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 Swans, Circulatory System, The Antlers, Tune-Yards and Fucked Up.
Swans – A Little God In My Hands
You have to hand it to Swans. They form in 1982, break up in 1997, reform in 2010 and release possibly the best received album of their career in 2010 with The Seer. That album was a monolith; epic, dense, and with song lengths that weren’t for the impatient.
The new single, ‘A Little God In My Hands’, shows a slightly groovier Swans. Frontman Michael Gira has said the upcoming album, To Be Kind, will be more vocal-orientated then The Seer, and based on this track that would seem to be the case. Gira is backed up by St. Vincent’s Annie Clark and sings in a slightly nasally manner, without losing any of his usual menace. It’s a great track, and at seven minutes long will only be a blip in the two hours of music that has been promised for To Be Kind.
Circulatory System – If You Think About It Now
Like many, I found my way to Elephant Six bands through Neutral Milk Hotel. One of the most impressive of the Elephant Six collective in my eyes was The Olivia Tremor Control. Led by Will Cullen Hart and Bill Doss (who sadly died in 2012), they released a string of amazing, and highly experimental, albums throughout the nineties (although there is a final Olivia Tremor Control album due out later this year).
Will Cullen Hart continued with most of the other member’s of The Olivia Tremor Control as Circulatory System, and they sound like a very natural continuation of that sound. The latest single from the upcoming Mosaics Within Mosaics (out June 24th) is nothing new for them, but that’s not to say it isn’t adventurous. It’s another Beatles-esque sound collage which I’m looking forward to hearing in the context of the new double album, as Circulatory System aren’t exactly what I would call a singles band.
The Antlers – Palace
The Antlers released a masterpiece of indie sadness in 2009 with Hospice. It was a hard act to follow and I was almost disappointed when their follow-up, Burst Apart, failed to break my heart. In retrospect that was a great album too, it just didn’t pull the heartstrings as emphatically as the previous effort.
Now we have the first single off the band’s fifth album, Familiars, which we will have in our hands June 16th. ‘Palace’ is a pretty sombre affair, and Peter Silberman’s sorrowful falsetto turns it in to something special.
Tune-Yards – Water Fountain
Tune-Yards became somewhat of an the indie darling in 2011 with the release of Whokill. Since then she has spent some time in Haiti to distance herself from western music, and it really shows in her new single.
‘Water Fountain’ is incredibly infectious and it feels like a lot of joy has gone in to it’s creation. Merrill Garbus has an incredible voice, and a knack for making music that doesn’t sound like anything else out there. Roll on May 6th, when we’ll get the chance to hear an entire album of music I’m sure will be completely unexpected.
Fucked Up – Paper The House
I have never quite understood the fanaticism Fucked Up seem to create in the press. I feel they write adequate punk songs with a little bit of pop sensibility. I bought their last album, David Comes To Life, and really wanted to hear what the fuss was all about, but to no avail.
So when ‘Paper The House’ came out, the lead single off their new album (Glass Boys, out June 3rd), I approached it without any huge optimism. And again, it just sounds like another fairly decent punk song with nothing that lifts it above a thousand other fairly decent punk songs. The singer, Damian Abraham, seems to be pretty media-savvy, so perhaps that’s where all the attention comes from.