Are Satanic messages still a thing? And if so how does one play an MP3 backwards?!? When I was a kid, the phenomenon of Christian pastors sussing out backwards Satanic messages was huge. However, no matter how hard I tried to hear these "messages," I never could make any sense of anything these guys ever tried to prove. Either it didn't exist or there was too much wow and flutter in their attempted playback for me to believe what they believed they were hearing.
If you'd like another example, here is the entire "Stairway to Heaven" played backwards, and pitched down. Um, as I listened to it, I heard no actual English words. So, perhaps then, there is some ALIEN LANGUAGE incantation?!? Or not. And if you'd like to see some quality '80s youth pastor fashion, dig Gary in his red leather Members Only™ jacket sussing out the SATANIC influence of ELO, Black Oak Arkansas, and Styx.
"Land of Hip" gatekeepers Pitchfork blessed Seattle/Brooklyn producer Big Spider's Back today with the premier of his new single "Pfff," from his upcoming EP Ssoft. Big Spider's Back has been struck by P4k's approval ray a couple of times before, but this marks the first score for BSB's new label—Seattle's outstanding, electronic-focused Hush Hush Records, who will be releasing Ssoft to the listening public on March 17th.
The song is a quickly developing dance track on which BSB taps brightly-colored synth-notes into place with mathematical precision. The descending riff is the kind that should leave you feeling warm and happy, and ready to hit the dance floor/nearest sunny meadow to get your frolic right. Stream the thing above, or over on ye olde 'Fork.
Local EDM duo Odesza has hit a level of popularity that some moderately astute MTV jock in the '90s might have referred to as "buzzworthy." The production team of Clayton Knight and Harrison Mills hit the festival circuit hard last year—including big-stage billing at Sasquatch! and Capitol Hill Block Party—and tracks from their 2013 EP, My Friends Never Die climbed to the top of popular music-sharing sights like Hype Machine. Amidst all this hoopla, they managed to catch the ear of Australian label Pilerats, and have officially released a new single (you may have already heard the song if you've seen them live recently) called "Sun Models" as part of the RAT PACK 1 compilation.
The track builds off of perhaps 2014's sunniest four-note loop of something that sounds like treated balafon, adding some arena-grade synth-bass, twinking digital arpeggios, and pitched-up vocal samples courtesy of singer Madelyn Grant. It's the kind of feel-great, to-the-point dance beat that has made Odesza's name, and it just might (figuratively) bring the sun out for a couple of minutes.
Catch Odesza at Neumos April 12th with D33J, and Kodak to Graph.
It's pretty great front-to-back, from the extra-hard "Piano Bars," to the neck-snapping dreaminess of "Remember," to the twitchy "Lizard Juke," and the closing title track, which features a couple of soundbites from local hiphop super-vet Specs Wizard. If that wasn't enough, Swan put together a great video (below) with the help of videographer Robin Stein, featuring a rarer-than-rare vintage Seahawks sweater, which Tyler's brother Adam claimed on Facebook today to be only one of two ever made, the other having been given to former Hawks coach Chuck Knox. Now that's ballin'.
Hearts, IBH's stellar 2011 debut was a tingly barrage of digital fuzz, like looking at a colorful array of LEDs coated in Vaseline, maybe while chewing on a speaker wire. The songs were largely upbeat, or at least splashed with the kind of energy that makes a thing feel fresh and new. It might have been the perfect soundtrack to a giddy acid trip. On the album's cover, a horse playfully reared on his hind legs in front of an all-white background.
The artwork for Chiaroscuro (above) is dark, intricate geometry—an appropriate shift for an album that necessitates the kind of close listening only possible inside the quiet hours between sunset and dawn. The nine-song, roughly 45-minute LP is an immersive experience. Serene and contemplative, richly layered and delicately detailed, it is the perfect companion to your midnight spirit quest.
