The Needle Drop

New Music

Cantique Lépreux - "La Meute"

New TracksTom Fullmer1 Comment

Although this project seemingly appeared out of thin air with hardly any release information, I have a pretty good feeling we'll find out more in coming months as metal blogs hurl accolades wildly at this record.

Cantique Lépreux (French for "Leprous Hymn") evidently sprung out of the burgeoning Québécois black metal scene, home to bands like Forteresse, Neige Éternelle, and Monarque. According to this, the project is helmed by Blanc Feu, vocalist of Chasse-Galerie (which is named after a pretty ridiculous French-Canadian folktale if you're unfamiliar.)

"La Meute" gallops forward atop a plodding, stripped-down D-beat before cascading into volatile blast beats and churning double bass. Forgoing the genre's usual taste for menace and hatred, the instrumentals carry themselves with a sort of stately poise, like some once great king treading ponderously toward the grave. The guitars alternately enshroud the coarse, anguished vocals in a veil of minor-key melancholy and glide over the mix with a barrage of tremolo-picked lead lines.

The parts coalesce to form a poignant, surprisingly vulnerable take on black metal that wallows in atmosphere and sentiment, yet still manages to advance with soldierly resolve.

"La Meute" will arrive on the album Cendres Célestes ("Celestial Ashes") via Hymnes d'Antan in September 2015.

Tom Fullmer



Aaron Dilloway & Jason Lescalleet - "Western Nest"

New TrackstheneedledropComment

"Popeth" means "everything" in Welsh. It's also the name of the latest collaborative full-length from enlightened noisesmiths Aaron Dilloway and Jason Lescalleet, properly following up their 2012 team-up Grapes and Snakes. Above, find Popeth centerpiece "Western Nest," whose masterful bonding of lulling electronic pulses and high frequencies suggests a peak of unity between the two artists. Truly, the entire project lives up to its name - it is in essence the culmination of Dilloway and Lescalleet's combined efforts in sonic manipulation and the creation of a holistic soundscape up to this point.

Popeth is out now via Glistening Examples.

Hypercolor - Self-Titled

New Trackstheneedledrop1 Comment

Hypercolor is a NYC trio making its self-titled debut on "downtown" figurehead John Zorn's Tzadik imprint later this month. Unsurprisingly, the threesome comprised of guitarist Eyal Maoz, bassist James Ilgenfritz, and drummer Lukas Ligeti (all of whom are accomplished composers and improvisers) delivers the label's trademark brand of controlled improvisation. However, the band's deceptively simple setup proves to be another welcome take on Zorn's "game piece" mentality; the result a work of spastic jazz-rock that courts entropy for the entirety of its playtime. This act is aptly named - Hypercolor will likely be among the most vibrant  blasts of rock music this year.

Look out for this thing, due to drop 15 January via Tzadik.

Modest Mouse - "Lampshades on Fire"

New TracksContributor Jones2 Comments Modest Mouse's new album, Strangers to Ourselves, its first in eight years, is well on the way. Recently they released this joint, a happy-go-lucky and uninhibited song that puts the indie rock group back in the music spotlight for the upcoming new year. "Lampshades on Fire" is powerful and hectic, but also thoroughly danceable. Front man Isaak Brock uses the occasion to be as wild and unhindered as he can be in the delivery of his lyrics. The intertwining of hand claps, up-tempo keys, a silky smooth bass line and clever drumming transform this track into a standard but respectable study in indie pop-rock. Curiously enough, this is a song that has been part of Modest Mouse's live set since 2011, but now serves as a glimpse into the next direction that they will be taking with Strangers to Ourselves. With this strong single, fans are sure to welcome the indie rock vets back with open arms.

Strangers to Ourselves is due out 3 March via Glacial Pace.

- Ron Grant

Brian Chippendale and Greg Saunier - Brian Chippendale and Greg Saunier

New TracksContributor JonesComment

Of all the team-ups and collabs in recent memory, this has to be among the most chaotic, noisy and boisterous of them all. Greg Saunier and Brian Chippendale are two drummers behind some of the more experimental punk bands of the late 90's and early 2000's, namely Deerhoof and Lightning Bolt. They are regarded as formidable musicians in their own rights, as well as being close friends.

The above album is effectively a half hour of two men playing drums as hard and ferocious as they can, dipping and feeling each other’s style for volume and rhythm dynamics, using each other’s energy to build and drop in crescendo after crescendo of drive, power, and skill. Recommended for anyone into free-improvised percussion music. And if you have time, watch the documentary Checking in at 20, which is paired with the album. It gives some fascinating insight into the two drummers and the project.

- Fin Worrall