Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s previous albums have mostly been of the lo-fi persuasion, although the band’s pop sensibilities have been peeking out more with every successive release. With Multi-Love, their third, that sensibility breaks out and threatens to take over. It’s bouncy like the 70s and playful like the 80s, the optimism hiding a disconnected feeling inherent in lyrics of songs such as “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”. It leads to some interesting themes, the sort that the music – the pop and the lo-fi sides grappling for supremacy – can’t seem to keep up with. But maybe that is the point. As Multi-Love goes on and the sound gets a bit wearier, the depths of the whole disconnect thing becomes a bit more complicated, a spectrum of extremes suddenly co-existing, barely. This is my way of explaining a complex record. I failed, and perhaps that is the point. [NB] | 4/5
“Cold Blood” by Groombridge | One more thing from Lukasz, as I set my sights on the backlog again. This one’s from Groombridge, a pretty intense sounding rock outfit from Switzerland, and specifically, off their upcoming release Boy From The Golden City, which should be out in the European autumn. This song, in particular, resonates strongly with the band. This was written by the vocalist, Dyle, after both his sons got seriously sick. The video’s about that, down to the fact that it’s those two songs wearing the feline masks. So, yes, a bit of a spoiler here: they’re fine. And so is this song, which takes fatherly concern as a driving force. It’s nice, this one. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)
It’s been eight years since I last saw Up Dharma Down live. I was still a student in La Salle; they were in the middle of their “Oo” heyday; and the best memory I have of it is my classmate having her iPod signed by the band’s vocalist, Armi Millare. They’ve released two albums since (the latest being the sophistipop-leaning Capacities) and, as they revealed last night, have started writing for their fourth. But first, this, a new song that they wrote as part of a collaboration with the Singapore Tourism Board.
“Rookie Mistakes” by Briskeby | First, I have to address the fact that, yes, the YouTube comments on this video are about how you can’t really hear the song here, about how “a good music video is supposed to promote the song” and all that, about how this isn’t really about the song, down to the abrupt cut. But, well, I’ll take this, because I’ve been hearing this song for weeks now – two radio stations, at least – and I couldn’t because there’s no official stream anywhere. Anyway, Briskeby aren’t new; they’re veterans of the Norwegian pop scene, making their debut fifteen years ago. They split in 2008 and got back together five years later, and now they’ve churned some new recordings out, like this one. It’s funny, to me. It’s got a nice sound – subtle but catchy – and I’ve heard it in a bunch of places (granted, I listen to European radio stations) but I can’t properly tell you about it. It’s elusive. But trust me, it’s good. [NB]
“I Belong In Your Arms” (Japanese Version) by Chairlift | My discovery of this track was purely accidental, as a friend merely shared the video to show Caroline Powachek’s unintentional (or is it?) display of her armpit hair. It really just started with the intent to lightly discuss cultural norms on beauty and equality feminism. But I digress. To be honest, I love this version more than the one in English, mainly because her singing sounds more endearing. Usually songs give off a certain feel because of how a listener understands the words. (I think I’ve become obsessed with how she extended singing some of the words as nnn’s and mmm’s. It’s as if she was savouring the words as she sang them.) I understood nothing but a few words in English in this track, and yet I know that this can pass as one of the sweetest songs ever written. [CR]