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 after the jump.
Colin Stetson - The righteous wrath of an honorable man
Colin Stetson is a pretty cool dude. You can tell by how many other cool dude collaborators appear on his own Wikipedia page: David Byrne, Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Bon Iver--the list goes on. I had heard Colin Stetson on numerous albums before this song came up on my Spotify "Starred Tracks" radio station, but I was not aware of it until now. And now that I have heard his solo material I can't stop thinking about him. Something about the simultaneous joy and violence of this song, and this whole record in general, keeps me captivated, constantly feeling like something wonderful, or terrible--or maybe both--is about to happen to me.
Kriss Kross - Jump
Upon hearing the news of Chris Kelly's untimely death, I thought it would be a fitting tribute to use this forum to draw attention to Kriss Kross and this song. Jump was released in 1992 and might be the coolest thing to come out of the early 90's. If you have never heard Kriss Kross, listen to Totally Krossed Out as soon as possible. The basic premise of the musical act: two 13 year-olds both named Chris, both from Atlanta, wear all their clothes inside-out and rap in really entertaining ways (i.e. great early 90's beat and surprisingly smooth flow) without cursing at all. Kriss Kross was the pinacle of cool in 1992, and if their fame at that time didn't equal Justin Beiber's nowadays, it's only because of things like twitter, the internet, and stupidity. I can't say that they were the first rap act that I listened to (that distinction belongs to Nelly), but I do wish they had been. Enjoy.
The Flamin' Groovies - Yesterday's Numbers
San Francisco rockers The Flamin' Groovies released their record Teenage Head in 1971, the same year that the Stones' Sticky Fingers was released. Noticing similarities between his record and Teenage Head, Mick Jagger apparently said that The Groovies' did a better job with their approach to sloppy hippy blues pop. Now let me admit, I love the Rolling Stones -- but there really is something to this record, the song "Yesterday's Numbers" in particular. During the recording sessions for this album, the band members were said to have never quite mastered their instruments. And you can tell. But in spite of, or perhaps thanks to, their tendency toward messiness, it's a pretty endearing mix of great pop songwriting and teenage fucking soul. By some strange miracle, in the words of the Flamin' Groovies, "all's well that ends well".
Animal Collective - New Town Burnout (Shabazz Palaces Remix)
To be honest, I sort of ignored AnCo's Centipede Hz last fall and have barely listened to it since. So when I heard that they were putting out a EP of remixes, I didn't pay much attention. But then this track emerged, and damn was I impressed. OOH BOY. Shabazz Palaces takes this track in an awesome direction, breaking down an already fairly bare-bones track, focusing on the heavier elements within the sounds, throwing in some glitchy rhythms, and laying down some awesome distorted vocals. These guys uphold the essential feel of the album, with the dissonant and alien-like sounds, while adding a power and complexity that Centipede Hz as a whole seemed to lack. This spaced-out hip-hop is the perfect kind of late-night noise to balance the weird spring sunshine sound of the original track.
Kingdom - Corpse
I posted another one of Kingdom's tracks, "Stalker Ha," a little while back. On this track off of his forthcoming release, Vertical XL, Kingdom is getting a little sneaky and dark. I like to imagine stealthy people scaling the walls of a building, breaking in, and carefully and acrobatically creeping through hallways lined with laser sensors.
Triosk's music sits somewhere at the intersection between jazz, electronica, and experimental music. I first found the now-disbanded Australian trio by way of a Tumblr that features interesting patterns & visualizations of formulae made in Mathematica. The short animation that "Intensives Leben" soundtracked on the blog still shapes the way I listen to the song, I think; the melodic elements give the song a propulsive force through a sonic universe detailed and accentuated by the clattering percussion. Early Triosk songs sound to me like brief windows into musical ideas, but "Intensives Leben" - and most of the work on their last album, The Headlight Serenade - feels satisfyingly fleshed out. Close your eyes and give it a listen.
Alex Andwandter - Como Puedes Vivir Contigo Mismo?
Discotheque music in South America has deep seeded roots in Latin music but there is often a huge link to Chic-esque disco as heard here. Alex Andwandter though doesn't just flirt with disco, he gives it a big kiss and take it back to his room for a nice night. A track that merges the electronica beats of now and the disco sounds of forever, "Como Puedes Vivir Contigo Mismo" is a track that necessitates dancing. Alex Andwandter, a talented vocalists and video director, had his first solo album release in 2011 and moved to New York after much success throughout South America. Latin artists such as Cafe Tacuba, Mariachi El Bronx, and Andwandter are working hard to redefine genres while also creating thrilling and beautiful music.
Dirty Projectors - Buckle Up
A bonus track from the About to Die EP- It's more than fun hear Dave Longstreth step up to the mic with what seems to be his jangliest, most straightforward tune in recent memory. That's what it is, really- a tune- it's scratchy, unassuming, and uncommonly fast for a Dirty Projectors number- but you can still hear the intricate guitarwork and emphasis on melody that inevitably works its way into any of his tracks. Why the girls aren't busting in with swooning "Buckle Up!"s is anyone's guess.
Cap'n Jazz - The Sands Have Turned Purple
I've been thinking about accessibility recently. The most critically acclaimed albums of the late 90's to the mid 2000's were marked with a penchant for experimental ideas delivered in pretty off-kilter ways. Maybe it was a sign that guitar music was on the way out- that the formula was growing stale- that the era of fuzz and grunge could only be taken so far. Cap'n Jazz is a sacred cow of a generation of music that's definitely passed, and probably isn't ever coming back. Known for a brand of vocal delivery I can only describe as "endearingly atonal," these guys defined emo music while pushing the envelope with nontraditional song structure and some awesomely weird ideas. It's a monument of a time when "being into music" meant liking shit your friends had every right to think sounded terrible, before abrasion replaced experiment and when revival wasn't cool yet.
Ski Lodge - Just to be Like You
Ski Lodge are a brand new indie group from New York that recently released their first EP via Dovecote. This tune, in particular, along with the magnificently well-done video, is energetic, yet simple and pure. The group's use of multiple shimmering guitar tracks is perfect for the song, allowing it to progress through various different sections all building off one another. On top of that, a beautifully pure voice, reminiscent of Morrissey, carries an incredibly strong vocal melody that has been stuck in my head for days now.