New to OpenAir’s rotation

You're used to hearing great new music on OpenAir and this week is no exception. Stay tuned to OpenAir, new music from Colorado Public Radio, to hear the latest from Sigur Ros, Southwire, and Yellowbirds.

By: Daniel Mescher

Sigur Ros - Kveikur

2013 has proven to be a big year for Sigur Ros. Following the departure of longtime keyboardist Kjartan Sveinsson in January, the Icelandic band embarked on a world tour this spring and made a guest appearance on an episode of The Simpsons (and even performed the show’s famous theme music). This month, the experimental veterans return with their seventh studio album Kveikur, their first released through XL Recordings. The band’s first release as a trio since their 1997 debut, Kveikur retains the atmospheric falsettos and ambient post-rock arrangements of previous albums but with a newfound aggression courtesy of Orri Páll Dýrason’s drumming on tracks like “Brennisteinn” and “Stormur” and a heightened immediacy in Jónsi’s vocals on “Ísjaki” and the title track. Kveikur finds a truly unique group of musicians successfully forging a new path in their unrelenting sonic experimentation.

Standout track: “Ísjaki”

Southwire - Southwire

Hailing from Duluth, Minnesota, Southwire describe their brand of music as “an alchemical mixture that began as a collaboration between a folk singer and a hip hop group”. Their self-titled debut album released on Chaperone Records features eight folk spirituals elevated by Jerree Small’s gorgeous and breezy vocals and gospel piano, both reminiscent of Chan Marshall’s Cat Power project. Tracks like “God” and “Inversion” feature potent spoken-word testimonials from Ben Larson of Duluth hip-hop group Crew Jones, who also turns in a fine sung performance on “Brother” that wonderfully juxtaposes with Small’s voice to emphasize the interplay in their divergent timbres.

Standout track: “Brother”

Yellowbirds - Songs from the Vanished Frontier

Yellowbirds, the brainchild of Brooklyn songwriter Sam Cohen, return with their sophomore effort Songs from the Vanished Frontier. Cohen distinguishes the album from debut The Color, telling Rolling Stone "writing for that record was very much about finding a sound that I was into, and with this one, I think I had a clear sense of what the aesthetic of this band is”. On Songs, Cohen and company craft laid-back folk-rock songs tinged with psychedelic electric guitar. A spacey mellowness pervades the album on tracks like “Love Stories” and “The Vanished Frontier”, yet tracks like “Julian” and “Young Men of Promise” are decidedly focused without ever sounding uptight.

Standout track: “Julian”