April 16, 2014

Today's Hotness: White Laces, Fennesz, Hymnals

White Laces -- Skate Or Die (detail)

>> It's a bit of an understatement to say things have timed out pretty nicely for White Laces of late. Hot on the heels of finishing the recording of a sophomore LP with renowned Philadelphia producer Jeff Zeigler in December, the hotly tipped, Richmond-based futurepop four was selected to support The War On Drugs' current U.S. tour, which has its penultimate stop at Boston's Paradise Rock Club tomorrow. Reviews of the Laces' supporting slots have been solid, and we've heard reports that the guys have stayed healthy and sane (and, importantly, literally on the road, when that sort of thing counted). But for those not lucky enough to be on the tour rout, the most exciting thing of late coming out of the White Laces camp is the first taste of the forthcoming LP, Trance, a bombastic, kinetic and fluid groover called "Skate Or Die." The sounds are bigger, fronter Landis Wine's vocals more desperate, and one can literally hear the band expanding on its sonic proposition, becoming bigger and bolder, on the new tune. There are as yet no public plans for the release of Trance, but the looks and listens White Laces have been garnering on the current tour -- the band's first circumnavigation of the U.S. -- will likely prove invaluable when it comes to finding a home for the collection. So get to the Paradise early on Thursday, Boston -- you will be glad you did (at least for now, tickets remain available). Last we saw the act live, it was playing a third-floor living room in J.P. in 2011, so needless to say the band has already come very far; we expect the next year will bring more of the bigger and better. Press play on "Skate Or Die" via the embed below and get ready to rawk. We reviewed White Laces debut long-player Moves right here in August 2012.

>> A reader tipped us off to the presence on YouTube of a new Fennesz song titled "Liminality," which is a slowly spiraling delight of fuzzy electric guitar and icy electronic tones. The 10-minute meditation is the third to surface from the forthcoming, seven-song collection Bécs, which will be released by Editions Mego on LP, compact disc and as a digital download April 28; Pantsfork premiered the substantially more ominous "The Liar" here in February, and the escapist fantasy "Static Kings" here in March (although the author of the latter piece seemed unaware of the former). Bécs is Vienna-based Fennesz' first solo long-player in six years (although the song "Sav" is co-written by Cédric Stevens), and it is apparently intended as a follow-up to Fennesz' ground-breaking 2001 collection Endless Summer. "Liminality" certainly seems akin to the music from that tremendous earlier LP, in terms of tone and texture. Loosely gathered electric guitar notes cluster together into jangling, fuzzy chords, and then billow loosely in the composition's quieter moments, in much the same way Bill Frisell's guitar is at its most beautiful when it just serenely sustains. Those quieter moments eventually recede as Fennesz constructs a wall of melodic distortion that undulates and ripples like the surface of a warm pool of water. It's a mesmerizing piece, one that is distinctly Fennesz. Pre-order Bécs right here, and stream the stunner "Liminality" via the embed below, while it lasts.

>> So you're one half of rad indie rock duo Kindling, and your partner in crime is out of town for a week: what do you do? Make monolithic, fuzz-blasted rock music, that's what. Seven days to himself was enough of an opportunity for Stephen, the surnameless male component of the Western Mass.-based act Kindling, to dream up "When You're Away," which he has released here under the moniker Hymnals. It's unclear how active this project will actually be, dependent as it would seem to be on Gretchen Kindling's travel schedule. The duo certainly has kept busy since we first wrote about the band right here last month. Although progress on the pair's ever-expanding demos set Spare Room would seem to have stalled, in fact the apparent inactivity is the result of the fact that Kindling has a four-song 7" in the offing, according to this Facebook status. They are still finishing up vocals, so there's no telling when we might hear this 7", so it's nice to have a new little sumpin' sumpin' from Hymnals to tide us over. Stream the blunt, concise swirl "When You're Away" via the embed below.

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