Northern Transmissions: Weekly Roundup February 19-23

Northern Transmissions: Weekly Roundup February 19-23, including songs by MGMT, Brian Eno, Friko, Another Michael, and more
Lip Critic photo Credit: Justin Villar

I remember the first time that I went to a show on my own. It was at a small warehouse spot called Death by Audio in Brooklyn, and I arrived 3 hours before doors were even set to open. My nerves in somehow not securing a ticket drove me to the city at 4pm to find, surprisingly, that no one was there. I waited and waited (on the ground, yes), until a shitty van pulled up alongside the doors to the venue and some people who were clearly band members popped out. Thank god for them, they let me inside. This concert ended up being pretty formative to me at that age. Something was ignited, and I began to drive myself to more and more shows almost every night of the week. That space, Death by Audio, wound up signaling a massive change in my life, and it was there that I met friends that I still keep to this day. Spaces like that are important.

Friko – “Chemical”

“Where we’ve been, Where we go from here,” the first words on Chicago-based indie chamber pop trio Friko’s debut record (pronounced freak-oh! (emphasis mine)) feel like a thesis statement of sorts; a line in the sand. They’re a pretty young group, but they already have a firm grasp on their sound, pulling influences in from a swirling mix of genres such as chamber pop, early aughts indie rock, shoegaze and even power pop. While their influences can sometimes be worn on their sleeves (Arcade Fire’s Funeral comes to mind in the best way), they maintain a fresh edge. Take “Chemical,” for example. Bright and frenetic, “Chemical” feels like dream pop on speed. The discordant tone of the guitar, coupled with a dash of jumpy drums and wailing vocals make this one of the best power pop (can I say that?) songs I’ve heard recently (I’m gonna keep this in).

Another Michael – “Is There A World”

Philly-based folk-pop trio Another Michael make nice music for nice people, and this week they have graciously bestowed upon us a new song (woo!) and news of an album (wahooo!) titled Pick Me Up, Turn Me Upside Down (out 5/31 via Run For Cover). “Is There a World” is a fun ride down a big lazy river in the middle of summertime, and the band’s strength as songwriters is fully evident. The oscillating piano-driven tune struts along with shuffling drums, gorgeous choral melodies and.. oh my god are those strings?

Brian Eno – “Lighthouse #429”

Premiering at Sundance Film Festival, Brian Eno’s forthcoming documentary (titled, well, Eno) is an intimate look into his creative process, his work and who he is as a person. But you and I will never see this movie, at least not in the same way. Utilizing AI technology, Eno will generate a slightly different version of the film for each individual screening, reordering the shots and sequences around like Rashomon. And, unsurprisingly, Brian Eno has soundtracked the film. This first track, “Lighthouse #429,” is a jittery, industrial tune with elements of jazz interspersed throughout. The Eno soundtrack will be released in North America on June 7.

MGMT (ft. Christine and the Queens) – “Dancing in Babylon”

I promise you, put this one on at the start of your morning commute tomorrow (or maybe that’s now, depending on when you’re reading this). Dripping with all of the markings of an 80’s power ballad, “Dancing in Babylon” is a gorgeous meditation on love, loss and sincerity wrapped up in a swooning haze of sparkling synth lines and a bouncing bass line that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Soft Cell record. Check out the stunning music video for the track here. MGMT’s new album, Loss of Life is out now via Mom+Pop.

Lip Critic – “Milky Max”

Hold on tight. New York City-based quarter Lip Critic make glitch-infused punk music that sounds like what malware might sound like if you somehow brought it to life. This is a compliment, I promise. Packed to the brim with nasty backbeats smashed together with deeply abrasive synth tones (again, I promise I’m complimenting them), Lip Critic are preparing to release their debut record Hex Dealer on May 17 via Partisan Records. If you get the chance to see them, I highly recommend doing so.

Words by Conor Rooney


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