Brooklyn-based MC Beans has a flow that is instantly recognizable from his time in the seminal abstract-rap crew Anti-Pop Consortium. Not content to simply rap in conventional patterns, Beans instead takes an angular approach to rhythm in his verses using the beat as a mere marker for him to blast through his sophisticated, rapid-fire lyrics. "Mellow You Out" finds Beans delivering an onslaught of forceful words over In Flagranti's simultaneously mechanical and tribal production, complete with guest chants from Tunde Adebimpe (of art-rock group TV On the Radio). But it is Beans who takes the end chorus, singing his final abstractions in a slow, solemn voice. The forthcoming LP (where you'll find this track), End It All, is a bit of a deviation from the his usual solo records in that it features guest-production on every track from an impressive list of beatsmiths, including Anticon's own Son Lux and Tobacco as well as Four Tet, Clark, DJ Nobody, and others. End It All will be available February 15.
Like a reincarnation of Suicide without excessive drug use or a bizzarro Devo without any sense of humor, Oakland's Brotman & Short plumbs the depths of no-wave minimalism and proto-industrial nihilism to feed its dark, synth-heavy jams. Even on "Eastlands," one of the relatively lighter numbers from the duo's forthcoming nine-song LP for start-up label Cold Dick Records (side note: the label is helmed by occasional XLR8R scribe Thomas Rees), entitled Heights, the Bay Area outfit channels memories of Ian Curtis' disarming, baritone yawps and some of the more cohesive and driving numbers in Cabaret Voltaire's discography. Whether Brotman & Short are attempting to simply relive these ominous moments in musical history or actually take them to new heights remains to be seen, but with material like this, we wouldn't mind sticking around to find out. Heights will be released as a limited pressing of 500 LPs on February 8.
Today, on the Warp label's website, it was announced that Trish Keenan, the singer of electronic psych-pop outfit Broadcast, died today after battling a severe case of pneumonia. The statement posted on the website reads, "It is with great sadness we announce that Trish Keenan from Broadcast passed away at 9 a.m. this morning in hospital. She died from complications with pneumonia after battling the illness for two weeks in intensive care. Our thoughts go out to James [Cargill], Martin, her friends, and her family, and we request that the public respect their wishes for privacy at this time. This is an untimely tragic loss and we will miss Trish dearly—a unique voice, an extraordinary talent, and a beautiful human being. Rest in peace." Read more »
California's Wedidit Collective is a sort of rag-tag team of beat-scene kids, including the likes of Shlohmo, Jonwayne, and the producer behind this MP3 download, Ground Is Lava. The southern California-based producer has a new LP coming in April from the Friends of Friends imprint and has released a free EP, Book of Tech (artwok above), to whet our appetites in the meantime. "Creeper Shit," the second track from said EP, is a laid-back stroll in an 8-bit world full of ascending and descending arpeggios, fuzzy bass, and floating Nintendo chords. Although the video game tones may not seem like the most emotive of sonic choices, the track still has a serious vibe with its triumphant chord progression and marching drum pattern, making it sound like the soundtrack to some lost prequel for PaRappa the Rapper, where he's broke and struggling but still in it for the love of the music. To get the full Book of Tech EP for free head over to the the Wedidit site.
New York's Hercules and Love Affair have been rolling out a lot of content lately in anticipation of its sophomore effort, Blue Songs, and its quickly approaching release date. The album's lead single, "My House," has already seen one remix courtesy of London's Stopmakingme and an incredible video, but now its come full circle and has been remixed by Hercules' own master-mind Andrew Butler. Read more »
When Kutmah, the UK-born, formerly Los Angeles-based artist/producer, was snapped up by federal agents and detained in a New Mexico prison, the LA music and artist community rallied together by throwing events, raising funds, and showing support for their fellow creative, eventually raising enough money in their "Free Kutmah" campaign to get him legal assistance. After being detained for almost two months, Kutmah was eventually deported to the UK, where he now resides. During his term of imprisonment, he had no outlet for his frustrations and emotions other than to draw with "only a short pencil and ID card" and now those sketches, 39 in total, are the subject of a new art exhibit entitled Two Soups and a Honeybun (after what was the reported price of a blowjob in the New Mexico facility). Read more »
One of the only producers that can tastefully straddle the lines dividing pastoral folk songs, hazy beat music, funky soul jams, smooth pop confections, and fiery synth explosions, UK-based artist Bibio has a brand-new full-length album of such eclectic tunes coming down the line. Mind Bokeh will be released on March 29 and April 4 in the US and UK respectively, and features 12 songs, including a supposed tribute to Thin Lizzy. Read more »
It seems that the extensive efforts of (MF) DOOM to make his underground instrumental series Special Herbs as hard as possible to find have been thwarted by the people over at Nature Sounds, who are set to release a comprehensive box set of the long-running series. Read more »
Eclectic London-based imprint Citinite has an interesting project in the works, which should surface in the not so distant future. Some of electro's and boogie's top contemporary names are coming together on a brand-new EP, contributing their own versions of classic jams by vintage '80s-funk outfit Sexual Harrassment (known best for the tunes "I Need a Freak" and "If I Gave You a Party"). Read more »
Chillwave has become, with good reason, a term that makes some of us cringe, but this remix of Ohio-based Brothertiger (pictured above) from Grecian duo Keep Shelly In Athens shows that there are definitely redeeming qualities to the array of blissful, bedroomy sounds often associated with the genre. Not that this remix is straight-up chillwave—sure, its got a lo-fi arpeggio intro, completely reverb-washed vocals, and layers of distant pads, but about halfway through the track, something sinister takes over. A dark, distorted bassline begins to peek through the layers of reverb and delay, pulsing along at a slow chug until, just beyond the three-minute mark, the noisy bassline and steady beat completely take over. A small army of evil, fast-moving synths eventually join this sludgy procession, capping off this remix in a much different place than where it began.
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