Luckily, I’m one of those bloggers who seems to have great music trailing in his wake. It follows me. In this case, Boston artist Kwame wrote me an e-mail, sending along news of an upcoming EP, hey, mr. dreamer., which he’s releasing on Dec. 5. Hopefully it contains more tracks like “don’t seem to know” on it, seemingly partly inspired by the ennui of a segment of “Alice In Wonderland”. It’s hard to really describe the vibe of this track. I suppose Kwame fits in there somewhere with Tom Krell (aka How To Dress Well) and that ambient, experimental side of R&B that’s emerged only in the last decade. It’s Kwame’s fascination with quietness and pathos that’s so impressive. It’s a kind of softness that finds its way into “don’t seem to know”, a track with a style perfectly fit to lyrics about somnambulism, finding purpose and searching for whatever it is out there — destiny. The combination of his gold-hued vocal overlapping and lyrical redolence is nothing short of masterful. There’s something august and holy about the song’s best part, something like a spiritual translucence: “My god, I’ve been up too long / Couldn’t be more tired / But I don’t feel like sleeping / Good lord, been dreaming since my birth / A hand is on my shoulder / It’s time for me to wake up to whatever this is.” Follow Kwame on facebook and listen to more of his music at soundcloud. Note: Lyrics are unofficial. — David D. Robbins Jr.
“Can you feel it? / When you all alone / In yo chromosomes / Hummin thru ya bones” — asks The Village songstress Jean Deaux on her soulful track, “Act Right (Saturn’s Return)”, a track produced by Chicago’s THEMpeople as one of three songs on an EP called “Outer Body”. This astronomical jam runs through lyrics about sex, space, liquor, Shakespeare and being panty-less. One of the better verses finds Deaux offering intoxicants and spouting about her sexual proclivities: “I got that bomb / And you fishin’ to be subatomic / Would you like a gin and tonic? / Or maybe some skin and chronic / Take you to the philharmonic / Make you sing the highest octave …” Follow her on twitter. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Warpaint bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg has a new video out now for “Never”, a new track off her jennylee solo effort, right on! — due out December 11 via Rough Trade. You can follow jennylee on facebook. — David D. Robbins Jr.
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.