On September 14th, Orbital will return with their first album in six years. The long-awaited follow-up to Wonky, it’s called Monsters Exist and due out through ACP Recordings.
The legendary UK outfit’s first LP since reuniting live last year, it’s said to be a “more classically structured Orbital album” than its predecessor. It’s also said to draw “inspiration from the international political landscape all the way back from Paul and Phil’s pre-rave squat-punk roots right up to the volatile tensions and erratic rhetoric of today.”
“When you haven’t made an album in five years it just comes tumbling out,” one half of the brother duo, Paul Hartnoll, explains in a press statement. “Because of the global situation I was torn between writing a really aggressive Crass-type album that says ‘Fuck The Man!’ or going back to rave sensibilities. You know, let’s really rebel by stepping away and actually living that alternative lifestyle.”
Although it’s fun to guess just who these monsters are — **cough cough ** — Orbital aren’t naming names. “You don’t need to spell out who the monsters are,” adds Hartnoll. “We’re not pointing our fingers at Donald Trump or Kim Jong-un. It’s clear who the monsters are. I’ve never liked preaching to people. It’s much better to provoke a bit of thought.”
Brother Phil is taking an even more vague approach to the “monsters” concept. “It’s a reflection on modern day monsters,” he says. “That can mean anything from bankers and The Man or your own demons and fears. The monsters inside you.”
To tease the upcoming LP, Orbital have shared lead single “Tiny Foldable Cities” and its music video. Check out the hypnotic offering below.
Monsters Exist Artwork:
Monsters Exist Tracklist:
Standard CD/Deluxe Edition Disc 1: 01. Monsters Exist 02. Hoo Hoo Ha Ha 03. The Raid 04. P.H.U.K. 05. Tiny Foldable Cities 06. Buried Deep Within 07. Vision OnE 08. The End Is Nigh 09. There Will Come A Time (feat. Prof. Brian Cox)
Deluxe Edition Disc 2: 01. Kaiju 02. A Long Way From Home 03. Analogue Test Oct 16 04. Fun With The System 05. Dressing Up In Other People’s Clothes 06. To Dream Again 07. There Will Come A Time – Instrumental 08. Tiny Foldable Cities – Kareful Remix
The two-piece will soon hit the road for a series of tour dates, including multiple festival appearances in Europe.
Orbital 2018 Tour Dates: 05/25 – Belfast, UK @ BBC Biggest Weekend 06/11 – Moscow, RU @ Bosco Fresh Festival 06/15 – London, UK @ Kenwood House 06/29 – Brighton, UK @ Brighton Racecourse 06/30 – Hull, UK @ Innercity 07/13 – Lancashire, UK @ The Beat-Herder Festival 07/14 – Barcelona, ES @ CRUILLA Festival 07/28 – Margate, UK @ Dreamland 07/29 – Bournemouth, UK @ Camp Bestival 08/03 – Amsterdam, NL @ Dekmantel Festival 08/05 – Dublin, IE @ The BeatYard 08/11 – Gateshead, UK @ Sage Gateshead 09/01 – Bristol, UK @ The Downs 09/02 – Silsoe, UK @ Wrest Park 09/08 – Birmingham, UK @ Shiiine On 1 Day Festival 11/18 – Minehead, UK @ Shiiine On Weekender 12/15 – London, UK @ Eventim Apollo 12/18 – Sheffield, UK @ O2 Academy Sheffield 12/19 – Cambridge, UK @ Cambridge Corn Exchange 12/20 – Manchester, UK @ O2 Apollo Manchester
X Japan have gone through a lot in their 35 years of existence. They’ve had to deal with career threatening injuries, brainwashing cults, suicide, and a decade-long breakup. So perhaps it’s understandable that there’s been a 22-year gap between records. Fortuantely, the wait for new music is almost over, as the band confirms in an interview with Consequence of Sound.
The currently untitled effort serves as the long-awaited follow-up to 1996’s Dahlia. In a soon-to-be-published interview, X Japan’s founder, composer, and drummer Yoshiki tells CoS that the record should be out sometime “late summer or early fall.” “Recording’s done pretty much, we just have to mix it,” he says. “It’s pretty edgy. It’s eclectic. Even though people want to say X Japan’s heavy-metal or hard rock, the album is very eclectic and a wide range is covered. I hope this album can contribute in bringing rock to the mainstream. I think I’m pretty confident.”
