The Needle Drop


Orbweaver - Strange Transmissions From The Neuralnomicon

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Try out this new EP from Florida technical death metal band Orbweater. The title certainly is a mouthful: Strange Transmissions From The Neuralnomicon. You're in for some fast, dizzying, interstellar guitars on this one. The playing is consistently flashy, but it usually only adds up into making these songs weirder and weirder. Orbweaver's music may be grim, but also sounds like it takes place in the deepest recesses of space. Imagine the bloodiest slasher flick taking place on a stranded spaceship, and you'll be most of the way there.

Stream Neuralnomicon above, and grab a vinyl copy of it here.

Julia Holter - Boiler Room Session


Experimental artpopper Julia Holter released one of the 2013's finest records in Loud City Song. And now she has done a gorgeously recorded Boiler Room performance of beautiful renditions of her work. It's certainly worth checking out if you have been a fan of Holter's and are interested in seeing how her esoteric pop translates to a live setting.

Xenia Rubinos - "Let's Go Out" (video)


Xenia Rubinos' sleeper/stunner debut album, Magic Trix, came out last year, but she's still churning out videos for it, including this new (and supposedly final) one for "Let's Go Out." On the album, the track works as a sort of deflated reprise of the great single "Hair Receding", but taken alone, the song takes on a sadder, eerier, more eccentric tone. Accompanied only by a plinking synth and a slow, defeated-sounding drum, Rubinos delivers perhaps her most understated vocal take on the record. As such, it only makes sense that the video is similarly slow, minimal, and bracing. Featuring a single man half-dancing amidst bushes and grass, the clip is shot in stark, beautifully lit black and white. A couple closeups of a spider preparing his dinner are particularly stellar (if a little queasy). "Let's Go Out" may be a weird song choice for a video - leaving people like me to wonder why she didn't finally give a proper video to "Cherry Tree", one of the best songs of last year - but the end result is sort of awesome.

Magic Trix is out now.

A$AP Ferg - "Hood Pope"

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An odd set of visuals grace A$AP Ferg's infamous "Hood Pope" single, which dropped last year in promotion of the New York rapper's commercial debut, Trap Lord.

Ferg's unmistakable "ohhhh-oh" calls are met with images neighborhood kids, and some of 'em are horrifically scarred. It sort of depicts the song's theme of kids running wild in the streets, getting into trouble. They must "need nurturin'," I guess.

Given the song's title, of course there's plenty of religious imagery, but not all of it is tastefully executed. I mean, Ferg ascends into heaven at the very end of the video, and his fat gold chain goes with him. It looks like he's spitting his lyrics from some kind of holy book as one point as well. It all plays into the idea that Ferg himself is a religious figure. He wishes to lead his disciples away from senseless violence, but simultaneously knowns he's far from perfect himself.

Check a review for Trap Lord below:

Nils Frahm - "Says"


Ambient composer Nils Frahm sneakily dropped one of 2013's prettiest albums, Spacesnear the end of the year. A puzzling mixture of live recordings and reenvisionings of past tracks, it was moving and interesting nonetheless. And now one of its best cuts, the striking "Says", gets the video treatment. The YouTube page for it says it is an improvised experiment with "inks on glass and a video feedback device," which results in the beautiful, abstract black and white visuals.

Watch it above and go lend an ear to Spaces, out now on Erased Tapes.

Xiu Xiu - Nina


Most tribute albums don't go over that well, and I can't make a promise that you'll think Xiu Xiu's Nina is an exception. However, from where I'm standing, this collection of recordings is incredibly twisted, bizarre, beautiful, and moving.

The Men - "Pearly Gates"

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If you can expect anything from New York's The Men, it's that you'll never know what to expect from them.

The band's discography thus far has been quite the trip, showing no limits in their ability to imitate the sounds of noise rock, post-hardcore, pop rock, and even country. In fact, their foray into that last genre made for my least favorite Men album thus far. That influence rings true in this new track of theirs as well, "Pearly Gates"; however, I think this fiery backwoods rock number is paying off big-time. It's like what would have happened if the punk movement had somehow preceded Southern, horn-backed bar rock. There's loads of guitar slingin', piano bangin', and horn squealin' to be had here. Pay close attention, and try not to miss a single second of the action!

Get some more info on the band's next album via Sacred Bones. Also catch a review for one of the band's previous albums below: