Posts tagged M83

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!

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.

"Lower Your Eyelids to Die with the Sun" by M83 // Before the Dawn Heals Us - Deluxe Edition (Out 8.25.14 via Mute)

Next week, Mute is going to be re-releasing the first three albums from M83 for the first time available in their entirety on digital platforms. To celebrate the release, frontman Anthony Gonzalez has dug out a previously unreleased music video for the stunning closing track to Before the Dawn Heals Us, “Lower Your Eyelids to Die with the Sun”. It’s loaded with gorgeous visuals and is a firm reminder of just how impressive M83 has been since the start. 

Engineers - Fight or Flight (from Always Returning)

"Fight or Flight" by Engineers // Always Returning (Out 8.18.14 via Kscope Music)

It’s been a while since I’ve listened to anything new from the criminally underrated London based shoegazers, Engineers. As luck would have it, they have a new album coming out next week (on vinyl, digital available now), and the lead single is a shimmering electro shoegaze beauty. “Fight or Flight” bubbles to life with spaced out electro beats, orchestral synths, and shimmering guitars that sounds as good as anything the band has ever done. Another selling point are the lovely male/female vocals that shadow each other, creating an otherworldly dreaminess that is absolutely gorgeous. You can grab a free download here. Highly recommended for fans of M83, Ulrich Schnauss, and Spiritualized.

Letting Up Despite Great Faults - Wrapped

"Wrapped" by Letting Up Despite Great Faults // Neon (Out 8.12.14 via Bandcamp)

Austin based dream poppers, Letting Up Despite Great Faults, seem to always be in top form. Each album or EP that drops is as good if not better than the last. It’s that consistency that keeps me coming back, but I have to admit that after hearing their wonderful new album, Neon, that they might be hitting a highwater mark this time out. Look no further than the sparkling first single, “Wrapped”, as evidence of the surge. The lush layering of shimmering synths and effervescent electronics give “Wrapped” a warm and immediate presence - making it hard not to take notice and hold your attention for the duration of the three and a half minutes. Gorgeous vocal harmonies and a surging beat make it hard to forget once that time is up, so returning to the beginning is the best option. It’s the kind of fantastic track that makes you fall in love with the song as much as the youthful memories that it calls to mind - similar to the the way that Stars or Broken Social Scene are able to do at their best. If you like what you hear, swing over to the band’s Bandcamp page and stream the entire new album before it drops on August 12th. Highly recommended. 

Cold

"Cold" by Prince Innocence // Cold - Single (Out Now via Pretty Pretty Records)

As Prince Innocence readies their eventual debut album, they’ve gone ahead and done the world a solid and dropped a stellar single to tide us over for a while. “Cold” is an apt name for the track as it’s chilly delivery of icy synths and airy vocals help put bring to kind autumn nights under cold gray stars - which, given the absurd heat that’s likely filling your days, is about as nice an escape as you’re likely to get for a couple of months. Prince Innocence has fast become one of my favorite young bands and after the near perfect synth pop beauty, “Dissipate” from last year, “Cold’ is another reminder that the Toronto duo are real deal and I couldn’t be more excited for a full length. 

The Bilinda Butchers - Golden House Ft. Sarah Psalti

"Golden House (ft. Sarah Psalti)" by The Bilinda Butchers // Heaven (Out 7.15.14 via Orchid Tapes)

Last year, Sarah Psalti was the voice for one of my favorite tracks of the year ("Oostende" by Keep Shelly in Athens). This year, she sadly left her band but that hasn’t kept her from contributing to some stunning work in the form of the new album from The Bilinda Butchers. “Golden House” is the track (from the band’s forthcoming Orchid Tapes release, Heaven) the features the band’s collaboration with Psalti, and it is a positively glowing bit of dreamy electro shoegaze. The Bilinda Butchers are putting out the best work of their careers as of late and the gorgeous “Golden House” is no exception. It’s the kind of track that will stick with you long after hearing it, demanding a return to the sounds as soon as possible. 

LIMITED "Automation (Do You Feel)"

"Automation (Do You Feel)" by Limited // Automation  b/w Everyone Else’s Lives (Out Now via Big Love)

It’s been a little while since we heard from Alex Craig's (Big Troubles & Ducktails) dreamy synth project, Limited. Luckily, just in time for prime summer soundtracking, Craig has released the shimmering synth pop beauty, “Automation (Do You Feel)” and it’s another excellent addition to the criminally short Limited catalog. The track digs it’s heels in and unleashes a whirlwind of throbbing synth lines, twinkling keys, and crisp electro beats, all warmly swirling together as Craig sings a hook that will be lodged in your brain for days. It’s a killer track and hopefully before the end of the year, we’ll be getting a full release from Limited - because there needs to be way more of this in my life. Highest recommendation for fans of M83, Hooray for Earth, and Future Islands.

