“Bath Salt” (feat. Flatbush Zombies)
Another song about Bath Salts!? Still, it’s better than #yolo. A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ant, and the Flatbush Zombies have crafted a downright demonic PSA about the drug of choice for many cannibals in this God-fearing country. And here’s the real chiller: A$AP’s verse isn’t even the best! We’re used to the Harlem native stealing the spotlight in practically every track he guests on, but with this helter-skelter beat, the Flatbush Zombies are in their element, cackling through their verses with the same manic intensity of that notorious face-eater from Miami. A$AP still manages to come through with some witty lines (note to any potential Ms. Rockys — don’t bother unless you’re a lesbian), but as with all things in life, Zombies automatically win.
Freddy Ruppert, formerly known as This Song Is A Mess But So Am I and lead songwriter of Former Ghosts (with Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart, Zola Jesus’ Nika Roza and Tearist’s Yasmine Kittles), is about to release perhaps his most idiosyncratic project yet. The EP, titled Wait, is being released on cassette via NNA Tapes under his real name, which he’s been using since last year on two EPs (Sickling, Home From The Wars) and a full-length (Dove Hounds).
While the name change marks an ideological break from This Song Is A Mess But So Am I (a project originally intended to serve as catharsis for dealing with the loss of a family member), the instrumental EP also serves as an aesthetic departure from the Radioshack industrial hell of that project. Exploring the reverberated low-end frequencies of bell tones, field recordings, and piano, Ruppert takes on the themes of “expectation without an emotional resolution or climax,” a transitory, non-teleological exercise in dark ambient whose requirement of attentive, in-the-moment listening becomes its own reward. Or maybe there is no “reward” in the traditional sense with this sort of music. Rather than relying on the usual aesthetic tricks to keep the listener interested, “1,” the tense, enigmatic track below, shows how the fluidity of its sound and the textures themselves are enough to incite and maintain interest. Here, Ruppert is more ambient than industrial noise-pop, more Badalamenti than Xiu Xiu, and I’m liking it.
Check out “1” here and a trailer for the EP right below it:
Wait is due August 14 on NNA Tapes.
Obama BasedGod [mixtape]
President Obama, who famously tattooed lyrics from Lil B’s “Tiny Pants Bitch” on his back (specifically, “Niggas in the hood think I’m flexing and I’m gay/ I make your bitch straight/ I take on the day.”), has just received TheBasedTreatment from Brandon McCartney himself. B’s new mixtape, his third this month, is called Obama BasedGod, and it almost makes me want to get off my ass and participate in something. Almost. But seriously: listen to/download this mixtape. BERRRANG-DANG-DANG!
• Lil B: http://www.basedworld.com
Last year, Yves/Son/Ace, the solo project of Matthew Ford (Factums, Love Tan, Evening Meetings), released a limited cassette on Night People called Unsung. Being as perceptive as it is, French label La Station Radar — responsible for 2012 albums like Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier’s An Age Of Wonder and Blanche Blancehe Blanche’s Papas Proof — figured the music was so good it had to press it on vinyl. The result is a 20-track, 44-minute, 33 RPM, limited-to-300 album that’s as gritty as it is immediate as it is drugged-the-fuck-out.
Unsung’s title track is the perfect example. The song is a desolate little number, with narcotic vocals and primitive beats nearly suffocating under the layers of yelping electronics. The accompanying video, by Robert Zverina, extends the detachment with hypnotic, distorted imagery that’s thoroughly disconnected and, quite frankly, terrifying. If this is the sound of pop as we draw closer to the apocalypse, we’re in for one dark and demented ride. If it’s not, then click play on the video below for “Unsung” and get ready for one dark and demented ride anyway.
You can also stream and/or download the track here:
Yves/Son/Ace’s Unsung, pressed on transparent red vinyl, is out now on La Station Radar.
“Assholes and Oxtails”
Here it is, dubknowdub burning that midnight fire transparent style brought to you by Words + Dreams, err Trouble, errrpp The Maze. Yes. And showing you the way via “Assholes and Oxtails.” Dead end? Murk your way through deep neon-sizzled zones, and ‘_’ -out. Please, just keep on reeling. Soon enough, it’ll be MiniDisc and you’ll have to (de-?)upgrade your equipment to be — how do you say — ‘ipp? Just recently, Words + Dreams released dubknowdub’s “Assholes and Oxtails” on a c92 Maze Mixtape, and a digital postcard featuring the mixtape’s tracklisting of bands featured at The Maze this year. Plenty of free-feeling frolics to fill your face. <3<3<3
I saw Guantanamo Baywatch play at a Burgerville, a local fast food chain in Portland, all of which share the same 50s burger-and-a-milkshake aesthetic. As McDonald’s is known by its golden arches, Burgerville is known by its jukebox. It’s a real throwback kind of place, and they do pretty well buying from local farmers and selling as fresh of food as they can, but no mistaking; it is definitely a fast food joint, and being a fast food joint, you have to deal with certain limitations. Most notably, that your food may be delicious and local and sustainable, but it’s still a heart attack on a bun. And that’s okay, as long as you don’t try and act like you’re something you’re not.
Guantanamo Baywatch (local, farm-fresh, sustainable Portlanders) know exactly where they stand, in the middle of a genre that reached its own limitations sometime in the late 60s: surf rock. It’s impressive, then, how much their new album, Chest Crawl, sounds as fresh, new, and energetic as the genre probably did 50 years ago. And seeing this kind of thing against a backdrop of burgers, jukeboxes, and kids in cut-off jean shorts and tank-tops was about as proper a venue as our nostalgia-dipped current landscape could provide for a band so true to surf rock’s original trends.
Listen to the title track, “Chest Crawl,” below, buy the record over at Portland’s own Dirtnap Records, and enjoy it over a nice cheeseburger and Cherry Coke. I imagine it’s how the band would want it.