Victoria, BC-based Shapes and Sizes is one of the few art-pop acts that doesn't need to go out of its way to constantly shake up its songwriting. With all three members democratically pumping out tracks, the band's sound falls in between speedy-punk, improv-screeching, and mathematically perplexing riffage. "Alone/Alive" is proof of this.
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Many anticon. artists are migrating towards more challenging artistic terrain, but Odd Nosdam is still miles ahead of the pack. Taking influence from melodic drone as much as hip-hop, "Fat Hooks" illustrates this fact. After one listen to ON's Level Live Wires, a single question remains: has gangster shoegaze actually been composed?
Mochipet has taken the imaginary corpse of Timbaland, shot it full of PCP, brought it back to life, and created "Justin Timberlake Core." Using enough gnarly rave synths, anarchic kicks, and Scream 4-esque distortion to deafen a young horse, Mochipet is on road to breakcore heaven.
Digitalism may be the new face of electro-pop. "Pogo" is one of the few singles released this year that successfully bridges the gap between the grittiest dance music and post-pop. Taken from the German duo's breakthrough album, Idealism, this infectious track is an introduction to a young group beaming with potential.
Loden is Mush's venture into the realm of blistering electronic shoegaze. Unlike labelmates K-the-I??? and Busdriver, this Amsterdam-based producer makes buzzing guitar leads that give My Bloody Valentine a run for its money. "Vlugt (And More For You)," may be the crossover track of the year for a label ripe with rad artistry.
Some will call it glitch-pop or melancholic IDM, but Abe Dichi (a.k.a. Damiak) is really just a multi-instrumentalist who knows how to make a song speak volumes. Not unlike Icelandic mood-swingers Múm or Efterklang, Damiak tweaks bells and space to create the sad man's domain. "Tall Hat Greeting" is a triumph for n5MD and made musicians who take their craft seriously.
When three percussionists from post-rock behemoth Tortoise make a breakbeat record, the odds are that it's going to be groundbreaking. Bumps first release for Stones Throw, Beats, Breaks, Raw, Drums, beams with Latin, Jazz, Afroabeat, and yes, a little post-rock rhythm. Is there anything these guys can't accomplish musically?
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