“Oxygen” is the second single to drop from Swan’s latest epic To Be Kind (after last month’s stellar, staggeringly funky “A Little God in My Hands”), and it is among the fiercest and most thrilling moments of its two-hour-plus runtime. It is certainly the most thoroughly noisy piece on the project, built on an unwavering no-wave bass groove and skittering drum line – guitars, lap steel, and finally brass falls piling on, amounting to something paradoxically crushing and danceable.
But the icing on the (dense, dense) cake is frontman Michael Gira’s vocals, which are at their most manic here, ranging from caveman-esque grunts on the bridge to a nasally call progressing into the second verse – “HEY THEEEEERRE.” It’s all just so cathartic; as a listener, you get release just from hearing these guys belt this thing out. It’s a sort of vicarious thrill that Swans has pretty consistently provided over the course of its now three-decade-long career.
And there’s also something to be said of the excitement this song manages to inspire despite the fact it has been kicking around for years in a number of iterations, in Gira’s solo acoustic sets, and then the live version that appeared on the limited edition live album Not Here/Not Now late last year. The band’s promotional/funding approach for these last few releases has been quite genius, as it has allowed the band to give glimpses of new content as they develop it – tiding us over, but allowing for plenty of surprises on the finished product. For instance, the glorious addition of brass here!
To Be Kind drops May 12 via Young God and Mute. A gentle reminder we loved their last one.
While I wish Broken Ankles was longer, in five tracks, Girl Talk and Freeway create more compelling material than some of the more buzzed-about mixtapes that have dropped thus far this year.
Out of the damn blue, Aesop Rock drops a 30-minute collection of unreleased beats, loops, and sonic oddities that haven’t made his commercial releases. It’s a pretty colorful collection of tracks, honestly. It’s just as lo-fi and idiosyncratic as I’d expect. It’s kinda like a Tobacco or Black Moth Super Rainbow album, but without the incessant psychedelia vibe. Enjoy, and download the Blob here.
Beach Boy is a wordy and captivating set of tracks from Ohio singer-songwriter Nick Hartkop and his band. It’s a mix of danceable punk music and acoustic emo ballads. It’s catchy and energetic, yet, downtrodden and slightly melodramatic. While I know this kind of music doesn’t translate for everyone, I think Nick has a strong pop sensibility that transcends his occasionally too-tragic vocals. Enjoy!
Kentucky hip hop outfit Cunninlynguists have just released the third installment of their Strange Journey series, which features a relentless gauntlet of guest rappers. Some of my current favorites sit among them: Apathy, Del The Funky Homosapien, Aesop Rock, Blu.
While the record doesn’t seem quite as conceptual as something like Oneirology, it still looks like a solid collection of tracks. Enjoy!
As mentioned previously, Brian Eno and Underworld co-founder Karl Hyde are coming forth with a collaborative full-length called Someday World. Despite having basic elements, the lead single “The Satellites” was a nice, mildly moody treat – it was great hearing these two electronic music veterans working together and just delivering a well-written tune.
“Daddy’s Car” has a lot of the same elements, including the bright horns that helped make “The Satellites” so captivating, but overall this new single is bolder with its instrumentation. Not in the sense that Eno and Hyde are doing something incredibly ambitious or adventurous – the components here are still pretty basic – but the song does sound grand nonetheless. Its arrangement is certainly more upbeat and zestier than the earlier glimpse we got of the project, and it’s decidedly heavier on vocals. These two tracks forecast an album that’s going to be dynamic, have stellar production, and simply be a great ride. So we’re properly excited for this thing to drop via Warp on May 5!
Here’s our review of Eno’s latest.
Millie & Andrea is the on-off collaborative project of electronic music producers Miles Whitaker and Andy Stott. They’re finally doing this side-project of theirs big with a new full-length album, which you can stream via the widget above.
It’s a set of eight tracks that are glitchy, textured, and rhythmic explorations of sound. Look out for some jungle-style breakbeats, spacey synth sequences, and hypnotic grooves. Enjoy!
The previously mentioned Bruiser Brigade MC Zelooperz strikes again with a new track titled “Can’t Hang.” The dude continues to bring an over-the-top delivery, eccentric lyrics, and an animalistic flow that even Zelooperz himself seems like he’s hardly got a hold of. Oh, let’s not forget to mention the B-A-N-G-E-R beat on this thing. Damn!
From what I understand, this dude’s got a tape on the way titled HELP, and I can’t wait for it right now. My brain is about to explode from the suspense.