Parquet Courts – Wide Awake

Parquet Courts release their forthcoming new album Wide Awake! on May 18 via Rough Trade Records.

Wide Awake! was written by Andrew Savage and Austin Brown, and produced by Danger Mouse. It is the band’s fifth album and the follow-up to their excellent 2016 album, Human Performance.

“The ethos behind every Parquet Courts record is that there needs to be change for the better, and the best way to tackle that is to step out of one’s comfort zone,” says Savage in a press release in regards to working with Danger Mouse. “I personally liked the fact that I was writing a record that indebted to punk and funk, and Brian’s a pop producer who’s made some very polished records. I liked that it didn’t make sense.”

Savage says he was purposefully reacting against the ballads of Human Performance when co-writing the songs on Wide Awake! with bandmate Austin Brown. “I needed an outlet for the side of me that feels emotions like joy, rage, silliness and anger,” he says in a press release, citing such influences as Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, and Black Flag. “All those bands make me want to dance and that’s what I want people to do when they hear our record.”

Brown had this to say in a press release: “In such a hateful era of culture, we stand in opposition to that – and to the nihilism used to cope with that – with ideas of passion and love.”

Ben Frost – Self Portrait In Ultramarine

Ben Frost has shared an unheard track, Self Portrait In Ultramarine, from the All That You Love Will Be Eviscerated EP, which includes new tracks and previously unreleased remixes from Alva Noto and Steve Albini.

The video for the EP’s title track is a collaboration with conceptual documentary photographer Richard Mosse and cinematographer Trevor Tweeten. Watch here.

All That You Love Will Be Eviscerated is taken from Frost’s latest album, The Centre Cannot Hold, which was recorded over ten days by Steve Albini in Chicago.

In collaborating with Albini, Frost chooses a new immediacy and raw directness. As an artist whose command of sound design lies at the heart of his practice, by placing himself primarily in the role of live performer and handing the studio recording process over to Albini, Frost continues pursuit of Theseus’ paradox; the question of whether a ship restored by replacing every single part remains the same ship.

The All That You Love Will Be Eviscerated EP is out March 23 on Mute. Pre-order the EP here.

Grouper – Parking Lot

Liz Harris will release her forthcoming new Grouper album Grid of Points, the follow-up to her stunning 2014 album Ruins, on April 27 via Kranky.

“Grid Of Points is a set of songs for piano and voice. I wrote these songs over a week and a half; they stopped abruptly when I was interrupted by a high fever. Though brief, it is complete. The intimacy and abbreviation of this music allude to an essence that the songs lyrics speak more directly of. The space left after matter has departed, a stage after the characters have gone, the hollow of some central column, missing.” – Liz Harris

Speaking to NPR, Harris also explained that the beautiful Parking Lot was inspired by a scene from the 1970 experimental film Zabriskie Point:

“I heard a lot about the movie Zabriskie Point from Roy Montgomery and Paul Clipson years before I finally saw it. There is a climactic scene in the California desert — writhing bodies, frenzied dancing; anxiety and pleasure confused in a massive primordial orgy of symbolic transformation. Poetic depiction of the political and social turmoil of the sixties, a return to human nature, the raw chaotic power of innocence and the desire for change.

I was struck by how presciently the film captures an essence of the desert I had felt, the sharp contrast given objects by bright light, colors popping while also in retreat. Something psychological, and polar. Compression of experience. The heat an immediate reminder of our delicate mortality. In the desert it becomes small triumph simply to make it across a hot parking lot. In the brutality of its extremes we are reduced to puppets, silhouettes cast upon a screen, thrown upon a stage. Simple acts becoming heightened and more difficult, a series of amplified gestures.”

Grid of Points is out April 27 on Kranky. Pre-order the special edition LP here.