For the life of me, I’ve never quite been able to figure out which elements of Gold Panda’s music speak to me the most. I’ve always been fascinated with the orientally-focused electronic producer, because he has this way of expressing Asian culture in a distinctly relatable lens, but what about it works best? “Brazil” answers these questions with a (probably warranted) eye-roll, reminding us it’s all about the textures and percussion. Because ultimately, what’s most important here is the mood the reversed sample creates, the serene and almost angelic vibe it gives off. But damn, does the percussion complement it– as confident as ever, the tom hits are as important as the basic drum-&-snare pattern. The two merge in a marvelous way that’s characteristically Gold Panda, assuaging any remaining anxieties about the producer’s upcoming release. The only complaint about the track is the sub-par sample used, a man apathetically saying the song’s title. It wouldn’t be an issue if it weren’t utilized as the primary voice of the track, but its monotony detracts from the overall mood “Brazil” presents. But annoyances aside, the track continues to tread the same path Gold Panda’s been working towards for his whole career. Maybe by the time he stops messing around with all these teasers of releases, he’ll have built the worthy and telling compilation of oriental culture his talents have always demanded of him.
Keep your eyes peeled for Gold Panda’s upcoming full-length, titled Half of Where…
Colin Stetson is one of those rare musicians who successfully creates harmony from discord. In each of his New History Warfare albums, he constructs via saxophone, if only to deconstruct, to tear down the walls of sound from around him and to arrange them in a strangely beautiful manner. And New History Warfare III: To See More Light is no different– if anything, it further proves Stetson’s worth in the avant-garde community– but the most interesting choice regarding the album is Justin Vernon’s featured vocals. Laurie Anderson’s vocals were comforting on Judges, but they weren’t as blatant as Vernon’s are here. I rather like the change-up, though, because the album functions well with more of a vocal centerpiece to guide the chaos. Besides, Stetson makes sure the vocals are distorted just enough to fit the destructive panoramic picture he paints with the saxophone.
Colin Stetson has released a few tracks off the upcoming album thus far, but the one that’s probably most representative of the overall album’s sound is “High Above a Grey Green Sea.” Listen to the track, and see where it takes you. If nothing else, you’ll at least be damned shocked at how much sound one man’s capable of making.
Keep an eye out for New History Warfare III: To See More Light, out on April 30th, 2013 on Constellation Records.
Despite being formed in 2009, Sans Parade – an indie-rock trio two thirds Finnish and one third Swedish (amongst a studio support cast of several others) – had released only a handful of songs prior to last month, when they released their self-titled debut album. For that, they had good reason. They were working on it.
The band described their journey to the album’s release as ‘long and arduous’, and it’s easy to hear why when listening to the album opener ‘The Last Song is a Love Song’. Not that the song is strained, difficult, or heavy with conflict. It isn’t. Rather, it appears to have been meticulously crafted from the bottom up, thoughtfully structured and arranged, and fastidiously tinkered with to achieve the most accomplished opening statement the band could ask of themselves.
It’s obvious in the choice of instruments, the way they’re played, what they’re accompanied with and when: they’ve all been given a consideration rarely seen amongst fresh upstarts, let alone more experienced outfits. The familiar quiet-loud post-rock dynamic is employed with no eye-roll backlash; instead, the guitar-embellished string section behind singer Markus Pertulla is dynamic and expressive, offering a contained, delicate intensity in the verses, swelling at the bridge, and then throwing it all to the sky for the eruptive chorus. It’s a chorus that begs to be played loud, and you’d do well to oblige.
It’s clear that Sans Parade have not just aimed for, but doggedly pursued, a first impression…
At the end of July, Animal Collective released “Today’s Supernatural,” the single from their upcoming release Centipede Hz due out in early September. Before listening to the track, the reemergence of Deakin has been tremendous as seen on the Honeycomb / Gotham split. One might think after the critically acclaimed, and Deakin-less, Merriweather Post Pavilion that Animal Collective would be better without Deakin’s trippy riffs. Yet, after listening to “Gotham,” where the guitar riffs drip like a hot rain, it is clear that the depth and layering of their sound is much more developed than before.
That brings us back to “Today’s Supernatural,” a frantically uptempo track that defines the growth since Strawberry Jam. The track is unusually heavy (reminiscent of “For Reverend Green”), with Panda Bear’s masterful percussion skills throbbing throughout, while Avey Tare shows a multitude of vocal dynamics and moods. Lyrically, Tare paints a picture of the willingness to adventure beyond some mundane life and quite literally ‘letting go’ and enjoying the ride. How the bookend of this ride will sound remains to be seen, but we damn well know Centipede Hz will be an interesting trip, as always.
It’s been over a decade since One Be Lo first burst on to the Midwest’s hip-hop scene as part of the now legendary Binary Star and he’s still more than alive and kicking. His fourth solo release since the original dissolution of Binary Star, L.A.B.O.R., is due out on September 6th and if its first single “The G.O.A.T.” is any declaration of what’s in store One Be Lo’s powerful wordplay and trade marked murky and soulful beats are back in full form.
Two things unsettled me before I listened to “Vomit”: firstly, it’s title and secondly, that it was the first single off an album called Father, Son, Holy Ghost from a guy whose famous indie breakout Bon Iverism was that he’d spent the formative years of his life in a religious wacko cult. Creepy.
As it turns out, there was very little reason for my trepidation.
