Archy Marshall (AKA King Krule) introduces his new band Aqrxvst, Nicole Dollanganger unveils her first album in four years, and West Coast producer Tomu DJ shares her latest project
It’s the first New Music Friday of the year, which means we’re in for a quiet one. Thankfully, Archy Marshall (AKA King Krule) has come through, releasing Aqrxvst, a new project alongside UK rapper Jadasea and Pretty V, to usher in 2023 (Marshall produced Jadasea’s Half-Life EP under the producer moniker Edgar the Beatmaker). The three-track release was recorded last year and marks the first release since 2020’s Man Alive!, which followed the birth of his daughter in 2019. Since then the Liverpool-based musician has kept a relatively low profile, dropping a remix of Nilüfer Yanya’s “Painless” in November and sharing the audio of his 2019 live film Hey World! earlier this week.
As Aqrxvst, Marshall slouches into disassociation with woozy compositions that blur into one another with noodling guitar riffs and tinkering piano improvs. There’s a distinctly DIY feel to the EP, which holds the same dank quality as staring at a ceiling and feeling bored and aimless. “As lights flicker in the room/ I lost my screaming but nobody could hear it,” sings Marshall against disjointed strums; the occasional post-punk vocal clipping jumping out at odd intervals only adds to the claustrophobic sound. At points, Marshall’s voice is barely audible amongst the surges of guitar, but when it does creep out, it’s soft and contemplative: “I can’t lie to you/ Even though nothing is true” loops like a repeated mantra throughout “Aqrxvst (Hope)“, the EP’s five minute closer. There’s a meditative, dream-like quality to the track that ripples gently to and from Marshall’s hushed musings. As the sonic fog descends, there’s a sense that he’s searching for lost meaning, the conclusion to which we can only hope will reveal itself in the trio’s second instalment.
Elsewhere, Southern gothic singer-songwriter Nicole Dollanganger shares her first album in four years and West Coast producer Tomu DJ drops a stunning new project.