On "Always," Friendzone continues pushing their flighty button-mashing to new heights. It's like a sample funhouse filled with kaleidoscopes, a clattering beat underneath and eventual key-horn melody to make the proceedings appropriately operatic.
From a deadpan joke in his film Coffee And Cigarettes, Jim Jarmusch has turned his iconic dialogue into a rumbling post-rock band called SQÜRL. On "Pink Dust," he shows it legitimately rules, too. The song is a psychedelic mountain with huge, patient guitars and drums just as gigantic. Similar to instrumentals on the soundtrack to The Limits Of Control – where this formation made its first appearance – this track is a natural electric atmosphere to get lost within.
Drifters/Love Is The Devil, the new two-for-one from Dirty Beaches, covers a lot of ground. It's gut-wrenching, disconcerting and still hypnotic enough to throw waves of nostalgia and melancholy right in your face. "Landscapes In The Mist" closes out Drifters and functions as a bridge to the dronier, ultra-sad instrumentals contained within the second record. It sounds like a dying jazz band tuning-up while you pull away from shore on a barge.
1939 Ensemble, a duo consisting of Jose Medeles (The Breeders) and David Coniglio, have a real way with rhythm. Emerging from the hazy netherworld of post-rock ghosts, "Sabotage" finds the group making spy music with drums, vibraphone and little else. It's mysterious, catchy and circular enough to get lost in. Hear more on Howl & Bite – out April 16 via Jealous Butcher Records.
Smooth, timeless, from another world or just plain mood music, Menahan Street Band has the soulful instrumental game lock. On "The Crossing," the Daptone Records band engages in some harp trickery, lovely snaking horns and a bouncy beat that should be primed for hip-hop sampling just like many of the gems on their 2008 debut Make The Road By Walking. This one is the title track from their new album, which is out now.
AraabMuzik wears many hats, and today he's treating fans to a little bit of everything. As the name would imply, "After Hours" is a dark, hazy, sexy late-night romp through tranced-out, MPC-punishing territory. Then, on the also clearly-titled "Araab Styles," NY legend Styles P adds the vocal flourishes, going Big City all over the song's spooky Halloween-tinged beat. Whatever your flavor, both tracks go hard.
The propulsive introduction to Coves’ “No Ladder” builds and builds to no avail in the hands of UK motoriks TOY. And the result? A hypnotic, atmospheric jam that stretches and contracts with each drum beat and fluttering synth-n-guitar psych wall. All instrumental, all great. A gentle primer for the Echo & The Bunnymen openers, if we ever heard one. Check Coves’ current EP here, with purchase options on their site now.
(Photo: Evan Tetreault)
Massachusetts post-rock band Caspian will release its third album, Waking Season, on September 25 via Triple Crown Records. The effort, a follow-up to the band’s 2009 album Tertia, was produced by Matt Bayles (Isis, Mastodon) and collects instrumental numbers that feel like less morose cousins of Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. “Halls Of The Summer” is an airy number that balances a twinkling melody with darker, gloomier undertones.
On "Appian Way," Land Observations, a solo project of one James Brooks, immediately locks-in to a tension-filled hypnosis that could easily culminate in a rhythmic explosion. It really confounds, though, opting for beautiful layered guitars in a subtle, minimalist build that emphasizes small differences and languid, cascading arpeggios. Roman Roads IV-XI is the album, and it's coming October 23 on Mute.
(Photo: David Black)
With Badlands, Dirty Beaches divided listeners. Some loved the dirtied-up throwback Americana and some thought it was a classic case of style over substance. I was always in that substantial camp. Those songs weren't only perfect for walking around giving people the side-eye, but the sonics carried a trashed-out, droney fog that made for stellar mood music. "Elizabeth's Theme" is a new 7-inch that drops the Roy Orbison comparisons for otherworldly acoustic strums, plaintive piano that oozes beauty and a faux-string drone to hold it all together. Really, it could score a nature documentary.