Pennsylvania native Keith Kenniff’s output as Goldmund has established him as one of the preeminent composers of minimal piano-based ambient music alongside peers like Hauschka, Dustin O’Halloran, and even Ryuichi Sakamoto, who himself once described Kenniff’s work as “so, so, so beautiful”. Hyperbolic as it may sound, Goldmund’s newest collection Occasus may be his most exquisite yet. Where his previous recordings trod faithfully and sincerely on paths of dimly lit, polaroid-esque nostalgia, Occasus deepens the undeniable aesthetic that was hard-won over eight previous Goldmund albums, while expanding the palette to include desultory clouds of synthesizer and a tastefully distressed analog sheen. Check out the first single “Circle” below.
Nicole Schneit’s band Air Waves is back with their new album Warrior, which features contributions from Kevin Morby, Katie Von Schleicher, and members of Hospitality and Crystal Stilts. Understated, subtly sophisticated, and equally empowering and comforting, Warrior launches Air Waves above the apolitical complacency of too many of the group’s contemporaries. Schneit proudly declares her mission statement: “I want these songs to be heard by people in my queer community, but also by anyone that wants to feels strong, powerful, and included.” Check out the lead single "Morro Bay," which Stereogum called "…hypnotic and transportive" below.
Akinetic was produced by Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine) and recorded at Erik Hall’s home studio in Chicago. Expanding on Hall’s known penchant for densely layered yet deliberately understated song craft, Akinetic yields ten new tracks of spacious and textured handmade pop. With the addition of a kindred and veteran co-producer, the duo of Hall and Deck weave rock and indie-folk with ambient and electronica, bolstering Hall’s most intelligent and focused songwriting yet. The video for lead track “Beginning To Fade,” was lovingly crafted and directed by Natalie Bergman of Wild Belle. You can check it out here.
“Beginning to Fade”
No Fool Like An Old Fool is the sophomore LP from Austin via Alabama musician, Caroline Sallee, aka Caroline Says. Moving beyond the surf-folk foundations of her debut, on No Fool… Sallee loosens her earthly tether, allowing her songs to float to ever higher altitudes on clouds of loops, immaculate melodies, and hypnotic harmonies, as she sings about aging, the daily grind, and hometown stymie. The video for the first single “Sweet Home Alabama” (which Sallee directed and animated) premiered via NPR Music here.
“Sweet Home Alabama”
“Pillars (ft. Baba Maraire & Felicia Douglass)”
Austin producer Spencer Stephenson and Philadelphia emcee Raj Haldar are announcing their joint project The Skull Eclipses. They’re releasing their eponymous debut album on March 9th, and to coincide with the announcement the duo is sharing the lead single from the project. “Pillars” features Baba Maraire of Shabazz Palaces and Felicia Douglass of Ava Luna, and is a charged 5 minute cut that puts both artists' strengths on full display, a demonstration of how their abilities compliment one another's. Hear “Pillars” below, and click below to read more about the duo.. +
“Come and See”
Lean Year (Richmond, VA based singer Emilie Rex and filmmaker/musician Rick Alverson) have announced their eponymous debut album with the first single “Come and See.” What for Rex was a departure from the structured life of academia toward the uncertain contours of a creative field, for Alverson was a return to form. Having released 5 albums with his previous band Spokane, Alverson took a 10-year hiatus from music to write and direct feature films [Entertainment (2015) and the cult-drama The Comedy (2012)]. These departures and approaches bring a transience and listlessness to the album, like a walk interrupted by both curiosity and caution. +
Indiana-born, everywhere-based singer-songwriter Peter Oren possesses a remarkable singing voice, low and deep and richly textured: as solid as a glacier, as big as a mountain. It rumbles in your conscience, a righteous sound that marks him as an artist for our tumultuous times, when sanity seems absent from popular discussions. The songs on Anthropocene are direct and poetic, outraged and measured, taking in the entire fucked-up world from his fixed point of view. Check out the title track below. +
Grooms’ Exit Index combines the abandon of pop with the unease of American life in 2017, cloaking its hooks in a clamor of samples and distortion, its agitation expressed in its dream-poetry lyrics. The album as a whole is a study in contrasts—light meeting dark, amplifier fuzz surrounding big melodies, sampled friction squaring off with fluidly played basslines. Exit Index was the last album recorded at the storied New York recording studio The Magic Shop. Band member Travis Johnson, who has co-owned the Brooklyn pedal company Death By Audio Effects since 2008, made a limited-edition distortion pedal to celebrate the album’s release. The video for the first single “Turn Your Body” features author/comedian Darcie Wilder. You can watch it here +
Synthesist and composer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has announced the release of The Kid, a sprawling new album that follow’s last year’s breakthrough album EARS. The album is a sonic representation of four distinct stages of the human lifespan, from birth to self-awareness to the forging of one’s individual identity to old age and death. Working with a wide array of synthesizers, Smith has made an album that is at once personal and universal, sonically engrossing and lush. Smith has shared “An Intention,” taken from the album’s first act representing a wide-eyed, playful, and exploratory period of life. +
Balmorhea’s Rob Lowe and Michael Muller have developed a wordless language with a seemingly limitless potential to stir the listener's soul. Over the course of 5 full-length albums and a 7” EP, the duo pushed their work to its outer bounds, concluding the first chapter of their career with their maximalist, genre-leaping full-length Stranger (2012). Now five years later they return with their most fully realized album to-date, Clear Language. A relaxed, clear-eyed sense of reflection flows gracefully through the album as these two old friends transmit unfettered meaning through simple sonic gestures that resonate with the cosmos as much as they echo the pulse of a human heart. In a culture dominated by the loudest, ostentatious voices, Lowe and Muller continue to prove the power and importance of restraint and minimalism. +