Quilt: ‘Held In Splendor’ A Comforting Patchwork Of Sixties Pop

For the past few months I’ve had Quilt’s music spinning around in my crappy white earbuds. The band’s delicate but enveloping songs have been a calming force when those commutes feel extra long, when the overloaded trains and sidewalks feed claustrophobia, and when I just want to escape. It may sound hokey, but then, it’s right there in the name.

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Peter Morén Explores A Stockholm Ski Slope In ‘Say My Name’

Peter Moren's Broken Swenglish Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 are out now. (Johan Bergmark/Courtesy of the artist)
Peter Moren’s Broken Swenglish Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 are out now. (Johan Bergmark/Courtesy of the artist)

Peter Morén — the singer and guitarist of Peter Bjorn & John fame — says that with his last two solo releases he found a new freedom in writing and singing entirely in his native Swedish for the first time. Morén’s songs on 2010’s I spåren av tåren and 2012’s Pyramiden, explored new influences like soul, New Wave, and even Brazilian rhythms, while retaining many of PB&J’s core calling cards — namely, the infectious pop hooks and his familiar Lennon-esque voice. But lyrically, he was able to tackle more Swedish-leaning politics and cultural references that he couldn’t do as easily in English.

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Broken Bells: A ‘Disco’-Tinged Musical Partnership

Broken Bells' album, After the Disco, is out now. (Courtesy of the artist)
Broken Bells’ album, After the Disco, is out now. (Courtesy of the artist)

When people think about the music of Broken Bells — the project of The Shins’ James Mercer and producer and multi-instrumentalist Brian Burton (a.k.a. Danger Mouse) — it’s easy to imagine Mercer writing the songs and Burton coming in to “make them weird.” But really, Broken Bells is a collaboration in the truest sense.

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Vex: Rediscovering A Forgotten Punk Band

The reissue of Vex's 'Sanctuary' collects the punk band's entire recorded output -- all eight songs of it.
The reissue of Vex’s ‘Sanctuary’ collects the punk band’s entire recorded output — all eight songs of it.

There’s often a unifying quality with some of my favorite record labels that tells me, “Yeah, this will be good.” At best, a label’s feel for musical curation — or sometimes, even a logo or design aesthetic — helps gives some idea of what to expect. This has certainly been the case with Sacred Bones — the Brooklyn label with a roster that includes The Men, Zola Jesus, Crystal Stilts, and Destruction Unit, among many others. Seemingly from its start, Sacred Bones’ “sound” — a bit of gothy electronic pop, some reverby garage rock, a lot of scorching noisy punk all come to mind — established a personality that carries through its entire lineup.

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