Tracks on tracks on tracks! Every week, each member of the AW team chooses and reviews a song they've been playing on repeat. Contributions span different genres and eras, from early R&B classics to the latest lo-fi rock, from spaced-out-and-based-out beats to the most cutting-edge underground club. Read this week's latest installment here.
New Chlorine – Tera Melos
Tera Melos quenches my thirst for post punk in a big way. This track's crunching,
soaring guitars; massive, math rock-y percussion; and uplifting, harmonized vocals
make me want to jump over things.
Senescence – Aspartame Kills
Aspartame Kills combine dense, clicking, vocal based percussion with lyrics as
intense as they are abstract to make unique and high quality hip hop. The two
tracks on this single are both filled with little production details and lyrical turns
of phrase (check the acrobatics in the first verse of the title track and the 8-bit
bassline) that keep it both engaging and surprising. There are shadows of Madvillain
and Why? (two groups I thought I would never mention in the same sentence), but
their influence is only in echos. These guys make some serious close-your-eyes-
think-and-then-acknowledge-there's-a-beat-and-move-to-that-music, but it still
works on a visceral level. And the last line is hilarious.
In the Kitchen – R. Kelly
I've been bumpin' this while I'm making breakfast in the mornings.
DARKSIDE – Paper Trails
DARKSIDE is a the collaboration of electronic producer Nicolas Jaar and multi-
instrumentalist Dave Harrington. The duo is known for their Nico-styled "slow
house" grooves with Dave's bluesy guitar riffs shimmering above. I recently heard
the entirety of the groups' upcoming debut LP Psychic
at a listening party in New York, and was absolutely blown away by the unique
sounds these two are making. Paper Trails is the second song released from the
album, which will be available on October, 8th.
Demons – Choongum
Choongum is the moniker of a Bay Area producer who's been shipping out
an infectious electronica sound, dipping his sounds in layers of "wub"
and ethereal bedroom noise. His latest release "Demons" brings the
thunder down as he fills your ears with crashing beats and a cleverly
used vocal sample. The holiness of the chanting sample marks a lull
and a relaxation that you never get with Choongum's sound. Don't' be
afraid of the name, it's a library of bangers and bedroom noise.
Olhe Por Nos - Yonlu
Yonlu was an almost-17-yr-old loner musician and online gamer from Brazil who
produced this album from his bedroom right before he committed suicide in 2006.
“A Society in Which No Tear is Shed is Inconceivably Mediocre” is a posthumous lo-
fi medley of intimate experimental melancholies in English and Portuguese with bits
of bossa nova, electro funk, and folky left turns. Every song is different, and some
like “Suicide” I can’t hear more than once, but they leave a thoughtful mark. I wish
there was more.
Getaway - State Lines
A Long Island-based punk rock group, State Lines released their debut album,
Hoffman Manor, just two years ago, to rave reviews from those who discovered it.
For lovers of punk with powerful lyrics, this album is a hidden gem, and an absolute
must-have. Getaway, the second track on the album, is simple yet achingly powerful,
and Jonathan DiMitri's ending vocals stick the landing:"And this drive is just a
getaway I could never get away from".
Fragility – White Fence
Stressed out by your obnoxiously long reading? Relax to this sunny track inspired
by sixties psychedelia. The B-side of White Fence's single "Pink Gorilla," "Fragility"
combines a soft guitar with an increasingly upbeat and chromatic organ to transport
you to a groovy world where you don't have 80 more pages to read.
Jealous Guy – Donny Hathaway
This is an oldie, but it's got some 2013 relevance to it: producer Nate Fox sampled
it for the infectious Chance the Rapper song "Juice," one of my favorite tracks off
of Acid Rap. That delightful piano riff remains intact in the rework, but what we
don't hear is Hathaway's gospel-strength timbre interpreting John Lennon's original
melody. I had been sleeping on Donny Hathaway before the discovery of this gem,
but I'm certainly awake now.
Andy Griffith – Radiator Hospital
A quick and dirty tune to ease the transition from an angst-ridden summer spent
at home to the coolness of fall semester. All the songs on Radiator Hospital's 4-
song EP, "Some Distant Moon," clock in at under two minutes and for the most part
they've got just the right length and amount of energy to bounce around to without
getting over athletic.
