Continuing the unusually fey electropop this week, it’s Auckland’s Chelsea Nikkel. On ‘The Cigarette Duet’, the Princess sings alongside fellow singer-songwriter Jonathan Bree for her debut studio album Lil’ Golden Book.
Good morning. The Welsh singer-producer Kelly Lee Owens draws on dream pop and ambient house for ‘Anxi’, the title song off her 2017 debut album. The track is a collaboration with a Norwegian musician, singer-songwriter Jenny Hval, who provides the moody vocals, Have a great week.
Making up for the lost morning this week, we have a double-header. It’s always a good time for Mazzy Star. The band formed in Santa Monica in 1989 from the group Opal, a collaboration between guitarist David Roback and his then-girlfriend, ex-Dream Syndicate bassist Kendra Smith. Relationships being what they are, Smith left early in the band’s life and Hope Sandoval swiftly became the lead vocalist. In 1996 the band released its third album Among My Swan, for which David Roback wrote all the music apart from the mysterious ‘Look on Down from the Bridge’. That sound was pure Sandoval; it is the closing track on the album.
Evan Dando returned to music in 2003 after a long, long lost weekend. The former Lemonheads frontman released the lo-fi Baby I’m Bored, which featured the track ‘It Looks Like You’. Released as a single, its B-side was the jaunty ‘Whoops’. “We all fall short, but it’s a long way down.” The man had seen the dark side; perhaps that’s why the song was incomprehensibly consigned to a flip-side.
Inspired by Ryan Adams’ break-up with industry publicist Amy Lombardi, ‘AMY’ is the self-evidently one of the emotional outpourings that underpin his debut solo album ‘Heartbreaker. Released in September 5, the entire album was was told over fourteen days in a studio in Nashville. Pitchfork have called it “a drinker’s album” and “an ode to sadness”. No regrets Ryan, no regrets.
With ‘Everything Now’ at the beginning of the month, and last week’s release of ‘Creature Comfort’, early signs are very good for Arcade Fire’s new project. The influence of collaborators Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Portishead’s Geoff Barrow are strong. The result is a synthesised intro that M83 or Chromatics would be proud of; and then the fatalistic chants… arenas get ready. Have a great week.
Last month, Phoenix announced that their sixth album, Ti Amo, will be released on June 9, 2017. The title track remains true to the band’s ambition to deliver an album about summer and Italian discos. “Don’t tell me/Don’t tell me no.” It’s a further move away from the security of their soft-rock Strokes sound. Have a great week.
This month, The National released a new song, ‘The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness’. Rejoice. While the dulcet tones of Matt Berninger are still there, there is a definite pop swagger that might be more expected from the likes of Spoon. I really like the shift and the Aaron Dessner’s guitar solo is an added bonus. The new album Sleep Well Beast is out in September.