It was a big year for Flume. At only 20, the Australian producer also known as Harley Straten toured with the xx, got over a million YouTube views and even has a gold record in his home country.
But even without all that, Flume’s self-titled debut album would still make this list. Streten creates fascinating electronic music full of rich textures and vibrancies. But it’s his rare talent of turning those sounds into great songs that puts him above most other electronic musicians.
Streten’s already got an even bigger 2013 lined up. In addition to headlining tours, he just signed to indie mega-label Mom + Pop — home of Andrew Bird, Metric and Tokyo Police Club, to name a few — for the U.S. release of Flume. Get ready to hear a lot more about Harley Streten.
The staggering electronic music of Flume comes from an unlikely source: 20-year-old Harley Streten. But the Australian producer sounds years ahead of his age, incorporating a multitude of styles into his own melodic, bass-heavy sound.
Flume’s self-titled debut album blows past typical first-time standards and easily puts him in line with experienced producers like Flying Lotus. He swiftly moves from choppy, cut-and-paste beats to hip-hop to slow grooves without ever losing his original edge.
He started making waves in Australia with his first single “Sleepless.” Streten mixes loops, fluctuating pitches and a stomping beat with singer Jezzabell Doran’s voice, but creates something much more than a collage of sounds.
Many of the album’s other tracks mirror the method of”Sleepless” — mixing vocals with loops and beats to create catchy, dancey songs. Even with a rap verse from T.Shirt on “On Top,” Streten fluidly incorporates it into his own sound.
Just in time for Halloween, Crystal Castles have released the third single from their upcoming third self-titled album.
Singer Alice Glass lays on breathy vocals while ghostly synths pump in the background, but “Affection” isn’t nearly as ghoulish as they’re capable of. In fact, the first two singles from Crystal Castles (III), “Plague” and “Wrath of God,” are much more sinister. Even though it’s lighter, “Affection” still has an eerie aloofness that makes it so intriguing.
Crystal Castles are getting ready to release their third self-titled LP. As the album title suggests, it sounds like not too much has changed.
“Wrath of God,” the second single from Crystal Castles (III), has the same dark-rave feel as their first two albums. The steady build of synths and kick drum is pretty much a constant for Crystal Castles, but Alice Glass’ buried, almost-phantom vocals add a different dynamic, without ever losing the distinct sound that the duo has created.
The album’s first single, “Plague,” came out this summer. Crystal Castles (III) will be out digitally on November 5 and physically on November 6 via Casablanca/Fiction/Universal.
Nigel Godrich‘s new band, Ultraísta, is releasing its self-titled debut album this fall. The Radiohead producer/Atoms for Peace member is joined by vocalist Laura Bettinson and drummer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Joey Waronker (also of Atoms for Peace, among other things).
It’s been 12 years since the Avalanches released their landmark debut, Since I Left You. The Australian group is quickly approaching Chinese Democracy territory, but at least Axl had a name picked out. The Avalanches’ follow up still has no title, tracklist or release date. They have finally released new music, though.
They just released a new demo, “A Cowboy Overflow of the Heart,” for free download on their website. It’s mysteriously labeled “avs+ dcb demo #1,” but there’s little else to go with it. It’s largely a spoken-word track with soft samples low in the background.
Since I Left You featured over 3,500 vinyl samples, so even if their sophomore album is finished, some of these long years have likely been devoted to clearing their new samples.
UPDATE: The Avalanches tweeted that “A Cowboy Overflow of the Heart” is a collaboration with Silver Jews’ David Berman. This is the first new material that Berman’s worked on since Silver Jews disbanded in 2009.