New Music Weekly #40 | Yo La Tengo, Lost Under Heaven & Jonny Greenwood

New Music Weekly is your one stop shop for new releases in the world of music each and every week. From the best of the best, to some of the rest, Mark Conroy is here to give you the low down on what you might have missed. This week: Yo La Tengo, Jonny Greenwood, Lost under Heaven & More…

Yo La Tengo ‘For You Too’

Yo La Tengo’s fifth single from their upcoming 15th album There’s A Riot Going On is a subtle, gradually satisfying burst of shoegaze. In trademark Tengo fashion, the track burns slowly but as bright as a lonely street lamp on an open road at midnight. The guitars buzz gently and serenely, as if they’re so comfortable in presence of the other that they know they don’t need to do much to impress—not unlike members of a band who’ve known each other for 30 years. The soft, muted melancholy of Ira Kaplan’s vocals sounds just like home and affords the words of desperate introspection with a quiet power.

Golden Drag ‘Aphex Jim’

‘Aphex Jim’ is the debut single from Golden Drag, an intriguing electropunk project led by Shehzaad Jiwani of Greys fame. Opening with a synth-line that surges in like a bulldozer, the song then levels itself as the jangly guitars, incongruously charming harmonies and slyly driving rhythms coalesce to result in a warmer version of a recent Deerhunter track. ‘Aphex Jim’ the title suggests this is light reimaging of darker, electronic soundscapes but Golden Drag are really more concerned with making punk with an identity crisis as it wavers between mechanical and analogue processes. The result is rather interesting and the music is rather good.

Lost Under Heaven ‘The Breath of Light’

Vocalist Ellery James Roberts, formally of WU LYF, has been making music with his Lost Under Heaven project since 2016—the band’s underrated album Spiritual Songs For Lovers To Sing from that year is one to check out. Now LUH as their also known have returned with the delicate throat rattler ‘The Breath of Light’. Another showcase for Robert’s melodically powerful, garbage disposal of a voice, the track might be missing the crescendo you might have been gunning for but it’s so emotionally wrought that it’s engrossing nonetheless. The words express a sense of hope for hope’s sake when the alternative is abject despair and Robert’s contorted vocals, sung over simple, elegant instrumentation, always make a convincing case for whatever cause he’s backing.

Ailbhe Reddy ‘Nothing to Doubt’

Cranberries Frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan may have tragically passed away this year, but the legacy of her powerful, mezzo-soprano lilt lives on the voice of Dublin based Singer/Songwriter Ailbhe Reddy. ‘Nothing to Doubt’ is a searing pop anthem that incorporates an electronic-based hook that might be a first for her. In what might be her strongest effort yet, her indie folk is at its most propulsive.

Ssion ‘At Least The Sky is Blue (Ft.Ariel Pink)’

It makes sense that Ariel Pink would end up on a Ssion track, with the two being supreme purveyors of underground pop and the former artist being a huge influence on the latter. ‘At Least the Sky is Blue’ is a sumptuous slice of sleaze. It’s laidback but never lazy, like a Sunday drive along the sunset strip after a hard week’s work. Pink and Ssion sing like two old friends, each giving their voice to the other and each sounding as easy-going as the music that surrounds them. The sweet-natured synths ooze luminosity with pellucid precision and Ssion’s falsetto reach delivers just went it needs to. So yeah, life isn’t easy but at least the sky is blue and at least we have Ssion and Ariel Pink to remind us.

Jonny Greenwood ‘Dark Streets’

Fresh off his swooning, Oscar-nominated score for Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, Jonny Greenwood drops a taster form the music he conceived for Lynne Ramsey’s upcoming neo-noir You Were Never Really Here starring Joaquin Phoenix. ‘Dark Streets’ sounds like a wrong turn down a back alley. The suitably sinister, driving rhythm and depraved synths burrow deeper and deeper into the depths of a dark psyche as the song progresses. If nothing else, this is proof of the maddening versatility from an artist who just gave us one of cinema’s most opulent, alluring movie scores.

DJ Koze ‘Illmination(Ft. Róisín Murphy)

After the excellent, operatic lead single ‘Seeing Aliens’, the space-minded musical auteur DJ Koze drops the second single off his upcoming full-length Knock Knock. This time there’s a vocalist present and it’s none other than Irish avant-pop artist Róisín Murphy. The pairing turns out to be an inspired one. The deadpan disco beat is unassuming and a slow build but Murhpy’s idiosyncratic take on the Moroder muse gives the track a wonderfully original feel.

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