Much of the LP was recorded at Yoshiki’s private Los Angeles studio and apparently has been in the works for almost 10 years. (An album was originally announced in 2016, but a serious medical situation with guitarist Pata led to that version being shelved.) “I know it’s a long time, but when you listen to the sound you’ll understand why it took that long,” Yoshiki assures fans. “99% of the songs are in English and it’s our first record targeting a worldwide audience.”
“This is the evolved version of X Japan, regardless of what happened in our past, it’s a new album. It’s sentimental because we had 2 deaths since our previous record. I have been influenced by so many types of music, hardcore punk-rock to classical, and everything in between, but I try to focus on the rock side which is my strength. I also try not to think about what people and X Japan fans want. Today, artists can speak to fans directly through social media, don’t get me wrong, their opinions are extremely important, but to create art sometimes you have to be selfish in your own way.”
Stay tuned for more from X Japan when our feature-length interview with Yoshiki runs in the coming weeks. Check out Manson’s Coachella performance of “Sweet Dreams” with the band below.
Jim James has announced his third solo album. It’s called Uniform Distortion and set for a June 29th release date through ATO Records. The project comes just months after Tribute to 2, his covers LP from December, and follows 2016’s Eternally Even, his last solo release of original material.
As a press statement notes, Uniform Distortion was inspired by The Last Whole Earth Catalog, a ’70s-era magazine focused on the environment, sustainable living, and DIY culture. Specifically, the My Morning Jacket frontman was drawn to a photograph titled “Illuminated Man” by Duane Michals. For James, the image made him reflect on society’s near addiction to technology and the way in which we consume information (and misinformation).
James wrote to Michals asking if he could use “Illuminated Man” as the album cover for Uniform Distortion. He was initially rejected, but his second letter finally earned him permission. Here’s a portion of that convincing message he penned to Michals, which also offers some insight into the album’s underlying themes:
“… It [“Illuminated Man”] spoke to me so deeply of how my head feels like it is exploding with the amount of information we are forced to consume on a daily basis and how that information is so DISTORTED there is almost no longer any tangible truth. the name of my new record is “UNIFORM DISTORTION” because i feel like there is this blanket distortion on society/media and the way we gather our “news” and important information…and more and more of us are feeling lost and looking for new ways out of this distortion and back to the truth…and finding hope in places like the desert where i write this email to you now…finding hope in the land and in the water and in old books offering new ideas and most importantly in each other and love.”
The forthcoming LP was self-produced by James and Kevin Ratterman at Louisville’s La La Land studio. James was backed by bassist Seth Kauffman (Floating Action) and longtime touring drummer Dave Givan. Additional vocals were provided throughout by Dear Lemon Trees’ Leslie Stevens, Jamie Drake and Kathleen Grace.
James is previewing the record with lead single “Just A Fool”, as well as its corresponding music video helmed by Ellis Bahl. Check it out abelow.
Uniform Distortion Artwork:
Uniform Distortion Tracklist: 01. Just A Fool 02. You Get To Rome 03. Out of Time 04. Throwback 05. No Secrets 06. Yes To Everything 07. No Use Waiting 08. All In Your Head 09. Better Late Than Never 10. Over and Over 11. Too Good To Be True
Read James’ full letter to Michals:
hello duane- your piece “the illuminated man” was used in “the last whole earth catalogue” in 1971. i wasnt even born yet. i was born in 1978…but i found my copy of “the last whole earth catalogue” about 6 months ago in a thrift store and it blew my mind. i have been feeling increasingly overwhelmed by the speed of technology and its place in our lives and here was this beautiful book/catalogue from the past showing me me all these beautiful things and amazing images to help one learn different ways to look at the world… or “get off the grid?” funny they had no idea back then just how crazy “the grid” would get. or did they?
so i am trying to put down my phone… use the computer and social media less… and just focus on real life and the people i love and my art. of course i am not fully “off the grid” because i am sending you this email in hopes of you changing your mind about letting me use your image as it appeared in “the last whole earth catalogue” in 1971 because when i saw it on the page there it spoke to me so deeply of how my head feels like it is exploding with the amount of information we are forced to consume on a daily basis and how that information is so DISTORTED there is almost no longer any tangible truth. the name of my new record is “UNIFORM DISTORTION” because i feel like there is this blanket distortion on society/media and the way we gather our “news” and important information…and more and more of us are feeling lost and looking for new ways out of this distortion and back to the truth…and finding hope in places like the desert where i write this email to you now…finding hope in the land and in the water and in old books offering new ideas and most importantly in each other and love.
