D é N O U E M E N T S

Bat For Lashes: “Laura” (Music Video)


A string of songs with names of people as titles: Fur and Gold has “Prescilla” and “Sarah,” Two Suns‘ “Daniel” and two songs about her alter-ego Pearl (“Pearl’s Dream” and “Siren”) and now “Laura” for the upcoming The Hunted Man. Natasha Khan has skillfully and sometimes peaks into laudability in projecting different versions of “herself” in her songs, herself as a representation of the way she sees herself, she is seen, hopes to be seen and even as the contrast of all these . It could be taken that the characters made up for a “concept” is one imbibed out of frustration, desires or foretelling fate. In any occasion, it is the practice of this that makes a musician’s work a lot less boring and self-centered, than, let’s say referencing “I” and “me” all throughout the record. This, however, does not mean that the characteristics taken into life by these projections reflect the reality of its maker, like say how Two Suns ventures into  cosmic-astro consciousness.

Except for “Daniel,” listeners are given a glimpse of that thinking, especially through Pearl where she is portrayed as a threatening yet loving persona— an inclination for affection but a powerlessness to her uncontrollable nature. “Till the siren come calling, calling/ It’s driving me evil, evil/ I was a heart breaker, I loved you/ The same way I do/ But I’ve got so much wickedness and sin/ My name is Pearl/And I’ll love you the best way I know how/My blonde curls slice through your heart,”  Kahn confesses in “Siren.”

I got into this thing again when I heard Khan’s latest “Laura.” The name title did not come as a surprise but the words and the sparse piano reminiscent of a delicate Antony and the Johnson’s song moved me.

As her most dedicated work to date, the track sets itself apart from former Bat For Lashes songs, devoid of towering percussions and mounting build-ups. “Laura” slowly forms a fragile center which the befallen star stands still, ageing, lost of crown and “stuck in a pale blue dream.” The former diva, alluded in its storytelling, has gone past the glitter of fame. Like someone very dear to her, Khan charms her about the days of her reign (“can we dance upon the tables again?”) and memories remain like a burning euphemism, she declares “You’ll be famous for longer than then/ You’re name is tattooed on every boy’s skin/ Oh, Laura, you’re more than a superstar!” 

The music video for “Laura” is directed by Noel Paul of That Go collective that visually explores the story within the song. A perfect companion, Paul’s work elaborates more with dramatic shots of Laura with whom Khan slow-dance for a while. Like a meeting of the present and the future, the dance works like a mirror which assumes that Khan could be singing a song to herself, a possible track to listen to when she herself has aged. Really powerful stuff to ponder about.

DOWNLOAD “Laura” by Bat For Lashes. (Updated external link)


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Crystal Castles: “Plague” (MP3)

Things just got a bit crazier that I had to break my blogging hiatus (ha!) for this new Crystal Castles track. Yesterday was a surprise SBTRKT track “Gloss” and now we have “Plague” from the Canadian goth electronica duo. Ethan and Alice has been quiet some time now since I last heard them work with Robert Smith for the “I’m Not In Love” redux. Their absence could be taken as a preparation for a new album after, well, Crystal Castles since they name their albums same all the time. In the new track, like its title, “Plague” diffuses into wild energy through its rousing beats and synths as Alice, sounding like the bearer of the havoc, screams her way through the chorus. “I am the plague,” she assures repeatedly as the track closes into an abrupt end. The track is up for download via the group’s Soundcloud page. I reckon that a new album will be soon on the way.

Crystal Castles: “Plague”

DOWNLOAD “Plague” here.

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Antony Hegarty: “Landslide” (MP3)

Nothing better than capping the day off with a new Antony Hegarty track. Then the day becomes double great when you hear a common song, the one that was memorized with all the lyrics and the chords way,way back, being redone by Antony in an achingly plaintive mood that brings back the same old stuff you have attached the songs to.

The most favorable cover of “Landslide” that I have personally enjoyed is the one done by the Smashing Pumpkins, after that the rest becomes mediocre if not totally irrelevant.

