We love London. More specifically, we love music from London (might have something to do with a mid-’90s teenage infatuation for all things Britpop). The UK capital spits out new music at an aggressive rate. Yet the past few years has seen the city’s musical DNA mutate beyond recognition. Acts like The xx craft come-down tunes out of a love for the Pixies and chart R&B, while fuzz-punks Male Bonding recently earned Pitchfork’s Best New Music designation with a debut that sounds like it should have come from the LA scene that spawned No Age, instead of an East London that until just a few short years ago was dominated by the rule-Britannia shapes thrown by the Libertines and their landfill of indie followers. … Read More
The British wing of last decade’s post-punk revival can be whittled down into two camps. On one side, you have the Bloc Parties and Maximo Parks: Indie pop-rockers who cleverly disguise themselves with Gang of Four’s pointy guitar sounds and Joy Division beats, but without the challenging diversity of the original post-punk era. These New Puritans fall into that other, much smaller, camp: They answer their ancestors’ call to innovate and refuse to be lumped in with the revival set. On Hidden, the band transcends the “post” tag by throwing out the Mark E. Smith-isms that dominated their 2008 debut, Beat Pyramid, and embracing everything from booming dancehall beats, Japanese Taiko drums and movie sound effects to Steve Reich minimalism, Benjamin Britten operas, English Renaissance composers, and even a children’s choir.
Put it all together and you have something that can only be described as Peter and the Wolf at the apocalypse. It’s also one of the year’s finest (and strangest) releases. With eyebrows raised in awe, we asked band mastermind Jack Barnett to dissect for us the numerous elements and influences that combined to create Hidden. … Read More