i feel like there was a reason i found “the last whole earth catalogue” and there was a reason your art spoke to me… and i really think it would speak to others who would see it exploding out at them illuminating from the record store shelf or the glow of their phone or computer screen and feel its organic mind blowing distortion connect with this new music.
i also like the natural “distortion” that time and the pulp of the paper meeting the ink from “the last whole earth catalogue” add to your original image and that is why i am asking your permission to use this “distorted” version of your original beautiful image.
The long wait may have something to do with securing funding for the effort. L7 has started a PledgeMusic campaign where you can pre-order the in-the-works album. Early pledgers get access to rewards that include singer Donita Sparks’ personal recording microphone, a signed turntable used in 1994’s “Andres” video, and plenty of vinyl. Find a trailer for the new album below.
Tomorrow, L7 kick off an international tour that finds the band hopping from the East Coast and Midwest to countries like Spain, France, and Switzerland. See the full tour itinerary below.
L7 2018 Tour Dates: 04/10 – Jersey City, NJ @ White Eagle Hall 04/11 – Boston, MA @ Paradise 04/12 – New York, NY @ Brooklyn Steel 04/13 – Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero 04/15 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom 04/16 – Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Club 04/18 – Indianapolis, IN @ Vogue 04/19 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue 04/20 – Chicago, IL @ Metro 04/21 – Detroit, MI @ El Club (A John Waters Birthday w. L7 & John Waters) 05/27 – Las Vegas, NV @ Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival 06/09 – Leicestershire, UK @ Download Festival UK 06/29-30 – Madrid, SP @ Download Madrid 06/13 – Paris, FR @ La Cigale 06/15 – Amsterdam, NL @ Melkweg Amsterdam 06/17 – Berlin, DE @ SO36 06/21-24 – Dessel, BE @ Graspop Metal Meeting 06/27 – Zürich, CH @ Dynamo Zürich (offiziell) 06/28 – Segrate, IT @ Circolo Magnolia, Punk In Drublic 07/23 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme 07/24 – Detroit, MI @ St. Andrew’s Hall 07/25 – Toronto, ON @ The Danforth Music Hall 07/27 – Montreal, QB @ 77 Festival 10/06 – Glasgow, UK @ Garage 12/06 – London, UK @ Electric Ballroom
Today brings the release of The Weeknd’s surprise new project, My Dear Melancholy,. Subscribers of Apple Music and Spotify can now stream it in full.
Earlier today, Abel Tesfaye announced via Instagram that he’d be dropping something called My Dear Melancholy, and though it carried an air of mystery the reveal that it was a brand new album was spoiled by a billboard advertising its release. It’s the Toronto artist’s fourth studio effort, following his Grammy Award-winning 2016 LP, Starboy.
“Abel new album is scary,” rapper Travis Scott wrote on Twitter earlier this month. “It’s like when I heard him for the first time.” Scott’s comments align with an accompanying Apple Music description, which describes Tesfaye as returning “to his unfiltered, art-house roots with a release so intimate and tortured, you’ll feel like a fly on his bedroom wall.”
The album spans six tracks and features production from Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, Gesaffelstein, Mike WiLL Made-It, Skrillex, and Frank Dukes.
When last we heard from The Weeknd, the crooner was teaming up with Kendrick Lamar on the Black Panther soundtrack’s “Pray For Me”. Next month, he’ll play a headlining set at Coachella.
My Dear Melancholy, Artwork:
My Dear Melancholy, Tracklist: 01. Call Out My Name (prod. Frank Dukes) 02. Try Me (prod. Mike WiLL Made-It, Marz, Frank Dukes & Daheala) 03. Wasted Times (prod. (Frank Dukes; co-produced by Skrillex) 04. I Was Never There (prod. Gesaffelstein & Frank Dukes) 05. Hurt You (prod. Gesaffelstein, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo; co-produced by Cirkut) 06. Privilege (prod. Frank Dukes & Daheala)
Track by Track is a recurring new music feature that finds an artist breaking down the entirety of their latest album.
