Cannibal Ox: Blade Of The Ronin


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From the bio:
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“Since the release of their cult classic 2001 debut album The Cold Vein, Harlem’s Cannibal Ox have largely maintained their independent, enigmatic persona, shying away from the glowing heat of the mainstream limelight. In 2005, the duo released Return Of The Ox, a live album recorded at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, but otherwise remained relatively off the radar as a collective with exception of Vast Aire and Vordul Mega appearing on each other’s solo endeavors. In 2013, the duo re-emerged with a maxi-single entitled Gotham, which included three tracks produced by a widely unknown yet remarkably talented producer by the name of Bill Cosmiq. Upon listening to the project’s title track, fans were taken aback by how the duo still sounded in its prime. As Spin Magazine declared, “while it doesn’t sound like a day has passed since Vein, Vast and Vordul were always spitting from the future.” With Bill Cosmiq at the helm for the majority of its production, the group’s long awaited sophomore album, Blade of the Ronin, heralds the triumphant return of Cannibal Ox as the kings of underground hip-hop. Together, this trio has created an album that personifies a sense of insightful lyricism and poignant production that has arguably been absent from the scene since The Cold Vein.”
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Blade Of The Ronin is out now via IGC Records/ iHipHop Distribution; check out “Iron Rose” ft. MF Doom below.
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Palmbomen II

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From the bio:
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“Kai Hugo works in two guises. Palmbomen is a group-oriented collaboration suited for live dynamics and instrumentation, while Palmbomen II is geared toward solitary production with an austere toolset: classic sequencers, time-tested drum machines and their contemporary counterparts. Recorded during a summer lockdown in his mother’s attic in their hometown of Breda, The Netherlands, and guided by voices hardwired into machines of house productions past, Hugo monastically set forth making Palmbomen II with tools of a seemingly distant trade: machines – to program and to play – and tape – to record the results. By reversing the perceived potential in hardware versus software production, Hugo returned to the creative core sometimes blinded by too much screen glow: make good music and the rest will follow. By virtue of Hugo’s reductive approach, Palmbomen II is flagrant with moments that fall outside an “ideal” mix. The album is imbued with a literal human touch. One hears Hugo riding Oberheim DX faders in real time, improvising Arp 2600 patches at the turn of a track, and dripping sweat across Roland TR-909 keys. Palmbomen II possesses the qualities of an artist slowly slipping from one reality to the next, yet it welcomes listeners to experience this transcendence in tandem. By toeing the primal lines drawn in early electronic production, the base – and bass – from which Hugo explores the fringe remains musically bright and in sight.”
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Palmbomen II is out now on Beats In Space; check out “Carina Sayles” below.
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Evans The Death: Expect Delays


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From the press release:
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“There’s a tremendous sense across Evans The Death‘s second long-player Expect Delays of a band coming into their own, honing a plethora of influences to make a sound that is uniquely them. Each song on the album has a different feel to it: some of them are melodic and pretty; some of them heavy and dissonant; and some of them are, to quote guitarist Dan Moss, “a bit strange”. While retaining the post-punk and 90s alt-rock inspired elements that peppered their debut, the music is more expressive, heavier and more experimental, and the lyrics more nuanced, the sense of despair leavened by sharp wordplay and humour. The unsettling undercurrent of melancholy and hopelessness that pervades the record has its roots in the last three years, spent eking out an existence on the poverty line in Cameron’s Britain, leaving them with a succession of minimum-wage jobs and unemployment benefits interviews. As Moss relates, the album is about “being in London and feeling hopeless and a bit lost. Not having any money, relationships falling apart, things just not connecting or going anywhere and getting absolutely wasted all the time.” More ambitious and focused than their previous record, whilst sacrificing none of their spontaneity and vitality, Expect Delays is a supremely inventive and intelligently crafted album from a band who have suffered for their art, and used that experience to inform and nourish their work. Expect no more delays, Evans The Death have arrived.”
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Expect Delays is out now on Fortuna POP!; listen to “Don’t Laugh At My Angry Face” below.
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Future Brown