Taken from Italian, "chiaroscuro" is a term that artists use to describe the interplay between light and dark shades, and as I ran alongside a marina near my house, the ships' masts and the water's calmly rolling surface tinkered with the light of the moon like a shimmering soundmap of what was coming through my headphones. With a voice as sweet as Madonna, but as detached as Victoria Legrand, Maria Lindén's dreamy tone is blended into the mix to beautiful effect. Producer Fredrik Balck has slowed things down to make room for all of his ingredients, but also carves some tight melody lines into early album numbers "Faith" (below), and "Ascension." I felt like I was dreaming before I even got home.
With High & Mighty still warming (chilling?) hiphop conversations and sound systems across the city, our bespectacled local rap god has hit us with a monster of a new track to close out the year. "Nacho Man," which is reportedly from an upcoming Nacho Picasso EP called Trances With Wolves, doesn't simply creep under your skin, it creeps under your skin then hog ties your conscience and feeds it Xanie bars. S.A.T. Beats' hollow-chested horror track sounds like an empty swing set in the dead of night, and you can almost hear Nacho grinning as he gets ready to rap. He rattles off some of his nastiest punch lines to date with an energy that can only be attributed to true holiday cheer, telling us about the all the drug benders, sexual conquests and comical violence ("Gave my ex a back rub with a Mack Truck") that your typical villain-about-town might encounter. Oh, and the late great professional wrestler/rapper Macho Man Randy Savage is there, to add his level-headed commentary to the mix. Here's to 2014.
As promised, Glamazon CEO's PSmoov and Rik Rude instituted drone service to drop bombs, and began the new delivery service today with their latest single "On!"
The cover features art by PSmoov himself (under the moniker Ten Hundred), and the song sees Rik Rude elevating bars just so PSmoov can jump over them, and on and on. That disgusting, filthy, piano loop glam-hop, vocoder future-pop is up for free download over on Bandcamp.
In DW, the crew explores more electronic territory than they have before, though funky basslines and pillowy kicks lurk just below the surface, teasing slick-witted raps from Thig Nat when the timing is right. The second verse on "Polychrome" is especially sharp, and includes the line "No jockin' hoes on Instragram/I'm insta-H.A.M," which I adamantly approve of.
Get to know these jams before their album release show at the Crocodile on the 21st, which also features Dave B, Tangerine, Shelton Harris w/ Tyler Dopps, and DJ Nick Beeba.
This track arrived on the internet October 22nd, but I'm kind of new here, so cut me some fucking slack! (Confidential to the editors: did I use "fuck" correclty there? I'm still learning!) Botany, who's alternately known as north Texas chillwave holdover Abacus, tapped Mr. Father John Misty himself (current Sub Pop solo heartthrob, former Fleet Foxer/Seattle resident Josh Tillman) for vocals on this jam, which was strangely released separately from Botany's fantastic new LP, Lava Diviner, but is a good listen nonetheless.
"Laughtrack" is a blunted, softly echoing beat with a muffled kick, tying together disparate sounds like jazz drum fills, harp strums, sitar picking, eerie Gregorian-style vocal atmospheres, and a funky synth bass line. For his part, Tillman conjures '50s-variety-show imagery, painting a sort of depressing behind-the-curtain storyline in his layered, hyper-relaxed tone.
On a related note, you can catch Tillman work his Father John Misty act solo this coming Sunday at the Moore Theatre with special guest comedian Kate Berlant. Tickets here.
How do you make a near-perfect Gems song better? Simple: snatch it's swirling synth heavenward at the speed of light (if you're Vox Mod you evidently possess this power).
As it approaches the speed of light (the unattainable maximum speed of matter, energy, and information) it will begin to lengthen physically (time dilation, y'all, in this case the track lengthens by a minute) and at the same time said track will increase in mass; guitar and live drums become infinitely dense, infinitely massive synthesizer beats in the grasp of Vox Mod's knob wrenching talons...
Coincidentally, and in keeping with the theory of relativity (or remix-ivity, if you will) an infinite amount of energy will be required to propel the remixed track at the universal constant, energy which I estimate will be gained by the shaking of your ass.
Celebrate your independence with Brent Amaker and the Rodeo's track "USA," which you can now download for free on Soundcloud.
It'd be goddamn un-American of you to not have this in the playlist whilst celebrating your God-given right to burn money and gorge on charcoal-broiled nitrates in the name of the 200-year-old dead white liberals struggle to free themselves from the church and taxes of their oppressors.
I digress, though, BAR's "USA" is a hot little ditty with a down-by-the-border feel, celebrating the things that are true: work, play, sunshine, and the night. Get some, have fun, stay safe!
That brother has got some pipes.
Now that's what I'm talking about...
The singer is Francesca Belmonte and the tune is from an album, False Idols, that will be released on May 28th by the venerable !K7 Records. "Nothing's Changed" might become Tricky's ""Still D.R.E.".
Realist rapper The Good Sin has been dropping one song per week, and one video per month as part of his #FallBackSeason campaign. The latest entry "Doing Wrong, Feeling Right" is philosophical, funky banger packed with the lyrical cathartis that's become his trademark.
The last two years in February the Seattle emcee has gifted us with the hiphop perfect EP Late, and 2012's rocky relationship record The Story Of Love x Hate. I inquired as to whether there was another album coming this February and he let me know #FallBackSeason is the plan for now, with a possible album in the future. We always look forward to hearing more from him.
Oakland citizens Friendzone dropped a nice mix this weekend for UK publication Drowned in Sound. Friendzone, you may have noticed, is the cloud production duo making it rain joyful synth beats all over your favorite rapper's tracks. They recently stepped way out of the bedroom and into the lime light working for the green ova' boys themselves, Main Attrakionz (Squadda’s I Smoke... mixtape inspired them to start making beats), as well as one take ‘em or leave ‘em A$AP Rocky, whose stupid raps on his hit track “Fashion Killa” float by so smoothly on Friendzone’s production cloud as to go unnoticed. Thanks, Friendzone. They then reached manifest destiny working with North Carolina’s Deniro Farrar and came back home to the Bay to help out Antwon on a teaser (and probably album-worthy) track called "Automatic." Their soundcloud is a beggar’s banquet of free downloads just dying to help you fatten up that enervated iTunes library of yours.
Speaking of Antwon, do yourself a favor and go download In Dark Denim. At least once in your life you should hear a tongue twerk itself into heterosexual descriptors that’ll make your shoulders bounce and cheeks blush simultaneously. His latest tumblr raps are out on Himanshu Suri’s (Das Racist) Greedhead label. Check that stringy seventies action movie score rubbing up against thunderous synth sounds, and dude’s Biggie cadence meets Heavy D good looks. As is, I still prefer Antwon’s last effort End Of Earth more, but I do appreciate dude’s lock on that early ’90s charm everyone begs for and somehow ignores while complaining that hiphop is either A) Dead, B) Homophobic or, C) Should return to that ’90s sound. Stay relevant, internet comment section experts.
Also from the bay: Kool A.D.'s most recent stream of consciousness mixtapes 63 and 19. Named after Alameda bus lines and chock-full-o' cool attention deficit style pop culture appreciation and appropriation, they’re free for download (after donation) over at Bandcamp. If you’re familiar with his work, you know what to do. If you’re not, let me just say: Kool A.D. is a rap game cubist, and when you look at a Picasso you don’t expect the pictures to straighten themselves out to look like other paintings. I invite you to jump into the rap avante-garde and hear his exploitation of your culture on jams like "Saved by the Bell," and "OK Computer." Kool stays on the offensive, straight stealing raps from Beck and declaring himself the "best white rapper" on the dis-titled "Rap Genius." Repeat offenders like Mike Finito and Amaze 88 on production make frequent appearances, as well as guest rappers like Meyhem Lauren and Kassa Overall, and personal favorite Busdriver. There’s a real production credit from Ad-Rock on a mediocre track, a fake credit (or just a sample) from Kanye on another, and even a Keyboard Kid-produced based gem titled “All Skreets.” If you don’t like his albums, maybe you prefer to buy some of his contemporary art?
I've been waiting forever (and missed two Emily Wells concerts in the last year for no good reason) but it's finally here: Pillowfight is the collusion of producer and gifted multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Emily Wells, Dan the Automator (Deltron, Dr. Octagon, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Gorillaz, Cornershop), and artist David Choe. Rumors of their work together hit the internets early last year with a short video in Choe's own inimitable "dirty style."
The full self-titled album is set to be released on the 22nd of this month on Bulk Recordings/EMI. Given Wells' own body of work, from folk songstress to audaciously good violin looping rapper, and Dan the Automator's supernatural DJ skills, his patient, perfect selection of artists to produce, and the fact that he's also a classically trained violinist, this album has monumental potential.
The writing is on the wall...
Music is a much smaller and less significant part of many people’s lives than 10-20 years ago. There is more competition for our attention and the value of music has declined precipitously. This graphic shows the rise of digital against physical music, and the overall impact of piracy, widespread distribution and digital media on the music industry. The sad story is that overall the music business is shrinking. That is a fact that we all have to face. The silver lining in all of this may be on the horizon, but it cannot come soon enough for me. We have to do something to reverse the trend.No reversing this trend. It began with Napster, and nothing can stop it. As for the silver lining, it may not be found in the record corporations but in the artists themselves. One of its current forms, for example, is Macklemore, who, as Larry pointed out, has achieved unprecedented commercial success by means that are not conventional but consistent with the distribution technologies of his and our moment. The recording industry should fear him more than it fears people pirating music on the web. It is wise to always fear producers more than consumers.
Chicago hiphopper Show You Suck has released his final piece in a trilogy of album/mixtapes called OneManPizzaParty.
OMPP3: Rest In Pizza is the most lyrically collected and sonically brilliant of the three. The half-mixtape-half-concept album closes in on the One Man Pizza Party idea and uses Show You Suck's flow to wrap story rhymes around the themes of addiction, relationships, food, and hiphop.
A lot of great music came out of Chicago this year. Rappers like Lil Reese and Chief Keef made amazing/disturbing music that caught national attention, though it remains unclear if superstars in ascension or collapse. The Lex Luger/Trap Rap/rapid synth snare sound Chicago has made it’s own was pushed to new limits by the likes of producers like Young Chop, and vituoso’s like MC Tree made themselves known by somehow capturing the pain of living in the clutches of a murderous city in a soulful, galvanizing way.
Among them, but distinctly different in style, is Show You Suck. More treated than trap, more hiphop than rap, Show You Suck’s advance in artistic ability can be seen plainly through his catalog of Pizza Party mixtapes. With every album the weight of his influences become imbued in his production and lyrics, but this one takes heavy advantage of this years most popular productions sounds to it's advantage. His hardcore music philosophy meets with his steady flows on a mish mash of silly songs about serious things from what's wrong with his relationships to what's for dinner. Rapping about beef, Big Gulps, pizza, carne asada, and chon chon (that’s food right?), Show You Suck finds a way to be humorous and thus, relatable, and instead of simply being relevant, has developed a unique sound through an obvious creative process.
OMPP3: Rest In Pizza is the confluence of Show You Suck's work to establish a clothing line, his rise in popularity with the blog-rap class of 2012, and his ability to understand that he’s good enough to both use that patented Chicago sound as a soapbox for his bizarre, thematic story raps, and draw attention to another less venomous side of Chicago. OMPP3: Rest In Pizza can be downloaded for free over here.
It’s Thanksgiving and you don’t want anything heavy, so here’s a delightfully drowsy snack for you: “Another Dream” by the New Hampshire-based Mmoss. Love the Farfisa meets Robitussin sound of this one, and the rich harmonies are warm butterscotch for the ears. In fact, every time it comes up on shuffle I play it louder than I did the previous time.
Not sure if/when they are coming to town, but fingers crossed!
(Tip of the hat to Captain Obvious, the blog that featured this track on their monthly mixtape. You can pick up the latest volume — which also features tracks by Tame Impala, Mac DeMarco, Tori Y Moi and many more — here.)
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