Like the grand majority of modern metal fans, our tastes here at Heavy Blog are incredibly vast, with our 3X3s in each Playlist Update typically covering numerous genres and sometimes a different style in each square. While we have occasionally covered non-metal topics in past blog posts, we decided that a dedicated column was warranted in order to more completely recommend all of the music that we have been listening to. Unmetal Monday is a weekly column which will cover noteworthy news, tracks and albums from outside the metal universe, and we encourage you all to share your favorite non-metal picks from the week in the comments. Head past the jump to dial down the distortion:
Beach House Announce 2nd 2015 Album, Thank Your Lucky Stars
With the dust beginning to settle around the release of their latest album Depression Cherry, dream pop duo Beach House saw it fit to kick up some more by announcing that they’re going to be releasing ANOTHER brand new album called Thank Your Lucky Stars on October 16th. The group said that the songs for Thank Your Lucky Stars were recorded after the tracks for Depression Cherry and are not meant to be a companion piece to that album or b-sides from it. Bands releasing records like this is something I live for. Just when you thought you weren’t going to get another Beach House album for a few years, you get hit with the announcement of a brand new record that has nothing at all to do with the previously released one. It’s like a little cherry on top of your musical depression! Honestly, if you’re a band and have enough quality material to do something like this, you should. It’s a great way to keep your name in the music world’s mouth and is only second to releasing to albums at the same time when you only told people about one, as Disfiguring the Goddess did with Deprive and Black Earth Child. However, maybe the slightly staggered release is the smarter method since it gives you time to promote the record a little bit and increase first week sales, which are very important to bands nowadays. I could talk about how I feel releases should be done a bit more, but I digress. If Thank Your Lucky Stars is as good as Depression Cherry is, than I’ll just be happy with having another record to get lost in. Thank Your Lucky Stars may be pre-ordered here, and for now, stream Depression Cherry below & order the album here.
Adult Swim Singles Series Includes Tracks from WOKE, DOOMSTARK and Run The Jewels
Adult Swim Singles has, as per usual, been killing the singles game. In 2014, they had stoner metal progenitors Sleep premiere a new track after over a decade of radio silence, and now, in 2015, they’ve given the rightful limelight to WOKE, a supergroup made of Shabazz Palaces, Flying Lotus and Thundercat. The single itself, “The Lavishments of Light Looking,” also features the prolific George Clinton, and is easily one of the best tracks that Adult Swim has put out yet. Combining FlyLo’s weird vibes, replete with psychedelia and washed-out, slightly mechanical samples, and Thundercat’s fantastic bass work, with the typical off-kilter Shabazz Palaces sound, “Lavishments” is a total earworm in the best way possible.
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The other two standout singles are also both the result of wonderful collaboration. The first is the return of DOOMSTARK, a project that puts the brilliant minds of MF Doom and Ghostface Killah (two of this writer’s favorite artists still in the rap game) together at last. Doom’s old school production style is perfect for the raspy voice of Ghostface, still fresh off his release with Badbadnotgood earlier this year, and, of course, their verses are both tense with energy and bristling with excellent wordplay.
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The second single comes from the already quite popular collaboration of Killer Mike and El-P in their project Run The Jewels. This new track, “Rubble Kings Theme (Dynamite)”, is as bombastic and fraught with reckless ire as ever, El-P’s production paving the way for the dynamic duo to deliver some tasty, tasty rhymes.
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Remember, kids: two heads is better than one.
Tortoise – “Gesceap”
It had been quite a while since any news of note has come from the godfathers of jazz and electronic-inflected post-rock, Tortoise. Their last record was 2009’s Beacons of Ancestorship, and there have been few rumblings since. The band certainly have accomplished more than enough in their lengthy career (and basically have a lifetime pass for creating Millions Now Living Will Never Die, TNT, and Standards), and Beacons was certainly not a masterpiece, but the group have found interesting sonic territory to mine with each release. So it certainly comes as pleasant news to hear that the band will mount again with another LP soon. This past week they announced The Catastrophist (to be released 1/22/16) and released the first single, the 7 and a half-minute “Gesceap.”
The Catastrophist was allegedly heavily-inspired by the work the band did in 2010 to write music for the city of Chicago based on its own vibrant jazz and improvisational scene. This doesn’t do much to explain what to expect from the album, but if “Gesceap” is any indication it’ll be a very open-ended and synthy. “Gesceap” is essentially one gigantic and running buildup, establishing a heavy synth-bed and melody from the start and slowly building it up while tweaking its complexion ever so slightly along the way. It’s certainly not the most exciting thing they’ve done and feels like it must be a lengthy intro leading into something greater. It also definitely feels like a continuation of the more synth-focused work of the band from their 2005 album It’s All Around You and especially Beacons, which has yielded somewhat uneven results. Given how often the band have surprised me in the best ways though I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt here and will eagerly await for more in the coming months. Pre-order The Catastrophist here.
A Sunny Day In Glasgow – “Jet Black, starlit”
A Sunny Day In Glasgow was always different than their bedroom pop peers. Instead of reveling in their depression and subpar production such as their contemporaries in bands like Teen Suicide and Elvis Depressedly, they chose to focus on the lighter, brighter side of things, and, of course, load it up with synths. Luckily for us, on their new single, “Jet Black, Starlit”, the band continues this trend , showing a track so thickly drowned in reverb that the Cocteau Twins would be proud.
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Pulsating synths clash against waves of layered reverb perfectly burying the dueling sets of male and female vocals. It’s easy to get lost in the track, which is the highest possible compliment for a dream pop song. A Sunny Day In Glasgow only continues to improve with age as they dive deeper and deeper into their dream pop core. The track is the lead single from their upcoming double-EP Planning Weed Like It’s Acid / Life Is Loss, which will be released November 13th and may be pre-ordered here.
Jamie xx – In Colour
Jamie xx‘s solo career may have only just gotten off the ground, but there is something particularly endearing about the subtle but deliberate arrangements that make up his debut dance/electronic record In Colour. While the record is largely instrumental, the few vocal-driven tracks in between hold their own quite sufficiently, with some — such as the unexpected but fantastic Young Thug feature that is “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” — being album highlights in their own right. At the end of the day, the record’s minimalist production and clever sampling makes for an excellent (and sometimes even soothing) listening experience front to back. In Colour may be ordered here.
Culprate – Deliverance
We’ve technically already introduced you to this guy, via our brief podcast (which we plan on bringing back soon, maybe) but his brilliance calls for another, more formal intro. Culprate is a one man project making EDM. But it’s not your regular strain of beep boop: it has acoustic guitars, hymns, live bass and drums and a whole lot more. “Deliverance” for example is a thrilling album, his best work, and one which gets a while to get into. A hint on where to start right after the jump.
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This track is a great example of what this album is capable of: from the dreamy, synth filled intro to the infectiously groovy middle part. And check out that guitar in the background, completely breaking apart the expectations from this kind of music. The best part about all of this: it blends together perfectly, no part sounding out of place, even though they’re so different from each other.
This album doesn’t relent and keeps going to a lot of other places as well. “Acid Rain” is techno-fueled madness and the end has many dreamy, ethereal passages. Culprate is an artist who defies genre defintion and so, fits well in our Unmetal post. It’s some of the finest out there. Order the album here.