Forest Swords – Arms Out

Forest Swords, aka acclaimed Merseyside-based producer Matthew Barnes, has announced his eagerly-anticipated new album Compassion will be released on May 5 via Ninja Tune.

The forthcoming record features the previously shared single, The Highest Flood, and is the long awaited first studio album since 2013’s critically lauded debut album Engravings, and his 2015 dance score Shrine.

“Like many, with all that’s been going on since I started making the record, I’ve struggled to see any kind of light at the end of the tunnel,” Barnes explained in a press release. ”I realised there’s some sort of power in trying to create our own instead. I’m inspired by the ways we’re communicating now, for better or worse, and thinking about new channels we can distribute ideas. The idea of looking for flexible future ways of expression and language, that bends to our needs quicker, really excites me”.

Along with the album news, Forest Swords has also shared new track Arms Out – which comes with a video directed by Sam Wiehl. Watch it above.

The album will be followed by a set of projects across multiple mediums by Forest Swords’ own Dense Truth, a new experimental studio and record label, including a series of music videos. More details will be announced in the coming months.

Compassion drops May 5 on Ninja Tune. Pre-order here.

Photo by Dense Truth.

SILVER SOUNDZ | March 2017 Mix

SILVER SOUNDZ | March 2017 Mix (91 MB)

1. The Orielles – Sugar Tastes Like Salt
2. She-Devils – Hey Boy
3. You’ll Never Get To Heaven – White Light
4. Perfume Genius – Slip Away
5. TOPS – Petals
6. Goldfrapp – Moon In Your Mouth
7. Frank Ocean – Chanel
8. The Blaze – Territory
9. Freddie Gibbs – Alexys
10. Actress – X22RME
11. Nuage – Thunderine
12. Tei Shi – How Far
13. Feist – Pleasure

Image by Adam Bellefeuil.

Video: Half Waif – Frost Burn

This week, Half Waif reveals a stunning, wintery, and at times bleak visual for her emotive second single Frost Burn. Directed by Emily Dubin, the video encapsulates the mindstate Nandi inhabits as the track’s protagonist, having been filmed in precisely the same location that the song was written.

About the video, producer/songwriter/vocalist Nandi Rose Plunkett explains: “‘Frost Burn’ was filmed at the same house and property where it was written, which is a house in the Berkshires, the region where I grew up. Emily & I decided it would be a good idea to return there to shoot, since the lyrics deal with confronting the past. We took the line from the chorus – “and on my island / I cannot keep out all the violence” – and used that to guide the imagery. We wanted to convey the idea that even when we try to build our own personal islands to protect ourselves from our past, ultimately the violence of our memories cannot be shut out. So there’s the brewing of tea – an act of comfort and coziness – that overlaps with an outdoor picnic in sub-zero weather. And there’s the fort built with blankets, a physically protective structure, that feels hollow and childish in the context of adulthood. In the video, I get to revisit the house where the song was born, while simultaneously reflecting on revisiting my past in that very area, where the woods and the cold and the sweet New England houses trigger so many memories. Standing on the edge of a frozen river in nothing but a dress, internal and external weather assaulting the body and mind.”

Half Waif’s form/a EP is out now on a limited-edition 12” & digitally via Cascine.

Aldous Harding – Imagining My Man

Aldous Harding has announced her forthcoming new album Party will be released on May 19 via 4AD.

Her debut release with 4AD, Party (produced with the award-winning John Parish; PJ Harvey, Sparklehorse) introduces a new pulse to the stark and unpopulated dramatic realm where the likes of Kate Bush and Scott Walker reside.

Comprising a formidable clutch of songs, 2017’s Party sees Harding shape-shift through a variety of roles: chanteuse, folk singer and balladeer – all executed with her twisted touch of humour, hubris and quiet horror. In other words, she’s having a good time. Stretching her limbs with playful cunning; every note, word and arrangement posed with intellect and inventiveness.

Created in Parish’s hometown of Bristol, Party saw Harding depart her New Zealand base in the antipodes for an intensive two-week immersion in the studio. Articulating her ambitions for Party to Parish was a galvanizing process for Harding, met with stunning results. The pair developed a near non-verbal shorthand, audibly evident in a raft of musical contributions from Parish. Alongside such special guests as Perfume Genius’ Mike Hadreas (having worked with Parish and toured with Aldous, it only took asking once), there is an exhilarating sense of risk throughout the record as Harding’s muscular wingspan extends. Teased out with inflections of experimental instrumentation and arrangements; Party is always anchored by Aldous’s intimidating command of her own songs. Pre-order here.

Slowdive – Sugar For The Pill

UK shoegaze pioneers Slowdive have announced their self-titled fourth studio-album will be released on May 5 via Dead Oceans.

The forthcoming record is preceded today by their beautifully understated new single, Sugar For The Pill, which follows the release of Star Roving, their first new song in 22 years.

Slowdive’s stargazing alchemy is set to further entrance the faithful while beguiling a legion of fresh ears. These eight new tracks, simultaneously expansive and the band’s most direct material to date, deftly swerve away from any “trip down memory lane.” They were birthed at the band’s talismanic Oxfordshire haunt, The Courtyard, and mixed at Los Angeles’ famed Sunset Sound by Chris Coady (Beach House). Throughout, the group dynamic was all-important.

“When you’re in a band and you do three records, there’s a continuous flow and a development. For us, that flow re-started with us playing live again and that has continued into the record,” notes principal songwriter Neil Halstead.

The video for Sugar For The Pill, product by in/out, takes its inspiration from the Slowdive album artwork, which is itself a still from Harry Smith’s cult classic animation Heaven and Earth Magic – the vast spiritual narrative that has influenced so many artists since it was originally released back in 1957.

Slowdive, the follow-up to 1995’s Pygmalion, is out May 5 on Dead Oceans. Pre-order here.

Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly & James McAlister – Saturn

Sufjan Stevens, The National’s Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, and Sufjan’s drummer James McAlister release their collaborative album Planetarium on June 9 via 4AD.

A completely reimagined version of the project originally undertaken years ago and performed in various iterations around the world, Planetarium unites Stevens’ vocals, McAlister’s beats, Dessner’s guitar performance, and Muhly’s instrumental compositions—part rock odyssey, part electronic experiment, part classical opus.

Conceptually, Planetarium revolves around the cosmic ideas Stevens’ lyrics explore: mythology, astrology, science, astronomy and the intricacies of human consciousness.

The album began when Dutch concert hall Muziekgebouw Eindhoven commissioned Muhly to create a new piece and he enlisted friends Dessner, Stevens and McAlister, all of whom had been looking for the opportunity to collaborate on a larger scale.

After sketching the framework of the song cycle and performing the piece as a band—flanked by a string quartet and seven trombones—in various forms, the quartet put the project on hold for several years. Returning to the raw material in 2016, Stevens and McAlister reversed their typical process, taking recordings of the live show and adapting to the studio. “We had recorded all the arrangements and the live parts in a studio after our last performance,” says Stevens, “so years later when we all kind of settled down, we said, ‘let’s open Pandora’s box.’”

Planetarium is out June 9 on 4AD. Pre-order here.