Migos: Yung Rich Nation


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From SPIN:
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““Trap Funk,” one of the last songs on Migos’ long-awaited proper debut, Yung Rich Nation, is glorious. Horns dance, a big, boozy bassline booms like the voice of God and piano chords cascade, the keys giggling as if they’re actually being tickled. It’s triumphant, a song of victory. The conquest of releasing their first album has been hard won, however. At the top of 2013, the Atlanta trio of Quavo, Takeoff, and Offset watched their creaky-twinkly “Bando” flit to the top of the rap world’s playlist. Within six months, the skittery, Zaytoven-produced track “Versace” had gone even more viral, with Drake mimicking Quavo’s flow on its remix and critics lauding Young Rich Niggas as one of the best mixtapes of that year. Then they shrugged off any lingering whispers of their being one-year-wonders and racked up more W’s in 2014 with the boundlessly energetic “Fight Night,” the most successful single of their career. Capping their year? A joke about them being better than the Beatles that spawned very serious conversations about race and Migos’ relevance. But in 2015, Migos’ momentum came to a screeching halt. In April, Quavo and Offset were arrested and charged for felony possession of drugs and firearms, and the trio was forced to postpone their tour until July. Complex mentioned the “fast evaporation of Migos.” Fellow ATLiens Young Thug and Future prospered in the meantime. Thankfully, Yung Rich Nation did in fact appear and says “Not so fast” to anyone who wrote off rap’s biggest actual new group in years. “Memoirs,” the opening track, is urgent with frantic keys abutting balloon-like synths as the guys confidently proclaim their own Sorry 4 Tha Wait: “I know you been patiently waitin’.” Thing is, they do deliver, and even with some pleasant surprises. Sure, there are a couple of Zaytoven classics here (“Migos Origin,” “What a Feeling,”), but the most interesting tracks veer left. Imagining a thrill ride with no consequences, “Highway 85,” — which interpolates both Eazy-E’s “Boyz in the Hood” and Young Bleed’s “How Ya Do That,” — works better than it should. With almost 30 million plays, it’s no secret that “One Time” is a smash; with Migos’ signature flow and dying-battery synths dolloped onto a smooth melody, how could it not hit in the club? And the menacing throwback slink of “Gangsta Rap” still manages to sound fresh. Of course, there are a couple of stabs at the classic hooks of old Migos. Cutting their usual brick with Young Thug works wonders on “Cocaina,” but with the cash grab “Pipe It Up,” they’re trying too hard to plant another big, dumb hook like “Hannah Montana” in our heads. Still, for a group teetering on the verge — again — of being counted out, Migos have proved — again — that they have more than one trick up their sleeves.”
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Yung Rich Nation is out now via 300 Entertainment/ Quality Control; check out “One Time” below.
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Mac Demarco: Another One


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From the label:
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“Like the days of Steely Dan, Harry Nilsson or Prince releasing a classic every year (or less) comes Mac DeMarco’s Another One, a mini-LP announced almost one year to the date of the meteorically successful Salad Days. Conceived and recorded entirely by himself in a short period between a relentless tour schedule at his new place in Far Rockaway, Queens, Another One is eight, freshly written songs, expanding the arsenal of Mac’s already impressive catalog. There’s a bittersweet, romantic sensibility present. The overall feeling is lost love, or perhaps love never found, yet Mac embraces this without making it an overly somber experience for the listener. It’s at times haunting and warm, and a bit more refined and sophisticated, but still plenty playful, retaining the guts and soul of classic Mac.”
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Another One is out August 7 on Captured Tracks; check out “No Other Heart” below.
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Tunde Olaniran: Transgressor

