Having been together for 19 years, couple and music-making duo Windy & Carl are well acquainted with the spectrum of emotion experienced in the world of love. Musically, they construct luscious, meandering soundscapes and blossoming tones that express both enchanting beauty and heart-wrenching despair. Due out on October 13, Songs For The Broken Hearted, the duo’s fourth album on kranky, is a collection of love songs transmitting the highs and lows encountered during the wild ride. A song about revitalization of devotion and hope, “My Love” elicits thoughts of cuddling up with a warm, fuzzy blanket for an afternoon nap on a rainy day.
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Sweden's got another fresh import, in the form of the two-woman, four-man outfit going by the name of Fredrik. Hard to know what to call this band's music, though it's clear the six members are more than up for experimenting with traditional pop's sound structure. Members cite everyone from The Fairport Convention to ~scape label boss Barbara Morgenstern as influences, and have leaked this track to give us a taste of the multi-instrumental, harmony-laden songs we can expect when the band releases Na Na Ni on October 28. Further listening opportunities can be found at the band's MySpace page. Na Na Ni 01 Black Fur 02 Alina's Place 03 Hei Hei 04 1986 05 Evil and I 06 Ninkon Loops 07 Angora Sleepwalking 08 Na Na Ni 09 11 Years 10 Morr
Recall the year 2005, when Out Hud's Let Us Never Speak of It Again was released on kranky and we were all so enamored by the rock-club-meets-the-dancefloor-style music that we didn't stop to consider the title of the album–which foreshadowed the band's eventual split. We no longer have Out Hud, but individual members of the band are still making music, and now we hear from Molly Schnick, cellist and founding member of the band who's currently working under a new alias, Jean on Jean. Schnick will release her self-titled solo debut next month, an album supposedly written to address the Out Hud break-up, and also one that allows Schnick to pursue new musical directions. Rest assured, those who were fans of her skills on the cello won't be disappointed, if this melodic gem is any indication. Maverick Newberry
When he's not running through fields and discovering creepy abandoned houses, Portland's Thomas Meluch is busy making experimental pop songs under his Benoît Pioulard moniker. The music on Temper, set to drop next week on the esteemed kranky imprint, pairs acoustic guitars with software generated static, smooth cello arrangements with staggered percussion, and Meluch cites everything from T.S. Eliot to Italian neo-realists as his inspirations for the album. "Idyll" sweeps through a broad palette of the aforementioned sounds, while Meluch's gently sung vocals add the finishing touches. Temper 01 Ragged Tint 02 Ahn 03 Sweep Generator 04 Golden Grin 05 The Loom Pedal 06 Ardoise 07 Physic 08 Modèle d Eclat 09 Idyll 10 Brown Bess 11 Cycle Disparaissant 12 A Woolgathering Exodus 13 Détruisons Tout 14 Loupe 15 Taprye 16 Hesperus
Never mind the fact that this track is called "All Myself." Au architect Luke Wyland actually had a ton of help here, as well as on the whole of his sophomore full-length, Verbs, released earlier this summer. The Portland-based songwriter not only chose to surround himself with a proper band for the album, namely in the form of multi-instrumentalists Jonathan Sielaff and Mark Kaylor, but he also enlisted 30-plus people to swing by the studio and make a contribution. Thus, Verbs is a grandiose affair that includes guests spots from Parenthetical Girls, Evolutionary Brass Band, Becky Dawson, Team Love darlings A Weather, and, well, you should just listen to the album to get the full effect. For "All Myself," Wyland would settle, it seems, for nothing less than a full horn section, layers of percussion, flute interludes, and robust vocal choruses. It's sort of like the aural equivalent to eating a seven-course dinner. Maverick Newberry
As noted by XLR8R scribe David Bevin in our recent Portland issue, "nearly every second of Dragging a Dead Dear Up a Hill feels like an exorcism of sounds." A rather dream-pop affair, the album finds Liz Harris, the lone member of Grouper, making a departure from the restrained style that characterized her previous efforts and unleashing the ambient melancholy in full-force–particularly in the vocal department. Harris was often found whispering on past albums. Here, her smooth voice soars over stripped-down acoustic guitars and the track does feel as though she's releasing some kind of inner ghost that needed to be let out. Jennifer Marston
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