Modest Mouse – “Lampshades on Fire”

Modest Mouse’s new album, Strangers to Ourselves, its first in eight years, is well on the way. Recently they released this joint, a happy-go-lucky and uninhibited song that puts the indie rock group back in the music spotlight for the upcoming new year. “Lampshades on Fire” is powerful and hectic, but also thoroughly danceable. Front man Isaak Brock uses the occasion to be as wild and unhindered as he can be in the delivery of his lyrics. The intertwining of hand claps, up-tempo keys, a silky smooth bass line and clever drumming transform this track into a standard but respectable study in indie pop-rock. Curiously enough, this is a song that has been part of Modest Mouse’s live set since 2011, but now serves as a glimpse into the next direction that they will be taking with Strangers to Ourselves. With this strong single, fans are sure to welcome the indie rock vets back with open arms.

Strangers to Ourselves is due out 3 March via Glacial Pace.

- Ron Grant

Oneohtrix Point Never/A.G. Cook – “Rush”/”Bubs”

Oneohtrix Point Never has just shared an outtake from R Plus Seven called “Rush,” supplementing it with a short-but-sweet collaborative track with A.G. Cook,  founder of London label PC Music, which specializes in a brand of “bubblegum bass” that I’m not sure I get yet. This feels right.

Brian Chippendale and Greg Saunier – Brian Chippendale and Greg Saunier

Of all the team-ups and collabs in recent memory, this has to be among the most chaotic, noisy and boisterous of them all. Greg Saunier and Brian Chippendale are two drummers behind some of the more experimental punk bands of the late 90′s and early 2000′s, namely Deerhoof and Lightning Bolt. They are regarded as formidable musicians in their own rights, as well as being close friends.

The above album is effectively a half hour of two men playing drums as hard and ferocious as they can, dipping and feeling each other’s style for volume and rhythm dynamics, using each other’s energy to build and drop in crescendo after crescendo of drive, power, and skill. Recommended for anyone into free-improvised percussion music. And if you have time, watch the documentary Checking in at 20, which is paired with the album. It gives some fascinating insight into the two drummers and the project.

- Fin Worrall

 

DOS4GW – Suiside B

DOS4GW is an underground beatmaker that has been consistently blowing my mind since 2007. The dark, fierce, electronic noise that has been emanating from his bedroom for the past few years has grown more varied and more interesting with each project, so naturally this new album, Suiside B, is pretty exciting. Slightly reminiscent of Tobacco and BMSR, the album is as mottled as it is expansive, with overdriven metallic waves broken up by steady beats, drum-and-bass punctuation, and trippy fluorescent crescendos. Check it out above and enjoy!

Suiside B is out now via Smokers Cough.

- Fin Worrall

Marilyn Manson – “Deep Six”

Some artists have always felt the calling to make rock music that tries its best to be pure evil. When it’s done well, like Marilyn Manson does in “Deep Six,” the effect is a complete escape to the artist’s world and their view on it. It’s exceptionally trying for an outsider to explain these worlds, because they are inhabited by only one person. Here, Manson does his best to be your guide and lures you in under the false pretense that you’re listening to “rock” music.

The elements are all there, a relatively simple drum beat with a chugging riff laid on top of it. The structure of the song is like most rock songs that you’ll here out there too. However, the vocals are where this song leaves all notions of being generic behind. They are absolutely seductive in the first minute before erupting into the explosive metal style singing that music from Manson’s late 90s and mid 2000s heyday is known for. The people who call this music satanic are not in fact crazy, but are noticing the parallels in biblical corruption wherein the evil that ends you feels like guilty yet harmless fun. Where they end up missing the point is that all of this really is just a harmless and enjoyable romp through Manson’s fun house.

“Deep Six” is taken from Manson’s upcoming ninth album The Pale Emperor, due out 16 January via his Hell, etc. imprint.

