September 24, 2011

Fall Be Kind: AwkwardSound's Fourth Quarter Music Preview

The end of the year tends to be one of the more exciting times as far as new releases go, and the fourth quarter of 2011 does not disappoint -- Especially for those with a taste for the eccentric, innovative and cozily inviting. Having survived an admittedly underwhelming summer, AwkwardSound is pleased to report that the autumn months will see the return of a diverse group of female songwriters, a couple of bewitching listens well-timed for October, our favorite hip-hop target, the musical debut by perhaps the most wonderfully enigmatic directors of our time and a collage of sounds just as varied as the colors of fall. Given that we're still a couple months shy of Black Friday and the holiday push, don't be surprised if a few more releases well-deserving of your attention are announced between now and then.

Zola Jesus' Conatus
Release date: October 4, 2011

Over the course of the past two years, we've heard Nika Danilova evolve the gloomy, lo-fi operatic beginnings of 2008's The Spoils into morbid, shimmering goth pop on last year's Stridulum and Velusia EPs. With that, Zola Jesus has amassed acclaim and the notoriety as songwriting's brightest new talent, putting all eyes on AS' Best New Artist of 2010 and making her sophomore follow-up, Conatus one of the year's most anticipated releases. Upon initial listen, you'll find that Danilova continuous to grow and transform as a musician -- This time with doom-laden piano-based songwriting and a quietness that sharply contrasts with anything else she's done yet -- without letting the darkness stray too far from her sound.
Zola Jesus - "Seekir"

Bjork's Biophilia
Release date: October 4, 2011

Never one to do the same thing twice and often the musician to change the way we experience music, Iceland's experimental alternative pride, Björk returns to the fold with her 8th album, Biophilia. Calling it a "meditation on the relationship between music, nature and technology," think of the LP as more of a composition and full-blown multimedia project rather than a series of tracks that could stand alone on their own feet: The release was partially recorded on Apple's iPad and is being dubbed as the world's first "app album," meaning the music of Biophilia will coincide with the release of 10 separate iPad apps, live shows and Internet features on top of its physical / digital release (such as the one below.)


Feist's Metals
Release date: October 4, 2011

Speaking of Apple and its influence on music over the past half decade, the woman many of us should hold responsible for the phenomena known as "iPod indie," Leslie Feist, returns with a long-overdue follow-up to her 2007 mainstream breakthrough, The Reminder. If you're looking for another "1,2,3,4" this time around, however, you may be out of luck, as Metals finds the Canadian songstress caught in a balancing act of bluesy, orchestral somberness and breezy immediacy.
Feist - "How Come You Never Go There"

High Places' Original Colors
Release date: October 11, 2011

To a less grand extent, High Places too have been changing the way we experience music with their own brand of experimental multi-instrumentation over the course of several releases, starting with their groundbreaking 2008 self-titled debut. The duo of Mary Pearson and Rob Barber recently relocated to Los Angeles from Brooklyn, and on their fourth LP, Original Colors, the influence of being near like-minded noise bands such as Liars, HEALTH and others within The Smell scene may justify why that move was so futile in order for High Places to perfect the abstracts in their unique sound.
High Places - "Year Off"

M83's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
Release date: October 18, 2011

2008 was a gigantic year for Anthony Gonzalez and his experimental electronic project M83 when Saturdays = Youth transcended his sophisticated style of ambiance into nostalgic synth pop territory, but perhaps no effort of his to date has been as massive and ambitious as Hurry Up, We're Dreaming. Jumping off from where his prior effort concluded, M83 goes for an epic in a double album that includes both the perfected pop fashion of "Graveyard Girl" or "Kim and Jessie" ("Midnight City") and the space-age soundscapes of Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts. Hurry Up, We're Dreaming also features a guest spot by the aforementioned Zola Jesus.
M83 feat. Zola Jesus - "Intro"

Real Estate's Days
Release date: October 18, 2011

To date, nothing that AwkwardSound has excitedly covered off of Real Estate's sophomore effort Days has fallen on deaf ears (and the track "Green Aisles" found below is more evidence that the New Jersey trio's early beachcomber ways are making way to highly sophisticated guitar pop fitting for any climate.) With this release also being the debut effort for Real Estate on heavy-hitting indie label Domino Records, expect the market price on this band to climb considerably on what is shaping up to be their most focused, original album of their young careers.
Real Estate - "Green Aisles"

Atlas Sound's Parallax
Release date: November 8, 2011

Fun fact: Since 2007, there has been a new output from Bradford Cox, whether it be in Deerhunter or Atlas Sound form. Since last year saw the indie rocker devote his attention to the former, it's once again time for Atlas Sound to be brought back to the surface on the project's third LP, Parallax. If you've long thought of Atlas Sound as just a side project to tide Cox's creative genius over on top of his other work, you may want to readjust your perceptive. Two of the tracks made available thus far from the album showcase a bold new confidence vocally and lyrically in Bradford that could see Atlas Sound eclipsing some of Deerhunter's best work.
Atlas Sound - "Modern Aquatic Nightsongs"

David Lynch's Crazy Clown Time
Release date: November 8, 2011

David Lynch's name may be synonymous with such quirky cinematic and television classics as "Blue Velvet," "Eraserhead" and Twin Peaks, but come this fall, the acclaimed director and daily weatherman will add musician to his résumé when he releases his formal debut, Crazy Clown Time. You can expect the electronic pop solo project to draw influence from the dark, dreamy signature Lynchian characteristics we've seen in his visual work, and the fact that the Yeah Yeah Yeah's Karen O guests on the LP should makes for the fourth quarter's most curiously peculiar musical endeavors.
David Lynch - "Good Day Today"

Oneohtrix Point Never's Replica
Release date: November 8, 2011

Daniel Lopatin aka Oneohtrix Point Never makes music that's more of an acquired taste for some more discriminatory ears out there (although, avid pop consumer Rivers Cuomo may beg to differ.) There's no denying however that in the world of experimental noise, he's producing some of the most refreshingly original sounds at the moment. Where 2010's cohesive collection of ambiance (and 10th best album of the year) Returnal made him a lot of friends at various tastemaking music sites, Replica could very well test these loyalties if its convoluted first impression "Sleep Dealer" is any indication.
Oneohtrix Point Never - "Sleep Dealer"

Drake's Take Care
Release date: November 14, 2011

The Toronto hip-hopper's work from the very beginning has been long documented here on AwkwardSound, and Take Care will be another uphill battle for Drake to make AS believe in the hype he's built a career on. Last year's Thank Me Later fell a few points short of being an instant favorite, but it isn't like the man called Drizzy hasn't won us over with singles and one-off tracks to win back favor. The Degrassi alumni has said he'll be teaming with two of the sultriest indie-leaning producers of the moment, Jamie XX and The Weeknd. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the album art for Take Care suggests those collaborations have taken him to some dark, sexy places.
Drake - "Marvin's Room"

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