New Music Weekly #13 | Broken Social Scene, Beach House & Vince Staples

New Music Weekly is your one stop shop for new releases in the world of music each and every week. From the best of the best, to some of the rest, Mark Conroy is here to give you the low down on what you might have missed. This week;  Broken Social Scene, Beach House & Vince Staples.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart  ‘Anymore’

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have always sounded like they stepped into time machine sometime in the mid to late 80’s and ended up  in the 2010’s. Still, they’re not that bothered about it, nor should they be. The lead single to off their newly announced album The Echo Of Pleasure an anthemic amalgamation of the blistering fuzz of The Jesus and Mary Chain and the hook-heavy sound of The Lemonheads. ‘Anymore’  might be as cheap as it is cheerful, but it gothic sentimentally and cheeky self-awareness tides it over.

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Broken Social Scene ‘Hug of Thunder’

After the somewhat unfocused ‘Halfway Home’, the title track and second single off Broken Social Scene’s first album in 7 years is much more promising. Most noteworthy is the inclusion of Feist, who hasn’t featured prominently on one of the Canadian band’s albums in over decade or since her solo career really took off. She offers her ethereal voice work to ‘Hug of Thunder’, a suitably named song with a vocal delivery that’s comforting and a soundscape that’s both threatening and expansive in equal measure. It’s a slow burner with a dingy bass line for a heartbeat, but it’s worth your time as to stick around until the half way mark, where the track serenades powerfully with  gated reverberated, drums and  a shift into sweeter sonic territory.

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Courtney Barnett ‘How to Boil an Egg’

Courtney Barnett’s latest is quintessential Courtney Barnett. The track was first written and performed when she was just 21, which isn’t surprising as it depicts the much more uncertain and anxiety ridden lifestyle of her pre-fame years. While it’s reminiscent of the jaunty ‘Pedestrian At Best’  It’s another track which makes economic use of a singular guitar riff while the lyricism does  much of the heavy lifting.  The song writing isn’t  as colloquially complex as her best  work but there is still some highlights here.    

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Beach House ‘Chariot’

Dream pop prodigies Beach House are soon to release a collection of B-sides and rarities that will be called, unsurprisingly, B-Sides and Rarities. The first taste of this collection is ‘Chariot’, a song that’s more Beach house then that last track was Courtney Barnett. It’s another lovely, leisurely paced effort that will either sedate or stun depending on your mood. Personally, I think its better than most of the tracks that were on either of the two albums they dropped in 2015—Depression Cherry & Thank Your Lucky stars—so I’m surprised it didn’t make the cut . It’s not going to convert their detractors but  the band have accepted this reality since their  debut. ‘Chariot’s  5 minutes of soothing spacious, catharsis will be enough for those who  listen to Victoria Legrand’s croon as gospel.  

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Grizzly Bear ‘Mourning Sound’

After formally announcing their new album Painted Ruins—out August 18thGrizzly Bear this week released the record’s  second and stronger single. ‘Mourning Sound’ is about as straightforward as the band get,  but the sultry syncopation is still there and it still impresses. The  soundscape manoeuvres  like the shore in that you better off going with it then trying to nail it down. There’s the sprinkling of  rhythmic acoustic strumming , Ed Droste and Daniel Rosse’s  interlocking vocals and some truly brazen, warped symphonics that emerge like a mini system shock. Sure you could peel back the layers, but wouldn’t you rather just take it all in?

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(Sandy) Alex G ‘Alina’

(Sandy) Alex G released his highly anticipated Rocket on Friday and it was worth that wait, the eclectic  work is the most accomplished and cohesive that the prolific artist has yet given us. ‘Alina’, particularly, is a highlight. Alex Gianniscoli’s brand of off kilter, deeply felt folk is often found in his sound in as much as it is in his lyrics. Here it’s the former that is makes his case. The words aren’t easy to make to out  but thee heavenly  plane the layered vocals are  found in coveys the emotional resonance  he’s aiming for.

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Vince Staples ‘Big Fish’

Rap songs are so often concerned with the luxurious life that are led by their creators, but rarely do they directly tackle the fact that it’s the rap song that’s afforded them that luxurious lifestyle. Vince Staple’s boisterous ‘Big Fish’ seeks to amend this. On it, the still young Long Beach native is in reflective mode, sardonically bleak as ever as he recalls the not-too distant life of gang-banging,  penny-pinching and near-mortal encounters he once endured. Sitting in his Mercedes by a bus stop in his home town, the narrator reminisces about a gang hit he carried out on the very spot with the sound of the .22’s ‘Click Clack Clap’ still echoing in his ears to this day. The optics of the disparity between the luxury car he now drives and the deplorable action he once had to commit just to get by are clear to see. He’s living the high life yes, but he’s not sure if he deserves any of it.

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Selena Gomez ‘Bad Liar’

Turns out in 2017, Selena Gomez is much better at being Lorde than Lorde is. ‘Bad Liar’ is basically  the alternative music lover’s platonic idea of the perfect  pop song. It’s ‘hip’ while still being up front about being a track that designed to sink its teeth into ones ear and never let go. While it samples indie rock gods Talking Heads, ‘Bad Liar’ can still  retain the sultry, squeaky clean sleaze that Gomez managed to channel on her last great entry to the genre, ‘Hands to Myself’.  

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Isobel Anderson ‘Feed Me’

Belfast Based Isoabel Anderson has the knack of melding the sound of  contemporary artists while still  coming out as an original entity at the end of it all. ‘Feed Me’ has the heartfelt, Nashville sound of Natalie Prass as well as the subdued bombast of a  Father John misty track.

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