Welsh singer Cate Le Bon pretty much floored me the first time I heard her music about five years ago, and I've been a fan ever since. She masterfully collides a rude rock flair with a refined singing style that's steeped in British folk and art-pop. Lately she's fallen in with some of the rougher denizens of the California garage-rock scene (she now lives in LA), and last year she made a raw collaborative record with Tim Presley of White Fence (under the name Drinks) that made me wonder if her old sound had flown the coop. But on April 15 she'll release Crab Day, a new album recorded with Welsh musicians, via Chicago's Drag City label.
I've only heard the new album once, but it's another doozy. As you can hear on today's 12 O'Clock Track, "Wonderful," Le Bon is back to mixing simplicity and sophistication, her precise voice bringing serenity to arrangements that itch to leap into chaotic conflagrations. Most of the new album's tunes acquire extra tension from subtle avant-garde flourishes, and on "Wonderful" (which glides along with primitive guitar, stabbing piano, and swinging vibraphone), they take the form of tightly coiled saxophone squawks that shoehorn their way into the end of the chorus. The song's slightly unsettling video is below.
Le Bon just announced a short U.S. tour that will bring her to Schubas on May 9, and until then, I'll have "Wonderful" on repeat.
Gregory Tardy, Hope (Steeplechase)
John Zorn, Shir Hashirim (Tzadik)
Joe Harriott & Amanicio D'Silva, Hum Dono (Vocalion)
Coppice, Compound Form (Triple Bath)
Sophie Agnel, John Edwards, and Steve Noble, Meteo (Clean Feed)