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The “singularity” is the predicted moment in the future when technological intelligence surpasses that of humans and renders all previous knowledge null and void. It’s an oft-discussed sci-fi notion, but not your typical album opener. But Loop 2.4.3 is not, let us state for the record, a typical band. Instead, it’s a “percussion duo” that uses a lot more than percussion: piano, strings, and electronics, as well as voices that are all soulful, raw, and classically trained.
In just one more trip around the sun, another swarm of immensely talented but under-recognized musicians has harnessed its collective talents and discharged its creations into the void. This list is but one fraction of those dedicated individuals who caught our ears with some serious jams.
My Brightest Diamond: “Reaching Through to the Other Side”
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Detroit-based singer/songwriter Shara Worden has long made a career as an indie-pop mercenary. Over the past decade or so, she has lent her talents to Sufjan Stevens’ Illinoisemakers, collaborated with The Decemberists, covered Radiohead for an OK Computer tribute album, appeared on numerous compilations (including her excellent cut on Dark Was the Night), and contributed to the chamber ensemble yMusic (which also includes Bon Iver, Antony & the Johnsons, the New York Philharmonic, and Rufus Wainwright).
Clearly, Worden has no problem keeping busy. But even in the midst of her many endeavors, Worden has found time for her indie-pop pet project, My Brightest Diamond, without ever skimping on musical quality or integrity.
Such is the case on All Things Will Unwind, My Brightest Diamond’s third effort on Asthmatic Kitty, as Worden’s talents are as focused and as strong as ever. Indeed, the most engaging aspect of My Brightest Diamond is undoubtedly Worden’s voice. With such grace and skill in tow, it’s no wonder that so many acts enlist Worden as a hired hand. Her voice is so pure, so strong yet delicate, so confident and dynamic, that there is no denying the presence of an immense talent. Swaying between sweet, soft-edged crooning (“She Does Not Brave the War”) to full-on, forceful belt-outs (the latter half of “Be Brave”), Worden knows exactly what she’s doing. The songs swell and sway, kept adrift — and often take flight — thanks to Worden’s cosmic vocal work.
On its second full-length, Britain’s Stateless bridges disparate genres with surprising ease. Its sound, at once indefinable and all-encompassing, gathers elements of R&B, dubstep, electronic rock, and more, and mixes them organically with the help of collaborators like DJ Shadow.
Poster Art is a weekly column about today’s independent poster art and the artists who create it.
Based in the Chicagoland area, Justin Santora is an illustrator whose work focuses primarily on the themes of construction and disassembly, as well as “the pursuit for security and the desire for autonomy.” His perspective stems from the concept and process of “constructing something from the ground up” and an ongoing interest in subcultures.
Many of Santora’s illustrations focus on the reoccurring motifs of unfinished buildings, houses, and general architectural structure, while other poster designs simply hint at his love for animals. His pieces often include imagery of abandoned spaces and empty rooms that produce a sense of isolation, as well as despondence within human relations. Additionally, his more recent works include a strong presence of light, shadows, and translucent, haunting human figures.
Two days. Nine bands. Rain and mud the first day, which made for lighter crowds and Woodstock-era vibe. The next day held thick, steamy heat and crowds that got thicker by the minute. Walking until my feet ached. Crappy red cowboy boots are perfect for the rain, but not the heat. Things always get the most interesting as they’re about to end.