Getintothis’ Matthew Wood does the rounds with finest picks August has to offer so far, including some fierce electronica and a taste of what’s to come at this year’s International Festival of Psychedelia in Liverpool.
Four Tet – Planet
More magic from Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet for your souls to bask in. On the whole it’s another exquisite dance track that sings with metallic synth arrangements and rumble with the most tactile of beats, pulsing and affecting your very core.
The melodies feel very isolated; the steeldrum riffs shimmer gorgeously and the rumbling back drop bolsters them perfectly, but Hebden allows these elements to breach the surface level, give the track whole new textures beyond the rumbling beat.
Sit back and ponder this one, or let your body pulse to it’s infectious musical riches, you know Four Tet has it all in his locker.
White Room – Blue
Psychedelic Brighton quintet White Room are snowballing towards a taste of stardom and each new tune sees the band come on leaps and bounds.
Their earliest recordings were grungy, messy rasps of psychedelia when each member was still defining their forte. Since then we were treated to Stole The I.V. and Take Me Away, far more refined and polished numbers but still honing that undying love for the 60’s.
Double-sided release The Blue/ Tomorrow Always Knew exhibit their ability for a big chorus, recalling belters from fellow psych act, Temples and adding another string to their bow and another reason for us to be pretty excited for this band’s debut album.
Ben Frost – Threshold Of Faith
This isn’t just a song, it’s a battle, a war even; harsh, unpredictable and, at times, scarily awesome. Ben Frost is an Australian composer based in Reykjavic, Iceland and here we witness some of his most fierce work.
Without structure the harsh electronic sounds swim in a deep, dark pool creating currents and constantly contradicting the other; the sounds stir while the mood remains mostly cold and sinister with faint glimmers of hope in the odd seemingly melodic pattern. Sonic booms begin to riddle the piece as it progresses and an indecipherable robot vocal tries to form a message for us amid the chaos.
His fifth studio album The Centre Cannot Hold, is out on Mute on September 29.
L.A. Witch – Drive Your Car
In the run up to the release of their self-titled debut album out September 8, L.A.’s coolest three witches bring us Drive Your Car.
Like a drugged pop song, the track hums fiercely on a kraut-inspired beat pulling no punches. Deep, sludgy bass creates an ominous tone amid scratchy strikes of guitar while a nasally androgynous vocal settles like a dense fog.
You can catch these at Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia later this year.
The Horrors – Something To Remember Me By
My my, quite hard to believe that they’d even thought about leaving this one off the record, possibly their most ‘radio-friendly’, it’s a sumptuous six minutes of synth propelled pop with all the mastery and finishing touches we’ve come to expect from the magnificent five-piece.
Atmospheric layers of electronica join a pulsing bass line before Faris Badwan projects a smoothly crooned verse. The chorus is a mammoth one, infectious and flavoured with 80’s pop traits, it’s Badwan at the peak of his melodic powers.
While there doesn’t seem to be much opportunity for Josh Hayward on guitar to flex his muscles, a neat breakdown recalls the industrial sounds of previous single, Machine, yet it’s the final surge back into the chorus that really steals the show. The Horrors are soaring to whole new levels as a band and we can’t wait for V.
Ducktails – Map to the Stars
Formerly of the ever uplifting Real Estate, Matt Mondanile started Ducktails as a solo project producing experimental tapes and stepping into the freaky world of hypnagogic pop. His later outings are far more polished and refined featuring a full band, and Map of the Stars is well in that bracket.
It’s a chilled, seductive ride charged with woozy chords and understated lyrics; Mondanile has always had an ear for an irresistible groove and he wraps these in dreamy simplicity.
Ducktails will play Constellations on September 21, a live performance not to be missed!
Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band – Josephine
Michael Head is regarded by many as one of the most inspirational figures to come out of Liverpool, and although his recognition may not be global, and wrongly so, he holds a special place in their hearts as a real song-writing genius.
Josephine is a track that will have some pondering their youth, simpler times in black and white as Head’s soft vocal paints a vivid image of friendship and solidarity. The nostalgic feel of the track is accompanied by old footage of Liverpool and we’re soon to be treated to much more as the band announce their upcoming record Adiós Señor Pussycat, due out October 20 on Violette Records
Queens of the Stone Age – The Evil Has Landed
Record number seven is on the horizon for rock gods QOTSA, Villians is out August 25 with a certain Mark Ronson behind the production which usually only means one thing, but is Josh Homme handing over the steering wheel a wise decision?
The Evil Has Landed is undoubtedly riff-tastic, as we’d expect from Homme and co. and it fidgets between tempo and rhythm via some slick chord progressions that feel more accessible and melodic than the stomping, angular guitar work we’ve come to expect.
Homme’s vocal sits comfortably beneath the mix, his classic wail is present but seems to have taken a step backwards for the roaring of bass and aggressive quick-fire chords, and the track feels a little indecisive; I guess that’s a problem you face with so many musical brains in one room.
Psycho Comedy – The Hangman
Deltasonic’s own freaky rockers Psycho Comedy return with another tab of arty psychedelia in The Hangman.
Simple in it’s roots, the gritty stabs of guitar recall Nick Cave’s The Birthday Party and as we trudge through the nightmarish gloom, front-man Shaun Powell delivers raspy chants and spooky wails, the camera fixed on his glitching image.
The quintet don’t just make music, they’re forging a world for us to escape into, they feed off the influential art rockers of old and splurge out their wild, free-spirited concoction, their V’s held high to convention. Keep ’em coming!