Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – Pale Flower

If chillwave sounded like warped copies of old soft-rock and synth-pop tapes, then Jefre Cantu-Ledesma’s “Pale Flower” is the sound of a warped, nearly wrecked, copy of a chillwave tape. Or in the words of its creator; the music explores ways of “conveying memory in music without being sentimental”. Sentimental or not, “Pale Flower” is like trying to adjust the knobs on an old transistor radio broadcasting a memory of a memory of a memory of a song that probably never existed in the first place.

Mexican Summer, no strangers to forward-thinking nostalgia-obsessive music, is wisely releasing A Year With 13 Moons, the follow-up to 2010’s Love Is A Stream. Cantu-Ledesma has been releasing a steady stream of music since 1996, collaborating with Grouper’s Liz Harris, and also the founder of Root Strata, a record label that released music from Oneothrix Point Never amongst others. While I haven’t heard his previous work, “Pale Flower” is an invite to explore more from one of ambient music’s best kept secrets.


The Fresh & Onlys – Who Let the Devil


 After the disappointing Long Slow Dance, “Animal of One” felt like a refreshing return for The Fresh & Onlys. The new material they’ve been teasing us with this year (“Who Let the Devil” is the third) feels more focused and with some rather interesting, psychedelic textures. Look for the band’s new album House of Spirits to be released via Mexican Summer on June 10.


The Fresh & Onlys – Animal of One

Of what I’ve heard so far, there’s a good chance that The Fresh & Onlys forthcoming album is going to be up there with Play It Strange, their 2010 breakthrough. While former teaser “Bells Of Paonia” was a near drum-less fuzz-fest of curious stripped-down textures, the starry-eyed psych-rock of new proper single “Animal of One” finds the band on more familiar ground, pulling of one their most digestible and sing-along friendly songs as of yet.

Both these songs showcase new ways of how frontman Tim Cohen’s vocals connects with whatever mood or instrument the rest of the band throws at him. Especially “Animal of One” is strikingly focused, without a single bar gone wasted or growing stale. The refrain, together with the purposeful six-strings and gentle washes of pianos and synths, generates cathatsis beyond anything I’ve heard from the band. Compared to 2012’s so-so Long Slow Dance, this is so far a marked step-up. Their new album, titled House Of Spirits, is out via Mexican Summer June 10.

Jorge Elbrose (Ariel Pink & Jorge Elbrecht) – Called To Ring


“Hang On to Life”, the absolutely stunning collaboration between Ariel Pink and Jorge Elbrecht, turned out to be one of the most brilliant singles of the year. The duo now return under the Jorge Elbrose alias (Ariel’s real last name is Rosenberg, hence the moniker) with a track distinctively dissimilar to their former. While “Hang On to Life” leaned towards Pinks’ most accessible creations of Before Today and Mature Themes, “Called To Ring” is classic rock at its core, disguised in fuzzy guitars and thick noise. Pink and Elbrecht seems to feed off each other like it’s the most natural thing, and I can’t help wonder how a full album from the pair would sound like. Probably outright brilliant.

“Called To Ring” is taken from Mexican Summer’s 5 Years compilation. Out on December 9. Order it Here.

Autre Ne Veut – Counting


Instant Classic

The name may sound French but Autre Ne Veut is a 30-years old Brooklyn-based bedroom musician named Arthur Ashin. His music is kind of a post-R&B, bedroom-lo-fi mix mash, not far off from the likes of How To Dress Well and The Weeknd. “Counting” is a very beautifully crafted emotional piece of work that gives great hope for his forthcoming album, Anxiety. In a recent interview Ashin told that the album nod toward 80s pop, soul and R&B and will be out on February 12 on Joel Ford’s Software label. Continue reading