Stream Two New Four Tet Tracks

Today marks the release of Four Tet’s new record Pink, a compilation of sorts that collects all of the 12″ singles that he has released recently for his Text imprint. The album also includes two new tracks, both of which hover around 10 minutes in length and both of which are serious IDM bangers. “Lion” is a retro, house-influenced jam that recalled Aphex Twin’s first collection of so-called ambient music, while the slightly longer “Peace For Earth” is a bit dreamier and forward thinking, with some woozy, disparate synths that give way to lush pads that definitely invoke the song’s title.

Stream both tracks above via YouTube and pick up Pink┬ávia Four Tet’s website.

Y U NO REVIEW: NOV 2011

This month on YUNR, Anthony gives explanations as to why he’s let new releases from Coldplay, Florence + the Machine, Noel Gallagher, Russian Circles, and the Beach Boys pass him by.

Here’s some short explanations of other albums worth checking out as well:

1. Thee Oh Sees- Carrion Crawler / The Dream (In the Red)

I’ve gotten quite a few requests for this one, and I can understand why. This album is noticeably better than the album the Oh Sees put out earlier this year. No doubt. The production on this album is clearer, the songs are a bit catchier, and the total package is pretty accessible.

If it’s on, I’ll listen to it; however, I have no real desire to come back. The reason is I feel this album doesn’t really tell me much of anything past Oh Sees records haven’t already. To be honest, I haven’t been into much of anything the band has put out since they’ve been opting for a much more shrill and brittle production quality.

Like I said, this album brings things into a much more accessible direction, but that’s a place the Oh Sees have already been with releases like The Master’s Bedroom Is Worth Spending a Night In, which is one of my favorites in the group’s discography.

I’ll give these guys props for being one of the most consistent groups in garage rock, but that’s ultimately the issue I have with this album. It’s like I know exactly what to expect before I even listen, which makes maintaining any excitement for forthcoming releases difficult. Still, I’ll probably at least try to listen to whatever these guys put out next, just in case there is a bold change in style that manages to blow me away.

2. Vallenfyre- A Fragile King (Century Media)

This was an album I was considering reviewing, but I ultimately skipped for a few reasons.

Initially, I was pretty intrigued by the very readable vocals and the doomy approach to death metal this outfit took. Plus, the frontman lacing feelings about his recently deceased father into the lyrics was captivating as well.

Though I dug a lot of the slower tracks–because they were loaded with murky, low-end harmonies that sounded fantastic–Valenfyre kind of loses its flavor when they speed up. Some of the riffs and faster-paced moments on here felt like they could have been pumped out by just about any band, and that broke my heart a bit. Still, it’s at least worth checking out if you consider yourself a death metal fan.

3. Mutemath- Odd Soul (Warner Bros.)

Surprisingly, this is the first I’m hearing of this New Orleans rock band, and maybe Odd Soul wasn’t the best introduction. While this album is well-produced, I guess a lack of originality is what’s ultimately keeping me from loving it. These guys clearly have a deep appreciation for classic rock, funk, and blues. Yes, no arguing about that. However, the end product just ends up sounding a bit too much like a Black Keys record with more instrumentation and a more marketable sound.

I don’t think these guys are directly biting their style from the ‘Keys, but they’re not really coming together with a unique spin on their influences with these tracks. If that’s somehow intentional, that’s fine. It’s just not for me, then.

If alternative rock with a vintage aesthetic if what hits the spot for you, hit this up. These guys will scratch most of your itches.

4. Los Campesinos!- Hello Sadness (Arts & Crafts)

Yes, I’ve gotten a lot of requests for this one, I think. Maybe not a million, but a noticeable amount. Ya know, I’ve always had a soft spot for this “twee”-flavored indie coming out of the UK. Gimme a Belle & Sebastian record or a Dolly Mixture record to listen to and I’m set. Plus, I’ve got to give it to Los Campesinos! for carrying the torch and kinda digging out their own niche in the style. They play this rock with more modern production and lots of instrumentation. It’s kind of like the overly emotional simplicity of older twee, but pumped up with a grandiose sound–not to mention it sounds a bit cleaner, too.

Still, for some reason, I don’t feel all that captivated by this group. I think the closest I ever came to really like a record from this group was last year’s Romance Is Boring, and I don’t recall even reviewing that, sadly.

