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

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

Death Grips – “Inanimate Sensation”

Death Grips drop a new single to tease toward the second half of their yet-to-be-completed double album, The Powers That B.

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:

Joey Bada$$ – “No. 99″ (prod. Statik Selektah)

What makes Joey Bada$$ such an interesting MC at the moment is, not surprisingly, his combination of youth and talent. This combination leaves us with a technically gifted rapper who is currently at the most crucial moment in his career. While he certainly deserves to succeed, there is always a chance that that simply doesn’t happen–if you think he isn’t smart enough to know this, diagram his internal rhymes and ask yourself that question again. The result? Joey is a with a highly skilled artist earnestly putting over 100 percent effort into everything that he does. On “No. 99,” Bada$$ doesn’t make it sound easy. He’s consciously making what he’s doing sound as difficult as possible. At the midway point, he swaps 90′s style New York delivery for off the wall Jah inspired rapping akin to Kendrick Lamar’s recent style. All the while, he treats the beat as merely a suggestion for the ways his words should play with the time signature. Similarly, the 90′s Boom bap intertwines with the more modern bassline lurching behind it. We end up with a microcosm of Joey Bada$$ himself: reverent and irreverent at once. Yet all the while, he’s unbelievably entertaining while he’s making his statements.

- Garrett Cottingham

Lil Herb – “Knucklehead” (feat. Earl Sweatshirt)

Oh, how the times haves changed. Corporate America, once hated by cool kids alike is now a factory producing some of the most interesting singles and collaborations that are happening today. Adult Swim and Redbull have embraced the notion of acting as enablers for young artistic minds to come together through sponsoring far reaching singles programs. Look no further than “Knucklehead” by Lil Herb featuring Earl Sweatshirt for proof of this movement’s value. Earl’s dark and jazzy production always seemed more suited to the cold streets of New York than the sun drenched suburbs that Odd Future squirm their way through. Here he teams up with Lil’ Herb–who sounds a little too much like Joey Bada$$ for comfort–to explore this realm of hip-hop. The two blend together in the best way possible. I’d even wager that Earl sees how well his production works in this realm. He speeds up his traditionally uninspired–yet, technically impressive-delivery and seemingly gets carried away by the New York aggression he’s witnessing.

If corporations are leading artists to make genuine artistic discoveries, all that I want to say then is long live capitalism!

- Garrett Cottingham