Robert Pollard is well-known for redefining what it means to be prolific. The 60-year-old rocker’s career has consisted of over 100 albums, a number he hit just last year with Guided By Voices’ first double LP, August By Cake. The indie alternative outfit also dropped How Do You Spell Heaven in 2017, but 2018 will see Pollard and the group deliver only one full-length. It’s calledSpace Gun and is out March 23rd. Well ahead of the street date, you can stream it in full below.
Pollard recored Space Gun with GBV’s most recent lineup, a mix of veterans (Doug Gillard and Kevin March) and newcomers (Mark Shue and Bobby Bare Jr.). The band mastermind has said he feels invigorated by the current mix of musicians, and that their “adroit talents pushes him to more daring and dizzying heights.”
Take a listen to Space Gun below to see just where those new heights take Guided By Voices.
For more insight into GBV’s latest offering, guitarist Doug Gillard has broken down the album track by track. See what he has to say below.
“Space Gun”: A powerful opener, layered guitars & analog synth white noise. I think this is what’s meant by “tour de force,” musically speaking.
“Colonel Paper”: Adventures in late-night trash can grazing. Tried to have a super thin guitar sound & still make the song muscly. Bob’s vocals, Mark’s bass, Kevin’s drums and Travis Harrison at the board all helped to achieve that.
“King Flute”: Song about King Flute, an “ill-fate squire.” Some great drum fills by Mr. March, and I added a mellotron flute part by way of my smartphone.
“Ark Technician”: Third consecutive number featuring a character named in the title. But unlike fantastical protagonists Col. Paper and King Flute, this Ark Technician may be more autobiographical, though veiled in its conveyance. And if you couldn’t give a rip about all that, you can just enjoy the beautiful damn song.
“See My Field”: A great Pollard melody inside of a yearning, pretty rock song. Bob wanted strings on this so it features a combination of mellotron with strings.
“Liar’s Box”: A song kerning towards prog but still flowing and catchy, culminating in the refrain, “Summons of a glass/ To a sad, sad heaven.”
“Blink Blank”: A hyperbolic post-punk observation on the current state of the world to end side A.
“Daily Get Ups”: A song you could get up to daily, meaning wake up to. It’s peppy and cool.
“Hudson Rake”: “Its funky on the Avalon.” You are implored to “Do the Hudson Rake,” which may be an imaginary dance, but whether it is or not, it denotes a giant yard tool that would dredge up all the bodies dumped in the Hudson by the rat smashers.
“Sport Component National”: A multi-part song about SCN, a TV sports channel, tied together by the intro/re-intro brought to you by sinister Beach Boys. “There’s a night game breaking out”.
“I Love Kangaroos”: Kids of all ages will love “I Love Kangaroos”, a song about traveling and sailing. A power-pop song you can slow dance to. I would say its super-catchy, but so are most of the songs on Space Gun.
“Grey Spat Matters”: Short heavy scorcher with incredible vocals. Infectious. One of several we tracked to two-inch tape.
“That’s Good”: A ballad that Bob had written some years ago. A melancholy song with an amazing melody that builds. This is another one that called for strings, and I was honored to arrange them for this song, which includes more mixing feats by Travis Harrison.
“Flight Advantage”: We had fun recording this one together as a band. “Birds will fly, the spiders will dance,” but it’s a heavy rock song, like something from Tommy-era Who, sped up.
“Evolution Circus”: Heavy album closer dealing with history, explorers and Biblical ghettos, featuring some Bare Jr. harmonies near the end.
10 5 Things… is a recurring new music feature that lets an artist go H.A.M. on a particular topic.
This year marks 10 years since White Mystery first started rocking out in the Chicago DIY scene. To celebrate, the sibling duo are doing what they’ve done every anniversary since 2010: releasing a brand new album on April 20th.
Hellion Blender is the band’s ninth full-length overall, and caps off the mission they set for themselves when they first started: to release one album every 365 days. The 10-track effort once again demonstrates the seamless collaborative energy between Miss Alex White and Francis Scott Key White as they tear through a garage worth genres, from the country-tinged punk of “Goody Two Shoes” to the psychedelic jamming of “Paint Yo’Nails”.
