Familiar sounds open up Washington, D.C. hip-hop newcomer Johnny Dillinger‘s first mixtape Pretty Much. Its title track—showcasing the rapper’s sticky flow and celebrity-referencing approach—samples Youth Lagoon‘s gorgeous “Raspberry Cane,” bringing a sugar-sweet contrast to Johnny’s audible nonchalance. It’s a clever opener, one that actually precedes a darker heart that gradually opens up throughout the rest of the mixtape.
Baltimore musician Austin Tally sinks in and out of consciousness on a new collection of songs titled In G. It’s a “mini-album” recorded in Pennsylvania and showcases a sweet, blissed out sound that’s simple on the outside but full of complexity on the inside. The vocals on “Ready To Be Cold” swerve in and out of consciousness, coming from all angles and never settling into one constant groove.
Newly signed to Canada label Boompa, DRALMS has released a debut lovingly dedicated to everyone, “from lovers to neighbors,” but it spits and curses below the sweet top layer. Below, in the miserable underbelly, sits something built to explode under the weight of its own industrial misery. The project of Christopher Smith, Shaunn Thomas Watt (Siskiyou), Peter Carruthers (Siskiyou) and Will Kendrick (Failing), “Divisions” leaves a sour taste, one that’s rarely been expressed with such potency.
There’s a reason why Manchester’s Oceaán is being talked about as the UK’s most exciting new producer. He doesn’t do things in half measures. Offer him the lofty task of remixing Woman’s Hour‘s breathtaking “Darkest Place” and he’ll take said darkness and send it skywards. He provides his own vocals, selecting standout lines and weaving them into sleepy, hymnal calls. Nobody else is doing this right now—Oliver Caen could be a breakout name in 2014.
It’s only fitting that louie‘s first ever song is imagined as being performed in a messy bedroom: beer bottles resting on top of each other like a house of cards, clothes covering the floor, song notes covering the clothes.
Intimacy can’t be feigned. It has to come from someone like this Paris-based student declaring, “some of my childhood fears are coming back.” He’s a Kentucky born youngster studying Japanese—in “wasted” you can practically hear the dislocation making him climb up the walls.
Portland’s Soft Shadows, formerly known as Sundaze, are good at explanatory titles. While “Reverb is for Lovers” actually comes off as a clear-headed shoegaze-nodding song; it’ll appeal to anyone who prefers things glazed in a dose of wall-shaking noise. Mostly instrumental and bold to the point of no return, it explores and explores until it’s lost track of its beginnings—and when it comes to sound, that can only be a good thing.
“Reverb Is For Lovers” is the title-track of their new LP.
Next week sees the release of Palehound‘s debut EP Bent Nail, which brings together previous singles “Pet Carrot” and “Drooler” for a twisted, refreshing take on 90s indie (via Exploding in Sound Records). “I Get Clean” is the latest preview, serving Ellen Kempner’s sorry, self-aware observations up with raw, loosely applied guitar structures. Never has a song about showering before falling asleep sounded so significant.
Husbands‘ members send song parts via email. Couple that with skyscraper artwork, shoegaze nods, and “Tokyo”‘s title and there’s a definite Lost In Translation vibe to the Oklahoma City band’s latest effort. Nothing gets sucked into the online bubble here, though. The song is all about longing, and it’s conveyed through brutal truths and riffs that walk among giants.
Blake Holland is a Nashville resident who takes pretty photos and occasionally covers Lana Del Rey and Daft Punk tracks when he’s not coining tear-strewn bedroom-pop of his own. As Spring Blake, he’s reminiscent of Twin Shadow before his default became overblown nostalgia, and Sean Nicholas Savage when his romance gets drowned out by something more sombre. “rideWme” shows his more melancholic side.