Kwes : Rollerblades

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Multi-talented London singer/ producer Kwes is back with a new single, “Rollerblades”, out now digitally and on 7″ via Warp come January 22. Like the wonky cyber-soul love-songs on his Meantime EP, it’s a warm, fuzzy number that splices romantic (and borderline twee) imagery (“Your eyes say to me/ Come rollerblade with me”) and mellow, folk-infused built around propulsive piano and chopped & screwed live drums. Watch out for the false ending about two and a half minutes in; there’s a lovely instrumental coda afterwards that manages to simultaneously express joy and sadness with almost classical eloquence.


Jets : Elements Radio Vol.1

FACT mix 358: JETS (Jimmy Edgar & Travis Stewart)

When I posted the brilliant new Machinedrum track “Whatnot” last week, I touched upon one of Travis Stewart’s collaborative projects – Sepalcure – but completely forgot to mention his latest joint venture, Jets, alongside Berlin-based producer Jimmy Edgar. Leave it, then, to the ever-reliable FACT Magazine to jog the memory in brain-bustingly spectacular fashion with this amazing mix from the pair, available to download for a limited time only. Packed with exclusive remixes and unreleased material from both parties, the set goes hard from the off, with techno, house, garage, dubstep, footwork, electro-funk, hip hop and more mixed seamlessly together. It’s the sound of two of the electronic underground’s hottest high-flyers really taking off; listen below, download and peep the full tracklist here.

Pissed Jeans : Bathroom Laughter

Look at the four faces below and tell me: do these boys look like they should be in a band called Pissed Jeans? At a glance, the members of the Allentown, PA quartet could pass for IT guys, homeless shelter volunteers or record label dudes (the latter is actually accurate: frontman Matt Korvette runs the White Denim label and put out the excellent Daughn Gibson album earlier this year), but their clean-cut image belies the grizzled hardcore punk noise have been cranking out for the best part of the last decade. The bio on the Sub Pop website claims their music sounds like “a recorded loop of a marching band being pushed down a waterslide, with added distortion”, which is a fair description but one that doesn’t quite do it justice. Click play below and listen to the Black Flag-waving ode to the joys of a happy workplace “Bathroom Laughter”, the first taste of forthcoming fourth album Honeys, out February 12 2013.

Chromatics : Cherry

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What’s that you say? Another new Chromatics track? To go along with the 90-minute double-LP Album Of The Year contender Kill For Love, its drum-free counterpart and the 35-minute collection of unreleased tracks Running From The Sun? From the Italians Do It Better label’s forthcoming follow up to their seminal After Dark compilation (After Dark 2, out soon)? Oh go on then, if you insist…

Fort Lean : The Mall

According to their Facebook page, Fort Lean is “a place where you can still see the skyline but you can’t hear any cars and you can put all your stolen wine in the stream to keep it cool and when the fire dies out you can see some stars and not too many airplanes.” A more interesting description than “five-piece from Brooklyn”, admittedly, but perhaps not the best way to prepare listeners for their music, which is far from airy-fairy. The group have just self-released a new four-track EP – Change Your Name – on which producer Patrick Wimberly (Chairlift) adds pop sheen to their swaggering ’70s arena-styled rock; here’s “The Mall” to take us into the weekend.

Royal Trux : Accelerator

Okay, so I know this is a new music site, but this is an entirely justifiable exception to that rule. Domino have just reissued another indie classic: Royal Trux’s 1998 LP Accelerator is considered a must-hear by the likes of Hot Chip‘s Alexis Taylor and Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, and they’re not wrong. According to Neil Hegarty, during recording the band “played records (they) liked through a spectrum analyzer and “captured” the EQ shape, then applied that to the finished track; for example ‘I’m Ready’ ran through the Archies’ ‘Sugar, Sugar’ filter and so on.” This bizarre production method resulted in a freakish ’80s rock sound that would go on to inform Jennifer Herrema’s later RTX and Black Bananas output. Watch the original video for album track “Liar” below.

