Five years later, the disco is still icy. Italians Do It Better (and production mastermind Johnny Jewel) are finally releasing After Dark 2 on May 17 and this Mirage record, "Let's Kiss," leads the way with glacial funk about falling in love on the run. "Go like a record lady" through a chilly vocoder is an old trick, but there's no need to obscure a frozen feeling.
On "Universe Is Blessed," Wise Blood twists symphonic samples into a bouncy, torch-song ode to drinking and life. For something that seems so electronic and beat-based, there's a palpable sense of atmosphere, melody and space on this one.
Long shrouded in the dust of industrial pop, there was always a chance that Lust For Youth would clean it all up. On "Breaking Silence," Hannes Norrvide not only appears freshly scrubbed, but takes an airier route that trades the aggression and confusion for something a little closer to a distinct sonic heaven.
Subtle and powerful, a push and pull of impulse and emotion, "Fool Of Me" is an alienated, dreamy duet for the 21st century from Say Lou Lou and Chet Faker. As always, relationship problems rest front-and-center, but it's the vocal weaponry and pinpoint production causing the drama here. This one is from the Julian EP – out today from our big brother label Downtown Records.
By the end of the year, Small Black shows are going to have entire crowds of people making out with each other and I don't even hate that. On "No Stranger," they practice open-hearted indie-pop that's more New Order and U2 than dudes in a bedroom. The crisp production highlights superior songwriting and production skills, as well as a real knack for melodies that will make you want to feel emotions and things. May 14 on Jagjaguwar!
On "Tell Me,' it's still a cold, cold world for Soft Metals as cloudy vocals drift over an analog house beat and metallic, eternally-delayed synthesizer swirls. The Los Angeles duo does what they do well – intergalactic crime driving music for both past and future. Hear more when their new one, Lenses, drops on Captured Tracks July 16.
On "Softly Draining Seas," 18-year-old King Krule brethren Jamie Issac goes icy, spacious and emotive – a very 2013 sound. It hits right, though – all melancholy and pretty with all the instruments in tune and impeccably produced. And while there's a clear James Blake influence, Issac seems to view smoothness as a path to deeper atmosphere and washy sorrow.
On "Green Blood," Sonny & The Sunsets goes all classicist jangle and helium pop under a blasé spoken word narrative about loss. Its steady intergalactic pulse chugs into psychedelic atmosphere, but the underlying strum rests firmly in the heart of underground American rock.
On "Don't Remind Me," Jay Arner engages in some scuzzy, towering power-pop – an ode to emotional pain, smoldering guitars and a mile-long sludge of production that touches on a foreign era. Mostly, though, it's just a catchy summer jam that could form a perfect mixtape bridge.
German electronic veteran DJ Koze returned to the world's ears this week with Amygdala, and if you needed additional incentive to listen, check out "Track ID Anyone?" featuring Caribou. Over a sturdy pulse, it's supremely playful as small slips of sound create ample space for Dan Snaith's vocals to cut right on through to your heart.