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Ariel Pink – Black Ballerina

Describing a new Ariel Pink track with words like ’strange’ and ’weird’ won’t give away much; it’s business as usual. Still, his new and second teaser of upcoming new LP pom pom, is at least ‘strange’ and ‘weird’ for being a single. The driving heartbeat of “Black Ballerina” is an insisting angular bass line that’s looped throughout its six minutes – hold for the refrain. On top, it’s near impossible to grasp all of Pink’s different voices and alter egos; it sounds almost like short snippets of random FM radio jingles. But as usual, it’s catchy and damn good.

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Angelo De Augustine – How Past Begins / Old Hope

“How Past Begins” (above) introduced 22 year-old bedroom singer/songwriter Angelo De Augustine as a humble understated songwriter; just gentle solitary guitar plucks and warm, whispered –  barely comprehensible – vocals. New song “Old Hope”(below) continues in same vein; a short but lovely little gem that reminds me a lot of Matt Kivel’s intimate melancholy on last year’s great Double Exposure. And despite being bedroom recorded, the quality is fine – adding a gentle fragility to the atmosphere. It’s an impressive start; two cozy and somber songs from an artist already compared to genre greats.

Angelo De Augustine’s debut album comes out November 18th and is titled Spirals of Silence.

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Video: Timber Timbre – Grand Canyon

Earlier this year Timber Timbre dropped their finest album to date titled Hot Dreams. The eerie Scott Cudmore directed visual for “Grand Canyon” is a perfect example of the beautiful ghostly Western sounds submerged in Lynchian strangenes that echoes throughout Hot Dreams. I urge you to pay extra close attention to the largely instrumental second half; shrilling Pink Floydian synths, a freewheeling saxophone, somber piano play, pulsating drums and stark Western guitars make up two of the most dire minutes of music you’ll find this year.

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LUH. – UNITES

I still hold WU LYF’s debut and only album Go Tell Fire To The Mountain as one of the best of 2011. Since the band pulled the plug, its various members moved on to other projects like Francis Lung and Los Porcos. Singer Ellery James Roberts went solo last year with the brilliant “Kerou’s Lament” (now only titled “LAMENT.”) before once again dissapearing. A year later, he’s back with a new band LUH (Lost Under Heaven) together with Ebony Horn and a new single “UNITES” that sounds a lot like a synthesis of WU LYF’s grand gestures and “Kerou’s Lament” lush, transcendent vibe. Still no words of an album or in which direction LUH will lead but it’s no question that the screaming prophet of an indifferent world continues his struggle, but this time it’s more personal;

“LUHSONG001; unites is a simple love song.

A song of longing for balance in a world where we slump & grind to a senseless algoriddim of fractious complexity. A song for lovers, numbered by the placid plateau of conform-core modernity. The personal is political as never before, and all those that make the choice to step away sing Luvah’s Song. I wrote this for you, for her, for every longing breath lost under heaven’s refracted light.

are you ready/ to see this world open up before you?”

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Bent Knee – Battle Creek

No longer sure how and when the extraordinary music of Boston sextet Bent Knee came to my attention, but I’ve been meaning to write about it ever since they teased “Battle Creek”, the fourth marvelous track from upcoming sophomore album Shiny Eyed Babes. Compared to their self-titled debut album, the new material strikes me as less subdued to experiments, but as a result sounds more ‘epic’, even more ‘baroque’ and ‘progressive’. Throw in the word ‘pop’ and you’re closing in on their grand idiosyncratic sound. There is always something exciting about a band that isn’t afraid to toy with arrangement and song structures, constantly pushing the listener further down the rabbit hole with angular melodies and a laboratory mindset. “Battle Creek” might be the best of the bunch; starting slowly with gripping guitar licks and vocalist Courtney Swain’s whispering drones, the track eventually explodes into a pop-symphony of Florence Welch-worthy magnitude. Also, make sure you don’t miss the equally vital “Being Human” embedded below. Heck makes sure you don’t miss any of it; Shiny Eyed Babes is finally released November 11.

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William Arcane – Reckless

London producer William Arcane just released the title-track from his upcoming second EP. While I haven’t loved his previous work, “Reckless” is a real beauty, on where crisp synthetic minor-chords meet sampled acoustic loop to form a dynamic, ever-changing setting with details from every corner. The vocals bring to mind everybody from Nicolas Jaar to Caribou and even Thom Yorke, sliced open with sharp synths and fractured percussions. Look for Reckless out via London label Picture Music on October 20.

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Viet Cong – Continental Shelf

One of the most talked about track this week is “Continental Shelf”. Deservedly so since Matt Flegel and Mike Wallace have under their relatively new moniker Viet Cong crafted a stunning new twist on the grainy, lo-fi sound that made their former band Women such a success. Compared to their first release – last year’s Cassette – the quality here is elevated in every possible way; just listen to how the magnificent lead guitar is buried deep in an ocean of grainy noise. And the vocals are just sublime.

Viet Cong’s self-titled debut album is well under way, and will be issued via Jagjaguwar sometime in the beginning of next year. Based on this track , as well as Flegel / Wallace musical history, this album should kick start the next year in an exciting way.