Chris McAndrewThough I already celebrated the existence of Trans – all-caps is about as excited as I get online, I’ll have you know – I only recently got a hold of Red, the first in a series of EPs from Bernard Butler – ex of Suede and, in an informal poll of me, greatest guitarist of the past 20-plus years – and Jackie McKeown of Yummy Fur and more recently 1990s, whom Butler was producing when they met and began jamming together.
And jamming is the correct word, rather than writing, because the four tracks that comprise Red are certainly more about their improvised musical interplay than the considered composition that one would presume from Butler, given his track record of crafting ornate and elaborate pop music. As reluctant as I am to use the band’s own words to describe them, the Can-meets-Television descriptor is pretty apt, as the most defining aspects of the band so far are their steady, almost motorik rhythm section and free-form yet melodic guitarwork, at its most Verlaine-Lloyd-ish in the extended “Jubilee”. Lyrics are pretty throwaway, mostly nonsensical riffs on a phrase, but they both add a punky snottiness – Butler’s vocals a far cry from the ’70s singer-songwriter earnestness of his solo albums – and anchor the proceedings in a pop idiom.
There’s no question that Trans is of niche appeal, and if Butler were not involved I’m not honestly sure how much I’d have paid attention though now that I have, I can honestly say its an enjoyable listen on its own merits (and also fun to jam to on guitar), and I look forward to the follow-up releases. And while it’s probably too early to hope it leads to phone calls to David McAlmont or Brett Anderson – don’t worry Fat Richard, your job is safe – anything that gets Butler a little out of the producer’s chair and back towards making his own music is worth celebrating.
Uncut prepares for a feature interview with a short history of the project, while The Quietus has a chat with both Butler and McKeown.
Video: Trans – “Jubilee”
Video: Trans – “Rock Steady”
Video: Trans – “Building No. 8″
Speaking of musical heroes in new contexts, New York Times has got an advance stream of Stars Are Our Home, the debut from Neil Halstead’s new project Black Hearted Brother; the album is out October 22 and North American dates are going to happen. PopMatters, for their part, asks twenty questions of Mark Van Hoen, none of them specifically about the new album.
MP3: Black Hearted Brother – “This Is How It Feels”
Stream: Black Hearted Brother / Stars Are Our Home
With her new album Arrows finally set for release next week on October 22, Polly Scattergood has made it available to stream via her Tumblr.
MP3: Polly Scattergood – “Wanderlust”
Stream: Polly Scattergood / Arrows
DIY interviews Los Campesinos! about their new album No Blues, due out on October 29.
Drowned In Sound gets in-depth with Kate Nash, Noisey gets her to reflect on the moment “Foundations” broke her (in the good way), and she’s just released a new video for “Fri-End?” from Girl Talk and plays an acoustic version in a video session for The Telegraph. She’s in town at The Phoenix on November 5.
Video: Kate Nash – “Fri-End?”
Stereogum chats with Charli XCX, who finally makes her local headlining debut at Wrongbar on November 9.
Though it won’t appear on Cupid Deluxe when it comes out November 19, any new music from Blood Orange – including this Babyface and Toni Braxton cover with Samantha Urbani of Friends – is only a good thing.
Stream: Devonté Hynes & Samantha Urbani – “Hurt U”
Frank Turner isn’t kidding when he says he loves playing Canada. After doing two shows here for TURF back in July, he’s back for a gig at the Sound Academy on December 3; tickets are $23.50 general admission and $37.50 VIP balcony.
Video: Frank Turner – “Oh Brother”
London pysch-kraut outfit Toy have announced the December 9 release of their second album Join The Dots, a follow up to last year’s solid self-titled debut. DIY has details and the title track from the album has been made available to stream.
Stream: Toy – “Join The Dots”
Hot Minute gets to know The High Wire, who will release a new album early in the new year.
The new video from Travis‘ latest Where You Stand could double as an iPhone 5S commercial because it was shot entirely on the mobile phone. Drowned In Sound has the premiere and with it, details on how it was done.
Video: Travis – “Mother”
The Guardian has premiered a new video from Summer Camp’s just-released-in-North America self-titled effort.
Video: Summer Camp – “Two Chords”
British Sea Power have rolled out a new video from their latest album Machineries Of Joy. The Sunderland Echo looks into the inspiration for the song and clip.
Video: British Sea Power – “Monsters Of Sunderland”
Little Boots has premiered a new video from Nocturnes over at Nylon. CNet also asks Victoria Hesketh about her favourite smartphone apps.
Video: Little Boots – “Shake”
Boiler Room has a video session with CHVRCHES.
Under The Radar and FasterLouder talk to London Grammar.
Under The Radar (the New Zealand one) and Metro (the English one) have interviews with Anna Calvi.
Veronica Falls have decided to mark their upcoming Australasian tour with the release of a new song. Listen to said song now.
Stream: Veronica Falls – “Nobody There”
GQ declares Noel Gallagher one of its men of the year, presumably just to score an interview and get him to say batshit things. Mission accomplished.
For Folks Sake have an amiable little chat with Johnny Flynn.
Delirium On Helium talks to Nicky Wire of Manic Street Preachers.
Swedish electro-pop artist Elliphant has released a new video from what one assumes will be a full-length album someday.
Video: Elliphant – “Could It Be”
WNYC welcomes Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds for a session.
Wired talks music and technology with Björk.
Exclaim has details on the kidnapping drama that has prompted Spanish dance-pop band Delorean – who are fine now – to cancel their North American tour, including tonight’s date at The Horseshoe. The new date is February 20 at The Hoxton and the rest of the rescheduled tour dates can be had at Exclaim.
Phoenix’s episode of Austin City Limits is available to stream online for a limited time.