Towkio: .WAV Theory


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From Stereogum:
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Towkio is the next on for Chicago’s Save Money, the crew that gave us Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa. We’ve heard the jubilant gospel-jingle of “Heaven Knows” and post-cocaine downer “Reflections” and now his mixtape .Wav Theory is available to stream in full. Save Money always rolls deep, so there’s a Vic Mensa cameo on here, a few from Chance and Donnie Trumpet of the Social Experiment, especially on production. Kaytranada, Lido, Eryn Allen Kane, and Leather Corduroys all show up too, but this show is unequivocally Towkio’s to steal. “Free Your Mind” hits the same joyous, golden notes that endeared “Heaven Knows” to me, and “Break You Off” reaches a shivery, existential paranoia that it takes real urgency to pull off. The tape is solid front to back, so download or listen below.”
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Downtown Boys: Full Communism


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From Pitchfork:
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“Contrary to easily held stereotypes about the social function of wind instruments, punk rock and saxophones have a long and healthy history. Lora Logic played one in the Raincoats and X-Ray Spex and in her own band, Essential Logic; James Chance played one in the Contortions; proto-bro band Fear even made it to Saturday Night Live with a flamboyantly stupid piece of rhetoric called “New York’s Alright if You Like Saxophones”. So what is it about that sound? One theory, humbly submitted: There is almost nothing that will get people to stiffen up and listen like the blare of a badly played horn. Enter Downtown Boys, self-billed as a “bi bilingual political dance sax punk party from Providence,” which, okay. Alternating between boilerplate hardcore and a simple, melancholic riff that almost sounds like early Brian Eno left to rot, the band makes its point messily, happily and without a lot of wiggle room. My Spanish is shot, but I figure Victoria Ruiz is meant to be understood better through her energy than her words anyway, with the possible exception of “Monstro”‘s refrain: “She’s brown! She’s smart! She’s brown! She’s smart!” As well said as a saxophone.”
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Full Communism is out May 5th on Don Giovanni Records; check out “Monstro” below.
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METZ: II


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From the label:
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“What happens when a seemingly irresistible force meets an immovable object is a serviceable metaphor for the music METZ creates, both live and on record. Now behold II, the concussive new full-length from what is arguably North America’s finest touring rock band. Written and recorded in 2014, after two years of constant touring behind their rightly adored self-titled debut, II is METZ at their most true to form—as pure an expression of what they do as can currently be committed to tape. The guitars are titanic, the drums ill-tempered, the vocals chilling, and the volume worrisome. Though they incorporated new instruments, (baritone guitar, tape loops, piano, synth, found sounds) and stretched out the arrangements, they still managed to “stay true to what made us tick in the first place: that immediacy,” Edkins calls it. “If it punches you in the gut. And does it ever. From the exhilarating grind of “Spit You Out” to the blunt-force thrills of “Landfill,” herein reside 10 songs as uncompromising in their ferocity and abrasiveness as any collection this record label has had the pleasure of releasing to date. To accomplish such a sound, the band forced itself to stay home and write for the better part of six months. Tracking was done in three different studios, in Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario, including the same barn where much of METZ had been painstakingly assembled. While said predecessor was often “clean and clinical,” II is what Edkins describes as a “much heavier, darker, and sloppier” affair, with many of its roughest edges and ugliest tones kept intact. Its lyrical matter, Edkins notes, stems from a year of loss and doubt, of contemplating our relationships with death and the planet. “I consider myself a pretty massive pessimist, but a pessimist who knows how lucky he is,” he says. “A lot of things in everyday life drive me crazy: how we relate to each other; how politics, media, technology, money and medication influence our lives. This band, in a lot of ways, is an outlet.” What we’re left with is the sound of an already monstrous band improving in both subtle and terrifying ways.“We take our noise and our feedback very seriously,” Edkins says. “The more we do this, the more we realize there’s no such thing as right or wrong in music. It comes down to feel. And if it feels good, it works. This time we sorta said, ‘This is who we are. We are not going to clean up our sound, we are not going to hire a big producer, we are not going to try to write a radio song. We are going to be honest and leave the warts for all to see. We are really happy with how it turned out.” As are we.”
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II is out May 5th on Sub Pop; check out “Spit You Out” below.
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Turn To Crime: Actions


