Monday, February 27, 2017

Under perfect control...Exploded View

While I might have spent years previous allowing a range of emotions to dictate my listening choices, I find myself craving, in 2017, nothing but music that is aggressively passionate. I want something that sounds dangerous and keeps me on my toes and makes me want to cry out with whomever is playing the means to the message, and so I've essentially spent the last two months listening nonstop to Iceage and Nina Simone.

Seeing as Marching Church's Telling It Like It Is made for a natural follow-up to Iceage's Plowing Into the Field of Love, it fit the criteria for early 2017 quite nicely, and of course led me down a spiral of records under Sacred Bones. Which is how we came to Exploded View, on six months' delay after the release of their excellent debut.

To an extent, Exploded View is dangerous the way Portishead was dangerous -- which makes sense, given the involvement of Geoff Barrow on Anika's solo record from 2010, and the lasting influence he may have had. You might hear all sorts of influences on this album, from the obvious Portishead recall on opener "Lost Illusions" to, strangely, Suburban Lawns on spooky surf number "Disco Glove." Anika's head voice isn't unlike that of Su Tissue at her most focused, only the music behind her is cold, spacey, at times militant, and quintessentially German.

She's backed by a great group of Mexico City-based producers, including Martin Thulin, who recorded the last Crocodiles record shortly after Exploded View. Had Broadcast not already had a run, it might be an accurate guess to say that any of their kitschy, mod, fantastic records could have been the next step beyond this icy debut from Exploded View.

Monday, February 20, 2017

She's yours, she's yours!

I've no doubt that Molly Burch is earning comparisons to all the others: Angel Olson, Zooey Deschanel within the bounds of She & Him, La Sera's Katy Goodman, or any other adorable, quirky, retro, sweetly singing millennial who apparently has enviable bangs, an accompanying guitar in hand (whether her own or someone else's), and is followed by a rainbow of reverb. We're still only a few years past the girl group trend, and this shift toward the solo act was a natural next step.

The obvious now stated, Burch sings the way women sing in Los Angeles at present, and Please Be Mine is the type of adorable, quirky, retro almost-country album about heartbreak that could only be made by someone who has spent a significant amount of time in Los Angeles. But this isn't an irritating collection of same-old as characterized by the adjectives above; Burch's voice is at its best when it shows guts, has a bit of ballsiness to it, and it'd be nice to hear this coming out of everyone in that group, the others. And for this, she has a versatility that could one day see her sharing similarities with anyone from Aldous Harding to Courtney Barnett. Please Be Mine is an easy record to listen to, but there are so many directions for her to turn from here, and I'll be eagerly watching.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Taking a break from the same ole

How often does the drummer come out from behind his or her kit? Oh. Yes, well. Looking forward to the second album by drummer/producer Karriem Riggins, set for February 24. These are some spiffy instrumentals to start with.

In November, Greg Grease of ZULUZULUU put out a gorgeous EP that's soothing, heavy on bass, and lyrically relevant, if not heartbreaking. This is understanding freedom.

"I ain't trying to stay broke in the cycle/We just wanna live free and die old"

"Will I make it to the morning/am I still breathing/or lose my life for petty tickets/
I was only speeding"

Last year's mF deM was a free collection of MF DOOM tracks borrowed by deM atlaS (Christ, remember when the token crazy girl in junior high used to type in alternating upper- and lower-case letters on AIM?) He paired decently, though he's by far the most energetic man on this page, and perhaps the type of guy that Greg Grease is speaking to. Sorry, deM. Last month, deM atlaS put out a new song that has more...chill. And though I admittedly haven't thought about Rhymesayers in something like ten years, he's given reason to reconsider the label and give them another look and listen.

Monday, February 6, 2017

None of them are American

Brazil's Boogarins are one of the better live acts circling about right now, and they'll be in Los Angeles this Friday with fellow Brazilian Samira Winter, whose (local) band Winter is also a marvelous live act. Lots of hair, lots of weed, surely, and if the Bootleg Theater gets it right, lots of lights. If you're nowhere near L.A. or have better things to do, they just put out this assembled live EP and were kind enough to match donations to the ACLU while Bandcamp donated their sales on Friday.

This is an old thing, at least in the context of music, but it's a beautiful old thing. Forever-crush Bry Webb and fellow former Constantine Will Kidman recorded this cover and released it last fall. One day, he'll return to the U.S. One day.

In November, Song, by Toad had the good sense to put out a brief new record by Meursault (Neil Pennycook's Supermoon project may have been short-lived). So here's a song off it. Quite nice. As the label's Matthew Young calls it, it's #not fucking folktronica. Useful tag, as they've essentially eliminated the electronic whatsits several years later. Here's "By Gaslight," which reminds a bit of Clearlake or Doves (remember 2005?).

Well, look at this poor timing. There's already a Meursault full-length LP headed for release later this month. They're getting quite decent at cover art. Here's a piece of that, then.

Sam Wisternoff has made his way through these pages over the last ten years, under the name SJ Esau, and though he's previously made exciting stuff that sounds like no other, he can also boast that he never makes the same record twice, and now he has something a bit more soothing and piano-based, in collaboration, under the name Landslide Purist. Get Your Hopes Down came out in December.

And something from the always-thoughtful Vaadat Charigim, who recorded in Tel Aviv a peek at their next album, expected to arrive this year. If you look closely you'll see Dan Bloch's nod to Froth, courtesy of a past tour stop in Los Angeles.