Transgressor cover art
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From Assemble Sound:
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“The Afro-futurist mix of Hip-Hop/R&B/Punk that is Tunde Olaniran presents his debut album Transgressor. The record showcases Olaniran’s masterful approach to mixing intelligent and conscious commentary with a slew of personal revelations and heartfelt declarations. The album ranges from the hi-energy dance-pop feel that has brought attention to Olaniran in the past, to tracks that make clear his abilities to be at once gut-wrenchingly emotional, candidly playful, and deadly-serious. Currently calling the United States his home after various stints in Nigeria, Germany, and England, Olaniran has in a very short time become one of the most beloved fixtures of an ever evolving Detroit music scene, as well as a driving force within the growing artistic community in Flint, MI (where he currently resides). His previous EPs have led to plenty of praise from outlets such as The New York Times, Pitchfork, NPR, Stereogum, Paste, BlackBook, Paste, EW and countless others while his penchant for channeling his energies into additional projects as an author, choreographer, and community organizer has made Olaniran’s voice one that can’t help but be heard in 2015. Says Olaniran: “Transgressor is a complete narrative, so the decision to perform the album live and in sequence is daunting but necessary. I hope people connect to the vision when seeing it performed live as one body of work. This night will definitely be a cathartic release and a celebration for me, and dance is one of the purest form celebration. I want people to associate Transgressor and transgression in general with movement; I hope we can imprint the songs onto people’s bodies, so dance and movement onstage will be a tool to do that.””
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Transgressor is out August 7 on Quite Scientific Records; check out “KYBM” below.
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Batteries


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From the press release:
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Batteries is the self-titled debut solo album by Steven Clark (professionally known as Sci-Fi Steven) from Glasgow’s punk/disco legends Bis. An exercise in short, sharp new-wave snappiness, Steven has ramped up the guitars and latent aggression to create a new sound which has already been compared to Devo playing Queens of the Stone Age or vice-versa. Nagging melodies abound with some darker twists and a cynical sense of positivity informs the lyrics. There are plenty of pop hooks for the bis faithful, but Batteries is an angrier beast. Containing the anthemic lead track “Batteries”, the song is about the constant struggle to remain a cognisant, productive member of society while fending off the desire to switch off for an easier existence. This touches on the over-arching theme of the Batteries album – that batteries can be recharged or disposed of when empty, and the discovery of which kind of battery we all are. The music matches the paranoid confusion of the lyrics, a break-neck speed new-wave romp with nods to obvious influence Devo and lost 2000’s great Clor, with a radio-ready catchy chorus. Alienation versus communication is the paradox at the heart of the song, but it’s also adept at simply making people jump about and sing along.”
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Batteries is out August 7 on Do Yourself In; listen to the title track below.
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Blondes: Rein + Persuasion


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From No Pain In Pop:
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Continuing to make music over some distance has nurtured a new approach for Sam Haar and Zach Steinman, AKA Blondes. In tossing digital files back forth, a seamless fifty-minute display of comprehensive, atmospheric techno was created, one where dancefloor music of the “banging” variety is gradually as well as professionally on offer. Rein bears thoughtful amounts of prog house bass and intricate beatscaping. Shrills of UFO-synth at times sit on top of earthy glitch, and eventually a harp-like, circular melody pushes through the crowd. As its sustain level varies, tail ends of gorgeous nether-layers are suddenly perceivable, dare I say comparably so to whale tails shooting up and spraying everything before sinking back into the cool, watery depths. By the middle of the ongoing jam, we can almost visualize the shimmery alphabet of this particular group’s language. If you want to learn Blondes’ language, Rein is the manual for you. Rein, in turn, inspired the three track EP Persuasion, which seems to have sifted out all the bigger, more stomping qualities from these sessions. Each track is lengthy yet succinct, beginning with title track “Persuasion,” which is mostly about a conversation between some claps and low octave acid. Entering in the middle of track is what sounds nearly identical to a more notable part of Stellar OM Source’s “Elite Excel,” a part that Kassem Mosse capitalizes on in his remix of the song. “Son” has a certain harmless pride to it. It is a full-blown set builder or turning-point-of-the-night anthem. “Inner Motive” is spacious, demanding, and rhythm heavy, which is delicious. Every now and again, the tides are cleared, cathartically, immediately before the accumulation begins once again, just like daily thunderstorms on a desert mesa.
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Persuasion is out August 7 via RVNG Intl; stream Rein below.
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Wilco: Star Wars


