New Music is a fresh column brought to you by Jim Redmond who writes for Towleroad and for Irish music website Deadly Music!, which was shortlisted for Best Irish Music Blog 2014. This will be appearing in addition to our regularly scheduled OXD Mirror.
Deadly Music! covers mostly alternative and indie genres but there's also a focus on electro pop, electronica, ambient, modern classical/neoclassical, post rock and drone.
Generally you'll find that this column will avoid most mainstream music - unless it's particularly deadly - to give new, emerging and fringe artists a chance. All tracks are available on a Soundcloud playlist, some of them on a Spotify playlist....both of which are embedded at the end of this column.
Peter Broderick: Colours Of The Night (Satellite Version)
Peter Broderick is a musician, composer and singer from Oregon who is probably still best known as a touring member of Efterklang. He has also worked on various collaborations with the likes of Machinefabriek and Nils Frahm and has released fifteen solo albums - not bad for a 27-year-old.
His solo work includes two early solo piano albums (Float and Docile), an accompaniment for a performance art piece called Music For A Sleeping Sculpture Of Peter Broderick and a number of recent albums that fit nicely into the indie/folktronica genres.
Hugely talented as well as massively prolific, Broderick always surprises although recent collaborations with acts like Olafur Arnalds and The Album Leaf felt like inevitable gifts to fans.
His latest release is Colours Of The Night (Satellite Version), taken from an album of the same name to be released early next year.
Kate Tempest is a novelist, playwright, performance artist, poet and rapper from London, England.
Her debut album Everybody Down was released back in May but has recently been nominated for a Mercury Music Award along with the likes of Damon Albarn, FKA twigs, Anna Calvi and East India Youth.
In good company then, but given Tempest’s massive talent and the sheer originality of her music, she should be a shoe-in.
A published poet, she has also written and is currently performing Brand New Ancients, an epic spoken-word “story of everyday heroes” set to a live score that last year won the Ted Hughes Poetry Prize.
Everybody Down is a revelation. Every song on the album correlates with a chapter in her debut novel The Bricks That Built The Houses, an urban tale following the tribulations of London masseuse, waitress and dancer Becky.
A genuinely dark, threatening and epic album, there’s something on Everybody Down that you shouldn’t let pass you by even if you just don’t - like me - get rap.
Check out four more tracks and some killer playlists, AFTER THE JUMP...
Iconic 80's band Depeche Mode is out with one of their first tracks in years, an as yet untitled song presented via an 'In-Studio Collage' of the band at work on their new album, which is due sometime next year.
I haven't smiled this big in weeks. This is a video of Dicken, featuring Milah and Korben -- which is to say, it's a video of what appears to be a really excellent dad covering Depeche Mode with his two surpassingly adorable kids. "Everything counts in large amounts," as they sing, and it's totally true -- especially rocking out with pops.
Junior Boys have always lived in the divide between soft, glitchy microhouse and dancefloor-friendly synthpop — a chasm which, on some level, didn't seem as wide on 2009's Begone Dull Care. But for It's All True, the Canadian duo reintroduce themselves with a newfound sense of integration and genre-f*cking bravery. Album opener "Itchy Fingers" sets the pace by drawing from 21st-century R&B, British mod guitar, and hi-speed arpeggiated disco before finally settling on a half-time pop hook that announces this album's arrival with intrepid idiosyncrasy, but the song turns out to be something of a red herring: Its pastiche feature goes unrepeated, and as a result, you get the idea that this album's first five minutes are more of a defamiliarization technique than a creative statement. Somehow, it still works. Yet while songs like the contemplative (and deceptively titled) "Playtime" are comfortably nestled between impeccable nu-disco detours ("You'll Improve Me") and other new wave innuendo ("A Truly Happy Ending"), the suggestion that Junior Boys may be preparing a proper techno album in the future persists until the very end. Indeed, by the time we get to the album's final triptych of songs — a collection that wouldn't seem out of place on a label like, say, Kompakt — Jeremy Greenspan's pensive tread is transformed; the lovable pessimist gives way to a Pollyanna.
