M83 "Digital Shades Vol. 2 (Mute)"
Anthony Gonzalez and the rest of the M83ers wanted a place to release music as M83, but not get the hopes up of the pop-loving section of their fan base. So they created the Digital Shades series of releases. Meant to stand alone from their discography while also existing within it, this is where they are able to indulge their nostalgic fantasies of Dungeons & Dragons, video games, and more. For Digital Shades Vol. 2 they basically made video game music for retro games that don’t exist. Performed and recorded entirely on analog equipment, the whole this is a glorious nod to days past. The whole affair reminds me of early ‘80s fantasy/sci-fi movies, some of the lesser-known releases by Mike Oldfield, and of course-retro video game music. Simultaneously cinematic in scope and as intimate as a record you fall asleep to can be-this very well might stand as underground a classic as can exist for a band as popular as M83. So dust of your NES controllers, call your Mom and ask if she threw your D&D rulebooks away yet, and maybe buy a van with a wizard painted on the side of it. Oh, and don’t forget to check out the triumphant “Hell Riders.”
Hiss Golden Messenger "Terms Of Surrender (Merge)"
The songs M.C. Taylor wrote for the latest Hiss Golden Messenger record Terms Of Surrender (Merge) were not originally written for a record. They were written for himself. A catharsis of sorts. It was only after he started writing these songs and playing them with other people that he realized that maybe they were too good to keep to himself. We are thankful he felt that way because we think they are too good for us to never hear, that’s for sure. For a record that started out as a personal collection of songs, there is a through-line on this record as strong as anything, and that through line is love. So if you are the kind of person that doesn’t love love then… well… this record is the least of your problems. Featuring the likes of Phil Cook, Jenny Lewis, and other guests, this is one Americana-tinged, rocking good time. Check out the joyous first track “I Need A Teacher.”
David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights "Bonnie’s A Girl (Merge)"
Imagine being 4 decades into your career and still surprising people? No–I don’t mean like an office prankster that keeps finding new ways to hide a cupcake at your desk (though i’d happily welcome such a co-worker with open arms and a mouth full of cupcake). I mean David Kilgour! His latest, Bonnie’s A Girl (Merge) is a gentle, pastoral collection of mostly acoustic ‘60s inspired psychedelica. For a full-time jangle-rocker… well, count me as surprised. Also, count me as delighted. What a lovely album this is! Check out the Stereolab meets Neil Young sounds of “Looks Like I’m Running Out.”
Floating Spectrum "A Point Between (Temporary Residence)"
From our pals at Temporary Residence:
“Floating Spectrum is the moniker for Taiwan-born, Berlin-based composer and audio technologist, Mei-Fang Liau. Her debut album as Floating Spectrum, A Point Between – crafted from a combination of synthesizers, everyday household objects, and unique software synthesizers made by Liau herself – is truly a sound and vision unlike any other. To complete the album, Liau relied heavily on a self-made, fractal-inspired software synthesizer called Polyphylla, which simulates the way in which nature creates very complex and organic forms just by repeating slight variations of a simple form. It allowed Liau to create slowly evolving textures and sounds with complex dynamics, and thus the driving influence for the whole of A Point Between.”
I know, right? Yes-this is as otherworldly and beautifully strange as the TR PR makes it sound (also, I really like the sound of TR PR). Check out “Inner Island.”