The beauty of “Landslide” is re-lived more than 35 years when it was first put on record on Fleetwood Mac’s eponymous 1975 album. In his contribution for DFA’ Record’s Fleetwood Mac tribute album Just Tell Me that You Want Me, Antony put his towering wail into a whirring restraint, capitalizing on the song’s powerful lyrics instead and the effect is breathtaking. Listen to it via Soundcloud or get it from a link floating around. Unfortunately, the Soundcloud link is broken so I have the YouTube clip instead.

“Landslide” by Antony

DOWNLOAD “Landslide” by Antony

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Cat Power: “Ruin” (MP3)

The story behind Cat Power’s upcoming record Sun is always followed by a mention of her break-up with long-time boyfriend actor Giovanni Ribisi. Honestly speaking, Chan Marshall’s private life has always been a thing I’d like to know a little but not as much as I would like to explore her discography. Quite hesitant to sound like a fanatic but You Are Free and The Greatest are two of the few records that could easily transport me to different set of mind.

After 2008’s Jukebox, containing mainly of covers, Cat Power was last seen working with Manny Pacquiao in a song “King Rides By” for charity. As one of the most anticipated records, Sun took her to different places (listen to the places mentioned in the lyrics) and a hint of that record was shown via her Instagram back in December 2011.

Now, the first single from Sun is out and I will reserve judgement until I get the whole damn thing but what is noticeable is a change in the atmosphere and instruments used on this one (together with a banging do) which could mean a totally different aura for Sun. Anyway, get “Ruin”, it’s free. If you like to see Chan in action, a video announcement is made for the single where you can see her spray painting barefoot and looking nothing but gorgeous.

DOWNLOAD “Ruin” by Cat Power (right-click, save as, my amigo.)

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CocoRosie: “We Are On Fire” + “Tearz For Animals” feat. Antony Hegarty

Discovering CocoRosie was like finding out a blackhole in a world where everything makes your eyes roll to the back of your head out of boredom. Right at that point when I thought everybody I listened to all sound the same, The Adventures Of Ghosthorse And Stillborn swallowed me to its vacuum which was kind of uncomfortable but novel. Labelled as freak folk, reunited siblings  Bianca and Sierra Casady’s work as CocoRosie is never questioned in its originality. The post-modernistic sting of Grey Oceans tested the duo’s talent in crafting otherworldly songs that embark on continents of different images, much like the aesthetic of which the Casady sisters cling to- mustaches, baseball cut-out tops, peasant dresses and aprons- in their reluctance to cater to the established roles we all play upon. In their art, they are of different characters, they are sexless with overzealous sexuality, treehugging headless horsemen, and anyone their side of the world allow them to be. For the listeners who interpret their music, it’s bewildering, for others who just lend themselves to it, it is a memorable experience to just let it go. It has been two years since I have heard anything new from them so the release of their new single “We Are On Fire” with the flipside “Tearz for Animals” was one of the most exciting news I have heard so far.

“We Are On Fire” by CocoRosie

“We Are On Fire” comes off a step-up to their usual sound especially after Grey Oceans, with more percussion and fast beats smoldering the song gently into an upbeat number. Sierra’s signature yowl near the end before the repeated chorus (“I used to have eyes, the colour of sky, now I can see, in the middle of the night,”) ante up the shiver factor in generous scales. “Tearz for Animals,”  in company of another rainbow warrior Antony Hegarty, is a powerhouse ode to the slaves of the world or possibly to the world being a slave to its people instead. As opaque as usual with its lyrics, CocoRosie tries to achieve some sort of panic and dilemma as the sound of computing swatches pulsate in the song with Hegarty’s mournful parts of “hopeful healing, if you’re willing” hypnotically layered by the sisters singing “do you have love for humankind?.” The result is an insensible track that does not easily wear off one’s consciousness after listening to it.

“Tearz For Animals” by CocoRosie featuring Antony Hegarty

With these tracks being on their own greatness, the upcoming LP is expected to be of exceptional deal as well and maybe even more. The group asking Hegarty for a part seems like a communion of two artists that can headline their own oddity of sorts, expelling creativity and uniqueness that always challenge their followers. The good thing about CocoRosie is that I cannot really find something to compared them with, and most of the time, they always have outdone their past work.

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