This week, the Listener is sifting through a range of new music whose tone is somewhat more low key than usual. As the year winds down, we are seeing more intricate and/or quieter releases from acts like Tim Hecker and Daniel Lopatin. The Weeknd and Lust for Youth takes us into darker territory, suggesting emotional distance and cold grooves. Sally Shapiro may be this week's most chipper track, itself a sweet burst of twee Italian Disco. Here are some of the highlights from this week.
Sally Shapiro - "What Can I Do:" At the more fey and twee end of the Italian Disco resurgence, Sally Shapiro has not released anything since her 2009 sophomore album. Readying a new LP for 2013 (is it already time to begin thinking about 2013?), Shapiro recently debuted this new track. "What Can I Do" is a warm song, with sweet wispy vocals and a pleasant groove. Those familiar with Shapiro's previous work will find themselves in familiar territory, but it is a welcome return.
The Weeknd - "Till Dawn (Here Comes the Sun):" Another bonus track off of the coming physical release of the Canadian artist's album, Trilogy. The title would seem to imply a bright and hopeful song, but this is not the case as this is the Weeknd, who has begun to perfect a somewhat darker sound. This track gradually builds, slowly morphing from melancholy to ominous with the introduction of drums and background feedback.
Lust for Youth - "It's You:" Like Sally Shapiro, Lust for Youth is a Swedish electronic musician, and that is about it for commonality. In fact, Lust for Youth is on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum. "It's You" is an icy driving track with short spoken vocals interspersing and coiling throughout. Sacred Bones, one of this year's breakout labels, will be releasing Lust for Youth's forthcoming LP.
Tim Hecker and Daniel Lopatin -"Intrusions:" An avant-garde supergroup (if you are into that sort of thing), this ambient single from Hecker and Lopatin is marked with the periodic intrusions of distortion and noise. The main thrust of the song is one of emergence, a melody gradually crystallizing from abstract sound. The full length from these two will be out later this month.
And, since today's track's were somewhat dark, and I don't want to leave you all too depressed, here is the legendary Prince Nico Mbarga and his biggest hit, "Sweet Mother." Happy Friday!