Melbourne-based ii's cleverly titled MySpace page suggests that this duo's debut album, landlakes, draws its name from a combination of Timberland and Justin Timberlake, but ii isn't writing a club banger anytime soon. Rather, the two-member outfit's songs fit closer with the quiet, atmospheric sound collages of Growing or Cloudland Canyon, mixing complex rhythms with field recordings, guitar-loop trickery, and modular synthesis. Jon Tjhia and Alex Nosek still find a way to wring out some memorable melodies from the tracks, and make some unlikely and refreshingly abstract pop at the same time. Wyatt Williams
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Medard Fischer was initially motivated by architecture to begin the Arc Lab project and wrote songs as "musings on the interplay between structurally defined space and musical expression," by his own admission. On Fischer's third full-length, The Goodbye Radio, the aim might be less esoteric but the songs are more focused. The tracks put layers of warm synths and drifting beats under an echoing fog of Fischer's melancholy vocals. Walking the line between IDM and indie-pop like Figurine, Arc Lab splits Fischer's personality between aural architect and laptop troubadour. Wyatt Williams
Baje One and DJ Snafu, who collective make Read more »
The New York-based outfit Soundpool plays a dreamy sort of synth-pop, drawing from modern shoegazers like M83 and Broadcast, along with the earlier, influential records of Cocteau Twins and Lush. The watery, swirling tunes feature Kim Field's fragile vocals floating on top of saturated guitars and programmed keyboards. Dichotomies & Dreamland, their second album (following 2006's On High), is a pleasantly psychedelic trip of beat-driven pop songs and shimmering, instrumental interludes.
Bay Area resident, rapper, and self-professed Shoe Ho Lyrics Born headed over to Epitaph for his fourth solo album, Everywhere at Once, which was recently released in conjunction with his own Quannum Projects. As its title suggests, the album finds the man born Tom Shimura, dabbling in everything from hip-hop to eletroclash, further cultivating his image as an observant, conversational wordsmith whose lyrics are as humorous as they are conscious. This album is also Shimura's first studio release to feature members of his live band, and also sees contributions from producers Jake One and Trakademicks.
Berlin-based one-man act Headman has Read more »
Eliot Lipp draws his tracks from the dusty era of analog synths, conjuring futuristic visions along with a dose of Ed Koch-era New York hip-hop. Lipp, who currently resides in Brooklyn, debuted in 2004, thanks to Scott Herren of Prefuse 73, who put out Lipp's first record on Eastern Developments. Lipp's releases since have further explored his abstract take on hip-hop and earned him a few fans around the XLR8R office. The Outside is his first record for Mush, and it pushes Lipp's past-future compositions to a new level of forward-looking analog nostalgia. Wyatt Williams
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