Beyond Beats Vol.1

Beyond Beats Vol.1 When starting to think about this new column about music that usually doesn’t have a place on Electronic Beats – however you might delineate that – I figured it might be best to start with a band whose chamber pop gorgeousness has haunted the blogosphere for a good while now: Long Island, New York’s amiable quintet Twin Sister. But now I see myself confronted with the fact that not only there is an apt and exhaustive review of the group’s brand new proper debut “In Heaven” on EB already, moreover it once again turns out that the blog age can be a tricky business, in particular if you’re willing to base your expectations on the first buzz. Whatever one may say about the album, and all in all I’d agree with Moritz’ judgment that it’s a good one, I can’t help but acknowledge that it’s been a long way from the heart-melting muffled intimacy of “Lady Daydream” back in early 2010 to the glossy orchestral overambition of an album track like “Spain”. But maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, to satisfy my insatiable need for the dreamy side of pop right now I’d rather turn to another New York group, Bronx-based Pigeons, recently expanded to a four-piece but built around the husband/wife duo of Wednesday Knudsen and Clark Griffin. Despite having put out two excellent full-lengths in 2010 alone, “Si Faustine” (Olde English Spelling Bee) and “Liasons” (Soft Abuse), their music has not yet received the amount of attention I’d consider appropriate. Not sure if this will change with their forthcoming album on Soft Abuse, but in any case “They Sweetheartstammers” promises to become another exquisite instance of mellow, psychedelia-informed pop noir, outstanding due to Knudsen’s absorbing voice and careless, detached guitar play alone.

Also leaning toward rather darkish realms but considerably more leering at the dernier cri of all things hypeworthy is Austin’s Sleep ? Over, originally an all-female trio but now shriveled to Stefanie Franciotti’s solo endeavor. After a few wonderful singles she recently dropped her debut “Forever” via everyone’s favorite hipster label Hippos In Tanks, and it’s an ambivalent affair: Alongside very fine pop songs that we’ve come to admire, most remarkably the early 7” “Casual Diamond” but also the gorgeous, haunting album closer “Don’t Poison Everything”, that showcase Franciotti’s immense talent for opaque melodies and adorable hooks, almost half of the tracks are instrumentals, mere ambient pieces that somehow feel squeezed in between as if she had run out of ideas for actual songs but desperately needed to finish the album. Franciotti’s got a side project for her murky psych aspirations, Raga Chrome, with a recent cassette release on Bathetic, and maybe it would have been better to keep both ventures apart.

If you’re actually headed in the ambient direction there’s a lot of noteworthy stuff that’s been released as of late, but above all I’d recommend the brilliant 12” by Oberlin alumni Jessa Farkas and Camilla Padgitt-Coles aka Future Shuttle, now based out of Brooklyn. “Water’s Edge”, put out via Holy Mountain, contains six pieces of splendid contemplation, deliberately spaced-out and densely arranged layers of synth-based drone and the girls’ heavily reverberated vocalization. A superb effort all along.

Equally built around staggering drone patterns yet taking the turn back to pop is the latest full-length by Lee Noble, who refreshingly records under his own name, no need for mysteries here. The LA native has already dropped a string of cassettes on various labels, but “Horrorism”, due October 4 via Bathetic, marks his debut on hard wax. The ten-track LP is truly outstanding, one of the finest albums in its genre this year, whatever that might be anyway, as I’ve seldom encountered someone who’s so bluntly and flawlessly blended such righteous drone/ambient experimentalism with sublime songwriting craftsmanship. Someone has deemed Noble “the male counterpart to early Grouper”, and actually that sounds about right. Strongly recommended.

Ultimately I’d like to briefly shed some light on the recently founded British imprint Public Information and the label’s first release, “Solitary Pursuits” by ADR aka Aaron David Ross, otherwise known as one half of Brooklyn-based heavy-hitters Gatekeeper. Drawing on the esteemed English tradition of library music, “Solitary Pursuits” is an eight-track mini LP of retro-futuristic analogue synth suites, just about perfect for all your dirty 80s-related fantasies. The whole thing is up for streaming here.

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Videodrome #13 – This week’s best videos

Videodrome #13 - This week's best videos 1. Sun Glitters – eventide (directed by Victor Ferreira)

Made with some help on the vox from Stockholmers Niva & Charlee, this is Sun Glitters latest drop called ‘eventide’. And again we’re thrilled by this hazy post-pop melodies.

2. King Midas Sound – Goodbye Girl (Kuedo Mix) (directed by Tom Shoelfield)

Cool visuals for Kuedo‘s remix from the forthcoming King Midas remix album – featuring Mala, Shackleton, Nite Jewel, Hype Williams and more. Out on Hyperdub end of August.

3. Rustie – Glass Swords (dir.?)

Normally we dont care about teaser videos, but Glasgow-based bedroom producer Rustie has released a classy appetizer for his debut album on Warp.

4. Noir Cœu – Total Nirvana (dir.?)

Recently Adrien of Montreal On Fire & Plebeian Grandstand and Philippe of YAA joined forces to establish their project Noir Cœu. Now this stellar track ‘Total Nirvana’ appeared as free download – and the EP will follow soon.

5. Young Theme – Gradual (dir.?)

‘Gradual’s’ off Young Theme‘s ‘Ethereals’ EP is the next proof that the californian producer Scott Barman is someone to keep an eye on. Check out his Soundcloud for some other highly worthwhile jams.

6. Timber Timbre – Bad Ritual (directed by Olivier Groulx)

This is already the third video from Timber Timbre‘s excellent Creep On Creepin’ album (see right). Now, album track ‘Bad Ritual’ gets some dark visuals by director Olivier Groulx.

7. Twin Sister – Bad Street (directed by Dan Devine)

Brooklyn pop band Twin Sister are set to drop their full-length debut ‘In Heaven’ on Septem­ber 27, via Domino. Above is the brand new video for the Dan Devine directed first single ‘Bad Street’.

8. Neon Hitch – On My Level (directed by Trevor Cox)

Check out Neon Hitch (her real name by the way) cover Wiz Khalifa’s On My Level in this interesting NY-take.

9. Novella – The Things You Do (directed by Conan Roberts)

Oh, ya. Made up of three girls Sophy Hollington, Hollie Warren and Suki Sou – who btw swap instruments whilst playing live – let me introduce Novella, who are about to release their Rory Atwell (Male Bonding, Fair Ohs, S.C.U.M and Comanechi) produced debut single soon on Dirty Bingo Records.

10. Tonstartssbandht – Big Day Today (directed by Jason Harvey)

Tonstartssbandht‘s new ‘I Am Become’ LP is now out via Arbutus Records and the first single ‘Big Day Today’ now has some crazy animations to offer. Made by Jason Harvey.

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