•We're thoroughly on board with the rebirth of Jakob Battick. The musical aesthete laid to rest his solo project (the cinematic apocalyptic folk of Jakob Battick and Friends) last winter in favor of AFRAID, a solo project which gives the artist's dour, dirgeful songwriting new purchase through electronica and postmodern hip hop forms. Exhibit one: EMF, Afraid's incredible new split with experimentician JARED FAIRFIELD, bearing a minimalist witch house of "Sissy" and "Everything on Fire," two tortuous tracks with mangled hyperprocessed vocals, which anchors the fantastic, organ-driven "Tearing the Tongue." Battick casts himself as a dark crooner in the mold of David Sylvian or Scott Walker. Fairfield's side is no less rich, his usual tripped-out Fairport vibe intact and addled with dreamy club beats and glitch harmonies spun up into magical ladders. EMF is a nugget of ecstasy dug up from the soot, unquestionably one of the grinning highlights from the Portland fringe. The whole thing's up for digital download at soundcloud.com/afraid; inquire.
•Here's a project. Scene pillar and Sunset Hearts frontman CASEY MCCURRY has "launched" something called the "Radical Honesty Music Series," in which artists randomly choose a track (from, say, an iPod), listen to it a couple times, then cover it from memory alone in two hours or less. The point obviously being not perfection but something else. It's nothing official — it began as a pet project and doesn't figure to be compiled anywhere (besides the Internet, of course), but notable nonetheless as way of working with music using muscles one normally wouldn't. His latest is a doom-pop version of "House of Balloons" by The Weeknd (itself a remake of Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Happy House;" hear it at soundcloud.com/cmccurry). With an amazing ear, relentless work ethic, and great ideas like these, McCurry's one of the most positive forces in local music, and his invitation for someone else, solo or group, to submit a song to the series might be a welcome twist for those tiring of conventional methods of music tribute.
•No, you have not seen it all. The new electronica duo CONTRAPPOSTO is a collaboration between Jacob Pitcher, instrumentalist from the post-metal band Awaas, and Mirabai Iwanko, whose voice is a huge slab of smoked butter. Very new but quite welcome, recalling '90s British trip hop like Lamb and Everything But the Girl (the latter of whom they cover). See them at the massive upstairs/downstairs rock show at Mathew's on September 15.
: New England Music News
, Casey Mccurry, Casey Mccurry, Jared Fairfield, More