Harmless mid-90s ‘alt rock’ balladeering. Picture Claire Danes staring forlornly out a window, twisting the ends of her plaid shirt between her fingers. Will Jared Leto ever see her? I mean, ‘really’ see her—for her? A tear rolls as “Skin” plays idly in the background. Except it’s 20 years later now and Claire is fighting terrorists and Jared is the Joker, so you might well ask if “Skin” is really what the world needs. Still, it jangles, it rises, it falls. Lyrically there’s a lot of talk about pain and crying and “not being satisfied”, the kind of thing that writes itself. Innocuous, unnecessary nostalgia.—PAUL DUFFUS (4/10)
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Ride fans listen up. L.A.‘s Late Night Friends have you covered with fresh, new, indie shoegaze heavily influenced by the cloud-laden skies of England and the swirling dance textures of modern British rock. Buzzbands.la is excited about the band, as is Daytrotter. Late Night Friends will be releasing their debut album produced by Steve Kille (Dead Meadow), What I Think I’m Not, this coming Friday, August 7th, and we’ve got the full premiere for you. Meanwhile, the band tells us about how the record came about…
A few weeks after removing all his music from Spotify, the always unpredictable Prince has delivered his new track “Stare” exclusively (so far) to the service. Whether “Stare” will be included on his upcoming new release The Hit & Run Album is unknown. What is known is that “Stare” is the type of blazing funk that can only come from Prince. It’s not really too far removed from what he’s done in the past – it’s a bit of a mix between “Sticky Like Glue”, “Musicology” and “Sexy Dancer”, with a nifty sample of his classic “Kiss” thrown in for good measure. It doesn’t break any new stylistic ground, but that hardly matters. The groove is smokin’ hot, with sizzling horn riffs and a bassline capable of inducing brain melt. “Stare” continues the hot streak the mercurial genius has enjoyed since the beginning of 2014 with the release of multiple standalone internet singles, and his outstanding pair of LPs Art Official Age and PlectrumElectrum.—CHRIS GERARD (8/10)
It’s not every day you get a new song that fades out anymore, but it’s rarer to get one that fades in as well as out. It’s a dying trend, but one that ASG singer/guitarist Jason Shi and Thunderlip drummer Johnny Collins decided to exploit on “Lions”, a fantastic new track by their collaboration Wildlights. It’s a bit of a delayed start as a result, but when it gets going it’s a swift, groovy blast of sunny skate punk and hazy desert rock.
Where did this spryness come from? As it is with all the pioneers of the Dunedin scene, you expect them to mellow out once they reach a certain age. But the Chills return in full form after close to 20 years with a propulsive confidence that gives an eye wink to their reverb-soaked contemporaries. Not that it’s a complete surprise—Martin Phillips has always had it in him to remold the Chills, and after sprinkling a few tracks here and there in the past few years it seems he’s finally concocted a formula that works. It’s a succinct rock song that curiously reminded of a less bombastic British Sea Power, which isn’t a bad thing, really. It’s also idiosyncratic enough to distinguish it as a Chills track, and that’s reason enough to believe that “America Says Hello” is a welcome return to the full-length album format.—JUAN EDGARDO RODRIGUEZ (8/10)