May 25, 2013
Last year was without a doubt more bitter than sweet for Baroness. On the good side of the spectrum, their third effort, the excellent double LP Yellow & Green maxed out a new creative peak for the Georgian metal-melders who have over the years taken the genre into several atypical directions of pop and alt-rock rock anthemry which many of their peers shy away from confronting. And then there was the terrible bus accident last August while touring in England that nearly took their lives as well as their careers. The road recovery has been a long one, as its rhythm section made up of Matt Maggioni and Allen Blickle amicably left the band this past March in lieu of the events, but last night at the Union Transfer in Philadelphia, frontman John Baizley, lead guitarist Peter Adams and their newest members in bassist Nick Jost and drummer Sebastian Thomson returned to the stage for the first time in a full-band capacity since the accident. You can watch them fiercely shred through Yellow & Green standout "Take My Bones Away," which you can imagine has taken on a whole different defiant context to Baizley and Adams today. Catch their triumphant return to the road when they like come around your area this summer.
"Take My Bones Away" (live at Union Transfer, Philadephia)
Longstanding electronic music ambients Boards of Canada are joining fellow pre-social media buzz indie ubiquity mainstays Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Neutral Milk Hotel in making abrupt returns to the scene with little to no warning, and despite the Scottish duo taking full advantage of the modern day industry's Internet-obsessed art of the tease, their first new music in 8 years plays like a confident display of timeless craft that works as well today as it would have nearly a decade ago. "Reach for the Dead" will be included on the brothers Sandison's fourth LP Tomorrow's Harvest (due out June 5th on Warp) and astoundingly -- like GY!BE did last year -- it indicates the two will be picking up from the warm peaks of tribulation where Boards of Canada left off on 2005's The Campfire Headphase by fascinating your earbuds with beautiful soundscapes made with natural analogs that tug at both space-age nostalgia and the terrestrial wonders of the world best visualized in the track's accompanying video. Kids who think M83 invented this style of future-perfect mood music are getting a history lesson here, and in a day in age when the genre's millennial-era vets are shoving off computers and synthesizers in favor of a real, emotional human connection, "Reach for the Dead" is a sure signal that Boards of Canada's kind is alive and well in 2013.
Labels: Song Reviews
May 23, 2013
If you've been following AwkwardSound over the years, you've probably picked up on how it takes a certain style of cutting edge for those within the rap game to catch this site's attention. Kanye, Drake and A$AP are universally approved inclusions from the big name front who mix huge, fashion-forward production and attitude to change it while Death Grips and Odd Future qualify for the WTF-inducing Internet-friendly picks who appeal to punks and hardcore bros just as much as they do the genre's cool kids. Rising San Jose rhymer Antwon falls somewhere between the two halves, offering a mixed-bag of the best from all worlds that doesn't just stop at his hip-hop connections. Raised on a healthy diet of hardcore thrash with a range in motion that has also seen him work alongside synth-bleeder Pictureplane, witch house originators SALEM and "Fashion Killa" tailor Friendzone on his tracks, Antwon is an eclectic anomaly within the underground rap scene who -- for all the new age-y electronic genre-hopping movements in his beats -- spits from the old school belly of the decades past's rough and tough trailblazers B.I.G. and N.W.A. (without all the gun talk and shit, of course.) Since bubbling his way into social media ubiquity, Antwon has served up a cocked and loaded double shot of intriguing noise-rap mixtapes in 2012's End of Earth (which also got a cassette release on Ormolycka) and more recently, this year's In Dark Denim. Antwon has a few dates lined up in SoCal in the coming week playing with his pal Pictureplane, and he finishes the summer on a high by appearing at this year's always-ahead-of-the-curve FYF Fest. Despite being one of the few hip-hop acts currently on its lineup, Antwon's all-inclusive persona will fit right in there with Touché Amoré and How to Dress Well.
Directed by: Romoface
Earl Sweatshirt, an early contender for the year’s best rap album not made by someone named Kanye or Drake, still hasn’t officially announced when his debut effort Doris will be released other than it will arrive on his freshly-pressed imprint Tan Cressida under the Columbia Records umbrella. We also know the LP feature two great singles in the form of last year’s listmaker “Chum” and more recently, the Tyler, the Creator-assisted “WHOA.” The latest advance to trickle its way onto the web keeps the positive momentum building for Odd Future’s prodigal son with a downtuned and dirtied up slo-mo production called “Guild” featuring fellow hip-hopper Mac Miller. Earl has been previewing the song live for the past few months now, but the studio cut clarifies the blurry purple beats behind the rhymes that realigns him with the OF gang’s calling card of nightcrawling simplicity. Earl and Mac form a "Guild" below...