As a member of Hüsker Dü and Sugar, Bob Mould became a pioneer in the genres of punk and melodic indie rock; more recently, as one-half of the BLOWOFF DJ team with Rich Morel, he's left an indelible mark on gay male nightlife. This week, the songwriter and musician will issue his first book: See A Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody, an autobiography co-written with respected music writer Michael Azerrad, is out this Wednesday, to be followed by a book tour featuring readings and solo acoustic performances of songs from Mould's vast back catalog.
Patrick Wolf's long-awaited fifth studio album, Lupercalia, drops on June 20 — and it's available for streaming now! — but ahead of that he's released the first of five "video portraits" directed by the album's art director John Lindquist and accompanied by music from the record. Says Wolf, "Now with most people buying albums mainly online I didn't want a generation to lose the joy of experiencing artwork. So I wanted to make moving artwork … for the iPad and laptop generation."
Only a week after the release of Depeche Mode's latest remix set — featuring a revision by former member Vince Clarke — it has been announced that the reunion is going deeper than that: Clarke, who is also renown for his work in Yazoo and Erasure, will be teaming up with Martin Gore for as an as-yet untitled side project that is being described as "a techno album." They've been at work on it for the past six months.
If you haven't heard Active Child yet, the Los Angeles–based artist is preparing to release his debut album this summer and "Playing House" is our first taste of its direction. Following an EP that somehow married classical harp with vintage new wave, it's definitely a new sound: If you've ever wondered what modern R&B might sound like under ice, this may be your answer.
Morrissey still has pull: In exchange for performing at the Belgian Lokerse Festival, organizers have agreed to ban the sale and preparation of meat products from its catering and food stalls for a 24-hour period. They call it "a welcome catering challenge."
MP3 | Beyoncé — "Run The World (Girls)" (Tom Stephan Remix)
London producer Tom Stephan is a New York expat, a Neil Tennant ex-boyfriend, and a house producer nonpareil as Superchumbo. Earlier this week, he uploaded his own take on the much-contested lead single from Beyoncé's latest album, and if the original song fell flat for you, this one might pick up the slack: It's big-room Sound Factory business with a nuanced groove — which is a democratic way of saying that the Switch version is a bit too lawless even for my tastes.
MP3 | James Yuill — "Crying For Hollywood" (Bright Light Bright Light's Red Carpet Mix)
James Yuill's Movement In A Storm was one of the best albums released all last year, and like many great records, it went criminally unrecognized. Here, his longtime friend — and retromodern songwriter of the moment — Bright Light Bright Light hands in a new version of "Crying For Hollywood" that gives it an epic shine and some '80s dancefloor movement. If Yuill's original was something of a Sunday morning lament, this excellent remix hangs on to a bout of Friday night fearlessness.
SOUND & VISION:
Nicola Roberts — "Beat Of My Drum"
As the third member of UK supergroup Girls Aloud to go solo, Nicola Roberts has a lot riding on this: One wrong move and it's the difference between the multiplatinum debut by Geri Halliwell and the 53,000-copy–selling debut by Scary Spice. The early critical response is heartening for Roberts, however, and "Beat Of My Drum" — produced by Diplo — has the kind of infectious, rhythmic celebration that summer anthems are made of.
Bright Eyes — "Jejune Stars"
After eight proper studio albums and a handful of compilations and live records, Bright Eyes have certainly deserved the right to blow things up. Somewhat predictably then, on the video for their latest single, "Jejune Stars," Conor Oberst takes a literary turn: Setting words to fireworks is, to some extent, what he's been doing for years.
Memory Tapes — "Yes I Know"
2009's Seek Magic put Memory Tapes mainman Dayve Hawk at the forefront of another one of those accidental musical movements — which worked out because, lucky for him, "chillwave" sounds a lot more substantive than "emo" or something. Much like Toro Y Moi — who also rode the chillwave — Hawk's second album Player Piano, due out next month, seems to be making a case for songcraft over reverbed electro-loops: "Yes I Know" bears a seductive, wistful vocal and an unmistakably old school gait; the most interesting thing Hawk seems to be saying here about future music is that some things don't need to be reinvented.
