Down The Wire #4

Christopher Owens

Every fortnight, The Corner’s Gavin Coughlan will highlight the latest indie music releases with his new column Down The Wire. For the latest in the series, he focuses on tracks from Christopher Owens, Peter Matthew Bauer, Esben and the Witch, Beak> and Owen Pallett.

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Christopher Owens – It Comes Back To You

People were understandably excited when Girls released a great debut album, and that excitement grew as the band released a worthy follow-up, but then disappointment set in when Girls split up, and then there was hope when frontman and chief songwriter Christopher Owens announced a solo album soon after, then sadness set in once more when it was a bit of a disappointment. So it’s been a rollercoaster ride, and that ride is set to continue as the new single is an uplifting bit of soulful music. Fingers crossed for a great album just around the corner.

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Peter Matthew Bauer – Latin American Ficciones 

We have reviewed two solo singles from members of The Walkmen in the last two Down The Wires, so why break a trend?

This time round it’s the bassist, Peter Matthew Bauer, releasing his debut solo effort. It’s a pretty shaggy rock song that’s not too far removed from The Walkmen in terms of style. It lacks the immediacy of his ex-band mate’s recent singles, and whilst it’s not necessarily fair to compare the songs, it’s hard not to when they are all being released around the same time. This sounds a bit like filler, which is not an encouraging trait in a debut single.

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Esben and the Witch – No Dog

Brighton three piece Esben and the Witch are set to record their third album with Steve Albini, and it seems like a perfect marriage for their brand of doom-laden gothic rock.

The first single is a fine slab of propulsive gloom, and it will be interesting to see what happens when they get Albini on board as he has a way of making three people playing music in a room sound like just that, three people in a room, with no frills or distractions. Based on this track I would love to see the band live as I can really imagine the sound filling a room.

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Beak> – Oh

I’ll pay attention to anything Geoff Barrow puts out, whether it be Portishead, his Drokk album (a soundtrack to an imagined Judge Dredd movie), Quakers (his foray in to hip hop) or Beak>, possibly my favourite of his incarnations.

Beak> have two excellent albums out, and have just released a batch of bonus tracks that were recorded during those earlier sessions. The collected bonus tracks would have made for a worthy third album, so the fact that they are classed as bonuses is impressive. They all sound very much like you may expect from Beak>, minimal, a little krautrock-ish and not quite like anything else out there. The track featured here, Oh, only saw the light of day on March 1st and has a wonderfully anti-climactic final minute that sounds like the players all starting to fall asleep one by one.

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Owen Pallett – The Riverbed

A man of many projects, Owen Pallett is probably best known as a previous member of Arcade Fire, and has recently been an Oscar nominee for his work on Her.

His fourth album as a solo artist will feature none other than Brian Eno, and, if ‘The Riverbed’ is anything to go by, it should be a very exciting prospect. The lead single is a powerful track with strings building to a huge climax over some urgent drumming. He has also released a video for ‘On A Path’, which is also impressive albeit in a less emotive manner, and the album, In Conflict, is out May 13th.

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