Spotlight: Godspeed You! Black Emperor – ALLELUJAH! DON’T BEND! ASCEND! [Constellation]
A decade since their last release, GY!BE finally comes out from hibernation (and a hiatus) to put out another massive album that drops with a thud. No more living off of F# A# ? and bootlegged live recordings; ALLELUJAH! finally satiates that hunger we’ve all had since GY!BE started touring again in 2010. And while the album won’t replace that transcendental parting-of-the-Red-Sea feeling from any of those shows, GY!BE doesn’t disappoint with signature 20-minute cuts that are more like operatic sagas. What’s more beautiful about ALLELUJAH! is that more than half of the record (both “Mladic” and “We Drift Like Worried Fire”) is cut from previous pieces that the band has played over and over during live shows, signaling an even more symbolic full circle after a ten-year drought as familiarity is presented in a new mix. If the piercing riffs on the double harmonic major scale in “Mladic” don’t irk you, let the haunting buildup of drone closer “Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps Erable” lull you to an unsettling sleep.
Mikey Maramag of Blackbird Blackbird can churn out some captivating instrumentals, the highlight of his Boracay Planet EP featuring a myriad of dreamy, echoing beats and glorious, summery sound effects.
Chelsea Wolfe – Unknown Rooms [Sargent House]
California native Chelsea Wolfe’s third release, Unknown Rooms showcases the wide range of Wolfe’s ghostly vocals against a minimalist acoustic backdrop. Wolfe’s voice literally creeps under your skin as you wonder if you’ve really entered the world of the occult.
Dan Mangan – Radicals [Arts & Crafts]
Vancouver-based Dan Mangan has been breaking the boundaries of being a traditional “singer-songwriter” for a while now. Radicals is a 7-inch, but definitely worth a note on here. Mangan concocts a textural rock ballad on one side and a dizzying, shoe-gazey cover on the other.
Matmos – The Ganzfeld [Thrill Jockey]
Sampling masters Matmos offer up another quick taste in a three-track EP that presents the various kinds of mixing that Matmos dabbles in. While earlier, more iconic releases eclipse this EP, the latter is still worth trying on for size.
People Get Ready – People Get Ready [Brasslands]
The self-titled debut from this Brooklyn quartet has no shortage of jumpy tracks and sleepier numbers reminiscent of bedroom pop, a refreshingly diverse offering for picky listeners.
Ben Gibbard – Former Lives [Barsuk]
Daphni – Jiaoling [Merge]
Icona Pop – Iconic EP [Big Beat]
Jason Lytle – Dept of Disappearance [Anti]
Majeure – Solar Maximum [Temporary Residence]
Pinback – Information Retrieved [Temporary Residence]
Savoir Adore – Our Nature [self-released]
Tamaryn – Tender New Signs [Mexican Summer]
The Luyas – Animator [Dead Oceans]