Further listening: Honeyblood, Peeling, Amber Arcades, DTCV, Angelic Milk, whenyoung, Allison Crutchfield, Bryde, Minor Victories, Joanna Newsom, Naomi Greene, Oh Pep!, Mark Kozelek & Jehu, Miya Follick, Hazel Englsh, Frankie Cosmos, Neil Young, Joana Serrat, Sacred Paws, The Van T’s, The Proper Ornaments, Michael Mormecha, Muncie Girls, Strange Relations, The Shins, Girl Ray, Jess Williamson, Matt Maltese, Kevin Morby, Alice Jemima, Goan Dogs, Bloody Death Skulls, Fred Thomas and Meg Duffy’s new project, Hand Habits.
5. A Range Of Cowardice
e start of this year gave us the sad news that following the release of his sublime debut album, A Thousand Times Troubles, Shropshire/Leeds/London-producer Stuart Thomas was retiring the Mountain Range moniker. Citing the old adage it’s better to burn out than fade away, Mountain Range was seemingly no more, although with a slight proviso that there were a few more treats still to come.
Then came, well not a lot really; until this week, when via Bad Panda records, Mountain Range shared his latest single, Known Coward. Discussing the process, Stuart has suggested he wanted to move away from the labour intensive methods of his album, and back to working fast and loose; the results are fantastic. Known Coward sounds like an EP in a single five and a half minute movement, constantly swelling, fading and returning with a fresh sonic idea. It takes in minimalist Adem-like piano and found-sound, glitchy Four Tet techno and an ambient outro, Keaton Henson would probably ditch for being too low-key – ultimately it just sounds like Mountain Range, and there’s little praise higher than that.
Known Coward is out now via Bad Panda.
4. Choose your future. Choose Living (Body)
Living Body is a vessel for the songwriting talents of Leeds-based Chicagoan ex-pat Jeff T.Smith and his gaggle of collaborators including Katie Harking (Sky Larkin) and Tom Evans (Vessels). Living Body are set to release their debut album, Body Is Working, in December and this week the collective have shared new single, Choose.
Choose walks the line between the lyrical post-rock of bands like Lost Left, and the grungier offerings of Pavement or Menace Beach. The result is a sparkling slice of emotive-pop, resplendent with Beirut-like horns, and a fine reminder that Leeds is quite possibly the UK’s most intriguing musical city.
Body Is Working is out December 2nd via Kingfisher Bluez (North America) and Barely Regal Records (EU). Click HERE for all upcoming Living Body live dates.
3. Froth Make Contact
There’s something quietly reassuring about the slow rise of Los Angeles quartet Froth. The gentlest wave of hype has greeted their first two albums, they’ve toured hard, and now with confirmation this week that they’ve signed to Wichita Recordings, the band have got their just deserts.
We’ll have to wait until February to hear the bands third long player, Outside (briefly), but they have this week given us a taster, in the shape of new single, Contact. Starting with a clip of an interstellar space chat, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a new track from Public Service Broadcasting, but once the motorik groove and pulsing bass kick in you’re into an altogether psychier-place, the sort of record Hookworms would make if they were feeling particularly mellow. Froth have spoken about dialling back the noise on this record; if the songwriting is as good as this, that might just reveal something spectacular.
Outside (briefly) is out February 10th via Wichita Recordings. Froth tour Europe next month, click HERE for details.
2. Many Voices Speak For All Time
Many Voices Speak is, the slightly wordy, pseudonym of Swedish songwriter, Matilda Mård. Today see’s the release of her debut EP, Away For All Time, which was recorded in the small Swedish town of Borlänge — where Matilda relocated for two years to escape Stockholm’s busier pace.
This week ahead of the EP’s release, Many Voices Speak shared the title track, Away For All Time. Listening to the track, it’s perhaps no great surprise that Matilda found liberation from the pressure of being a songwriter in the unlikely setting of a Borlänge karaoke bar. Away For All Time is a shimmering, sway of synth swells and Matilda’s expressive vocal melodies; while it brings to mind dream pop acts like Beach House or Hazel English, it also wouldn’t sound at all out-of-place soundtracking the seedy Bangkok underworld of Nicolas Winding Refn’s movie, Only God Forgives. Matilda has suggested the song is about losing control and how this, paradoxically, can be guilty of the worst and most wonderful things, this track falls firmly into the latter camp.
Away For All Time is out today via Hit City U.S.A. & Strangers Candy.
1.Another Stolen Youth
We might still be two months away from it starting, but music in 2017 is already shaping up nicely. This week saw the confirmation we’ve been waiting for that Bella Union are releasing the new Horse Thief album, entitled Trials & Truth, in January, and celebrating the announcement the band shared the first taste of it, new single, Another Youth.
Discussing the new record, frontman Cameron Neal noted that this record was less rushed than its predecessor, and suggested it sounds more like how the band wanted it to. Certainly Another Youth sounds like a confident band, at the very top of their game. Building from a jarring opening guitar line, into a wave of pounding drums and pulsing keys, as Cameron’s voice enters, every bit as fragile and melodic as we remember, it’s in many ways the classic Horse Thief sound. What makes Another Youth stand out from their previous output is just how streamlined it seems, they were always prone to letting tracks drift on a sea of melody, but this sound focused and driven. A welcome return for one of our favourite bands on the planet, without wanting to wish our lives away, 2017 can’t come quickly enough.
Trials And Truths is out January 27th via Bella Union. Visit their website HERE for all upcoming tour dates.