Sometimes it feels like there's a certain irony to the name of this website. Every day we are buried by hundreds of press releases featuring hyperlinks to videos, streams and downloadable zip files. DiS is paralysed by email (which would be a rubbish name for a website) and so once again we're trying out a new feature to allow you to hear the very best of what comes in.
To put things into context, each and every day about 300-700 emails hit my inbox from PR companies, labels and musicians. Attempting to listen to it all isn't an option, there just aren't enough hours in the day. And yet, whenever I spend an hour or two ploughing through links (instead of listening to albums I've become obsessed with), there is always some gold in them there mountains of emails. It's impossible to tell if things are better or worse now or if it's the same as it ever was. Of course, this overloaded music journalists complaint is nothing new, and at least these days we can all be thankful that the endless flow of stuff that goes un-listened to hasn't been a waste of a jiffy bag and postage or our poor old postman's back.
We've (I say we, but I'm the only full-time member of staff at DiS, so most of what hits my inbox doesn't end up going any further - essentially my inbox is a bottleneck) tried various methods over the years to share the best of what comes in. Some features, lists and ideas have worked better than others - the podcast was especially good for sharing what we loved, but the royalty rates we would have had to pay to continue doing it would have bankrupted DiS (it was something like £10k per show!). It seems that sharing music recommendations on individual pages is fine for the very eager music fans, but most people don't have the time nor inclination to click from one vague headline to the next or particularly like putting their listening decisions in the hands of intriguing band names or imagery. Most seem to end up going for a random stumble through a pile of hyperlinks, in the vague hope that the standard is strong throughout. Instead of this scattergun approach, most opt for radio shows or recommendation apps like Last.fm. The whole point of sharing music you're passionate about, to an audience that are eager to let a few acts/records into their life, is that the message gets across, but the greater volume of things we bigged up over the years, the less people were listening - which, to be honest, was a little bit soul-crushing. I've never wanted to be The Boy Who Cried Awesome, but it was getting that way.
Over the past few years we've tried to limit DiS' new music coverage, focussing instead on acts we love who are two, three or thirteen albums into their careers - many of whom are still quite unknown beyond a small cluster of dedicated followers (people like Eluvium, dEUS, Low and Sea & Cake, are obvious examples of this). Across the rest of the music-championing web, it feels to me like everywhere you turn there are endless recommendations, with new bands of the day, blogs churning out 10 link-bait posts of new tracks an every hour of the day, and magazines filling their pages with the same few heavily PR'd names (Iggy Azalea, Azealia Banks, Lana Del Rey, Savages, Palma Violets, Fleetwood Wack aka Haim) and nods to acts they will never mention again. We also felt that it was important to focus our meagre resources on album reviews and interviews with acts that many of you are interested to hear more from - rather than chats with bands you've never listened to, so have no real interest in hearing how they formed or why they're called Boris' Bro or Arthur Ska Kill.
In limiting what we've covered on DiS, we have tried to shine a glimmer of light on a few 'new' acts (even defining what is and isn't 'new' is a hugely contentious conversation, but let's not get distracted), as and when we've been genuinely thrilled (EMA, Stay+, Pins, Olafur Arnalds, Eaux, A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Foe and Hey Sholay are just a few recent-ish examples). We have also allowed music recommendations to cluster into specialist genre columns for rap, electronic, ambient, pop and noise-pop and local music round-ups, allowing individuals to become filters. Of course, every now and then we review a bands album that very few people have heard of (Hookworms, for instance), which has created a barrier of entry of sorts, which was done semi-on-purpose... There are also plenty of new music recommendations in our weekly singles column and loads and loads and loads of suggestions on our music forum, especially in the various rolling threads. I even tried to maintain a regular audio-only Tumblr blog, but after a while it seemed a little fruitless, as very few people came from Tumblr to visit DiS, which wasn't really the point, but yuhknow, it's nice to pick up new community members every so often. There have been video round-ups, news digests, MySpace journeys and various other ways we've tried to turn people onto music, and eventually they seem to fizzle out, for one reason or another.
However, this lack of new music on DiS is starting to feel like a bit of an over reaction. There's still plenty that trickles into my inbox and social media feed that is worth more of you checking out, or that has been covered elsewhere that may need some under-scoring to get you as far as clicking play. Some of what hits my inbox is brand new, from acts who have barely done anything before. Other bits are things from bands who still seem to play to less than a hundred people, despite being extraordinary. Mostly, I feel a little bit guilty that we're not doing more to champion and support these acts, and it seems a little be negligent to just toss recommendations into the ether on Twitter.
