July 15, 2008

Today's Hotness: Fields, Mercury Rev

>> Loyal readers may recall that six weeks ago we guest posted at Keep Hope Inside, which along with Another Form Of Relief pretty much holds it down for us as far as British music blogs are concerned. Keep Hope Inside celebrated its second anniversary by asking like-minded souls to post about their favorite British record of the prior two years. And while we weren't too good at following directions -- we picked an American EP released by a British band -- we deemed London-based Fields' excellent 7 From The Village EP as our favorite (non-Johnny Foreigner-issued) record while also throwing in our take on the band's major label debut Everything Last Winter. The guest post, now that we re-read it, is pretty comprehensive. So check it out here.

All of the blather above is just background and context for some real news, which is that we received through proper channels this afternoon a brand new and apparently finished track from Fields. It's called "Worst Love," and it's a low-key but well-appointed and orchestrated acoustic strummer with some bleepy sections, pianos, lead guitar lines, more bleeps, and so on. One thing that it definitely is: an improvement on the demo of the track that has been posted at Fields' MySpace since March, which we wrote about here. The new version of "Worst Love" benefits from real drumming and instrumentation gently situated throughout a stereo field that seems to waver from a light gravitational push and pull among twinkling electronics and natural reverbs. We're still hopeful the band has another urgent uptempo rocker like its now-classic "Brittlesticks" up its sleeve, but "Worst Love" ain't too shabby. The tune will be on Fields' forthcoming sophomore set, which is as yet untitled but expected to be in stores (at least in the UK) by the end of the year. Grab the MP3 below and revel.

Fields -- "Worst Love" -- Preview MP3
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[buy Fields records from Newbury Comics right here]

>> A new Mercury Rev track made the rounds of the Internet today, and we love its decidedly non-organic feel. As the band's music retreated from the early, guitar-driven semi-psychedelics of the early record Boces and into the contemplative, more traditional balladry, we were slightly disappointed. Sure, there are few songs released in the last decade more beautiful than "Holes," from Mercury Rev's breakout 1998 set Deserter's Songs, but we love the overblown early tracks like "Bronx Cheer," "Something For Joey," and "Snorry Mouth." The new track is called "Senses On Fire," and while it is not a return to form in the sense that the tune sounds like something from Boces, it is a pronounced step away from the naturalistic Mercury Rev sound that won the act substantial acclaim. Instead, "Sense On Fire" deploys drum sequencers and an arsenal of synths to create something approaching a dance track. Really. The vocal does little more than repeat the title over and over again, but singer Jonathan Donahue's voice is very pleasantly reminiscent of David Goolkasian of The Elevator Drops, and honestly if we hadn't been told beforehand we probably would be more likely to believe "Senses On Fire" is an Elevator Drops track than a Mercury Rev track. Hit this link and snatch the file from Pantsfork and hear it for yourself. Mercury Rev intends to release two records on Sept. 29; Strange Attractor will be given away for free, and Snowflake Midnight is going to cost you -- unless you steal it off the Intertubez.

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