MV & EE
There’s nothing more frustrating than when someone does your job better than you before you even knew it was your job. Case in point: there’s a very fine little piece of descriptive writing that can give you just about every idea of what Fuzzweed, the latest record from the Vermont duo MV & EE, has to offer, better than whatever crap I’m already several sentences into here.
The best bit in this “MVEE head” Pete Coward’s review involves the notion of Blind Willie Johnson in space, and it’s such a key analogy. While the Blues of our fathers has reduced itself to sheer guitar solo wankery and Bill Murray cameos at guitar solo wankery festivals, it’s a good thing we have folks like Matt Valentine and Erika Elder to teach us that, in this day and age, the only real way for this kind of music to evoke something meaningful (read: something “Blue”) is to send that shit straight into orbit.
Fuzzweed is definitely that trip, and our first preview of the record is “Jacked Up,” a very pretty tune that shape-shifts between a pensive vamp and delicate balladry, all after you finally make your way through the freaky fog of guitar wah at the top. The album once again features a number of guest spots, notably Woods’ Jeremy Earl, and also comes printed with backlight-reactive ink of some kind, because blacklights are awesome. For an extra $2.50, you can nab a bonus CD with the record called Fantasy Set, which collects live recordings from MV & EE’s recent residency at Brooklyn’s Zebulon.
“London is Burning”
In the latter half of the aughties, King Blues were one of the most promising British punk groups, their sound a potent Molotov cocktail of hardcore, ska, folk, and reggae. Aside from their cherry-picking approach to punk, the group was notable (and notorious) for their frontman, Jonny “Itch” Fox, a loud, rowdy, self-proclaimed anarchist who, when he wasn’t screaming his face off or playing a mean ukulele, was known to contribute to anti-authoritarian writers’ collective Last Hours.
The King Blues disbanded last year, but Itch’s spirit of resistance is still very much alive; his solo work, a pungent breed of thrash-inflected rap with a tint of good ol’ UK-style dubstep, is just as acerbic as anything he’s done with his band. His new video for “London is Burning” takes that frenzied aesthetic and encapsulates it in what can best be described as a high school film production class project gone horribly, horribly wrong. The visuals are highly saturated and of poor quality (at one point, you can see the tape marking the boundaries of the green screen), the lyrics are blasted in Arial (decidedly the least punk rock font in the Microsoft Office suite), and Itch sports a cynical sneer throughout. It’s an indignant middle finger to the glossy lyric videos we’re used to seeing, and like any good protest, it’s captivating to the very end.
• Itch: http://itchsmixes.com
You’ve pulled the blinds closed, so you can’t see the snow coming down harder and harder outside. You’ve wrapped your body in sheets. You are not alone.
Do you remember how to speak? Do you remember proximity?
Will you play the song that reminds you how and what it feels like?
James Blake’s new album, Overgrown, is out April 8 on Republic.
Cascade Records Podcast 45
The podcast might just be the perfect platform for today’s crop of electronica-influenced instrumental hip-hoppers, as the continuous mix format lends itself to the mechanisms of a traditional “beat tape,” as well as those of a partially or fully improvised live performance. Case in point: “Cascade Records Podcast 45,” mixed by Vicenza, Italy’s Morpheground, who bookends his session with some filter-fried vocal samples (Randy Crawford and somebody else; maybe Thom Yorke) while running the gamut from uprock-ish to chillwave-y, even throwing in a remix of the remix of Chris Brown’s “Look At Me Now” along the way. If you dig this, be sure to check out Morphe’s 2011 outing, Enfuse
Portland beatsmith MONTGOMERY WORD has released his second album and fourth tape on his self-run tape label, Ewe of Now Recordings. Filled with cloudy 404 hooks and rainy drum-beat twists and turns, not even this winter-months release can escape the gray, cloudy haze of the Pacific Northwest in January. Working through the loops slower and with more subtle chops, NITE LYF feels like a product of late-night mixing sessions in the basement rather than the plugged-in, Adderall-infused beat music of 2012.
Listen to “throbert” from NITE LYF below, and buy the whole album from Ewe of Now, uh… now!
So, I told our Euro-Spanish computer grime hero Afrika Pseudobruitismus that I’d be covering his joint “CHROME CIGARETTES,” but this Sea joint is my fucking WAVE right now. When I want beach/surf/ocean music, I want it exactly how I perceive it: an endless adventure void of change and maximalist simplicity. Lemme have a listen here with this Sea, and — shit, I’m drowning. Vastness and swell-dom surrounds everything inside my head through ear buds and my mind is fluidly floating in a lake of its own secretion. Ain’t no care about the liquid running out my nose as I lean forward at work, eyes twitching at the monitor, Charlie going, “I think mercury is leaking from Clifford’s skull, but I don’t know. You good, dude?” And I’m all this has to be the best Beach Boy’s tribute ever, but the foam from my mouth makes it sound more like gurgling. If TABBED OUT were the official term to describe the moment one rolls back, drops all they’s peyote in the sand, and becomes one with the coastal reach, people would describe it by playing Sea. Also, what’s everyone’s thoughts on his side project BRONTOSAURIUS REX collaboration with a local broad?
• Afrika Pseudobruitismus: https://soundcloud.com/afrika-pseudobruitismus-2