-Garrett Cottingham

Panda Bear – “Boys Latin”

What people forget all too often about Panda Bear is that he’s a drummer at heart. Consequently, when he incorporates instrumentals on top of his backing beats, they are often used to flesh out and expand upon the the ideas made possible rhythmically. When people reference the stomp-ish feel of his music, this is what they are normally getting at. Lennox doesn’t allow his synthesizers breathe like some artists would, but instead treats them like temporary pulses of sounds. When Panda Bear the beat maker comes out, his musical ideas, though innovative, are always working in tandem with the rhythm rather than elevating above them. On “Boys Latin” this is idea is boiled down to its purest form, like it is in his best songs. The result is a twisting and psychedelic, yet all the while hyper focused three minutes of sound whose inner contradictions work to hypnotize rather than distract. It’s a refreshingly humble approach to music, saying “I can’t do everything, but I can do this one thing pretty well. So you should maybe check it out, man.” Ladies and gentlemen, if after all these years Noah Lennox is still humble, we have no excuses left not to be.

“Boys Latin” appears on Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, officially out 13 January via Domino. Anthony’s review of Panda Bear’s recent EP Mr. Noah:

- Garrett Cottingham

Unsacred – False Light

The Richmond, VA-based trio Unsacred have just released their debut LP on Forcefield Records, and you can stream it in full above.

While the band channel a few different styles of heavy music throughout the album, they don’t really blend them together as much as transition back and forth between them. Although the music is at once identifiable as black metal, moments of crust-punk and hardcore flit in and out of each track. This stylistic variation is mostly achieved via the drumming, often trading astonishingly rapid blast-beats for more mid-tempo punk cadences, with the occasional D-beat gallop thrown in. Staying consistent throughout are the tortured, throat-full-of-nails vocals and the menacing, sepulchral guitar riffs (which sometimes feel straight out of the Watain playbook). The record as a whole can sometimes feel a bit repetitive, but it’s fun to get a Trash Talk vibe one moment, and hear echoes of Dark Funeral the next.

You can purchase the LP from Forcefield Records here.

-Tom Fullmer

 

Lotic – “From the Front” (ft. Dr. Luke, Rabit, Sugur Shane, DJ Karfox, Big Hud, Fat Pimp)

Lotic’s self-released mini-album Damsel In Distress was named one of the best of 2014 by FACT Magazine, referring to it as a mixtape of “gothic club nightmares”. Quite a description of the Berlin, Germany DJ/Producers’ brand of dark yet satisfying, enrapturing club music. And “From The Front” only helps to add to Lotic’s mystique: it’s a grab bag of disturbingly distorted southern voices and lyrics that are paired with a production job that includes elements of trap, trance, gritty grime and crunchy, squeaky dubstep, all competing with each other for attention but still working seamlessly together. Lotic, along with his collaborators (Dr. Luke, Rabit, Sugur Shane, DJ Karfox, Big Hud and Fat Pimp) have created a song that’s sure to be considered an eerie, almost ghostly but exciting and bouncy certified club/strip joint banger.

-Ron Grant

Krill – “Torturer”

Melding elements of punk rock, loads of both metal and garage rock influences and a dash of poppy, melodic lyrics and undertones, Krill’s “Torturer” from the forthcoming album A Distant Fist Unclenching is rousing and bludgeoning, yet focused in its wild need to be experimental. The songs explodes with a spirit of desire and longing in the words and in the music in specific spots, leaving open a wide array of interpretation of the songs’ central meaning. At around 3:30 in, a grating, shredding guitar takes center stage and brings “Torturer” to a whole new level, and then the music drops down again for a more subversive ending to the tune than we were probably expecting. “Torturer” is the sound of a band with a few years under their collective belts, but still striving to find that signature sound. It’s a spirited outing for this Boston trio and should get more people talking about and sharing their music.

A Distant Fist Unclenching is due out 17 February via Exploding in Sound.

- Ron Grant

James Blake – 200 Press

Fans of the London-based producer will have new material to tide them over until the rumored release of his next full-length, expected to drop sometime in 2015. The 200 Press EP consists of four tracks that might seem strange on their own, but come across as united in their oddity.

In a change of pace from the songs on his two previous LPs, the focus is taken away from his delicate, R&B-influenced vocals; in fact, they are strikingly absent. Blake’s voice only makes appearances in the form of a few wispy, intermittent production flourishes and the warped out spoken word track closing out the EP. The instrumentals across these songs are varied, departing from the more direct, saccharine melodies of Blake’s recent work in favor of cryptic, sometimes harsh progressions. Underneath are some subtle 2-step and techno beats, complete with hushed and sculpted sub-bass, tight hi-hat, and all sorts of other blips and pops. Of the bunch, I think “Building It Still” is probably my favorite, but they’re all definitely worth a listen.

-Tom Fullmer