Named one of Modern Drummer magazine's Top 10 Progressive Drummers of Today, hip-hop/experimental artist David Ramos has a musical resume that includes everything from performing with folk outfits to making beats for the likes of Busdriver and Aceyalone. His forthcoming debut album, This Up Here, showcases his multi-instrumentalist capabilities, with an army of synths, acoustic guitars, glockenspiels, keyboards, and "shitty drum machines" bouncing off one another. And of course, what's an album these days without a little remix treatment? Here, Ramos' brother Ceschi chops up the drum beats and adds some ambience to the original track.
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L.A. rapper and erstwhile Project Blowed member Kail examines every nook and cranny of his hometown's streets on his latest Alpha Pup release, True Hollywood Squares. As its name suggests, the album takes a close look at the less glamorous aspects of Tinsel Town and the characters who inhabit that space. His lyrics, which straddle the line between unflinchingly honest and outright hilarious, fit smoothly over an 8-bit-driven hip-hop beat that keeps the brain thinking and the ass shaking.
London-based duo Padded Cell brings to mind the post-punk heyday of early '80s New York in an uncanny way. Listening to "Faces Of The Forest," you might think you're hearing James Chance playing sax or the Bush Tetras holding down the tight rhythm section. The two blokes making these tunes, Richard Sen and Neil Higgins, are two decades and an ocean away from Houston Street in '78, though that hasn't stopped them from cutting some records that fit right into that scene. No-wave godfather Dennis Young (of Liquid Liquid fame), has granted his approval by playing on their latest LP, Night Must Fall, and even planning to play live with the group. Wyatt Williams
Sebastian Mullaert and Marcus Henriksson have been releasing tracks as Minilogue for about eight years now. The Swedish duo chose wisely with their portmanteau moniker (a combination of "minimal" and "dialogue"); their songs are minimal soundscapes that mix elements of '90s techno dramatics with dark, sparse beats. Hendrikkson knows a thing or two about techno, as he's been spinning some of southern Sweden's biggest parties since the mid-nineties. It doesn't hurt, of course, that Mullaert is classically trained in piano and violin as well. This latest track, "Jamaica," fits right in their oeuvre: a long, dark beat driven into a loud, drumming climax. Wyatt Williams
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Seattle, Washington has a big problem on its hands, a problem that goes by the name Truckasauras. Made from a Voltron-esque composite of analog electronics and a hacked Gameboy, this three-person group has an insatiable taste for cheap beer and homo-erotic professional wrestling matches. Sent as a debut transmission from the monster's hideout, Tea Parties, Guns, and Valor seems to indicate that Truckasauras might soon be venturing out in search of more whiskey and VHS copies of old Airwolf episodes. You've been warned. Wyatt Williams
If it's a good, solid adrenaline kick you're craving, look no further than The Delta Fiasco. The Liverpool-based trio will soon release its first EP, Dreameater, much to the delight of those who love the ever-evolving amalgamation of dance music and indie rock. Here, the boys unleash a torrent of guitars, synthesizers, laptop-generated bleeps, and outer space-like noises while vocalist Nathan Walczak belts lyrics into the mic in an endearingly off-key fashion.
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