Pulse: New Music You Need #17
If you know the drill, I don’t need to write this, and you don’t need to read it. So, feel free to skip past my usual introductory ramble and on toward scanning through band names, dipping in as you do so to the ones that tickle your fancy, all the while playing the handily embedded examples of their music; conveniently placed for you below the band names and before my hyperbolic nonsense.
If you don’t know the drill, are new to Pulse, and actually just read that bit what I just wrote for those who know the drill and likely didn’t read it, well, you now know the drill. This is Cultured Vultures‘ irregularly regular new music feature, with all the new music you might need, and because like Pulse I am consistently inconsistent, this time around for some reason or other I’ve gathered a bunch more acts than normal. You’re welcome.
Nashville, Tennessee, home of many number of things and renowned particularly for its abundance of musicians, musos, and music industry types, but none more important for this collection of words I’m currently collating than Nashvillian four-piece, and purveyors of infectious noise, Bully.
Fronted by singer-guitarist and general wunderkind, Alicia Bognanno – former Electrical Audio (studio of legendary producer Steve Albini) intern and writer, recorder, producer of all things Bully – the foursome have been steadily building toward their recently-released, equally brilliant and well-received debut album, that’s as much pristine pop rock as it is primal scream; contagious melodies meet pissed off and pained yowls; sunshine guitar sounds meet crashing and clashing chaos.
One man mission and music maker, SEØUEL, who aside from sporting a moniker that I just can’t type out, unless I copy and paste it from somewhere already written, also seems dead set on naming his EPs after places I wish I’d been in my life by now, and know people who have; his latest being Reykjavik.
However, my quarter life crisis and eerily early onset bitterness aside, SEØUEL recently dropped said Reykjavik EP and, though only his second, is another collection of subversive techno-infused dance anthems that fit both the dancefloor and the soundtrack for your dystopic, 80s horror film influenced, nightmares. At times as spacious as an ice palace and others as intense as a two-times-over-capacity rave in an abandoned factory while the drugs your on take a turn for the worse.
Anything I write here will not be as interesting or amusing as the bio on Du Blonde’s Facebook ( I research hard and deep you see), a bio I assume written by Du Blonde herself, known in her day-to-day office-dwelling life, and in her previous music incarnation, as Beth Jeans Houghton, so I won’t. Go read it. I’ll wait. Though, please do come back because there’s more music here for you.
Anyhow, supporting her second crack of the whip with an office job, having resurrected herself as Du Blonde after a stall as herself and The Hooves of Destiny, Houghton released Du Blonde’s debut recently, Welcome Back to Milk, and it seems unlikely her office job will be required much longer. Hell, she might not even be working there now, I don’t know. But yeah, Welcome Back to Milk makes for one hell of a shake that’s as genre-mashing as it is mood mixing, and whether heavy-riffing, classic-popping, or even balladeering, a uniqueness shines through with fire and kook to boot.
Despite the fact I have a deep-seated fear of eternity and time-loops, I feel like I could listen to the beautifully cerebral music of Holly Herndon forever, on repeat. A powerful statement to make, if I hadn’t already lost you at ‘deep-seated fear of eternity and time-loops’, but Herndon’s hypnotic and contemplative compositions have that effect on me.
Maybe it’s just my rainy day disposition today – all looking introspectively out of rain speckled windows – but most likely not. Herndon creates music that is as much multifaceted as it is minimalist, and that juxtaposition isn’t jarring in anyway, but instead serene. Using essentially anything that can make a sound – whether it be vocal chords, synths, inanimate obects, or the procedural noise pollution of any number of processes being undertaken – and then contorting and/or cutting it up, in any number of different ways possible with a computer and the right software, Herndon creates electronic music that is equal parts robotic, alien, and wholly human – like the music an A.I. composer of the future might make.