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From NPR:
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Future Brown is a post-human, post-geographical electronic music collective that is both decidedly human and highly geographical. The four main members hail from far afield (Los Angeles, New York, Kuwait) but live most fully in the drifting state that artists can inhabit when they work the global circuit right. Fatima Al Qadiri is the best-known, with releases on the U.K. labels Fade To Mind and Hyperdub and extra-musical membership in the GCC, a conceptual art project that addresses hyper-real life in the Persian Gulf. Alongside her are Daniel Pineda and Asma Maroof of the club-minded duo Nguzunguzu and J-Cush (of the New York label Lit City Trax). The particulars of the roster, however, are less important than the overall sense that these musicians have a lot going on in many different spheres. Rappers abound, as well, to fantastic effect. As is the custom in the genre of grime and what gets wrangled together under the catchall term “bass music,” mic duties are handed over to a rotating cast and crew, with rhymes flying over beats that strive to sound cohesive and unique. “Room 302″ opens with sass and force courtesy of Tink, who invites an otherwise happily attached paramour to stray and avail himself of her many charms (“I know you wanna hit that,” she raps, before continuing, “I’m trying to seduce you, I’ve got a couple hundred ways I can use you“). “Talkin Bandz” follows on a weightier and more concussive note with a heavily AutoTuned DJ Victoriouz slurring alongside fellow Chicagoan Shawnna. Swerving severely again, “Big Homie” pits posse vocals by Sicko Mobb against a dainty sort of digital calypso, complete with a simulacrum of a steel drum. The rapping taps into a wide variety of techniques and moods, but the production underneath does at least as much work. The guiding principles are a devotion to spacious, fractious beats and allusions to worldly sounds re-imagined for a borderless state of mind. Most common is a kind of all-over worldliness employed by Fatima Al Qadiri on her 2014 album Asiatisch, which plays with notions of Eastern melodies delivered by synthesized strings. But other examples proliferate, from the reggaeton lilt of “Vernaculo” to the Miami-bass-grade boom of “Killing Time.” Track by track, with different rappers enlisted, it makes for multiplicity, kind of like a mixtape. As a whole, it’s future music for a world faithful to a sense of place, but eager to explore new orbits.”
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Future Brown is out now on Warp Records; check out “Room 302″ (ft. Tink) below.
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Dutch Uncles: O Shudder


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From the press release:
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“Six years into Dutch Uncles’ flourishing career, the idiosyncratic art-popologists return with a new album that sees them further distilling and refining their signature sound, marrying rock bombast with classical arrangements, acoustic instrumentation with smart synthetic pop. O Shudder is their most direct record to date, the sound of a wildly witty band well and truly finding their stride, whilst lyrically tackling the growing pains of being twentysomething in a generic Northern suburbia; according to front man Duncan Wallis, the album covers themes including “pregnancy, social media, terrorism, divorce, sexual dysfunction, job seeking, health scares, doubt, love”. The album was recorded with long term collaborator Brendan Williams in three locations; at a studio in the heart of the Welsh valleys, above a Salford pub and, for the acoustic instruments, in the natural reverb of Salford’s Peel Hall. The band were meticulous in tweaking their synth sounds so they’d fit seamlessly with the harp, xylophone, marimba, string and woodwind sounds that populate the record. Sources of inspiration for the record included The Blue Nile, Kate Bush’s third album Never For Ever, Igor Stravinsky, Japan and lyrically John Cooper Clarke, Sparks, Ian Dury and Prefab Sprouts’ album From Langley Park to Memphis. O Shudder’s narrative involves a twentysomething everyman, a version of Wallis perhaps, agonising over awkward questions and situations arising from his past and future. “Babymaking” kicks things off with the protagonist evaluating his suitability for parenthood. “Upsilon” tackles the his interaction with and insecurities relating to social media, including reminiscences of quitting MySpace as a teenager. “Decided Knowledge” tells of the impact on the mind of the protagonist after a failed job interview process, whilst “In n Out” sketches a grammatically poor approach to breaking down the friend zone. The album culminates in “Tidal Weight” in which the protagonist’s social paranoia and internal angst reach such a level that, during a self administered health check, he imagines his body to have dematerialised. Wallis explains that “it felt like a suitable narrative, as we ourselves approach our thirties where a lot of people are expected to feel sure about who they are and where they are going and just don’t”. All set to shudder and stun, and induce plenty of hip swivelling, Dutch Uncles have delivered on their youthful potential and solved their own particular Rubik’s cube, bringing their unclassifiable pop music into clear and precise focus.”
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O Shudder is out now via Memphis Industries; listen to “Decided Knowledge” below.
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TheeSatisfaction: EarthEE