(via the Fader)
Labels: Hear New Sound
May 22, 2013
The Danish underground has wedged its way into becoming a worldwide force of domineering DIY punk and noise influences over the past two years spearheaded by the breakthroughs from hardcore antagonists Iceage and Lower. What’s remarkable about the community, however, is that uncovering the scene reveals how many of its members (alongside those from neighboring Sweden) are conjoined through offshoot projects who share only slight stylistic overlaps with their primary focus. There’s an entirely different dimension of depth into these rising artists’ potential left to be assessed through them, and with the name recognition of Iceage’s Elias Rønnenfelt and Lower’s Kristian Emdal behind it alongside friends Loke Rahbek of Sexdrome and Lukas Højland, VÅR is understandably the most visible of them all.
The band’s debut No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers challenges each punk's outward physicality and unrestrained chaos heard within their respective works with palpable pop textures that offer a tender juxtaposition to their hardcore-laced other-halves. And yet, you don’t have to delve too far beyond No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers’ synthetic skin to uncover that VÅR, like the collective’s other directions, is rained over by weathered anxiousness that permeates its way into the Copenhagen underground's cast of characters much like dreary lore did to Manchester or an indifference toward modern-day materialism did Seattle. Despite being recorded Stateside inside a home studio in Bushwick, the elements carry over regardless in tracks like "Begin to Remember" and "Hair Like Feathers" where Rønnenfelt's dissonant cries wrapped around a minimalist arrangement of pulsing synths sound destined to meet their doom (which isn't to say that the LP's flashier moments such as "The World Fell" and "Pictures of Today / Victorial" don't carry a heavy-hearted polarity emphasized by a militant funeral march across a broken path of bright guitar static, trumpeted victory loops and upbeat tempos.)
Staying within their DIY comfort zone of subterranean production and weathered emotions indeed makes VÅR's debut feel like a proper extension of Iceage and Lower meant to be played in small, dark corners if only in context (that honor ironically would be more astute for their Sacred Bones labelmate Pharmakon and her remarkable newly-released effort Abandon,) but looser songwriting and evaporating most of its members' familiar studio tools behind a wall of broken glass and sheet metal samples, stripped acoustics, percussive loops and industrial electronics otherwise tells you that No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers should not be looked at as a counterpart to their mainstay connections. The album doesn't concentrate too closely on cohesion and is cause for a few wandering but forgivable transitions across the nine track listen, but for every vacant instrumental segue (the title track, "Boy," "Katla") there's promising reinforcement to be heard in VÅR's traditional "pop" leanings ("Motionless Duties," "Into Distance.") Maybe the four friends aren't yet ready to outshine their associated acts, but as far as debuts go, there's a future for VÅR's own kind of bleakness.
VÅR's No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers is available now on Sacred Bones Records.
Labels: Album Reviews
May 21, 2013
Every time I hear Deafheaven, the only word that I find myself being able to use to describe the experience is "beautiful," which is an absurd double entendre considering how massive the wall of noise produced by guitarist Kerry McCoy becomes throughout their oft-lengthy listens as they progress into smashed euphoria. That's not even taking into account George Clarke's harrowing vocal strain is barely intelligible, but it doesn't matter because the emotional weight behind them is too real to be denied any lesser value. On June 11th, the San Francisco black metal revisionists will release their sophomore effort Sunbather through Deathwish Inc. (pre-orders went up today, which come with an instant download.) We've already been introduced to one preview in the widescreen onslaught of sky-high post-everything bliss that is "Dream House," and now its title track extends the intricately laid connective tissue of the band's eruptive reverb, wretched sonance and omnipresent rhythm (as performed by new recruit for this effort Daniel Tracy) beyond the stratosphere where it breathes in a dynamic metallic metamorphosis and exhales a dreamy headrush of soul-baring guaze. Soak in Deafheaven's "Sunbather" below...