Alt-J – “Adeline”

Early next month, Alt-J will release their third and highly anticipated full length album Relaxer. The trio have already shared two stunning tracks from the record – the sensual and evocative “3WW” as well as the glitchy, horn and synth heavy “In Cold Blood.” Today, they’ve shared “Adeline,” a soft, atmospheric addition to what might be their most experimental album to date. Much like their entire discography, the track tells a specific story in carefully chosen, tender language, this time according to the band about a Tasmanian devil who falls in love with a woman after watching her swim. Of course, the lyrics can be taken literally or metaphorically, the latter perhaps easier to relate with considering that at its core, the track is about a lost or never realized love. Amidst swirls of mesmerizing, sorrowful piano, the Tasmanian devil, communicated by Joe Newman’s soft voice, wishes his love well, and watches her swim away, his inconsolable, bleeding heart expressed through the slowly expanding closer.

Relaxer will be released on June 2nd.

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photo by Gabriel Green / big hassle
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Portico – “101” (feat. Joe Newman)

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In their debut album Living Fields, electronic band Portico explores dark, sullen, yet absolutely gorgeous worlds that evoke all kinds of different, beautiful images. They definitely take the ambient genre very seriously, and it’s shown in the breathtaking track “101.” After a tantalizing, metallic sounding intro that slowly reaches a peaceful void, vocalist Joe Newman from experimental band Alt-J takes over. His soft, whispering voice embraces the sharp beats and textured synth, giving the track an almost celestial and and divine feeling. It mentions Gene Kelly and his role in Singing in the Rain, making it fit well with Joe Newman and his lyrical aesthetic of including references from books, movies, and prominent figures throughout history. It’s definitely a track that begs to be played over and over again, and it’s already extremely close to making my list of the top songs of 2015.

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photo courtesy of the artist