Ra Ra Riot‘s third album, Beta Love, sounds like it’s going to be a big departure from their earlier records The Orchard and The Rhumb Line. The album’s first two singles, “Beta Love” and “When I Dream,” kept their signature strings but piled on drum machines and synths.
“Dance With Me” totally ditches the chamber pop for a snaking bassline, thick synths and dance music. It could be the catchiest song they’ve ever written, and I can’t be the only one anxiously waiting to find out what other surprises Beta Love has.
Beta Love is out January 22 on Barsuk.
Ra Ra Riot is releasing a new album next month. Beta Love is the group’s third album and first as a four piece (cellist Alexandra Lawn recently left, and the group is still without a permanent drummer). While it doesn’t have the cool backstory of The Orchard — all we’ve really heard is that the new LP was recorded in Mississippi — Beta Love‘s first two tracks sound every bit as interesting.
The album’s first single, the title track, has a Passion Pit bounce in its step and a New Wave synth that they’ve been subtly incorporating for years.
The second, the just-released “When I Dream,” has a soft, nocturnal drum machine tapping in the background. Singer Wes Miles lays down a bit more R&B than usual, accompanied by their signature strings.
Both songs are a huge step out of Ra Ra Riot’s indie chamber-pop comfort zone. Beta Love was already on our list of albums to watch next year, but it might have just soared to the top.
Stream both tracks below. Beta Love is out January 22 via Barsuk.
Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard is putting out his first solo album, Former Lives. He’s released a few one-off singles — a cover of the Stars song “Set Yourself on Fire” and an ode to baseball player Ichiro Suzuki, “Ichiro’s Theme” — but “Teardrop Windows” is the first taste of the new album.
As you might have expected, it’s not far from a typical Death Cab song. But it actually sounds a bit like his band’s older material — like something from The Photo Album with different production.
Check out the song below. Former Lives is out October 16 on Barsuk Records.
Brent Knopf, who also performs as Ramona Falls, recently left the Portland trio Menomena. The rest of the group, Justin Harris and Danny Seim, have kept going as a duo, adding Joe Haege (31 Knots, Tu Fawning) and Paul Alcott to fill the vacancy on tour.
Seim addressed it with a sense of humor, saying:
We lost a major creative force in Brent, but thankfully, Brent’s not Kurt Cobain, and we’re not Nirvana. Brent’s more like Peter Gabriel and we’re more like Genesis. And everyone knows how much better Genesis got after that talentless hack Gabriel quit. Waitaminute…
The slightly regrouped band is releasing their fifth LP, Moms, this fall, and the first single, “Heavy Is as Heavy Does,” shows they’ve still got it.
The solemn first half is just slow piano and soft vocals, but it starts to build with drums and a synth-fuzz bassline, before all hell breaks loose — chaotic guitar squeals and pounding horns.
Check out “Heavy Is as Heavy Does” below. Moms is out September 18 via Barsuk.
Posted in Music Reviews, Track Reviews
Tagged Barsuk, Brent Knopf, Danny Seim, Heavy Is as Heavy Does, Indie Rock, Joe Haege, Justin Harris, Menomena, Moms, Paul Alcott, Portland, SoundCloud