Tyler, The Creator, perhaps best known as a member of the Los Angeles rap and hip-hop collective Odd Future (which also features Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt), has thrown his hat into the ring of surprise releases. He’s given the public but a week’s notice regarding the release of his new LP, Cherry Bomb. This record follows 2013’s Wolf.
With a Brian Setzer-esque inflection in the guitar tone and jazzy minor chords that bring the world of film noir to mind, the tune “My Hometown” is an intriguing homage by singer/songwriter Eilen Jewell. On the one hand, there’s a lovingness here as Jewell pays her respects to her hometown: “If sweetness had a sound / It’d sound like my hometown,” she sings. On the other hand, the desert noir mood evoked by the patient, legato strums of clean-toned electric guitar gives the titular town a strong sense of mystery. These two elements—tenderness and mystique—serve as a reminder that no matter how much we love the places we call home, there’s always a magic ambiance to them that prevents us from being able to fully put into words what makes them so special. A phrase like “If sweetness had a sound” is both evocative and vague; in this way, Jewell invites the listener in to experience her understanding of her hometown whilst simultaneously conveying its ineffability. That paradox, when combined with “My Hometown”‘s lovelily lonely sound, makes this tune a gem.
With the release of “Ship to Wreck”, the art-pop outfit Florence and the Machine, helmed by chanteuse extraordinaire Florence Welch, have given the public a first taste of their forthcoming album How Big How Blue How Beautiful. This follows 2011’s Ceremonials which placed at number 25 on PopMatters’ Best Albums list of that year. In his 8 out of 10 review of Ceremonials for PopMatters, Arnold Pan writes, “Elevating their idiosyncratic style to an even grander scale, Ceremonials makes Florence and the Machine’s captivating debut Lungs seem quaint and charming in comparison.”
Of the hundreds of artists that flocked to Austin, Texas this year for the ever-large South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival, Australian singer/songwriter Lenka was one of them. Below you can watch her lovely performance of the tune “Blue Skies”.