Earlier this week, the Manchester-based duo of Bernard + Edith had their debut LP, Jem, released in the United States. Already, other artists have found the young group’s music ripe for interpretation, as the remix you can stream below evinces. This remix, done by the Icelandic electronic trio Samaris, removes the original vocal from Bernard + Edith’s tune “WURDS”, stripping it down to a pulsating electronic instrumental that’s ideal for the darkest hours of the night. In changing what began initially as a somewhat dramatic song into a moody and pensive little number, Samaris highlight both their own creativity and the strength of the material that they were working with.
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MacGillivray, a singer and protest poet who hails from the Scottish Highlands, has crafted a unique take on the image of Marilyn Monroe with her tune “Night Skin”, which features on her forthcoming Once Upon a Dirty Ear LP. Over layers of lush electronic textures that form the ambiance of a nocturne, MacGillivray’s echoey vocals unfold evocative lyrical images like, “She went swimming in diamonds / A thousand glimmer scratches to the skin / Peels it off at night time / Wears it just for him.” The spacey flow of the tune is then capped off with a brooding drum sample, one that gives the music a Massive Attack-esque twist.
The Swans you see in the photo above, the Swans that rose to prominence in New York City’s famed “no wave” scene in the early ‘80s, are not the same Swans that have been rising to popularity over the past five years with megalithic double LPs in tow. Although the plodding rhythms and earth-rumbling heaviness that Swans have recently perfected on LPs like The Seer and To Be Kind can be heard in the band’s early music, the Swans of the ‘80s are an entity unto themselves. Gira wasn’t being glib when he called Swans’ 2010 return a “reconstitution”, not a “reunion”. A lot has changed since the no wave days.
One foundational early work of Swans’ is Filth, their 1983 debut. The band recently announced a reissue of the record, both in deluxe 3CD and vinyl treatments, both remastered by Doug Henderson, who mastered The Seer and To Be Kind). This reissue will mark the album’s first vinyl pressing in 24 years.
If the antagonists in Grease were punks instead of hair-slicked greasers, Vicky and the Vengents’ “You Used to Be My Baby” would be their heartsong. The band, who describe their sound as “maltshop punk”, pays homage to doo-wop and classic girl groups from the ‘50s, all the while adding in a healthy dose of power chords to enliven the aesthetic.
Back in March, PopMatters premiered the tune “Small Fires”, taken from the Providence, Rhode Island instrumental outfit A Troop of Echoes’ new album, The Longest Year on Record. Well, the time has come for the full album to be released to the world, and as such, PopMatters is proud to present it in full streaming form.
Best classified as omnivorous instrumental music, The Longest Year on Record finds A Troop of Echoes carving their own impressions into distinct sonic niches. “Manifest and Legion” employs a guitar tone that is reminiscent of Mogwai at their moody best. Tunes like “Small Fires” and “Arecibo” represent unique spins on ‘90s indie rock. Gorgeous, soundtrack-like pieces such as “Kerosene” and “Pure Alexia (Is It Silent In This Room)” provide respite from the at times knotty instrumentation. Of the many unitive threads that runs throughout The Longest Year on Record, saxophone undoubtedly is the most distinctive. Even those not keen on jazz will find something to like in this band’s sharp use of the woodwind instrument.
// Notes from the Road
"With vibrant performances by artists including St. Vincent and TV on the Radio, the first half of the bi-annual Boston Calling Festival brought additional excitement to Memorial Day weekend.READ the article