A former drummer for noise-pop trio Clara Clara, Francois Virot ventured off into solo territory recently and, upon the September release of his debut album, Yes or No, proved you can do a lot with a simple palate of guitar, vocals, and hand claps. And while his songs might be minimal in structure, they're not lacking in the kind of quirky, spastic energy Virot needs to set himself apart from the dozens of other artists attempting to twist folk inside out these days. In what feels like a playful take on the whole genre, Virot delivers everything from melancholy ballads to spastic numbers in which he would appear to be treating the guitar as more of a percussion instrument than one merely made for strumming. As seen with this track.
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Wilderness' third full-length, (k)no(w)here, came about after the Baltimore-based, most unconventional band was asked to collaborate with renowned visual artist Charles Long at an exhibit the latter put on in the spring of this year. That said, the musical aspect of the project is quite the conceptual beast, and another one for experimental rock fans to add to the iPod. Check the stop-and-start guitars and vaguely doom-rock sounding vocals on this track for further proof. (k)no(w)here High Nero Strand the Test of Time (p)ablum Silver Gene Own Anything Chinese Whisperers Soft Cage <....^....>
Four years removed from their last album, Earthtones, Oakland's Crown City Rockers are back with a new single. The Bay Area hip-hop crew is known for their funk-driven, party-starting sounds, and "Body Rock" continues in that vein with MC Raashan Ahmad spitting verses over a synthy beat and encouraging folks from around the globe to get down.
Chicago-based duo The Primeridian (Jaime Roundtree and Simeon Viltz) have added a third MC, Racetacula, to the mix on their latest release, The Morning After. The new album, which maintains the smooth vibe of earlier work, features production cameos by Nicolay, Willow, Yaw, J-Rose of Norway, and DJ Steady, along with vocals by Knowledge from Kids in the Hall and Imani from The Pharcyde. On "Takuthere," soulful crooning provides a satisfying cushion for Imani’s deceptively simple rhyme schemes–poetic observations about city struggles and corrupt politicians–laid over a low-key acid-funk beat. Lulu McAllister
We still have a couple more months before Late of the Pier releases its debut full-length, Fantasy Black Channel, but the band has been generously sharing bits and pieces of the album with the populace, throwing several tracks up on its MySpace page, unleashing this hot remix, as well as another single, "Heartbeat," which we've put up today. The latter is a jumbled offering of synthesizers and guitars that shows off why these four lads are one of the few dance/rock hybrid fans worth following closely. The Erol Alkan-produced album, recorded at the band's home studio in Nottingham, will be available in full on January 13. Photo by Jon Bergman.
Cosmetics is the project of UFO!’s Ed Garro and s0n!ka’s Federico Gomez, and Cosmetics Surgery is their recently released dancefloor love child. The two dynamic DJs joined forces after mutual friend, DJ NME, introduced them during UFO!’s recent trip to San Jose, Costa Rica. Satisfying their basic need to “rock some serious low-end frequencies,” as noted in their bio, the EP combines Gomez’s liquid drum & bass prowess with Garro’s jet-propelled creative energy. “I’m Getting Hi” is a thumping, rhythmic straight-shooter, tempered by some vocal cooing, edgy synths, and catchy lyrics about “getting hi” in most of the world’s major cities. Lulu McAllister
On his 2000 album, El Baile Alemán, Señor Coconut (a.k.a. Atom or Uwe Schmidt) offered Latin electronic covers of electronic godfathers Kraftwerk, replete with horns and sauntering samba rhythm. Now he takes a musical journey through the work of near-distant pop favorites like Prince and the Eurythmics, among others, on Around the World. On November 18th, Naçional Records will reissue the former El Baile Alemán, digitally and on CD, alongside his latest. On this namesake track off of the new album, Señor pays jazzy tribute to Daft Punk. Whoever thought that those gleefully simple lyrics wouldn't fit anything but synthesized robot vocals is in for a fun surprise. Lulu McAllister
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