What happened last week (ending May 10th)

Holly Herndon’s third full-length album PROTO is out today. Previously released tracks include the vocal tour de force of “Frontier,” the skittering beatbox of “Godmother” [featuring Jlin and Spawn], and the euphoric ghostly transmission of “Eternal,” which earned Best New Track from Pitchfork.

PROTO isn’t about A.I., but much of it was created in collaboration with her own A.I. ‘baby’, Spawn. In addition to Spawn, Holly assembled a contemporary ensemble of vocalists, developers, and guest contributors (Jenna Sutela, Jlin, Lily Anna Haynes, Martine Syms) to create a record that encompasses live vocal processing and timeless folk singing, and places an emphasis on alien song craft and new forms of communion.

PROTO makes reference to what Holly refers to as the protocol era, where rapidly surfacing ideological battles over the future of A.I. protocols, centralized and decentralized internet protocols, and personal and political protocols compel us to ask ourselves who are we, what are we, what do we stand for, and what are we heading towards?

“Brilliant” – NPR

“Synth-orchestra blasts beam in from Y2K pop radio.” – Pitchfork (Best New Track on “Eternal”)

“Remarkable, futuristic and otherworldly, but brimming with character, the most striking feature about this notionally digital album is how soulful it sounds.” – The Times (4/5, Album of the Week)


- – - – - – - – - – - –
Hannah Rodgers, the mastermind behind Pixx, releases third single “Andean Condor” from her forthcoming album, Small Mercies (out June 7th via 4AD). A tongue-in-cheek album opener, she muses on gender politics – “mature males tend to be at the top of the pecking order” – inspired by the world’s largest flying bird.

“This song is written about the link between wo/mankind and nature,” Rodgers says. “It is important to recognise how many times women have to face the absurdity of male hierarchy in our modern world. Having had endless conversations with (certain) men who justify the inequality of the sexes by comparing themselves to animals, I thought what better way to help them than to remind those men that they are supposed to be human, with emotional capability and growth.”

“Andean Condor” follows the singles “Bitch” and “Disgrace” and are all taken from the second Pixx album, Small Mercies. Small Mercies is a series of poetic examinations of love across the experiential spectrum, from the micro (self-love) to the macro (devotional faith-inspired love, love for this planet), all set to a soundtrack that mixes electronic pop and grungy guitar rock with aplomb. It follows the 23 year-old’s debut album, The Age Of Anxiety (2017) – an unsettling synth-pop record fuelled by Pixx’s own debilitating experience of angst – and 2015’s forlorn and folk-edged Fall In EP.
- – - – - – - – - – - –

Starcrawler have shared a cinematically visceral music video for single “She Gets Around”, which was released in February on Rough Trade Records. Directed by Gilbert Trejo, it features frontwoman Arrow de Wilde channelling her inner Ozzy Osbourne as a suspended, manic angel. “‘She Gets Around,’ at its core, is a song about losing faith in someone,” explain de Wilde and Trejo. “It’s about building someone up in your own head, deifying them, only to have that mental image destroyed in seconds. Not everyone is actually an angel, and sometimes we have to destroy our own marble, saccharine image of them in order to move on. Crow bars and baseball bats make it easier.”

Starcrawler will reveal the details of their sophomore LP in the coming weeks, on the heels of their massive singles “She Gets Around” and “Hollywood Ending,” which spent several weeks at #1 on specialty radio and earned praise from the likes of NPR Music, Rolling Stone, i-D and more. The band was also commissioned to cover the Ramones’ 1989 single “Pet Sematary” for the end credits of the recent Paramount Pictures film Pet Sematary, based on the iconic Stephen King novel.
- – - – - – - – - – - –