In Holy Abyss

"In Holy Abyss" by Seismograph // Tundra Divine (Out 11.4.14 via Snowbeast Records)

Sometimes it’s just not beneficial to the extraordinary music in which you are writing about, to go on and on about personal reasons for your adoration. In the case of the sprawling and genuinely stunning, “In Holy Abyss”, from the forthcoming Seismograph album, Tundra Devine - I’ll just say that it’s a remarkable piece of work that speaks on it’s own, but if you feel inclined to take a peek behind the process, then by all means check out the album announcement written by frontman, Jonathan Ioviero, over at the Snowbeast Records page. Anyone who listened to last year’s lovely, Azure Drift, should be excited to continue hearing the progression of a truly talented artist. Highest recommendation. 

GRMLN - White Lung//Black Lung

"White Lung//Black Lung" by GRMLN // Soon Away (Out Now via Carpark Records)

Today marks the release of GRMLN's killer new album, Soon Away. The entire album is positively alive with a crackling energy that permeates through each track. It’s an album that faces some darker material than previous releases, but as songwriter, Yoodoo Park faces down loss, heartache, and the dramatic changes that seem to sweep in relentlessly through your twenties - he does so with an energy and aggression that is as infectious as it is powerful. The band’s second single, “White Lung//Black Lung” is a standout track, and also a perfect example of what awaits on Soon Away. Highest recommendation. 

Waking Dream -Single - Dali

"Waking Dream" by Dali // Waking Dream - Single (2014 // Out Now via Bandcamp)

Buffalo based singer/songwriter, Dali, has released a new single that captures the feel of Autumn from the first strum of guitar. “Waking Dream” is a haunting, hypnotic bit of dream-folk built around Dali’s hypnotic, airy vocals and a chilly, melancholic guitar loop that is as eerie as it is beautiful. The track floats by like a dream half remembered, ethereal and mysterious, but mostly just captivating as all hell. Fans of Warpaint, Widowspeak, and Angel Olsen will find plenty to love here. You can grab the track now at Bali’s Bandcamp page. Highest recommendation;

Yuko Yuko // Borderline

"Borderline" by Yuko Yuko // Babes (Available Now via Bandcamp)

This past summer saw the release of Holland based synthwave artist, Yuko Yuko's criminally underrated album, Babes. One of the highlights from that album is “Borderline” - a fantastic amalgamation of dream pop, 80's indebted synth pop, and bedroom lo-fi. That track is also Yuko Yuko's newest single, which means it's as good a time as any to spotlight this infectious gem. “Borderline” is a perfect window into the world of Yuko Yuko, as it highlights all of the things that make this artist so special. Imagine if Ariel Pink were obsessed with 80’s synth pop instead of time-jumping psych pop, and you might get a hint at what to expect here. Highly recommended for fans of Ariel Pink, The Radio Dept, and the early work of Small Black. Grab the track at Bandcamp.

"Dragon" by Mount Eerie // In Studio @ The Pinball Sessions (2014)

Phil Elverum stopped by the Pinball Sessions recently to play some songs - one of which is set to be featured on the upcoming Mount Eerie album, Sauna. Of course, this could just be a rough take and not exactly how the final product will sound. Whichever the case, in it’s current form it is a slow burn beauty - all whispered vocals and quietly potent acoustic guitar. You definitely want to hear this heartbreaker. Highest recommendation. 

Perturbator - Hard Wired (Feat. Memory Ghost's Isabella Goloversic)

"Hard Wired (ft. Isabella Goloversic)" by Perturbator // Dangerous Days (Available Now on Bandcamp)

I must be slipping. Halloween is seven weeks away and I have yet to start posting songs that would make great additions to a Haunted Mixtape (it kills you with synth vibes, apparently - coming soon to your local cinema). Anyway, let’s go ahead and get to work. The retrosynth pop sounds of Paris based artist, Perturbator, would be perfect for any neon-goth dance party, or the soundtrack for a particularly creepy 80’s horror film, but instead it’s going to be the sound of your chilly autumn nights. “Hard Wired” is a track from his recently released full length, Dangerous Days, and it is a brilliant piece of work. Sounding something like what I would imagine a band made up of John Carpenter, M83, and Johnny Jewel, and you’re just about there. Beautiful, ice-y synths shimmer beneath a neon-hued heartbeat that pulsates alongside ghostly choral backing vocals. The track also features vocal assistance from Memory Ghost's Isabella Goloversic. I could go on, but that would only delay the pleasure of hearing this stunner. Highest recommendation!