Broken Social Scene — "Sweetest Kill"
Toronto's musical collective Broken Social Scene have done their fair share of soundtracking messed-up movies; the songs they contributed to Half Nelson, for one, pretty much always make me think of smoking crack now. Great! So just think of how we'll listen to "Sweetest Kill" in the future, after watching this mini-movie about a young lady who kills and dismembers her ostensible love interest in all its graphic glory. So yeah: This clip is probably NSFW, unless you work for Rob Zombie.
It's not every day that a major artist releases a 37-track, three-disc set of remixes comprising the last thirty years of their career — which is likely because I don't think it's ever happened before. In that sense, Remixes 2: 81–11 is breaking some sort of ground that even the 36-track Remixes: 81–04 couldn't touch: This is a collection that not only bolsters the band's unwavering relevance as songwriters and synthpop pioneers, but makes a distinct connection to their enduring influence on modern club music. Admittedly, 37 tracks is a lot for even the most stalwart of fans to digest, so I went ahead and pulled five of the highlights — and lowlights! — for this very special Depeche Mode Remix Redux:
Produced by one-half of Layo & Bushwacka!, the first song on this collection is, for all intents and purposes, the kind of thing you'd hear at 10:30 P.M. in the club — a stark, tech-house beat that most DJs would call "tracky" under a vocal that only serves to set the hypnotic pace. It is not, by far, the most commercial track on this collection, and because of that, it's also a genius choice: Clubgoers will appreciate the deep house warm-up, while dudes who really loved Mike Koglin's weird trance version of "Enjoy The Silence" in 1998 will feel rightfully duped.
2009's "Peace," from Sounds of the Universe, fell somewhat flat in its original incarnation as a downtempo, low-slung bass-driven single; there was something to the lyric and the vocal that the music failed to express. The answer, as SixToes saw it, was a human element. Strings, tabla, and even banjo transform the original into something not even Martin Gore could conceive: a neo-Americana Depeche Mode.
If you lived in New York at a certain time, and you know something about the mid-'90s Save The Robots afterhours parties, and you've seen what that place looked like at six in the morning, and you actually feel nostalgic for it, then boy, have I got a remix for you.
The ultra-distorted electro style of Justice and Digitalism seems like a good idea in context, but when you try to remix a song whose major asset is its melody by featuring a dysmorphic synth that borders on atonal, it's just not going to be good. And that's being generous.
Two ex-members of Depeche Mode — both respected and accomplished in their own right — provided remixes for this collection, and thirty years down the road, that's a pretty fantastic feat. But if you have to compare them (and you don't, but I decided to!), there's something about Clarke's track that slightly edges out Wilder's take on "In Chains." It could be that Wilder seemed intent on making a proper Depeche Mode song — or that his trusted playbook provided a missed opportunity to recreate what we think we know about the band. But ultimately, it was something less hypothetical than that: Clarke's revision suggests that only one ex-member of Depeche Mode has been keeping up with underground techno since Songs of Faith and Devotion.
In the face of immediate cries of plagiarism following the premiere of their new single "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall," Coldplay clarify: The song was simply "inspired" by the 1990 single "Ritmo de la Noche" by Mystic, which was in turn based on another song called "I Go to Rio," which was written by Peter Allen and Adrienne Anderson and later sung by everyone from Peggy Lee to the Muppets, among others. Says a Coldplay spokesperson, "Allen and Anderson are credited as writers" in the album's liner notes.
Björk's new album, Biophilia, is shaping up to be an experiment in technology and mobile apps: The record will be released as an "app album" for the iPad, featuring ten mini-apps to go with each song. A preview of the first song, "Crystalline," hit the web this week.
Blondie are prepping the release of Panic of Girls — their first new album in seven years — with a physical release slated for July. UK fans, however, got an early taste of the album through Amazon's digital download store this week, and the preview is promising: Retromodern and yet actually modern, the album also features young Brooklyn songwriter Zach Condon — who adds trumpet to "Wipe Off My Sweat" and whose band, Beirut, originally wrote and recorded "A Sunday Smile."
