Q Magazine
Q Magazine

New Music Friday: Animal Collective, Mae Muller and Datarock Bring the Goods

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Mae Muller, Sorry I'm Late

Not so long ago, as word spread that her debut album would be delayed, and after the 26-year-old Muller landed in next to last place at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, a trajectory that’s been on the rise looked like it was headed straight to crash down. Happily, her 17-song effort is a broad slice of dance-pop, featuring wistful ballads (“Miss America”), 19th-century waltz beats (“Written By A Woman”) and soothing self-realization (“Me, Myself & I”). The production is chock-full synth-dancefloor sparkle and, as seems to be the trend, a carton of Swedish and UK collaborators that keep the songs streamlined and concise. --Amy Hughes

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Animal Collective, Isn't It Now?

Now more than a dozen years removed from the strange period when Merriweather Post Pavilion improbably brought the experimental Baltimore quartet within a hair-breadth of the mainstream, Animal Collective continue to defy expectations. Arriving just a year after the somewhat divisive Time Skiffs -- the group had previously gone quiet for six years between albums -- Isn't It Now? may be the most "vintage"-sounding AnCo release since the group's heyday. Catchy, acoustic-leaning songs like "Broke Zodiac" and "Soul Capturer" recall the loopy avant-folk of Feels, while the 22-minute "Defeat" proves that the group can still churn up plenty of weirdness to freak out the squares. --Andrew Barker

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Datarock, Media Consumption Pyramid

The Norwegian dance punks – that’s their own descriptor, and we’re sticking with it – are back with their fifth studio album and their first full-length endeavor since 2018’s Face the Brutality. According to the press release for the LP, it manages to be "dance-happy while also dissecting the realities of modern technology use"... which means that it’s somewhat of a concept album, but if you’re only of a mind to listen to it for dancing purposes, rest assured that it’s easy enough to do so. Long story short, fans of early ‘80s synth artists like Soft Cell, DEVO, and Bronski Beat will find much to love. --Will Harris


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