Heart of Dixie [mixtape]
Radioactive, Yelawolf’s much-hyped Shady Records debut, didn’t exactly turn into the crossover juggernaut everyone hoped it’d be, even with its solid selection of rattling, industrial-tinged bangers. And that’s a shame: the Gadsden, AL rapper’s country-fied flow has made him a standout (his verse in Big Boi’s “You Ain’t No DJ” is undoubtedly one of the best guest verses in recent memory). Now, Catfish Billy is back with “Heart of Dixie,” a remarkably strong mixtape featuring club-ready production from DJ Frank White and M16. If you were a fan of Radioactive’s Diplo-produced cuts, “Howdy” and “Let Me Out” will probably tickle your eardrums. All fist-pumping aside, Yelawolf’s still hasn’t forgotten his roots — seedy parties, Confederate flags, and Jack Daniels — lots of Jack Daniels.
Sarongs [album stream]
Sarongs is definitely a group of youngsters that came and went too quick. And here they are now (er, there they were?), posthumously releasing their one and only album, forthcoming on 12 inches of wax via their own label Velidoxi. If you’re familiar with the band or the teeny-tiny Syracuse tape label Prison Art, you might recognize some of the tracks here from last year’s brilliant, also self-titled cassette release. Sarongs is a searing, scorching dose of horror-punk in the vein of old school giants like The Cramps, but it also finds a nice nook in recent entries from bands like Balaclavas or the less-recent Be Your Own Pet. Even though not all of this stuff is new, the tracks I wasn’t familiar with before are some of the best I’ve heard yet (“Munsters” especially is a terrifically terrible cataclysmic clash of frenetic energy and frustrated fruition.) And although it sounds like this might have been recorded in an attic on some shitty gear in some respects, the final mixes also sound surprisingly seasoned, especially when compared to the cassette: slinky bass grooves are even slinkier, the femur bones the drummer must use for sticks don’t sound quite as brittle, and the razor-wire strings that must line their guitars feel sharper than ever. High energy, and angsty pissed-offness make this one intoxicating number, and it’s just a damn fine stroke of luck that it’s going to hit vinyl.
You can nab one right now.
Beyond the Sea [album stream]
If Beyond the Sea, the new album by Monster Rally (contributor to the NY/LA sound collage and mixtape collective, Mondo Boys), is a sequential reference to his 2011 EP, Deep Sea, it’s because, this time around, the ship has finally reached the party on the beach of that tropical island sitting just on the horizon of every previous release. Let Monster Rally take you on a sample-based tour around all the hot spots, shady paradises, and secluded beaches of this island. Just make sure you wear comfortable shoes. LAAAAAAANNNNNDDDD HOOOOO!!!! (And thank God; I’m getting sick of all of this ocean nonsense.)
Check out the album below and buy it on “lava red” vinyl over at Gold Robot Records.
“Swimming Pools (Drank)”
“Swimming Pools (Drank),” the latest track from Kendrick Lamar, is a murky pontification on matters of both swimming pools and drank. Lamar returns to the familiar subject of debauchery and the slippery slope of morality it begets. Friendly competition over shots culminates in the ultimate triple-dog-dare of excess: “First you get a swimming pool full of liquor/Then you dive in it.” I can’t imagine how much that’d sting your eyes, but Lamar’s more concerned with the moral complications: the second verse is an intervention staged by his conscience. And you thought “Bottoms Up” was deep.
Melody's Echo Chamber
This appeal is simple: Aussie Kevin Parker — Tame Impala’s sonic mastermind, the lovechild of The Beatles and a supernova — has teamed up with a French lady singer. And her name is Melody!! Have no doubt; this product is indomitable. She is, maybe, the Nico to Kevin Parker’s Lou. Hyperbole, you say? Undoubtedly. But I implore you to show me a bolder soundsmith/songwriter combo than Tame Impala’s frontman.
From its guttural guitar to its vocal’s reverb, “Endless Shore” is clearly of the same ilk as much of Tame Impala’s finery, but it’s been tweaked just so, so that it embraces Miss Melody Prochet’s voice like the setting for a jewel. Melody’s Echo Chamber is a nice name too, as I think you’ll be listening again and again. A 7-inch is out presently from Fat Possom Records, featuring Melody’s track “Crystalized” and an Unknown Mortal Orchestra version of “Endless Shore.” A full album is in the works and will cometh September. Oui, oui. Aussie oi. Oui.
Dan Deacon’s quite legendary in his hometown of Baltimore. As a Charm City native myself, I frequently hear stories of the jolly, bearded man jumping into the crowd to lead them in raucous sing-a-longs, more psychedelic summer camp than corporate concert. He’s like Santa Claus around there, and his shows are as fun as Christmas morning. Of course, Deacon couldn’t stay local for long — America, his first album on new label Domino, will bring that joyous bleepity-bop to thousands of hungry ears worldwide. “True Thrush” is classic DD, with burbling synths and more of the multi-layered vocals we’ve come to expect. It’s a more polished sound, sure, but it retains the childlike wonder that made Deacon so noteworthy.
Look for America August 28, and check out his tourdates here.