Hello folks, In Harsh Light (IHL) editor Richard here coming back from a barren, tumbleweed-ridden hiatus. Fear not, however, as I’m gradually finding new footing in advance of planned content, so thanks for bearing with the dearth of the regularly scheduled updates, reviews, and pseudo-intellectual drivel you’ve inexplicably grown fond of (like an ugly but endearing pug) over the past few months.
Earlier today, Halifax Pop Explosion announced the stellar initial lineup for the 20th edition of the five-day event, set to take place in the third week of October. The festival is known for its innovative programming, pairing up international headliners and up-and-coming talent on the same stage. Artists who have been announced so far include psych-pop group of Montreal, electronic/darkwave singer Zola Jesus, Cold Specks, Atlas Sound and perennial east coast favourites Wintersleep. You can check out the full list of announced artists below, or visit the festival website for more information.
Indie pop band and fellow WordPress music bloggers Vows recently got their album, Winter’s Grave, featured on NPR’s All Songs Considered blog. Congratulations, guys.
Their LP is now available for download at Bandcamp.
Conjuring allusions to Smokey Robinson, Kid Congo Powers, David Lovering, and Fred Myrow, Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter Heyward Howkins is set to unleash his poignantly baroque The Hale & Hearty, an evocative amalgam of “British tweed (see Nick Drake)” and “dusty American flannel (see Bon Iver).” Personally, it’s quite like nothing I’ve heard before (lyrically or musically), flaunting unusual yet powerful all-analog arrangements, guided by Howkins’ unique, rustically thespian vocals. A smattering of the tunes gives off the husky Americana of Grizzly Bear (although not as dark), while others recall the raw textures (and horns) of Neutral Milk Hotel.
With Chasing The Night (Xidus Music; 2011), a full-length record produced by Will Jackson (The Kaiser Chiefs, Embrace, The Cribs and The Music), singer-songwriter Rupert Stroud has attracted comparisons to Tim Booth, Richard Ashcroft and Jim Morrison (yeah, Jim Morrison).
Videophiles, plant your bloodshot eyes on directors Fleur & Manu’s visual interpretation of M83’s “Reunion,” from their album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (Produced by Division):
As I mentioned before, the Liars are nearing the release of their brand-spankin’ new electronic album, WIXIW (pronounced “wish you”), which Otis Hart of NPR is brazenly (nigh on blasphemously) calling “the best Radiohead album since Kid A.”
Last year, when hip producer extraordinaire Danger Mouse teamed up with gorgeous chanteuse Norah Jones on the ballyhooed Rome project (which also involved Jack White and Daniele Luppi), not many could have foreseen the continued interest the Mouse and Jones would have in each other’s sound. Luckily for our unsuspecting ears and aesthetic tastes, their new full-length, …Little Broken Hearts is rapidly make puree of our expectations.
In short, forget what Norah Jones sounded like before; this is the odd couple done right. Her unique vocal style never sounded more textured than it does now, thanks to the Mouse’s signature production suite. A stream of one of their tracks, “Happy Pills,” is embedded below.
As some of our readers may know, Panda Sanchez is the budding music project of In Harsh Light editor Richard Sanchez and writer/musician Tayne Kim. We’ve been hard at work crafting our dilettante, freshman EP to accompany our nosedive into DC’s live performance scene (see below for show dates). In particular, we’re opening for the up-and-coming metal/post-punk band Gracias, Pero No Gracias at the Velvet Lounge in DC on July 25th, 2012. Wish us luck — and, if God willing, attend, kick back with a beer (or five), and enjoy some local indie music.
As a musician, I’m often taken aback by the raw talent of budding artists that sprout their butterfly wings into the collective digital consciousness of the Web. And as intimidating as newcomer recording artist Carol Rhyu’s work may be, I’m thrilled that she contacted me with the release of her debut single, “Without You” (produced by John Ho) — embedded below for your melancholic listening pleasure (’cause every Thursday afternoon needs a somber listening experience curated by someone that’s admittedly “read too much Nietzsche and Schopenhauer in college”).
Explosions in the Sky fans,
Take a break from the workaday humdrum to espy your favorite quartet’s new music video for “Postcard From 1952,” shot by Annie Gunn and Pete Simonite. For the uninitiated, “Postcard” is a track from Explosion’s latest album, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, released by Temporary Residence in April 2011. Wistful, gorgeous and lulling, it is not to be missed.
As a frequent visitor to the internet, I consider myself a bit of quasi-expert on online video. So, as I was watching Trampled By Turtles‘ excellent bluegrass/folk cover of Arcade Fire’s Rebellion (Lies) for The Onion AV Club’s consistently satisfying Undercover 2012 series, I couldn’t help but be reminded of another excellent Arcade Fire cover. In late March, Hey Ocean! (a Vancouver based folk-pop trio) and Aidan Knight (a Victoria singer-songwriter and musician) teamed up to create what has quickly become one of my favourite covers of all time.