James Ferraro / Triad God
James Ferraro just took us to the hell that is New York, and now he’s dragging us to another kind of hell: the mall. “Swarovski” is a collaboration between Ferraro and fellow Hippos in Tanks signee Triad God (who released the fantastic NXB mixtape last year), and its barely-there beats, sparse sample placements, and tense, moody electronics are perfect backdrops to the passive mutterings of Triad God and the swallowed-by-Auto-Tune crooning of Ferraro. It’s luxury-cut anxiety, crystal ornaments of a sensually lurid dread, a glass sculpture of anguish. And it’s oh so beautiful.
Fat Usher, I’m sorry I doubted you.
At first, I thought you were a hack, a phony, a man cruelly bent on capitalizing on the dreams of privileged children and their willing parents. When “Friday” came out, my first inclination was to laugh at you, riding along in that fake car, because you were emasculated by a tween. And it was sad. Ditto with “Thanksgiving:” how downtrodden were you donning that turkey suit? And the final nail in the coffin: “Chinese Food,” with its sickening swathe of rainbows and problematic racial contextualizations (and here we go again with the animal costumes; you should consider playing at Anthrocon). Fat Usher, believe me when I say, ‘I cried. I cried for the dollars spent, the time wasted - but most of all, for humanity itself.’ Touch my cheek. Feel my tears.
But you’ve really redeemed yourself with “ABCDEFG.” I can tell you’ve been studying your Foucault, because that dollhouse is one hell of a Panopticon. When you peer into the windows of that dollhouse, you’re peering into the shining, collective soul of humanity, mocking it, and making it your own. When you enlist the noodle guy from the “Chinese Food” video to play Cupid and strike that poor girl with your arrows, you may as well be shooting America in the heart, because pageviews = love (no matter how twisted), and you’ll get a lot of love for this, I guarantee it. And the puppets. Oh god, the puppets. You’ve really gone meta, Fat Usher. I will kowtow till my knees give in.
• ARK Music Factory: http://arkmusicfactory.com
“Chain-Link Fence Around the Sun”
Did they ever call him “Nervy Nerviano” when he was a little kid? OK, that was almost too easy, but I just had to ask after hearing Syracuse musician Andrew Nerviano’s latest project: a lap steel-based, nervous wreck of a tune under the new guise of Telepathy News. The jittery jungle drums, elastic bass, and shredding gyroscopic guitar melodies help sculpt what is (at least that I know of) the second project of Nerviano’s to hit headphones in 2013, the first being an incredible tape release as The Inverted Orange for Prison Art, and all of it on the heels of a stint with the sadly defunct Sarongs. Per his usual MO, things here spin and spiral themselves out of control with an alarming efficiency. But it’s really the vocal melody that hooks it, carrying the track into a black hole of riffs that go ahead and blast it all to hell.
Although this one is sort of flapping out in the breeze of SoundCloud town all by its lonesome, rumors are being encouraged by Nerviano and associates as to the possibility of a release containing this and other brain-benders to come on Velidoxi Records in the near future. So next time you have the ladies over for bridge, you know exactly what to gossip about.
• Telepathy News: https://soundcloud.com/telepathynews
I was too busy on Halloween first chasing after a toddler dressed as Hello Kitty cracked out on sugar and then passing out while watching Cronenberg’s The Fly to eventually notice that Australian creepers Portal slipped a gnarly video out into the world of the track “Curtains” from this year’s badass Vexovoid. Noisy/Vice premiered the video, which is about as dark as you’d expect, given the band’s penchant for spooky theatrics.
Later that evening, under the ocean’s “Mellow Moon,” wetsuits gathered and knelt before a heavily wired, networked, and chipped alter built upon surf boards and wet sand. A bummed-out sermon vibes with lightly crashing waves and someone fuck-plucking their guitar in the SUV. Hands are cut on coral and brought to the temple of PC Worship towering before them, dripping red into the holy electronics. Surges of spastic electricity flicker throughout, and this “Mellow Moon” becomes a beacon of blood-shot shine. Raised hands jazz-out shake, and a reign of increasingly chill shimmering seeks to sway all surrounding surfer mopers.
C. Spencer Yeh / Okkyung Lee / Lasse Marhaug
“The Mermen of Poetry”
In case you haven’t noticed yet, we here at TMT are pretty stoked for C. Spencer Yeh, Lasse Marhaug, and Okkyung Lee’s appropriately named Wake Up Awesome to come out. I know that the day this record gets released will be the day I wake up most awesomely, but for now, the rest of the world and I will just have to settle for waking up to two-fifteenth’s awesome since the trio has dropped another track of sweet brain-frying noise on us.
Continuing with this group’s commitment to awesomeness, the name of this piece is “The Mermen of Poetry,” and it shows a slightly different side of the trio’s work compared to “Throw Down the Fishcake / Anise Tongue and Durian Wet Dream (Edit).” “The Mermen of Poetry” still manages to work the trio’s sounds into a delightfully chaotic amalgam, but there’s much more restraint and space with this work. “The Mermen of Poetry” begins pointillistically, with Yeh’s extended vocal techniques and Marhaug’s skittering electronics blending almost imperceptibly to create a textural bed that Lee proceeds to emerge from. As a result, Lee steals the show on this track in many ways; it’s amazing to hear how she alternates between decidedly soloistic passages and a more textural/gestural role.
Wake Up Awesome is out November 19, but you can preorder the LP or CD now from Software mother-label Mexican Summer.