5. You’ll Find DRINKS In The Corner Shop
Described by Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox as “totally brilliant”, DRINKS released their second album Hippo Lite last Friday and celebrated with a typically odd, and untypically crow filled, video to their new single, Corner Shops.
The critically lauded pairing of Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley, DRINKS second album was, in Cate’s own words, the result of, “a month spent in an old mill in the under belly of France. River swimming thrice a day.” It was a record of pure escapism, nobody but Cate, Tim and the outsider Stephen Black (aka frequent collaborator Sweet Baboo) noting it all down for the records. The result is a record that’s both a continuation and a departure from the sound of their debut, as shown neatly by Corner Shop. The familiar angularity and repetition remain, yet there’s also a tunefulness, a slightly more crafted, less spontaneous feel. It is almost a pop-song, only one that kind of sounds like it’s being played by someone who has never heard a pop song. Playful, baffling, brilliant, it is the sound of DRINKS being both less and more like DRINKS than ever before, and there’s few more intriguing concepts than that.
Hippo Lite is out now via Drag City. Click HERE for more information on DRINKS.
4. SEDGAF (If You Know What We Mean)
“I look through the window, to the coming dawn”, so starts IDGAF, the new single from New York’s Sam Evian. Instantly you’re drawn into his world, drawn to look out of his window to the coming sun rise and ask just what he’s doing up at this hour to see it. Like all the finest lyricists, it is simplicity not cleverness that draws you in. The track is lifted from Sam’s upcoming second album, You, Forever, which is due out in June on Saddle Creek.
IDGAF is the result of a sleepless night, “in bed, my insecurities linger and the kaleidoscope of anxiety starts to pull me into a strange, trance-like state. ‘IDGAF’ is one of my 5am songs. Sometimes when I’m deep in the well of nonsleep, I get up and write. I don’t even remember doing it.” Musically, there’s a certain shuffling quality to it, the almost double speed drums contrasting against the languid keys and Sam’s perfectly pitched vocal. Lyrically, the track seems to hinge on the freedom and ties that come with stopping yourself caring, the idea that for every moment of liberation there’s a moment of doubt to draw you back to where you began. It all culminates in the closing line, “I don’t care, I don’t have to care anymore. Days go by and I will stay beside you.” Who knew insomnia could sound this good?
You, Forever is out June 1st via Saddle Creek. Click HERE for more information on Sam Evian.
3. Okkervil River Head Straight For The Jugular
It’s strange to think of it, yet the world was very nearly without Okkervil River. As a child, the band’s main songwriter, Will Sheff, went through a number of life threatening moments, and thankfully came out the other side. One particular event led to Will having a tracheotomy that left him with a pronounced scar to show for it, an event which subconsciously he has often hinted back to in his music. On their new single, Famous Tracheotomies, Will faces up to this part of his life head on.
The latest offering from his upcoming album, The Rainbow Rain, Famous Tracheotomies lists of a series of celebrities who’ve gone through the same procedure that a childhood Will went through; from Will’s Mother’s favourite singer, Mary Wells, to some of his own heroes, Ray Davies and Dylan Thomas. From the stripped bare intro, just Will and a gorgeously downbeat keyboard, the song blooms into a slice of melancholic disco; a perfect soundtrack to a 1980’s prom-night, only thirty years too late. Despite it’s potentially dark subject matter, it’s all part of an all-encompassing positivity that engulfs the latest Okkervil River record. This is an album that is happy to be alive, a hopeful set of songs for difficult times, an open invite to run outside in the rainbow rain and be grateful for everything that comes your way.
In The Rainbow Rain is out April 27th via ATO Records. Click HERE for more information on Okkervil River.
2. Follow Alex Dingley Into The Dark
Hailing from Llansteffan in West Wales, Alex Dingley’s third record took him somewhere traditionally thought of as a little more glamorous and a lot easier to pronounce. Decamping to the West Coast of California, Alex worked with Samur Khouja and the aforementioned Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley, and his album Beat The Babble was born. Previously only available in America, courtesy of Birth Records, the record is set for an overdue UK release courtesy of the brilliant Libertino Records.
Ahead of the release, Alex has this week shared the first single from the album, Not Alone In The Dark. A perfectly lo-fi affair, the production finds Alex’s wavering, emotive vocal to the fore atop a backing of primal drums, and distant Velvet Underground-like guitars. Lyrically it starts out questioning the point of it all, “I’ll take light before survival, and sing along with the crazy, I’ll take love before a bible that teaches men how to talk of sin”, before descending into a series of oohs and ahhs, then from nowhere it just stops. Like an old showman, Alex Dingley clearly knows how to leave them wanting more, come June thankfully more is exactly what we’ll get.
Beat The Babble is out June 15th via Libertino Records. Click HERE for more information on Alex Dingley.
1. Amber Arcades Is Simply Heartbreaking
Think about it for very long and you may we’ll conclude that everything around you is changing, morphing, yet at the same time everything in many ways remains the same. Since 2016’s Fading Lines, it’s clear that Annelotte De Graaf, the human being behind the music of Amber Arcades, has been thinking about, well everything. Amber Arcades’ upcoming record, European Heartbreak, is a musing on the state of the continent Annelotte come from, it’s a dissection of the desire to live your best life and to make sure you’re seen doing so, and a discussion on the multiple layers that make up an identity.
Building up to the September release of European Heartbreak, Amber Arcades has this week shared the video to Simple Song, the second part of a three video trilogy, “which tells a modern European (love) story, touching on various thoughts and feelings that inspired my new record.” Musically, Simple Song shows the gentle progress of Amber Arcades’ sound; the driving rhythms and easy guitars remain, yet it’s a crisper sound, each idea more distinct and bolder than ever before, there’s even room for some delightful horn interludes courtesy of the Spacebomb house-band. As with all her best track the joy here is in the contrast, the breezy sound juxtaposing the sadness in the vocal, the confident musical decisions contradicting the doubt written large in the lyrics. September might seem a lifetime away, yet European Heartbreak is sure to be well worth the wait.
European Heartbreak is out September 28th via Heavenly Recordings. Click HERE for more information on Amber Arcades.
Header photo is Amber Arcades by Nick Helderman – http://www.nickhelderman.com