Ooooh, I'm ready for the week-end...a weekend of chatting about magazines in a pop-up shop and then sobbing about a 93rd minute penalty from Italia against Ing-gland. Anyway, you may wish to skip all that and toe-tap and jiggle along to some streaming music (we've got a Summer Solstice Spotify playlist and a YouTube playlist by Bear in Heaven), some free downloads (the new Cat Power track and a podcast with Johnny Jewel) or gawp at some music videos (including an exclusive interview with Polica), if that sounds good, drag your mouse this way, as DiS' editor has the contents of your monitor and stereo for this weekend sorted...
Their debut album Give You the Ghost is nothing short of extraordinary. Sure, the likes of Jay-Z and Bon Iver have been waxing lyrical about how incredible it is, but lesser mortals such as (some of) you and I like it too, in fact I'd go as far as to say it's one of my five favourite albums of the year so far, and a strong contender for DiS' album of the year. There, I said it (although Liars, Chromatics, and a heap of others are probably in the running too, and we're not even half-way through the year, etc, etc). The way Polica's debut mixes genres is breathtaking, and when I chatted to Channy Casselle, about Minneapolis' melting pot of a music scene, and how folk and world music influence their 'alien-rnb' sound, I gained a whole new perspective of it. Then I saw the show live, and the two drummers and the eruption of sound and the pure elation I felt, cor, oh my, oh wow, oh yes, it was really rather special. You can also see their performance of 'Lay Your Cards Out' over on BeatCast's website but right here we have video footage of my chat with Channy and an exclusive video of 'Leading to Death' live at their recent two sold out nights of London shows...
'Leading To Death' live at CAMP, London
From Channy to Chan... Chan Marshall is back, with her first new album for six years (although, she has teased and teased us that it would be coming for about two years...). 'Ruin' (that links to a free MP3 btw) went online this week, and the "what are we doin'? We're sittin' on a ruin!" refrain hasn't left my head ever since. Repeated listens brings elements of the songs purpose into focus, and what at first appears to be a round the world trip, almost like a grand tour, slowly shows itself to be belittling #firstworldproblems and perhaps also finds Chan suffering an existential crisis about the need to travel to become aware of how broken the ecosystem that is the human race actually is. There's something beautiful about her use of ruins, which symbolise the death of once great civilisations, as a gentle way to remind us that none of this is permanent, but that throughout the world right now there are people out there starving...oh and did I mention it has a killer hook? Listen and listen again and again and again for yourself on YouTube:
Summer Solstice Spotify Playlist
The longest day has been and gone, and with the help of the DiS' community I compiled a Spotify playlist of long songs (like, over 5 minutes), that are somewhat upbeat and bright and possibly even a little bit summery. Many of them are extended remixes but then things like Sufjan's incredible twenty-five minute 'Impossible Soul' needs no extension. Put it this way, it's only 30 songs 'long' and it's over 5 hours of music, so yeah, many of these are rather 'big' and 'huge' tunes, but probably not in the way Radio1 means...
Bear in Heaven's Avant Garde Mixtape
Speaking of 'long songs', the chaps from Bear in Heaven made us this terrific Avant Garde mixtape, offering a glimpse into one side of their influences. Read more about these picks here....
Hilary Hahn and Hauschka
Prepared piano German gent Hauschka, has teamed up with Grammy award winning violinist Hilary Hahn for a new record entitled Silfra, which is released via Universal 25th June. The record has been produced by the lovely and talented Valgeir Sigurosson (yeah, he worked on Vespertine, and Feist's most recent album, and stuff...). Here's a video from the duos new project, directed by Eric Epstein who was nominated for a Grammy for Memory Tapes' ‘Yes I Know’.
Italians Do it Better/Chromatics' Johnny Jewel podcast
This week, I have mostly been listening to this podcast via Tonic.fm which is really fascinating. The fruits of my 90-minute chat with Johnny Jewel, which revolved around everything from sound being used for torture to his love of Thurston Moore and Flying Nun Records, will be up on DiS soon, but this radio show is illuminating and is pretty much everything a podcast should be, offering a greater understanding not just of the musician behind the music you love, but dropping little insights about music as a whole, as well as introducing you to music...
- This Heat “Twilight Furniture”
- Arvo Part “Da Pacem Domine”
- Lonnie Liston Smith “A Garden Of Peace”
- Bob Dylan “Knockin On Heaven’s Door”
- Vangelis “Le Singe Bleu”
- Big K.R.I.T. “The Vent”
- Glass Candy “Last Nite I Met A Costume”
- Desire “Under Your Spell”
Speaking of Chromatics, I was sent this, this morning from a fellow fan of Chromatics (I do love being sent stuff my email is just firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @seaninsound), and it has a similar sleepy but pretty-pop vibe, and a touch of the St Etienne's about it, which is never a bad thing.
Recently, those Scottish chaps from Frightened Rabbit did a tour of the Scottish Highlands. They did a tour diary about it for DiS which has lots of handy tips if you fancy heading up there in your best anorak and scarf to be a tourist. Well, now comes news that they have made a documentary about their adventures up there (and they are doing more tour dates up that way, and throughout the UK in September). Watch the trailer:
OMG! The new album is amazing (not out yet, sorry!) and OMG this video for 'Five Seconds' is awesome...
We included one of the tracks from their forthcoming album in last week's Five-For-Friday column, and now another one has been dropped online and was "premiered" on Pitchfork yesterday:
Earlier this week we also put up our chat with Japandroids, shot by the chaps at BeatCast:
We leave you with Jon Hillcock's latest podcast, featuring the likes of Seams and Crushed Beaks. His radio show is really worth subscribing to if you love discovering lo-fi guitar bands and ethereal electronica and more besides... and some b-sides too, probably...
"Contained herein: music I’ve wanted to play for months; music which will probably appeal to fans of Women; music that will have you staring through things; music recommended by Gold Panda; and music by a well-established band under a different name. I’m not allowed to say who it is."
Photo of Cat Power by Austin Conroy.