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From the press release:
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Turn to Crime exists within its own pocket universe amid the Detroit music scene. Whereas some are beholden to the almost institutional credo of “loud fast rules” while others subscribe to the orthodoxy of established local genres like techno or garage rock, Turn to Crime stubbornly burrow through the ice cracked concrete to mine its own form of sonic magma. Turn to Crime is the singular product of Derek Stanton recorded in his studio and put out on his label – a true example of D.I.Y. and a sui generis recording project that extrudes pop forms through an avant-garde die. Recorded over the last year in Stanton’s basement studio in Detroit’s Southwest, Molten Sound, and released on his label Mugg & Bopp, Turn To Crime’s newest Actions is a continuation of 2014’s critically acclaimed debut Can’t Love; the previous album’s tone, which Uncut Magazine called, “kosmische, post-punk and lo-fi electronic noise” that “keeps its sights on the pop hook” is present on Actions but taken to new heights of maximal minimalism. Akin to the more “out-there” eras of a Bowie and Lou Reed, or perhaps a less “out-there” Gary Wilson, Actions takes the raw materials of a pop tune (repetition and hooks) and atomizes them. Unique guitar tunings bump up against minimal electronics while sweetly sung harmonies ricochet in caverns of tape decay. Opener “This Is What You Wanted”, sounds like the sun rising over a strange planet. The song “Actions” is a stately-paced rumination on the less savory aspects of living in a supposed New Detroit with a matter-of-fact exhortation to “cut off your hands”, while it’s counterpoint “Prince of Slackers” bops like a classic rock song on klonopin – Tom Petty with weird angles and his buckteeth sharpened into fangs. Like Can’t Love’s widescreen closer (“I Can’t Not Love”), “Feels Right” unfolds like the epic closing song from some wrongfully forgotten 1980’s film. With its sawing synths and skyscraping guitars, it perfectly concludes an album that, over its seven songs, truly feels like a journey. From the ambient opening through the last echoed chords, the seemingly lost art of an album as a complete statement is in full bloom here. Often with these types of mad genius basement symphonies, the compositions are too studio bound or the genius too mad to recreate in a live setting. With Turn to Crime, Stanton has a willing retinue including local musicians Ian Saylor and Dorian Foerg. This live band is able to both capture the singular beauty of Actions and to experiment with its unique architecture. Now, with two exceptional albums in as many years, Turn to Crime has a formidable battery of songs to soundtrack your next brain melt.”
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Actions is out April 28 on Mugg & Bopp; check out “Without A Care” below.
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Reptar: Lurid Glow


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From the press release:
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“Continuing their exploration of indie-electro-guitar-pop-weirdness, Reptar returns with their second full-length album, Lurid Glow. A diverse amalgamation of sounds and styles delineate the music of Reptar, culminating from the band’s disparate array of influences; comparisons can be made to bands like Talking Heads and MGMT, but Reptar simultaneously showcases musicianship in the heritage of Frank Zappa, Rush, Mike Patton, and Tortoise – creating a blend of party music suitable for music nerds. The band’s 2012 debut, Body Faucet, was characterized by Pitchfork as “Afro-tribal-electro-twee-pop” for college kids who “seriously like nothing more than to throw the fuck down.” Now in 2015, Reptar is back to deliver on the hype. Lurid Glow is an expansive, artful development for the band, as catchy as it is difficult to classify. Building upon their party-wielding instincts, Lurid Glow fuses arrangements of horns, keyboards, guitars, and much more into compositionally-refined, booty-shaking anthems. Whether it’s the pulsating “Ice Black Sand” that transforms effortlessly from droning arpeggios to gorgeous pop choruses, the simple steel drum serenade of “Amanda”, or the 80s-prog-tinged “Cable”, Lurid Glow is a compelling statement from a band on their own unruly trajectory.”
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Lurid Glow is out April 27 via Joyful Noise Recordings; check out “Amanda” below.
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Jac Berrocal, David Fenech, Vincent Epplay: Antigravity

