Hustle Roses The pop persona of L.A.-based artist Ollie Stone, Hustle Roses (facebook / twitter) has majorly upped the production values with ‘NoHo’, the first track to emerge from her forthcoming mixtape Bitters, due in January, and it’s pretty addictive in its ruthless pop ambition (“I ain’t messing with sloppy girls that get in my way / and I ain’t fucking with shady shit to make my name”). Stone has already collaborated with Sia Furler and ‘Like A Virgin’ co-writer Billy Steinberg, among others, so we wouldn’t bet against her making some big waves in 2013.
Buke & Gase Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez return with their second full-length album, General Dome, in February. ‘Hiccup‘, which premiered over the summer, saw Buke & Gase (facebook / twitter) coming as close to pop as we’ve ever heard them before, but ‘General Dome’ is suffused with a rattling tension that just doesn’t let up, turning the tables on any preconceptions about what’s in store for us next year.
GEMS Lindsay Pitts and Clifford John are the two minds and voices behind Washington DC’s very promising GEMS (facebook). Recorded in Outer Banks, North Carolina last month, ‘Void Moon’ isn’t technically brand new (Bandcamp lists its release date as November 1) but it nonetheless grabbed our attention this week. Sounding thoroughly current, it easily surpasses the band’s earlier demos in terms of atmosphere and precision. It’s pretty spooky, actually, in a familiarly floaty, cinematic fashion that leaves lyrics like “I wait behind the iron gate / I’m bathed in black, I hesitate” hanging in the air with calculated mystery.
The Long Wives Don’t be fooled, The Long Wives (facebook / twitter) is not a band but rather the work of a singular lady by the name of L.A.-based artist Brandy St. John – no relation to Bridget. This week saw the self-release of her debut single, ‘Dark Horse’ / ‘La Vengenista’, recorded with the help of all three members of Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Karen O and Nick Zinner produced (Nick also played slide, acoustic guitar and keyboards) and Brian Chase chipped in with drums. The track streaming below is a brand new ‘Dark Horse’ by Nick and Karen, but be sure to check out the original and B-side over on Bandcamp as Brandy is dedicating 100% of sales of these songs to Hurricane Sandy Relief.
Solange She may be destined to be known forever as the other Knowles sister but Solange (facebook / twitter) should need no introduction at this stage. ‘Lovers In The Parking Lot’ is the second track to emerge from her True EP – a collaboration with Dev Hynes, aka Blood Orange, that’s out on Monday through Terrible Records – and it’s another shimmering stunner.
Slow Oceans A collaboration between Héloïse Williams of Héloïse & The Savoir Faire (facebook / twitter) and Alexandria Hall of tooth ache. (facebook), ‘Night Mall’ finds the two women pooling their talents to superb effect. It’s perhaps closer in style to tooth ache.’s downer brand of electro-pop but boasts enough of Héloïse’s disco-chic tendencies to maintain her stamp on things. There’s a hint of The Bee Gees about the vocals, and a touch of CocoRosie in the clear, staccato harp notes and use of spoken-word voice manipulation.
Zoë Keating & Jane Woodman This cover of ‘Sister Europe’ by The Psychedelic Furs appears on a new 7″ that marks the first recorded collaboration between old friends Zoë Keating (facebook / twitter) and Jane Woodman (facebook / twitter) since the late ’90s. Formerly of the short-lived San Francisco band Alfred, the two women have followed very different careers since. Zoë, of course, served in cello-rockers Rasputina before moving into her own experimental cello works (2004/5′s One Cello x 16, 2010′s Into The Trees) and TV and film work (‘The Secret Life Of Bees’, ‘Breaking Bad’), whereas Jane has taken her time to build a solo career (her debut full-length, Teenage Red, is released in December). Order the 7″, which also comes with a new, original song by Zoë and Jane, over on Bandcamp.
Las Robertas ‘Seconds Away’ is one of two tracks on the B-side of the Dissected Affair EP, just released on 7″ through Art Fag Recordings (buy), which finds Costa Rican trio Las Robertas (facebook / twitter) on progressive form. Refining the base elements of what made their 2010 debut album Cry Out Loud so enjoyable, if limited, has given Las Robertas a bullish new charm and a more instinctive knack for volume.
Ballet School Originating from Belfast but currently based in Berlin, Ballet School (facebook / twitter) is the trio of Rosie Blair, Michel Collet and Nicolò Foglia. New track ‘Ghost’, a preview of their upcoming debut, Ecstasy Of Loss, is a perky, jangly little number full of interesting touches.
Big Deal For this early preview of the Rory Atwell-produced follow-up album to last year’s Lights Out, Alice Costelloe and Kacey Underwood of Big Deal (facebook / twitter) have metamorphosed into a much tougher proposition, cranking up the volume and distortion on, well, everything – channelling their inner Gish-era Smashing Pumpkins. Okay, so Alice’s vocals still sound clean through more sparing use of reverb, but there’s little else about ‘Teradactol’ that recalls the poppy charms of ‘Chair’ or ‘Distant Neighborhood’. An intriguing twist!
Anja McCloskey We couldn’t let this week go by without a mention of our own Anja McCloskey (facebook / twitter) as she is leaving the country this weekend to start a new life in Des Moines, Iowa. ‘Eureka’ is a cover of Sotones labelmates Etao Shin, whose lead singer Joseph Kelly also plays double bass in Anja’s band. Or, you know, used to. Boo hoo. You can find it on the newly released Etao Shin EP, A Solitude Sheer, available here.
Tagged alexandria hall, alice costelloe, anja mccloskey, arone dyer, ballet school, big deal, brandy st john, buke and gase, GEMS, heloise and the savour faire, heloise williams, hustle roses, jane woodman, karen o, las robertas, lindsay pitts, ollie stone, rasputina, rosie blair, slow oceans, solange, solange knowles, the long wives, tooth ache, yeah yeah yeahs, zoe keating