The latter track, a thumping trip of wahing guitar and drums that shift from sashaying to pummeling, is being debuted today to preview the record. Take a listen below.
Pre-orders for Hellion Blender are going on here. To further commemorate their 10th anniversary, White Mystery have decided to pull back the veil on five secrets they’ve kept hidden over their years as a band.
White Mystery, photo by Diane Alexander White
White Mystery filmed a super secret music video on the rooftop of Chicago’s tallest building that may never see the light of day. The city-born sibling duo performed an ode to their hometown, “Take A Walk”, on an industrial level so high it was “where the window washers push off.” And yes, it was very windy! An employee of the facility confirmed that White Mystery is indeed the first band to ever play at that elevation in the city. (Photo attached, by Diane Alexander White )
Years ago, White Mystery was invited to perform in a Terrence Malick film based in Austin, Texas. Low and behold, Alex and Francis jammed with Robert Plant from Led Zepplin on the movie set. The White Mystery/Robert Plant trio jammed blues standards whilst on camera for a dazzling cast of stars, which included Ryan Gosling. It was truly a spiritual experience, and Francis even had a speaking part. Unfortunately, the footage was left on the cutting room floor.
Four Syllable Titles:
White Mystery has released a new album every year on April 20 for the past decade, and until now, adhered to a strict album naming pattern of only four syllable titles. The song White Mystery, “Rapid Overdrive” also contains a hidden secret, with each word in the song spelling out “ROYGBIV” and “CMYK,” the colors of the rainbow, and printable spectrum of hues.
4/20 Possession Ticket:
Francis shot off a bottle rocket outside of the Cake Shop in Manhattan, New York and got busted by the police on April 20, 2012. They took his weed and wrote him a ticket, but don’t worry, the ticket was written incorrectly and got thrown out.
Bar Room Brawl:
Folks close to the band know that White Mystery was involved in a vicious bar room brawl in Austria while on it’s first European tour. There was punching, kicking, screaming, biting, and then, lawyers. Fortunately, they beat the case with help from the club’s sound guy, and are able to return to the European country where it took place. Francis walked away with a nasty shiner, but you should have seen the other guy.
Hellion Blender Artwork:
Hellion Blender Tracklist: 01. Boy Next Door 02. Two Flast 03. Penny Saved 04. Paint Yo’Nails 05. Unlucky XIII 06. Goody Two Shoes 07. Ghost Signs 08. White Mystery TV 09. Disco Ball 10. Part Deux
Iceage returned in February with a song called “Catch It”. Turns out the single is off the Copenhagen outfit’s newly announced fourth studio album, Beyondless, due out May 4th through Matador Records.
The 10-track effort follows 2014’s acclaimed Plowing Into the Fieldand is said to see Iceage “finally catching up with their ambition, all the while retaining the rich character of the band’s brash beginnings.” It was recorded all-analog by Mattias Glavå at Kungsten Studios in Sweden and features production from the band with assistance from Nis Bysted. Additional instruments (violin, trumpet, saxophones, trombones) were also brought in during the sessions.
To coincide with the album news, the punk group — that’s Elias Bender Rønnenfelt (vocals, lyrics), Jakob Tvilling Pless (bass), Dan Kjær Nielsen (drums), and Johan Wieth (guitar) — have shared “Pain Killer”, a collaboration with Sky Ferreira. Hear it below.
Beyondless Album Artwork:
Beyondless Tracklist: 01. Hurrah 02. Pain Killer 03. Under the sun 04. The day the music dies 05. Plead the fifth 06. Catch it 07. Thieves like us 08. Take it all 09. Showtime 10. Beyondless
Iceage have also mapped out new concert residencies in the cities of New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. Set for March and April, they come just a few weeks before the band is set to embark on its previously announced North American tour.