This will probably quite irregular column is my way of sharing a few things with you - comment below if you think there's a better format for this or you'd like to share links I should check out for the next one of these or if you think the descriptions are too pithy or not worth bothering with. I'll shut up and start copying embed codes of some things I've liked in the past few weeks now...
If you don't want to read any piffle, just click play on this and switch to another tab.
Following singles on Communion and Fear & Records, there's a debut album on the horizon for this four piece from Southampton. This 7minutes of dark, foreboding, Low-like music was my introduction to the band. It thrilled me so much I started a thread about new music and went to see them play this week. The live show brings out a wonderfully Dandy Warholian spirit of anthemic psychedelia. A rather special new band - even their FB bio mentions Elliott Smith - who are well worth keeping an eye on:
Often comparisons can feel like barbed insults, but there is no higher praise I can think of than comparing anyone to Andrew Bird. Denver’s "orchestral chamber pop quintet" (their words, not mine) Princess Music, sound quite a bit like Andrew Bird. They also have a whiff of Sufjan Stevens when they go slow but expansive, and a sniff of Vampire Weekend when they hint there's some funk in their trunk. The music is complex without being too clever-clever, and lush without drifting too far into the wafty ethereal fairy den. Their - well, it's mostly composer Tyler Ludwick's project - debut album is called Odobenidae and is due out on September 3rd via Hot Congress Records. http://princessmusicband.com
Well known in some circles, but with a second album (or first record proper, depending how pedantic you are about such things), the tribal-drones of this chap from Liverpool are surely due to prick up some ears and worm his way into thousands of record collections. This new track, which can be found on his Tumblr, is a bit like a dubbier Burial (I realise comparing any modern electronic music to Burial is like comparing any guitar music to the Beatles, but fuck it, you came here for tunes, not my snot-splattered words). Thanks to No Pain in Pop for emailing me about this.
Dublin doesn't have much of a reputation for producing electronic music. If this EP is anything to go by, that might be about to change. This was recommended to me by GoldFlakePaint, where you can hear plenty more of this Pantha du Prince, Apparat, early M83 "slo-fi" is your sort of thing.
An intriguing new artist. A little more Marissa Nadler than Laura Marling. This is from her debut EP, out now on the Young & Lost label. For upcoming live dates visit her Facebook page.
Not to be confused with that band who tried to ride The Strokes' coat tails, this duo are from South London and make the sort of vintage doo-wop that can only exist in a time of 'womps'. There's a charm, without the kitsch of Camera Obsura or the revisionist, regressive rock'n'roller nonsense. They probably have more in common with Au Revoir Simone's sweet-futurism and Azure Ray's timelessness than anything else, so perhaps the dreamy swoosh of the past needn't have been mentioned at all. Debut album is coming soon on Memphis Industries, for now tho, pick up this track as a 7'.
They sent me their record in a fancy box. Some of the folks from Youthmovies are helping them out, which is more than enough of an endorsement around these parts for you to click play, no?
Brooding with the ache you barely feel nuzzling its way into your hearts shadow when you listen to The National. This made me catch my breath when I first heard it, and then I read the press release after agreeing to post it and it turns out Andy LeMaster who's produced quite a few records I like is involved, as is Orenda Fink from Azure Ray (that's the second time they've been mentioned in here, and yet they're probably the sort of band for which this column should be championing, despite how long they've been releasing great records) and some chap called Michael Stipe helped write some of the lyrics. Blimey! The album is called Glacial and its out on September 9th via the Highline label.
DiS messageboard regular, Ghosting Season and WorriedAboutSatan member Gavin Miller now has a solo project. It throbs. Oh how it throbs.
Die! Die! Die!
And finally, here's a video premiere to finish off this 'column'. I've never quite understood why this bunch of Kiwis haven't scorched their way into the hearts and minds of more people. They take all that Fugazi, Mudhoney, Sonic Youth rage and channel it into a melodic mess that would surely see them hit some sort of buzz band status if they changed their name, but that would involve playing a game, and they're far too good for that. This video however, I dunno, but what a tune:
Catch them if you can on their upcoming UK tour:
13th Start The Bus - Bristol
14th Cardiff Buffalo Bar - Cardiff
15th Sixty Million Postcards - Bournemouth
16th Sticky Mikes Frog Bar - Brighton
17th The Shacklewell Arms - London
21st Oporto - Leeds
22nd Heartattack & Vine - Newcastle
23rd Nice N Sleazy - Glasgow
25th Night & Day Cafe - Manchester
Feel free to join in the bombarding of my inbox by emailing sean AT drownedinsound dot-com. I really should start a worst of my inbox feature to ward off people who don't do their homework, but you can send your poorly recorded jazz-funk and sexist death-prog my way if you like.