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From NPR:
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“EarthEE, like THEESatisfaction‘s 2012 debut awE naturalE, is immersive almost to the point of hypnosis. Blending electronica, R&B, neo-soul, avant-garde hip-hop, and an expansive Afro-futuristic philosophy, Cat Harris-White and Stas Irons have constructed a cosmology of political consciousness, poetic lyricism and viscous, funky instrumentation that sticks like cooling caramel. In a manner more befitting speculative fiction than pop radio, the Seattle duo  have always concerned themselves with galaxy-building — their albums, videos and performances don’t arrive in this world so much as reveal theirs. This is partly thanks to the unusually intimate way Irons’ and Harris-White’s vocals interact, as they echo, bolster and respond to each other with urgency and empathy inherent to the spoken-word scene in which they first met. More than half the tracks here are collaborations with Shabazz Palaces, Meshell Ndegeocello, Taylor Brown and/or Erik Blood, as well, furthering the impression of the pair as ascending the throne of futuristic, innovative groove-royalty. In both register and tone, EarthEE is much lower than the comparably playful awE naturalE. Harris-White and Irons dial back the animation in their deliveries, and make up for it by upping this album’s lyrical ante. “Planet For Sale,” “Post Black Anyway,” “Recognition” and “Fetch/Catch” are intense, percussive portraits juxtaposing a bleak, apathetic present with visions of an enlightened future. This, above all, is what defines THEESatisfaction: a knockout punch of consciousness-raising embedded in a deceptively easygoing beat. In theory, EarthEE is a cosmic, funky dance party. In practice, it’s a revolution.”
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EarthEE is out now on Sub Pop; listen to the title track below.
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Torche: Restarter


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From Stereogum:
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“The Florida band Torche have found a home in the metal underground, but “metal,” at least in its current definition, isn’t really an adequate term to describe what they do. Instead, Torche stack huge choruses on top of huge riffs, working up a mountainous sound that’s absolutely overwhelming if you listen to it loud enough. It keeps you in that deep-immersion head-nod mode, the way the best stoner-metal can do, but it also has these huge triumphant melodies that can make you feel like you’re flying. They absolutely rule, and their new album Restarter, the follow-up to 2012’s Harmonicraft is a worthy addition to a hell of a legacy.”
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Restarter is out now on Relapse Records; listen to “Minions” below.
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Badbadnotgood and Ghostface Killah: Sour Soul

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From the press release:
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Sour Soul is a full-length collaborative album from Toronto jazz/hip-hop band BADBADNOTGOOD and Staten Island rap champ Ghostface Killah. Inspired by 1960s and 70s soul music – taking inspiration from the recording techniques and production of that era, and eschewing sampling in favour of live instrumentation – BBNG with producer Frank Dukes have created a dramatic, cinematic musical staging for Ghostface’s vivid storytelling. The album also features guest spots from MF DOOM, Elzhi (Slum Village / J Dilla), Danny Brown and prodigal new rapper Tree (Project mayhem).”
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Sour Soul is out February 24 on Lex Records; check out “Ray Gun” (feat. DOOM) and “Six Degrees” (feat. Danny Brown) below.
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Krill: A Distant Fist Unclenching


