Under the overwhelming weight of an audacious album title like America, Dan Deacon has found an inexplicable spontaneity in a most exuberantly arranged pop record. The diverse connotations that America conjures is merely a foil for Deacon’s free-ranging creation of a world of density, expansiveness and childlike joy. The pace is blisteringly ADHD, with surprises at each corner flowing comfortably into each other. It’s addictive fun – just don’t read too much into it, and enjoy the ride for what it is. - Dan.
mp3: Dan Deacon – Crash Jam
America is out now on Domino.
Adventures in Your Own Backyard, the homespun fourth album by Patrick Watson, finds the Canadian singer-songwriter and his bandmates expanding their joint creative discipline in the confines of their home studio. The result is a set of handcrafted songs that manage to sound intimate in spite of the somewhat mercurial quality of the musical arrangements. The waltzing grandeur of Adventures in Your Own Backyard bears the distinctive traits of Watson’s songwriting, yet the languorous song material chugs along with a confidence that infuses the album with a sense of discovery in every melodic detail. - Keith. mp3: Patrick Watson – Words In the Fire
Adventures in Your Own Backyard is out now on Domino Records.
It’s All True, the luscious new Junior Boys album (their fourth), doubles as the kind of hauntingly beautiful breakup record made only for the introverted romantics who never quite believed in truly happy endings. While Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus may be drawing from more disparate influences this time round (Orson Welles, Howard Hughes, their experiences in China), the nine new songs on It’s All True still retain that carefully nurtured sense of elegance and poise that have always set Junior Boys apart. On “Playtime”, fluid electronics and downbeat synth-pop melodies channel the familiar refrains of an aborted relationship, the same raptures repeated, the same melancholy dance around the work of time and memory (“It’s over so fast you never know how to feel“). - Keith.
mp3: Junior Boys – Playtime
The excellent It’s All True is available on Domino Records.
And who shall go to the ball with this 20th century girl? Shrouded in mystery, our debutante Anna Calvi beckons you to hold her close every single hour while keeping you at arm’s length. Addressing you only with the vaguest of affections, Calvi orchestrates each flourish and whisper with the allure of a seasoned chanteuse. Sometimes, you find yourself wondering if she’s going through the motions, doing her thing because she knows full well what keeps you hooked. Most of the time, though, you’re simply too mesmerized to care. - Dan.
mp3: Anna Calvi – No More Words
Anna Calvi’s self-titled debut is out now on Domino.
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Tagged Anna Calvi, domino
i don’t profess to know very much about electronica or dance music, but as a keen observer, i do notice how much seamless transition and progression are prized in the genre. at the same time, i can imagine how boring such pursuits could end up, and that’s probably why i’ve arrived at such an admiration for four tet‘s there is love in you. his first full-length album in five years, there is love in you exudes a restful calm that’s blissfully unconcerned with achieving these objectives; yet, in all its assured elegance, it surpasses all expectations in creating great dance music that surely isn’t just going through the motions. album centerpiece “sing” demonstrates this so wonderfully: although it seems to rely on a typical house beat, the backbone of the track is really a chopped up digital ringtone with seemingly little ambition. the simplicity, though, works like a charm, especially when supported by an ever evolving array of intricate samples that sound absolutely gorgeous at any one time. - dan.
mp3: four tet – sing
there is love in you is now out on domino records.
it all begins with a dramatized re-enactment of post-9/11 mourning, where you’re coaxed repeatedly to just look around at the wreckage that surrounds you, no explanations given. in the cryptic world of these new puritans, this mise en scène is just one part of a bigger, undefinable puzzle of an album aptly known as hidden. yet, while their intentions and motivations seem impossibly obfuscated, the commentary embedded therein couldn’t have been colder and starker: it was september, harmful logic/ it was september, this is attack music. there doesn’t seem to be any trace of anger or sadness here, and even if there was, these emotions have probably been imprisoned beneath the pounding beats that seem wholly bent on the insistence and emphasis of those words and nothing else. you’d be bitterly disappointed if you’re looking for a unifying message beneath it all, but i suspect the lack of one reminds us plainly that the real tragedy lies in our helplessness in summoning an adequate response on our own. - dan.
mp3: these new puritans – attack music
hidden is now out on domino records.
where do i begin? it makes sense to start with how the song launches itself, with a loopy metronomic trail ala stereolab. but that doesn’t quite make sense until we fit in the breathtaking strings that swell and overflow, that burst forth with such grandeur and recede with such eloquence. and yet, all that would merely be sound and fury without the layers of narrative that truly embody this amazing track. lewis is the sole creation of owen pallett, who bestows upon his subject such freedom to roam; and while lewis is fully conscious of his state as a lowly, created being, as vector, muscle and bone, his existential self pushes on in rebellious escape from his maker, forgetting all the odds stacked against him and stubbornly holding on to whatever he’s got. if the old saying of letting someone go if you truly loved them sounds a little cliched, it’s because of how devastating true and tragic it must be. for owen pallett, it could only have been through love wholly and utterly surrendered that a masterpiece like this could find the strength to take a life of its own. - dan.
mp3: owen pallett – lewis takes off his shirt
owen’s new album heartland is now out on domino. get it!