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From The Independent:
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“Jeff Tweedy has become a sort of Windy City equivalent of Jack White, his influence proliferating through his own projects and his productions of such as Mavis Staples, White Denim, Low and Richard Thompson. Last year, he unveiled his new double album Sukierae, recorded with his son, Spencer, on drums; but just when it seems we might be approaching peak Tweedy, he bowls another googly by suddenly issuing the latest Wilco album for free via the band’s website. Even by Wilco’s adventurous standards, Star Wars is possibly the most unusual, exploratory work of the band’s existence. It would be hard, given the bursts of angular, metallic guitar that score these songs like diamonds across a window pane, to persuade a newcomer that this was once a band firmly entrenched in alt.country Americana. And doubtless there will be many fans of that older-style Wilco who will be reassured by not having to pay for an album perhaps not entirely to their taste; although anyone who has caught the band live in the past decade will not be shocked by the wilder shores of Star Wars. There’s no attempt made to disguise their intentions: the album opens with a brief, atonal guitar instrumental called “EKG”, its jerky, darting lines at sharp angles to one another, careering towards a premature crash-landing. But it’s not so much the throwing-down of a gauntlet as an invitation to the thrill of the unexpected, prefiguring a zig-zag course during which the band never settle into one style for longer than a song or two at a time. “More…” wanders dizzily along on woozy, stumblebum guitar figures, until swamped by a wave of distortion; then the band’s Seventies influences take the reins for “Random Name Generator”, built around the kind of waspish, distorted guitar riff that 10cc favoured on Sheet Music. The title perhaps explains a lyric whose non sequiturs continue Wilco’s taste for “exquisite corpse” writing methods. But before you’ve figured what it’s about, further keening guitar lines wing in to push the song to its conclusion, and it no longer matters. At five minutes, “You Satellite” is the longest track, its opening bricolage of guitar noise threatened by a looming grunge riff, before layers of counterpoint guitar lines pick out lovely harmonic intervals which control the song’s final shape. It’s a brilliant exercise in musical metamorphosis which alone justifies the download, whilst setting up the ensuing “Taste the Ceiling”, a genially honest love song in which Tweedy’s Lennon-esque drawl is the perfect vehicle for a sentiment like “I’m only asking for a moment of the truth… I could never leave the part of me that you refuse”. A similarly stubborn sentiment marks “Pickled Ginger” (“No one tells me how to be saved”), before “Where Do I Begin” evokes The Replacements’ Paul Westerberg at his most wracked. Further tart, atonal sprays of guitar feature in “Cold Slope” and “King of You”, but it’s likely to be the closer “Magnetized” that becomes the album’s most popular track. Again, the band’s Beatle influences are to the fore, with warm organ chords beneath Tweedy’s Lennon-lite delivery, a McCartney-mild piano progression and a Harrison-ic guitar swoon. It’s a beautiful, open love song that finds Tweedy “magnetized” by a picture of him with his beloved, and as a warbling theremin leads to a gently euphoric Mercury Rev-style climax, it leaves one marvelling at how such an initially spiky, confrontational album can resolve in such a lovely, warm manner. But then, that’s the magic of albums for you, eh?”
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Star Wars can be downloaded now for free (until August 13) from the band’s website; check it out below.
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Sleaford Mods: Key Markets


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From The Guardian:
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“Amid a dearth of disaffected pop, Sleaford Mods have picked up the baton and sprinted with it. The Nottingham duo’s third cracker in three years finds producer Andrew Fearn’s insistent beats and basslines again providing the perfect vehicle for Jason Williamson’s furiously spluttered, sweary rhymes. His scattergun blunderbuss takes fire at anything and everything: his mates’ music taste (“Put the CD on. It’s fucking Shakin’ Stevens!”), Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, Tory cuts, bad dope, Starbucks, woolly jumpers, Lauren Laverne, Blur (“even the drummer’s a fucking MP”), gangs in leather jackets (“motorbikes from the 50s. You live in Carlton, you twat”) to alienation itself (“no one’s bothered”). Inspiration comes from all angles and a 1977 TV movie provides a title for the barmily brilliant “Tarantula Deadly Cargo”, a tale of spider transportation that morphs into a surreal examination of human excrement (“European poos are deadlier. Freeze it … you can eat it”). Anger is still their foremost energy, but there is a much richer seam of humour than they like to let on.”
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Key Markets is out now on Harbinger Sound; listen to “No One’s Bothered” below.
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Mas Ysa: Seraph


