“The Need Superficial”
People Hear What They See, the latest LP from D.C. rapper Oddisee, is the classic example of a hidden hip-hop gem. It’s a Bandcamp release, so it’s easy to miss, but once you hear its ingenious mix of rap, soul, and funk, you’ll find yourself pressing “play” over and over. “The Need Superficial,” available as a free download from the kind folks at Mello Music Group, marries a breezy soul groove to Oddisee’s rowdy, ricocheting flow — and it’s proof that the DMV is still packing some serious talent amid a resurgence of West Coast rap.
Evan Caminiti (of Barn Owl and Higuma fame) has released a new track under a more recent moniker, Painted Caves. Caminiti has been real busy lately, releasing a record two months ago under his real name (Night Dust on Immune Recordings), plus another Painted Caves cassette earlier this spring — not to mention a few records over the past year or so with his ongoing collaborations (yes, the dude is full of music). This new track, called “Fog Delay,” is a dark and brief episode of throbbing distortion and crawling effects, which move with about the same haste of the thick summertime fog that rolls along the San Francisco bay area, making frustrated airplanes wait as the mist inches by in carefree melancholy — which apparently was an inspiration for Caminiti, according to his introduction to the track on his website Electric Totem.
There’s some real history behind “Gravity Bong.” I mean it. I’m pretty sure that’s the Phil Spector boom-boom-boom-chic. You know, before that wall of sound comes in. You can tell by the tambourine. Then that guitar comes stumbling in and, for a minute, I’m thinking of “Just Like Honey.” But it’s too clean, and it jangles like that Ducktails sun-pop or maybe the psychedelia of Rangers. And that coughing noise like a Wu-Tang interlude. Jeans Wilder? The guy who played Willy Wonka? Well, that explains almost everything but the coughing. Oh right, the whole “Gravity Bong” thing. Got it.
Totally listen for it all below, and buy the album Totally from Everloving Records. I mean, come on, it has a dinosaur on the cover. So cool.
On his major label debut, The Stoned Immaculate, Curren$y reminisces about the days before stardom, when he would be “making Lamborghini engine sounds pedaling [his] bike.” After years of relentless grinding, recording, and touring, the New Orleans rapper has graduated from trikes to tricked-out rides, as we see in his new video for “Showroom.” As the title would suggest, a lot of the focus is on cars — nice cars, mind you — as well as Spitta’s usual companions: weed and attractive ladies. And the secret? “Hustle, dumbass/ It’s not rocket science.” Class dismissed.
Dead Dads Club
It may just be the words “Dead Dads Club,” but much about this track has the undercurrent of barely suppressed neurosis. The stuttering beat of “maud’dib,” along with its lyrics, suggest a desperate eagerness to stay optimistic, to please, but the strain shows. The effect is intriguing, infatuating even, though pregnant with just the right dash of sadness. The forced cheer is nicely symbolized in the conspicuous smiley face the band uses to spell its name. The song is sonorous enough, the voices are independently pretty, and the production is very fine, but the slightly unusual rhythms and lingering vocals come together to suggest a history of distress. It has a severely disquieting effect similar to not being able to get comfortable in one’s own bed. Everything becomes alien. Panic, slowly mounting, takes hold. There is a very exact truth to these layers. I like these layers.
Dead Dads Club has an upcoming release on Triple You Tapes.
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
“Only In My Dreams”
On August 21, 4AD will be releasing Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti’s “fourth” album Mature Themes on CD, LP and digital formats; pre-order up in here. He’s been king of modern AM-Gold [slash] local commercial jangle-plop since, like, 2002, —err 2000. Somewhere between there and here, he’s caught on to a standard of listeners and has grown since adapting a more accessible sound, etc. etc. And I fear that he’s evening out. Like how Deethunter/Atlas Sound, Dirty Projectors, Walkmen, and Beach House have all reached and remained peaked, but every new album now I’m (slightly) scared they’ll fall off. That’s where I think Pink is at right now. Don’t get me wrong; Ku Klux Glam and its associated releases were boss-indie shit. But where he’s heading with his own works, and this new album… I just want it to be jood. Real jood. Just, I can’t expect too much. Thus, for now, his future greatness rests “Only In My Dreams.”