Five Things We Liked This Week – 18/09/20

Further Listening:

5. It’s Easy To Get Rapt Up In Things But None Of This Will Matter

We don’t feature a whole lot of stars of the extreme metal scene on this site, but then not many of them are making music quite like Jacob Ware. A co-founder of death-metal band Enslavement, Jacob spent eight years pursuing that passion, before deciding it was time for his other musical passions, and Rapt is the result. Incorporating elements of slowcore, folk and ambient electronica, the debut Rapt album, None Of This Will Matter is out in October, and this week he’s shared the latest single from it, Headlights.

Headlights is a gorgeous moment of escapism, lush finger-picked guitars creating a hypnotic backing to Jacob’s whispered, reverberating vocal. Lyrically, the track seems to explore a fading relationship, with the rose-tinted glasses ripped off, “you grabbed my arm, in the dead night and said, ‘Hey let’s dance again’, we’d never been out dancing, we’d only wait in line” he sings, as if struggling to even remember the good times, unsure they ever existed. At the tracks end he repeatedly asks, “for whom do you burn so bright”, as if unable to even countenance the idea it could be for him. Recalling acts like Angelo De Augustine or Julien Baker, Rapt seems perfectly designed for the strains of summer’s ends, the sound of shortening days and a gentle chill, it’s almost a shame it arrives in the midst of a mini-heatwave, by the time the album arrives in October, it might just be perfect.

None Of This Will Matter is out October 2nd via Z Tapes Records. Click HERE for more information on Rapt.

4. It’s About Time The Mountain Goats Got Famous

For nearly three decades under the Mountain Goats moniker, John Darnielle has been honing his craft as a songwriter and story-teller, shifting from those early direct-to-boombox recordings to elaborate concept albums about Professional Wrestling and Dungeons & Dragons, and generally finding a way to do whatever he wants. His latest project manifests in the new album, Getting Into Knives, “the perfect album for the millions of us who have spent many idle hours contemplating whether we ought to be honest with ourselves and just get massively into knives”. The album was laid to tape in the legendary Sam Phillips Recordings studio, an attempt to capture the spirit of the touring show that has blossomed with their current four-piece band. The album will arrive on Merge at the end of next month, and this week they’ve shared the latest single from it, Get Famous.

While anyone who has even cast a flitting eye in the direction of The Mountain Goats’ music will probably realise, the thought of actually getting famous has never been top of their to-do-list. Instead here the idea is presented like acid in John’s mouth, spitting out his words at fame hungry stars, “light up the sky like a comet, make yourself want to vomit, shine like a cursed star, show everybody exactly who you are”. He even throws in a reference to Wesley Willis, the cult singer-songwriter, diagnosed with schizophrenia who was in some ways the antithesis of fame itself, to the point he was noted for greeting his fans with a headbutt. Like most of the best moments of The Mountain Goats, the playful lyricism is combined with some genuinely fabulous music, here they seem to channel the spirit of The Swampers or the Spacebomb House Band, combining virtuoso musical talent with a sense of undeniable fun, from the howling organ to the bright brass flourishes, surely destined for choreographed performances once you’re allowed enough people on a stage at one time. A band who know exactly what they’re doing and are at the top of their game, The Mountain Goats might never have sounded better, let’s just hope for their sake they don’t get famous because of it.

Getting Into Knives is out October 26th via Merge. Click HERE for more information on The Mountain Goats.

3. A.O. Gerber’s Bloody Good New Single

To our minds at least, A.O. Gerber has been one of the break-out artists of 2020. The Los Angeles-based songwriter released her debut album, Another Place To Need, back in May on Hand In Hive, drawing acclaim from the likes of NPR, Gold Flake Paint and The Line Of Best Fit. The result of three years of recording, the album’s release should have brought with it a host of exciting tour dates, instead A.O. has found herself balancing a full-time job, while debating the importance of sharing music in a turbulent world. With that in mind, today marks the release of A.O’s new stripped back EP, Another Other Place, featuring three re-workings of tracks from her debut album, previewed earlier this week by the wonderful Bleeders (stripped).

