The Brooklyn-based duo She Keeps Bees likes to go it alone. Singer-guitarist Jessica Larrabee and drummer Andy LaPlant have been recording their music at home and self-releasing it since 2006. Their sound is intimate and moody, with incredibly spare arrangements that mix swampy blues with gritty rock.
To record the band's latest single, "Counter Charm," the duo headed to Paris, where they set up a makeshift studio in a small restaurant, late on Halloween night. If they were hoping to bottle the airy creepiness of the time and space, they found it.
On this edition of All Songs Considered, hear the first new song from The xx since the group's stunning debut in 2009. "Angels" is a sensitive love song, and fantastically sparse in instrumentation, aside from a booming bass.
When it first emerged in 2010, the California garage-pop band Best Coast was all primitive charm: The duo of singer-guitarist Bethany Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno used simplicity as a weapon, eschewing metaphor or nuance in favor of songs built around sentiments like "When I'm with you, I have fun" and "I wish he was my boyfriend." The hooks helped the songs verge on irresistibility, but the music was trifling by nature — songs built for the beach rather than the brain.
Opinions about Dirty Projectors couldn't be more divided. At a recent NPR Music listening party, audience members gave the band's new album, Swing Lo Magellan, both very high marks and very low marks. It was a genuine split decision.
Intrigued, weekends on All Things Considered spoke with Dirty Projectors bandleader Dave Longstreth to figure out why. One thing became clear pretty quickly: Longstreth and Dirty Projectors take a lot of risks.