RELEASE ROUNDUP: PICCADILLY RECORDS
It’s another week full of brilliant new releases, this time things get a little calmer with the traditional Jewish psalms getting a rework by Nathan Salsburg and the next outing from the ever-reliable Light In The Attic fitting in perfectly between the airy, minimalistic sounds of their Kankyo Ongaku compilation from a couple years ago and the more beat-driven boogie bliss of the Pacific Breeze duo. If you fancy something a little heavier, then the metamorphosis from all-out RAWK to shoegazy bliss that we’ve witnessed from Deafheaven is well worth investing some time into, as is the wonderful what’s what of dancefloor sounds from one half of Maribou State, Shire T. Sitting pretty right in the middle is the brilliant new outing from Villagers, taking in elements of classic rock, indie and folk and spitting out a brilliantly listenable and cleverly balanced whole. What are you waiting for?!
Deafheaven – Infinite Granite
There is nothing more incendiary and explosive than a Deafheaven LP, and their newest outing ‘Infinite Granite’ perfectly displays their propensity for soaring groove and gratifying heft. They’ve always provided an intoxicating and uncompromising take on what generally gets called ‘Post-Metal’ (Think Pelican, Jesu, Russian Circles etc), but this outing sees them turn their considerable talents to the heavier side of shoegaze. Lightened with a smattering of rolling basses and airy vocals, it’s a bold and wonderfully effective combination, and continues to encompass all the groove of their earlier works but with a more palpable sense of melody and growth.
Various Artists – Somewhere Between: Mutant Pop, Electronic Minimalism & Shadow Sounds Of Japan 1980-1988
Light In The Attic have put out some of the greatest compilations we’ve seen in the past few years. Kankyo Ongaku was a superb collection of weightless atmospheric ambience, and exactly the opposite to their also-brilliant ‘Pacific Breeze’ compilation series, which focused more on Japanese Boogie. What we get here is a perfect midpoint between the two worlds, with moments of sanguine beauty interspersed with more dynamic, electronic groove. There are moments of drifting ambience, but it’s bolstered by a driving bassline or echoic kick thump, a syncopated vocal line or paddling arpeggio. It’s your classic LITA comp, wonderfully put together and full of unheard gems.
Nathan Salsburg – Psalms
Salsburg’s music generally runs in the American folk tradition, with glimmering acoustic guitars and his wonderfully evocative voice perfectly accompanying. With ‘Psalms’, we get his keen ear and woozy melodic leanings geared towards covers of traditional Jewish Psalms. It’s a delicate and alluring combination, juxtaposing Salsburg’s immediately recognisable vocals with more stripped back constructions and timbres. There are elements of the traditional but brightened with a modern folk sensibility, and with the more overt droning nature of traditional psalms tempered with a noticeable shimmer. A breathtakingly beautiful and wonderfully unique outing.
Villagers – Fever Dreams
Conor O’Brien is no stranger to the scene, having put out five previous LP’s before this one, but it really seems like the perfect combination of longing, wistful melodies and crescentic songcraft has come to bear on Fever Dreams. Filmic orchestral swells and progressive instrumentation perfectly moulds around the jazzy horn flourishes and airy vocal work. Beautifully reminiscent of both 70’s prog (‘The First Day’ reminds me massively of Floyd’s ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’, no bad thing) and the more dynamic, acoustic beauty of Jim Noir or Bon Iver. There are melodies all over the place, but wonderfully tempered with a restrained, meditative stillness that’s hard to ignore. It’s an intoxicating and wonderfully exciting listen, highly recommended.
Shire T – Tomorrow’s People
As one half of electronic duo Maribou State, it’s no surprise that Shire T falls within the same electronic remit, but it would be hard to predict that there would be such a breadth of styles represented so skilfully as there is on Tomorrow’s People. We get 140bpm acidic squelches, crisp percussion and saturated, dancefloor mayhem in the same breath before launching into crunchy downbeat post-club grooves and Four-Tetty sine blips. There is no shortage of electronic albums around, but it’s rare that it’s handled with such grace and pulled together as coherently as this is. Wonderfully modern but with a keen ear on the classic sounds of the dancefloor.