There isn’t much I can imagine wanting more today than some new music from Lord Huron.
The first time I heard “She Lit A Fire” it sent my heart into crush-like palpitations that I’ve never fully recovered from, ever since it’s been nothing short of a hardcore fiending within my soul for something new, with those expectations still I’m impressed by this new song.
Lord Huron combine the charisma and lyric strength of The Head In The Heart, a nearly Widowspeak ambiance, and there own brand of jangly-folk that is unique and magnetizing, all of which are showcased on “Time To Kill.”
In the current climate of singer-songwriter musicianship, Fiona Apple is constantly heralded as a mad genius whose writing process seems almost like the fermentation of ideas. Her melodies are stringent and emotionally charged, and it continually excuses regular four-year gaps between records. Though her classic Extraordinary Machine may be her shining glory, The Idler Wheel… (or The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Chords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do) will be held in similarly high regard by old and new fans alike.
She really extends her claws in the vicious delivery of “Daredevil,” which comes across as even more compulsory compared with the smoothness of the song’s structure and its subdued percussion. Apple is set on pouring herself into her work and the vocal chord-bursting bridge immediately sets her apart from any cutesy guitarists who sing about falling in love. Apple’s narrative on the record, as it has in the past, explains the scathing, what-the-fuckery of being totally invested in love and having it break down. The track “Valentine” is such a perfect song that I find it difficult to single out her best lyrics. For instance, “I made it to a dinner date/My teardrops seasoned every plate” or “I tried to dance but lost my nerve/I cramped up in the learning curve” are so simple and memorable, yet they carry so much desperate sadness. She adds poignancy by making the percussion resemble the sound of a beating heart, giving the song a deeper musical theme. “Hot Knife” tinkers with elements of jazz and is a highlight of the record; it’s another example of strong lyrics and a completely infectious melody.
The Idler Wheel… doesn’t just fully encompass the essence of sadness, but it also includes hefty variety. The chorus of “Every Single Night” combines the large-scale, orchestral sensitivity of Florence and the Machine with the quiet intimacy of Regina Spektor; it slowly builds up from the soft plunking of a xylophone. Also “Werewolf,” the first single from the album, boasts lyrics like “I could liken you/To a werewolf/The way you left me for dead.” Lyrics like this showcase The Idler Wheel… as yet another chance for Apple’s remarkable songwriting and singing to reach beyond simple or cliche sadness. By the chorus, “You were such/A super guy/Until the second you get/Away from me,” Apple dangles her heavily analytic lyrics on the edge of a sentence, and explores a notion universally held by many women (and men). It’s as though she got to that part of the chorus and simply had no other way to express the feeling; she allows listeners to hear the origin of her sadness and begin to relate to it. However, the feeling starts to disintegrate when the sound of screaming children is introduced to the mix.
Aside from these tracks, The Idler Wheel… possesses a greater need for attention and is not meant to be heard passively or half-digested. Apple’s musicianship can be unconventional and strange, albeit wonky at times, but it poses the need for the listener to engage. “Jonathan,” a jazzy number halfway through the record, seems unhinged and never really lands successfully. She also loses some lyrical strength in songs like “Anything We Want” where she sings, “I look like a neon zebra/Shakin’ rain off a stripe.” Apple is allowed moments of extreme outlandish behavior because she delivers so much on other tracks. The Idler Wheel… is arguably not her strongest work but it functions exactly in the same vein.
Overall, The Idler Wheel… is another impressive addition to Fiona Apple’s catalogue and will receive praise from her fans. It provides a good window into her persona as an artist. The golden rule in approaching this record is to realize that Apple has always had the a particular way with words and, like she says on “Every Single Night,” “What I am/Is what I am/And I does what I does.”
We’re still getting a whole shitload of content from Florence + The Machine this year, even though their last album Ceremonials came out way long ago last year.
As Florence + The Machine’s profile becomes ever greater, her videos are not only becoming grander and bigger in scale, but they’re making less and less sense.
I feel like I saw this video on an episode of The Mighty Boosh before, but who knows. “Spectrum” is about the 17th video taken from her latest album “Ceremonials”, which is out now.
Listen to Florence + The Machine’s new song “Breath Of Life” below, taken from the Snow White & The Huntsman soundtrack.
It was announced a month or so ago that the soundtrack to the movie would feature a brand new cut from Florence + The Machine, recorded especially for the movie and this evening it made its way onto the internet.
It’s not what you’d normally hear from the band, despite Florence Welch’s ability to hit those operatic high notes, it’s clearly been produced with a movie in mind, and not like many of the songs on their latest album “Ceremonials”.
Listen to it below (and check out the trailer to the movie) and let us know what you think.
Listen to Florence + The Machine cover “Try A Little Tenderness” below.
Whenever I read that one of “today’s” artists has covered a track by an outright legend, an idol, or a hero of mine I approach with a grimace on my face, as they very rarely do a good job of it.
Florence Welch with her machine have managed to pull off a cover of the Motown classic “Try A Little Tenderness”, made internationally famous by Otis Redding’s 1966 hit.
It was recorded as part of MTV Unplugged (yup, that’s happening again) that they recorded and are subsequently releasing. The fact that we’re posting it means it passes our seal of approval, but does it pass yours?
In what seems like another installment of Florence + The Machine”s push to release everything possible from their album “Ceremonials”, they handed over remixing duties to Clams Casino for their next single “Never Let Me Go”, which is being released in extravagantly expensive fashion.