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

Myrkur – “Skaði (Demo)”

Normally, I wouldn’t make such a big deal over a demo, but this new track from the one-woman black metal project known as “Myrkur” comes with a pretty interesting announcement: Not only is the cut embedded above going to be featured on the forthcoming Myrkur LP on Relapse Records next year, but this project is also going to see some production assistance from Mr. Ulver himself, Kristoffer Rygg. There will be some instrumental accompaniment from members of Dodheimsgard and Mayhem as well.

That’s a pretty hefty endorsement, and all of this for a project that seemingly came out of nowhere.

But here’s something Myrkur’s PR campaign has kind of omitted in the promotion of this project: Myrkur is actually Danish singer-songwriter and model Amalie Bruun. Ms. Bruun has actually released a handful of pop-flavored solo albums, sung in the band Ex Cops, and even collaborated with R.A. The Rugged Man. From hip hop to black metal, Bruun’s musical tastes seem pretty diverse, and that can only be a good thing.

While I was somewhat underwhelmed by the debut Myrkur EP earlier this year, I’m hoping Bruun’s past experience in releasing records yields more exciting results. I don’t see how it can’t considering minds like Rygg are going to be involved. Plus, this new track isn’t half bad, too!

Various Artists – “Detroit vs. Everybody (Official Remix)”

I recently reviewed the new Shady XV compilation with Mr. Steven Francis, and I remember commenting on how much of a letdown the “Detroit vs. Everybody” cut was. While there were come decent verses on the track, the list of featured MCs seemed kind of limited. However, this new official remix fixes that in a big way. I mean, the thing is 16 minutes long, and features over ten rappers.

Really happy Shady saw fit to cast a wider net here, and I think the results speak for themselves.

Death Grips – “Inanimate Sensation” (Video)

Death Grips drops a video single for the first track to be released from their forthcoming album, Jenny Death, which is also the second half of their yet-to-be-completed double album titled The Powers That B. I reviewed the first installment earlier this year.

While it is my job to keep a cool head, it’s hard not to be hyped for “Inanimate Sensation.” The revving group vocals, presumably live drums, and ear-searing synths all remind me of Death Grips’ early work–and sound just as exciting. It’s easily one of the most hard-hitting singles of 2014, and I’m hoping much of Jenny Death follows suit.

Shlohmo – “Emerge from Smoke”

Only a Shlohmo track can give you the sense of being stuck at the bottom of a deep well and then turn that well into a place of almost womb-like serenity.

The L.A. producer just premiered a single to be released March 17 via a collaboration between True Panther and his own WeDidIt collective. It’s out now on iTunes, but you can also pre-order the 7-inch here, which includes the single’s corresponding B-side, the promisingly titled “Ode 2 Tha Whip”.

There’s a lot to love on this track. “Emerge from Smoke” comes outfitted with a somber melody that lurches itself out in teetering synths and long, fuming bass tones that labor underneath to carry the song forward. As usual, Shlohmo demonstrates his awareness of how nuanced percussion can add entirely new dimensions to a track. All the syncopated plinking and hissing leads to a drum break punching in about half way through. Towards the end, the solitude is pierced by a gaggle of silvery, stricken guitars wailing up from the bottom of the well, and the percussion and synths come crashing back down on top of them in a final caterwaul.

The single arrives with the announcement of a spring 2015 tour, the dates of which you can check out here.

-Tom Fullmer

of Montreal – “Bassem Sabry”

I distinctly remember the term “asexual beige” being idiotically lobbed at of Montreal’s last record, Lousy with Sylvianbriar. The band’s subtle subversion of blues rock on that project definitely wasn’t what many were expecting after the manic chamber pop of Paralytic Stalks, and Q Magazine apparently took it especially hard.

But worry not, Q: Kevin Barnes et al. are back and sexier than ever with new single “Bassem Sabry,” taken from next year’s Aureate Gloom. If I had to pin down the sound of this track, I’d call it moody chamber funk, but honestly that’s pretty irrelevant to me at this point. As far as I’m concerned, K Barnes has yet to fail at crafting a self-reflexively personal journey with any style of music he has tried up to this point, and I have no reason to suspect that’ll change within this next album cycle. Listen above and feel the beautiful misery!

Aureate Gloom is out 3 March via Polyvinyl. Our review of Lousy with Sylvianbriar: