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Songs for November

November 6, 2010

Five songs for the drawing-in November evenings.

The first track from Tapes n’ Tapes’ forthcoming third album Outside is ‘Freak Out’, which sounds like the big brother to two songs from their debut The Loon: its chorus recalls the “I’ve been so sure” refrain of ‘Cowbell’ and the frantic, limber strumming that opens the song is very reminiscent of The Loon standout ‘Insistor’. It’s a solid song and a promising lead-in to the album. You can download it from the band’s website here. Outside is due out next January (1/11/11 if you’re American, the only slightly less binarily pleasing 10/1/11 in the UK).

Women (a four-piece, none of them female, from Calgary) recently disintegrated on stage, though not before their second album came out, yielding final song ‘Eyesore’: a hypnotic jangly-yet-murky indie anthem, reminiscent of Deerhunter, which writhes around before settling into a deeply pleasing guitar figure, motoriking through the last few minutes of the song, wearing a groove that makes any deviation from its mesmeric structure seem weirdly exciting. I’ve listened to this quite a lot and have yet to make out any of the lyric whatsoever. The last two minutes are wordless, a long fade out on that figure-of-eight grooev until, barely audible, the instruments fall quiet: you wish it’d just keep going. Downloadable from the band’s record label Flemish Eye. The aptly-titled album Public Strain is out now.

Now for three 1980s throwbacks.

Nobody seems to know much about Keep Shelly in Athens, who have released a few trance-inflected songs via their Myspace (How, incidentally, will we cope without Myspace if evil Newscorp decides to get rid of it? Probably quite well, all things considered). The best of the bunch is ‘Running Out of You’, which moves along on a glacial beat and washes of John Carpenter-esque synths for the first couple of minutes, a Twin Peaks-y female voice intoning the song’s lovelorn words. Then halfway through, an electronic voluntary strikes out, the beat shifts up tempo and (which would be embarrassing in another song — as it is to type) a DJ’s voice possibly sampled from an old KLF song urges us to “Break it down!” — which the song proceeds to do, becoming a bright, shimmering gem of a thing. Geniusly, the singer stays with her downbeat sound even as the song around her has become an uplifting, Balearic stunner.

One of the highlights of Crystal Castles’s recent second, self-titled album was ‘Not in Love’, which lately proves to have been a cover version of a song by Canadian soft-rockers Platinum Blonde from 1983 (all bandanas, bleached teased hair and animal print). For their cover, CC pared this confection back to a clinical vocal over a typically ravey, iDose-friendly soundscape* and now, in a stroke of genius, have enlisted Cure singer Robert Smith to provide vocals for a rejigged single release. Now, I’m no great Cure fan, but there’s something entirely almost too cool about those words being sung-spoken in round, none-more-English tones over the glistering, galloping CC soundtrack. While he dolefully repeats the title phrase — who is he trying to kid? — the song laser-bursts into arcade-game frenzy behind him, and it’s the most thrilling pop moment in recent memory. Download it now — now, I say! — via Stereogum.
* Yes, I know iDosing is a hoax dreamed up to embarrass the Daily Fail, but listening to CC you can just about sort of understand why people might believe it…


The Soft Moon is one Californian fellow, Luis Vasquez, whose latest single off his forthcoming debut is ‘Tiny Spiders’, a clammy, claustrophobic horror-movie song that rides in on a searing keyboard, a chasmic roar and a thunderous drum roll that immediately conjures up high-speed car chases through the night, or frantic flights to try and  escape ravenous pursuing hordes of unspeakable devils. The vocals, which hold off till almost halfway through the song, don’t help, being hoarsely bellowed through layers of gauze from a cavern somewhere deep in an HP Lovecraft story. Over the course of a full album this might well prove just a bit too none-more-dark, but this works really well as a three-minute interlude of screaming terror in an otherwise placid day. Remember: there are monsters, and this band has captured them. Pitchfork has the ‘Tiny Spiders’ download here, along with that for the band’s previous single ‘Breathe the Fire’, a more translucent half-sister to the new song. The Soft Moon’s self-titled album is out on November 16th.


From → Music

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