It seems Björk's new album-meets-multimedia project, Biophilia, will be coming at us from all angles.
At the end of June she will be doing a series of performances previewing the work at the Manchester International Festival. There will, of course, be the standard album release but there will also be a 10-part app version with an app for each track as well as elements of the project on her website, bjork.com. This week on the website, we got the first snippet of actual music from Biophilia in the form of a 30-second video of Björk driving in Iceland with music playing on the radio – seemingly, this is a new song by her called "Crystalline". It sounds pretty good, too, and as Pitchfork pointed out, "Björk even drives cooler than you."
A new, summery beat for Jamie xx
Producer/musician Jamie Smith of the xx, otherwise known as Jamie xx, has a new single out – in a step away from the band. Though versions of the track, "Far Nearer", have been leaked since last autumn, it might just be the most summery track you hear in the coming months. It's all bouncing electro beats and blasts of steel drums, shot through with snippets of high-pitched male and female vocals, evoking that curious mix of forward-looking joy and hazy nostalgia that the best summer songs have. It also comes with the more downbeat b-side "Beat For"; hear them at farnearer. com. The tracks are available in digital form from the site, iTunes and beyond. There's also a limited-edition vinyl version.
Fool's for your loving once more
The debut album by the large LA collective Fool's Gold was one of my surprise favourite records of 2009. So I'm pleased to see they're back now with a second album, Leave No Trace, due out in August. "Street Clothes", the first track from the LP, is available free from foolsgoldmusic.com when you join their mailing list. It doesn't change tack dramatically from their last effort but that's no bad thing, as there are fine sounds on it, with a nice poppy sheen and cacophonous horns near the end.
Money talks on American radio
Planet Money, the podcast from America's National Public Radio, manages to explain economic matters in way that's intelligent and entertaining without talking down to you. In a recent dispatch, they explained how a dingy music venue in Omaha, Nebraska – started by the owner of the indie label Saddle Creek Records and helping to birth the likes of Bright Eyes, The Faint and Cursive in the 1990s – evolved into an arts complex and then kicked off a $100m regeneration of the city. Of course, the music people stayed poor but that's by the by... It's worth a listen at ind.pn/kcc9eT.