Zola Jesus-Dangerous Days (Official Audio)

"Dangerous Days" by Zola Jesus // Taiga (Out 10.7.14 via Mute)

It’s been a little while since we heard new music from Nika Roza Danilova's goth-synth project,  Zola Jesus. Her last album was more of a re-issue of existing material (with strings added). So last week’s announcement of the October release for her new full length (Taiga) made me very excited for what the future holds. Now, less than a week later we get a taste of that future, in the form of “Dangerous Days”. Right off the bat you notice something different about the track, and it’s something that I hadn’t ever really noticed missing in her previous music - for the first time it sounds like she’s genuinely having fun. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not a club banger, but it is more upbeat and energetic than we’ve really heard from ZJ in the past, and Danilova’s incredible voice is their to guide the track every step of the way. The result is a wonderful step into new territory and more than enough reason to push this album to the top of my “most wanted” list. 

Mountain

"Mountain" by Night Panther // Mountain - Single (2014)

If your summer listening is missing a euphoric synth pop stunner, look no further than Night Panther's dreamy, neon-hued “Mountain”. The Pennsylvania four piece have an absolute winner on their hands with this stroke of genius. The infectious blast of shimmering synths, HI-NRG beats, and deeply melodic vocals hits immediately and never lets up - creating a dance floor beauty that would sounds as good under city lights as it would soundtracking a night drive through the desert. This is as good as it gets when you're looking for a summer anthem. Highly recommended for fans of M83, Chromatics, and Postiljonen. Comes for the ear candy hooks, stay for the sexy sax solo. 

get into it recordsBreathe

"Breathe" by Fractions // Breathe - Single (Available Now via Get Into It Records)

Get Into It Records is currently putting out a singles series in which they’re introducing new talent to world via cassette singles and Bandcamp. The third entry into that series comes Newcastle based synth poppers, Fractions. The track is called “Breathe” and it’s an absolute stunner. The track is chocked to the brim with spaced out synths, crisp percussion, walls of hypnotic guitars, and powerhouse vocals that positively soar, even as they’re layered and folded back in on themselves. It’s a gorgeous, confident sound from a band that I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye on in the future. Highly recommended tor fans of Purity Ring, CHVRCHES, and M83. Head on over to the Bandcamp page to score a download for a fee of name-your-price. 

Future Husbands Past Lives

"Future Husbands Past Lives" by White Sea // In Cold Blood (Out 5.19.14 via Songs/Crush Music)

Morgan Kibby will soon be releasing her first full length album as White Sea, and I have to say, that it’s about time. I feel like I’ve been wanting to hear an album of her solo material for several years now. Luckily, it’s just around the corner and in anticipation of the release of In Cold Blood, we’ve got a new single to check out - the glowing 80’s-infused dance floor gem, “Future Husbands Past Lives”. It’s an absolutely infectious blast of beaming synths, bouncy bass lines, and electro-strings that are all wrapped up by Kibby’s absolutely soaring vocals. It’s fun as all hell, and a sure fire candidate for the summer jam of 2014. 

To The Top

"To the Top" by Twin Shadow // To to Top - Single (Available Now via 4AD)

George Lewis Jr (Twin Shadow) seems to have taken a break from his monthly covers series to work on a new album. One of the songs that may pop up on that as-yet-untitled album is the soaring anthem, “To the Top”. The artist continues to evolve his sound which started as dreamy chillwave before morphing into 2012’s dance-able synth rock. “To the Top” isn’t exactly either of those things, in fact the song is mostly a straight-forward widescreen power ballad that feels built for the big stage. It’s a great track and surely a hint at what awaits later this year when we hopefully get to hear a new full length. In the meantime, you can download this track for free from Twin Shadow’s Soundcloud page.

"I Need You" by M83 // Divergent - Official Soundtrack (Out 3.11.14 via Interscope)

It seems like M83 has been spending more time working on soundtracks as of late, and that’s just fine if the result is going to be swooning, electro-orchestral beauties like this. “I Need You” is a stirring, widescreen, synth anthem that finds time for sax solos and soaring choruses. The track is featured on the soundtrack to the film, "Divergent", and with a little luck, we will hopefully be looking down the barrel of a new M83 release very soon. In the meantime, take a couple of dozen listens to this special little treat. 

Shame

"Shame" by Mas Ysa // Worth EP (Out Now via Downtown Records)

Mas Ysa (Thomas Arsenault) has been picking up plenty of worthwhile buzz as of late for tracks like “Why” and “Years”. Now that the Worth EP (which contains those tracks and more) has been released, that doesn’t mean the praise needs to end. “Shame” is another track from the release that manages to take the power of his ballads and inject an intense, percussion-heavy house beat into the mix. The quiet intimacy of the song’s first half, shifts into a propulsive rush that takes the track straight to the strobe lights of the dance floor, all the while maintaining the power that makes Mas Ysa an artist to watch. Highly recommended for fans of Majical Cloudz and M83.