"The Big She" - Dustin Wong
In listening to the new Forest Swords album in between wonderful, if inadvisable, Bioshock marathons, I’ve found myself wanting only music that can double as both cleansing background noise and enthralling treks through odd realms existing only in the music. The internet provides these in multitudes; fortunately, most of the one’s I’ve toppled into today have been worthwhile.
While Dustin Wong’s “The Big She” may not be the best song I’ve lucked into, it certainly hooks the ear with it’s disjunct array of sounds. It’s nigh unpleasant and possessing of a simmering volatility, but a low bass ties the disparate spikes together and gives the listener assurance that the song is going somewhere. That somewhere is often only slightly more defined, but it’s certainly a fine bastion for abnormal guitar sounds.
Meditation of Ecstatic Energy, comes out September 17th on Thrill Jockey.
- Tyler Hanan
"Make It Up" - The Blow
This is a brief evening broadcast of a song perfect for a sunlit early morning. “Make It Up” is a pop song that has it both ways, bursting with a quietly huge hook wile also feeling quite small and assuming. Intimate verses sidle right up close before a three-word chorus that is, without being overly busy or loud, disconcerting with how simple and catchy it is. It’s a song easy to love, though whether that be because of it’s relative simplicity or because of it is unsure (though it should be noted that the strong rhythmic percussion and occasional glitchiness is interesting and abundant enough to almost be distracting).
The band’s first album in seven years, the self-titled followup to Paper Television comes out via Kanine on October 1.
- Tyler Hanan
"Problem Areas" - Oneohtrix Point Never
Rather than the normal blurb, let’s take this to the bullet points.
- The union of Daniel Lopatin’s off kilter pogo stick of a new single and Takeshi Murata's surreal still life video (for the track not titled “Still Life,” notably) is a phenomenal one. The combination is like nothing else you’re apt to stumble upon today.
- Lopatin’s next album, R Plus Seven, comes out in October. Enthusiasts of that month and all it tails would like to sincerely thank whoever made this happen for the exceptional choice.
- The visual style and somewhat bonkers arrangements (though his most traditional yet, as everyone has taken pains to tell me) remind of Baby Mozart and those other Baby Einstein videos, which I always found both fascinating and uncomfortable, impossible to look away from. I was 19 at the time. I have a childlike enthusiasm.
- Those little elements, the more atmospheric noises above all the plinking, plunking, and pogoing, are so wondrously Replica.
- Why Coors?
- Tyler Hnanan
"Hossak" - Braids
"In Kind,” the first single from Braids sophomore album Flourish // Perish, began tenuously, with a pristine voice ringing out like an extradimensional siren song. It excitedly reeled listeners into a spiraling, gossamer space, a forest where the leaves drip with mystical whimsy. It was immediately, overtly intoxicating, a labyrinthine six and a half minutes. (There is also, of course, the eight minute version, which opens with a divine call and gorgeous sunset imagery).
Followup single “Hossak” retains an aura of otherworldliness, yet it blossoms much more slowly. Each new element is a colorful, dew-coated petal opening cautiously into place. The result is a not dissimilar sense of open-eyed fascination from the one left by “In Kind;” the pace of each odyssey is vastly different, but the disoriented wonderment at how we’ve reached the end is much the same.
Braids have woven quite the spells with “In Kind” and “Hossak.” They’re dewy and lush, full of brilliant, glistening colors; they’re fantastical in nature, and unerring in execution. One can only wonder what the rest of Flourish // Perish will have in store upon its release on August 20th.
- Tyler Hanan
"Death of a Drum Machine" - dBridge
Drum and bass isn’t my usual beat, but the confident accomplishment of this dBridge track is intoxicating, luring me into this world (a world I admittedly know little about). Propulsive yet thoughtful, a vehicle possessing both untouchable style and understated horsepower, “Death of a Drum Machine” is a tune necessitating repeat listens for the way it courses through your skull and streamlines your thoughts. The energy is a bit dangerous, a tad off, but enticingly so.
- Tyler Hanan
"Bodega Run" - Crying
I sifted through our email at odd times today, not so much “scouring” as I was “randomly clicking” in a desperate search for something that would surprise, amaze, or delight me.
While I appreciated each and every one of those emails - even those ones that don’t provide simple streaming links for easy listening - nothing popped. It all rolled over me in a lukewarm melange of “good but not great” and “not good at all.” If you’re reading this and recently emailed this, I probably just happened to not click your email. Probably.
What really stuck with me, other than the Talking Heads albums I mistakenly downed before diving into a sea of unread email, was the sprightly track premiered over on phenomenal site The Le Sigh this morning.
