Montreal-based three-piece Braids is making some of the most intricate electronic pop we’ve heard: take “Joni” where Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s voice snaps and stretches, yelps and exhales—setting the pace for the ricochets of synth and drum hits. Braids releases a slower-paced music video to match, where Standell-Preston figures things out with a fictional partner while telling herself: “We don’t know where we are going / I wanna be fine without knowing, darling.” Their Companion EP is out now and if you haven’t yet given their unflinchingly honest and personal track “Miniskirt” (from last year’s Deep in the Iris) a listen, it’s a must.
High Water: Changed The Locks (Lucinda Williams Cover)
Folk rocker Lucinda Williams’ bridge-free 1988 song “Changed the Locks” is so bad-ass and to the point that there’s not much room for other artists to cover it with justice (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers once tried). High Water (aka Will Epstein) ventures deep into his own improvisational background to paint an even more heartrending version, starting with his opening wail on the saxophone (“I recorded it in Nashville in this old phone booth that Jack White has that you play in for two minutes and it prints it right on wax,” Epstein tells CH). His exploratory take on “Changed the Locks” features Dave Harrington (formerly of duo Darkside, and who released his debut album Become Alive last month as Dave Harrington Group) ripping on the guitar. High Water’s own debut album Crush comes out next month from Nico Jaar’s label Other People.
That feeling when a song and its music video is everything you hoped from a band you’ve long loved. In the new video for their single “Empty,” Garbage reunites with Sam Bayer who directed the band’s first three videos, including “Only Happy When It Rains” in 1995 (and whose notable career kicked off with directing Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”). With just a few 360 degree whirls and light tricks up his sleeve, Bayer keeps the camera trained on the prize: Garbage rocking out.
Speedy Ortiz: Emma O
Speedy Ortiz’s four-track EP Foiled Again—considered a postscript to last year’s album Foil Deer—is set for release next Friday (3 June). They released the grainy, anime-referencing “Death Note” earlier this month and now share another, the much more bittersweet “Emma O.” Sadie Dupuis’ tenacious voice quivers in the most tender way when she utters the word “love”—and it really tugs at the heart. Catch them on tour now through mid-July throughout the US, with The Good Life.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra: First World Problem
After the wild success of their third album Multi-Love, New Zealand/American Unknown Mortal Orchestra has released a new track: “First World Problem.” The song (whose cover art is by Henrietta Harris) is everything we’ve come to expect from UMO—boppy, upbeat and with just a little modern-day anxiety in the lyrics.