Caught in the Net - Genesis and an artist's evolution


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The Independent Culture

The fourth record from the fast-rising electro artist Grimes, aka the young Montreal-dwelling Claire Boucher, will be released in February in North America and in March everywhere else.

Since the album, Visions, took shape in the latter half of last year, a song was showcased through the small Canadian label Arbutus Records (which was mentioned in these pages). Now Grimes and Arbutus have joined forces with the UK label 4AD to spread her Visions around the world. Ahead of the release, "Genesis", a new track from the LP, is now available free on 4AD's website at; it displays her neat way around a skewed electro-pop song with a strange, ethereal, experimental edge.

XL excels with yet another fine find

The excellent XL Recordings (Radiohead, Adele, The Horrors, Gil Scott-Heron) only tends to sign about one new artist to the label each year, so when said new artist is announced it's worth taking notice. XL's latest signing is Willis Earl Beal, a 27-year-old Chicagoan with an interesting backstory involving sleeping rough, Albuquerque, working as a hotel porter, Mos Def, a tranny and The X Factor. His song "Evening's Kiss" is at, and relays a tail of trying to woo a waitress in a diner, over sparse, rudimentary guitar strumming and delicate vocals.

Banging birthday celebrations

Bang on a Can, the New York organisation formed by the composers Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe to perform, commission and record contemporary music, is celebrating its 25th year. To kick things off, the brilliant Bang on a Can All-Stars (the organisation's performance/touring group) is giving away a free double album, Big Beautiful Dark and Scary. It features recordings of music by the likes Louis Andriessen, Michael Gordon, David Lang, David Longstreth (of Dirty Projectors), Julia Wolfe, and Evan Ziporyn. It's released physically at the end of February but in the meantime you can pick it up online at – it's a free download if you pen a brief memory of the band. Newcomers can still get it for the price of an email address.

The Bears' necessities

The Irish duo Solar Bears are set to follow up their well-received 2010 debut of ambient electronica, She Was Coloured In, with the album Supermigration. This week, they shared the first track to be heard from it at "Alpha People" is another blast of hazy electronica, with modern flourishes meeting a dash of krautrock rhythms and 1980s synth-pop. It's topped off with dreamy vocals from Sarah P, the enigmatic singer with the pair's Planet Mu labelmates Keep Shelly in Athens.