UNDER THE RADAR: The Magnetic Fields – “’71 I Think I’ll Make Another World”.
Magnetic Fields’ main man, Stephin Merritt, is no stranger to a sizeable project, his most famous album is after all a three disc, three-hour long, 69 song opus covering almost every aspect of love you can imagine. So writing an album of fifty songs, one for every year of your life, well that seems a pretty straight forward task in comparison. Started on his 50th birthday, 50 Song Memoir, which was released on Nonesuch last week, is in many ways his musical auto-biography. A treasure trove of non-fiction events; an intimidating but brilliant collection, it’s the sort of record you feel as a listener, you probably won’t truly get your head around for many months, years, even lifetimes to come.
This week to promote the release, The Magnetic Fields have shared videos for a number of tracks from the record, our favourite of which is, ’71 I Think I’ll Make Another World. Set when Stephin was six, it finds him dreaming of starting a new world, and the freedom that would come with his own planet, as he sings, “it may not start very large, but no-one else will be in charge”. Musically it builds around a gently strummed mandolin, and sonorous, soaring strings, a bit like Scott Walker if he ever did anything lo-fi. It’s a fine introduction to the 50 Song Memoir, a record which in time might just go down as Stephin’s finest work.
50 Song Memoir is out now via Nonesuch.
.for the rabbits
UNDER THE RADAR: Feist – “Pleasure”.
Leslie Feist announced this week that she’ll soon release Pleasure, her first album since Metals in 2011.
“Pleasure,” the new album’s opener and title track it’s an intriguing foretaste of what’s to come: surprisingly lo-fi, bluesy, and ferocious on a PJ Harvey wave while maintaining the understated grace and fortitude that has always marked Feist’s best records.
UNDER THE RADAR: Kasabian – “You’re In Love With a Psycho”.
The Leicester band have been making all sorts of pronouncements of late, but for fans the wait is finally over.
New album ‘For Crying Out Loud’ will be released on April 28th, with Kasabian leading with a brand new single ‘You’re In Love With A Psycho’.
UNDER THE RADAR: Foreign Architects – “Sometimes I Run”.
Foreign Architects, from Perth, Western Australia, formed in 2013, are Matt Burke and Andrew Barnett, singer-songwriter and drummer respectively.
Foreign Architects are just the latest in the great indie sounds coming out of Western Australia. ‘Sometimes I Run’ is an autobiographical song about knowing your own worth, and lyrically it explores the headspace, psyche, and contradictions that you know are illogical, but at first find easy to ignore.
‘Sometimes I Run’ was initially recorded at A Sharp recording studios, following a performance at the Oxford Art Factory, in Darlinghurst, Sydney. Tracking for the single was finished off at Matt and Andrew’s home studio, while the mastering was done by Andrew Edgson, at Sydney’s Studios 301.
UNDER THE RADAR: Foreign Architects – “Poisonous Pill”
Perth Western Australia duo, comprising singer-songwriter Matt Burke and his percussionist cousin Andrew Barnett, Foreign Architects’ style is an infectious blend of indie pop, with an alternative twist. ‘Poisonous Pill’ has a psychedelic sound, and shows their diverse creative influences.
The song is accompanied by a video shot along the Perth shoreline, which has been bleached out in such a way as to convey the long hotsummers of Western Australia. It’s harsh and bright, and adds to the 60s feel of the song, albeit in a modern setting.
UNDER THE RADAR: Weezer – “Feels Like Summer”.
The wonderful Weezer are back with the first taste form the new album, still as yet untitled, due for release sometime summer 2017, it will be the band’s 11th studio album. Video directed by Greg Yagolnitzer and Brendan Walter.
UNDER THE RADAR: Girlpool – “123”.
Girlpool have officially announced their sophomore album, Powerplant, the follow-up to Before The World Was Big, one of the best albums of 2015.
The album features a full band, and Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker were joined by drummer Miles Wintner in the studio to open up a more vibrant range of sounds compared to their previous stripped back guitar-and-bass setup.
Lead single “123” shows off this new dynamic — it starts off slow and muted before blasting into technicolor a third of the way through.
UNDER THE RADAR: Sløtface – “Empire Records”.
Norwegian livewire punks Sløtface constantly look to spin conventions on their head.
For their song Empire Records (off the EP of the same name) they have spoofed the 2000 classic High Fidelity, complete with a John Cusack character and all!
UNDER THE RADAR: Foxygen Have a New Video for “Upon a Hill”.
Foxygen often blows a lot of their work out.The psych-rock outfit are totally comfortable crafting an album more than an hour long. The band will record six-minute tracks and musical suites that run several songs. Maximalism, in some ways, is the band’s calling card.
That said, “Upon a Hill,” from the band’s new album Hang, is short and to the point, and so too is the new video for the minute-plus track. There’s little more to see here than some goofy dancehall theatrics and red-stained shots of creepy toys crowding the screen. From a band who so often go to 11, it’s refreshing to see a touch of restraint.
UNDER THE RADAR: Moon Duo – “Lost in Light”.
The great Portland space-rockers Moon Duo have already released one album this year: The dark and fuzzy Occult Architecture Vol. 1. But before the year is even half over, they’ll release a new companion LP called, naturally, Occult Architecture Vol. 2.
The new album represents the yin to the first LP’s yang, and if first single “Lost In Light” is any indication, it’ll be an absolutely gorgeous stargazer of a record. The woozy and comforting new single has a video from animator Micah Buzan, who also directed the band’s nightmarish and great video for the first-album single “Cold Fear.” The new video uses some of the say way-out psychedelic imagery as that “Cold Fear” clip, but this time, it’s pretty and utopian rather than horrifically fucked up.
‘Occult Architecture Vol. 2’ out May 5, 2017 on Sacred Bones Records.