Iceage 2018 Tour Dates: 03/22 – Brooklyn, NY @ Kinfolk 03/23 – Brooklyn, NY @ Kinfolk 03/24 – Brooklyn, NY @ Babycastles 03/25 – Brooklyn, NY @ Secret Project Robot 03/29 – Los Angeles, CA @ Gold Diggers Bar 03/30 – Los Angeles, CA @ Gold Diggers Bar 03/31 – Los Angeles, CA @ Gold Diggers Bar 04/01 – Los Angeles, CA @ Gold Diggers Bar 04/03 – Kyoto, JP @ Metro 04/06 – Tokyo, JP @ Duo 04/08 – Tokyo, JP @ Vacant 05/02 – Copenhagen, DE @ Hotel Cecil 05/04 – Berlin, DE @ Private Club 05/05 – Amsterdam, NE @ Bitterzoet 05/06 – Brussels, BE @ La Nuit De Botanique 05/07 – Paris, FR @ Petit Bain 05/08 – London, UK @ Scala 05/10 – Seattle, WA @ Nordic Museum 05/16 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom 05/17 – Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church 05/18 – Washington, DC @ Union Stage 05/19 – Richmond, VA @ The Camel 05/20 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle 05/21 – Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge 05/22 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl 05/23 – Birmingham, AL @ Saturn 05/24 – New Orleans, LA @ Santos 05/25 – Houston, TX @ Rockefeller’s 05/26 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada 05/27 – Austin, TX @ Barracuda 06/05 – San Diego, CA @ The Casbah * 06/06 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Regent Theater * 06/07 – Felton, CA @ Don Quixote’s International Music Hall * 06/08 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall * 06/09 – Sonoma, CA @ Huichica Music Festival * 06/11 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios * 06/12 – Vancouver, BC @ The Astoria * 06/14 – Spokane, WA @ The Bartlett * 06/15 – Bozeman, MT @ The Rialto * 06/16 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court * 06/17 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater * 06/18 – Omaha, NE @ Waiting Room * 06/19 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St Entry * 06/20 – Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club * 06/22 – Detroit, MI @ El Club * 06/23 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace * 06/24 – Ottawa, ON @ The 27 Club * 06/25 – Montreal, QC @ La Sala Rossa * 06/26 – Portsmouth, NH @ 3S Artspace * 06/27 – Boston, MA @ The Sinclair * 06/28 – New York, NY @ Market Hotel *
* = w/ Mary Lattimore
Punk icon Richard Hell also wrote an essay on the new album titled, “The New Iceage”:
I can totally imagine myself as a kid lying in my closed-door room in the dark, listening to this band and getting what I need, the way a band can make a person feel seen and bring confidence, sometimes even represent an ideal. Or maybe I’m already all defiant and self-certain, and I identify with Iceage because they are too, and they’re who I want to represent me in music. It’s a weird combination of qualities that a rock and roll band and their recordings presents to their young crowd, imparts to them. The music being pure emotion, the strong emotions of youth—anger, sadness, contempt, longing—as well as energy and sex, and the band’s demonstration that it gracefully owns and provides those things, consoling their followers in all the confusion.
What is it that Iceage in particular brings? A large number of extraordinary things. (Poetry! But more about that later.) The band members were childhood friends, which is always good news. They’re like a small urban gang, faithful to each other, suspicious of outsiders (of which music journalists like me are the most suspect examples). At the same time, they seem mature and competent, which is almost too much to hope for. They not only play and compose well, but the production of their records, from the very beginning, and at the music’s most chaotic, is impeccable. Their presentation is as hardcore anarchic as any, but much better played, mixed, and recorded than most.
And then there’s the poetry and the intelligence. The members of Iceage are not only smart but hyper literate. Interviews with E. Rønnenfelt, the lead singer and lyricist of the band, find him mentioning Carson McCullers, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter; Georges Bataille, Story of the Eye; Peter Shaffer’s Equus; Mishima, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea; Genet’s Thief’s Journal and Miracle of the Rose; The Torture Garden by Octave Mirbeau; Henry Miller on Writing; and James Agee’s A Death in the Family, and that’s in a total of four interviews. It’s not that he flaunts it; he’s simply honest and naturally acknowledges it.
The lyrics of Iceage songs have the most sophisticated vocabulary I can remember finding in rock music. Here’s a favorite example, from “Pain Killer” on the new album:
Praying at the altar of your legs and feet Your saliva is a drug so bittersweet I’ll arrogate what’s there to take In an evanescent embrace
…“Arrogate”??? I half know the word, but I had to look it up to be certain. It means “to claim or seize without justification.” It’s funny because its Latin root also underlies the word “arrogant,” which one might be tempted to apply to Rønnenfelt for the contempt he shows for people who try to understand him. But I sympathize. It is extremely annoying to be characterized by other people. And the shading of meaning of the word “arrogate” brings a subtlety to those lyrics of his that “take” or “seize” or “claim” wouldn’t. Frankly, though, what I really like about those lines is the concept of praying to his lover’s feet. That’s good. It makes me think of a similar instance in another poet, Charles Baudelaire, who wrote in his “Hymn to Beauty”:
Who cares if you come from paradise or hell, appalling Beauty, artless and monstrous scourge, if only your eyes, your smile or your foot reveal the infinite I love and have never known?