MONO - Where We Begin

Where We Begin” by Mono // The Last Dawn (Out 10.28.14 via Temporary Residence)

It’s been a little while since Mono released new material, but as luck would have it - they’re prepping a double release for the end of of October. The Last Dawn & Rays of Darkness are the two albums in question - made to compliment each other while offering dual sides. One light, one dark. On “Where We Begin” (the lead off track from The Last Dawn), the post rockers do what they do best - creating majestic waves of guitars, noise, and percussion. Think Explosions in the Sky crossed with Tamaryn's woozy shoegaze and you're just bout there. 

FAVORITE ALBUMS in HISTORY of PMW
Earlier this year marked this site’s fifth anniversary of being a thing. At the time, I had wanted to do something to commemorate the instance, but time got the best of me. Fast forward to a couple of weeks back and Pitchfork put together their list of best albums/songs of the first half of the decade. Though not in tight agreement with them, I was still inspired to do the same, considering the dates line up with the creation of PMW. The big difference here is that I’m not trying to create a definitive list of “the best”, as that’s arbitrary - instead I will be highlighting my favorite ten albums of the past five years (which will probably change by the time I post this), and then an additional 40 that are all stunning works that just missed the mark on perfection. These titles will not be ranked, but rather presented alphabetically with links for streaming, should you be so inclined to seek them out. 
So, without wasting any more of your time, let’s get to the list. Links will take you to Spotify when available, YouTube when not. 
TOP TEN FAVORITES // 2010 - 2014
"This is Happening" by LCD Soundsystem // It’s the final pulse of one of my favorite bands. At the time of the release, I didn’t think that it could possibly best their previous album, but sure enough - it did. What sticks with me most is James Murphy’s often heartbreaking, often funny, always real lyrical content that felt like it was mirroring events of my adulthood, as Sound of Silver had done in my young adulthood. It was the soundtrack to a massive turning point in my life and I’m thankful for it’s existence. 
"My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" by Kanye West // It’s one of the albums that I’ve came back to the most over the past five years. For all of Kanye’s brilliance, it was this album that delivered on all promises and boasts. Absolutely top of the mountain production and delivery. It also doesn’t hurt that it contains one of the flat out best verses on any hip hop album of the decade with Nicki Minaj’s “Monster” verse.
"Oshin" by Diiv // A stunning collection of songs that prove you can still make powerful, beautiful music with guitars. Every song is magnificent, and each one feels like an integral piece to the whole. It’s one of those rock records that never sounds played out, and always gets my attention for it’s duration. Perfect.
"MBV" by My Bloody Valentine // Waiting for twenty odd years for a proper follow up to one of the best albums of all time has a tendency to elevate expectations, but Kevin Shields somehow met them head on while subverting them completely. It sounds like only My Bloody Valentine can, and after hearing two decades of pale imitators, it was incredible to feel the power of My Bloody Valentine once again. 
"The Wilderness" by Cemeteries // A criminally overlooked and hauntingly beautiful album drenched in atmosphere that is both inviting and ominous. Like Beach House scoring a David Lynch project. Genuinely great in a way that so few albums ever achieve. 
"High Violet” by The National // A heartbreaking collection of orchestral chamber pop from (possibly) America’s greatest band. Matt Berninger’s writing never fails to connect. Often aching, often triumphant. 
"Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming" by M83 // On this album, M83 aimed for the cheap seats and ended up on the moon. Massive synth pop anthems that feel like mini movies on their own. A truly beautiful collection of songs that make you feel like you can change the world with the right kind of love.
"Nocturne of Exploding Crystal Chandelier" by Sun Airway // Wildly overlooked as well. Sun Airway’s debut is stunningly beautiful and loaded with killer hooks for days. It’s one of those albums that feels like it’s some massive hit in an alternate universe, but sadly it’s an often overlooked gem waiting for a second or fortieth listen.
"Total Loss" by How to Dress Well // Tom Krell’s second album as HTDW felt like a revelation following the distorted, yet gorgeous world of Love Remains. Hearing his vocals pulled closer into the mix and unleashed on heartbursting beauties that call to mind slow jams of the early 90s and all sorts of assorted other things. It’s completely fresh and exciting as all hell.
"The King of Limbs" by Radiohead // My favorite band dropped a quiet, disarming LP that took a while to get settled into, but eventually unraveled into dozens of magical directions. TKOL found the band playing a loose and experimental style that lacked some of that early mastery, but still stood heads above almost everything else. 
"You Are All I See" by Active Child
"Burst Apart" by The Antlers
"Reflektor" by Arcade Fire
"The Haunted Man" by Bat for Lashes
"What a Pleasure" by Beach Fossils
"Bloom" by Beach House
"Romantic Comedy" by Big Troubles
"Tomorrow’s Harvest" by Boards of Canada
"Bon Iver" by Bon Iver
"Huntress" by Camp Counselors
"Kill for Love" by Chromatics
"Space Between Us" by Daniel Land & the Modern Painters
"Halcyon Digest" by Deerhunter
"Only in Dreams" by Dum Dum Girls
"Singles" by Future Islands
"Whirlpool" by A Grave with No Name
"Visions" by Grimes
"Last War" by Haley Bonar
"True Loves" by Hooray for Earth
"What Is This Heart" by How to Dress Well
"So Smart EP" by Indoor Voices
"We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves" by John Maus
"The Magic Place" by Julianna Barwick
"Smoke Ring for My Halo" by Kurt Vile
"Nootropics" by Lower Dens
"Wounded Rhymes" by Lykke Li
"Julia with Blue Jeans On" by Moonface
"Calendar" by Motorama
"Trouble Will Find Me" by The National
"Evergreen" by Plastic Flowers
"Charade is Gold" by Pulseprogramming
"Atlas" by Real Estate
"Body Talk" by Robyn
"Limits of Desire" by Small Black
"Tender New Signs" by Tamaryn
"Heaven" by The Walkmen
"Lost in the Dream" by The War on Drugs
"House of Baloons" by The Weeknd
"Cut Yourself Free" by Wymond Miles
"Stridulum" / "Valusia" by Zola Jesus
There you have it. A collection of brilliant music that has helped shape the last five years of my life (and certainly this blog). Of course, even looking back over this last now, I see plenty of places where I’ve missed things or placed unnecessary emphasis on others. It’s the price of falling in love with things, sounds, too easily. Then again there are much worse issues to have.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed the list and that maybe something stands out that maybe you missed on the first trip through. Go back and reconnect and discover something if you have the time. Lucky for you, once music is out there - it’s always there. Waiting for you to hit play.

