Albert Hammond Jr has announced details of his new solo album ‘Francis Trouble’. Check out his new single ‘Muted Beatings’ below.
The Strokes guitarist will release his fourth solo album on March 9. The news comes with the release of his huge new single ‘Muted Beatings’ – optimising Hammond’s knack for huge guitar-pop hooks but laden with intricacies aplenty.
Hammond’s new album is set to be his most personal yet, with ‘Francis Trouble’ dealing with the stillborn death of his twin brother Francis.
Francis was lost due to miscarriage, while Hammond continued to grow inside the womb. However, at the age of 36, Hammond learned that part of his brother also remained in the womb and was born alongside him – but just a fingernail.
As a result, this record is “a homage to both the death of his twin and his own birth, as well as the complexities of identity that arise because of their intermingling”.
“What the music says may be serious, but as a medium it should not be questioned, analysed or taken too seriously. I think it should be tarted up, made into a character, a parody of itself,” said Hammond of his mindset while making the album. “The music is the mask the message wears and I, the performer, am the message.”
The first few bars of “Heaven’s Only Wishful,” the new single from the Canadian singer/producer MorMor, are relatively run-of-the-mill: crisp, chiming guitars and mid-tempo drums that cruise along, chilled-out and melancholy. But when an ear-splitting shriek interrupts the groove and cuts to a breath of silence, it rings like a warning: Stay on your toes. “I’m just a poor boy, waiting for answers,” MorMor sings, assuming command. “No one heard you coming.”
The artist, whose real name is Seth Nyquist, first emerged in 2015 in the same Toronto pop scene as BADBADNOTGOOD and Charlotte Day Wilson and is now readying a debut project. “Heaven’s Only Wishful” is the first taste: Laced with clever left-turns, it’s a moody rumination on the afterlife that never quite goes as expected. What begins as brooding indie rock blossoms into new wave synth-pop. Most surprising are the subtle echoes between human and digital sounds: When the time comes to cue another scream, a gooey, high-pitched synth playfully takes its place. And as an electric guitar revs up the energy in the final verse, MorMor ratchets up his voice to match it, hardening his velvety croon into something strained, scratchy, and distorted.
That it all works so seamlessly is a testament to his auteurist vision; MorMor wrote, recorded, and produced the song, as well as directed the companion music video that is similarly loaded with artful imagery: cherry blossoms, railroad tracks, MorMor on an overpass with his arms stretched out like Jesus. The closing shot zeroes in on him sitting on a chair, singing louder and louder until he’s practically shrieking. Just like that, we’re back where we started.
In his 2016 release Pool, Aaron Maine swapped out the ramshackle guitar rock that had so far come to define his primary project Porches for a glitzy set of homemade beats. He applied the songwriting skills he had picked up as the leader of an indie band to an entirely new setting, one which allowed him to indulge the paranoia that had lurked around the edges of Porches so far, but never quite come to the forefront. The House, the third studio LP to Porches’ name, furthers the exploration of the tension between how you’re seen and how you feel, but never quite locks into the kind of groove that made Pool so satisfying.
In its tightest moments, The House boasts some of the most gripping tracks Maine has ever released as Porches. “Find Me” vaults forward with a techno punch as it examines the psychological layout of overwhelming anxiety, the kind that traps you indoors, away from the party, deep in your own head. “I think that I’ll stay inside/If you don’t think that they’d mind/I can’t let it find me,” Maine sings, the usual disaffection in his voice cracked by what sound like raw nerves. While he never exactly specifies what the “it” is that’s hunting him, the blooming instrumentation fills in the gaps. There’s a second voice echoing his own, pitched-up and pixelated, more alien and broken than any of the backing characters heard in Porches songs before. The voice repeats Maine’s words but garbles them, like Kiiara’s gobbledygook chorus on the 2016 hit “Gold,” which only sharpens the tension. It’s like Maine is speaking and has no idea if anyone is hearing what he thinks he’s saying, the gap between his intention and his reception growing unfathomably, unmanageably wide.
In 2016, Laura Veirs popped up as a central player on case/lang/veirs, the self-titled debut of the supergroup she shares with k.d. lang and Neko Case, two of the most distinctive and formidable voices in music. Veirs not only held her own — which would have been a feat in and of itself, given the company she was keeping — but also made her warmly empathetic presence stand out.
On April 13, Laura Veirs returns with her 10th solo album, The Lookout. Produced once again by Tucker Martine, it’s a sort of concept album about the precariousness of existence. The Lookout‘s quietly effervescent first single, “Everybody Needs You,” nicely encapsulates Veirs’ sound: The song billows on a breeze, with a bright and expansive arrangement that echoes, purrs and flutters invitingly.
“The Lookout is about the need to pay attention to the fleeting beauty of life and to not be complacent,” Veirs writes via email. “It’s about the importance of looking out for each other. I’m addressing what’s happening around me with the chaos of post-election America, the racial divides in our country and a personal reckoning with the realities of midlife.”