The term “cinematic” gets thrown around when people are describing certain bands or artists, but if there is one this term totally rings true with it’s Anthony Gonzalez AKA M83. Gonzalez made his name releasing the wonderful 2008 album Saturdays = Youth, which could’ve been the long lost soundtrack to any John Hughes movie, and has since tackled actual film scores. Today sees the release of the single “Karl” from the film Knife + Heart, which was completely scored by the French electronic producer.
It’s a chilly morning in Montreal when I get ahold of Ariel Engle on the phone. She is going on a morning walk and sets the scene for us. “It’s a chilly but beautiful morning just walking down Fairmont beside a bagel store. It’s about -2 degrees and there is a lot of snow. It’s all very Montreal”, she says with a laugh. You may know Engle as one of the members of the mighty Canadian collective Broken Social Scene, but you will definitely start to know her more through her solo project La Force. Her self-titled debut album is a bold artistic statement.
The wonderful Natalie Mering just unleashed an absolute gift to us all earlier this month with the release of the second single and video, “Everyday” off of her upcoming Sub Pop record Titanic Rising. The artist, who we all know as Weyes Blood, just announced her new album will be coming out April 5th, and after hearing and seeing the new song and accompanying video the wait is officially excruciating.
A few years ago I went to see a show in Seattle. The group I was with was running late and we ended up pulling into the parking lot beside The Showbox with moments to spare. I accidentally slammed the car door shut and caught the attention of a well-dressed mature man who was coming off one of the tour buses that were parked nearby. He looked up at me and I immediately recognized him as Peter Buck, guitar player from R.E.M.
From thumbing through curiously flame-embroidered leather guitar straps, to crushing drum fills on electronic drum pads, to picking up a pack of guitar strings, Partner’s video for “Long & McQuade” is instantly relatable to anyone that’s killed an afternoon at their local music store. But even while it’s a universal experience on the whole, the Windsor, ON-by-way-of-Sackville, NB twosome of Josée Caron and Lucy Niles went extra CanCon on the track by specifically shouting-out the titular national chain.
Better Oblivion Community Center has come out of almost nowhere. The band, fronted by Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers, spent some time over a year and half period quietly writing songs together in Los Angeles in between both of their increasingly busy schedules. With a surprise release last week, Better Oblivion Community Center is set to take their record on the road this spring and we caught up with Oberst and Bridgers in LA to discuss the new project, their community songwriting process, and working with your friends.
There are certain bands that come with such a history that, looking back on them, it’s surprising that they’ve come so far. One such band is Vampire Weekend. Named after lead vocalist Ezra Koenig’s abandoned Lost Boys tribute film (!!!) and an offshoot of his and fellow member Chris Tomson’s rap project, the band, on paper, seems like it should’ve been a non starter. Three albums later, the band has only gotten better and more interesting than their Columbia University ivy school elite status could’ve ever hinted at.
There are a handful of artists that have been putting out top notch quality music for decades now. Jenny Lewis is one of these special artists. The former leader of heartbreaking wunderkinds Rilo Kiley has just released the first single, “Red Bull & Hennessy,” off of her upcoming album On The Line. The track is quintessential Lewis. Coming out the gates with a solid backbeat and wonderfully twinkling piano, “Red Bull & Hennessey” sounds huge.
We live in a world of constant distractions. One that is made up of crushing past disappointments that can inform a search for something better but a search which may be made up of unreasonable or, at least, unrealistic expectations. This is something that Weyes Blood aka Natalie Mering captures beautifully on her first new pit of music since 2016, the song “Andromeda”. She and co-producer Jonathan Rado have crafted a piece that is full of swirling lap steel and muted drums with her phenomenal vocals right up front.