The sniper in the brain

New music from Xylitol, Peverelist, rhizomatic, Ezmeralda, Drew McDowall, and more

The sniper in the brain
“fourteen,” Louis Carnell, Nailah Hunter [Bandcamp]

This week’s playlist: Spotify / Apple Music

This week, I ran out of time. I tried to send this last night—and nearly did—but I wasn’t finished. I wasn’t totally happy with some of the song write-ups. I nearly finished this morning, but decided to wait until I had a good idea for an intro. And obviously, I never came up with one.

A designer I used to work with, when I asked him how he’d added so much extra polish to a project he was working on, told me, “Well I started on it, then kept going until I ran out of time.”

“Well was it finished?”

“I ran out of time, so yes.”


“Okko,” Xylitol

The second song from Catherine Backhouse’s forthcoming album, out next month, seals Xylitol as one of my favorites in the current drum and bass cohort. This song goes everywhere and anywhere all at once. Exhilarating.

Okko, by Xylitol
from the album Anemones

“Pulse Ten,” Peverelist

It was hard to select just one track to include from Peverelist’s excellent new Pure Phase EP, but it also forced me to go a lot deeper in all of them—and I got absolutely lost in how the syncopating melody and beats intertwine in this one, wrapping throughout all the song’s narrow corners and hallways.

Pulse TEN, by Peverelist
from the album Pulse Phase E.P.

“fourteen,” Louis Carnell, Nailah Hunter

I’m a little sad to be nearing the end of mentioning a new release in Louis Carnell’s sequence of collaborations from his 111 album. It’s been a wonderful, introspective ride so far, and this latest track with Nailah Hunter continues the streak.

fourteen, by Louis Carnell & Nailah Hunter
from the album 111

“run,” rhizomatic

A building, swirling, and slightly elegiac piece of shoegaze that’s reminiscent enough of its forebears—specifically, Slowdive—to provide some grounding, but never veers into homage.

run, by rhizomatic
track by rhizomatic

“El amor eficaz,” Ezmeralda

Hypnotic and lush, and an armchair odyssey if ever there were one.

El amor eficaz, by ezmeralda
from the album Ruido y Flor

“A Dream of a Cartographic Membrane Dissolves,” Drew McDowall

Some strong Dead Can Dance Within the Realm of a Dying Sun vibes here. Orchestral gothic ambience that really goes somewhere.

A Dream of a Cartographic Membrane Dissolves, by Drew McDowall
from the album A Thread, Silvered and Trembling

“South Today,” Astrel K

Rhys Edwards is endlessly inventive, and has been making some of my favorite indie pop of the past few years. Every release feels like a new high-water mark, and that’s certainly the case with this melancholy psychedelic track.

South Today/C-Ya! (Extended Mix), by astrel k
2 track album

“Subaru,” Tashi Wada, Julia Holter

The way this one soars and undulates is really something. That synth had my eyes alternating focus in a not-entirely-unpleasant way.

Subaru, by Tashi Wada
from the album What Is Not Strange?

“Ruins VIP,” Stick in the Wheel

“Then.” The way that word lands, indelibly, initiating the spoken-word poetry of this darkwave ambient piece. It’s a statement in a song full of powerful statements.

Ruins VIP, by Stick In The Wheel
from the album Ruins EP

“Slaughterhouse Light,” Night Gestalt

The sense of place in this song really had me enthralled. Are those birds? Street traffic? The way the melody meshes with the background—almost as an accompaniment—had me wondering how this was recorded, and Instagram had the answer.

Slaughterhouse Light, by Night Gestalt
from the album Field Rituals, Vol. 1

“Opening Chord,” Nonpareils

A minimalist rock opera is not what I expected this week, but sure enough, here are multiple distinct movements that slowly, seamlessly build into a single idea. This is excellent.

Opening Chord, by Nonpareils
from the album Rhetoric & Terror

“Fall Asleep When I’m Dead,” the Dracu-Las

Along with Twin Peaks and the B-52s’ “Give Me Back My Man,” add another inhabitant to the uncanny valley situated between camp and grandeur.

Fever Dream, by The Dracu-Las
6 track album