Image of JAC BERROCAL, DAVID FENECH, VINCENT EPPLAY - <i>ANTIGRAVITY</i> (BLACKESTCD011 CD) **PRE-ORDER**
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From the press release:
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Antigravity is a new trio album from legendary trumpeter Jac Berrocal and two fellow travellers in the French avant-garde, David Fenech and Vincent Epplay. A lugubrious mise-en-scène in which ice-cold outlaw jazz meets musique concrète, DIY whimsy and dubwise studio science, all watched over by the lost souls and hungry ghosts of rock ‘n roll. Born in 1946, Berrocal is the embodiment of saturnine, nicotine-stained Parisian cool, but he is also one of a kind: indeed, “trumpeter” is hardly an adequate epithet for this musician, poet and sometime film actor who came of age in the ‘70s Paris improv scene, where the boundaries between music, art and theatre were porous and begging to be breached. Inspired by bebop, chanson, free jazz, beat poetry, early rock ‘n roll and myriad Eastern influences, and with an iconoclastic, anything-goes approach to instrumentation and technique that would later align him with post-punk sensibilities, Berrocal blazed an eccentric and unstoppable trail across the underground throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, both solo and as part of the Catalogue group he co-founded. Now Berrocal has found the perfect foil in David Fenech and Vincent Epplay, two fearlessly inventive improvisers, composers and catalysts who create challenging, acutely modernist yet historically aware settings – wrought out of synthesis, guitars, computer processing, field recordings and unorthodox percussions – for Berrocal’s unmistakeable voice and breathtakingly lyrical horn sound to flourish. The trio’s first album together, Antigravity is a richly imagined universe combining original compositions and détourned standards. Berrocal revisits his own signature piece ‘Rock ‘n Roll Station’, which first appeared on his ’77 LP Paralleles; a barely recognisable interpretation of Talking Heads’ ‘The Overload’ pushes beyond the bush of ghosts into a fourth world dread-zone of stalking drum machine rhythms, humid electronics and jagged guitar phrasing, while ‘Where Flamingos Fly’ reroutes the Gil Evans Orchestra’s classic rendition through the seamiest back-streets of the 13th arrondissement. There, as on the trio’s reading of ‘Kinder Lieder’, the mood is romantic, but stark, isolationist: imagine Chet Baker falling through the glacial sound-world of early PiL or Scott Walker’s Climate of Hunter. Originals include the agitated Iberian psychedelia of ‘Spain’, and ‘Panic In Bali’, which begins in seemingly trad-jazz fashion only to swell into a cacophony of a gurgling electronics and fevered ‘Lonely Woman’ quotations. ‘Solaris’ is a swirling, suspenseful arabesque of whiplash guitars and Black Ark FX, Berrocal’s trumpet hitting deep blue notes while his vocals are sliced and diced and tossed into a yawning void of tape-delay – like Antigravity at large, the result is oblique, dissolving, forever out of reach. Despite the chilly, sometimes austere mood of the album, it is, ultimately, a deeply human and welcoming work, with a playfulness and sly humour pervading: see the anarchic cross-hatch of ‘Ife Layo’, or ‘L’essai des Suintes ou le bal des Futaies’, Berrocal’s poetic disquisition on the infinite variety of female genitalia. Mischief and misdirection are rife here, and fans of Officer!, Henry Cow and the ReR axis will find much to chew on. Play, as we know, is a serious business. Put another way, and to quote Berrocal entirely out of context, Antigravity is completely crazy, completely timeless, completely out. As its title suggests, the objective is nothing less than lift-off, weightlessness, a total unshackling from earth. Sunglasses on, collar up, let’s go.”
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Antigravity is out April 27 on Blackest Ever Black; check out a playlist of four tracks below.
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Peter Broderick: Colours Of The Night

Peter Broderick – Colours of the Night
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From the press release:
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“Colours Of The Night, Peter Broderick‘s first full-length album in three years, had a rather odd conception to say the least. The American multi-instrumentalist and songwriter went along for the ride when invited for a so-called “recording residency” in the small town of Lucerne, Switzerland. Through several memorable concert evenings in the town on various tours, he developed a friendship with some of the locals, who eventually got the idea of inviting Broderick to be a guest of the city for three weeks while recording an album with a backing band of local musicians, all of which was to take place in the studio of Timo Keller, a local producer and engineer known primarily for his involvement in the Swiss hip-hop scene. Having always taken pride in playing everything himself, without anything in the way of a proper rhythm section, Broderick found the idea of working with a backing band intriguing and refreshing. And refreshing it proved! “I arrived with a pile of songs and just sort of watched as they got carried through the filter of this group of musicians who were coming from an entirely different place,” says Broderick. “It was exciting to let go a little bit, to simplify and consolidate my own role in the music.” Recording all the basic tracks as a live band, they quickly found a groove and lilt that carries throughout the variety of song styles. From the Afro-tinged title track and playful “One Way”, to the doo-wop swing of “The Reconnection” and rather unclassifiable analogue/digital blend of tracks like “Red Earth” and “On Time”, Peter Broderick’s latest outing sees the well-versed musician truly embracing his surroundings, however foreign they may be, and allowing himself the freedom to be transformed by those surroundings and elevated to new heights in creative expression.”
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Colours Of The Night is out April 27 on Bella Union; check out “One Way” below.
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Samo Sound Boy: Begging Please


