Friday, April 17th, 2009
Moon And Moon
Review of Bat For Lashes' Two Suns
Leonie PurchasWith her 2006 debut album Fur & Gold, Natasha Khan – she who is essentially Bat For Lashes – crafted a mysterious and fantastical world with a foundation made up of a lot of Kate Bush and a little Bjork but still felt distinct and fresh and most importantly, was wholly beguiling thanks to the richness of both her creative vision and her remarkable voice.
Three years hence, she’s returned with Two Suns. It’s a record with much to live up to considering its Mercury Prize-nominated predecessor, and whether she’s succeeded depends on which direction you were hoping Khan would tilt her creative balancing act of accessibility and eccentricity. Of course, even that answer isn’t entirely straightforward. Fur & Gold was eclectic in mood and texture, like a wander through Khan’s imagination, but also featured immediate pop gems in “What’s A Girl To Do” and “Prescilla”.
Two Suns is more focused and consistent in feel, but with the exception of Karate Kid-invoking lead single “Daniel”, is less overtly hooky. It is, however, more dramatically executed – the power behind her vocals on “Glass” is chilling – and feels much more personal. Whereas Fur carried with it a fictional darkness, this time out it comes across as hauntingly autobiographical. The imagery used still draws on mythical influences, but the emotions behind them feel much more intense and direct than before. The production is also richer and deeper, more beat-driven and with a faint but distinct synthetic sheen – it’s subtle, but effective, and gleams when necessary. It may take a bit more time and effort for it to permeate the consciousness, but Two Suns manages to be a marked improvement on a debut that didn’t really have anything wrong with it in the first place. Remarkable.
Kevin Shields messes with Texas, giving interviews to The Austin Chronicle and Dallas Observer about My Bloody Valentine’s hiatus, reunion and the state of their old old (reissues) and new old (unreleased) albums.
A winner has been selected for the contest to create a video for M83. Check out the winning visuals for “We Own The Sky”.
Video: M83 – “We Own The Sky”
Baltimore dream-pop duo Wye Oak will release their second album The Knot on July 21. The first song sounds a little – well, exactly – like this. Beautiful.
Third time’s the charm? After two cancelled shows, it looks like Passion Pit are trying to play Toronto one more time. According to the Harlem Shakes, with whom they’re touring this Summer, they’re going to be in town on June 16 at a venue to be determined. Good luck to ya. Passion Pit’s debut Manners is out May 19 while Harlem Shakes’ debut Technicolor Health is out now.
Sunset Rubdown have a new album coming out on June 24 called Dragonslayer and they’ve already booked a tour (dates down the left side of their website) to promote. Toronto show goes down July 11 at Lee’s Palace. Pitchfork has the first taste of the album.
Video: M Ward – “Rave On”
And finally, QTV has an extensive – 42 minutes extensive – interview with Leonard Cohen. It’ll take kinda forever to load, but worth it. Cohen plays Copps Coliseum in Hamilton on May 19. Also read a feature at Salon.
Tags: Bat For Lashes, Bob Mould, Doves, Elvis Perkins In Dearland, Harlem Shakes, Holly Miranda, Jason Isbell, John Vanderslice, La Roux, Leonard Cohen, M Ward, M83, My Bloody Valentine, Neko Case, Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Passion Pit, Patterson Hood, Rural Alberta Advantage, School Of Seven Bells, Steve Earle, Sunset Rubdown, Superchunk, White Lies, Wye Oak