Machinedrum : Whatnot

Berlin-via-NYC producer Travis Stewart was responsible for two of the best albums of 2011 – and two of the best electronic albums of the last decade – in the form of his collaboration with Braille’s Praveen Sharma (Sepalcure) and his solo Machinedrum LP Room(s). Drum & bass-leaning new track “Whatnot” (below) is set to feature on Ouroboros, a compilation of beat-driven tracks put together by Lazer Sword’s Low Limit due November 27 on the Innovative Leisure label, and suggests that Stewart’s next full-length will be every bit as brilliant as the last.

Yvette : Radiation # Scrape It Off

The fine fellows at the increasingly excellent GodMode label (Mr. Dream, Sleepies) are set to release a new album from Brooklyn post-punk duo Yvette – guitarist Noah Kardos-Fein and drummer Rick Daniel – early next year and have just unleashed the Nick Sylvester-produced first single, “Radiation”, a glowing no-wave fireball of scratchy six-string skree and tightly-wound industrial rhythms. You can hear the track below, along with the even more abrasive B-side “Scrape It Off”. File next to My Disco/ Factory Floor, and colour me excited for the LP.

Tim Hecker And Daniel Lopatin : Instrumental Tourist

Writing about music, for the most part, is a pretty easy thing to do: the vast majority of the planet’s population know what drums sound like, what a guitar or piano sounds like, what a human voice singing sounds like and so forth, meaning that when inspiration deserts you completely you can always resort to just describing what is happening in a song and be reasonably confident the reader will be able to form a fairly accurate mental image. This notion unravels fairly quickly, however, when it comes to discussing the work of artists like Tim Hecker and Oneohtrix Point Never’s Daniel Lopatin, who operate so far outside of traditional music-making boundaries – in terms of the instruments and processes involved as well as preconceived ideas of structure, melody etc. – that it must all seem as alien to most people as quantum physics surely does to my cat. Instrumental Tourist, the inaugural entry in the “SSStudios” series of collaborative albums set for release on Lopatin and Joel Ford’s Software label, seems to acknowledge this whilst attempting, in its own way, to humanise the concept of “electronic composition”: its centrepiece is a track called “Whole Earth Tascam”, whose title refers to the late-’60s campaign for NASA to release the first satellite photo of the Earth’s sphere as seen from space, and it’s easy to hear this meeting of old hand Hecker’s classically-inspired electroacoustic drones and young buck Lopatin’s jittery, electronic sample collages as the sound of another civilisation monitoring the various urban and natural landscapes of our world through the swirling gases of our atmosphere and transmitting their findings back to their own. At times it’s obvious who is taking the lead – Hecker on the serene “Scene From A French Zoo” or “Vaccination For Thomas Mann”, Lopatin on the more raucous “Intrusions” or “Uptown Psychedelia” (below) – but this dance is at its most graceful on tracks like “Grey Geisha”, “Racist Drone” and “Ritual Consumption” where the pair share the heavy lifting more equally, blending soothing tones and more industrial sonics to wondrous effect. It may be impossible for those of us not familiar with the theory or technology involved to tell what some of these sounds are – I hear (or at least I think I hear) synths, strings, pan-pipes, radio static, Japanese kora and choral chanting – or how they have been manipulated, but to Hecker and Lopatin, this isn’t a foreign language: it’s their native tongue, and to hear it spoken so fluently is mesmerising.

Instrumental Tourist is out November 20 via Software Recording Co./ Mexican Summer; stream the whole thing over at NPR.

Jamie Lidell : What A Shame

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Nashville-residing British electro-soul prodigy Jamie Lidell will release his eponymous fifth album via longtime label Warp in February, and if lead single “What A Shame” is any indication it should be an altogether wilder affair than his last two – more restrained – long-players. Like the multicoloured face cast that decorates the sleeve, the song is kaleidoscopic, fragmented, with stuttering beats, pitch-shifted samples and strafing synths swirling around a typically impassioned vocal. It’s an explosive reminder that whilst he may be recognised primarily as a singer, Lidell is just as talented a producer, especially when he loosens up and lets his freak flag fly; listen below.