Black Flame [mixtape]
So, I text Marshall, “Yo, get Starks up in this hypnagogic-hop game.” Then Marshall texts back something about Lil B owning it. *Ahh-ready*? C’mon, when do viral videos reach they’s limit, #oneguyonecup? I’ll never be able to fully understand hip-hop or infectious internet fame. But I’m fine with that, because I enjoy mystery. Also, I think I’ve figured him out; Lil B is a hype-machine for Hipster Runoff [LLC]. Can somebody please start making physical mixtapes again? As I see it, mixtapes are like digital-candid photography. It’s right there providing instant culture and something real, but not that reel. Dig it, though. This is how culture starts. Trace based rap back to how it began. Find the root: digital cameras, the You Tube(s), hip-hop, oppression, culture-shock, hating parents, saying things at will/random. Honey-wit Lil B’s new mixtape Black Flame, where he says what he randoms about; bitch, I’m Reggie Miller.
• Lil B: http://www.basedworld.com
Simon Scott was the drummer on Slowdive’s first two albums way back in the early 90s, but his second solo album, Bunny, out October 7 from Miasmah, is of a whole different world than that seminal shoegaze stuff. The press release calls Bunny “[an] inspired take on the blackened jazz and smokey Americana heard in ‘Paris, Texas’ or ‘Mulholland Dr.’” It also describes it as “blues-flecked dread.” “Flecked” is a nice word for it. There’s quite a bit of crackling and static on this track, which is fitting for something called “Gamma.” The song radiates and oozes, with occasional echoing guitars, found sounds, chirping machinery, slow strings, and a dripping bass. Indeed, like radiation, the experience of hearing “Gamma” is less about listening and more about amassing exposure. Pay attention to the track’s last 20 seconds for the bass’ gamma-charged, hulk-sized flecking.
If ya ain’t making them man/boy sounds, it’s either old-man this or shoo-wop that. Shit, chillwave and witch house? So, where the hell does that leave Spanish Prisoners? Dancing in silk sheets? Yachting with bourgeois ghosts? Alternative rock? Yo, isn’t “indie” rock this generation’s version of straight rock? What changed the “underground” feel? The internet? Is music now just a competition of who best communicates their brand of rock via information technology?
The nitty gritty is Spanish Prisoners are having fun. They all romancin’ that live-mastered feel, buried in acute yet relaxing communication between members, and, oh hello, xylophone. They rock their roll, swaying hips to carefully crafted noises and fidelities, without contrasting they’s own style. “Rich Blood” is on their album Gold Fools to be self-released October 4. Check out they’s album release party at Death By Audio October 6; they’re expecting you (@Mexican Summer, @Carpark, @Ghostly International, @Dovecote).
• Spanish Prisoners: http://spanishprisoners.bandcamp.com
“Shadows on Behalf” (Wilcox Sessions)
Award The Stepkids the virtue of honesty, or at least the allure of no nonsense: they have zero gimmick (unless you count their conspicuously white wardrobe). If this band wants your attention, they’re determined to get it solely with their groove and the purity of their performance. Go ahead, watch their recently released live session of “Shadows on Behalf.” They can all sing, and they’re all songwriters. They can all play. If that bass line isn’t your kind of hook, if that ascending chime isn’t what wrangles you in, then you’re not these guys’ kind of fish — and they’re probably fine with that.
The Stepkids, whose self-titled debut is due September 27 from Stones Throw, are currently on tour with London act The Horrors, and the two bands together make for a compelling show. Although the Kids’ gig is markedly different from those Brits’ breed of brooding, glorious, shoegaze psychedelia, their performance is a trip in its own right. It harkens back to an earlier pedigree of the psychedelic line, with precise harmonies, falsetto yawns, and ooo’s in the chorus. The lyrics are of lesser importance, but if you listen closely, you’ll hear such giveaway diction as “essence,” “boogaloo,” “infinity,” and “shaba daba bop ba ba.”