One of the more welcome (if lower-key) acts on the recently announced bill for this spring's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is James Blake, the young English fellow whose self-titled 2011 debut laid out a convincing vision of post-dubstep soul music. After spending much of 2012 out of sight, Blake will return to the American stage when he launches a month-long U.S. tour at Coachella on April 14.
He'll have new tunes with him too: On Monday, Blake released the first single from his upcoming sophomore album, "Overgrown," due out in this country on April 9.
The song is called "Retrograde," which seems accurate enough in that it sticks pretty closely to what made Blake's debut so special: gauzy keyboards, delicate falsetto, percussion that feels pared to the bare essentials.
In fact, if anything, the kid seems to have grown only more determined to keep his music stripped-down, a quality Blake shares with José James, another soul singer whose excellent "No Beginning No End" started out 2013 on an appealingly minimal note when it was released last month.
Listen to "Retrograde" below -- and try to imagine how the rest of "Overgrown" will live up to its title.
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