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From Stereogum:
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“The emotional heft of Samo Sound Boy‘s Begging Please is jarring. Loosely based around Marvin Gaye’s paramount breakup record Here, My Dear, Sam Griesemer’s debut solo album (he is also half of DJ Dodger Stadium along with Jerome LOL; additionally, the pair also co-founded and run L.A.’s Body High label together) explores his own recent breakup in no uncertain terms. But this is an album that focuses on the entire process of falling in love; it’s an exercise in the holistic experience of meeting, infatuation, relating and dissolving. To help flesh out that concept, the album is accompanied by a trilogy of videos, for “Baby Don’t Stop”, “You Come For Me” and “What Can I Do”.
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Griesemer elaborated on the process: “I made these three videos in L.A. with my friends Dan Pappas and Nathalie Love. (Dan directed them and Nathalie is the star. They are also a couple in real life.) The idea was to do a very simple and intimate series that would reflect the story of my album. Each video was entirely unscripted and filmed on Dan’s phone as a single continuous take. We filmed on a phone instead of a pro camera mostly because no one is going to bust you for not a having a permit that way, but also because it allowed for the background and locations to really come to life. I like these videos because everything going on in them is real. There was no set or crew or sound guy standing off camera. Just a real couple out in real places in the city.”
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The final part of the trilogy is a slow motion shot of a girl breaking down in tears during a dinner date. If that sounds simple or flip, you’ve never been on either side of this table.”
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Begging Please is out April 28 via Body High; stream it in full via FACT.

Westkust: Last Forever

Westkust – “Swirl” (Stereogum Premiere)
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From Pitchfork:
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“The opening track from Westkust‘s debut album Last Forever is not, in fact, the 1,500th shoegaze-y indie rock song to be named “Swirl”. You could understand the need to check the facts—this style of music loves itself some functional names, i.e. Lush, Curve, Ride, Slowdive, Whirr, Swervedriver, Glider, Hum, we could go on. And, yup, Westkust has co-ed vocals, somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen fuzz pedals, you know the standard procedure. So there are two ways Westkust will likely introduce themselves here: either as a dutifully formal, reverent band, or one with the confidence to believe that a shoegaze-y indie rock song named “Swirl” can actually sound exciting in 2015. Here’s a hint: the Swedish quintet shares two members with Makthaverskan, who similarly work within a familiar noise-pop construct, but feature Maja Milner, a charismatic vocalist who sings with the urgency of a 911-call. Milner is not in Westkust, but “Swirl” proves that Makthaverskan’s intensity is a communal thing. Both Gustav Anderson and Julia Bjernelind are going full-tilt here, belting clearly enunciated lyrics about waking up when the sun goes down and escaping cabin fever. Even the MBV-quoting coda goes beyond mere whammy bar abuse and brings in the pedal for more vertiginous, octave-shifting subversion. While most of their peers take the sound and sentiment of “Soft as Snow (But Warm Inside)” as guiding principles, Westkust are the rare group with real fire in their bellies.”
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Last Forever is out April 22 via Luxury; listen to “Swirl” below.
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Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld: Never The Way She Was


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From the label:
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“Two of Constellation’s acclaimed solo instrumental artists join forces on this tremendous new album of original compositions for horn and violin. Colin Stetson has developed a unique and renowned voice as a performer and composer, chiefly on bass and tenor saxophones, where he rallies an array of technical strengths and innovations to make some of the most captivatingly organic, darkly soulful and otherworldly solo instrumental work of recent years. The solo violin work of Sarah Neufeld has emerged more recently, and especially through 2011-2014, in the period between her primary band Arcade Fire’s last two albums. While no stranger to modern/minimalist composition with her Bell Orchestre ensemble dating back to the early 2000s, Neufeld has lately forged a newly distinctive, deliberate and evocative solo violin practice combining rock, folk, ambient and modernist sensibilities, culminating with her debut solo album Hero Brother in 2013. Stetson and Neufeld first began playing in duo formation while on tour together as soloists in 2012, joining each other on stage for one or two of their respective pieces. Duo compositions for their debut album emerged throughout 2014, and were road-tested that spring with performances at the Festival de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville (Canada) and Moers Festival (Germany). The album was recorded without overdubbing, looping, sampling, cutting or pasting at their farmhouse attic studio in rural Vermont by Hans Bernhard and mixed in Montreal by Mark Lawson (Arcade Fire). Never Were The Way She Was is guided by the metaphorical narrative of the life of a girl who ages slow as mountains; excited, exalted, and ultimately exiled in her search for a world that resembles her experience. The album’s expansive sonic trajectory and multiplicity of structures and voicings belies the fundamental economy of two acoustic instruments combining in real time. The result is a musical chronicle that powerfully establishes its own spatial and temporal horizon, a soundtrack that requires no images but profoundly compels the imaginative. From the filigreed ostinato polyrhythms of “The Sun Roars Into View” and “In The Vespers” to the stately long tones of “And They Still Move”, the dark drone-inflected sea-saw waltz of “With The Dark Hug Of Time” to the growling, pulsing thrust of the album’s epic centerpiece “The Rest Of Us”, Stetson and Neufeld offer up an incredible (and impressively diverse) integration of composition, performance, timbre and texture while holding their respective instruments in sparkling juxtaposition. Never were the way she was is a sum quite definitively and thrillingly greater than its parts.”
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Never The Way She Was is out April 28 via Constellation; listen to “The Sun Roars Into View” below.
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