“Oxygen” is the second single to drop from Swan’s latest epic To Be Kind (after last month’s stellar, staggeringly funky “A Little God in My Hands”), and it is among the fiercest and most thrilling moments of its two-hour-plus runtime. It is certainly the most thoroughly noisy piece on the project, built on an unwavering no-wave bass groove and skittering drum line – guitars, lap steel, and finally brass falls piling on, amounting to something paradoxically crushing and danceable.
But the icing on the (dense, dense) cake is frontman Michael Gira’s vocals, which are at their most manic here, ranging from caveman-esque grunts on the bridge to a nasally call progressing into the second verse – “HEY THEEEEERRE.” It’s all just so cathartic; as a listener, you get release just from hearing these guys belt this thing out. It’s a sort of vicarious thrill that Swans has pretty consistently provided over the course of its now three-decade-long career.
And there’s also something to be said of the excitement this song manages to inspire despite the fact it has been kicking around for years in a number of iterations, in Gira’s solo acoustic sets, and then the live version that appeared on the limited edition live album Not Here/Not Now late last year. The band’s promotional/funding approach for these last few releases has been quite genius, as it has allowed the band to give glimpses of new content as they develop it – tiding us over, but allowing for plenty of surprises on the finished product. For instance, the glorious addition of brass here!
To Be Kind drops May 12 via Young God and Mute. A gentle reminder we loved their last one.
Kid Smpl has premiered the title song off of his upcoming Silo Tear EP, bringing a moody atmosphere with low humming synthesizers and white noise layered over.
“Silo Tear” has a distinct coldness to it as the song grows and progresses it builds with mechanical synths as well as some light drum samples to begin with. Even as the track flourishes with all these layers of sound it holds true to that sensation of emptiness, akin to a grey desolate building complex like the one depicted in its album artwork. The tracks greatest achievement is just how well it flows while encompassing a number of different textures never breaking its delicate atmosphere in the name of progress.
Silo Tear will be released May 5th via Hush Hush records.
Out of the damn blue, Aesop Rock drops a 30-minute collection of unreleased beats, loops, and sonic oddities that haven’t made his commercial releases. It’s a pretty colorful collection of tracks, honestly. It’s just as lo-fi and idiosyncratic as I’d expect. It’s kinda like a Tobacco or Black Moth Super Rainbow album, but without the incessant psychedelia vibe. Enjoy, and download the Blob here.
New York’s Flatbush Zombies drop another song in a recent string of track’s they’ve been putting up on YouTube for a few weeks now. This particular one features some really pretty, atmospheric beat. As usual, Meechy Darko and Erik Ark Elliott prove to have two of the most gripping voices in the underground right now.
Hopefully, all of these songs lead up to a mixtape that’s just as enthralling as last year’s BetterOffDead! Enjoy!
tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus is no stranger to bombastic, twisted, cacophonous, brazen pop songs that explode out of the speakers. She is no stranger to odd flourishes that sound at first out of place and then perfectly correct. The first single from her upcoming album Nikki Nack, “Water Fountain”, fit all of those signifiers more or less on point. This second track, “Wait for a Minute” feels like a slightly different beast (there’s no “WOO-HA” to be found here).
The track rides a very simple groove, and has no hugely clever tricks up its sleeve. It is a tUnE-yArDs slow-jam, guided by Garbus’ most potent instrument: her expressive voice. By constructing a song that isn’t as knotted up as usual, she gives herself ample room to show off that wonderful instrument. There are still tenets of her sound that peak through here – check those so-damn-close-to-off-beat “huh” sounds she makes in the chorus – but it all congeals to produce a soft, infectious, and still a little off-beat song. Definitely looking forward to this one.
Nikki Nack beams down to Earth on May 6 via 4AD.
Indiana MC Freddie Gibbs is dropping some new stuff already? He just released an incredible album with Madlib titled Piñata, and he’s back with “On Some G Shit,” which features an introductory verse from a member of Gibbs’ crew, G-Wiz. It’s a grimy, hard-nosed track that brings a trap instrumental to the vivid street imagery Gibbs has been delivering all along. Enjoy!
Oh, and I guess these visuals come from a True Detective episode. Go figure.
Beach Boy is a wordy and captivating set of tracks from Ohio singer-songwriter Nick Hartkop and his band. It’s a mix of danceable punk music and acoustic emo ballads. It’s catchy and energetic, yet, downtrodden and slightly melodramatic. While I know this kind of music doesn’t translate for everyone, I think Nick has a strong pop sensibility that transcends his occasionally too-tragic vocals. Enjoy!
Musically minimal and verbally maximal, this singles collection from Sleaford Mods is one of the oddest things I’ve come into contact with in the past month. Yeah, it sounds a lot like the Fall, but their use of drum machines and loops definitely sets them apart from them and any similar post-punk act. Not only that, but there seems to be a strong emphasis on societal satire in the lyrics, which is something I’m sure a Future of the Left fan an appreciate.
I could make numerous comparisons, but the insane rants and unadulterated rage displayed on this album is uniquely hilarious. The poetry behind the lyrics is actually pretty clever as well. Not bad for a set of tracks that sound like they were pulled together on a shoestring budget.
Also, I gotta tell you that these guys are actually planning on dropping a new record on April 28th titled Divide and Exit, which you can stream the first single from here. It sounds like they might actually be going for a fuller sound on this new record, which I’m very excited to hear!
Sorry, it just seemed appropriate.