If you're looking for some new DJ mixes to stream, BUTT magazine is hoping to fill the void with a new exclusive series of mixtapes available from their specially designed BUTT audio-player. The first mix is up now, featuring Berlin DJs Discodromo and Boris — the latter of whom is a Paradise Garage vet and former heyday resident at Berlin's legendary Panorama Bar.
This week's bizarre confession: Take That's Robbie Williams undergoes weekly testosterone treatment. "Went to see a Hollywood doctor, had my blood tests," he explained. "He said, 'You've got the testosterone of a 100-year-old man.' And then everything made sense. It was kind of an epiphany."
Nomi Ruiz came to light as the breakout star of the debut self-titled Hercules & Love Affair album; her contributions to "You Belong" and "Hercules Theme" set a tone that producer Andy Butler had trouble recreating on album number-two. This week, Ruiz returns with her own group, Jessica 6, and a debut album that belies their new-band status. Equal parts disco, proto-house, and coquettish R&B, See The Lightplays with a lot of the ideas that Ruiz explored with Hercules, but shoots less for homage and more for total embodiment. While "Prisoner Of Love" will get much of the press for its Chicago-styled piano house and Antony Hegarty guest spot, tracks like "Champagne Bubbles/Remember When" invoke an anachronistic Mary J. Blige nestled into a late night Quiet Storm slot on 1980s R&B radio. This is, in case you're wondering, a pretty awesome thing.
He reinvented himself on Broadway with work on the Tony Award-winning Spring Awakening, meaning that Duncan Sheik has outlived most of the singer-songwriters that came up alongside him in the mid-'90s. (Ubiquitous hits like "Barely Breathing" tend to add to one's shelf-life considerably, if not subsidize the lesser-selling albums destined to follow.) Off Broadway, Sheik's more recent albums have mellowed even further with age, and Covers '80s takes this slow-motion weathering to its next logical step: A collection of twelve totally inoffensive, and even occasionally endearing interpretations of hits by Depeche Mode, The Smiths, Talk Talk, and, umm, The Thompson Twins won't set the world on fire, but they will remind you how old you are in a gentle, toe-tapping kind of way.
Having lost lead singer Tyondai Braxton to the dreaded solo project just last summer, Battles wasted no time in regrouping as a three-piece and putting together Gloss Drop — which, when all is said and done, barely registers any sort of recognizable absence from being one man down. The largely instrumental album draws firmly on cultural rhythmic traditions ("Dominican Fade"), post-rock detritus ("Futura"), and traditionally electronic dance music-gone-analog ("Sweetie & Shag"), but tracks like "Ice Cream" — featuring Kompakt techno stalwart Matias Aguayo on vocals — remind us that Battles still know how to put together a memorable, if not challenging hook. Braxton may have been the voice, but he didn't own the vision.
If I wanted to make some sort of official pick-hit of the week, "Belongings" would earn the title, hands down. Clock Opera's latest single draws most obviously from Steve Reich, Peter Gabriel, and Elbow, and yet somehow manages to come out a gorgeously reticent pop song that makes every other record that came out this week feel a little less adventurous — and nowhere as emotionally resonant. It's stunning.
Take That — "Love Love"
The latest single from the revamped electropop Take That sounds more like Gary Numan fronting The Killers than it does the band responsible for "Greatest Day," but the group's recent musical reinvention is one of many reasons why they're so damn relevant. "Love Love" is the lead single for X-Men: First Class.
The Grates — "Turn Me On"
After two well-received albums, Australian indie-pop duo The Grates decided they needed to live a little — so they moved to Brooklyn and pledged to stay until a third album was in the can. That record, Secret Rituals, is likely the one they needed to make: "Turn Me On" makes good on the title of their 2008 album Teeth Lost, Hearts Won; it's wrought with fear, not paralyzed by it.
Ford & Lopatin — "World Of Regret"
The debut album by Ford & Lopatin is called Channel Pressure, and it comes out today along with this video for "World of Regret," a hyper-animated clip that's probably more acid trip than acid house. Fans of carnival posters with dolphins on them — or airbrushed wolf sweatshirts, for that matter — will revel in its ironic artistic merit.