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Saturday, January 26, 2019

New sounds from Vampire Weekend, Citizen Cope, The Magic Es, Still Corners and Metric

Photo: Variety
It's always interesting to hear a band try out new variations on their sound - and so it is with the new single from Vampire Weekend, "Harmony Hall." It's an early taste of an upcoming album called Father of the Bride, their first in six years. Starting simple with Ezra Koenig's guitar and vocal, the track goes off in multiple directions with barrelhouse piano, tambourine and various other percussion, a backing chorus, a guitar riff that sounds like it wandered in from a Grateful Dead concert, and more. As a review on Philly Voice puts it, "It’s a wild ride, and it sounds nothing like the Vampire Weekend of old, but it’s absolutely a ride worth taking."

Also back from a break of several years is Citizen Cope, who has a new album coming out in March. The lead single, "Justice," was described by NPR as "a classic Cope song. It swaggers with a head-nodding groove and contains a yearning and soulful message of optimism and positivity." Cope, a.k.a. Clarence Greenwood, has said that society's concept of justice is more like revenge or payback. "It ain't about justice" he sings "when it's not about the next step."



The sharp divisions in society are the theme of "Splinters," a new single from The Magic Es. We've featured this band from Norwich, U.K., before and we're happy to be among the first to bring you their latest track, set for release next month. The trio of drummer Stuart Catchpole, bassist Jasper Stainthorpe and guitarist/vocalist Pete Thompson formed in 2014 to create "original rock 'n' roll reminiscent of a time when guitar pop dominated the charts." Their sophomore album, Dead Star, is due later this year.

Still Corners is the dream-pop project of producer Greg Hughes and vocalist Tessa Murray, formerly based in London but lately in Woodstock, N.Y. The duo traveled to Austin to write and record their fourth album,Slow Air, a title they say was inspired by the Texas heat. It was released last summer, but only recently reached our ears. Better late than never, we're picking up "Black Lagoon," which backs its swirling sound with a propulsive double-time beat.

A driving beat also backs up "Risk," from the most recent release by the veteran Toronto-based band Metric, Art of Doubt. The quick pace matches the lyric's sense of moving too fast, perhaps in a relationship : "Started slow / Started to lose control / The more we accelerate."



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