With a voice like Janis Joplin minus the cigarettes and guitar playing like an angel with problems, Jessica Pratt seems to be a rising contender in the folk rock world. Pratt’s original and peculiar approach is simple, but allows her to enter a completely different category to modern folk rockers: a strummed or plucked guitar, and vocals that hold such unfamiliar nuances that their beauty really lies in the heart of the listener. “Back, Baby” is a single from her upcoming album titled On Your Own Love Again, which is being released on January the 27th.
Although the track is similar to her previous work, there seems to have been some emotional progression. Reminiscent of a pregnant Joan Baez at Woodstock, Pratt tells a tale of a lover from the past, a man she wishes she could revisit, but understands the consequences could be dire. As she “sometimes prays for the rain,” I pray her new album lives up to the standard that this single has set.
- Fin Worrall
Indie-rock duo The Dodos have had a nice little trajectory, breaking through with their second record, Visiter, and following that up with nicely produced variations on their themes, with slightly hit-or-miss results: 2009′s Time to Die was a little forgettable, while 2011′s No Color was sharp and vibrant. On last year’s Carrier, The Dodos showed a slightly mellower, more contemplative side–especially since much of it was based on how the pair felt in the wake of the death of a friend. But now they’re back with their sixth record, Individ, due out next year, and the first single to be dropped from it a cool Dodos-style rocker. Kicking off with a deep, quick drum beat, the song already sounds like an insistent breath of fresh air coming after Carrier‘s more muted tones. The song still lacks a little bit of frontman Meric Long’s oft-incredible guitar work–just check out older tunes like “Jodi” and “Paint the Rust”–but it’s a splendid tasting of what the album could offer. There was a time when The Dodos were both thoughtful and fun, and it looks like they could be headed back there.
Individ is out Jan 27, via Polyvinyl.
Stream: José González – “Every Age”
Swedish singer-songwriter José González hasn’t released a solo record since 2007′s lovely In Our Nature, but he hasn’t stayed completely silent. He has released two records with his band Junip, which are certainly worth looking into. But now he’s back on the solo path with Vestiges and Claws, and with it comes the first single, “Every Age.” González’ solo stuff has been almost completely reliant on his deft classical guitar and gentle voice, with lo-fi production. He will occasionally include little flourishes, like the stick-clicking on “It’s Time to Send Someone Away,” but it’s usually pretty spare. On “Every Age,” he more or less continues that trend, though this time his guitar feels more resonant, there’s a simple drum beat, and the production value is higher. As always, González shows off his knack for a beautiful melody, and the song feels like a nice welcoming back to his most intimate material.
Vestiges and Claws is out on Feb 17, via Mute. Stream the song above via NPR.
After the success of his Alternate/Endings full-length earlier this year, I think it’s safe to say music fans and critics alike have accepted Lee Bannon‘s sudden transition into the world of drum ‘n’ bass.
The West Coast producer is now backing that move up with a new EP titled Main/Flex, which features a surprising and varied guest list: Hak of Ratking, Deejay Earl, and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante. Not only that, but Lee’s typically atmospheric production feels even more vast at some points–I mean, the track “RMF-2″ is pretty much an ambient cut.
Give a listen to this EP via the embed above, and pick it up on iTunes here.
Australia really seems to be producing some of the world’s top modern psychedelic rock bands these days, and in the spotlight this week is I’m In Your Mind Fuzz by King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, which may be one of the year’s most foot-tapping, head-nodding psychedelic rock albums – especially when compared to Oddments, the group’s previous effort released earlier this year, which wasn’t anywhere near as catchy. With fast paced singles like “Cellophane” and the band’s distinct sound comprised of wavy off-kilter vocals and synth leads, propulsive old-school drumming, myriad harmonica solos, and a bit of sitar, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard might not be making groundbreaking music exactly, but they’ve certainly delivered one of the grooviest weirdo albums of the year.
- Fin Worrall
The lovable noise rockers over at Big Ups are teaming up with fellow Brooklynites Washer for a split 7″, due out November 18 via Exploding in Sound. Last week we shared the first track from Big Ups’ side, “Rash,” and now you can hear their second scathing offering, “Not Today,” above. Happy listening!