While these recordings are new, the inspiration behind them actually dates back to when the tracks were first written, as A.O. explains, “there was a spooky quality to the original demo of “Strangers” that I loved and I almost released it that way initially“. Inspired by the sound of that demo, A.O. sought to capture the same quality in Bleeders, a track that, “came from very dark moments in my life“. While the album version of Bleeders stands out for it’s processed beat and wobbly synth bed, here A.O. seems to channel a different world. Her voice is raw and crackling, the only adornment coming from the reverberating piano, sounding like she’s alone in some cavernous hall, almost absent mindedly plucking out chords as her minds runs circles, trying to make sense of it all, “blue eyes tearing their way through my heart all your true lies I sentence myself, it’s the darkest part of your holy grip on me”. Peeling back the layers of the track seems to somehow get down it’s very core, the troubled tenderness, the quiet longing, the perfect escapism, it’s really rather magical.

Another Other Place is out today via Hand In Hive. Click HERE for more information on A.O. Gerber.

2. We’ve Got No Reservations About Lambchop

Kurt Wagner, and his rotating cast of musicians who’ve made up Lambchop at one point or another have been making music since the mid-1980’s and have tried their hand at pretty much every style going. Back in the autumn of 2019, Kurt had an idea, instead of heading out on a financially unviable tour, he would instead invite his current band into the studio to make a covers record. Each member would bring a track of their choosing and in a single day, take control over recording their chosen song. The result is the upcoming album, TRIP, out in November, and previewed this week in the shape of the band’s take on the Wilco-classic, Reservations.

Reservations was picked by Matthew McCaughan, after much stressing about his choice, “I decided I would pick a song that, while I love it, and know it, it wasn’t one that had been on repeat for months at some point in my life, nor was it one that is permanently tied to some memory of my own“. Part of the thinking behind the choice was not so much about the original, but instead what Lambchop could make of it, here Kurt’s vocal is pushed up in the mix, with the fizz and the hum of the original chorus replaced by cooed vocal harmonies and dancing woodwind melodies. What Lambchop’s version hangs onto is the beautiful simplicity of Jeff Tweedy’s lyrics, the line, “I’ve got reservations about so many things, but not about you”, still every bit as wonderful as the first time you heard it. As Kurt says of the project, and his career as a whole, “it’s been a trip”, if they also sound this enticing it’s a journey we’re going to want to make many more times.

TRIP is out November 13th via City Slang. Click HERE for more information on Lambchop.

1. Have A Wee Dram Of Lande Hekt

Probably best known as a member of Muncie Girls, Lande Hekt first caught our ear with last year’s EP, Gigantic Disappointment. That release was recorded in the Adelaide Hills, and when returning to Australia to tour earlier this year, Lande went back to the studio, and working with producer, Ben David, put down the tracks that make up her debut solo album, Going To Hell. The record will be released in January next year, and this week Lande has shared the first taste of it, in the shape of new single, Whiskey.

The first song that Lande has shared as an openly gay person, like much of Going To Hell, Whiskey focuses in on the experience of coming out. As Lande explains, Whiskey is, “about learning how to come to terms with being gay or, more accurately, realising that pretending you’re not gay can’t go on forever“. While there’s inevitable difficulties in coming out, here Lande seems to focus on the huge positives, think about, “how there were so many things that didn’t feel right“, and the realisation of the relief of living your own truth. Musically, Lande seems to borrow from a vast array of influences from the driving guitars that are pure Sharon Van Etten to the easy vocal style and the shimmering outro The Twilight Sad would be proud of. The track concludes with Lande’s repeated pronouncement, “is it the feeling of not having to pretend?”, arriving like a striking realisation that happiness lies in understanding the freedom being yourself can bring.

Going To Hell is out January 22nd via Get Better Records. Click HERE for more information on Lande Hekt.

Header photo is Lande Hekt by @gingerdope

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