After a long holiday period, it’s time to get back to evaluating new tunes. Here are five that might float your boat.
1. Black Midi, 953
Schlagenheim (Rough Trade)
Recommended If You Like: A challenge to start the year
There’s always going to be some music that will take repeated listening before the penny drops and you think “Ah! This is pretty cool.” I’d put this track from Black Midi in that category. Call this London band experimental, math rock, noise rock, or post-punk. Despite the cacophonous passages, multiple listens will reveal something interesting happening here. It’s worth the time.
2. Holy F-, Free Gloss
RIYL: Toronto indie-tronic
Another great band whose name you can’t say on the radio (and, if I don’t want to rile anyone, on a radio station website). Holy F-‘s fifth studio album—their first since 2016—may be a challenging listen to some, but stick with it. There’s everything here from dance, electronica, krautrock, and deep house going on here. As the band says, “The robots are smarter than ever, and the algorithm knows more and more what we like as individuals, but we have to remind ourselves that there is music in the margins that can go missing and that that music is more important than ever.”
3. Elephant Stone, Hollow World
RIYL: Whatever’s in the water in Montreal
Elephant Stone is among my favourite Montreal bands. Their next project (due February 14) is a concept album described by leader Rishi Dhir this way: “The soul of mankind is dying. We have lost connection with each other and follow the false ego. It is a truly hollow existence. We fill this emptiness with more emptiness that the powers that be feed us. We are destroying the planet without thought of how the next generation will have to pay for our crimes… Then… it all ends. A catastrophic event/moment decimates the earth. We go into panic mode…. Goodbye sunshine, hello dark skies, so long clean air, do you care?” Go on. I’m listening.
4. The C33s, Resurrection Men
Resurrection Men (These Bloody These Records)
RIYL: Modern garage rock with a touch of surf
An exciting-sounding three piece from Manchester who wouldn’t sound out of place on the stage at CBGB in 1977. Someone call Quentin Tarantino. He’ll want them to be on the soundtrack to his next movie. Groovy video, too. The Cramps would approve.
5. Unified Planet, Big Playas
RYIL: Glorious Sons and Black Pistol Fire with a touch of soul and funk
Here’s an alt-rock duo from Southern Ontario that somehow manages to sound like a full band. Credit guitarist/bassist Andrew George for adding a low-end pickup to his guitar and learning how to finger-pick things with great delicacy. Definitely a band to watch in 2020.
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