This week's Music Report brings a mix of alt, indie, synth, and poetics. What a fine summer cocktail that is, no?
Nine Inch Nails Prepare Second EP In New Trilogy, Release "Less Than"
Over the past decade it'd be easy to think about Trent Reznor as an Oscar winning film score composer or a rainmaking music industry raconteur, but recently the alt icon announced he'd re-up on the project that has made him a legend for life: Nine Inch Nails are one EP into a new trilogy of EPs, and everything that's been coming from them has been good to great. This is saying something for someone three decades into a creative career that redefined music in the '90s. NIN released Not The Actual Events a few months ago, played that collection's standout "She's Gone" on an episode of the triumphantly bonkers reboot of David Lynch's opus Twin Peaks, and are now teasing the second EP in the trilogy, titled ADD VIOLENCE. You can take a listen to "Less Than" here, a pop song dressed up in the overdriven, big-hook dynamics of their '90s heyday, with just a little more pop than goth in the mix. ADD VIOLENCE is out 7/21.
The Blow Prepare New LP, Release Lead Single "Get Up"
The Blow are the thoughtful electro-punk-poetic project of Khaela Maricich and Melissa Dyne, a pair of kindred spirits whose artistic and romantic relationship has culminated in Brand New Abyss, a collection of songs I've been watching take shape for many years now. I visited Khaela and Melissa in various studio spaces and checked in with them at shows both large and intimate over a period of time where all of our anxieties expanded from the personal to the political. "Get Up" harnesses this, a sort of rapped torrent of couplets about the insidious and overt dangers of capitalism and the existential threat it poses to creative people and also people just trying to find space to live a life that doesn't feed the machine. The synths that Dyne's composed to form "Get Up"'s base sound both catchy and creative; Khaela's lyrics are both penetrating observation and urgent call. A jam for poetics, politics, and synth-punks alike. Brand New Abyss is out soon.
Feist & Jarvis Cocker Bring Out The Dancers In Video For "Century"
Leslie Feist's classic breakout video for "1234" video — which was over a decade ago, which is insane to think about — fused choreography with indie in a way to instantly meme-orable effect. And so, anytime Leslie brings out the dancers now, it feels like a bit of a callback. And so it is here, on the aggressively syncopated "Century," from her comeback album Pleasure. Leslie faces off with a look-alike alter-ego as they both mouth the words to her song, until the nattily dressed Brit pop legend Jarvis Cocker of the band Pulp shows up to tower over the background dancers and offer his spoken word, in quintessentially debonair eyeglass frames. If you like this, you have good taste, and also you should check out the time when Feist performed it on Colbert, with Stephen stepping in for Jarvis. The video ends with a cosmically trippy medley of footage of creation both in outer space and inner space, which feels like a cool callback to legendary design brothers Eames classic video for IBM titled "Powers Of Ten." Respect all around.
Arcade Fire Take On New Orleans In Video For "Electric Blue"
We've been tracking the forthcoming release of Arcade Fire's forthcoming, fifth full-length Everything Now through the summer here on AMR, and this week came yet another preview from the LP in the form of the Regine Chassagne-fronted "Electric Blue." The squiggly synth-pop cut is bound to be a highlight from the album, as Regine's songs tend to be (see for example, "The Sprawl II" on Grammy-winning album The Suburbs), and here the song's stutters are mixed to strobing footage of just your typical walk through the streets of her adopted hometown of New Orleans. Everything Now is out 7/28.