NAP EYES - "LION IN CHAINS"
Nap Eyes have announced the centerpiece of their new album, Thought Rock Fish Scale, which is out February 5th on Paradise of Bachelors (in the U.S.) and You’ve Changed Records (in Canada). “Lion In Chains,” the almost seven-minute long epic, is one of several movingly ineffable moments on the album that gathers loved ones and legacies at a cautious if affectionate distance, folding them into carefully articulated but centerless koans. In the shivering, anthemic track, the eponymous beast hangs, heraldic and haunted by hometown nostalgia, above singer and audience alike—but only following a beautifully banal stanza about the hot water heater problems at the laboratory where singer Nigel Chapman works as a biochemist.
SUUNS - "TRANSLATE"
Hold/Still, the third studio album from Suuns, is an enigmatic thing: an eerily beautiful, meticulously played suite of music that embraces opposites and makes a virtue of cognitive dissonance. It is a record that does not give up its secrets easily. A natural step on from their two previous albums, 2011’s Zeroes QC & 2013’s Images du Futur, and yet a marked departure, Hold/Still is a cerebral exploration of how to take live and analogue instruments and create a deeply textured “electronic” record. In May 2015, they decamped to Dallas, Texas to work with Grammy-winning producer John Congleton and for three intense weeks they recorded by day and stewed in their cramped apartment by night. Hold/Still will be released April 15th via Secretly Canadian (in the U.S.) and Secret City (in Canada). The first single, “Translate,” is one of the defining songs of the album: the sound of a band working in mental lockstep, crafting guitar music that feels unbeholden to clear traditions or genre brackets. It is a song that the band has been reworking for years, and was one of the last songs to be finished for the album, and yet, perhaps, defines the record perfectly. The synthesizers are the work of Max Henry, an obsessive who builds his own patches and confesses to using cranky or budget equipment.
SUSANNA - "BURNING SEA"
Triangle is soul music for lost souls. Susanna’s eleventh album, out April 22nd, and first solo record since 2012 is a mastodon of a singer-songwriter release: over 70 minutes of intensely expressive, deeply felt and spiritually probing lyrics, presented and performed in layers of voice, electronics, and effects, programmed with piano, violin and tuba. Recorded in Oslo and Los Angeles, Triangle was composed, arranged, performed, recorded and produced by Susanna. Norwegian musicians, including Supersilent, Broen, Moskus, Splashgirl and Sudan Dudan participated, alongside Americans Alison Chesley (Helen Money) and Emmett Kelly (The Cairo Gang). Throughout the entire album, Susanna’s vocals are even more versatile and fluid, recalling at times Kate Bush, the Laurel Canyon balladry of Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro, or the acrobatics of the Cocteau Twins’ Liz Fraser. Debut single “Burning Sea” presents the sound of wonder and danger in surrendering; Susanna’s voice is calm and determined in the face of enormous forces and looming fears.
SLINGSHOT DAKOTA - "PAYCHECK"
Slingshot Dakota, an indie-rock band from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is comprised of husband-and-wife duo Carly Comando and Tom Patterson. This band has no shortage of volume, energy and catchy tunes with Comando shredding on an 88-key digital piano through multiple effects pedals and providing vocals for the band, while Tom Patterson energetically crushes his drums, a sight that is both entertaining and inspiring. While Comando and Patterson are influenced by their respective punk and hardcore basement scenes, their music can be described as poppy indie rock. Their live sound is loud, full and raw, but at the root of it all is an addictive rock song. Over the course of the last three years since Slingshot Dakota's last album, 2012's Dark Hearts, the pair allowed themselves the freedom to write new material at their leisure. Break will be released March 11th via Topshelf Records, but you can listen to “Paycheck” now.
LEFT WITH PICTURES - "TERRA FIRMA"
Left With Pictures are an orchestral pop ensemble from London. Formed in 2005, they started with three hard-up, classically trained musicians who forsook the orchestra pit for the sanctuary of their keyboard player’s loft. Armed with synths, guitars, strings, kazoos, found-sounds and a shoestring budget, they began with a series of self-releases and impromptu performances in theatres, bars and bedrooms. In 2008 LWP signed to Organ Grinder Records with whom they have released two albums, Beyond Our Means (2009) and 2011’s In Time, an album consisting of twelve songs which were released monthly and premiered by Gideon Coe on BBC 6 Music. Over ten years the band has won critical praise, expanded their live sound, and steadily refined their craft of inventive pop music, where the acoustic and the electronic are intricately combined. Afterlife, their first release in five years, is the result of a band evolving, and pulling apart their sound in order to explore their own innate creativity, much of which can be attributed to the appointment of Richard Formby (Wild Beasts, Ghostpoet, Darkstar, Hood) as producer. Hear “Terra Firma” before the release of Afterlife on April 29th.
THE SHERLOCKS - "LAST NIGHT"
The Sherlocks were formed in Sheffield when brothers Josh and Andy Davidson moved in next door to brothers Kiaran and Brandon Crook’s grandparents. Bonding over their mutual love of football and music, the brothers formed a friendship, owing especially to their shared taste in British giants like the Arctic Monkeys, The Beatles, Libertines, Oasis and The Jam. Having supported bands like Simple Minds, Reverend & The Makers, The Buzzcocks and The Enemy – the band are currently playing their biggest shows to date supporting the The Libertines on the Northern leg of their UK tour. Check out their single “Last Night.”
HOWARD - "GLASS"
Brooklyn-based folk-tronica quartet Howard released their debut album, Religion, in January 2015. Composed of Howard Feibusch, Myles Heffernan, Chris Holdridge, and Alex Chakour, they’ve garnered millions of streams on Spotify and Soundcloud for their debut, and now return with its sequel, Please Recycle, a concept EP showing a new, more experimental side of the band, built upon limitations within material off Religion. With no additional tracking, stems and sounds from Religion were split apart, manipulated, and reconfigured into new tracks pushing the boundaries of the way their pre-recorded material is composed and initially heard. While the concept originally started as an experiment, the prototypes have taken shape. While sound is the primary vehicle for Please Recycle, it is more than just a musical concept. It is a critique on the ability of modern technology to re-purpose and re-use the abundance of existing material, leaving the listener to ponder the reason for ever producing more. Start with “Glass” today.