Playlist 02.09.17 : Five Songs for the Weekend


Playlist 02.09.17 : Five Songs for the Weekend
Playlist 02.09.17 : Five Songs for the Weekend
Playlist 02.09.17 : Five Songs for the Weekend

Mogwai – Coolverine

Mogwai’s ninth studio album is their first without founding guitarist John Cummings, and also the first since 2001’s ‘Rock Action’ to be produced by Dave Fridmann. Both personnel changes are felt for the better: the band luxuriate in the space provided by Cummings’ departure, creating songs that are markedly less claustrophobic than their recent predecessors, while Fridmann’s knack for exploiting that kind of atmosphere with shimmering texture and poised stillness is executed rather handsomely.

It all contributes to some of the best music Mogwai have made this century: the twin towers of ‘Coolverine’ and the title track both build majestically towards grand, heroic fuzz and bookend the album pretty exultantly. Between them, ‘Crossing The Road Material’ and ‘Don’t Believe The Fife’ provide unexpected earworms while ‘Old Poisons’ suggests the band’s knack for exhilarating ferocity shows no sign of abating with age.

Read the rest of this article at Loud and Quiet

Four Tet – Planet

Kieran Hebden, the dean of British dance music, has an academic fascination with texture and sensation. His tunes as Four Tet inspire deep thought as much as impulsive movement, and “Planet,” his latest release, is a perfectly calibrated dance track, rich with luscious instrumentation and luxuriously designed sound. The bright thumps of percussion, laser-beam synth lines, and sensuous loops of vocal are all so well-made and tactile, it almost sounds like Hebden is putting a microphone to a live recording, rather than crafting on a computer. Amid the bodacious drums and mesmerizing synths is a mysterious string instrument plucking away at psychedelic arpeggios, which adds a more spiritual element.

Hebden, as of late, known to veer wildly from genre to genre, playing with jungle on one record and long-form ambient on the next. (His single before “Planet” was a new age-inspired song called “Two Thousand and Seventeen.”) It makes it hard to pin down Hebden when his music by nature is restless. But in songs like “Planet,” the wide scope of his interests comes into focus, and all his studious experimentation pays off when he offers up a gift whose pleasures are ready for the taking.

Read the rest of this article at Pitchfork

LCD Soundsystem – Tonite

Of course James Murphy fell for his own rock’n’roll myth. This is the guy who entered the realm of semi-stardom 15 years ago with “Losing My Edge,” a song that both poked fun at and paid tribute to music snobbery, that imagined a miracle man who witnessed every “seminal” underground event up-close, that used a list of cooler-than-thou names as an impenetrable shield. It made sense for him to concoct his very own “I was there” moment on April 2, 2011, when LCD Soundsystem played what was billed as their final show at the most storied venue in New York City. It was instantly legendary, the underdog’s big day. A perfect ending. Too perfect, maybe.

As an ace student of the game—“LCD is a band about a band writing music about writing music,” he once quipped—Murphy knew that he couldn’t just reunite for a lucrative victory lap, playing his most popular songs on Spotify to the genre-agnostic, dance-friendly demographic he helped cultivate throughout the 2000s. It would ruin the legacy and go against everything LCD stood for: integrity, respect, a sly but genuine love of just how much music can shape a human being’s identity. So even though a new album was always planned since the band officially reformed 20 months ago, the intervening hit-filled gigs could feel odd. Yes, they sounded great, and all the members looked excited to be playing together again, but the context was tweaked. LCD Soundsystem were no longer on the cusp of a cultish zeitgeist. Murphy still sang “this could be the last time” during “All My Friends,” though the line’s tang of finality was dulled.

Read the rest of this article at Pitchfork

Bicep – Glue

When a DJ reaches a certain height of acclaim, we talk about them like magical beings. Aphex, Roman Flügel and Burial barely seem human, in part thanks to their production wizardry, but mostly because us dance-music fans love to mythologise (as do the artists, clubs and promoters). Berghain sounds like Hogwarts to the many uninitiated, so Flügel’s residency there makes him Dumbledorian; all the pseudonyms and secrets Aphex creates mean that you second guess every beat; all we have of Burial is a blurry selfie to confirm their existence.

Belfast’s Bicep made it without mythologising. Nine years after they started their blog, Feel My Bicep, they’re still the duo you wanted to make with your schoolmates. Andy Ferguson and Matt McBriar did this by showing us their process. Their blog was a warm hug for dance music fans. The quality finds made it clear how passionate they were about crate-digging. As they moved to DJing and composing, they condensed their vast array of influences into a nocturnal, club-ready sound that begged to be felt.

Bicep’s love and knowledge of rave culture means that they can flutter between house, techno, trance and ambient without awkwardness. The minutia of genre, something a lot of us get caught up in, was never the point of Bicep. The point was good dance music, built on feeling. Their long-awaited self-titled debut furthers this trait, starting with opener, ‘Orca’, where delicate synth-pads clash gorgeously with physical breaks and vicious hi-hats. The chord progression is familiar, but the rush of adrenaline it creates means you can’t place it anywhere but in the moment.

‘Glue’ has a similar cathartic goal, as do most tracks here. Bicep are playing with a narrow pool of emotions, but the level of polish means they can hit that note over and over. ‘Opal’ stands out, with its coiling beat that’s topped with a sci-fi accordion synth. That’s a goofy descriptor, but you can almost feel the duo stretching and pulling it open, that’s how physical it sounds.

‘Vale’ ventures into Kelela-worthy R&B, while the ascending keys on ‘Drift’ play like a John Carpenter classic. Even on these surprising detours from their tight-knit sound, it’s undoubtedly the duo’s fingers on the knobs. Bicep became cult heroes because they grafted, and their sweaty palms are all over this record.

Read the rest of this article at Loud and Quiet

Brand New – Lit Me Up

Never the kind of band to do things by the book, Brand New’s career the last two decades has felt like a series of mazes. The Long Island-bred rockers, a product of the early aughts pop-punk/emo scene, became known for receding into the shadows and shying away from the public eye. They adopted a mysterious elusiveness, not unlike that of Tool, Radiohead, or Aphex Twin, and everything from one-dollar lyric booklets and leaked demos to surprise intimate concerts and collaborations with friends have since been overanalyzed into oblivion by die-hard listeners. Whether or not this has all been intentional, the fan base has only grown more rabid, each wait between albums more draining and torturous than the last. (I’m now 30 and have definitely lost a few years of my youth to the stress of refreshing Ducat King for Brand New pre-sale tickets.) So rich is the tapestry of mythology surrounding the group.

The latest, and quite possibly final, chapter of the Brand New saga was revealedlate last week when the band, out of the blue, put up a pre-order page for their fifth album. Hours later, physical CDs of the album (formatted as one long 61-minute track) were mailed out to select fans, who then went on to diligently figure out the LP’s name and a few song titles, and of course, toss off countless theories about what it all meant. Again, mere hours after this, Science Fiction was formally announced and up for official purchase — then, available to stream on digital platforms. Their first full-length since 2009’s Daisy, dropped from the sky unexpectedly? In just a matter of days, Brand New had expanded their mythology almost tenfold. Assuming what frontman Jesse Lacey & co. have been suggesting comes to fruition, that they will in fact break up in 2018Science Fiction is the perfect way to cap off their story, the ideal send-off in more ways than one. Here, Brand New manage to reinvent themselves while also recapturing the essence of what’s made them so special and enduring.

Read the rest of this article at Consequence of Sound

P.S. previous PLAYLISTS & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @jacques.grange, @laurenswells, @domsli22