Moonface – “Teary Eyes and Bloody Lips”

I’ve been an unabashed Spencer Krug fan for as long as possible but his first LP under the Moonface moniker, last year’s Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I’d Hoped, left me feeling more than a little underwhelmed.  I have no problem with the new sonic territory – he can write on organ and marimbas all he wants as long as he’s writing compelling songs.  Organ Music was the first time Krug seemed more interested in exploring sounds than writing something memorable which is doubly troubling as he’s an artist whose always seemed to have a surplus of memorable songs.  The next Moonface release, a collaboration with Finnish post-rock band Siinai (they toured through Europe with Wolf Parade in 2009), already sounds more promising.  First single “Teary Eyes and Bloody Lips” doesn’t sound that far removed from Krug’s Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown material and, most importantly, the brief, gripping motorik jam is the most memorable thing Krug has released in a couple of years.

With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery is out 4/17 via Jagjaguwar.

Download MP3: “Teary Eyes And Bloody Lips”


Sharon Van Etten – “Serpents”
November 27, 2011, 5:05 pm
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Sharon Van Etten’s last album, 2009’s Epic, became a recent favorite of mine not all at once in a flurry of massive hooks and choruses but as a slow-burning reveal that crept up and took hold of me without notice.  Epic‘s downcast, muscular folk-rock is not far removed from bands like The National and Bon Iver (both of whom she counts as fans/friends).  Fittingly, her forthcoming new LP, Tramp, was recorded with The National’s Aaron Dessner in his home studio.  He also performed on the album along with his brother/fellow National member Bryce Dessner, The Walkmen’s Matt Barrick, Julianna Barwick, Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, Beirut’s Zach Condon and Doveman’s Thomas Bartlett.  Barrick’s booming backbeat and the Dessners’ winding, twilit guitars are immediately noticeable on Tramp‘s first single “Serpents” and they effectively emphasize the “rock” in Van Etten’s folk-rock.  Not surprisingly, “Serpents” and the rest of Tramp‘s ambitious arrangements/production sink in quicker than her previous output which should help make Tramp the breakthrough Van Etten deserves.

Tramp is out 2/7 via Jagjaguwar.

Download MP3: “Serpents”

Moonface – “The Way You Wish You Could Live In The Storm”
July 18, 2011, 10:47 pm
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I recently wrote about “Fast Peter” – the first taste of Spencer Krug’s debut LP as Moonface.  A short while later, Krug released an outtake from the album’s sessions called “The Way You Wish You Could Live In The Storm”.  He had this to say about it:

Here, take this. It’s a song that was cut from the record – an angry duck that didn’t get along with the other songs on the Organ Music LP. That is not to say it’s a bad song (though not to say it’s a good song, either), it’s just something I made that I don’t know what to do with. It’s more techno, or something, than the rest of the Organ Music LP. Less silky. But still, I thought it was worth sharing, for anyone who cares. It’s more than a pile of wet leaves. Maybe it’s something you can listen to while you do the dishes, or draw, or teach your baby to dance.

He’s right – it’s a little more techno and definitely more than a pile of wet leaves.

Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I’d Hoped is out 8/2 on Jagjaguwar.

Download MP3: “The Way You Wish You Could Live In The Storm”

Moonface (Spencer Krug) – “Fast Peter”
May 22, 2011, 3:56 pm
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The ever prolific Spencer Krug debuted his first truly solo venture, Moonface, last year with the Dreamland EP which featured a single 20-minute composition written and performed on only marimba and “shit-drums.” I was lucky enough to witness Moonface’s live debut a couple weeks ago in a Brooklyn loft with about 60 other people.  Nobody knew what to expect and, thankfully, Krug brought new material and more than just his marimbas.  True to the title of his forthcoming Moonface LP, Organ Music, his new jams were all performed on a double-manual organ hooked up to Leslie amps that produced a big, buzzy, warm, analog sound.  Krug wasn’t totally solo though – Mike Bigelow (of Wintersleep) provided percussive aid (marimbas and electronic drums) and Sunset Rubdown bandmate, Camilla Wynne Ingr, performed back-up vocals on one song, “Fast Peter”,  which is our first taste of Organ Music.  Of the five new songs Krug performed, “Fast Peter” is probably the one closest to the marriage of pop hooks and lush drones that he described in the press release – and it definitely works beautifully.  That said, the rest of material sounded even more promising.

Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I’d Hoped is out 8/2 via Jagjaguwar.

Download MP3: “Fast Peter”

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