Arcade Fire, Sky Ferreira, Bad Religion and more in our weekly round-up of must-hear music.
Arcade Fire - 'Reflektor' (Merge)
Arcade Fire, Canada's primo indie rock export, is once again going big for their fourth studio release. 'Reflektor' will be a monstrous double album, produced with help from big-time producer James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem). The viral marketing campaign hasn't been too shabby either. Example: On September 9th (9/9) at 9 p.m., Arcade Fire not only premiered the album's title track on radio stations around the world, but also made a last-minute announcement to perform at that exact time for $9 at Montreal's Salsathèque Club. The track premiere was accompanied by not one, not two, but three videos: one from The Creators Project, one being interactive, and one directed by Anton Corbijn. Whatever happened to the humble tradition of literally projecting your first single on buildings around the world? Look for 'Reflektor' this week on Merge.
Sky Ferreira - 'Night Time, My Time' (Capitol)
After years of delays and two consolation EPs, songwriter/model/actress Sky Ferreira is finally, finally releasing her debut album, 'Night Time, My Time.' The album, whose NSFW cover art was shot by incredible filmmaker Gaspar Noé ('Irreversible,' 'Enter the Void'), boasts 12 tracks of synth-pop goodness. Find out what all the fuss is about this week, courtesy of Capitol Records, and check out lead single "You're Not The One" below.
Bad Religion – 'Christmas Songs' (Epitaph)
Bad Religion have been around for well over three decades, inspiring the punk-leaning youth along the way to stay true to their values and rally against injustice. This continued with the band's 16th studio album 'True North' from earlier this year, but apparently they've taken A Very Special Pit Stop with their first Christmas album, cleverly titled 'Christmas Songs.' Wait, what? Bad Religion doing Christmas songs? Not as surprising as you might think. The band has been mulling the idea of a Christmas album for years, having performed many a Christmas songs at KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas shows. And isn't it punk to not give a fuck? Or is it punk to give a fuck? In any case, Epitaph is handling this early Xmas present.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra - 'Blue Record' EP (Jagjaguwar)
Unknown Mortal Orchestra just completed a huge summer and fall tour supporting their new full-length, 'II,' but the band's not stopping there. Out this week is a new EP called 'Blue Record,' which sees the group performing acoustic versions of tracks off 'II' plus a cover of Dirty Projectors' 'Swing Lo Magellan.' Check out our interview with UMO founder Ruban Nielson (who, interestingly, didn't play acoustic guitar until last year), and look for the album on Jagjaguwar.
Laurel Halo – 'Chance Of Rain' (Hyperdub)
Following last week's release of DJ Rashad's 'Double Cup,' the London-based electronic label Hyperdub is back with another biggy, this time from Laurel Halo. The album is titled 'Chance Of Rain,' and it follows her highly acclaimed 2012 debut, 'Quarantine.' Unlike that vocal-heavy release, Halo's new one is an instrumental affair, featuring nine tracks developed from "live hardware improvisations" and is described as "a cerebral exploration of the intersection between rhythmic and ambient musics, drawing together moments of movement and stillness, psychedelia and presence of mind." A must-listen for electronic music fans.
The Flaming Lips - 'Peace Sword' EP (Warner Bros.)
The Flaming Lips may not be releasing material at a breakneck pace like they did in 2011, but the band's been busy, busy, busy, as usual. 'Peace Sword' is their latest project, following their 13th studio album 'The Terror,' and it's composed of six tracks written specifically for the film 'Ender's Game.' The EP is out digitally this week (and physically on Black Friday), while the movie -- starring Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield -- hits theaters on Friday. Watch the trailer for 'Ender's Game' below. (And if you want to half-ass your Halloween costume this year, consider snagging The Flaming Lips' "Blood Bath" hoodie. It'll give neighbors the impression that you're too cool to dress up but still possess impeccable taste.)
MellowHigh - 'MellowHigh' (Odd Future)
Hodgy Beats, Domo Genesis, and Left Brain of rap collective Odd Future are releasing an album together as MellowHigh (not to be confused with MellowHype, which is essentially MellowHigh minus Domo Genesis). The self-titled album features guest spots from Tyler, the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Curren$y, Smoke DZA, and Remy Banks. No Frank Ocean spot this time around, but MellowHigh will be performing November 9, alongside Ocean, Tyler, Flying Lotus, Earl Sweatshirt, and more at Odd Future's 2nd annual Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival. Appropriately enough, 'MellowHigh' is slated for a Halloween release. Spooky.
Skeletonwitch - 'Serpents Unleashed' (Prosthetic)
Athens, Ohio, metal band Skeletonwitch are releasing a new album, 'Serpents Unleashed,' their fifth and presumably filthiest. It was recorded earlier this year with Kurt Ballou (Converge, Isis, High on Fire) and features art by John Baizley (Baroness, Kylesa, Kvelertak), all for maximum sensory impact. Look for it thrashing around on Prosthetic Records.
Los Campesinos! - 'No Blues' (Wichita/Turnstile/Heart Swells)
British indie rockers Los Campesinos! are gearing up to release their fifth album, 'No Blues.' It's the group's first without founding member bassist Ellen Campesinos!, who left the band late last year to pursue a lucrative career in trying "something new." Check out the album's first single, 'What Death Leaves Behind,' below, and don't miss their second single, 'Avocado, Baby,' which kicked off our 10 Songs You've Gotta Hear This Week playlist from earlier this month.
Juana Molina - 'Wed 21' (Crammed Discs)
Juana Molina's 'Wed 21' is her first album in five years -- the last being 2008's fantastic 'Un Día' -- and it sees the Argentine musician going at it solo once again, composing, performing, recording, and producing the entire album on her own. But rather than evoking isolation, her new album is considerably fleshed out, expanding the instrumentation and veering between textural explorations and full-on band-oriented songs. If you haven't been introduced to Molina's lush ambient electronics yet, you're in for quite the treat. Find it on Crammed Discs.
The Stranger - 'Watching Dead Empires in Decay' (Modern Love)
Experimental musician Leyland Kirby is perhaps best known as The Caretaker, but he's adopting his Stranger moniker for his latest, 'Watching Dead Empires in Decay.' The album trades in the faded, decaying memories foregrounded on The Caretaker's masterpiece 'An Empty Bliss Beyond This World' for a darker, weightier atmosphere. And it's absolutely haunting. It's out on Modern Love (Demdike Stare, Andy Stott, Vatican Shadow).
Autechre - 'L-event' EP (Warp)
As if their massive double album 'Exai' weren't enough, experimental electronic duo Autechre are back with yet another release for the year, time time with an EP called 'L-event.' Billed as an "extension" of that already elongated album, 'L-event' premiered earlier this month streaming on "corrupted" versions of unknown blogs and Tumblrs like CNN, Huffington Post, and The Telegraph. Click here to find out exactly what I mean. The EP's out physically this week on Warp.
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