Just when you thought the phenomenon of the Weeknd would burn bright and unchallenged on the East Coast, Vancouver duo Evelyn Mason and Jeremiah Klein rise up, armed with their deadly self-titled debut EP that features two originals and remixes by the likes of Andy Dixon and Julien Mier. Claws sharpened and faux-fur flying, Evy Jane is out to battle the Weeknd for the Canadian experimental R&B crown. Their first attack is the sultry yet disturbing ballad “Sayso” set to a frozen yet fuzzy video that perfectly captures the woozy instrumental and seemingly conflicted lyrics. When their EP drops on February 20th, care of the flourishing King Deluxe Records, The Weeknd had better watch his ace. There’s a new kid in town.
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In honor of Roxy Music’s 40th Anniversary, the Vinyl Factory has just released two remixes of the band’s most iconic tracks. The new vinyl 12” features a dub-inspired remix of “Love Is the Drug” by Todd Terje and “Avalon”, remixed as a chillwave experience by Lindstrom and Prins Thomas.
“Avalon” begins with the sax solo, extending the intro to a slow build of synths (much thanks to Brian Eno, listed on Wikipedia as playing synthesizer and “treatments” for the group). It continues as an instrumental until the classic warbling guitar solo comes in, and Bryan Ferry’s vocals are deconstructed as if in a preview—definitely could have used more as it makes the listener pine for the original.
Look for a deluxe box set to come out April 2nd, the exact anniversary of the band’s self-titled debut album. Roxy Music: The Complete Studio Recordings 1972 - 1982 will be available through Virgin Records.
Sinead O’Connor is well known for her soulful ballads as well as her colorful personal life and strong religiopolitical beliefs. O’Connor rose to international fame for her reimagining of Prince’s song “Nothing Compares 2 U”, which topped the charts in several countries and earned her multiple Grammy nominations, as well as one win for Best Alternative Music Performance. During her impressive 25 year career in the music industry O’Connor has released eight full studio albums, and her ninth, How About I Be Me (And You Be You) will hit stores on February 21st of this year. Her newest album grapples with many themes familiar to the singer’s past work: love, loss, hope, redemption, and coming into her own, among many others. The New Yorker even goes so far as to call it “Her most romantic record since her pop peak”.
Below is the video for O’Connor’s new single off the album, entitled “The Wolf Is Getting Married”. The piece is directed and composed by London-based band/outfit Breton. The somewhat avant-garde video begins with a figure covered in a gauzy white fabric, its spider-like tentacles extending upwards in a web of strings, attaching somewhere unseen. As the emotional voice of Ms. O’Connor echoes like a choir and seems to fill the space, it becomes clear that the gauze on the figure is, in fact, lace. We soon understand that the figure in the center is actually a bride, held down by waxy strings, who bears a resemblance to a mummy, and vaguely evokes Miss Havisham from Dickens’ Great Expectations. As O’Connor’s lyrics about freedom and marriage reverberate in the background, the strings pull away. They slowly remove elements of the gauzy lace, revealing the bride’s skin: perhaps a metaphor for the process of O’Connor’s own stripping down to her inner self through this expressive album. GQ (UK) is spot on, in more ways than one, in describing the new album as “A work of subtle beauty, a cavalcade of warm strings and textured, intricate song structures that intertwine with the singer’s unmistakable vocals.”
Performing as Azure Blue, Tobias Isaksson looks back to the 1980s for much of his sound on his new release Rule of Thirds, and he considers three romantic break-ups as his lyrical inspiration. That doesn’t mean he’s just a nostalgia act, though, as his electro-pop takes its own turns and his emotional reflections reveal a certain amount of mature distance (even if he might be hiding some of those feelings in pop culture references).
The just-released video for “Seasons” skips the pop culture for the classical, opening with a description of the mythological sirens. The opening’s off-putting, hinting that an ex-lover was simply a call to calamity, but the song’s dreamy and not offended, Isaksson embracing the time to let go. The new age-y feel to the video supports this idea without completely relinquishing longing. There’s something uncomfortable about the visuals that suggests there’s a stronger attachment here than we’re led to believe, and the video maintains a tension between the music’s calm release, the video’s soft images, and the idealization of the female form that drives our heartbroken singer to a romanticized sort of hurt, even if he wants to move into the season of release.
After Vince Clarke left Depeche Mode high and dry in 1981, no one would have guessed he and the man who succeeded him as the band’s primary songwriter would ever collaborate again. Yet Clarke and Martin Gore are releasing new material together, under the name VCMG. The two technopop icons never shared a studio,collaborating mainly via internet. Still, this marks a monumental development for Depeche Mode fans, hardly two years after Clarke’s replacement, Alan Wilder, joined Depeche onstage for the first time in 16 years. Clarke, of course, has made a name for himself in Yazoo, the Assembly, and Erasure. Here is “Spock”, the title track of VCMG’s first EP, which released December 12 last year. As Clarke and Gore have promised, it is an instrumental dance track that reflects its creators’ interest in minimal European house. The full VCMG album is slated for release this month.