Information about the band Her is few and far between online. Still, that’s all the better for letting the music speak for itself. The band’s latest track “Five Minutes”, which is taken from their upcoming debut mixtape Tape #1, offers some clues about the band and what they’re all about. The new track is a very stripped-back affair, employing little more than a kick drum, a muted bassline and a warped guitar to form the backbone. Over that the vocals swoop and soar with marked grace and an infectious refrain to boot. Clearly influenced by Nick Cave, The Knife and a couple of others, Her translate these influences into a much more contemporary setting. But it’s the simple refrain “all I need is five minutes” that carries the most weight. It’s difficult to pinpoint why, beyond the minor keys, but you may well find yourself a little weepy by the time this song’s over.
We spoke to Lung about the project last year, where he told us about what it was like working alone: “I started writing songs for myself when I was sixteen, probably. I was in a band, I was the drummer, and the rest of them just kind of lost interest; I had to start writing songs on the guitar so that I could still have music to play, and have something to do on my own. Eventually, I met the guys and we started Wu Lyf, and my own stuff sort of took a backseat for a little while. I was always trying to make stuff up, but it was just for practice; trying to refine things, and trying to learn how to arrange. Once we finished touring the record, I got back into it, so by the time we actually split I had quite a few songs that were more or less finished.”
Lung makes pop music, but not your traditional chart fare. In many ways, he resembles Canadian auteur Sean Nicholas Savage, with his lo-fi explorations in melody and ramshackle compositions. It’s all very spontaneous sounding, nothing overly polished, and this rawness breeds a wonderful sense of hoensty, which, when mixed with his heady hooks and glorious vocal lines, makes for an addictive concoction indeed.
Deerhunter aren’t looking back anymore. The Atlanta band’s biggest breakthrough to date, 2010’s Halcyon Digest, became an outsider rock album worthy of obsession in part by hearkening back to a time when such things were more commonplace. Their 2013 follow-up showed how obsession can turn into, well, Monomania, subverting the band’s own success with a set of songs that were at once messier (the sludge that cakes “Leather Jacket II”) and more straightforward (the down-home shuffle of “Pensacola”). The LP’s cinematic approach to lo-fi recording techniques prompted the Black Lips to call it “transcend-fi.” On “Breaker”, all that washes away, almost literally.
Since Rationale first caught our attention in May, he’s continued to release more impressive music. So much so, that we had to list him as one of our favorite new artists of the year. The London-based singer’s debut EP Fuel to the Fire is due out on September 18.
Days ahead of his EP’s release, Rationale shares yet another lovable track, “The Mire.” There’s a nostalgic feeling about the single that makes it sound like it could have been a very successful pop hit in the ’80s, and yet there’s still an element within the song that keeps things feeling modern—a well-executed, even blend.
Canadian singer Alessia Cara has quickly been ascending the blogosphere since April when her Isaac Hayes-sampling anthem “Here” arrived, garnering over two million views on YouTube and even being named Complex’s second best song of the year (so far). Most recently, the 19-year old stopped over in Australia where she dropped by Sydney’s TV Station Channel V to debut her cover of her hometown 6 God and friend Drake.
Unsurprisingly, she delivers a beautiful acoustic cover carefully crafted into a soulful song all her own as her vocals drive over the laid-back acoustic backing that includes her drummer playing on a suitcase. Watch the whole thing along with a bonus acoustic version of her breakout single “Here” below. And get to know the soulful voice behind this year’s anti-social pop anthem in our recent interview.
he Not-So-Final ‘Frontier’: Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox on His Band’s New Album and Maturing in Indie Rock
Over the course of a recent 40-minute phone conversation, there were at least a half-dozen moments in which I suspected that Bradford Cox of Atlanta-based indie band Deerhunter was actively bullshitting me. Notlying, exactly — just toying with the truth in such a way as to make me look foolish should I take it at face value.
Granted, this suspicion was partly rooted in Cox’s reputation as a cagey prankster in his interactions with the media. As frontman of one of the best American bands of the last 10 years, Cox is known for feeding journalists juicy copy of dubious veracity. Deerhunter’s elegant commingling of melody and noise is bracing in its emotional directness, but away from the band, Cox can be willfully elusive. Frankly, I didn’t care whether Cox was sincere when he declared INXS to be an influence on Deerhunter’s seventh record, Fading Frontier. Given how dull most indie-rock interviews are, Cox remains an outspoken, outrageous outlier.
Rome, we are assured, was not built in a day, but over the course of 24 hours across one hot and humid July weekend in 1965, Otis Redding put to tape what would soon be considered his definitive statement – the third of only six albums he would release in his lifetime: ‘Otis Blue’.
Think about that: 16 songs in 24 hours, in the can. Conversely, The Beatles’ ‘Rubber Soul’, which followed that December, was a month in the making. Though both stand as apogees of that golden era of mid-’60s simplicity, before studio inventiveness and technology was as crucial as the material, ‘Otis Blue’ triumphs in capturing the immediacy of its creation, and the energy that burned in that single session.
That’s why, exactly 50 years later, it has lost none of its potency. It is live and direct. It is alive. It moves your feet; it pulls your heartstrings. It is pure soul, and at the very heart of it is the one man who conceived the entire vision. Otis Redding was more than just a singer; he was a phenomenon. Ask anyone who knew him, and they’ll tell you he was a genius. Then they’ll pause, and repeat the word with added emphasis. Genius. His instincts defined a completely new and individual genre, established his record label as the home of authentic soul, and kicked open the doors to the mainstream, carrying R&B to an international audience. He was the undisputed King of Soul, and was unchallenged for the title right up to his untimely death, aged just 26, in 1967.