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From the bio:
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Mas Ysa, the creation of musician Thomas Arsenault, embraces cutting-edge electronic music, but owes plenty to traditional songwriting; songs that are made to pack a dance floor flow seamlessly into harrowing ballads, and the entirety of this spectrum is apparent on Seraph, his first full-length record. In 2013, after playing shows supporting Purity Ring and Deerhunter, the first Mas Ysa track, “Why,” was released and named a “Best New Track” by Pitchfork. The following year the Worth EP came out, nabbing another BNT nod for the song “Shame” and propelling Arsenault into the international spotlight with subsequent gigs around the world and across the United States. Fader called him “an artist whose sound has arrived fully minted,” while Noisey noted “in Mas Ysa’s hands, every emotion feels titanic.” Thanks to his indefinable sound and wide appeal, Mas Ysa has since toured with bands including Delorean, EMA, Hundred Waters and Young Fathers and has played festivals such as Primavera, Pitchfork, Fun Fun Fun, Hopscotch, Northside, SXSW and NXNE. Creating Seraph took the better part of a year – it was crafted in Arsenault’s home studio, received additional production help from Steve Rivette (Liars, Black Dice) and was mixed by grammy-nominated Damian Taylor (Bjork, Arcade Fire). Seraph isn’t electronic music only for the club or dance floor, it’s electronic music for the heart. And while Mas Ysa displays Arsenault’s unabashed love of electronic music, and Seraph puts forward a collection of songs that have made their creator a hit on dance floors across the world, what Arsenault says is important isn’t just the beats. “To me,” he says, “the truth just sounds different.””
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Seraph is out July 24 on Downtown; listen to “Arrows” below.
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Strange Wilds: Subjective Concepts


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From the press release:
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Strange Wilds is a musical power-trio from Olympia, Washington. There are three members: Allen, who plays drums; Sean, who plays bass; and Steven, who sings and plays the guitar. There is also a freight train, several buzzsaws, a banshee, and some heavy, heavy Pacific doom-and-gloom up in the mix. The group formed in 2012, when Steven met Sean while Sean’s band from Boise was playing a gig in a house where Steven lived. They became friends, and several months later Steven called Sean, who had just relocated to Olympia for college, to form the band. They were called Wet, and gigged around the West Coast as a four-piece. Allen was added as a full-time member in 2014 after a line-up change, and the band changed its name to Strange Wilds to release a 4-song EP and tour immediately. Sub Pop came calling, and signed the band last autumn. The band is now releasing its full-length debut, Subjective Concepts. Strange Wilds slays with the hellish fury of the Northwest hardcore scene’s best, the heavenly scuzz of a Bleach-era Nirvana, and the purgatorial punishment of Touch & Go post-rock meets Devo’s de-evolution machine. The 11 songs here bleed with the hybrid DNA of Seattle’s past and future, disparate scenes fused together with sneering menace and intelligent fury in equal shares.”
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Subjective Concepts is out July 24 on Sub Pop; listen to “Starved For” below.
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Gwenno: Y Dydd Olaf

Gwenno packshot square
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From the bio:
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“In a period of governmental and cultural revolution, former Pipettes front-woman Gwenno Saunders releases a political concept album inspired by an obscure 1970s Welsh language sci-fi novel, subtly disguised as a blissful kraut-pop record. Taking its cue, and title, from Owain Owain’s 1976 novel about a dystopian future where the robots have taken over and are busily turning the human race into clones through the use of medication, Y Dydd Olaf blends big themes (including patriarchal society, government-funded media propaganda, cultural control, technology, isolation and the importance of, and threat to minority languages), great tunes, and a real sense of revolution to produce a powerful, politically-charged concept album. Y Dydd Olaf is a political, feminist, brilliantly executed record, and although this particular revolution might not be televised, it certainly will have a great soundtrack.”
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Y Dydd Olaf is out July 24 on Heavenly; check out “Chwyldro” below.
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