Will Schube is gonna be saved by President Jesus.
Magic Trick– “More”
Tim Cohen’s one of those musicians who’s seemingly been around forever. Buried in a San Francisco studio, making good record after good record for anyone who will listen. I’m most familiar with him from his work with Fresh & Onlys, although I’ve only listened to that band in doses. “Waterfall,” from their 2010 record, Play it Strange, is one of my favorite songs, but I’m not too familiar with their earlier or later work.
Cohen’s got another band called Magic Trick, and their latest record, Other Man Blues is out at the end of this month. First single and album opener “More” is a hauntingly tinged ode to ‘70s psych folk. The harmonies rise and fall in operatic fervor and Cohen’s voice is deep and brooding—not unlike Matt Berninger of The National. It’s a really lovely track on what’s sure to be an intriguing album from an always-engaging songwriter.
Jenny Hval– “Conceptual Romance”
The first single from Jenny Hval’s forthcoming Blood Bitch, “Female Vampire,” is underwhelming. After the ecstatic strangeness of her breakthrough LP, Apocalypse, Girl, “Female Vampire” feels like a sidestep. The track sounds like krautrock recycled through a pulsing synthesizer, more a facade for artistic evolution than an active showcase of it.
On second single “Conceptual Romance,” Hval sounds somewhere between Mitski and Björk before going full R&B falsetto croon for a curveball of a chorus. It’s a track both interesting and entertaining, which is extremely hard to do. Jenny Hval consistently pulls off this combination about as well as anyone doing it.
Father John Misty– “Real Love Baby”
My main dude FJM has been in the news of late. He stole a crystal from some juice dispensary (“Father John Misty juice crystal” has already locked up Headline of the Year) , and then accosted a festival audience for using liberal values as a veil to not really give a shit. As he so brilliantly put it, “Maybe just take a moment to be really fucking profoundly sad. It’s a lot less sexy of a festival look.” We’re smart, we’re progressive, we get it. But getting it doesn’t stop the shit on the other side from happening.
As all this was going on, legitimate (who the hell knew) rockstar FJM upped the anti and put out “Real Love Baby,” a rollicking folk number unassuming in its pleasantness. The drums are quiet and echo-y, a nice change of pace from the maximal production techniques of I Love You Honeybear. “Real Love Baby” feels like a one-off rather than the start of something new. And while FJM singing his heart out over simple compositions can only distract us from the terrifying shit staring us in the face, it still feels good.
Luke Roberts (Feat. Kurt Vile)– “Silver Chain”
Sometimes a good co-sign is all it takes. Unfair, yes, but someone more popular than you dropping your name or hopping on a song with you can be the difference between being heard or not. We like to think talent wins out. But a lot of times it doesn’t. Yooooo, Drake! Segue being: I didn’t know Luke Roberts nor his music until the Kurt Vile-aided “Silver Chain” showed up in my inbox.
Roberts is very good, and “Silver Chain” is the sort of folk song I’m a total sucker for. Emotionally wrenching with twangy vocals—throw an organ in there for shits and giggles, too. You’ve got me hooked. Not to mention the video—an ode to the road—shot through the lens of a ‘70s verité documentary, is a beauty.
Electri_city 2 Compilation
Out next Friday is the Electri_city 2 compilation, a fascinating overview of the Düsseldorf sound in the ‘70s + ‘80s. If you follow any of the stuff I write about on this site, you’ve probably noticed that those early Germans take quite a bit of my attention. Can, Harmonia, Neu!, Fripp, the new Holger Czukay stuff, etc. Electri_city 2 is from Groenland Records, the folks almost single-handedly re-introducing early German rock/experimental music to a wide audience.
Electri_city 2 had a predecessor, and follows in that album’s footsteps by introducing really great German music most of us are too lazy or uninformed or bad at the internet to find. So, as they are wont to say, “Prost!”