If emotional, rowdy indie rock choruses viciously lashed with strings stick in your head and keep you humming all day, then make sure to give a listen to this.

5. Machinehead- Unto the Locust (Roadrunner)

When it comes to the styles of Nu Metal and Groove Metal, which currently dominate pretty much every commercial metal and hard rock radio station in America, Machinehead is one of the groups you could say is directly responsible.

Well, of course the rise of these styles of metal is just as much, if not more, indebted to labels, marketing, and the collective tastes of young metal fans. Oh, let’s not forget Pantera, too. Ugh. I’m getting off point.

I guess, ultimately, this just isn’t for me. This flavor of metal used to be one of my favorites, sure, but that was back in the late 90s and early 2000s. I’m a different person now.

I think I can still throw on a copy of Vulgar Display of power and dig it, but I think I’m going to remain only a casual fan of this sound for a while.

6. Evile- Five Serpents’ Teeth (Earache)

I heard these guys started as a Metallica tribute act, and I’m not surprised by that bit of information at all. I mean, some of the vocals even remind me of Hetfield’s.

This record is certainly not terrible. It’s solidly produced, teh vocals are on point, and the riffs hit a nice groove. However, I prefer my thrash a little more aggressive, I guess. I think this has already been made obvious by previous thrash albums I’ve favored: Vektor’s Outer Isolation, Havok’s Time Is Up, Toxic Holocaust’s Conjure and Command.

If you’re up for the idea of solid thrash metal record that’s in the vain of Metallica’s early output, then this is worth hitting up. I guess I’m just looking for something a little different.

Nicolas Jaar- Don’t Break My Love EP

Hey, everybody! It’s the Internet’s busiest music nerd here, Anthony Fantano. Sup? I hope you’re well. Here I am on my text thing again. Damn, it feels good to be a texter. Or writer. Whatever.

This time, I’m putting my thoughts on the new Nicolas Jaar EP into words. This dude is a New York electronic music producer. He dropped an album I reviewed earlier this year, Space Is Only Noise. Actually, I uploaded my review the day Radiohead’s new album came out. As a result, I think a lot of my followers might have missed out on a great album. If you somehow managed to miss Space Is Only Noise, I implore you to check it out. For me, it’s a mind-bending and genre-blending experience.

So now, months after releasing one of my favorite albums of this year, Nicolas Jaar has put out this EP, Don’t Break My Love. And these eleven minutes, my friends, are bliss. Jaar has taken the best aspects of his debut album and condensed them into two fantastic songs.

The first thing that strikes me about these tracks is they just sound like another world. It’s a world of open spaces. There’s no color here; there are only shades of gray. Every sound is quiet, every texture is soothing. The music evolves slowly, but still manages to surprise.

On the title track, record static and distant hand claps start things off slow. I would say the track isn’t even moving. The introduction is merely a display of the atmosphere the oncoming song will thrive in. Icy keyboards slither in, and there’s this sound that pops up occasionally that kinda reminds me of crumpling paper, but swirled around somehow. See, this is why I love Jaar’s music. It’s loaded with sounds that are, well, kinda inexplicable.

A haunting male vocal appears and the beat begins. By this point, the groove is in full swing, but Jaar is subtly adding more percussion to the mixture. The voices grow louder and the synths swell. But a bass drone eventually comes into the picture and the entire song disintegrates. Disintegrates!

Surprisingly, the hook to this song is stashed away at the very end. It’s packing a female vocal sample and hits my hips harder than it does my head. The bassline sounds like it’s straight out of a dub reggae tune; displaying just how many influences go into this man’s sound. The ending is tight and goes off without a hitch.

The next track, “Why Didn’t You Save Me,” is just as pleasurable. But I do wish it took a bit more time with introductions. Still, its percussion, for me, is to die for. It’s like an electronic drum circle supported by a wide array of nicely varied percussive sounds. The grooves getting pumped out are ever-changing and do so with finesse.

The manipulated falsetto vocal–which may be a female’s, not sure–haunts my soul. Then it makes me question the existence of souls in the process. Plus, the harpsichord that drops in around the 2-minute mark is enchanting. Yeah, enchanting! Yet, I find this song to be kind of creepy.