Electronica prodigy Nicolas Jaar dropped a new album, 2012-2017, last week and you probably had no idea. That’s because it was released with little fanfare under his A.A.L. (Against All Logic) moniker via the artist’s own Other People label. Pitchfork brought the record to everyone’s attention, and lest you think it’s quiet rollout was due to a lack of confidence in the material, fear not—2012-2017 is really, really good.
More upbeat than his standard brand of stormy, fractured dance music, 2012-2017 feels firmly rooted in house, with many of the songs being built around infectious soul and funk samples, though “Such a Bad Way” draws upon Kanye West’s “I Am a God”. A mix of original material and previously released songs, 2012-2017 dropped last Saturday, February 17th.
A.A.L. isn’t Jaar’s only pseudonym. He also makes music under the alias Iva Gocheva, and performs alongside Dave Harrington as Darkside (and, if they’re remixing Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, Daftside). Jaar’s last release under his own name was 2016’s Sirens.
“I see things like Against All Logic as a continuation of that,” he told Crack Magazinein a recent interview. “I always find it funny when announcements say something is ‘the first Nicolas Jaar single in three years,’ as I’ve put out work under many different names.”
Listen to it in full below, and pick up your own copy on the Other People website.
Track by Track is a recurring new music feature in which an artist takes us through each song on their latest album.
It’s refreshing to see an album so completely indistinguishable from the artist who created it that their personality is right there on the cover. LONER, the sophomore effort of singer-songwriter Caroline Rose, is truly an expression of both passion and personality, with Rose writing and arranging every song on the record as well as standing front and center on both its artwork and in its music videos. To just look at the cover image — Rose, glazed over in fitness gear, lighting a pack’s worth of cigarettes — is to grasp the album’s blend of humor, yearning, and sarcasm. In an era of endless, ear-numbing streams, LONER grabs your chin and commands your eyes.
Alongside producer Paul Butler, Rose oscillated between keys, guitar, and bass while also programming the synths and drums and taking on mixing duties. The result is a bold, kaleidoscopic collection that propels Rose far beyond the fetching rockabilly of her debut, 2014’s I Will Not Be Afraid. LONER dabbles in a bit of everything: A rubbery bass line pulses beneath tactile, cabasa-like twists amidst the self-aware sleaze of “Soul No. 5”, plucking violin strings form a sturdy spine for the single’s lament that is “Getting To Me”, and pop-inspired synths snake their way through nearly every corner of the record. “I’d say this album was as much inspired by Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears as it was late-’70s punk,” Rose says in a press release.
LONER is out today, and you can stream the whole thing below via Spotify and/or Apple Music.
To give further insight about LONER, Rose takes us through the LP Track by Track, sharing which song’s her favorite, which one was written entirely on an OP-1, and which one reminds her of “Mambo No. 5” (spoiler: It’s “Soul No. 5”).
“More Of The Same”: I often think about things like faith and what we choose to put our faith in. When I was a kid I used to put my faith in everything, I believed in everything. I was convinced that magic and Yoda were real. I literally practiced moving things with my brain knowing that one day I would be able to master the skill. When I wrote this song I was channeling that moment of disillusionment when this faith in things, in people, in the world, starts to fade. In the song I liken the feeling to floating around in a vacuum of space, but this is really just a visual for when the magic trick is revealed and suddenly you don’t know what to believe in anymore. When the flaws in people and in things you love are discovered, it’s a growing pain that’s both humbling and disappointing.
“Cry!”: I always imagined a sort of demented prom queen character in this song, like a blend between Carrie and Drop Dead Gorgeous. I visualize a lot of my songs, so they sort of end up becoming movies in my head, but obviously they start out from a place of personal experience. I wrote this as if I’m having a conversation with myself, kind of like the angel and devil sitting on my shoulders. I was doubting myself, feeling like I couldn’t be what people were asking of me, that I’d choke under the pressure of it all. As we all know it’s a common stereotype that women can’t handle their emotions in pressure situations, so the song also plays with the conflicting feeling knowing that if I were to choke under pressure I’d just become another stereotype.
“Money”: Ha! I don’t know how much there is to say about this, it’s not really mysterious in any way, nor is it preachy. I want and need money just as much as anybody else. It’s pretty self-explanatory methinks.
“Jeannie Becomes a Mom”: This is my favorite song on the record. I wrote the entire thing, hooks and all, on an OP-1, which is an amazing little digital synth you can fit in a backpack. I love playing this tune but I also love the story it tells. It was loosely inspired by a friend who accidentally got pregnant, but I took a lot of creative liberty with it and blended a lot of things I was feeling in my own life. Every so often I’ll have bouts of pretty bad anxiety, where it feels like I’m running out of time. It makes me think about all my goals, that no matter how many dreams I fulfill I’m never going to be able to outrun time or my often rude reality. Jeannie is a little bit of me and a little bit of my friend and a lot bit of everyone attempting to build a dream-life for themselves.
“Getting To Me”: I remember exactly when and where I wrote this. It was in my little apartment in Vermont I’d painted to look like a hacienda-meets-bizarro-taxidermy-shop. I was extremely lonely at the time. I hadn’t dated in years and really wanted to be with someone. Tinder was not for me but it seemed to be the only way to meet queer people in an predominantly straight place, which felt doubly lonely. I remember walking down the street and seeing couples everywhere. Every time I’d go to a restaurant alone I’d have to watch the waiter take away the place setting across from me. I eventually just started sitting at the counter and found it funny that that’s where all the single people sit. It’s interesting what you notice when you’re alone with your own thoughts.
“To Die Today”: Thinking about death, to me, helps me fully appreciate life. I’ve heard that a near-death experience is extremely sensory, that it can feel like a warm wash come over you, the relief of leaving your body, or like you’re covered in light. I’d really rather not die any time soon but I would love to experience this. Sometimes it brings me real comfort knowing that all the pain in life is only temporary.
“Soul No. 5”: This song has gone through five different versions, hence the “No. 5” (also because it fondly reminds me of “Mambo No. 5”). I wrote the original years ago, but it always bugged me how earnest it was. As my style took shape I found the lyrics just didn’t challenge me anymore, so when we were in the studio my co-producer Paul Butler gave me really good advice. He said, “just take the piss out of it”, which in British means, “have fun with it”. It makes me laugh now. I am not ashamed in the least that it’s a feel-good song.
“Smile! AKA Schizodrift Jam 1 AKA Bikini Intro”: (haha) What a ridiculous song! This is most definitely poking fun at all the times I’ve been told to smile in my life. I originally had twice as many voices in here but having to listen to them over and over was slowly dragging Paul closer to the brink of insanity. They’re mostly mine and Paul’s pitch-shifted, but he also found a way to record these robot voices from the internet, which were pretty hilarious. Schizodrift is what I call my genre of music and “Schizodrift Jam 1” was this amazing jam I’d recorded of my old band playing together for the first time. This is us recreating the jam sesh.
“Bikini”: I love this one so much, it’s my riot grrl feminist surf punk anthem. It’s about so many things, but mostly about being female-identifying in the entertainment industry and the standard we’re supposed to live up to. This one’s best listened to with middle fingers up.
Caroline Rose, photo by Matt Hogan
“Talk”: Whenever I get anxious or slightly manic the paranoia immediately sets in. I wouldn’t say my music is fettered with paranoia but it definitely makes an appearance more often than not. In this case you’d think I’d be talking about trash talk from other people, but I’m really pointing out the loud chatter in my own head. I am and always have been my own worst enemy, which I think is true for a lot of people out there.
“Animal”: This is as close to a love song as you’ll get on this album. In the most blunt sense it’s about a very visceral jealousy I’d had over an ex who was falling in love with someone new (I like that you can’t really tell if I’m jealous of the man or the woman in the story). It was very painful because I really thought I was over it and had moved on, but when you realize you’re still in love with someone the thought of them being physical with someone else drives you mental. Your imagination starts playing very mean tricks on you.
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