Haunting, female-fronted electronic ice-pop—we’ve been in this kind of storm before (see: Bat For Lashes, Fever Ray, etc). Toronto’s Austra transports to a familiar atmosphere, and yet, like those other acts, they’ve filled it with forces distinct enough to keep the air from getting stale. Everything at play here feels clean; beats give off a cold, metallic sheen, and Katie Stelmanis’ vocals strike with crystal-clear potency. Actively moody, not murky, Feel It Break can keep a pulse moving right along with a mind. Judging by the dark ripple felt through blogworld in recent months, this proper debut has certainly generated a healthy buzz.
They don’t really make em’ much more ambitious than Rome, a conceptual album of sorts founded in mutual love for classic Italian film scores, brought to us two accomplished producers and composers, recorded with era-specific session vets, and graced with the vocal talents of Jack White and Norah Jones. Not to mention a neato Google Chrome enabled interactive film to really get it trending. That cast alone could swell this spaghetti western into excess, but all seems to be contained within the frames of a basic vision…be it one giant, panorama at that.
Leftfield theatrics took a noticeable move towards the center of the sonic landscape at the end of last decade. Which might be good news for Planningtorock, whose only record to date made a silent splash in 2006, and probably weirded-out a fair share of folks while doing so. In other words, we could be ready for Janine Rostron this time. Or—ready as we’ll ever be, since she’s now pitched her voice way down and added a monstrous saxophone presence on W, plus one exceptional prosthetic nose.
As more pieces on the ‘San Francisco sound’ reach into metaphorical garages and pull out dusty gems, bands like Thee Oh Sees might gain an appreciation outside of cult praise, and hardly anyone deservers that development more than John Dwyer. His single engine psyche-rock project turned full-steam band has been rather prolific, now on its 8th (or so) full length in four years. And Castlemania is as good a place as any to jump in, balancing the noisy riffs and tambourine fills of a well-recorded four-piece and the weird little experimental stretches of an overactive songwriter, still very much playing around.
Jay Reatard: Teenage Hate / Fuck Elvis Here’s the Reatards Reissue
The reissuing of Jay Reatard’s earliest recordings marks both a celebration of a gone-too-soon punk legend, and a real opportunity to hear a teenager on the raw brink of something big—an experience previously only accessible by cassette.