Lil Nigga Snupe – Meek Mill
Meek Mill raps emphatically. He’s gained such a reputation for doing so that an
entire Twitter page (‘Meek Mill Rap Like,’ 32,000 followers and all) tweets things
like this on a near-daily basis. Mix this already habitual vocal style with a traumatic
emotional event - in this case, the death of his 18-year old signee Lil Snupe - and
Meek will rap with more passion than 99% of the hip-hop community. On ‘Lil Nigga
Snupe,’ we witness this fervor full-force: ‘My lil nigga was the truth/All he wanted
was a coupe/All he wanted was a coupe,’ Meek yells, sounding more like a reporter
in the apocalypse than one in a hurricane. He’s an emotional whirlwind trapped
within the confines of his studio, and it's exactly this tension which makes ‘Lil Nigga
Snupe’ one of the best displays of rapping ability in the past year.
Alyo – Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
One of the main praises I have of this song the balance of complex jazz soloing and
the very danceable refrain that ends with a sustained note that gives you time to
stop boogying to "sing" along with the one word in the song, "Alyo!" Warm sounds, 8
horns that glide harmoniously over the percussion, and a great sense for contrasting
many layers of sound with occasional pauses make this track easy to put on repeat
and fantasize about choreographing an energetic dance you could never actually
Break It [Go] – Danny Brown
The quintessential Danny Brown banger, maintaining a ridiculousness level
comfortably between the stone-cold seriousness of Old's a-side highlights (The
Return, Dope Fiend Rental) and b-side's cotton-candy, grime inspired club hits
(Handstand, Way Up Here). Danny's rhetoric is pretty reserved here even though
he's rapping about getting fucked up and watching girls shake their ass until their
backs break, since that imagery comes off as relatively quotidian after dropping
lines like "thick white bitch slurp a nigga like kirby." Here, the production takes
the forefront, and Danny uses his signature yelp as a dynamic rhythm instrument
rather than a vehicle for complex wordplay, guiding swirling synths around some
of the most ear pleasing "hand" claps in recent memory. Definitely makes me want
to hold styrofoam cups and hang out with girls w/ inner-lip tattoos of xanax bars or
Get Away – Yuck
Once in a long time an album like Yuck’s Yuck comes around. This 2011 album
listens like the greatest hits of a teenage boy’s mix tape from 1993. This 90s revival
lo-fi power-pop album holds its ground from front to back. The first song “Get Away”
is not only a killer opening, but also sets the tone of distorted nostalgia that will
endure for the next twelve tracks. Once you listen to “Get Away” this song will be a
part of your mental Juke Box forever.
Constant Headache – Joyce Manor
Before hearing Joyce Manor, I never knew that feeling sad could feel so good! These
Orange County pop punkers know just how to pull the heartstrings of confused
teenagers with their cathartic chanting and talk of unsatisfying sex. And man, does
it feel so right. Just makes you want to jump up and down with your buds and yell at
nothing in particular!
Marilyn – Floating Points
As a classically trained pianist, in-demand DJ, and PhD candidate in molecular
genetics, Floating Points is somewhat of a modern day electronic music renaissance-
man—and the diverse background certainly shines through in his underground
anthem "Marilyn." Though easily categorized into "house," the improvisational
synth lines and complex harmonies make it clear: this is contemporary house as re-
imagined through the viewpoint of a jazz aficionado and instrumental prodigy. The
track moseys along with a finger-snapping groove until two minutes in, pounding
fuzzed-out synth chords make a rowdy entrance, certain to blow a dance-floor to
Free Pass Dummy Mix – Total Freedom
Despite his lack of official releases, Ashland Mines has been a stable member of Los
Angeles' Fade To Mind crew since its onset. With ethereal remixes, grimy bootlegs,
and unbelievable DJ sets, he certainly knows how to set things off. His latest mix,
brought to you by Dummy Mag, demonstrates his raw and uncanny ability to blend
styles, genres, and BPMs like nobody else. From the chopped-up beats of Arca to
slowed-down, coked-out R&B edits, to Rihanna's unforgettable Diamonds, to TI,
and Ms. Beema's refix of the 2 Chainz's classic I'm Different, there's absolutely no
stopping this man. Download Total Freedom's mix above and check the tracklist/
brief interview over at Dummy.