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.
Balam Acab - Luminesce
I just found this morning and I've had it on repeat. When Balam Acab dropped his debut, Wander/Wonder (listen to some songs here), at the end of August 2011, I was immediately taken. I found myself addicted to his water samples, melancholic beats, and trap influence. So much so that I booked him to play at Wes a few months later. I fell asleep to that album almost every night for a long time and recently have started doing it again.
But this song. This song is reminiscent of Wander/Wonder, with its drippy parts and somber mood. He said it is an unmixed/unmastered song from that era, and I'm glad he chose to share it with us. It's perfect.
I thought this track would be relevant because the man himself is playing here tonight, and giving a talk tomorrow morning. Hugh Masekela has made a LOT of music, and I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what portion of that music I enjoy the most. This album that this song is from, Home is Where the Music Is, is a definite highlight. This track is a wonderful little lullaby, with a small tornado in the middle of it. You might want to fall asleep to it, but it's going to wake you back up. Some beautiful soloing over a slow, soothing groove makes a song that I just cannot stop listening to. Of course, Masekela is the star of this album, but saxophonist Dudu Pakwana matches his delightful skill and emotion towards the end of Minawa.
Thundercat - Heartbreaks + Setbacks
Thundercat (Stephen Bruner) had an amazing debut release "The Golden Age of Apocalypse" back in 2011 and now he's back with "Heartbreaks + Breakups", the first single off of his newest release. Bruner fleshes out his vocals and jazz influences into a beautifully light and compelling three minutes. I can't wait for this album to be released and hope that more of these loving vocals are on it.
Check out more by Thundercat on the Brainfeeder soundcloud here.
martin luther king - Meeka
There's probably nothing better than crowding into a basement with 60 of your friends for a show where everyone knows the words to each and every single fucking song. Screaming along to noisy pop-punk in a big sweaty pit of 17-20 year olds encapsulates every reason a local music scene is so important, and proves that effective song writing doesn't neccisarily require subtlety or nuance. I can't get this shit un-stuck in my head, and it's been 2+ years. Go download MLK's entire EP for free, you won't regret it.
Worms - Tired Punk
This music sounds like wading through a river of mud during a thunderstorm, in the most wonderful way possible. The incessant noise of the drums and guitar is always pushing the song forward, and the bass holds things down solidly. I'm also really loving these vocals; can totally relate. And even with the rough and heavy aesthetic, there's a certain warmth to this piece - twinges of Japandroids-esque sounds in there. This track is off the new self-titled album from Worms - formerly Whirl, the Amherst, MA punk band that almost played here with Potty Mouth a few weeks back.
Blue Daisy x Unknown Shapes - 5's Up
Need a song to commit murder to? Here's one. Blue Daisy x Unknown Shapes aka Blue Daisy aka ∇known ShΔpes dropped 5's Up, his first single off an upcoming release on Black Acre, a couple days ago. The track fits right in his repertoire: loud, slow, pitch-black beats that draw equally from witch house and trap without resorting to the tropes of either. If you're trying to blow out your woofer, check out some of his previous stuff.
Ólafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm - a2 (Max Cooper Remix)
Arnalds and Frahm released their joint EP, Stare, last year. A collection of ambient music in two sides, the music is largely about sonic texture and linear development; if the "songs" go anywhere, they move slowly. Max Cooper's remix of "a2" does the same thing, but stretches the track out to about twice its original length in order to transform it into a slow-burning ambient techno piece. In Cooper's own words: "the bass, chords and pads play centre stage, rather than the drums as with a normal techno track." He's done a great job of adding energy to the piece without distracting from its original intent.
DJ Koze ft. Caribou - [Track ID Anyone?]
Electronic music these days is all about crossover and collaboration, but usually the focus isn't as much on the producer. That might be why I keep coming back to DJ Koze's new full-length Amygdala from earlier this year, which also features vocal contributions from Matthew Dear, Apparat, and Milosh (of Rhye). His smooth but hazy beats provide an aesthetic anchor for a diverse array of songwriters that results in some surprisingly melodic pop songs with some minimal techno flair, as evidenced by this cozy opener featuring Dan Snaith of Caribou.
Unkle Funkle - Picture of my Dick
I can comfortably say that I know of no one quite like Chis "Unkle" Funkle. Dude's one of the brains behind Gnar Tapes and Shit and makes killer drunken loser jams like "I Can't Skate" and "Pissing in the Driveway" with White Fang. In his solo stuff, however, Funkle taps into his skill set honed as a vocal performance major, melding the weird and the beautiful in a distinctly "Gnar" fashion. "Picture of My Dick" (preceded by the slow space jam "Made a Mistake") is a perfect example of Funkle's marriage of the vulgar and the undeniably pretty. Check out the music video for the full, magnificent effect, featuring more slow-mo claps, breathy gasps, and bare dude butt than you could ever hope for.