There’s no stopping Michael Gira now. The influential founder of New York City’s Swans is set to release his fourth album since 2010, after disbanding the group in 1997. The first taste from the band’s newest album, To Be Kind, is a devastating, visceral composition that effectively wipes the slate clean, leaving the possibilities endless for what else could present itself on the new LP. “A Little God In My Hands” begins with a western stomp, while Gira’s drawl is haunting and possessed. There’s really only so much that can be said about something as staggering as “A Little God,” so the best thing I can say is download the track above and submerse yourself with a little Swans in your speakers.
The first quarter of 2014 closes shortly, which marks the 1 year anniversary of the OK West blog. Thankfully there’s still plenty of good music to talk about, as evident in the past three months offering up such great tracks as Future’s “Move That Dope,” The War on Drugs’ “Under the Pressure,” and Cloud Nothings’ “Psychic Trauma.” Check out my list of the top songs and albums of a busy first quarter of 2014.
All listings are in alphabetical order according to artist name.
I’m hardly the targeted audience for Fucked Up. While I’ve always been hesitant to embrace the hardcore genre, the first taste from Fucked Up’s upcoming Glass Boys is making me a believer. It helps that the band has something important to say, and it shines through in a burst of colors. Underneath lead vocalist Damian Abraham’s scorching, virulent screams lies a gorgeous, life-affirming musicality, which in less capable hands would never see the light of day. The further along Fucked Up get in their discography, they bridge the gap between soaring melodies and Abraham’s earth-shattering vocals, finding common ground I hardly knew existed.
Download “Paper the House” now, by clicking the link below. Their new LP, Glass Boys, is out 3 June via Matador.
Merril Garbus’ tUnE-yArDs project is one the more exciting musical acts to come across in the past decade. For fans of her phenomenal 2011 album w h o k i l l, the first single from her forthcoming Nikki Nack, “Water Fountain” is a celebratory yet tense explosion of brilliant ideas. The most striking aspect of “Fountain” is the song’s central melody, which hints at a more refined affair, with Garbus’ voice standing tall against the idiosyncratic production.
Hovering over Tirzah’s new single “No Romance” like a dark cloud is an entrancing vocal sample that continually utters the song’s title. Between that and the muffled, pulsating beat, the foundation of “No Romance” could not be stronger. But Tirzah doesn’t need the production flourishes to help carry the weight, as she’s more than capable of commanding a room by her voice alone.