FAVORITE ALBUMS in HISTORY of PMW

Earlier this year marked this site’s fifth anniversary of being a thing. At the time, I had wanted to do something to commemorate the instance, but time got the best of me. Fast forward to a couple of weeks back and Pitchfork put together their list of best albums/songs of the first half of the decade. Though not in tight agreement with them, I was still inspired to do the same, considering the dates line up with the creation of PMW. The big difference here is that I’m not trying to create a definitive list of “the best”, as that’s arbitrary - instead I will be highlighting my favorite ten albums of the past five years (which will probably change by the time I post this), and then an additional 40 that are all stunning works that just missed the mark on perfection. These titles will not be ranked, but rather presented alphabetically with links for streaming, should you be so inclined to seek them out. 

So, without wasting any more of your time, let’s get to the list. Links will take you to Spotify when available, YouTube when not. 

TOP TEN FAVORITES // 2010 - 2014

  1. "This is Happening" by LCD Soundsystem // It’s the final pulse of one of my favorite bands. At the time of the release, I didn’t think that it could possibly best their previous album, but sure enough - it did. What sticks with me most is James Murphy’s often heartbreaking, often funny, always real lyrical content that felt like it was mirroring events of my adulthood, as Sound of Silver had done in my young adulthood. It was the soundtrack to a massive turning point in my life and I’m thankful for it’s existence. 
  2. "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" by Kanye West // It’s one of the albums that I’ve came back to the most over the past five years. For all of Kanye’s brilliance, it was this album that delivered on all promises and boasts. Absolutely top of the mountain production and delivery. It also doesn’t hurt that it contains one of the flat out best verses on any hip hop album of the decade with Nicki Minaj’s “Monster” verse.
  3. "Oshin" by Diiv // A stunning collection of songs that prove you can still make powerful, beautiful music with guitars. Every song is magnificent, and each one feels like an integral piece to the whole. It’s one of those rock records that never sounds played out, and always gets my attention for it’s duration. Perfect.
  4. "MBV" by My Bloody Valentine // Waiting for twenty odd years for a proper follow up to one of the best albums of all time has a tendency to elevate expectations, but Kevin Shields somehow met them head on while subverting them completely. It sounds like only My Bloody Valentine can, and after hearing two decades of pale imitators, it was incredible to feel the power of My Bloody Valentine once again. 
  5. "The Wilderness" by Cemeteries // A criminally overlooked and hauntingly beautiful album drenched in atmosphere that is both inviting and ominous. Like Beach House scoring a David Lynch project. Genuinely great in a way that so few albums ever achieve. 
  6. "High Violet” by The National // A heartbreaking collection of orchestral chamber pop from (possibly) America’s greatest band. Matt Berninger’s writing never fails to connect. Often aching, often triumphant. 
  7. "Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming" by M83 // On this album, M83 aimed for the cheap seats and ended up on the moon. Massive synth pop anthems that feel like mini movies on their own. A truly beautiful collection of songs that make you feel like you can change the world with the right kind of love.
  8. "Nocturne of Exploding Crystal Chandelier" by Sun Airway // Wildly overlooked as well. Sun Airway’s debut is stunningly beautiful and loaded with killer hooks for days. It’s one of those albums that feels like it’s some massive hit in an alternate universe, but sadly it’s an often overlooked gem waiting for a second or fortieth listen.
