For no particularly discernible reason, this morning saw the arrival of new tracks from three of the great long-running indie-rock acts working today: brooding sentimentalists The Walkmen, spooky droners Liars, and knotty harmonizers Dirty Projectors. And because we here at Grantland are all about streamlining your indie-rock consumption experience, we now present all three bangers, in one place.
Dirty Projectors, “Gun Has No Trigger”
Dirty Projectors, David Longstreth’s shapeshifting art rock project, had been a critical darling swimming under the radar for over a half-a-decade when 2009’s gorgeous Bitte Orca blew ‘em up. Nowadays Longstreth enjoys a burgeoning "modern genius" reputation, meaning his band’s upcoming album, Swing Lo Magellan (out July 10), is set to become one highly scrutinized piece of work. “Gun Has No Trigger” is its first release, and brings back the intricate vocal structures that made Orca so unforgettable; no one's lost a step. As important: the injurious truth that Ferdinand Magellan, who did nothing less than circumnavigate the freakin’ globe, never had much of note named after him, is finally being corrected. Congrats, Ferdi: you now have a potential Pitchfork Album of the Year dedicated to your honor.
The Walkmen, “Heaven”
The Walkmen’s new album Heaven drops June 5th, and marks over a decade in the biz for the band, every single year of it with the same exact members. Nice to see, for once, a group of people who can spend a significant amount of time together and not end up despising each other! According to frontman Hamilton Leithauser, the atypical warmness flashed on 2010’s Lisbon continues to flourish: “The detachment you can feel throughout our younger records is gone. We felt like it was time to make a bigger, more generous statement.” The album’s title track (skip through to the 3:48 mark to hear it, although you’ll be missing a story about a landlord named Ratface if you do so) is indeed – well, at least relative to those gloriously sour early days, when Hamilton used to croon about how he'd been had and how there wasn't anything in it for him and how everyone who pretended to like him is gone – a sunny happy fun-time affair.
Liars, “No. 1 Against the Rush”
[Hear it at Soundcloud]
Here’s Angus Andrew telling Pitchfork about Liars’ new album WIXIW: "When I look at the last two records in hindsight, I see this attempt to figure out what it's like to be a musician, how to use your instruments properly. At some point, we realized that we're not interested in that ... [for this album] we wetted rags and let them drip on tin pots. We filled up balloons and let them out slowly. We were trying to find interesting sounds from different places. We're really not that technically adept, so using this stuff na´vely and wrong was really the key for us.” Wow! If these guys can make jams this good with wet rags and balloons, imagine how rad they’d be if they actually ever learned how to play their instruments.