February 3, 2012

Today's Hotness: Big Deal, Whirr, Projekt A-ko

>> Please do not construe our silence on the release of Big Deal's full-length debut Lights Out as anything other than a lack of time on our part. We followed the band closely through the release of their early singles in 2010 and 2011, and wrote about Big Deal most recently here in October. We are pleased that the charming and hazy full-length Lights Out lives up to all that early promise. As Mr. Yang pointed out in his spot-on assessment here, yes, the London-based duo is working with a limited palette (two voices, two guitars), but through some beautiful alchemy the melodies, production and performances meld into the proverbial sum-greater-than-its-parts. Perhaps it is the performances -- earnest, hurt, lovelorn -- that make songs like "Chair" and "Cool Like Kurt" so powerful. The latter song so magically crystallizes the feelings of fragile, youthful romance: uncertainty, longing, the fleeting nature of the enterprise. Out of context this lyric is a little creepy, but we can't think of any more perfect way to sum up feelings that at this point in our lives are barely accessible via memory: "take me to your bed, don't take me home, before this is oh, before this is over." Lights Out was finally released in America on Mute Jan. 24 in the wake of an eponymous EP; the set was issued in the UK Sept. 5. Big Deal plays what we believe are its first U.S. shows next month (full dates below), despite male half of the duo Kacey Underwood being an American. The band has completed a new video for the song "Talk," which you can expect to see online soon. In the meantime, in case you've forgotten what it sounds like, you can stream below. Dig in.

03.11 -- The Glasslands -- Brooklyn, NY
03.12 -- Mercury Lounge -- New York, NY
03.13-03.18 -- SXSW TBA -- Austin, TX
03.20 -- The Echo -- Los Angeles, CA

>> Pun Canoes was the first outlet we saw to report that Whirr's hotly anticipated full length Pipe Dream will be released by Tee Pee Records March 13. The venerable publication characterizes the set as Whirr's second full length, but we think that is incorrect: the act -- when it was going by its previous nomme de rock Whirl -- released its Distressor EP in 2010. So, right, this will be its first full-length. Pipe Dream contains the title track from the excellent June EP, "Junebouvier" (but not the b-side "Sundae") that we first wrote about here in September, as well as eight other numbers we are very eager to hear. Peruse the full track listing at Pun Canoes right here. Whirr will tour out to Austin in March for the obligatory strand of SXSW performances, and full dates are posted right here. "Junebouvier," in case you missed it, is a stunningly beautiful dream-pop track that we highly recommend (having included it during our October New Music Night set). Listen to it:

>> Projekt A-ko fans have reason for optimism, as an email this week from fronter Fergus Lawrie states that progress has resumed on a new album. Lawrie, as we wrote here in October, has been keeping busy with noisier, improvisational pasttimes including Angel Of Everyone Murder. A video featuring that project is included in a new DVD from Kovorox Sound titled Video Vomit Volume 1. As for Projekt A-ko, Mr. Lawrie says a new track may be posted online "in the next couple of months." The new song would be the first since the release of the fan-only cover of Drop Nineteens' "Winona." Projekt A-ko's towering, monumental, incredible, terrific, etc. full-length debut Yoyodyne! was our second favorite record of 2009. It is mammoth.

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