Through the past, darkly

When a vibe is a reverberation

Through the past, darkly
“I Do Care,” Daniella Ljungsberg [Bandcamp]

Talking about new music in the context of old music often feels, to me, like it devalues the new thing. Still, referencing the old thing sure is useful in trying to describe the new thing.

So here are the new things, and this week they happen to feel like some old things too. (Spotify / Apple Music)

“People (Ah Yeah),” Paranoid London and Bobby Gillespie

It’s an acid house comedown track with Bobby Gillespie, and that combination alone is, for me at least, going to invoke echoes of Primal Scream’s 1991 masterpiece Screamadelica—and here I am, a moth to flame. Just pure beauty, with warbles and blips hiding deep in the corners of this track, really wonderful.

“Six Feet Underground,” Leland and the Silver Wells

It was entirely unintentional, but this week took on a kind of dark ’60s, folky air, and it started with this lazily flowing track, with its catchy simplicity and lyrical couplets.

“gorpt up,” havening

A fascinating, Squarepusher/μ-Ziq-adjacent rhythm track here, blurring the line between the organic and synthetic, with a title that describes the song better than I just did.

“Sunshine/Shadow,” Shrimp Eyes

What Interpol and the like took from the ’80s, Shrimp Eyes is taking from the mid-aughts, and I also just did some very sobering math.

“My City My Rules,” Guitar

Back to 1991! Specifically, the world after Loveless, when everyone wondered when My Bloody Valentine would come out with a new album (2013, turns out). Satisfying that appetite was a mini-wave of bands—e.g., Swirlies, Lilys—turning out DIY distortion-laden noise pop in the vein of MBV, but without the bloated studio budgets. It’s refreshing to hear a similar attitude coming through on tracks like this, where the music is pushes the boundaries of a four-track recorder or (as it sounds here) a single iPhone mic.

“It Starts Again,” Band Spectra

Do one thing, do it well, and do it over and over. That feels like the mantra of this song, which itself feels like a mantra, because time absolutely flattened while I was listening to this track that is somewhere between four and 40 minutes long.

“Daydream Repeat,” Four Tet

When the piano hits? That’s the moment right there.

“Hair,” babybaby_explores

I love a song of contradictions, and the uncertain emotions it provokes in me. The angularity of this song, mismatched with a yearning for the beautiful, it’s so digestible yet I’m not sure what I just had.

“Sweet,” C.B. Carlyle & the Desert Angels

I didn’t want to overload on this up top, but here’s where the dark ’60s folk vibe picks up again. What a silky, silky song this is, with a dark, dark heart. (Hey it’s a love song to Satan, after all.) That pitter-patter percussion, those chiming, plucked guitar chords. So lovely.

“I Do Care,” Daniella Ljungsberg

This is the feeling of fingering through records at Goodwill and finding some battered gospel album by a family of musicians you’ve never heard of, taking it home, and discovering something mostly beautiful, but a little deranged, and that feels entirely made for you.

“Hidden Options,” KMRU and hexorcismos

KMRU’s wonderfully multi-textured sounds have such a calming effect, and this new one is no exception. Weaving around, pulsing between the background and foreground, it’s a tiny little odyssey.

“Crépuscule,” Alison Cotton

Another song of contradictions, but this time it’s: What if opera, but not too much? From the experimental violist comes this (viola-free) version of Jules Massenet’s 1872 art song, with an insistent percussion that makes this even more of its own thing.

“The Climbing,” Bo Ningen

Nine minutes of full-tilt, palate-cleansing instrumental rock. Brilliant.