Signor Benedick The Moor – “I. A Boy A Man A King”

When underground MC Signor Benedick The Moor tags a new track “prog rap,” he freakin’ means it. This dude has a Bandcamp project drop a little while back that I was sorta hot on. While I think he’s a thoughtful MC with a lot of intensity, there was an overt screamo influence running through some of the songs that was a major turnoff for me.

“I. A Boy A Man A King” seems to be a bit of an afterthought or leftover from that album–I’m assuming because of the cover art–and I’m loving it. The lofty, multifaceted instrumental on this track is fantastic, and Signor’s over-the-top delivery grips my attention instantly. Yeah, he sounds a bit too much like Danny Brown on this particular track, but the diversity of his delivery becomes more apparent after listening to other tracks.

Despite an obvious influence, Signor is still incredibly convincing on this track, bringing a schizophrenic flow to the table as he attacks the numbness one might feel toward all the suffering in the world–or at least that’s what I’m picking up from it.

The way he speeds up with the tempo in the second half of the track is stellar, too. This dude’s got too much talent to be hanging in the underground too much longer, seriously. Enjoy!

Geronimo! – “Mr. President”

A wild, wordy, and riff-y track from Geronimo! titled “Mr. President.” It comes form the band’s next LP, Cheap Trick, which is dropping on May 13th via Exploding In Sound–you know, the home of my dude’s in Pile.

What his song doesn’t have in finesse, it makes up for in raw energy. The lyrics border on insane ramblings, and the tone of ‘em actually reminds me a bit of that new Big Ups album I loved recently. That makes me even more excited for this thing! Enjoy!

Silver Mt. Zion – “Birds Toss Precious Flowers”

Having dropped the art rock wonder Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything earlier this year, Thee Silver Mt. Zion is readying a new “remix” EP that will be released just later this month. It is called Hang on to Each Other and features two lengthy revamps of the song of the same name from the collective’s 2005 effort Horses in the Sky.

Now, I’m wondering if fellow post-rock act Mogwai stole the name Rave Tapes from them, as judging from the EP’s B-side, “Birds Toss Precious Flowers,” that would be a fitting name for this project. This song is a headlong foray into electronic dance music…and the guys and gals at Thee Silver Mt. Zion actually pull it off. While it doesn’t remotely resemble the mostly acapella track it purports to have used as a “launching point,” the track is a true-blue house odyssey that remains captivating for its full 12 minutes. I can’t say I was expecting this from the band, but hell, I think now I’d like to them go totally electronic for a release in the future.

From the band: “It’s like that famous quote that Emma Goldman never said = “DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION”!”

Hang on to Each Other is due out April 29 via Constellation. A gentle reminder the band’s latest full-length is amazing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_UR-FF5h2I

Ought – “Habit” (Premiere)

Recent Constellation Records signees Ought have just dropped the first song to be released from their forthcoming debut LP on the legendary Montreal label. The album is dropping on April 29th, and is titled More Than Any Other Day.

Admittedly, I’m a bit of a sucker for wordy rock ‘n’ roll with eccentric vocalists. I occasionally have to remind myself to really wonder if what I’m hearing is actually good, or if the band in question is just scratching some insatiable itch of mine.

Yes, Ought does scratch that itch, but I think there’s something truly genuine and moving about the slow-burning instrumentation and erratic vocal delivery of “Habit.” Singer Tim Beeler’s voice doesn’t feel too different from that of a young David Byrne, and the guitars on this track sound like something out of a Midwestern emo release from the mid-90s. The instrumentation grows in intensity as the music progresses, and the band lifts these guitars and drums with some wonderful strings and electric piano.

At the finish line, “Habit” gets pretty noisy. I suppose the wailing strings and repeated shouts of “I FEEL A HABIT FORMING,” are giving off “Heroin” vibes as well. And that’s not just an aesthetic comparison either, because Ought creates a similar kind of magic, I think. Enjoy!

OBN IIIs – “No Time For The Blues”

Orville Bateman Neeley (OBN) III has no time for the blues. The Austin frontman is all punk, all day – no bullshit. To call him, with his excited studio persona and writhing stage antics, electrifying would be an understatement; to say his bandmates present a flurry of  barnburning garage-punk grooves would be as much of one. So, I recommend just pressing that play button above and letting the music take you where it may. If you find that the things around you are starting to get broken, like lamps, windows, your monitor, and such – don’t worry; that’s just the OBN IIIs’ magic working.

“No Time for the Blues” is taken from the band’s upcoming album Third Time to Harm, due out May 27 via Tic Tac Totally.

Woods – “With Light And With Love”

New York psych folk outfit Woods drops the title track to their forthcoming album coming out on April 15th. It’s a 9-minute odyssey that starts off like any ol’ woods track, but eventually expands into one of the most enthralling jams in the band’s discography.

Watch a review for the band’s previous record right here.

ZelooperZ – “Plateau”

Detroit rapper and Bruiser Brigade member Zelooperz drops one of the most hyped rap songs of 2014. Not only is the energy on this thing high, but the lines are absolutely ridiculous with bars like this:

“Rappin’ ’bout being’ broke got me ballin’ in the future.”
“They don’t call me that negro just because my knees grow.”

What planet is this dude on? He’s nuts. Anyway, the absurdity of ‘Looperz delivery is a great match with the gurgling electronics in the instrumental here, too. There’s no strong hook or anything like that; it’s just one insane verse after another, and I’m completely fine with that. Enjoy!

DVA – NIPOMO

Stream this nearly indescribable album from Czech music duo DVA titled NIPOMO. It seems to mix elements of jazz, noise, and indie pop with and a general sense of absurdity that makes this collection of tracks a fun listen. And as over-the-top as they may be, I find the vocals really cute at points. It’s like DVA has been able to embrace the quaintness of Belle & Sebasian or kawaii j-pop without losing sight of adventure. Enjoy!

SZA – Babylon

TDE member SZA drops a stunning single and video for her upcoming album, Z, which is dropping on April 8th. While this is clearly an R&B song, I’m loving the unusual emphasis on atmosphere in the production and subtle Björk influences on the vocal melody here. It would be stellar to see her evolve along this difficult-to-categorize path. She’s definitely off to a good start.

You can also catch her vocals on the new Schoolboy Q album if you’re interested.

Enjoy!

clipping. – “Work Work”

clipping. is sounding pretty polished on “Work Work,” the lead single from their Sub Pop and studio debut clppng. The harsh noise elements of Midcity are all but gone, but the trio is progressing and maintaining their identity as one of hip hop’s most forward-thinking outfits magnificently.

While the song sports some club-centric synth work and clipping. has clearly placed a greater emphasis on their hooks, the track’s instrumental is nevertheless incredibly inventive. According to Rolling Stone, the beat was “made by rolling a ball-bearing in a metal Thermos, smashing cinder blocks, and crumpling a beer can.” And on the flow front, all of the electricity of the Midcity-and-prior work is preserved – hell, it might just be turned up! The outlook for the group’s debut is extremely promising.

clppng is due out June 10 via Sub Pop. A reminder we absolutely loved the aural assault of  Midcity last year: