Seriously. Leave it to Chicago’s longtime band Tortoise to announce its first album in six years, the 11-track “The Catastrophist”, with a song, “Gesceap”, made up of a gorgeous seven-and-half minutes of beautifully kaleidoscopic instrumentals — slowly building faints, arpeggios and scales that lead into a cacophony of sounds. The song is a kind of musical burst of painting, an upbeat Tim Hecker “Ravedeath, 1972”. The band’s sound on this record is described as a place where “moody, synth-swept jams like the opening title track cozy up next to hypnotic, bass-and-beat missives …” The new record will be released January 22 via Thrill Jockey Records. You can follow the band on twitter and facebook. — David D. Robbins Jr.
One-two punch, siblings Natalie and Elliot Bergman of Wild Belle have a new song “Giving Up On You”, and it’s accompanied by a new video directed by Alan Del Rio Ortiz, who also created the recent Nowness video of St. Vincent, and last year’s video for Danny Brown’s “Smokin and Drinkin”. “Giving Up on You”, produced by Dave Sitek of TV On the Radio, is the lead single from Wild Belle’s forthcoming sophomore album, out January via Columbia. Fans may notice a distinct lack of that reggae-groove the band has become known for in tracks like “Keep You”, but the jazzy brass is still there and so is Natalie’s vocal propulsion. Her sound is much deeper and rocked out than usual, and you can’t help but get caught up in the energy of the club dance-off , the frenetic pace, and one of the band’s simpler, wicked bass beats — which feels like a throwback to the Talking Heads or Spoon. The song is about trying to leave a relationship with a bad boy in the dust: “Lovin’ you is drinking poison / I have no other choice / I’m giving’ up on you.” You can follow the band at facebook, twitter. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Earlier this year, Glendale trio mAsis eased its way onto the music scene with the sultry and sedate “Make Me Higher” — followed by an April release of a three-song EP, Kennesaw. The latter included the ambient, lithesome female vocals of “Pop Rocks”, led by the sexy line: “Take off your shoes at the door / Come lay with me / I have something to say.” The band’s new track, “Virginia Wolf”, is their most upbeat yet. Back is the familiar falsetto, but this time male and female vocals smear together into a kind of vocal elision that leans well against a funky horn-synth, guitar flourishes, a steady dance-able beat, and a towel-snap-like accent. The vocals playfully weave in syncs and overlaps. The band says the song is about a breakup. It’s about relationships that go South and leave scars, so no matter if you leave, you’re always left with something from the other person. The chorus is an elegant pleading: “Please, let me go.” This is another wonderfully seductive and moody track from mAsis. Note: You can follow the band at facebook and twitter. — David D. Robbins Jr.
New Zealand’s Lontalius (aka Eddie Johnston) is streaming a new song, “All I Wanna Say”, with an accompanying video. It’s a soft, romantic chill track, with vocals that remind me of a couple of cuts off David Sylvian’s 1999 Dead Bees On a Cake. Lontalius’ track centers around the tender-hearted lyrics: “All I wanna say is it’ll be alright / Maybe I shoulda lied / Because all I have to offer is my love / It’s not enough.” Lontalius is expected to have a new release in 2016 via Partisan Records, which just signed him. Follow him at twitter and facebook. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Wolf Alice will release a 7-inch featuring two songs: “You’re A Germ” and the b-side “Baby Ain’t Made Of China” — a rockin’ out track with a great sentimental line: “Oh love me, make me better.” The singles are available with four different limited-edition sleeves, each featuring a different band member. You can purchase one via DirtyHit. The release date is October 30. — David D. Robbins Jr.
The Radio Dept. are at their Smith-y best, streaming a new track called “This Repeated Sodomy”, available via Labrador Records. The Swedish band last released an LP in 2010, Clinging to a Scheme. — David D. Robbins Jr.