Pure insanity coming from these two major tracks from anonymous producer SOPHIE, and both of these songs are out now via Numbers.
Between all the vaporwave and trap out floating around the Internet right now, there’s no shortage of zany electronic music at the moment. SOPHIE seems to embrace a lot of the tenants of TNGHT, Rustie, and post-modernists such as Daniel Lopatin; however, these sensibilities are unabashedly fused with commercial pop, a flavor that reads strongest in the often squeakily pitched melodies and lead vocals. There’s just something about the melodic shift at 0:39 that sounds like Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” Someone on Twitter went as far as to say the groove on “Hard” resembles that of a Death Grips track, and I have to nod in agreement on that comparison.
Despite the obvious present-day influences, something about SOPHIE’s productions thus far feel as if they’re coming from at least ten years into the future. Their energy is incredibly hyper, their accessibility is high, but there’s something sort of avant-garde about these tracks as well. Maybe it’s sort of short-sighted to assume that songs like “Hard” could become the norm in a decade, but I certainly get the sense that I’m catching up with something ahead of the curve when I put these beats on.
Among next week’s most exciting new music releases is the debut LP from Flaming Lips side-project, Electric Würms. The amusingly titled Musik, die Schwer zu Twerk finds the Steven Drozd-led outfit delivering a set of vibrant and surprisingly condensed prog/kosmische tunes that balance whimsy and weightiness. The project’s virtues were put fully on display earlier this summer with lead single and album closer “Heart of the Sunrise” (a boldly truncated Yes cover). If that track left you intrigued or perhaps unconvinced, take one more glimpse via “The Bat” above. Enjoy!
Musik, die Schwer zu Twerk is due out August 19 on Warner Bros. But that’s not all! The Flaming Lips are doing yet another one of their full-length cover albums, this time for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and that is expected for October 28. Set to feature a wide array of guests including Miley Cyrus, Maynard James Keynan, Julianna Barwick, and Chuck Inglish; that sounds like it’s gonna be freaking nuts! You can stream their take on “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” here:
A piece of chilling auditory excellence from producer, dj, and co-head of Her Records, Sudanim. The track is absolutely freaky, and manages to stir some really frightening emotions in its 3-minute runtime.
I’m loving the metallic, primal rhythms, for one. It’s like a combination of a factory floor machinery and the kind of drum circles you’d only find in the thickest of jungles. On top of this, Sudanim lays some incredibly twisted, high-pitched wails that I could even begin to guess the origin of.
I’m not sure where all of this is coming from, but hell is clearly where it’s going! Enjoy.
Last month, Houston-based avant-garde rapper and musician B L A C K I E announced a new studio full-length titled IMAGINE YOURSELF IN A FREE AND NATURAL WORLD. No release date yet, but this lead single “None Above” has me properly excited. The track is a crashing, kaleidoscopic wall of sound, with wailing from B L A C K I E forced to the background and just barely audible. It’s beautifully brutal. Or brutally beautiful? Whatever; it’s awesome! Check it out!
Yeah Yeah Yeahs front woman Karen O recently announced her first solo album, Crush Songs, and everyone was wondering what it would sound like. Would it just be another YYYs album? Well, here comes the first taste, a song called “Rapt,” and for those who have been paying attention to O’s career, it isn’t much of a shock. While it sounds a little like a lo-fi track that wouldn’t have felt out of place on PJ Harvey’s Uh Huh Her, it is also very much a Karen O song.
The song actually originates from her brief stint under the moniker Native Korean Rock from a few years back. It centers on a patient, simple acoustic strum, and a very direct vocal. “Do I really need / Another habit like you?” O sings in the chorus, deciding that yes she thinks she might. The song clocks in under two minutes, which is enough. Yeah Yeah Yeahs have done acoustic renditions of their songs before, and they sound a bit like this. The minimalistic video, directed by her husband and production designed by K.K. Barrett (Oscar-nominated for Her), depicts O floating around underwater in a bright red dress, her blonde shock of hair gone brown again. None of this is too complicated, which is why it works. O has always sounded quite comfortable in a more intimate setting, and this little ditty has me looking forward to the album.
Crush Songs is out September 9 via Cult.
UK-based electronic music producer Hudson Mohawke has recently announced that he’s got a new EP on the way via Warp Records. He’s dropped a new track along with the announcement, and it’s the title track of that forthcoming EP, Chimes. It’s dropping officially on September 29th.
Needless to day, considering I’ve enjoyed Hudson’s previous projects so much, I’m excited for what’s coming up on Chimes. The title track itself takes an incredibly loud, rowdy approach to the trap banger. While there are some ethereal, glossy synth passages on this track, much of it’s runtime is taken over by loud, distorted sub-bass and slightly offbeat synth horns.
It’s unquestionably colorful, and even though it might share a little too much common ground with what Hudson’s already done in TNGHT, I’m still loving what’s going on here.
Ethiopian-born Finnish singer-songwriter Mirel Wagner very quietly released her debut of creaky, stark folk music with a self-titled record in 2012. The whole thing was very minimal and dark and somber, so it isn’t too much of a surprise that it didn’t catch too much buzz (which is unfortunate, really). But now, Wagner has signed to Sub Pop for her sophomore record, When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day, and has released a new song.
“The Dirt” follows a similar pattern to her debut songs, but it has a richer production and songwriting value, with Wagner’s voice really shining throughout, with just the right dab of reverb. It has a bluesy strut (blues has always been a clear influence on her brand of folk), and the electric guitar that comes sliding in has a rustic, rickety feel that fits the song perfectly. It’s nice to hear Wagner’s songs get a couple more musical elements embedded into them; she does a nice job with these small but important assists. And when she closes the song with the chilling, “You’ll be in the dirt / You’ll be the dirt,” it just gets me all scared and excited.
When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day is out August 12 via Sub Pop.
Jenny Hval and Susanna are both well-respected Norwegian singer-songwriters with striking voices who favor unique, complex, and often quite minimal compositions. Last year, Hval released a pretty good experimental pop LP called Innocence is Kinky, and Susanna released her fourth solo full length (she has an additional three under the name Susanna & the Magical Orchestra), The Forester. Together on this new collaborative project, they form a very clear bond between their favorite styles.
“I Have Walked This Body” opens on a dark, somber drone, with Hval delivering a keening but mostly placid vocal. Soon though, things get weird. An eerie vocal affect and some well-placed static later, it almost leaks into Shaking the Habitual territory. Both singers’ voices get nicely showcased here, as the song slowly morphs and slides through a few different phases, before growing quite cacophonous and intoxicating, and then finally collapsing back into the void from whence it came. The two women clearly know what they’re doing here. Their collaborative album is a whopping 15 tracks long, so I am very interested to see what they do across such a huge canvas.
Meshes of Voice comes out Aug 19 via SusannaSonata.
Mass Appeal signee Bishop Nehru might be a fresh face in hip hop right now, but the ambitious 17-year-old MC has already been working on a full-length collaboration with MF DOOM, slated for release later this year. Above you can check out the project’s first single “Darkness (HBU)” and its video. Enjoy!