The Week That Was #14

Ring, Ring the bells, for 2014 has arrived in a flurry of songs and a hailstorm of new music, threatening to overwhelm our flooded ears. Thankfully it’s winter, and sitting inside as the rain pounds down outside is pretty inviting. Here are 7 songs we have been listening to, and we promise to spare you from any more damp puns.

Monday saw the release of a number of highly anticipated new records, which have been spinning around our ears ever since. Halls Love to Give is a draw-dropping affair, both intensely personal and almost religiously communal. There is a transcendent potency in the delivery that cradles a profound truth. Album closer Body Eraser / Avalanche is charged with gravitas; haunting choral interludes intersperse lofty vocals like a beacon of light shining a spotlight through a dust-swirled atmosphere. 3 minutes in and the ground gives way, seemingly calling in the rapture. It is not easy to listen to, but then it’s not supposed to be. The thunderous post-rock esoteric builds like Vesuvius before raining feedback on your ears.

Brighton’s Rose Keeler-Schäffeler’s, or Keel Her to you and I, debut album has felt like a long time coming, if only because of her prolificacy of song writing. The self-titled album has been whittled down to 18 songs, some old, some new, some borrowed (from her own back catalogue), a few even blue. It’s an eclectic mix and a fascinating listen, as though she has personally made us all a mix tape, the type you’d receive from a friend, stick in your car, and play to death. Keeler-Schäffeler shows a deft hand working across genres and Riot Grrrl is, well, a case in point: slacker rock, surf pop and jangly west coast tones are all there in an uninhibited mash-up that passes in a blur of adrenaline and endorphins.

I’m constantly intrigued in how ones environment affects their art. And Maica Mia’s debut LP, Des Era seems to be bled into Canada’s northern soul. Sparse arrangements announce post-apocalpyse blues as different shades of grey are splashed over a barren fabric. It’s as if winter’s door is slowly closed on our souls. neH2ble is the highlight, a film score passing through the clouds to search over the decaying landscape below. It’s tender and haunting, and genuinely affecting. When the world ends, they should play this.

I’m not sure what the environs of Pesaro, Italy, are like, but with bands like Be Forest coming from there, I’d like to find out. Last week they released their sophomore effort, Earthbeat. By measure both dreamy and punchy it carries an irresistible air of mysticism grounded in fertile soil. On Airwaves angular guitars sear through the seams as the vocals float on a cloud of hazy indifference.

Nicely tagged as industrial pop there is something very personal about the vocals and lyrics to Londoners Joey Fourr‘s Born Slippery, taken from the soon to be released Art is Hard and Reeks of Effort uber compilation Art Reeks. This raw emotion contrasts and compliments the chugging guitars and coarse hook and sinks straight into the heart: Heartfelt and stirring Born Slippery is the moment butterflies flitter in the stomach, the moment the heart swoons and the moment when life stands still for a second.

Playlounge dropped Zero yesterday, the first track from their upcoming debut album, Pilot. And judging by this taster pencil in April 14th as Playlounge day. Zero contains the kind of disorientating fuzz you can usually only achieve by closing your eyes and spinning yourself around 10 times. On one leg. This 3 minutes is a lot more enjoyable and a lot less dangerous.

She’s Gone by PyPy is relentlessly boundless. A psychedelic scuzzy mess that spins your head round on the fast cycle complete with atmospheric yelps and vocals that have all the magnetic aura of Le Tigre. It’s addictive, as all the best things are.

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