Coming down off they’s 2011 Spectrum Spools release, Elegy for Beach Friday, Bee Mask getting a little vocal freak with Autre Ne Veut. Oh, wait, does this excerpt even got vocals in it? Where do you think they is? Maybe, imagine yourself listening to this track saturated in smooth post-New Jack Swing-style R&B, super jarring hooks dressed in echo, and set ablaze with digital harmony. Maybe. Maybe he just submits to Bonnie Bear-style hummings. OH SHIT! News is, the vocals are right there in the track, completely washed of “diva” enlightenment. Yo, but I’m into that; whatever gets me wet. Slip off your chair this July when Bee Mask Vaporware/Scanops 12-inch is shit out by Room40. Okay, I’m done. YAY, BEE MASK!
“Fabric of Life”
Dewey Mahood is all over the place. Not only is he a member of Eternal Tapestry, Gärden Söund (with Barn Owl), Edibles (who released a cassette on Not Not Fun a couple years back), Bloodbiker, and Jackie-O Motherfucker, but since 2008, he’s also released a steady stream of solo music under the name Plankton Wat via labels like Digitalis, Stunned, Sloow Tapes, and DNT. He’s probably outside his Portland home right now, thinking up ways to reconcile what he sees with the psychedelic, cosmic drone improv that constitutes his music. Which is in fact the approach he took for Spirits, his second full-length album set for release May 15 on Thrill Jockey. As he said in a recent interview, “The music is inspired by the Pacific Northwest environment, the mountains and coastline, the weather, sky and clouds, and my closest friends.” With track titles like “Vista,” “Evening Sky,” “Orange Cloud,” and “Islands,” it’s clear that Mahood is looking out rather than in for inspiration.
While the video for “Spirits” showcased the album’s darker moments of electric-guitar weaving and rhythmic meditations, “Fabric of Life” offers respite from the heaviness with an uplifting, fingerpicked acoustic guitar, its melodies flirting with a persistent, warm drone that acts more to bend the harmony than anchor it to any center. The result is mildly uncomfortable yet completely accessible, a harmonic embrace that continually threatens to fold into the darkness. And thankfully, it eventually does, when a more dissonant, sinister drone arises from the shadows and devours it, slower and gentler than you’d expect.
Plankton Wat’s Spirits is out May 15 on Thrill Jockey.
“Lay It Down”
If you’ve been wondering what Gang Wizard have been up to, then you’re super cool. And I also have a treat for you: after a three-year hiatus, Gang Wizard have just self-released a six-song, hand-cut lathe 10-inch called Spirit vs. Soul! The group, which now features its original, late-90s lineup, has released music on labels like LOAD, Ecstatic Peace!, Arbor, and Deathbomb Arc, and the latter has kindly provided space on its website for you to purchase the release. Better act quick, though, as Spirit vs. Soul — their first “overtly Christian album”? — is limited to 20 copies, and I’m thinking about buying 19 of them and selling them for $5 extra each. I mean, why not?
Check out intro track “Lay It Down” here:
“Goldie,” the first single off A$AP Rocky’s upcoming major label debut, LongLiveA$AP, sees the rapper bridging his homegrown, hometown rap with the richer production and nuanced posturing of the big leagues. The video embodies this transitive stage as well, as A$AP chills in his Harlem neighborhood with his posse — and then heads out to Paris and drives around town in a drop-top, flashing his Louboutin slippers. Speaking of New York rappers in Paris, there are also plenty of dramatic closeups that seem straight out of Jay-Z’s “On to the Next One” clip: gold teeth, gleaming chains, glinting bongs. There’s also boobs: consider this one NSFW.
LongLiveA$AP drops July 4.
• A$AP Rocky: http://www.liveloveasap.com
Ascetic Ideals [album stream]
On June 5 (May 28 in the UK), Miles Whittaker, the cute member of Demdike Stare — just kidding; they’re both hot! — is releasing Ascetic Ideals, his second solo release as Suum Cuique. The album, limited to 700 vinyl copies, was created in between the sessions for Demdike Stare’s Elemental (TMT Review) and will be released via Modern Love (not Young Americans, as previously reported).
In an effort to both dedicate your life to a pursuit of contemplative ideals and practice extreme self-denial or self-mortification, feel free to not listen to the album. Or you can listen to the album right now, as Modern Love has made the entire album available for stream. To each his/her own.