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From Consequence Of Sound:
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“Boston rockers Krill may only be on their third album, but they have an ever-expanding cult following that trails them with unflinching devotion. For them, Krill’s music is modern medicine. Following the semi-concept EP Steve Hears Pile in Malden and Bursts into Tears, the band that loves poop jokes is moving on to embrace life’s uncertainties on A Distant Fist Unclenching. They’re serving another round of questions on existentialism and anxiety, but this time Krill aren’t expecting answers. They’ve learned to let go of whatever trivial consolation those hold. With a comical shrug, the trio explore self-love, self-hate, and the ambiguous meaning of self-worth through a lens of rejection. A Distant Fist Unclenching uses rock as a vehicle for storytelling, and more often than not it grapples with mental illness. On “Brain Problem”, jittery tempos whip dramatic guitar lines in circles, rocketing forward with the band’s trademark fury thanks to Ian Becker’s drumming. “God grant me strength to know what is a brain problem and what is just me,” sings bassist Jonah Furman, later adding, “And I know just ’cause it’s not getting better now doesn’t mean it won’t.” He sings with a carelessness that becomes inherently sad, the tone of someone so burnt out from over-thinking that any and all conclusions ring futile. As closer “It Ends” comes in right after, Krill sound exhausted, and rightfully so. They have just run through so many philosophical conversations veiled in Twitter jargon that depression, anxiety, and panic attacks only add to the weight. The album’s peak comes when Krill resolve to make peace with life’s bitter irony on “Tiger”, a sprawling seven-minute number about overcoming anxiety. “I had a bad day, but at least it’s ending,” Furman sings, telling the story of a villager who is eaten by a tiger despite being “well-liked.” Like the beloved subject at hand, the song rolls back and forth, pulsing with warped bass and slippery guitar arpeggios that cushion Furman’s words until the drums collide violently. If the suddenness of a panic attack could make a sound, this would be it. Furman’s bass wobbles beside his lyrics about the ups and downs of the day. It all feels dizzying yet familiar. Then the three pummel noise straight into the speakers, a final salute before forking over self-control and sinking into the darkness. Labeling Krill as “slacker rock” would overlook their bizarre mix. There’s post-rock, prog rock, and indie rock in here, a fascinating balance of the shambolic and psychotic; being able to make it appear casual speaks to the strength of their songwriting. They’re passive-aggressive toward themselves, but with the Dostoevsky-inspired “Torturer” and role-playing as God on “Fly”, they’re making peace with the past and allowing themselves to reflect. This is a band that has found its footing. They meditate on rejection with hyper-aware indifference, a confidence old and new fans alike can welcome warmly.”
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A Distant Fist Unclenching is out now via Exploding In Sound; listen to “Torturer” below.
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Anthony Naples: Body Pill


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Even by the internet age’s accelerated standards, Anthony Naples‘ rise through the ranks of the electronic music elite has been a pretty quick affair. Just three years ago, Naples was a club-goer who had grown up in Florida with Miami bass and made his own way to Aphex Twin and early ’90s “intelligent” techno, but he had yet to record a single track of his own. In 2012, he gave his first attempt at production, a shuffling house jacker entitled “Mad Disrespect“, to the guys that ran Brooklyn’s Mr. Saturday Night event, who liked it so much they started a label to put it out, and within 18 months the rising star could count among his discography singles and EPs for respected imprints like Opal Tapes, Rubadub, Trilogy Tapes and Kieran “Four Tet” Hebden’s Text Records. Now Hebden has released Naples’ debut album, Body Pill, which the younger artist originally sent to his friend and mentor as a bunch of tracks intended for release as a “mixtape sort of thing” before Hebden suggested it was good enough to serve as Naples’ debut proper. For all its plus points – and there are many – one can certainly see why Naples didn’t plan on this being his first full-length artistic statement: clocking in at just shy of half an hour, Body Pill feels a little slight, and with most of them finishing before they hit the four-minute mark its eight tracks are largely denied the space and time that most club-focused productions are afforded to hit their stride. But hey, way to go leading with the negatives, right? On the pro side, despite its brevity Body Pill manages to cover a lot of stylistic ground, with cuts often mutating by the time they finish into something of a different genre entirely to the one in which they started: opener “Ris”, for example, spends two minutes drifting in synth-drone innerspace before hitting the accelerator and chugging off on the back of a (Kraut-) rocket, whilst “Abrazo” shifts imperceptibly from lurching tech-step to smooth 4/4 swing, and “Miles”‘ clattering tribal funk polyrhythms segue neatly into an extended outro of squelchy FlyLo-esque cosmic lounge jazz. Also impressive is the range of tones and textures, with the machine sheen largely blurred by a gauzey analog haze that suggests he picked up a few tricks whilst interning at a studio where Daniel (Oneohtrix Point Never) Lopatin was recording one of his ’80s VHS influenced masterworks, but – like the best of his pre-album discography – Body Pill works best when Naples picks a theme and works it into a sweaty mess, as he does on standout “Refugio”, which gives familiar Detroit and Chicago inspired elements a grimy roughing-up and, in the process, reminds us why he’s already considered a peer to nu-school “outsider” house and techno icons like Jamal Moss and Levon Vincent. Short and sweet, then, but when the worst thing you can say about a record is that there just isn’t enough of it, well… that’s really no bad thing.
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Body Pill is out now on Text Records; listen to “Refugio” below.
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