  9. "Total Loss" by How to Dress Well // Tom Krell’s second album as HTDW felt like a revelation following the distorted, yet gorgeous world of Love Remains. Hearing his vocals pulled closer into the mix and unleashed on heartbursting beauties that call to mind slow jams of the early 90s and all sorts of assorted other things. It’s completely fresh and exciting as all hell.
  10. "The King of Limbs" by Radiohead // My favorite band dropped a quiet, disarming LP that took a while to get settled into, but eventually unraveled into dozens of magical directions. TKOL found the band playing a loose and experimental style that lacked some of that early mastery, but still stood heads above almost everything else. 

There you have it. A collection of brilliant music that has helped shape the last five years of my life (and certainly this blog). Of course, even looking back over this last now, I see plenty of places where I’ve missed things or placed unnecessary emphasis on others. It’s the price of falling in love with things, sounds, too easily. Then again there are much worse issues to have.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed the list and that maybe something stands out that maybe you missed on the first trip through. Go back and reconnect and discover something if you have the time. Lucky for you, once music is out there - it’s always there. Waiting for you to hit play.

The Radio Dept. "Death to Fascism"

"Death to Fascism" by The Radio Dept. // Death to Fascism - Single (2014 // Available Now)

It’s been a long while since we were gifted with new sounds from The Radio Dept. The band has been quietly tucked away since the release of their singles collection, Passive Aggressive, but that could all be changing now. The band’s label, posted a new track (free download as well) from the Radio Dept., and it’s a bit of a departure. Not completely out there, but still quite different from the band’s most notable tracks which almost always are dreamy slices of melancholic beauty. Here, on “Death to Fascism”, the band takes to more of an experimental electronic approach, using a vocal sample to warp and stretch the jittery beat heavy track. The track leans toward the political (hence the name), which could be a timely release on the band’s part considering Swedish elections are in a few days. Whatever the case, new music from The Radio Dept is always exciting and hopefully this means that a proper full length is on it’s way soon. 

"Put Your Number in My Phone" by Ariel Pink // Pom Pom (Out 11.18.14 via 4AD)

It’s an Ariel Pink kind of day, i guess. In addition to his fantastic collaboration with Ex Cops, today Pink announced his first “solo” full length release, the double album, Pom Pom, which will be his first not credited to the Haunted Graffiti. The first single is the immediately lovely psych pop gem, “Put Your Number In My Phone”. The track finds Pink dabbling in 60’s tinged UK psych pop and late 80’s era vibed jangle pop, which both are right in his wheelhouse and it shows in this excellent single. It’s looking like this autumn is going to sound a lot like Ariel Pink, and that’s not a bad thing in the least. 

Tragically Alright (feat. Ariel Pink)

"Tragically Alright (ft. Ariel Pink)" by Ex Cops // Daggers (Out 10.28.14 via Downtown Records)

It’s been pretty incredible hearing the evolution of Brooklyn’s Ex Cops over the past few years. From hearing their early tracks which drifted between electro-tinged dream pop and hazy lo-fi to their current work in melodically rich amalgamations of post punk, lo-fi, and guitar pop - every step has been confident and exciting. Now, as the band preps it’s new full length, they drop one of their best tracks yet - an infectious slice of dark pop that features Ariel Pink and sounds like some wonderful imaginary session between the Beach Boys and The Jesus and Mary Chain. It’s a killer track and a great reason to be looking forward to the end of October when their new album Daggers finds it way to release. 

