April 7, 2013

Today's Hotness: William Tyler, Life Model, 28 Degrees Taurus

William Tyler -- Impossible Truth (detail)

>> More music taste-makers should look past the gloss and acknowledge the spiritual connections between all types of music; they're never as different as radio programmers and the guys who magic marker shelf dividers at the record store would have you believe. This idea is reinforced by Merge's recent release of William Tyler's Impossible Truth, a tasteful and gripping collection of solo guitar compositions. The double LP, released March 19 in the U.S. and April 29 abroad, avoids the pitfalls of virtuoso showcase; instead, the pieces are restrained, structured and brim with thoughtful layering and emotive chord sequences. Indeed, Mr. Tyler can say anything with only the basest metallic vibrations, and his tune "Cadillac Desert" serves as a fantastic introduction. Opening with an orchestrated two chord chug, the song recalls the majesty of Joy Division's "Atmosphere," albeit as filtered through the drop tuning carnival and clang-drone of classic Cale-era Velvet Underground. The song drifts gradually into mid-'70s Laurel Canyon folk serenity via delicate picking and distant slide guitar. Still, "Cadillac Desert" never completely sheds the sense of power that defines its opening moments, although it re-focuses eventually into a questioning introspection. Tyler is as much a skilled arranger and producer as he is a guitarist, managing to sound forward-thinking despite a relatively traditional approach. And so Impossible Truth is a record for spring afternoons, preferably with a book and wine and the scent of freshly mown grass. It is also already one of 2013's most beautiful albums. Stream "Cadillac Desert" via the Soundcloud embed below, and buy the record from your friends at Merge right here. -- Edward Charlton

>> Now that the hype surrounding My Bloody Valentine's shocking return has abated, shoegaze devotees can return their attention to listening to and appreciating music being created by newer bands working with the sound in singular and revealing ways. Glaswegian noise-pop upstarts Life Model released April 1 its eponymously titled EP, and the opening number "Glazed" quickly caught our ear. Driven by a baggy Madchester-rhythm, Life Model further appoint the song with a Kim Deal-evoking, root-note bass line and gratifying amounts of fuzz. Underneath it all is storming, clean drumming that seems taken from the mixing boards of Marc Waterman and his god-like production of Ride's towering Nowhere. Floating above is fronter Sophie Evans' voice, and hers is a commanding performance that is dreamy yet full of presence. Taken in sum the sound hearkens back to the more neon, liquid, colorful, and outwardly sexy generation of noise-pop bands working at the turn of the '90s, groups that brought an otherworldly element to the quiet-loud pop formula propounded by the Pixies. And so Life Model show that there’s still a lot of life within an area of danceable dream-pop that references the work of previous heroes. "Glazed" certainly suggests that the quintet's splattered, sensual take on things will make a long-player a record worth partying to. For now, Life Model is certainly about 18 minutes well-spent. The EP, issued by the U.K.-based Viscerality label, is available on a limited edition purple cassette and as a digital download via Viscerality's Bandcamp page right here. Stream the EP via the embed below and then click through to order. Life Model plays a hometown show May 21 with the hotly-tipped Bleached. -- Edward Charlton

>> While its Facebook fans can readily recognize the band is at an inflection point, it'd be unfortunate if that completely overshadowed that veteran Boston psych-rock outfit and DIY stalwarts 28 Degrees Taurus issued late last month a pretty, foreboding new digital single "Vast Majestic." The release, which also includes the tunes "Playing With Fire" and "Out Of The Ashes," is a harbinger of a full-length expected to be released later this year. "Vast Majestic" aspires to its title, as Ana Karina DaCosta's chiming vocals -- which will sound very familiar to Slowdim fans, as she also plays bass in that band -- skate across steady waves of ethereal guitar and reverb and into crashing choruses. "Playing With Fire" ups the tempo and the intensity with guitarist Jinsen Liu's vocals shadowing the syncopated drum beat. The brief rocker "Out Of The Ashes" opens with a skittering, hi-hat-pocked drum pattern that recalls The Cure's "Plastic Passion," although 28 Degrees Taurus' characteristic wet and spacey production markedly contrasts with the uncharacteristically dry sound of that early tune by the legendary British act. The Boston trio had intended to make a short tour out to the midwest last week, but a personal matter led to the band having to scotch the jaunt. The band's next local appearance will be April 20 at the rejuvenated and now-thriving Boston-area psych-pop festival Deep Heaven Now. The festival again takes over Somerville's PA's Lounge and Precinct nightclubs and feature numerous Boston noise-pop heavy hitters including Infinity Girl, Night Fruit, Winter and Boom Said Thunder. 28 Degrees Taurus play the midnight slot at Precinct, and it may be one of the last times fans can see the band for the foreseeable future, so definitely put the set on your list. In the meantime, the new single is streaming in full via the Bandcamp embed below; click through to grab the three songs as a pay-what-you-want download.

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