One of the earliest retro synth acts, Dynatron offers listeners a moving and meditative experience across these five pieces, whether the opening “The Tristar” (at times reminiscent of Wendy Carlos’s most foreboding work), the pulsing, heavier-than-you-might-think “Contact” or the closing “The Unknown”, a piece that transcends genre boundaries and will appeal, as does the whole recording, to a variety of audiences.
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Detroit quintet Handgrenades are on the cusp of releasing their sophomore album, and song for song, it’s one of the strongest underground indie rock releases of the year. In some ways, Tunnels is more an alternate debut album than a successor to 2012’s The Morning After. There’s a new lineup, with singer-songwriters Nick Chevillet and Andrew Pawelski and drummer Joby Kaslowski joined by fellow songwriter Jesse Shepherd-Bates and keyboardist Joel Sanders. Largely absent are the prior album’s Motown and Beatles emulations, traded in for a more nuanced and esoteric approach influenced by the likes of Radiohead, the National, Jeff Buckley, and Ryan Adams (one song even lifts an Adams lyric). Reflecting the change, the band has nixed the “the” prefacing their name and have ceased capitalizing the “G” as well.
London’s Izzy Flynn is an artist on the rise as her blend of electronic, electropop, soul and jazz is mesmerizing. Flynn trained formally in jazz music at Leeds College of Music and she has toured the world accompanied by the Abstract Orchestra, supporting Mos Def, De La Soul and Afrika Bambaataa. Flynn has a new EP, Faith, coming on November 18th and we’ve got the title track to share with you today.
“Faith” builds slowly with a strong sense of movement and direction as spare instrumentation showcases Flynn’s deeply affecting voice. More electronic elements enter the scene, as do additional voices and the chorus is revealed as the full musical accompaniment fills in. Flynn says, “the track involves a lot of layered textures and heavy synth/arpeggiated chords.” It’s beautiful composed and stunningly performed. Fans of FKA Twigs, SOHN, James Blake, and Jessie Ware are sure to find Izzy Flynn completely irresistible.
Portland-based independent label Deer Lodge Records is releasing Bruja, the debut solo album from Reno, today just in time for Halloween. Reno is Mike Lund in real life and he expands beyond the rock of his previous musical project, Drugstore Cowboy, in his solo career. As Reno, Lund adds in Americana and honky tonk country elements, as well as psych rock. Reno’s latest single is “Heaven” and to celebrate the release of his solo album on Halloween, Reno enlisted Von Porter from Scabby Knee Productions to create an animated video based around the idea of a fictional series called Edgar Allen Poe’s Mystery Hour. Reno tells PopMatters that “Heaven” is about that is beyond the singer’s reach. He jokes that witchcraft can’t even help.
Brooklyn electrofunk, synthpop duo French Horn Rebellion recently released their new album, Classically Trained, another slice of upbeat, funky and fun tunes. Speaking of “fun”, French Horn Rebellion recorded a tribute to Weezer—a band that greatly influenced the pair—by recording this cover version of “Buddy Holly”, which appeared as the second single on Weezer’s 1994 debut, Weezer (The Blue Album). French Horn Rebellion’s version has got the funk and big beats to drive home its mega pop melodies. A great bit of fun on this most fun of days, Halloween.