A few months back, Finland’s Can Can Heads delivered a wonderful little musical curiosity in the form of their second full-length effort Butter Life. The group has actually been around since 1993 and has pretty much been doing whatever the fuck they want the entire time - very noisy, spastic, no-wavey rock for the most part. That’s what you get here on Butter Life, too, but the band’s material is so brisk, it always feels fresh. So, if you’re a fan of noise rock or are big into Finland’s experimental music scene (and with music like this, how could you not be?), then give this LP a shot. Happy listening!
Butter Life is out now via Karkia Mistika Records, Verdura Records, and Bottom of the Pops.
Magazine/label Mass Appeal recently announced a compilation album with the goal of highlighting a number of the hottest MCs at the moment, including Pusha T, YG, and Mac Miller; as well as showcasing the talents of some of the imprint’s up-and-comers. “Old English” is the first track off this forthcoming all-star effort, and it certainly has us looking looking forward to hearing the rest. Young Thug, A$AP Ferg, and Freddie Gibbs are freaking fire on this thing and producers Salva and Nick Hook turn out a top-notch, banging beat. Hear it above and enjoy!
Mass Appeal Compilation Vol. 1 is due out September 2 via Mass Appeal Records.
Extraterrestria/GalaXXXian, the new double album from DJ Qbert, is being promoted as the producer’s first proper full-length effort since 1998′s Wave Twisters. But despite this 15+ year gap, you might still have been hearing his work over the years, in particular a nice bonus track on the deluxe edition of that great Run the Jewels record last year.
This new project of his is split up into a disc “from space” and a disc “from earth.” The former, Extraterrestria (stream here) is meant to “transcend turntablism” and explore what “skratch music sounds like in the future.” If you dug El-P’s last LP Cancer 4 Cure, then you stand a good chance of enjoying this side of the project. El-P actually appears as a guest MC on the second disc, GalaXXXian (stream here), which is decidedly a bit more traditional than the first half, with Qbert placing an emphasis on bangin’ beats and “the illest skratches.”
There is no shortage of ear-catching sonic textures throughout this thing, and there’s a number of great guest verses - ones from Del the Funky Homosapien and Kool Keith, to name just a couple. Above, find the previously mentioned El-P-featuring highlight “OG BBOY.” Enjoy!
Singer/songwriter Lia Ices last record was 2011′s criminally underrated Grown Unknown. Since then she’s kept an almost impressively low profile, which seemed pretty normal for the artist who once reveled in her own general anonymity. But now she’s releasing a follow up, Ices, and with it comes first single “Thousand Eyes.”
At first, it’s all a little shocking: Ices’ first two records were strewn with complex, mostly acoustic, slightly avant-garde chamber folk-pop (throw another signifier in there, Jeremy, really). So when “Thousand Eyes” crashes out of the speakers with electronic-based beats and pretty, high synths, I was caught off guard. But acoustic strums quickly become a backbone for all the feathery electronic textures, providing a beautiful backdrop for Ices’ fantastic singing. It’s all almost beatific, which makes sense: Ices has stated this album is all about the notions of flight and levity, and the song beams with a positive energy. “And we know that we go on / ‘Cause we go on, go on, go on” she sings, and that seems as good an explanation as any in her hands.
Ices is out September 16 via Jagjaguwar.
Stream: Orenda Fink – “You Can Be Loved”
Omaha-based songwriter Orenda Fink, one half of Azure Ray, is getting ready to release her third full-length solo album. She already showed us first single “Ace of Cups”, and now a new one has arrived: “You Can Be Loved,” a dreamy, soft piece of pop. With slightly twangy, stringy guitars, and Fink’s perfectly understated voice (which she also uses to harmonize nicely with herself), the song establishes itself to be very much in the same vein as “Ace of Cups,” while also deepening the sound and showing a different shade of what is one of my most anticipated records of the year.
Blue Dream is out August 18, via Saddle Creek.
Wisconsin native Zola Jesus (aka Nika Danilova) has released a new single from her forthcoming record, Taiga, and it points out all her strengths beautifully. On “Dangerous Days,” Danilova sends forth a surging beat and sweeping synths that grow to sound positively triumphant. Of course, the main draw is still the same: that voice. Danliova’s elemental, titanic voice has long been the centerpoint of her music, and for good reason: she finds surprising depth within what at first appears to be a sort of limited delivery. On this new track, she uses many of her tricks – going from low-key to wailing within seconds – and nails it. Her new record is said to be inspired by her Midwestern roots and Russian ancestry, and even though I can’t really imagine what that clash would sound like, I’m eager to find out.
Taiga is out October 7 via Mute.
London-based singer-songwriter/producer FKA twigs came out with a short, but pretty awesome, EP last year entitled EP 2, the follow up to her debut EP (whose name you can probably guess). And now she is finally gearing up to release her highly anticipated debut full-length, fittingly titled LP 1. And with this announcement comes a new video for first single “Two Weeks.”
Where FKA twigs has before seemed mystical and ethereal and vulnerable, here she takes all the reins. “Two Weeks” is one of the most explicitly lustful and sexually upfront songs to come out this year (think along the lines of Beyonce’s self-titled record, but more interesting to listen to). With lyrics like “My thighs are apart for when you’re ready to breathe in”, and “You say you want me / I say you’ll live without it / Unless you’re the only one who instigates / Got your mouth open”, twigs is taking no prisoners. Of course, this is all delivered in her increasingly-impressive production and gorgeous falsetto.
The video is a nice counterpart, featuring a single take that slowly reveals twigs as some kind of goddess, pouring water into the mouth of her dancing servant. This is a head-turning hooky single, hitting at all the right moments, and brazenly confident. It’s this kind of eye-widening track that really gets me pumped for this record.
Look for LP 1 on August 12 via Young Turks.
Courageous Endeavors is a modern jazz quartet from Minneapolis whose members fancy themselves “the Twin Cities’ answer to the relevance of jazz in the 21st century.” I’d say with this debut album of theirs, Prototype, they live up to that. If you’re looking for some powerful modern jazz (besides BBNG), absolutely give this thing a listen. The playing is tight throughout, and the group is capable of delivering some breathtaking climaxes, perhaps the highlight being “Legends,” whose music video you can watch here. Check it out above - you’re bound to get the feels!
Right around the start of this year, I wrote a little something about Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanes, the latest album from Montreal experimental rock outfit USA out of Vietnam. So, the project has been out there for a while now, but I’m bringing it up again because it is receiving a formal release just this week via New Damage Records. I still find the band’s combination of drone, doom, prog rock, and psych pop elements to be utterly enchanting, so take this as a gentle reminder to check this thing out. Above, the droning psychedelic doom-pop magic of closer “Tonight, the Dead Walk.” Enjoy!