Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Deep Cuts: October '17

Welcome to the sixth installment of Deep Cuts, a new monthly segment highlighting standout tracks that weren't given a spotlight to blossom. All songs listed below have been released in the month of October on albums where they weren't previously released as a single. The only condition I've imposed upon myself is that no artist can have more than one song. 

King Krule - Logos
The OOZ | Trip-Hop

An Ooz deep cut was necessary given the eminence of King Krule's sophomore release. But which one? While 'Dum Surfer' still reigns supreme as one of 2017's best, 'Half Man Half Shark' and 'Czech One,' the other two singles, excelling in their own right, the remaining batch of loose ends, straying frequencies, and unusual mood shifts made this a difficult choice. The two choices duking it out were 'Logos' and 'Vidual,' both, coincidentally, on opposite ends of The Ooz spectrum. And believe me, that's a wide, wide range. While I prefer 'Vidual's' untethered experimentation, 'Logos' etched out the wild, wacky Western by representing, to the best of its abilities, The Ooz's grander themes and sounds. Here, Marshall recollects a traumatizing time between him and a lover long since passed. As seen on a handful of other moments throughout The Ooz ('Biscuit Town' being one), King Krule's emotional distress actually comes from within ("Reflection taunts my empty soul"). The others in his life merely bring that angst to light. Beyond King Krule's despondency, 'Logos' excels tunefully as well, equalizing the saddened contemplator with acute percussion and woeful horns. That is, before enveloping the man himself with a frantic climax that brings the most out of his Jazz background.

St. Vincent - Young Lover
MASSEDUCTION | Progressive Pop

Hilariously, Annie Clark's shift from exposing her pure innocence on the cover of her debut LP Marry Me to exposing her pink tight and leopard leotard ass on MASSEDUCTION effectively works as a before and after of what fame does to a virginal soul. Whereas both images succeed in making the statement, the music certainly helps too, as the latter LP contains St. Vincent's most egregious Electropop yet. Much like how her butt is situated against a stark red backdrop, giving you nowhere else to look, the brusque of Clark's musical magnetism does the same. 'Young Lover's' an excellent example of that. Beyond the fact that it most resembles the sound of St. Vincent's 2014 self-titled, her best work thus far, the booming Electropop skyscraper prevails by grabbing your nuts and sexually intimidating the hell out of you. It's here, and everywhere on MASSEDUCTION, where Clark transforms into Madonna a la 'Music' era. Her soft vocals work only as a tease, kissing you to death with passion like Poison Ivy, enhanced by the startling guitar work that dominates 'Young Lover's' numerous beaconing points. Her transcendence into yelping queen by song's end only more evidence of her unrivaled confidence.

Destroyer - In The Morning
ken | Synthpop

Does the concept of cheating exist in music? Plagiarism does, of course, but I'm talking more precisely of utilizing key elements that'll, without question, result in a successful song due to the fallacy of the human brain. There's a reason why any era of Pop music curated a formula, something Trap's also doing right now. Producers, or nameless tastemakers turning your Katy Perry's, Ariana Grande's, One Direction's into brands, know how to take advantage of the zeitgeist and listeners' impressionable stature. Is it cheating the system though? I ask that because Destroyer's 'In The Morning' does exactly that, just for a different audience. What Dan Bejar does with his guitars, here henceforth known as the "'Heroes'" principle, is nothing new. And yet, at least for me, in every instance I can't refute its greatness. Those massive riffs, mixed with secondary synths, progressive drum beats, and synth strobe lights, inflict some massive Synthpop damage. 'In The Morning,' on first listen, because of the '"Heroes'" principle, feels epic, memorable, and everlasting. Surprisingly, Bejar's vocals actually improve the grand edifice, a rarity given his often mockable imitations of past songwriters.

Kelela - Altadena
Take Me Apart | Alternative R&B

'Altadena' doesn't just work because it's a great R&B song. It is, of course, but within the context of Take Me Apart, it's so much more. Kelela spends the majority of the album wrapped up in silken sheets, hands firmly grasped around a lover, banging the bed posts against the wall. Her over-the-top sensuality isn't necessarily aggressive - although the UK Bass and Wonky scrapping Industrial refinement would tell you otherwise - it's passionate. However, if Take Me Apart failed to end with 'Altadena,' her nightly status would be incomplete. For all the sweat, seduction, drama, and tears, 'Altadena' exists as a fond statement that everything's alright. Juxtaposed sharply against Kelela's edges, as seen on 'Take Me Apart' or 'LMK,' the closer provides a cordial hospitality that swoons with swaying synths and the singer's most angelic vocals to date. 'Altadena' represents the moments post-coitus, either immediately after whilst snuggled up against a human body warmer, or the morning after where a breakfast is being served up fresh. Nothing on Take Me Apart sounds like it, the melodies are divine and everlasting, the chorus an encouraging note that, even though Kelela's a powerful R&B singer, her problems aren't any different than the layman's struggles.

Four Tet - Daughter
New Energy | Microhouse

In the early 2000's, Four Tet's name began to sprout up and be remembered off Kieran Hebden's nimble use of electronics, stripping away the flashiness of Big Beat, the convolution of IDM, and the senselessness of Techno. His brand fell conveniently into the Electronic sub-genre Microhouse, which was blossoming at the time. It was quiet, quaint, and wholesome, content living by its own means rather than grabbing your attention. For the ensuing decade, when you thought of Microhouse you thought of Four Tet. His name became synonymous with the style, which is why his foray into other genres was met with hesitation and dissatisfaction. This year, Hebden returned to his blessed ground with New Energy, a Microhouse-fueled excursion. Acting as the emotional and musical centerpiece, 'Daughter' tracks through the genre like no other. The tone built throughout resembles that of innocuous behavior, like school children tapping their fingers along the wooden table as audible, but indistinguishable noises push past their lips. A heavenly piano joins mid-procession, layered over twice, as more sounds from the same mouth enter as if stuck on a loop. The final result is a glorious display of how minimal sounds can be combined to maximal effect.

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