Future Islands – “Tomorrow”/”The Fountain”
November 24, 2012, 7:15 pm
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In 2011, Future Islands released their third LP, On The Water, which I feel safe saying is one of my very favorite albums of the last few years.  Since then, I’ve grown hopelessly, pathetically in love with the band’s entire catalogue and consider them one of the best bands currently active, bar none. Frontman Samuel T. Herring’s brash, bellowing delivery may be the definition of “acquired taste” but he knows how to emote like a motherfucker and make the most of his limited range (i.e. Carey Mercer, Antony, Spencer Krug and Frank Black). On The Water‘s jaw-dropping, emotional centerpiece “The Great Fire” featured Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner playing the soothing siren to Herring’s heartbroken beast. Wasner (along with Lexie Mountain and Elena Johnston) once again lends her voice to “Tomorrow,” the A-side to Future Islands just released new 7″ and it is the closest the band has ever come to Sam Cooke territory. In fact, when I saw the band perform the song this week, Herring credited the song’s existence to a more contemporary Soul man, Lee Fields.  Seeing “Tomorrow” played live certainly made the song’s R&B thrust more apparent – especially when about two dozen girls jumped on stage to dance and grind around Herring like a phalanx of sirens while he sang “What’s a man to do?/When a man can’t be true.”


Future Islands – “Before The Bridge” & “Balance”
December 11, 2011, 6:16 pm
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It’s always dangerous to post a year-end list too early because, inevitably, there are several (or many) things that slip through the cracks over the course of the year.  Therefore, I’ve become increasingly thorough in my listening habits (i.e. checking out the recommendations of friends/critics and the things that sound most appealing to my tastes while, ultimately, remaining open-minded) and I will wait until the first week of January to post my top albums of 2011 list.  So, for the next few weeks, my plan is to highlight a few bands I slept on this year only to discover at the very end that their albums totally knock me on my ass.

First up: Baltimore trio Future Islands, a band I originally heard several years ago and then, due to no apparent reason, simply forgot about/ignored/etc.  Their third album, On The Water, is a magnificent amalgam of New Order, Frog Eyes, Berlin Bowie and Brian Eno.  Singer Samuel Herring bares an uncanny resemblance to Frog Eyes’ Carey Mercer – albeit a more relaxed, melodic Mercer.  Bassist William Cashion’s playing evokes the glorious, lurching rumble of Peter Hook and Gerrit Welmers, who handles “keys and programming,” provides fever dream synthscapes and robust beats.  On The Water, is chock full of intoxicating sounds/songs and it’s quickly become one of my favorite albums of the year.

On The Water is out now via Thrill Jockey.

Download MP3: “Before The Bridge”

Download MP3: “Balance”

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