Ninety minutes worth of noise rock is enough to get a guy down. This guy. That was me listening to The Plums’ massive (and admittedly awesome) White 2xLP last year — just a lot to handle in one sitting. Two sides of a tape at 16 minutes each, though? Much more manageable. Nixon’s Mess is a new c32 release from the 10-year-running quartet, out now on the Prison Art label, who is responsible for such recent radness as Sarongs’ self-titled tape and Each Other’s brilliant Taking Trips. This has “DC” as a state of mind written all over it, with its gales of feedback and angsty, pummeling aggression, likening the sound to some of Dischord’s finer moments. Traversing an amazing amount of riffs and motifs in these relatively short blocks of improvisation, the band hammers out drunken rages, prickly moments of nervous tension, dizzying electric scrambles, periods of hypnotic drone, and lulling psych jams, everything laced with a nice (if also rough) layer of sandpapery fuzz. And in the end there, beneath the wails of electric guitar, is that a bit of sweetness? You bet your sweet ass it is.
The tape is limited to 60 copies, so get over to Prison Art and grab one while you can.
Fatima Al Qadiri
Fatima Al Qadiri, expert beatmaker and multimedia artist from New York, is releasing an EP on Fade To Mind, a fairly new US-based club label/movement that operates as a sister imprint to Night Slugs, putting her in the company of Nguzunguzu, Massacooramaan, MikeQ, and Gremino. Titled Desert Strike, the EP is a sonic interpretation of Fatima’s experiences both growing up in Kuwait during the Desert Storm bombings and playing a first-person shooter video game released a year later, called Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf. The EP’s first track, “Ghost Raid” (named after bombing raids by “The Ghost” F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter), can be streamed here:
Desert Strike is out October 23 on Fade To Mind.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
I’m writing this post swathed in the itchiest cardigan known to man. It’s camel-colored, and someone must have stubbed out a few camels on this thing, because there are some curious holes near the elbows. But there’s something really magical about the art of digging through dirty racks of clothes at your local senior center or thrift shop and finding your own little treasure. Well, Seattle rapper Macklemore has come up with a nice little ditty to hum to yourself while you pore over some itchy sweaters. “I’ma take your grandpa’s style!” he boasts, romping around the Goodwill with reckless abandon. There are also funny jokes about R. Kelly’s bed sheets.
• Macklemore: http://www.macklemore.com
Staying is Nowhere
A post about a tape on Field Hymns is almost just an excuse to put another fabulous work of visual art from Tiny Little Hammers up on a website. Take this one, for example. I mean, look at that fuckin’ thing. I want to hire this guy to put a mural on my body. Fortunately for everyone, the music that goes with these beautiful j-card inserts is always top notch. Here we have new sounds from Norway’s Andreas Brandal, who’s been releasing music since the 1980s or something crazy like that. I’m not super hip to everything he’s got out, but this new one is equal parts ohm and “ommmmmm.” Something of an alien wasteland is painted, subdued colors and somber melodies streaking across a black canvas, Brandal culling mountains, valleys, and softly rolling waves of tone from what seems like sheer nothingness. The sum feels like a universe slowly expanding and contracting; at times claustrophobic, at others wide-open and free-floating. Total zoner.
ahnnu, a.k.a. Leland Jackson, has many fans at Tiny Mix Tapes. Jackson’s latest ahnnu tape, pro habitat, blew us away, and his other tapes from this year (Couch and Dog City) had lots of the chewy, bathdub’d beats that we just eat up here. But his latest release, WERKS, is unlike any of them. This time adopting his cakedog moniker, Jackson follows up last year’s $ TRAXZ VOL .1 $ with another stab at footwork. There are some aesthetic similarities to be found between ahnnu and cakedog — impeccable sample selection, his love of the gun cock, etc. — but WERKS, on the whole, is a different beast. Rather than barely-there beats transmitted in a fuzzy haze from L.A., the tracks here have the stuttering hi-hats, stabby tom hits, crackling snares, and bass thuds that set those Chicago circles ablaze.
Listen with your feet:
Tiny Concrete Block
The notes to this upcoming release from the Project Mooncircle camp are so devoid of intelligibility that they are genuinely exhilarating. For example: “The music trickles in. It sounds like it was made in a toy factory. Hold on. Let me reach for the button over there. Childhood memories. The magical sounds of a roundabout sending you to sleep.” I haven’t seen such joyous nonsense since I laid a set of eyes on the press release for Bear In Heaven’s Beast Rest Forth Mouth, which claimed not only that the band had “unbuttoned sound and realigned it,” but also that they’d somehow managed to “redefine time, and fold it.” Whatever that means, they most definitely didn’t do it.
Anyway, what’s important here is that Kidsuke is a happy marriage. Kidkanevil may reside in Yorkshire, but his releases and performances are saturated in Japanese imagery. Daisuke Tanabe is a Japanese resident with a penchant for the soulful and the complex. Consequently, their first offering is a playful paean to the joys of collaboration. No one invades the limelight, no one steals the show. Instead, each element locks humbly in place thanks to slow xylophone and churning bass.