“Vomit”, besides a rather harrowing first minute, is more of the lovelorn classic rock wallowing of Christopher Owens, picking up nicely where the band’s Broken Dreams Club EP last left us. Crafted in the “Hellhole Ratrace” mould, it builds into a wonderful choir-backed climax, outrageous soul-singer and all, and shows off the leaps and bounds bandmate Chet Jr. White has made in composition since their charmingly raw debut.
Father, Son, Holy Ghost will be released on September 13th.
When Pat Grossi, the man behind Active Child, dropped Curtis Lane into circulation in mid-2010 it marked something determinedly different from the rest of the pack still hung-up on replicating the chillwave sound artists like Washed Out and Toro y Moi were perfecting. Even though he’d been lumped by association into the genre, Grossi’s gorgeous falsetto and sun-stroked harp melodies were much more direct and in many ways much more beautiful than anything his peers were doing and were strung closer to dream pop than anything else.
Now with his debut LP, You Are All I See, ready to go, Grossi has released a track off the album as part of the Adult Swim Singles Program and it’s absolutely beautiful; one of those songs that’s sure to get the hype steamroller into motion, sounding like the r&b vocal sensibilities of How To Dress Well layered over much brighter, more operatic melodies than anything Love Remains could conjure. Listen to “Hanging On” here:
In the four years since Zach Condon’s francophilia hit its gorgeous, horn-blaring high with 2007’s The Flying Club Cup, a quick detour through Mexico for the hit-and-miss March of the Zapotec EP has been the only visible marker of our hero’s musical whereabouts. It wasn’t until the release of their latest single, the wonderful “East Harlem”, that the band’s upcoming third LP, The Rip Tide, was firmly on the map again and if the tracklist is anything to go by, it looks like Condon, whose trip to Europe inspired Gulag Orkestar, has left his travels behind for places like home (simultaneously his hometown “Santa Fe” and his part-time residence, “East Harlem”), “Payne’s Bay”, and the single b-side (the namesake of a town in Indiana (thanks Google)) “Goshen”. NOTE: On further investigation, Goshen is also an area in New York, which may make more sense.
The b-side and album track burns slowly, possibly more so than any Beirut song thus far, and Condon’s croon is accentuated by the usual suspects – the percussive-based group of brass, strings and vocal harmonies that give Beirut their shine – and a delicate piano riff. You can listen to the track for yourself below and pre-order The Rip Tide, set for release August 30th, here.
Zola Jesus is Nika Roza Danilova, a classically trained vocalist and Julliard reject by the age of 10. With this re-recording of the massive “Sea Talk”, which features on the Valusia EP released just today, she continues her proclivity for creating huge, swelling pop songs with a gothic synth twist.
Besides having really great album art and a frustratingly hip name, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. have talent. They can write a damn good pop song. “Vocal Chords” is one of three examples off their Horse Power EP, which also includes a cover of the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows”.
Have a listen:
Ok, so who kidnapped Tera Melos? Not too long ago, the ever-rambunctious group release their debut album, which was filled with spastic riffs and wavering time signatures. Since then, their progression had been somewhat obvious, or at least not a complete transformation, like the one that you are about to hear. Perhaps they were influence by Idioms Vol. I in the sense that they enjoyed playing tracks that have defined structures and hooks. At any rate, in the coming months (September 7th to be exact), Tera Melos will release Patagonian Rats, and if “Frozen Zoo” is any indication of what is to come, Patagonian Rats will be a sonic-pop experience that will certainly show how far Tera Melos can push their experimental rock boundaries.
Recently I found myself attending a Defiance, Ohio and Mischief Brew show, whom are two rising underground folk-punk bands. Their following is small, yet loyal, and shows are intense, intimate, and certainly passionate. While Defiance, Ohio’s new album Midwestern Minutes does not officially drop until July 6th, they were kind enough to sell copies while touring. Here is the opening track from Midwestern Minutes, “Floodwaters.”
Admittedly, when I first heard Ys by Joanna Newsom, I was hardly thrilled to say the least. However, Have One On Me has an intangible aura to its three disc, two hour album that borders along a unique blend of folk and classical modern style. Needless to say, now I see Ys and Have One On Me as albums that are nothing short of incredible, and “Soft as Chalk” is a peek at what Newsom and Have One On Me can provide.
“Do the Astral Plane” is Flying Lotus’ late-album reminder that you’re supposed to be having fun. Forget all the self-serious overanalyzing. Don’t mind the perfect scores and the dazed, knee-jerk responses like “blown away” or “shit-hot.” Enjoy precisely what holds this collage of experiments above its pretensions: you can laugh, long and hard. From that goofy opening beatbox to the sweeping strings, right down to the album’s most generous and easily digestible beat, Flying Lotus bounds across the line between cred-approved irony and actually surrendering to these melodramatic DJ tropes, amping up each element in an ascending escalator of synths and horns. Anything goes by the time you’re thinking “free jazz” at the expense of Nintendo glitches. I can only imagine what “do the astral plane” can mean for a track this flamboyant and sexy.
Note: This youtube version of the song includes the outro of “Mmmhmm,” the track preceding this on Cosmogramma. This is preferable for your listening pleasure for the sake of continuity and, well, it’s great. Just really great. Tell all your friends.
It’s been a little over a decade since the alternative rockers Far last put out an album and yet, barely any of their luster was lost. On May 25th, At Night We Live drops as the follow up to their cult classic Water & Solutions. Opening A Night We Live, “Deafening” is certainly the heaviest Far track to date, and while it does not reflect the rest of the album, it provides a glimpse of how the band has changed since their hiatus. To purchase At Night We Live, click the album art provided above.