Slow Magic “Hold Still” + “Girls”

31 Jul 2014 — Sam Clark

Slow Magic is an enigmatic producer who further contributes to his anonymity by performing in an over-sized, neon-striped animal mask. The ambiguity of just what animal the mask is supposed to embody is key, as it reflects how hard it has been to pinpoint Slow Magic to a sole trajectory of aesthetic. His 2012 debut album Triangle embodied the Bandcamp tag “glo-fi” perfectly, its reverb-swathed chillwave origins packing a bigger punch with more agitated drums and angular synths. Slow Magic spent the next two years relatively quiet, remixing the occasional Bon Iver and Gold Panda song while prepping his sophomore effort.

In late June, Slow Magic resurfaced in earnest with “Girls”. The song was touted as being the lead-off single from his as-yet-unnamed album with Downtown Records, and it hit hard. It hit hard not because it was a towering anthem but because it was somewhere on the opposite end of the spectrum; “Girls” relies on a murky vocal sample that fades in from the distance, is placed on a rotary speaker, and permeates the texture as synths and guitar lines weave their way in and out of the mix. While the track is still consistent with many of the tropes common in summertime electronic music, its decidedly minimalist nature stood out and pushed Slow Magic to new heights.

Slow Magic followed up “Girls” with a second single, “Hold Still”, towards the end of July. “Hold Still” is comparatively eerie, relying on a swelling, synth-driven chord progression that crescendos to a false apex, giving way to delicate pianos and a soft vocal melody. Misdirection is the name of the game, and Slow Magic follows through with a stuttering, bass-dropping coda that tantalizes listeners with its abrupt ending.

Both “Hold Still” and “Girls” are taken from Slow Magic’s upcoming album How To Run Away, out September 9 via Downtown Records. The album also features re-workings of one-off singles “Youth Group” and “On Yr Side,” and can be pre-ordered here.

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Watch: TWINS “Creepsick (Believe the Floor)” (exclusive)

29 Jul 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Here's a thing I did not know: TWINS apparently stands for "That Which Is Not Said", for all of you with a special affinity witty acronyms. What is being said though, and what I did know already, is that TWINS is the most recent guise of Atlanta cultural mainstay Matt Weiner, probably known to most of our readers as the genius behind Featureless Ghost. Yet like to many other artists across the Atlantic, Weiner has started gravitating towards the 'floor, and thankfully none of EDM-related provenance. Instead, TWINS delivers strictly the most classic acidic grooves – House with a capital 'H' indeed. His upcoming Cold Gemini 12" contains four tracks of freakishly assertive bangers, with opener "Creepsick (Believe the Floor)" providing a standout moment with its motorik sample and heavily filtered lead. The accompanying video is aptly analogue and psychedelic; as if you had needed further incentive to drop a pill. Watch it exclusively below.

The Cold Gemini EP is out in mid-August via Clan Destine's beat friendly subdivision Traxx. Pre-order now over here.

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Interview: Kristine Lirio (Nima)

28 Jul 2014 — Johanne Swanson

I met Kristine Lirio a few summers ago in Los Angeles. If it was at a renegade show in a parking structure or a pool party she was playing in Eagle Rock, I can't say. What I do remember, first: the quiet strength of command and intention over her insturment; second: the supportive group, friends and collaborators, surrounding her. Last week Lirio, who records as Nima, released the devastating See Feel Real. She was gracious enough to speak with me about the aural metaphor behind the record and the nurtured ethic of freely sharing her craft. Read the interview after the break.

See Feel Real is avaliable now on a limited run of 50 cassettes through Harsh Riddims

(Photos by Nalini Sairsingh)

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Girl Band “De Bom Bom”

28 Jul 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Ah right, another group of individuals that by way of appellation suggest a quality they are not. Is that subversive? Clever? Shallow? Wrong? For the time being, we'll leave the question undecided, hanging there in the openness of this post. Because we assume that whatever the motives, young Dublin outfit Girl Band don't mean any harm. For what it's worth, they could call themselves anything really, as the band's forceful sonic revolt which finds its position somewhere between traditional post-punk and more contemporary U.S.-informed noise probably needs no names anyway. This is fresh anger, probably aimless, which renders all upright theorizing essentially futile. I mean seriously, this song is called "De Bom Bom". Further proof necessary? Listen below.

Girl Band are playing at Berlin Mitte's ACUD on September 6, presented by No Fear Of Pop. Check out the event details over here.

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Shimmering Stars “You Were There” (exclusive)

25 Jul 2014 — Henning Lahmann

You may certainly make a point about overly obvious retromania here, but there has always been something about Vancouver outfit Shimmering Stars that really struck a chord with me. There's some barely suppressed yet indelible sadness lying within every single note that isn't really expressed by the overall melancholy of the band's music itself – instead it's deeper, at the same time more hidden and more urgent. This might be the reason why the work of the late Songs: Ohia mastermind Jason Molina has been such a significant influence for Shimmering Stars' main songwriter Rory McClure. After their disarmingly beautiful and intimate cover of "Hold On Magnolia" two years ago, Molina's spirit remains present on the haunting miniature "You Were There". We're glad to premiere the song below, which is taken from Shimmering Stars' upcoming full-length Bedrooms of the Nation.

Bedrooms of the Nation is out on August 13 via Almost Musique. You may order your copy of the LP now over here.

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Bruce Smear “Pick & Roll”

18 Jul 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Stylishly riding the zeitgeist, Bruce Smear's brand new tune "Pick & Roll" is everything you thought it would be after taking a glance at the cover art of his upcoming Chlorine EP. That probably shouldn't come as a surprise, of course, cause what are you supposed to come up with if you live in Brooklyn in 2014 and spend most of your time playing guitar in Beach Fossils, an amiable outfit that's into that kind of music which was en vogue a few summers ago – you know, when blogs were still a thing. This is post-Internet now, we assume, so fuck your stringed instruments and get out your glacial synth presets already! Seriously though why not, and the result sure is compelling, so go listen below.

The Chlorine EP is out on tape on August 26 via Driftless Recordings. Pre-order your copy over here.

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BEAMS “Feeling That The Feeling’s Right”

18 Jul 2014 — Parker Bruce

Cascine's digital singles label, CSCN, continues to forge ahead and impress after heaven-sent releases by Sun Angels, Black City Lights, and Studio Montaigne, this time with two songs by BEAMS aka Zachary Kantor. "Feeling That The Feeling's Right" is a precisely contained and propelled five minutes of magnificence incarnate with Haim-harkening flicking, plucking guitar, modulating, galloping, and jaunty plops, and snipping tufts. The other track, "Quiet Arms," is the more lackadaiscal counterpart that soft shoes about with its cooing and swirling. Get BEAMS' single now with its contemporary version of a classic still life cover art here. We suggest that Cascine should do a full album with this guy.

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Kalipo “Yaruto”

18 Jul 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Kalipo is the solo moniker of Berlin-based producer Jakob Häglsperger, at least to German-speaking readers probably better known as one third of left-field electro pop outfit Frittenbude. Where the trio indulge in propelling ryhthms and straightforward anthems with mildly provocative lyrics, Häglsperger's own project keeps things slightly more subtle. "Yaruto", lead single for Kalipo's forthcoming debut full-length of the same name, is a very contemporary piece of electronic that relies on a house-y scaffolding which provides a comfortable basis for the track's dominating manipulated vocals, a well-established formular that lands somewhere between Caribou and SOHN. Check it out below.

The single is out today on local imprint Antime. Get it digitally via Juno over here. The Yaruto LP will follow on September 12.

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