“The West Wind”
Ryley Walker can kick it pretty much anywhere. Perched on a log in the woods, one leg crossed over the other, fingerpicking a solo ballad under the low hanging branches: alright. Cruising down the interstate to the next gig in a four-door sedan with Moth Cock, windows down, switching between fading FM stations to find a signal: for sure. Leave your front door unlocked for a few hours and the 24-year-old guitarist/songwriter could very well be lamping on your couch when you come back in from the yard work, boots up on the coffee table, munching on the trail mix with impunity. “But I ain’t mad atcha,” you tell him. He sets down the bag to give you two thumbs up and a smile. You think of all the stage areas, all the green rooms, all the DIY basement spots through which that smile has flashed and you wonder, as he moves on to the banana bread, “Doesn’t this guy have some new tunes coming out soon?”
Yeah. Though Walker’s debut full-length LP on the inimitable Tompkins Square doesn’t drop until April 2014, the label squeezes out a three-song EP on November 29 to tide us over. If much of his previous work, solo and in tandem with fellow six-string prodigy Daniel Bachman, fell on the minimal American Primitive side of the acoustic spectrum, “The West Wind” arrives as five minutes of prog- and jazz-inflected folk à la Pentangle or first-two-albums-era Nick Drake. The ornate arrangement lays Walker’s busy, open-tuned progression against a string section, piano, and brisk drums — all of which propel the song through crescendos and harmonic-laced interludes on the way to a surging coda. Walker’s voice sets the atmosphere early on, dropping couplets throughout verses in a weary baritone with plenty of room for the strings to breathe and swell in their complementary bittersweetness. Sounds like someone’s been both *hitting the studio* and *putting in serious work* and I, for one, am stoked to check out the rest of this pup come springtime.
Walker is on tour now in Europe with Daniel Bachman. Scope out the dates here, and keep an ear out for more of his solo material before the year’s end.
Zulu P ALWAYS doing theyselves in straight rare original form! Years of practice and expertise have cultivated to this moment: H.O.T. [produced by Ben Malkin for the Representing NYC imprint of Dutty Artz]. Blending hip hop and R&B in their own sui generis way, Zulu P [family includes Marley G, Big Star JF, Killah B, Andriena, Lil E.B., and T-Rock] runs hard, gets weird, flips reality, speculates fierce musical progression, and are (generally) all that IS music. Every single song on this mixtape demands your head nodding. Don’t even refuse it! I mean, you can’t. Like, I’m sitting here writing this post, tryna concentrate, you-know you-know, then “The Block is Hot” starts up, and it’s instant visual agreement.
And if you’re in reach of the NYC area, shout out to these fellahs LIVE this weekend at the Queens Museum of Art. As well, expect two more mixtapes before their album release (expected) Spring of 2014!
Listen to H.O.T. by Zulu P below, hosted by Goodbye Better Scents, or hit up they’s TO.BE field listed below-below:
Autre Ne Veut x Fennesz
Just a second here: Mexican Summer is releasing a Sears Catalog-esque limited edition (of 1000 -_-) hardcover book commemorating a SELF PROCLAIMED “milestone” in music. Mexican Summer: Five Year is 256 pages of (again, self proclaimed): “unique and unseen art and ephemera, photos and written contributions from a host of Mexican Summer artists.” The book ALSO includes a 10-inch record with rare tracks from Mexican Summer musicians.
One of them tracks is a collaborative effort by Autre Ne Veut x Fennesz entitled “Alive.” It’s pretty much what you expect out of both these musicians thus far in their careers. Fennesz is all floaty and warped-ish. Autre Ne Veut continues to front his syrup-wisp vocal style. And all I got are two questions:
Will Autre Ne Veut continue to POP on his next release? (Thought: Daniel Lopatin helped Arthur Ashin’s pre-established torn pop continue on Anxiety by trying to make out with the girl playfully saying “NO!” by the women’s bathroom.)
Stream “Alive” by Autre Ne Veut x Fennesz below, and hope they continue to do so in 2014:
Road rage might be
all the rage the talk of the town due to a recent headline-making motorcycle attack gone viral, but it’s by no means a new phenomenon. Hell, for C Monster, it’s practically a religion unto itself. There’s just something about sitting in a 3,500-pound object traveling at 75 miles per hour that turns people into deranged lunatics. On “Road Rage,” the GOAT Breeze Brewin gets to the crux of this psychological problem, spitting “Been locked in the lane with impossible anguish/ It’s blocks of the same shit gridlocked in the Matrix/ Anger in our voice the pounding up in our head’s real/ If we had a choice I doubt we’d want in the red pill/ See it be hard when it seem there’s no real flow/ When you used to being in charge now you going nowhere slow.”
Counting “Brew’IN Control’” and “Dear Autumn,” this song marks the third Brewin release of 2013, once again giving rise to the $64,000 question, “Will The Juggaknots’ frontman finally release his proper solo debut, or perhaps more optimistically, if and when he does, how many innocent pedestrians will I run over on my way to get it?”
(Hopefully yes and probably three or four.)
• Juggaknots: https://twitter.com/juggaknots
As a kid in the 80s, my favorite Baby-sitters Club book was natch “Boy-Crazy Stacey – it was very! “Boy Crazy” Lydia on the other hand, echoes the likes of Deetz and Lunch, and fronts less of a Valley girl and more of an alley girl ring in this little Loveless ditty. Specifically, a dark alley behind some bar during the early hours. Which is appropriate for Loveless’ sex-positive, romance-negative, and take-no-prisoners country punk lyrics: “I wish I was his wife/ Not really, though.” AND her eponymous EP Boy Crazy also features a song about Jeffrey Dahmer called “Lover’s Spat.” Fuck me gently with a chainsaw!
Barnett + Coloccia
“So, How Much Do You Know About Me?” [dir. Daniel Menche]
Four AM is an ungodly hour. Nothing good happens at this time. Exhaustion kicks in. Things that don’t exist cast flashes of shadow in your peripheral vision. Walls appear, faintly, as static under the fluorescent lights. Thoughts race around slow moving words. In winter, here, the temperature doesn’t settle. In this building, I occasionally hear patients scream into the night. It’s not the place for me to be listening to anything from Blackest Ever Black, but I do — often. I just like music to make sense in particular situations.
Since it was just yesterday that Taylor wrote about the coming collaborative album, Retrieval, by [Alex] Barnett + [Faith] Coloccia, I don’t feel the need to waste words. I have a different privilege, anyway, which is premiering the video for “So, How Much Do You Know About Me?” [dir. Daniel Menche]. Both the song and the video are perfections of absence. They each suggest, ultimately, that whatever we know about what is there, it’s only (really) enough to second guess ourselves: faint static, something half-conscious, a shadow flash. Anyway, if you need a soundtrack for dark hours, this is among the best I’ve heard this year.
Retrieval will be released December 2 on Blackest Ever Black.
• Mamiffer: http://mamiffer.bandcamp.com
• Oakeater: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Oakeater/248563928505272
• Blackest Ever Black: http://www.blackesteverblack.com