Essential New Music: Saicobab’s “Sab Se Purani Bab”

Saicobab is the newest project of Yoshimio (a.k.a. Yoshimi P-We), who helms OOIOO and sings/drums in the Boredoms. Both Saicobab’s and Sab Se Purani Bab’s names are fanciful translations from Japanese and Hindi, respectively, of the words “ancient baby.” But even if you have a complete command of both languages, you’ll likely be stymied if you try to deal with this music on a purely linguistic level. As in OOIOO, Yoshimio performs exactingly structured songs, but she often seems to be flinging syllables into elaborate shapes for musical rather than lyrical effect. The combination of acoustic instrumentation (double bass, sitar, hand percussion) with her electronically treated voice moves this material farther from rock music than OOIOO was willing to stray, but anyone who appreciated that combo’s giddy exuberance and arcane tunefulness will find plenty to like on this record’s seven intricately arranged tracks.

—Bill Meyer

Essential New Music: Alex Lahey’s “I Love You Like A Brother”

This feisty young Melburnian released a crackerjack, all-killer, five-song EP in last year’s B-Grade University, and she has now repeated the feat with, specifically, the front end of her full-length debut. It’s not that Brother’s back side—which tends toward more elaborate, polished and generically poppy arrangements—is particularly bad or even all that much of a stylistic departure. But none of it’s particularly memorable, either, especially next to all the fizzy, bounding energy and gonzo shout-along hooks crammed into side one. Picking up the ball from B-Grade’s brash, bratty standout “I Don’t Think You Like People Like Me,” the album’s defiantly pop-punky first half touches on distance-challenged romance (love-blitzed opener “Every Day’s The Weekend,” the touching, expansive “Backpack”), self-care fails, siblinghood (the unexpectedly literal, bashed-out title track) and her love/hate for the city of Perth—all with characteristic witty, everygal charm. And gauche as it may seem for someone signed to a prestige indie like Dead Oceans, Lahey’s just way more compelling (and fun) when channeling Avril Lavigne (with a splash of prime Lily Allen in the attitude department) than she is rehashing Best Coast.

—K. Ross Hoffman

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Echo Bloom’s “Song For Steven”

On March 9, Echo Bloom will release Green, the final entry in a trilogy that also includes 2013’s Blue and 2016’s Red. The idea for a three-part series of albums came to frontman/founder Kyle Evans after realizing his three favorite songs from Echo Bloom’s 2008 Jamboree debut were each in a different style. So he decided to do an entire LP in each track’s “genre”: folk (Blue), rock (Red) and pop (Green). Evans is a bit of a “roads scholar,” having lived in the South, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City (currently), as well as a time in Berlin, and these different locales have provided much inspiration into his songwriting. One of Green‘s standouts is “Song For Steven,” which we’re proud to premiere today on

Says Evans of both the origins of “Song For Steven” and Echo Bloom in general, “I lived in D.C. for a few years, in a commune in the Columbia Heights neighborhood. It was filled with these brilliant, highly ambitious people—very unlike the people I grew up with in small-town Florida. I remember talking with a housemate once about being interested in music, but not really knowing what to do with the interest. That kind of confusion didn’t really register with them: If you want to be a writer, write. If you want to be a painter, paint. They encouraged me to just do it, so I built a primitive recording studio in our basement and recorded my first album. Steven lived in that house, and we both had similar experiences. He was from a small town in Texas, and we both felt equal parts intimidated and empowered by the atmosphere of the house, and the city—and being 22 and trying to be adults. We grew up a lot in four years, and that’s what this song is about.” Well, you can’t argue with the results. Check it out now, and check Echo Bloom out live on the East Cost in March.

From The Desk Of Pete Astor: “Walker” (Miles And Miles And Miles)

Pete Astor has been a staple of the British indie scene since the early ’80s, fronting a diverse number of outfits including the Loft, the Weather Prophets, the Wisdom Of Harry and Ellis Island Sound. He launched a solo career in 1990, as well, and is also a senior lecturer in music at the University of Westminster. Astor’s latest release is One For The Ghost (Tapete). He’ll be guest editing all week, writing about the origins of these songs and how they relate to the LP’s theme of past and future, complete with illustrations he created with Susanne Ballhausen.

Astor: My friend and Ellis Island Sound collaborator David Sheppard (boots on the right) is always the person that I look to when programming a record. He’s particularly good, I think, at nailing that all-important first song, the one that announces the record, the calling card. This time, he came up with “Walker,” and it felt right. Already at shows, this feels like an old favourite, like it’s always been there. Recently, a radio DJ introduced it as though it was an old song of mine that I was re-playing, which I think kind of proves the point.

Also, walking is the best. I rode a bike around London for 20 years, and that was great, too. But the slower and even-better walking has taken over. Good for your feet and good for your brain.

“Walker” DNA: