While searching for the young soul rebels of today, we found it impossible to get away from the following: The great demise of Pitchfork's ad-less stripped down wonder-blog Altered Zones; Björk looking like Helena Bonham Carter strung out on propofol during a performance of “Crystalline” on Later with Jools Holland; Bowerbirds hogging the 'indie' blog spotlight with news of their upcoming album The Clearing; Kourtney Kardashian's recurrent pregnancy issues; trying to care about Drake's album Take Care. Yet beyond these rackets and the international unrest and upheavals that are plaguing the end of 2011; we will now carefully examine the selective items of interest and taste from this week in no particular order.
Producer Alexander Spit has been working with Bago on a debut album set for an undisclosed date in 2012 but provided us with phaser haze soul thump of “Dr. Lock.” The track's ego tripping beat steps, surreal samples and Bago's vocal delivery of pure seductive suede might lead you to wonder why you never pursued the trade of a locksmith. Listen now and thank us afterwards.
Bleached has had a busy year releasing EPs Frances, Carter and on December 6 the Mika Miko refugee-sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin are releasing a new 7″ on Suicide Squeeze. We are privy to the B side “Electric Chair” that outdoes the popular “Think of You” with a little more noise and some keen melodic sensibilities contained within the electric fuzz. Not even the random whistling (when did gratuitous whistling become an indie pop thing anyways? Do we blame that Andrew Bird guy?) can take away from the enjoyment of this track as we imagine what the Bleached full length might have in store for us all next year.
Odd Future's Syd the Kyd has stirred up attention from her recent endeavor with The Internet and the pro-lesbian and cavalier ode to class-A dabblings cut “Cocaine”. Now Little Dragon has put their own spin on the track. If you thought LD had gone soft on us with Ritual Union, this remix presents the Gothenburg quartet taking on an edgier side that makes the Swedish electro-charmers sound damn near dangerous. The Internet's Cocaine EP is out now while Purple Naked Ladies drops December 20 in digital form and January 31 on disc.
We discovered Oxford, Mississippi's The ILLLS on a reliable tip from buzz surrounding their recent support of Youth Lagoon. They are so fresh on the scene, it has been rumored that their YL shows were their debut live performances. They have just Bandcamped their self-titled EP with the songs “Teeth” and “Streetcars” for the world to hear. One gets the feeling that these ILLLS might be doing some big things in 2012. We will be listening and watching.
We spent our turkey day/weekend playing ZAKEE's track and video for “Glory” and this week we are treated to the video for his “Push the Power” that ignites with heavy doses of posi energy. Shooting on locales from Brooklyn to Jamaica, ZAKEE describes his drive behind the beats with, “My idea of pushing the power of love is just being around the most amazing folks in your life, laughing and just dreaming together.”
Javelin roamed the streets of their borough in Red Hook recording sounds from the streets that became this new track “By Hook or By Crook.” Perhaps this is a flavor of the follow up to this year's Canyon Candy with more treats in store for 2012.
As the buzz, praise and fuss over the dynamite ASAP Rocky mixtape Live.Love.A$AP continues, we got to see the 'day in the life' style video for “Demons”. It has everything, ASAP getting all confessional about his habits, mobbin' on the streets of NYC, smoking, hanging with friends, all in time to the slo-mo swag of Clams Casino's production.
Check out Real Estate living the dream in Paris playing “Green Aisles.” Good work boys, gold stars all around. Our next question: Is the third album the charm? Possibly.
Rich Hil has been busy making rhymes that bust out beyond the bling and hype with a hypnotism that makes you feel like your sipping sizzurp in a convenient styrofoam cup. At only 21, we hear he has dropped 700 tracks on mad mixtapes all within the brief space of a two-year period. Listen to the man promote himself in his own words: “You know how I'm gonna be the best? I'm just gonna be me.100%. So anything that comes to my head, I'm letting people know.” Look for Hil's EP Support Your Local Drug Dealer coming soon.
In the same way that Rebekah Del Rio's spanish cover of Roy Orbison' s “Crying” effected you in Mulholland Drive, Austra's cover of the pop standard works out of an effective, sparse baroque treatment. Even without the evocative Latin emotion of Rio's “Llorando,” Austra uses strings, woodwinds, well utilized horns and a spiralling choir to bring power to the song's celebrated outpouring of meloncholy. The deluxe edition of her album Feel It Break is available now on Domino Records.
Lakutis has been on the tour beat with Das Racist promoting their recent album Relax and just released his breakout EP I'm in the Forest on Greedhead/Mishka. With shoutouts to SNL's Bill Hader and a track titled “Ja Rule,” what's not to like? Lakutis, along with Das Racist's Greedhead label, are definitely on our 2012 watch list.
After a year of running around with his Punx in support of Too Young to Be in Love, frontman Hunx has been working on an epic solo album entitled Hairdresser Blues. With a sound straight from Oakland's Down at Lulu's salon, Hunx, aka Seth Bogart, embraces tags of “hairdresser pop” on the following track with some choppy rock licks closer to his bro Nobunny than the girl group affinities of his Punx(-ettes). Listen to Seth's modern garage beat fascinations along with actual singing from Mr. Bogart in this preview of “Always Forever.” Look for Hairdresser Blues February 28 on Hardly Art.
Charles Bradley just sold out a show at the Bowery Ballroom along with releasing the single “Heartaches and Pain” from his album No Time For Dreaming available now. A moving jam that recalls the loss of his brother, it presents one of the greatest artists to take on the valiant sound of forebearer Otis Reading in a manner that few have before Bradley. Look for him on the tour both here in the States and in Australia early next year.
Fucked Up debuted “I Hate Summer” just in time for Christmas. I love this song because it reminds me of every summer season where I am too broke for any sort of exotic travel but spend my time pining over the promise of Fall releases. Look for effed-Up on the upcoming Bruise Cruise next year.
Black Bananas gave us another taste of what their post-RTX sound is like. Until now, this new track “Rad Times” was a bit of press release hype from a few months past where someone more privy than myself raved about the merits without giving up the goods while we relied upon the textual pantomimes for approximated descriptions. That wait is over, check out how rad “Rad Times” can truly be.
Polish ambient artist Jacaszek provided us with yet another preview of his forthcoming album Glimmer with “Seiden Stille.” In the great contemporary tradition of current artists who create musical accompaniment for day to day life (case in point, check out the work of labelmate Tycho), Jacaszek too creates music for the spaces we can not describe through the delicate teasing of classical instrumentation and the mystic aura from the sound of running air. Glimmer comes out soon on December 6 from Ghostly International.
Shout outs to Hollywood Floss who gave us the video for “So Much To Say Feat. Brian Angel of Day 26” who gave us some positive reinforcement as we go into our weekend. Look for HF's album One Fan at a Time out now.
Dear Lions dropped some power pop with “Exactly the Same.” If you cannot make it through listening to Big Star's trilogy without weeping (let alone the first two albums), then this is just for you. The Lions EP Lying to My Lies is out now on their Bandcamp.
Blondes are back with a self-titled album due February 7 on RVNG Intl. Since their 12″ Business / Pleasure, the duo consisting of Sam Haar and Zach Steinman has combined the releases of their EPs with a bonus of Gold and Amber compiled onto one album. Plus, an accompanying disc features 11 remixes by Andy Stott, Bicep, Dungeon Acid, JD Twitch of Optimo, John Roberts, Laurel Halo, Rene Hell, SFV Acid, Teengirl Fantasy, and Traxx. Listen to the Teengirl Fantasy remix of Blondes' “Wine” here and vibe out.
Also check out the glowstick rave images to accompany the house heavy “Wine.”
Here is another preview of the head scratching Gucci Mane and V-Nasty colab BAYTL with “Loaded” that features a cameo from Mistah FAB celebrating materialism like nobody's business. Never thought I would say this but I feel like V is somehow helping Gucci get back in the swag by way of the base world that Nasty and FAB represent.
Bright Moments, the project from Beirut/Arcade Fire/LCD Soundsystem alum Kelly Pratt, gave us the track “Travelers” from his forthcoming debut. As a talented musican of varied instrumental talents, Pratt showcases his proficiency of horns and guitar strings on this upbeat peak at Bright Moments. Look for the album Natives February 21 on Luaka Bop.
Amid our press for COOLRUNNINGS we wanted to make sure you got a listen to the excellent B side “Rusk” from their Fool Moon 7″ out now on Too Pure. One of the many things we love about C.RUNNINGS and the various works of Brandon Biondo is that the B sides often are the main attraction where him and bandmates take their sound as far as they can and make some damn cool noise in the process. Even better is that tracks like “Rusk” make you realize that you had been waiting all along for a track like this, pulsing bass, excellent tambourine, minor key guitar explosions and vocals with their own built-in swagger.
Catch this amped video of L.E.P. Bogus Boys performing an instore of “Rush Hour” at the Crooks & Castles on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. Look for L.E.P.'s Now or Neva out now.
And lastly we leave you with an early season's gift from Woods with “Christmas Time is Here.” An excellent Vince Guaraldi cover that reinvigorates the classic and is the perfect companion for any yuletide viewing of A Charlie Brown Christmas in succession.