James Blake – 200 Press

Fans of the London-based producer will have new material to tide them over until the rumored release of his next full-length, expected to drop sometime in 2015. The 200 Press EP consists of four tracks that might seem strange on their own, but come across as united in their oddity.

In a change of pace from the songs on his two previous LPs, the focus is taken away from his delicate, R&B-influenced vocals; in fact, they are strikingly absent. Blake’s voice only makes appearances in the form of a few wispy, intermittent production flourishes and the warped out spoken word track closing out the EP. The instrumentals across these songs are varied, departing from the more direct, saccharine melodies of Blake’s recent work in favor of cryptic, sometimes harsh progressions. Underneath are some subtle 2-step and techno beats, complete with hushed and sculpted sub-bass, tight hi-hat, and all sorts of other blips and pops. Of the bunch, I think “Building It Still” is probably my favorite, but they’re all definitely worth a listen.

-Tom Fullmer

Father John Misty – “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)” (Video)

Singer-songwriter J. Tillman, a.k.a. Father John Misty, just dropped a simple, kaleidoscopic video for the song “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins),” which is one of the many tracks that will be featured on his upcoming album, I Love You, Honeybear. It’s currently looking at a February release via Sub Pop Records.

While I find the video underwhelming, I’m completely swept off my feet by the song. Tillman’s voice is lovely and inviting, and horn section on this thing has a spice whose origin I can’t quite put my finger on. Is it South American? Middle Eastern? Maybe a mix?

The instrumentation is wonderfully layered, and the story told in the lyrics is worth diving into as well. Definitely looking forward to this record.

Perfume Genius – “Fool” (Video)

The previously loved Perfume Genius tags some visuals onto the Too Bright cut “Fool,” which had me curious considering the track features a completely unexpected ambient pop-style interlude right in the middle of its run-time. How exactly would this musical transition be handled? Well, with violet curtains, a feather boa, and candles, of course!

It’s a pretty abstract set of visuals here, which only brings up more questions in the face of the song’s already esoteric storyline. While I don’t find it as gratifying as PG’s other recent music videos, it’s still an opportunity to see Mike Hadreas interacting with a strange cast of characters while rocking golden roller blades. Kudos to director Charlotte Rutherford.

Sun Kil Moon – “The Possum”

Stream: Sun Kil Moon – “The Possum”

After all that War On Drugs business, it’s nice to hear Mark Kozelek taking SKM back into less controversial territory with this new single titled “The Possum.” It’s a nine-minute cut that, like much of the material on Benji, focuses on life’s little learning experiences. This particular one involves an injured possum and a Godflesh concert. Mark tries to match the ferocity and excitement of the situation with straining, impassioned vocals and a steady drum beat from Steve Shelly. However, that’s just the first third of the track.

The song shifts from one mournful guitar passage to another in its final moments. It would seem as if the concert served as a fun distraction from what would otherwise be Mark’s uneventful movie binges. Then his mind drifts back on the possum walking his last walk, and Mark reflecting on youth and old age.

It’s certainly an interesting track, and tackles a lot of familiar themes with an even more ambitious approach to structure.

elvis depressedly – “n.m.s.s” (Video)

Elvis Depressedly is a musical trio fronted by moody minstrel Mat Cothran. A few years ago I was praising his melancholy compositions via a different pseudonym: Coma Cinema. The transition from one name to another has been far from night and day. Cothran’s songwriting and recording style has remained roughly the same; however, I’d say this new Elvis Depressedly song is still worthy of your attention.

The distant vocal melody and calming string accompaniment on “n.m.s.s” fit really nicely against the song’s gentle acoustic guitars and ambient synthesizers. The song is emotionally gripping, but sonically relaxing at the same time.

Look for this track and others on the forthcoming Elvis Depressedly album titled New Alhambra. It’ll be dropping via Run For Cover Records in 2015.

[edit: Some of my Twitter followers are telling me that, in fact, Coma Cinema is not dead. I guess Mat brought the project back without me being aware of it. Yay.]

Ariel Pink – pom pom

Pop’s biggest oddball comes through with his strongest set of songs since the 00s.

iamamiwhoami – Blue

iamamiwhoami returns with her sophomore album, Blue.

Days N’ Daze – Rogue Taxidermy

I may not be about that folk punk life, but I can certainly enjoy the music, can’t I?

Days N’ Daze is a Houston, TX band–because they’re too punk for Austin–and they’ve been putting out records since the late 00s–so Rogue Taxidermy isn’t their first rodeo, and it doesn’t sound it either. The band’s got some pretty obvious influences: Gogol Bordello, Johnny Hobo, early Against Me!, Choking Victim, Andrew Jackson Jihad, and maybe some Defiance, Ohio. However, the playing here is fantastically tight, and they know their way around a song, too. These guys have a rough outer shell, but their righteous lyrics, solid structures, and sticky melodies leave a sweet aftertaste.

Matthew Revert – “The Heart’s Heartbeat” / Food Court – Self-Titled (Excerpt)

Kye, the record label of one of my very favorite artists Graham Lambkin, has put out its final two releases of 2014. The first is Australian novelist Matthew Revert‘s Not You, a singer-songwriter project with lo-fi and electroacoustic inclinations, as you’ll find with cut “The Heart’s Heartbeat” below. And the second is the self-titled debut of fellow Australian act Food Court, the collaboration between avant-classical and electroacoustic practitioners James Rushford, Joe Talia, and Francis Plagne. Hear an excerpt from the album above. Enjoy!

Dean Blunt – Black Metal

UK singer-songwriter and musical oddball Dean Blunt releases an album that’s difficult to put into words. While simple in composition and sloppy in execution, the album still manages to draw up some real feelings of isolation, melancholy, and frustration.