More Life / You Vomit Blood~;+===
We’re careering through the sky at 30,000 feet, oxygen masks dangling limply from the ceiling of the plane, a canopy of dead plastic-yellow foliage. The screen in the seat in front of us flashes dying moments of an auto-zooming pixelated plane, spinning mid-route among its Google Earth backdrop: the greenest greens and bluest blues you’ll ever see again. Flickers of duty free vodka mingle with a garbled collection of cut price TV films; 450 minutes of carefully selected in-flight entertainment, available on our newly customized touch-screen monitors.
We touch the screen, and get a sharp shock of electric life. Ears pop repeatedly.
Apparently inspired as much by “David Guetta” as “The Fall, The Mothers and This Heat,” In Posterface’s new double A-Side — out July 1 via Glasgow’s Winning Sperm Party — is a turbulent descent into a bricolage of noise, faulty electronics, and the occasional prime-time radio synth-hook. Hanging over the Tannoy like a demented late-night cold caller, our narrator keeps the pieces in some kind of impermanent order, lapsing from the brutal frequency oscillations of “More Life” to a kind of pained resolve in “You Vomit Blood.”
And though you try and focus your last thoughts on some long-forgotten piece of Descartes, a Biblical aphorism, a heart-warming embrace from long ago, or whatever else feels valid to your rapidly closing minds-eye, the specter of an uninvited anomaly (A Youtube Cat? Miley Cirus? Big Mouth Billy Bass?) still rears its head as the end comes.
In case it hasn’t been obvious, we here at Tiny Mix Tapes are pretty stoked on Ryan Power’s upcoming album Identity Picks, and with good reason. Power has managed to create that rare kind of intellectual pop music that manages to call to mind a number of references without ever really fitting into any one style or genre. For example, while Ryan A. Detwiler heard an eclectic combination of Kaputt-era Destroyer, Hot Chip, and Will Oldham, I heard Todd Rundrgren with a good dose of Jim O’Rourke’s Insignificance-style cynicism, while my girlfriend heard Justin Timberlake via Ariel Pink. However, despite the disparity of these references, they all have a common thread that actually sums up one of the best things about Power’s work. In a recent interview, Power spoke at length about how he hopes that “the art of songwriting” comes back because of the current emphasis placed on gimmicky production. And there is indeed a pretty clear difference between songs that work because they rely on (in Power’s words) a “wonky beat in Ableton using samples of your friend taking a dump” and songs that work because they’re immaculately crafted structurally.
“The Prize,” Identity Picks’ first single, is an excellent example of why the latter type of songs tend to rule so hard. The track has a theoretically complex chord progression, but Power manages to wrangle a melodic hook out of his sophisticated harmonies at every turn. Then there are the absolutely cutting lyrics that seethe over relationships with the kind of honest intensity of the aforementioned O’Rourke or the oft-forgot Quasi. Throughout, Power’s production is sparse and on point; there’s nothing here that shouldn’t be. This attention to the actual craft of “the song” is what calls to mind so many other great songwriters/bands when listening to Power’s music. It can often be easy to make something interesting through sonic gimmicks, but it takes something like Power’s structural ingenuity to create truly memorable work that places him among the many rad dudes that his works initially call to mind.
Consider the Space Pizza. It drifts alone, bearing witness to every transgression down on Earth yet offering no judgement. Its cheese froze at some point in the -50-0°C temperatures of the stratosphere; if the balloon somehow holds up for another 30 kilometers, it’ll reach the first stages of the thermosphere, where it’ll burn to ash and float off into the cosmos. Maybe the certainty of its disintegration clarifies everything for the Space Pizza. With Erik Satie lulling it into its final slumber, it comes to perceive multitudes within itself: youth, growth, hyperbole, geographic loyalty, ambition, friendship. Above all, the Space Pizza embodies the classic, if underrepresented philosophical concept known as “pizza being in space.”
After a series of scene-defining digital releases, short-run tour 7-inches, and the Scott Pilgrim video game OST, New York’s 8-bit shredders Anamanaguchi dropped their new album Endless Fantasy on May 14. The album’s 22 tracks expand the quartet’s NES-derived melodies and pop-punk rawk-band aesthetics into more territory than ever: electro club zones, slow-jam ballads, ambient interludes, anthems to soundtrack a midnight cruise through Neo Tokyo. The video for the album’s title track showcases the kaleidoscopic, culture-colliding audio-visual language the band has developed over years of multimedia omnivorousness.
Subliminal anime interrupts shots of New York’s streets. LED-illuminated nightlife rages on as pizza ascends. We feel the kind of feelings that only emojis can properly convey. The video arrives in the wake of the band’s insanely successful Kickstarter campaign, which allowed them full creative control of the album’s release and its many attendant media. If this is the kind of “weird internet stuff” we can expect from the newly $$$-laden Guch-bros moving forward, Space Pizza is only the beginning.
• Anamanaguchi: http://anamanaguchi.com
“Ancient Questions” (live)
As we recently reported, Mount Eerie is releasing a live 12-inch via XRA Records. Titled Live in Bloomington, September 30th, 2011, the album captures Mount Eerie as a three-piece (two keyboards, one guitar, and an Elverum) during a period after the release of 2009’s Wind’s Poem and before 2012’s Clear Moon (a period known to Mount Eerie fans as M = 2π(t - tp) /tY, a reference to the angle from the periapsis of the elliptical orbit to the mean Sun). The album, which features 10 songs, even sees the group going back to Microphones material with one of my personal favorites, “Karl Blau.”
XRA is sharing “Ancient Questions” with us, and it sounds fantastic. Thanks Mike Bridavsky at Russian Recording!
Look for Live in Bloomington, September 30th, 2011 on July 9 via XRA.
“Word is Bond”
Joey Bada$$ is set to release his Summer Knights LP on June 12, just around the time the kiddies are fresh out of school and a year after dropping 1999, one of 2012’s most buzzed-about mixtapes. A lot’s changed since then: the 18-year-old Brooklyn rapper has rubbed elbows with the likes of A$AP Rocky, Raekwon, and Smoke DZA; caught the interest of Roc Nation; and was earned the title of XXL Freshman. With all the laurels piling up, you might expect Bada$$ to get a bit cocky — but, thankfully, refreshingly, “Word is Bond” skips all the pretenses. The Statik Selektah-produced track screams “summer stoop jam,” bristling with breezy piano samples and gritty scratches. From a production standpoint, Bada$$’s music has always tended towards early-90s nostalgia, but his rapping on this cut is anything but dated: he hotfoots around like only a New Yorker can, slipping in and out of double-time as he weaves together references to tetrahedrons, Charles Dickens, and former Gotham governor George Pataki. So much for a lazy summer vacation.
• Joey Bada$$: http://badassjoey.tumblr.com