FKA Twigs - Stay With Me (Sam Smith Cover) On BBC Radio 1

"Stay With Me (Sam Smith cover)" by FKA Twigs // Live on BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge (Sept. 2014)

FKA Twigs was recently on the Radio 1 Live Lounge and as artists tend to do when performing on the show, she broke out a cover - and this is a cover of one of the biggest songs of the year in Sam Smith's “Stay With Me”. Of course, this is not a straight up karaoke job, as it immediately feels like an FKA Twigs original. The ghostly, experimental shift gives the track a much more ominous tone, but still haunting all the same. Check it out above and watch the HERE if you prefer visuals with your sad pop songs. 

Aphex Twin - minipops 67 [120.2][source Field Mix]

"minipops 67 [120.2] [source Field Mix]" by Aphex Twin // Syro (Available 9.21.14 via Warp/Bleep)

I wasn’t going to post this because there’s surely nothing that I can add to the discussion this late in the day after it has found countless listeners across the waves of digital media, and yet - here i am. I’ll be quick. It was “Boy/Girl Song” that I found in 1996 - at a young age, on some terrible MTV compilation disc that was given out at Tower Records for spending over thirty dollars on CDs - that first introduced me to Aphex Twin. From there, It was the music found on the Richard D. James Album and Selected Ambient Works, Vol. 2 that introduced me to electronic music that found it’s way into my head. Not just in throbbing pulses that pushed me toward a dance floor, but in oddly moving, inspiring, and sometimes maddening forms that challenged the definitions of a “song”. I didn’t always like the way Richard James came off in interviews (often challenging, usually negative toward other artists who dared compliment his work), but I didn’t need to like him to be moved by his music. It’s been thirteen years since his last official release and in that time, I’ve grown up and moved away from certain musical touchstones, and in a lot of ways - I stopped listening to Aphex Twin. Then today, at a little over a minute into this new song (which i will admit, i was expecting to be an abrasive assault more than anything), I heard something that shifted my perceptions and made me excited to hit replay. I can’t say exactly that it’s a return to form, or anything resembling that, but I feel like it’s something really special from an artist that I used to go nuts about, but who hasn’t had much to say as of late. Maybe the time off was a good thing, because if this is Aphex Twin’s triumphant return, it was timed perfectly to remind me that I’d actually been missing him all these years without knowing it.

Sentimentalist

"Sentimentalist" by Sondre Lerche // Please (Out 9.23.14 via Mona Records)

From the sounds of Sondre Lerche's recent output, things haven't been going as smoothly as they could have been. His new album was inspired by the end of his marriage and as it would with anyone, it's taken it's toll on the artist. The “good” news for music fans is that his creative output is as lovely as ever despite the dark lyrical content. On his second single from the forthcoming album, Please, Lerche offers up the chamber pop beauty, “Sentimentalist”, which further explores the heartbreak of his lost love. It would be harder to enjoy such painful lyrical content if it wasn’t so damned pretty. Highly recommended for fans of Jens Lekman, Regina Spektor, and Kings of Convenience

"Give Us a Kiss" by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds // Give Us a Kiss 10” b/w Jubilee Street (Out 11.10.14 via Bad Seed LTD)

Over the years, I have find myself drawn more and more to the work of Nick Cave. Which is odd, because I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember. Perhaps it’s more that as I’ve grown and matured, I’ve continually revisited the man’s work and with each new trip back through the catalog, I find more layers to get lost within. At this stage, I’m as big a fan of Cave’s writing (lyrics, novels, screenplays, all of it) as I am of his musical output. All that being said, it’s always with great excitement that I take in new material. Last year’s haunting Push the Sky Away, continues to find it’s way into my heavy rotation, and now a previously unreleased b-side from those sessions has made it’s way out. Once again, I am completely floored. “Give Us a Kiss” finds Cave and the Bad Seeds working within those same ghostly ballads that populated Push the Sky Away, but it’s by no means a retread. This is pure Cave. The composition is fairly minimal, with hushed strings barely illuminating the soft bass line and eerie electronic flourishes that sound like a ghost zipping by at high speed. Of course, the track is anchored by Cave’s commanding sing/speak vocals and the ghostly imagery in which he tells his story. It’s a stunner. I can’t say enough good things. Highly recommended.