CIMS Indie Fresh
Aviary is LA composer Julia Holter's most breathtakingly expansive album yet, full of startling turns and dazzling instrumental arrangements. The follow-up to her critically acclaimed 2015 record, Have You in My Wilderness, it takes as its starting point a line from a short story by Etel Adnan: "I found myself in an aviary full of shrieking birds." It’s a scenario that sounds straight out of a horror movie, but it’s also agood metaphor for life in 2018, with its endless onslaught of political scandals, freakish natural disasters, and voices shouting their desires and resentments into the void.
The Blue Stones -- guitarist/vocalist/lyricist Tarek Jafar and percussionist/backing vocalist Justin Tessier – are set to release their new album Black Holes,” later this year. The album showcases an incredibly diverse palette of influence. Although they’re a duo, it’s unfair to limit the comparisons just to The Black Keys and The White Stripes. The weight of Led Zeppelin, the grit of Hendrix and groove from hip-hop artists like J. Cole and Kanye are all there. But in an effort that’s unlike any other in contemporary rock, the result is something entirely unique to today’s musical landscape.
Last Building Burning is the product of eight days with producer Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Wolves in the Throne Room, Boris) in Texas studio Sonic Ranch. Clocking in just over half an hour, the eight-song album sees Cloud Nothings capture their onstage appeal with help from Dunn, who Baldi describes as “technically minded without relying on technology to perfect the live sound.” In that, Last Building Burning is a return to Cloud Nothing’s sharpest form — the unhinged, feverish, guitar-heavy sound that they explode with onstage — without their early angst. “It’s not an angry record,” says Baldi. “It’s a very joyous thing for me. And it feels so nice to scream again, especially when you know people in the crowd will be screaming along back at you.”
“Each record I make is more of an amalgamation of who I truly am,” declares John Grant. “The more I do this, the more I trust in myself, and the further along I go.” Even when the Michigan-born man released his debut solo album Queen Of Denmark in 2010, Grant laced sumptuous soft-rock ballads with an array of spacey, wistful synthesizer sounds, increasingly adding taut, fizzing sequencers, nu-synth-disco settings and icy soundscapes to the mix on 2012’s Pale Green Ghosts and 2015’s Grey Tickles, Black Pressure, the latter The Guardian described as, “variously agonising, hilarious, uplifting and moving: another bravura display from a unique songwriting talent.” Now, with his fourth solo album, Love Is Magic, Grant has continued evolving, creating his most electronic record yet, in collaboration with Benge (Ben Edwards), solo artist, analogue synth expert/collector and a member of electronica trio Wrangler. Produced by Grant, and engineered by Benge at his Cornish studio, the diamond-hard, diamond-gleaming Love Is Magic, “is how I’ve always wanted my records to sound, but I didn’t know how until now,” Grant says. He also called on Paul Alexander of Denton, Texas maestros Midlake, renewing a working relationship that began on Queen Of Denmark.