It’s been pretty fascinating to watch the musical evolution of Angel Olsen over the last few years. With each record, she’s gradually fleshed out her songs more and more, moving from the beautiful austerity of Strange Cacti to the tight country arrangements on Half Way Home (TMT Review) and now to the more expansive and rocking instrumentation on the forthcoming Burn Your Fire for No Witness. However, the one thing that has remained the same despite Olsen’s progressively expanding instrumental palette, is her knack at capturing the loneliness and volatility present in tumultuous relationships with her lyrics and vocal delivery. “Forgiven/Forgotten” is another excellent variation on Olsen’s themes and the song’s sneering in-the-red garage rock shows that she’s now using arrangements as a new kind of text painting. Olsen’s lyrics may sound sweet on paper, but her singing and accompaniment makes them ooze sarcasm and bitterness that the track’s video manages to match visually.
Burn Your Fire for No Witness is out via Jagjaguwar on February 18th.
THRU THA RIP
Alphabets is fucking L A R G E and contains multitudes and you are ready for them. By presenting you now with the husk of my brain, left battered and euphoric by alien-bass Bandcamp masterworks like 400YEN or On Champagne and Greyhounds, I can empirically prove that every beat the Denver-based producer has ever tracked has blown at least one mind. I mean my mind. The mind is mine. I’ve hacked my way beneath the surface of what Alphabets (born Colin Ward) has uploaded online, and physically released on labels like Digitalis and Deathbomb Arc, but this next phase of the Alphabets catalog Step(s) It Up: a) 2 Fast; b) 2 Furious; c) 2 The Streets.
THRU THA RIP, Ward’s most recent 70-min breakbeat behemoth, showcases a more frenetic and densely layered production style than I’ve ever heard from his project. Tracks like highlight “Raptor Jazz” construct rotating auditory mandalas from chopped vocal samples, hypnotizing tom grids, and cyborg synths, speeding through intricate percussion patterns just long enough for your mind to enter the zone before cycling into new territories. Alphabets slaps acid house, hip-hop, and West African polyrhythms together like hunks of different colored Play-Doh, rolls them together into a gruesome rainbow snake, and leaves it to fuse with your living room carpet. Alphabets lifts your eyelids open while you’re sleeping and plays Aaliyah samples into your brain cavity at a volume just low enough not to wake you. Alphabets turns up the tempo on his Roland JX-305 Groovesynth and leaves your legs and hips too mystified to continue moving, but too overstimulated to stop. Quoth the maestro: “blood, sex, booze, glitter and alien dogs / cats / lizards and birds.”
Stream THRU THA RIP now on Bandcamp. Name your own price to download the album. Let one sincere “Thank you” escape your lips and flit through the ether to Rhinoceropolis.
• Alphabets: http://alphabets.bandcamp.com
With this Hausu Mountain release, the snowball effect of Lockbox music has reached top velocity. What began as a wonderful mess of lo-fi bedroom recordings, has rolled itself all up into a sugar-high, injected straight into the data-stream, resulting in something that sounds a bit like playing every SoundCloud embed on the Chocolate Grinder home page at the same time.
I’ve been seeing these bumper stickers around lately that say something like “Smaller, Slower, Less” regarding, well, the world. “Brainhead” tears that concept to pieces, pushing forward at the pace of a coffee-addict nabbing ten minutes of free wi-fi, while slamming shots of espresso at the local coffee shop before having to head to work around the corner. At this rate, there will never be enough time to catch up on what’s really going on here. We may have to settle for the “more, more, more” pace pounding its way into our brain, feet, fingers through the ever-increasing channels of subliminal osmosis our body develops to try and keep up with the increasing rate of the world (wide web)’s rotation.
“Brainhead” is the first single from the upcoming Lockbox full-length Prince Soul Grenade, out January 28 on CD and cassette via Hausu Mountain.
Agile polyvectors begin to wrap, mutate and unsprindle from a sleek Invisalign frame, dead and wasting cosmetic attachments falling away from the translucent scaffolding of a bold new lifestyle, naked and calibrated for the future. Precision tuning of rhythmo-linguistic #relevance supplied by multi-instrumental theorowizard Daniel Freshwater and his hacked-couture pardner-in-slime Brian Whatever (of Whatever 21 aesthletics) comprise Mind Dynamics, slathering us wit six courses of neural adjustment to ensure easy absorption of the dominant zeitgeist for the Coming of The New Age. Forget what everyone’s talking about, Mind Dynamics is the vibration of the now with the cycles of eternity coded into the masters (courtesy of telepathic prophet Andrew Nerviano).
Zlam a Precision Instruments cassette by Mind Dynamics from the high definition cyborgs over at 1080p, or stream the shits below.
Get calibrated, B. Fuckin precisely, ok?
>>>>>group name derived from a common, era-appropriate (1970s) device for storing phone numbers and contact information.
>>>>>>>>>>>group vocalists’ voices sound like a Rolodex in that a Rolodex is emotionless, gray, and quirky looking.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Jerry Seinfeld has probably made a witty observation about Rolodi (plural of Rolodex) at some point in his career.
>>>>>song title derived from a ray of colored light (color depends on what kind of gas is used) consisting of charged electrons in a vacuum tube.
>>>>>>>>>>>song’s modular-style synth lines resemble what a cathode ray may sound like in that a cathode ray might sound like a triangle wave pure tone.
>>>>>video combines random brightly colored patterns with shots of the band having a staring contest and views of the planet Earth at various magnifications. Video is presented in square format.
fcuk dance to this.
“Reality is on the TV.”
“First class ride on the endless express.”
“on and on hum errr may shteys.”
“something something something cathode rays.”
Open Mike Eagle
“Password (official unprotected file)”
We live in an age in which the modern (wo)man is simultaneously prefixed on protecting her/his privacy and convinced that (s)he deserves to be a full-fledged A-list celebrity, if not a social media icon turned reality TV star turned Fox News contributor turned snuff flick casualty.
…OK, so maybe I added that last stage for effect, but my point stands: we claim to desire privacy, but do everything within our power to broadcast our identities. We celebrate Anonymous and repudiate anonymity. (A recent South Park episode titled “Let Go, Let Gov” summed this up much better than I can.) The question then becomes, “How can we reconcile this apparent polarity?”
Or, noch besser, “Do we have to at all?” Perhaps the only reason we cheer Edward Snowden and jeer the NSA is that the former has used technology to make a name for himself offline while the latter can see through the digital identities we’ve so painstakingly created for ourselves. One defends our sense of self-importance; the other stands as an affront to it.
If the government really wants to placate its citizens, maybe it should forget about reforming its data collection policies and simply make all of the video, audio, and text it gathers available to we the people appearing and/or communicating therein. Then we could recapture all the drunken freestyles, shower solos, and other debauch we thought lived on only as fractured memories, edit these recordings to fit our preferred media, and live out our dreams as rappers turned singers turned porno impersonators.
The music video for harmonically gifted rapper Open Mike Eagle’s “Password (official unprotected file)” directed, shot and edited by David Maxime, explores some of the above ideas. Watch it!