two meters – “captive audience”

– featured image courtesy of margo dellaquila –

tyler costolo’s output as two meters has been spare but incredibly affecting thus far.  his debut single, “left behind,” shrouds traumatic loss in a colossal soundscape built on an unassuming foundation of acoustic guitar and vocals, a glimpse of his forthcoming self-titled extended play.

the magnitude of the aforementioned project has been further clarified by “captive audience,” which doubles down on the affectations provided by hushed guitar and vocals while exploring the ramifications of a physical altercation.  costolo’s labelmate pastel again makes an appearance, this time singing whispered harmonies as the track soaks in its implications.  with its distant, dissonant piano undercurrents coursing through the texture, “captive audience” retains a haunting aura complementary to the catharsis of its predecessor.

two meters is due out june 15th via very jazzed.  take a listen to “captive audience” below.

tomberlin – at weddings

– featured image courtesy of the artist –

staying on top of every new release is hard.  staying on top of every new release is even harder when your blog uses language that suggests multiple people are cogs in the machine, but really you’re just flailing helplessly by yourself, trying not to drown in a heavily-saturated inbox.  “fashionably late” is a remedy, an intermittent feature designed to showcase particularly special albums or eps that evaded us (there i go again) during their structured press cycle.  next up is the debut effort from tomberlin.

The postscript at the bottom of tomberlin’s bandcamp page reads “my fifth of a century,” a simple reminder of the youth that accompanies the incredible weight and poignancy of at weddings, her debut album.  with little more ammunition than a guitar and her voice, tomberlin excavates artifacts of listlessness and loneliness across the album’s seven tracks, self-doubt and hesitation wrapped up in lyrics capable of utter devastation at a moment’s notice.

throughout at weddings, tomberlin consistently accomplishes something rather notable: crafting memorable sentiments without relying on conventional refrains for reinforcement.  instead, it’s the vocal melody that often remains consistent throughout a given track, lilting contours pausing or altogether evaporating for maximum effect.  even on album centerpiece “you are here,” the lone instance of a discernible chorus, tomberlin achieves the desired impact through a combination of melodic familiarity and intimate points of view that truly underscore the song’s resounding abandonment.

Tomberlin At Weddings

meandering, finger-picked acoustic guitars are the album’s primary accompaniment, the instrument’s timbre consonant, therapeutic.  on “untitled 1,” it works in tandem with the whispers of a brassy synth to create a hypnotic aura; on closing number “february,” plaintive arpeggios ebb and flow peacefully, mirroring the lyrical delivery while belying its mournful content.  the moments that do deviate from this norm, like the chiming, descending wurlitzer foundation of “tornado,” are a necessary jolt to the status quo, a vague timbral equivalent that extracts additional facets of tomberlin’s aesthetic.

owen pallett’s presence throughout at weddings is more so felt than heard.  the multi-instrumentalist handled the album’s engineering and production while also providing secondary instrumentation, like the murky, distant synthesizer pads that flesh out a handful of tracks.  he factors in most prominently on “self-help,” a later cut saturated with disorienting, abrasive interludes that splice up an arresting lead vocal delivered by both tomberlin and pallett.  but most importantly, pallett doesn’t imprint any of his distinctive fingerprints onto at weddings, sagely allowing the album to be singularly tomberlin, through and through.

at weddings is an intimate affair presented in modest fashion; although ultimately the byproduct of two people working closely in concert, the salient components of the album emanate directly from sarah tomberlin’s core.  this is a project that gently asks to be consumed slowly, with care.  appease it.

kevin krauter – “reckless”

– featured image courtesy of the artist –

kevin krauter plays bass and sings in the bloomington, indiana, dream pop outfit hoops, but he also released a stunning six-song collection, changes, under his given name late last year.  consuming that body of work immediately would be ideal.

while each track on changes holds its own as a singular achievement, it’s “reckless,” the album’s fourth cut, that has received music video treatment.  like the song it accompanies, hugh sherman donkin’s visuals are sparse but impactful; krauter is filmed alone in various parts of an older building – a gymnasium; a stairwell; a loveseat – either playing or miming the various components of “reckless.”  the poignancy of the audio and video truly coalesce in the final moments, with krauter departing as a harmonized piano motif gently drifts off into the ether.

changes is out now via winspear.  watch the clip for “reckless” below.

phoria – “saving us a riot”

phoria band
photo courtesy of the artist

after delivering sensual, syncopated r&b on last fall’s “melatonin,” you’d be forgiven for thinking that phoria would double down on an aesthetic they so clearly excel at.  instead, the quintet has delivered “saving us a riot,” a gorgeous, stripped down folk ballad with flecks of chamber pop sprinkled across its exterior.  the lilt of acoustic guitars lay the foundation for a soothing lullaby soon punctuated by affecting string counter-melodies, proving that phoria’s penchant for intimacy can effortlessly take on multiple forms.  take a listen to “saving us a riot” below.

listen to a new song from josé gonzález

jose gonzalezjosé gonzález is set to release his first solo album in nearly eight years, vestiges & claws, on february 17th via mute records.  gonzález has kept busy in the interim with junip, his collaborative project with fellow swedish musician tobias winterkorn, but a return to recording under his given name is long overdue.  vestiges & claws is prefaced by the excellent “leaf off / the cave,” the second single to emerge from the album after last year’s “every age.”  gonzález’ music needs little introduction, so take a listen to “leaf off / the cave” below.