Unlike many bands who name their bands after cities they haven't spent much time in, Sao Paulo Underground actually formed in the Brazilian city and keeps strong ties to it. Chicago post-rocker Rob Mazurek travelled to the metropolis several years ago, where he met Mauricio Takara. From there the two enlisted other members for the group, released their debut album, Sauna: Um, Doise, Tres, in 2006, and have been steadily on the rise ever since. Given that three of the bandmembers specialize in percussion, it's no surprise that The Principle of Intrusive Relationships, the group's second full-length, is rhythm-centric and highly focused around the possibilities of the drum set. Half samba rock, half free-jazz, this one puts most percussionists to shame.
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What would we do without art during times of struggle? Well we wouldn't have the music of Akiko Kiyama, for one thing, who reportedly pulled herself out of a severe emotional slump by learning and writing techno tracks back in 2001. Fast forward to 2008 and we find the Berlin-based, classically trained producer licensing tracks to Richie Hawtin, performing around the world, and, now, releasing her debut solo album, Seven Years. A collection of club bangers, wild percussion moments, Japanese string arrangements, and plenty of melody, the album also marks the first release for the District of Corruption imprint. Expect much more from this lady in the coming months.
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Rafter Robert's Sweaty Magic EP began long before he decided to lay some tracks onto an actual disk. Some time back, he hooked up with photographer Lizeth Santos, who was up for the task of completing one art project a day so long as Roberts made one song a day, entirely from scratch. A number of these tracks were published, along with their corresponding artwork, last year on the AK website, and now Rafter has taken several of them to use for the EP. "Juicy" is, like much of Roberts' music, a genre-defying affair that features accessible acoustic guitar melodies and bizarre electronic noises over a helping of falsetto vocals.
It's surprising that songwriters Praveen Sharma and Benoît Pioulard have only met a few times, because tracks on the forthcoming Songs Spun Simla sound as though they've spent the last two years in the same room arranging the musical pieces of each song. In fact, the two found one another mutually, and after Praveen returned from a trip to India, began collaborating on tracks that eventually became Songs. The lush, dense instrumentals and digital effects on the album are the work of Praveen, while Pioulard was at the helm of all things voice-related, weaving layered vocal harmonies throughout the music in chillingly pretty patterns.
The four members of Chandeliers are set to unleash their debut album, The Thrush, this October, and have pulled out all the art funk goodness for the occasion. The Chicago-based band has spent the last couple years blossoming in the city's avant-rock scene, perfecting its own version of the laptop-meets-guitar sound. "Mr. Electric" features punchy keyboard melodies over rapid snare drums, with a slinky funk flavor underneath. Groovy is generally a word to avoid when describing music, but in this case, the term fits perfectly.
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