Though not one of the folks in the know on Crying long before a song premiered - I’m rarely in the know - I can immediately appreciate the names involved: Elaiza Santos (Whatever, Dad), Nick Corbo (LVL UP, Spooky Houses), and Ryan Galloway. That information is all pretty cool, leaving me feeling slightly less uncool in now knowing it, but it’s the song itself that’s left me disappointed with all else today.
The glitches and video game antics instantly deliver the delight I’d been searching for. Fitting of the title “Bodega Run,” the electronic shenanigans here take off at top speed and soar with heedless abandon. It’s all smiles and sunshine, a big shiny object that has recruited me to the ranks of eager, impatient folks awaiting more material. It’s like I’ve been there, with the cool kids, the whole time, right? Right?!
Anyways, it seems Crying’s EP Get Olde will be released by Double Double Whammy sometime in the unknowable fog that is the future. That’s fair, though. I didn’t have to wait impatiently with the in crowd before; I’ll do my penance and fidget over here in silence now.
- Tyler Hanan
"Byegone" - Volcano Choir
"Byegone" is a tragedy of a relationship, knowing your partner is much better than they think they are, believing in them through and through, and perhaps ending it because they cannot live to your expectations. It’s deep stuff, something Justin Vernon does very well. He has a habit of instilling hope to whatever track he works on, whatever project he’s working on, and with Volcano Choir, adding a majestic touch you wouldn’t find in his other work. It’s exciting music, and it’s due in September.
"The Weight of Gold" - Forest Swords
I never got around to posting the previous Forest Swords single, “Thor’s Stone,” which means I never got the chance to mention how much I enjoy Matt Barnes’ music. I’m even more amazed by how he has the time to make such moody, labyrinthine tunes when he’s been played the third-highest minutes of his NBA career at small forward for the Los Angeles Clippers last year.
Engravings will be released by Tri Angle Records on August 26th, his first album with the label that specializes in such gloomy, spelunking atmospherics; drenched, bass-heavy beats; and distorted vocalizations. Forest swords is plenty different from the Haxan Cloaks and Balam Acabs of Tri Angle, but the music is imbued with comparable tonal elements and textures, evoking similar responses with its meticulous construction.
- Tyler Hanan
"These Rare Moments" - Jungbluth
I haven’t retained enough German to do as thorough research into Jungbluth as I’d like, but there are plenty of flags that will catch the interest of any who may be interested in the political German skramz punks. Jungbluth is a trio of Alpinist members making nuanced noise that fits in well with the expansive, atmosphere-conscious European brand of heavy DIY shriekers, though their version of the oft-mentioned “post-rock tendencies is twisted and subverted into a more disturbing sound; it even sounds straight black metal a time or two.
Again, though they’re lyrics are German, the band makes a point of giving a damn. Their new album, Part Ache, has German lyrics and English opining on the page for every song on Bandcamp. Their Facebook bio (one of my favorite places to get quick reads on a band) reads:
DIY. PUNK. VEGAN FOOD.
Jungbluth is a political hc/punk band from Münster, Germany. We strongly disagree with any pro-views on fascism, racism, homophobia, sexism and any other form of discrimination.
And the Bandcamp bio:
Karl Jungbluth, german communist and antifascistresistance fighterduring World War Two.
Those things certainly aren’t hard to get behind. The nine-track LP is (almost) free on Bandcamp, with physcal copies available through Halo of Flies (US) and Vendetta Records (EUR). Have a heart, rage it out. Much like yesterday’s skramz feature, Part Ache has a standout finale worth working through the whole album for.
- Tyler Hanan
"Extrospection" - Sed Non Satiata
Jaws hit the floor, hearts fluttered, and at least five guys toting around backpacks covered in band patches squealed audibly; the long-awaited, highly anticipated followup to Sed Non Satiata’s self-titled 2009 record is here.
The French post-skramz auteurs’ new album has been teased out all summer - and by “teased out” I mean “ten dudes on the internet kept wondering where the hell it was - but a Bandcamp link finally started bouncing around message boards this morning. We all squealed like little girls for our beloved anti-Biebers and dove in.
I post the first track, the one that was already available, because it’s the best place to start. Mappō is a dense album, abundant with climaxes expanding outward for multiple minutes and minimal intros stringing blown-back listeners back into the fold. It’s an interconnected journey, a true experience, and, according to the first responders able to form words, everything we’ve hoped for. Start here, and let it carry you through the fantastical scapes to the fantastic finale, “Soma.”
It’s been a long time since the self-titled left me entranced in the library quiet room on a bright summer day. It’s cooler out today than it was that day, but the sun still shines brightly through these windows as I seek that same rapture in music once more. [Bandcamp]
- Tyler Hanan