line & circle treated us to their self-titled debut ep earlier this week, a three-track effort replete with chiming guitar melodies and mournful vocal deliveries.  while their late 1980s forefathers would certainly be proud, the los angeles quintet still manages to execute their ideas with a wealth of originality.  the ep’s second track, “mesolithic,” pairs together clean, spacious arpeggios and a driving rhythm section with aplomb, creating a perfect auditory matrimony that wouldn’t sound out of place within the 4ad catalogue.  take a listen below.

the young danish band communions has run a large chunk of the musical gamut in a relatively short amount of time, touching on a lo-fi aesthetic for their cobblestones ep before taking a more polished approach on “so long sun,” the a-side of their upcoming 7″.  today the quartet shared that single’s b-side, another chiming, downright poppy effort called “love stands still.”  the new 7″ is out november 10th via tough love; take a listen to “love stands still” below.

we’re happily deviating from our regular content structure today for some important, midwest-centric news.  justin vernon and crashline productions (see also: boston calling) have teamed up to present the eaux claires music and arts festival.  as the current reports, the new festival will take place july 17th and 18th of next year and will be held just outside of eau claire, wisconsin at the foster farm, the same home of the more familiar country jam.  though the lineup remains a secret, vernon is reported to be its curator, leaving the possibilities and permutations wide open.  this is a developing story, so we’ll be sure to keep you posted as more concrete information becomes available.

orchid tapes has enjoyed a phenomenal year largely thanks to an impressive collection of new albums, a trend that’s continued deep into october.  today the microlabel released shadow, the latest effort from experimental artist mister lies.  though it contains just eight tracks, project mastermind nick zanca succeeds in creating a true odyssey with shadow, traversing vast ambient landscapes while finally claiming ownership of his captivating vocal capabilities.  you can stream and download shadow below; physical copies are available via orchid tapes.

fielddivisionepcoverartmusic conceived or created in the midwest often contains a distinct, singular tone.  regardless of the genre pursued, there always seems to be an acute awareness of the fragility that accompanies living in a four-season environment and a need to convey its emotional byproducts.  field division are champions of this musical mindset.  though currently based out of nashville, the duo’s origins are firmly rooted in des moines and their music frequently embodies the vast skies and endless open fields characteristic of iowa.  after slowly releasing five very strong songs over the past two months, field division has packaged them into a cohesive unit entitled reverie state, an ep that proves to be a grandiose, cathartic release.

while each song holds up on its own without question, the sequence in which they’re presented on reverie state provides some extra weight.  “faultlines” is an appropriate opener, one that finds evelyn taylor and nicholas frampton experimenting with chamber pop harmonies akin to those pursued by fleet foxes and other folk-minded outfits.  perhaps that’s why “of lives we’ve never known” feels so contrasting.  while “faultlines” explores the pastoral realm of field division’s sound, its immediate successor is much darker and more sinister in instrumentation, a subterranean bass line more so felt than heard holding the track together.  combined with taylor’s soaring vocal melody throughout the chorus and frampton’s spacious, rolled guitar chords, “of lives we’ve never known” finds the duo quickly flexing an equally-impressive dream-pop muscle.

genre confines aside, field division blends old with new very well.  “hollow body weather” is an amalgamation of the band’s two schools of thought, while “modest mountains” finds taylor and frampton enlisting the help of milo greene’s andrew heringer, a wise feature that enhances their already-rich vocal harmonies.  reverie state closes with “to innisfree land,” a conscious effort by field division to save their finest offering for last.  it’s the most texturally dense song on the ep – flute countermelodies and multiple guitar lines are constantly vying for attention – but the musical union of taylor and frampton is clearly front and center, their vocals mixed equally as they take on the song’s chorus in tandem.

reverie state is a concise package that showcases a young project of seasoned musicians with a bright future.  just as the colder months begin to set in, field division have provided a batch of songs to us warm while simultaneously stirring up nostalgia for the summer of yesteryear.  dig in.

8.4/10

npr frequently offers up a bevy of excellent new music to stream in advance, and this week is no exception.  excellent albums from les sins and deerhoof both warrant repeated listens, but the record that grabs this segment’s feature is ruins, the latest effort from grouper.  released in full just days after teasing the arresting “holding,” ruins finds liz harris directing our attention to her lyricism with a level of poignancy so organic that the adjective doesn’t really do it justice.  this is an album best consumed alone in an empty, dark space.  you can stream ruins here; the album will officially arrive on friday via kranky records.

mike hadreas hit his stride with too bright, his third album as perfume genius.  after two albums heavily grounded in a barebones orchestration of piano and voice, hadreas’ latest effort finds him favoring a fuller sound flavored with gritty synthesizers and intense bass lines.  on the day of his new album’s release, hadreas stopped by the kexp studios with a full band in tow to play a handful of cuts from too bright, along with an older favorite off of put your back n 2 it.  check out the full session below.

liz harris is set to release ruins, her latest album under the moniker grouper, next friday via kranky records.  harris has already shared the commanding single “call across rooms,” and today she’s offered up another.  “holding” clocks in at just under eight minutes and again features only harris’ voice and a piano, but the delicacy of the instrumentation is anything but a hinderance to the song’s captivity and the slow-burning, ostinato piano melody is the perfect nightcap to a long, long week.  take a listen below.

noah lennox announced panda bear meets the grim reaper last night, his first effort as panda bear since 2011’s tomboy.  the album drops on january 13th via domino records, but lennox also dropped a new ep, mr. noah, to serve as a stopgap; it’s streaming now on spotify.  the ep’s title track appears on grim reaper as well, and was released in conjunction with a jarring, rather abrasive music video.  check it out below.

nashville-via-des moines duo field division are set to release their debut ep reverie state next week, and today they’ve shared a new track, the cascading “to innisfree land.”  it’s yet another strong outing from the band, joining the ranks of “modest mountains” and “hollow body weather.”  evelyn taylor and nicholas frampton tag-team the rich harmonies that permeate “to innisfree land,” easily melding their voices into the song’s ethereal synth textures and reverb-laden guitar lines.  take a listen below.

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