Mike Schiller: Subtlety is an underused skill in hip-hop, but Porter Ray has it down on “Past Life”. Over beautiful, hazy production, we get high-speed raps about everything but this moment. We hear about memories, we hear about dreams, we hear reminiscing about the past and looking toward the future. If it feels a little ethereal, that’s probably its intent. [7/10]
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Chris Ingalls: It’s been six years since the last Fleet Foxes album, so “highly anticipated” is certainly the right term to use here. Since the release of Helplessness Blues, drummer Josh Tillman jumped ship and became everyone’s favorite sexy misanthrope, Father John Misty, yet the Foxes soldier on and are doing exactly what we expect of them—deep, cavernous-sounding indie campfire folk with Robin Pecknold’s keening tenor cutting through the heavy percussion and woodsy acoustic guitars. With this track, however, they diverge a bit with an epic, multi-part track reminiscent of the Decemberists’ prog/folk diversions. The band test drives their sound through a series of strange avenues but it still—thank goodness—sounds like Fleet Foxes. This is a band stepping out of its comfort zone and sounding so much better for it. [9/10]
Adriane Pontecorvo: Breakbeats, soulful vocals, more breakbeats. What decade is this? A better one, from the sounds of it. The production soars on “I Adore You”, fresh, fast, and retro. The melancholy in Natalie Williams’ voice feels almost hopeful, and whether that’s just her or a rosy retrospection on the simpler days of house music doesn’t really matter. The song is gorgeous, and it’s good to feel like the ‘90s are back for a few minutes. [9/10]
Andrew Paschal: Whereas “Starboy” was chilly and nocturnal, “I Feel It Coming” is all warmth and gentle buoyancy. The track closes out its respective album with a dose of youthful, romantic innocence, a morning where all the previous night’s depravities have somehow melted away. Abel Tesfaye’s vocals are clear and infectious, as are the percolating synths surrounding them. The track is more on-brand Daft Punk than “Starboy”, but their telltale robotic backup vocals are still tastefully applied and may even provoke some welcome nostalgia, befitting the track’s retro vibe as a whole. One of those songs you actually look forward to hearing on the radio. [8/10]
Canada’s Del Bel are known for their downtempo pop-noir that owes more than a small debt to trip-hop. The group’s new album III will release April 7th via Missed Connection Records and Del Bel has a fresh new single in “Only Breathing” to whet your appetite for the full-length. This is subtle, layered, complex music that rewards multiple listens given that it’s nearly orchestral in its scope. Frontwoman Lisa Conway was combating some writer’s block in finishing up the record, and like many artists, she began to question herself and her work. That’s what “Only Breathing” is about, but you wouldn’t ever surmise from the music that Conway struggled with the song as it’s a moody and masterful display of her mesmerizing voice and all of the glorious musical parts that fill in the tune.
// Notes from the Road
"Red Baraat's annual Festival of Colors show rocked a snow laden Hartford on a Saturday evening.READ the article