Author Archive

Julian Earle

"The Boy"

julian earle - the boy (credits Tess Dumon)

On “The Boy,” the debut from new US producer Julian Earle, youth is expressed in all its freedom. Each severe synth jolt or tense electronic pattern that dances around this piece feels like it could wander off anywhere. There’s a beautiful first step mentality to the track, which gives nods to Jon Hopkins‘ vast compositions without following a direct path. Hushed, barely tangible vocal parts scatter around too, the almost-utterances of a kid’s first words.

Grandstands

"Getting Out"

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Melbourne four-piece Grandstands whisper up close when it’s least expected. They either turn the lights down and nestle up close, or out steps a consciousness-splitting lyric about love, divorces, or some other such ‘deep stuff’ to stir the system. On “Getting Out,” the band’s new single, they write with the honesty of Courtney Barnett, the wooziness of the UK’s Wave Pictures. Guitar parts stretch their legs and have a doze, while vocals sap give off an intimacy that’s most comparable to Kurt Vile. They’re four strangers, but Grandstands project emotions like a best friend pouring their heart out.

Speelburg

“Aubrey”

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Speelburg’s debut track feels like it’s been extracted straight from a closing scene in a film. Perhaps one that’s swiftly following an oh-no-they-didn’t twist, or a sweeter conclusion that ties the movie with a bow. Clue’s in the name, but this project is one obsessed with cinema, so it makes sense for “Aubrey” to be a string-filled, shuffling introduction that comes off like a cross between Darkside and early James Blake in production. Cross off the idea of this being a final bow, though—this debut is an opening scene that promises so, so much.

Danny L Harle

“In My Dreams”

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Every comment under the sun’s been made towards PC Music this year, but if there’s one defining quality of their songs—and it is a quality—it’s that they make the human heart out to be some lesser force when compared to a machine. It’s like the bleeping frenzy of a robot is mocking the senses when Hannah Diamond declares “I don’t want to be an MP3,” or even when she compares the breaking down of a relationship to a forgotten “Attachment.”

Danny L Harle is different. “In My Dreams”—coupled with visuals of a flock of seagulls swarming grey skies—feels like the most human strand to emerge from this distinctly machine-led project. Vocals are still pitched to meet the chipmunk swarm that PC specializes in, but there’s a tenderness and a heart to this song. It’s the sound of a hard drive discovering it has feelings, not just 250GB of space. It’s Spike Jonze’s Siri-like creature in Her beginning to discover emotion. If PC Music is to carry on developing instead of being a distant mirage from a fucked-up 2014, “In My Dreams” is leading the way in progressing.

Fake Laugh

"Wouldn't Bother"

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Kamran Khan’s Fake Laugh project is pretty much unmatched in the woozy, UK-based romantic stakes. On his latest EP Freely, he coos and cuddles up with sunny-side-up notions for 15 dreamy minutes. Each song was recorded this summer, amidst surprise heatwaves and the muggiest conditions this side of the 21st century. Maybe the heat’s gone to his head, because on “Wouldn’t Bother” his typically upbeat musings take a severe emotional turn.

Freely is available now as a 100-edition cassette.

Rough Year

"Never Been Here"

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Aching electronica in its purest form, “Never Been Here” takes one step out the door, sees the world’s ugly truths in plain view, before heading back in. It’s a cold-hearted introduction from Rough Year, an anonymous Philadelphia-based producer who mimics Burial’s ability to paint pictures and tell stories through a fragmented, echo-drenched vocal or, in this case, a batch of trap beats and buzzsaw synths. Despite being instrumental, “Never Been Here” feels like a difficult story to tell, like a process of pained searching has resulted in this.

California Carpool

"only u"

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Isaac Ide’s not a perfectly taught guitarist. He spends most of his time drumming in another band, Morning Smoke. But when he picks up his chosen instrument for California Carpool, things take liftoff. It’s a lot like Zachary Cole Smith from DIIV’s technique of letting high-bending notes do the talking. There’s an exploration of space and a big energy-oriented dictation. This isn’t about chords of fancy patterns to write down by tab—this is about a song deciding its own course. With “only u”—the pick of Ide’s Beach Dreams demos—this project lands on something special.

Cancer

"Body on the Bones"

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Back in early 2013, loved-up nights had a new soundtrack. Rhye solved every bout of sexual awkwardness this side of the decade—people got it on to the soundtrack of two LA musicians making distinctly genre-bending soul music. Their successors appear to have arrived, although they come bearing an unlikely name: Cancer. This Danish pair know how to splice up the conscience. They stir and steam up at any given moment, and “Body on the Bones”—their second track to date—dives straight into intimacy.

Cambio Sun

"Weight of the World"

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“Weight of the World” is the second track from Dalston, London producer Charlie Tait, a.k.a. Cambio Sun, and it’s one that creeps up on the conscience. Initially it comes out like something that might’ve risen out from the basement of local haunt The Shacklewell Arms, the venue above which Tait resides. Ghostly and fragmented, its parts are hand-picked from completely different worlds. Reverb-struck guitars are summer playlist ready, but a thick fog of motionless synths runs against that. Tait’s falsetto isn’t a far cry from Justin Vernon‘s either, and when these strange alien fragments decide to link arms around midway through the track, something remarkable happens. “Weight of the World” isn’t deliberately obscure before it opens up, but the goldmine it reveals for a chorus is something worth holding out for.