Noveller is the moniker for LA-based guitar wizard and score composer Sarah Lipstate. Fresh off a tour supporting Iggy Pop, Lipstate is prepping for the release of her new album, A Pink Sunset For No One. “Deep Shelter” is the first single and opening track from the record. The piece is based around a looping two-bar chord sequence. For all the ambient trappings of Lipstate’s processed, layered guitar work, her music is highly melodic and has a linear, teleological structure. Synth-soaked guitar motifs are introduced and developed, soaring to astral heights.The song’s swelling, movie-magic warmth recalls the strange, otherwordly optimism of Neu!. In the last minute, a piano enters the mix, pushing the song towards a minor key and a waltzing cadence, evoking the sensation of falling gently, like a feather, back to earth.
Listen to "Deep Shelter" below. A Pink Sunset for No One is due out February 10 via Fire Records. Noveller will be performing at St. Vitus on March 11 with Egyptrixx and Eartheater.
Minnesota seems to occupy a particular place in contemporary musician’s imaginations. For both Lil Yachty and The Courtneys, it’s a cold and faraway one. “Minnesota” is the third single from The Courtneys forthcoming record, II. Like their previous single, “Tour”, the song is driving and anthemic. The rhythm section maintains a steady, propulsive pulse, like highway markers passing by the window, while guitarist Courtney Loove splits the difference between Sonic Youth and Boston-like guitar heroics. But if the expectation of road anthems is to represent "motoring away", leaving something behind—an expectation that “Tour” delivered on, albeit with a palpable anxiety and ambivalence—“Minnesota” is instead about being the one left behind. The opening verse describes restless stagnancy, with drummer Jen Twynn Payne singing that she’s “back and forth” and “up and down.” Confronted with the prospect of being left behind, she promises to see the song’s ‘you’ “in the winter snow” sometime in an uncertain future.
Jay Som, the sobriquet of Oakland-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Melina Duterte, has released the second single from her upcoming debut full length, Everybody Works. “1 Billion Dogs” is a blitzing, fuzzy wall of a power-pop song; hurtling ahead as if the titular pups were unleashed on dog run all at once. Duterte’s vocals sit low in the mix, offering a layered, dead-pan melody that twists and turns beneath the craggy guitars and bombed out drums. There’s one brief reprieve where the guitars cut out and the song’s central hook rings out clear—when Duterte promises the listener that she’s going “up up up up up”—before a gnarly, processed twin guitar fanfare brings the track to a close. With such a killer pop sensibility and a knack for conjuring up a rocker that sounds like an unstoppable force, it’s hard to argue with her claimed trajectory.
Rubblebucket member Alex Toth describes his new band, Alexander F, as a new age punk band. Born out of a meditation retreat in Quebec in the wake of major life changes and a series of losses, the project’s aggression is tempered by a playfulness and melodicism. “Call Me Pretty,” the third single from their upcoming debut record, plays with the contrast between tense, half-spoken, half-sung verses and huge, synth-supplemented choruses. Alex Toth tapped plenty of his pals to help him realize the record—featuring appearances from Delicate Steve, members of Perfect Pussy, Here We Go Magic and more. Kimbra comes in with the assist on “Call Me Pretty,” elevating the chorus higher into pop bliss with her call-and-response delivery of the song’s titular command.
We’re just shy of two weeks into the Trump presidency, and it’s clear already that people wishing to resist his agenda find themselves both needing channels of action and means to take care and comfort in dangerous times. Rough Trade Publishing is trying its hands at doing both with a new “A Song A Day Keeps The Pain Away” subscription program. Artists from across the publishing companies pretty staggering catalog are contributing unreleased tracks, which subscribers will get every day for the first 90 days of 2017, with all proceeds going to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Among the announced artists are Rachel Grimes, Kevin Devine, Juliana Hatfield, and Lushlife. Yesterday, New York noise rock veterans A Place to Bury Strangers released their contribution, a track called “Bad Decision.”
On “Minneapolis," Lætitia Tamko, the multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter behind Vagabon, recalls a frightening flight to the Twin Cities while on an exhausting tour. The track is structured almost like transit—the familiar landscape of the opening, jangling riff dissolves a minute through and is replaced by a turbulent, prog-damaged bridge before re-emerging in part as the basis of a pretty vicious halftime breakdown. Tamko’s voice, crystal clear and measured, serves as the glue of these disjointed components; the internal monologue that chains together places known and unknown in the state of travel. As the plane lands in Minneapolis, Tamko works toward accepting that some palpable sense of self and the homes it inhabited are long gone—even though the relics of those spaces past (Cameroon) and present (New York) still remain.
Minneapolis is the third single from Vagabon’s debut record, Infinite Worlds, due out February 24 via Father/Daughter Records. You can listen to the track below. Vagabond are touring throughout February and early spring to support the record. Tamko will be celebrating the release of Infinite Worlds with a performance in Brooklyn at Baby’s All Right on February 24 with Mal Devisa and Jelani Sei.
Syd, the producer, songwriter, and vocalist for neo-soul band the Internet, is gearing up to release her first solo record, Fin. “Body,” the album’s second single, is a tender boudoir jam in which Syd invites a partner to “let your body take over you”. The track, produced by MeLo-X, features Syd’s vocals pirouetting gracefully against a backdrop of woozy sub-bass and FM pianos. In support of Fin and Internet co-founder Matt Martian’s own forthcoming record, The Drum Chord Theory, The Internet will be mounting a brief tour. “The Internet Presents The Internet Tour” will feature solo performances from each member of the band before reassembling. The tour launches in Santa Ana in February, and will roll through to New York for a performance at Webster Hall on February 23.
Former Mac Demarco guitarist Peter Sagar makes sleazy, lofi bedroom R&B for the boudoir as Homeshake. “Khmlwugh” is the latest single from his upcoming record, Fresh Air. The track’s title can be taken as a tribute to Prince’s fondness for acronym'd song names. But instead of extolling the virtues of “Dance, Music, Sex, Romance,” Sagar’s busting out his taut falsetto to celebrate “kissin’, hugging, making love, waking’ up and getting’ high.” It’s a downtempo affair, with a de-tuned, ringing synth pad and a nimble, slick bassline that evoke a narcotic eroticism.
Brooklyn band Parlor Walls draw plenty of inspiration from New York’s legacy of weirdo music. The agitated, flight-or-fight unpredictability of no-wave informs their songwriting even as Alyse Lamb's vocal melodies suggest the scaffolding of pop. Parlor Walls are gearing up to release their first record, Opposites, on Northern Spy. “Play Opposites,” the first single from the record, is an off-kilter call for revolution. The band denatures martial rhythms—as if trying to embody the mirror image of state and structural violence they wish to undo. The result is a track which stumbles and lurches forward dangerously underneath Lamb's nursery rhyme vocals.
On “Thinning,” Snail Mail’s singer-songwriter Lindsey Jordan, reckons with a gale-force low with a disarming directness. Her vocals, delivered carefully and veiled by reverb, hesitate between a desire to surrender to or push herself out of the haze of feeling unlike herself. The track, a highlight from last summer’s Habit, has received a video, directed and shot by the band’s drummer Shawn Durham. The video features Jordan performing the song in different locations around her native Baltimore and Maryland. The shots fixate on inbetweenness. You can watch dawn and dusk unfold into day and night throughout the video. It feels like a psychogeography—with the video’s cemeteries, parking lots, ponds and fields serving as a map and index for the song’s sense of stuckness. In one striking moment, Jordan stands silent in a dark field while behind her people play frisbee—a burst of life proceeding indifferently to the struggle Jordan has documented in song.