The average K-Pop company’s breakneck pace of profiteering on the backs of their $pit$hined star-products never fails to astound. One dizzying example is boy band B.A.P, who made their debut in January 2012 and dared five “comebacks” (i.e., new EPs and corollary press junkets, tours, adverts) that year alone. And now they’re on track to break that record in 2013.
Then there’s legendary girl group After School (whose “Shampoo” — it must be said — remains a top contender for the Korean pop machine’s truest masterpiece). They made their Korean comeback this year with the First Love mini-album and a music video-minded mastery of pole-dancing (executed in parallel with the Japanese debut album by After School “sub-unit” Orange Caramel). Now AF is gearing up for Japanese language single “Heaven,” the group’s best work since their vaunted 2011 heyday. The ebullient hit’s flattened funk riffs sponge some groove from Daft Punk’s recent Nile Rodgers reruns, minus the interview-espoused rockism: there’re plenty of drum machines and fake-as-shit strings in “Heaven” after all.
The video’s intro pole-dancing sequence also features a bonus minute of mesmeric G-funk. Here’s to hoping that’s an excerpt from the instrumental of “Crazy Driver,” the b-side that’ll be featured on the “Heaven” single when it drops on October 2.
After battering us into a state of bright-eyed submission for more than 10 years, industrial pioneer Justin Broadrick’s Jesu project has built a catalog nearly as deep as his seminal output with (currently reunited and touring!) Godflesh. More than simply his outlet for clean vocals and shoegaze textures, Jesu channels Broadrick’s tonal savagery and production mastery into monolithic compositions just as rooted in the mind (see: your interior retreat into long-buried emotions) as in the body (see: the wide arc formed by your sludge-paced headbanging). Though the project’s EP releases can stretch into drifting side-long structures or incorporate electronic techniques developed under the Pale Sketcher moniker, each “proper” Jesu album finds Broadrick complicating his template of defeated balladry and distorted catharsis in the context of another song cycle.
“Homesick,” the opening track of the forthcoming Everyday I Get Closer to the Light From Which I Came LP, buries Broadrick’s vocals a little lower in the mix than usual, while his unmistakable down-tuned guitars pound out a major key progression in time with the martial drum track. As ever, God is in the details: the chiming synth phrases that crest over the low-end, the four-chord arpeggio masked behind the wall of gain, and guitar overdubs layered in as the track climbs up to its conclusion.
Everyday I Get Closer to the Light From Which I Came arrives September 24 through Broadrick’s own imprint Avalanche Inc.
Total Orgasm 3
FINALLY!!! The deserved follow-up to Kool Keith’s modern opus Total Orgasm mixtape is HERE: Total Orgasm 3. It’s equal in humor, for sure. Got them above and beyond Earthly rhyme schemes. Even the featured rappers meet that level of fuck-it flow. Although there’s WAY more features on Total Orgasm 3 than the first, it doesn’t stifle the series. And even though, “All songs [are] produced by Kool Keith aka Number One Producer,” production by DJ Junkaz Lou and Mr. Sche give the series a good nod and nod and nod to the beat to feel out. Oh, and it’s still nasty. Still about… oh-wait: sex? Or the vile? ALL DAT! They “Fuck rap [and] taking over this shiiiiit.” I’m being real. Listen to this all day today. It’ll change most of your life, maybe. But having come this far, Keith just follows in Notorious B.I.G.’s infamy, “If I fart on the mic, that shit gonna sound good.” And I HATE referencing old hip-hop like that, and want to KILL people old hip-hop style when they reference it verbally, but Total Orgasm 3 is just the literal version of… well, please listen (around the 16:06 mark <3). Don’t wanna post red-flag spoilers. GET SPOILED ON Total Orgasm 3 NOW!!!!!!!!!
• Kool Keith: http://totalorgasm.bandcamp.com
Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk
There are videos that exist as ideas before the accompanying music is ever settled on, and then there are videos that hear a song out and proceed to break it down into its basic visual forms. The new video for “Burt,” the closing track to Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk’s new album Think Tone, encapsulates every familiarity heard in the nearly seven-minute duration of the song: slow-moving waves; occasional glimpses of light; layers of skin and cloth rolling over each other and folding in on themselves, rising out of and falling back into the dark; and a mass of blackness absorbing and reforming the Beach Boys-tinged ocean vibes rolling inward on the coast.
These images by themselves are eerie and disconcerting, but with “Burt” ringing out of your speakers, it’s clear that under the layers of water and smooth linen lies that glowing light: a core where everything is made incomprehensible before it all becomes one. It’s the BBDDM way of pulling layers of sunshine from the ambient din at the center of every song, and it has never been more prevalent than on this track, with guitar strums and vocal harmonies rippling outward before fading and returning to the source. We are the woman on the beach, covered and only seeing the light when the obscuring sheet is pulled from our eyes, allowing us to finally see where all the warmth is coming from.
Think Tone is out now on Fire Talk Records.
“How Many Hearts Do You Hold”
Captivated by grime and goop, ears are cleansed of filth only to be replaced with the sludgiest of all beats. High wizard JFM not only delivers the muck of sound sacrifice in his temple of fuck-drip, but also sweats this vibe through excreting samples and grainy textures of any kind, really. Casting down upon the unconverted, JFM becomes their mind’s eye and morphs into what their body needs to move. Gripping everything, including souls and mental health, JFM will stop at nothing to bring your feet to a maddening degradation of psyche.
But lemme keep this brief: I was trolling a typical music source of mine today and stumbled upon JFM. Digitally stumbled upon. Like, I’m fucking trapped in this machine, and it’s at my full-time job. I NEED OUT. HELP. THIS IS REAL. JFM HAS ABSORBED ME INTO MY WORK COMPUTER. And my only way out is if you buy up his Self Titled LP album on Divorce Records!
The members of the world of “noise” have been largely veering away from the screeching blasts of feedback and white noise and have instead shifted their focus to crafting pieces that, while not exactly “harsh,” are still physically unsettling and creepy. This occurred to me when I saw a recent performance by Aaron Dilloway on an excellent bill that also featured John Wiese and Jason Lescalleet. All three of these dudes are capable of making some of the most brutal shit imaginable. (I remember listening to Wiese’s Magical Crystal Blah Vol.3 three times in a row during college, making myself viscerally ill in the best way possible due to all of the record’s harsh frequencies.) However, at this show, Dilloway, Wiese, and Lescalleet focused more on creating works that were deeply eerie, always threatening to explode but never quite doing so — prime examples of what Nate Young described as “the spook.”
With this in mind, Dilloway’s Opened Door may be one of the most thorough examples of this aesthetic to date. The two sides of Opened Door never really shock with volume or frequency, but a constant threat remains. With these two pieces, Dilloway weaves a murky, often clangorous tapestry out of his signature setup. At times, the B-side has a beautiful fractured quality to it, like one of Nate Young’s Regression experiments without the synth sheen; the A-side even has a beat. But despite the musical nature of this material, Opened Door is still wonderfully haunting and full of dread. Dilloway and his cohorts seem to have figured out that noise doesn’t always have to work with the same signifiers in order to affect a listener viscerally, and it’s fascinating to witness.
Opened Door is out now via Chondritic Sound. You can stream the album in its entirety below: