In 2008, I wrote in this column about Violens. The New York four-piece had put out a fine EP of droning guitars, psychedelic sounds and dreamy harmonies, but I subsequently lost track of them.
Now news comes that their debut album will arrive in September. The first single from the record is "Acid Reign" and it's streaming at violens.net. With clean, confident production, the propulsive song sounds like they're channelling some New Order influences. Also on the site is a free download of covers and remixes from the band along with a video of them performing a cover of Talking Head's majestic "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)" on an acoustic guitar and two iPhones; there's an app for that, it seems.
Mane man's right in the zone
I've been told that Southern rapper Gucci Mane is the next big thing in US hip-hop (or perhaps the current big thing) but I haven't really been swayed by his lethargic mumbling rapping over minimal electro-beats. There's already been a studio album in the last six months, with another planned this year, but the real action for Gucci Mane is in his web-only mixtapes. The latest, "Mr Zone 6" arrived this week, get it at ind.pn/cA9ljq. He hasn't dramatically changed his style but there are tracks here to suggest he's got a few tricks up his sleeve, especially when he ups the tempo of his flow on "Dat's Life" and "Normal".
Sweet-sounding relief for Nashville
Kurt Wagner, he of sprawling alt-country/soul band Lambchop and singer-songwriter Cortney Tidwell have teamed up to raise money for victims of recent floods that devastated Nashville and its surrounding areas. The pair are recording an album of duets inspired by the city – the spiritual home of country music – which will be released later this year on City Slang. The first completed song is a cover of the fairly obscure 1968 track "Incredibly Lonely" by duo Gene & Rod. It's a lovely, slow trundling duet with silk-lined vocals from the pair. Download it from kort.cd, where they are operating an honesty-box system – you can take the track for free or throw in whatever money you think it's worth with proceeds going to the Metro Nashville Disaster Response Fund.
A mix with animal magnetism
In what xlr8r.com describes as a "hipster's wet dream", the producer Jason Drake – who goes by the nom de guerre Cassettes Won't Listen – has created a new mash-up mixtape, pitting the arthouse hip-hop of Cannibal Ox against the arthouse indie of Animal Collective . The nine-track mix entitled "Animal Ox" is available as a free download from xlr8r at ind.pn/bIyjHk.