This song, like the previous one, saves its best percussion and bassline for the end. Yeah, it’s becoming a tried and true formula for Jaar, but I don’t mind hearing it again, personally–especially if it’s going to be executed with sounds this stark.

I think I’ve learned more about this dude’s trajectory as a musician by listening to these two tracks, and I’ve loved the experience. Jaar’s music does so much for me. I think it’s amazing how he builds songs with such unlikely combinations of sounds. Yet, everything seems to flow so nicely. Every moment moves slowly, but nothing ever drags on or stagnates. Listening to these tracks on the surface is just as invigorating as diving into their details. It’s music that’s both intoxicating and enlightening.

I see myself returning to these tracks with the same frequency I do Space Is Only Noise. Plus, they get me looking forward to Jaar’s future.

Decent 9

What do you think of this EP? Love it? Hate it? Why? What should I review next? How does it measure up to Space Is Only Noise? Are you excited about where Jaar is going as a producer?

Forever.

Stream: Nicolas Jaar- Don’t Break My Love EP

Evidence- “Strangers”

Hey, everyone! Hope you’re well. Anthony Fantano, here. Internet’s Busiest Music Nerd. You know! Alright, it’s time for another track review. Punching them out right now, and I’m getting to talking about an artist I promised I’d lay an opinion on: Evidence.

This dude is a West Coast MC, and I’ve been conscious of this buy for a little while. A friend of mine in college turned me on to Dilated Peoples, which kinda fit my hunger for conscious hip hop at the time. However, for some reason, I didn’t really stick with these guys and Evidence like I should have, admittedly.

I was beating myself up over it a bit when I heard this dude was dropping a new album on Rhymesayers, Cats & Dogs. I was pretty ticked I hadn’t been keeping up on him, but I’ve gotta admit I’m a little let down by this album now that I’m hearing it.

There was nothing really terrible on this album. I think part of my issue is that Evidence is a bit of an acquired taste. The guy has a slow, sleepy, repetitive flow. I can take a repetitive flow here and there. MF DOOM is pretty repetitive, but Evidence lacks the urgency that makes me really wanna stick with him. I know it’s semi-intentional, because Evidence even brings it up in his lyrics, but I’m still not a huge fan of it.

With Evidence, it’s a bit of an exchange game. Sure, I’m not getting a fiery flow here, this dude’s lyrics are usually pretty clever. I think the track “It Wasn’t Me” had some of my favorite lines on this album.

But I’m not too in love with them on this particular track: “Strangers.” Evidence muses about not being able to trust his friends with his weed, carrying weight, originality, and the West Coast. Evidence is not a shallow soul. I admire the fact that he’s making the music he wants to make. Not only that, he’s phenomenally consistent in his style and personality. Amen!

It’s just that there’s absolutely nothing here that really sticks with me. I never come away getting hit by any of these lines, sadly. Everything just feels, well, kinda passable. Take this line for example:

“Lately when I walk I’ve been trying to hold my posture straight, hold my chin up then feel the love from across the way.”

That’s just one of many moments that don’t do a lot for me. It’s not terrible, but not amazing me either. Sure, it’s taken out of context, and I influence you to check out the lyrics for yourself over here, because that lyric is linked to the lines that appear after it.

Between these lyrics, the DJ cuts in between the verses, and the beat itself, I can’t say much more about this track than this: It’s a hip hop song. What I mean is that it just kinda feels like a stereotypical hip hop track. The recording here is top-notch, yes, but I don’t see what’s so definitive about this.

Evidence in this very song says that nothing in this original. Sure, everybody is influenced by something, and those influences show up in the art artists create, but I wish this track did a little more to separate itself from what inspires it. Because at this point, “Strangers”–and a lotta songs on Cats & Dogs–feel, well, a little generic.

Overall, I think this is a likeable album–and like I said, I think it’s mostly me just being underwhelmed by this guy’s flow–but it’s songs like “Strangers” that kinda hold me back from really loving this thing. Songs like this just kinda breeze by for me. Still, some great features on this thing: Raekwon, Ras Kass, Slug, and Aesop Rock.

What do you think of this track? Love it? Hate it? Why? What should I review next?

Forever.

Strong 5

Stream: Evidence- “Strangers”