicians to bring the world a stream of life affirming sounds, label organizers Warren Hildebrand and Brian Vu have developed a universe in which the personalities of their contributors and appreciators can exist within. Less business more friendship, Orchid Tapes has created a social economy of genuine interaction and a love for alternative forms of communication. To ask of the label is to ask of ourselves, and that’s a startlingly beautiful relationship absent in much of today’s music landscape.

My feelings, my gratitude, and the only way that I can begin to articulate the world that is Orchid Tapes is to close my eyes and replay a scene from the film Adaptation. Chris Cooper, taking a knee and staring into the eye of an orchid, delivers this gem:

What’s so wonderful is that every one of these flowers has a specific relationship with the insect that pollinates it. There’s a certain orchid that looks exactly like a certain insect, so the insect is drawn to this flower, its double, its soulmate.

To consider this as a reflection of the symbiotic relationship between performer and listener is to illustrate the image of beauty that unites each and every Orchid tape. Beginning with Warren’s own Swung From the Branches [OCT001] and present throughout the entire Orchid catalogue, there is a total sincerity that extends itself as a loving embrace. For every R.L. Kelly, Ricky Eat Acid or Happy Trendy release there is a diasporic community of bodies and feelings waiting to share a life. For every Home Alone or Arrange track to surface online there are a handful of hobbyist songwriters inspired to share their own homespun recordings. Alone, any of these tape deck treasures could have slipped into the uniform depths of Bandcamp but through the loving vehicle that Orchid Tapes has always been and ever grows into we Orchidians bear our tapes, teas, and handwritten thank you notes as badges in support of an honest and independent music distribution process. There is no mystification in a transparent partnership, and in 2014 that’s exactly what we need.

From start to finish Boring Ecstasy is a time capsule, a collection of thoughts and constructive ruminations on moments of being from a group of friends scattered throughout the globe. Their gorgeous contributions coupled with Orchid Tapes’ endearing organization makes for a stunning album, and now it’s up to us to give this the meaning that it deserves. Pre-order the 12” of  Boring Ecstasy: The Bedroom Pop of Orchid Tapes here or download the collection for the low, low price of a suggested donation. For New Yorkers, tomorrow, March 29, Orchid Tapes will host their fourth showcase with a handful of the musicians that appear on the record. Your presence is recommended.

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Craft Spells “Breaking The Angle Against The Tide”

28 Mar 2014 — Parker Bruce

I can't help but think of Craft Spells in a personal way. I remember seeing them open for Beach Fossils in April 2011 at Music Hall of Williamsburg here in Brooklyn and buying one of their tote bags. That summer, I made a mixtape for a Swedish guy I had met, put "Scandanavian Crush" on it, and mailed it. And then a year later, when I was studying abroad in Paris, I have memories of riding a Vélib bike around listening to the underrated Gallery EP and how glorious "Still Left With Me" sounded while gliding down boulevards. Also, the music store Balades Sonores (which is a total rough diamond in Paris) that I briefly helped out at had Craft Spells vinyl, and I remember taking so much comfort in that, being so far away from home. And now Justin Vellesteros gifts us with the perfect summer treat, aka a Craft Spells album, Nausea, coming out June 10th on the label with a whole lot of heart, Captured Tracks. The first single from it, "Breaking The Angle Against The Tide", has a honeyed synth that sounds like a giant orchestra and charged cymbal crashes with a Fear of Men-like swooping, unsteady, wobbly, and wonderfully ditzy guitar part. Where Gallery was strapping and defiant, even urgent, in tone with little sonic ambiguity, "Breaking The Angle..." shows that Vellesteros has decided to mix the sounds of Idle Labor with those of Gallery so the song is simultaneously retreating and bounding forward, depending on the moment. The lyrics match this with him saying, "You've wasted too much of my time", and that he wants to stay inside out of the "haze" (a very Pains of Being Pure at Heart-like sentiment and the opposite of Cults telling us to "Go Outside").

Download "Breaking The Angle Against The Tide" for free below and pre-order what is sure to be another wonderful release from Craft Spells.

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Something “Muscles” (exclusive)

27 Mar 2014 — Parker Bruce


Another week, another preview from UK-label Reeks of Effort's cassette, Sick of Hits Vol. 2, which will be available April 28th. Last week, we gave you Trust Fund's "No Surprise" and now we have "Muscles" by Newcastle's Something (Oliver Catt). The song is a warped 8-minute duet between Catt and Brighton's Eleanor Rudge of The Hundredth Anniversary and Tyrannosaurus Dead. Rudge's part sounds like it's being piped in through a landline. Catt details the admittedly very alarming things he wants to do to himself and someone else: burn his eyes out, drown someone, and cut their knees off (and those are just the tip of the iceberg). Somehow throughout all of this, the song still comes across as sweet. In the middle of it, Catt movingly lists his hopes, dreams, fears, and realities: "I had a dream I was an island/But I was drowning like I should," "I had a hope I'd be a candle/And I would burn your skin..." "But all I am is mountains made of rock." Rudge gets the last word, sending the song out on what could be seen as a positive note by singing "it feels good," echoing Catt's earlier "feeling better, feeling better, feeling better, feeling good." Catt and Rudge really put us through the ringer here. Let them. You'll feel better too.

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