"Surgeon", the new single from Annie Clark (below), better known as the artful US indie pop act St Vincent, is brilliantly strange.
The song is the first to come from her upcoming third album, and is available for free at strangemercy.com. It starts with a wash of keyboards, and a soft lilting vocal. Melodies hint at "La Vie en Rose" and John Martyn's "You Only Live Twice". Then things bounce off in an electro-funk direction recalling Dam-Funk, with a loud keyboard solo taking on the baton, and Clark dropping in some falsetto lines. As I said, strange, and pretty damn great. It augurs well for her new album, Strange Mercy, which is released on 12 September.
Damon hooks up with Oxfam again
Those who enjoyed 2001's Mali Music, wherein Damon Albarn, aided by Oxfam, set off to Mali to record an album with a bunch of venerated local musicians, will be particularly excited by his latest project. He's done everything and anything since then, but now he's hooked up with Oxfam again to record a new album in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with all proceeds from the ensuing record going to the people in the country. Albarn, backed by a handful of producers, including Dan the Automator, Rodaidh McDonald, XL boss Richard Russell, Kews and several others, set off last week with the aim of making the LP in seven days. At drc-music.tumblr.com the various players have been updating on their adventures with photos and some brief thoughts. Hopefully, we'll also get to hear some music there soon.
Flying Lotus beater
Flying Lotus, the trailblazing beat maker, doesn't hold back with flaunting new, old and unreleased tracks in between his official releases and myriad other projects. Last week, he dumped a cache of tracks at soundcloud.com/flyinglotus. Numbering eight in total, a standout is the hazily titled "buriedMIX2" – seemingly intended for a 2008 Burial DJ- Kicks mix – which shuffles along brilliantly with a repeating glitchy motif and some eerie ambient soundscapes to boot.
Death in Vegas are resurrected
It's some seven years since Death in Vegas last released an album – and almost 12 years since their highwater mark, The Contino Sessions. I didn't think they were still going, but it appears they are, though now largely as a solo flight of the producer Richard Fearless. Under the Death in Vegas name he's got a new album on the way, his fifth, called Trans-Love Energies. Lead single "Your Loft" is streaming at soundcloud.com/death-in-vegas. Without breaking huge new ground, it pulses and bleeps along nicely and features notable vocals from Katie Stelmanis of the electro group Austra.