The Wilderness of Manitoba fulfills the promise of last year’s well-received EP Hymns of Love & Spirits with debut full-length When You Left the Fire. The Toronto band draws influence from 1960s folk acts, but in a fresh way, as the familiar elements of the album serve to provide a pleasant context for the otherwise original and memorable arrangements. Guitars, bass and drums are augmented by ukulele, cello, lap steel, and singing bowls, but the songs never seem overcrowded. At the center of the band’s well-crafted sound are remarkable vocal harmonies and stirring lyrics that recall those of Low’s Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, reimagined as a modern folk outfit. Although final track “Reveries en Couleurs” is a bit of an overlong indulgence, When You Left the Fire is a stunner from beginning to end and should be regarded as one of the year’s best debut albums.
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While the identity of the person(s) behind iamamiwhoami remains uncomfirmed, the music keeps coming monthly, with the latest being “t” for July.
The video sees the return of the female protagonist, this time playing a tin-foil covered queen of the sea, who emerges to explore the shore and dance seductively with a foil-covered car. Also, there are a group of shadow-obscured dancers who may or may not be naked. And the singer still may or may not be Jonna Lee.
It’s also worth checking out the other video linked in the description to “t” (here), which appears to be a child preacher.
At this point, the single-letter titles of the full-length iamamiwhoami tracks spell out “B-O-U-N-T.” So, is this “bountiful?” A “bounty?” Twitter chatter suggests this site has something to do with it: iambounty.com.
As disco goes, Norwegian producer Prins Thomas (popularly known as Lindstrøm’s other musical half) has always outpaced LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy. In a more even-handed critical landscape, Thomas’s self-titled debut solo LP would be received with the level of enthusiasm that surrounded LCD Soundsystem’s recent This is Happening. Easily the better album of the two, Prins Thomas references some of the same 1970s rock influences that Murphy integrates into his current sound, but the result is much more self-assured and dynamic. Across seven lengthy tracks, Thomas melds his electronic and rock music impulses into proggy, funky, and above all rhythmic compositions that are actually quite relaxing and often tuneful, even as they rely on regimentation and the motorik beat. Although the album is mostly instrumental, the use of occasional vocals is effective, especially on the stunning “Nattønsket”. “Wendy Not Walter” and “Åttiåtte” are the two tracks with the clearest relationship to modern dance music, but on the whole Prins Thomas is a delightfully revivalist affair that revisits the age of Neu!, Can, and Cymande with a great deal of credibility and skill.
Throwing creative caution to the wind, Reeves (Felicity,Cloverfield) has taken on the vampire-in-love genre with Let Me In, an American take on the acclaimed 2008 Swedish film, Let the Right One In. In all seriousness, though, it should be really interesting to see how this film turns out. The original, directed by Tomas Alfredson, garnered praise for its subtlety and undertones between its central young boy and vampire girl next door. Let Me In, over-the-top music aside, seems to be honoring the feel and tone of its source material.—Jonathan Simrin
Did you see the critically-acclaimed Swedish vampire movie ‘Let the Right One In’ a couple of years ago? Well, here’s the inevitable Hollywood remake. Reeves (Cloverfield) directs this adaptation of the Swedish vampire movie Let the Right One In, starring Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road) and Chloë Moretz (Kick-Ass). This trailer makes it look like a very faithful re-creation, which may put it on a higher quality plane than most October horror releases. It will probably leave those of us who saw the original scratching our heads and wondering “What’s the point?”, though. Oh, right, it’s Hollywood. Things are better when you don’t have to read subtitles.—Chris Conaton
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
History of Modern
Releasing: 4 October
The veteran British electronic pop group Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) have announced details of their new studio album, History of Modern. The album is the first in 24 years to feature the classic lineup of Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys, Martin Cooper, and Malcolm Holmes. The newly-revealed artwork is by long-time collaborator Peter Saville and hearkens back to the band’s more arty early ‘80s beginnings. With the recent critical re-assessment of OMD albums like 1983’s Dazzle Ships, the “return to roots” approach makes sense. In the electronic press kit teaser, McCluskey states History of Modern will indeed incorporate “classic” OMD sounds, in a contemporary context.
History of Modern will be released in the UK on September 20, and a North American issue seems inevitable. A limited-edition box set version with CD, DVD, vinyl, demos, and assorted extras is also available through the band’s official website. The Liverpudlian poppers are previewing a few of the new tunes on their MySpace page.
01 New Babies: New Toys
02 If You Want It
03 History of Modern (Part I)
04 History of Modern (Part II)
07 New Holy Ground
08 The Future, the Past, and Forever After
09 Sister Mary Says
12 Bondage of Fate
13 The Right Side?