Sunday, October 15, 2017

Loosies Of The Week, Oct. 9-15

Welcome to yet another Loosies Of The Week, a wrap-up of this weeks singles, throwaways, leaks, and any other loose tracks I find. A wide range of genres this week, with a well-rounded level of quality. There's sure to be something you enjoy. 

The Go! Team - Semicircle Song

Ever since their inception in 2004, The Go! Team have been the utter definition of guilty pleasure. There's never a time when their music isn't applicable. Whether you're down in the dumps or flying high, their inescapable euphoria never fails to raise those endorphin levels. However, the phrase too much of a good thing applies, as my ingestion of their discography in quick succession had me throughly burnt out by Rolling Blackouts. So much so that The Scene Between hasn't crossed through my ears yet. Needless to say, The Go! Team's quality was dissipating, and while I wasn't expecting a revolution come 'Semicircle Song,' I was expecting another solid lead single. That's exactly what we got. There is a shaky bridge where the various members disclose their zodiac signs, but other than that the horn-led jubilee combines their unbridled glee with high-fidelity instrumentation. The melodies, as simple as ever, latch onto the listener on first listen, while the unifying percussion make 'Semicircle Song' inherently likable.

Porches - Country

The extent of my knowledge on Porches is that I recognize their name, and recall that their last LP was entitled Pool. That's about it, but every so often with these loosies I like to jump in, expectations null, and discover an artist's recent work with no bias intact. With that being said, 'Country' has me intrigued. For a single, it's quite an odd choice, failing to reach the two-minute mark and lacking any accessible foundation. 'Country' basically exists as a build around melodious vocals, using a piano and minimal synth line as the precarious backbone. The extent of my enjoyment of 'Country' comes not from the song itself, but from Liars' 'The Other Side Of Mt. Heart Attack,' which this song borrows its melody from. Angus Andrew's work there far exceeds Aaron Maine's here, but that's comparing what amounts to an interlude to a classic. 'Country' also released with a music video, which brings along my second form of enjoyment. Whereas King Krule's recent calamity 'Dum Surfer' embodied the dark, mysterious side of Twin Peaks, Porches' 'Country' travels to the backroads of northern America, sweeping vistas of trees and endless car rides included. Oh, and Maine ends smoking a cigarette in front of flush red curtains.

Son Lux - Dream State

In recent years, the passion project of Ryan Lott, Son Lux, has run into a bit of a creative wall. Their last official LP, and first with Rafiq Bhatia and Ian Chang, came in 2015. Bones was largely a success, primarily for its association with Lanterns' fantastic orchestration while returning to the song-based structuring of Son Lux's past projects. However, two EP's since then, Stranger Forms and Remedy, have aimed the group's trajectory into no man's land. 'Dream State,' the first single of 2018's Brighter Wounds, aims to rectify that. Unfortunately, it doesn't distance itself enough to entice. Like with any Son Lux effort, the string-laced single features Lott's weary vocals, his Art Pop-skewed lyrics, and the minimalist-go-maximalist production that polishes the edges to a chrome sheen. Frantic percussion, jarring synth stabs, uniform rallying cries all define 'Dream State's' first half. Problem being, these descriptions have been applied to Son Lux tracks before. However, despite lingering a tad too long, the slight ambience transition midway through, leading into a screeching guitar medley, reinitializes 'Dream State's' demanding power. Here's to hoping Brighter Wounds has more unique moments like that.

Spark Master Tape - Ayo Charlie

In my eyes, Spark Master Tape has always suffered from excess, both in terms of project filler and unfit, maximalist production. His latest, Silhouette Of A Sunkken City, managed to get a reputable score from me despite me never returning to the project posthaste. Typically, 22 songs means 22 ideas, but with how sporadic Spark Master Tape incorporated beat switches, samples, intros and outros, it really neared the 30-40 range. Way too much for a mixtape that featured a girl gagging during fellatio as a beat. Spark Master Tape's next project has hope, if only for the fact that it's an EP and 'Ayo Charlie,' the lead single, is featured on it. No, 'Ayo Charlie' isn't some resounding return to the experimental Cloud Rap days of The #SWOUP Serengeti, but it does take some of the weakened Boom Bap elements of Sunkken City and converts the excess into aggression. The drums are muffled, the guitar crunchy, the noise screeching through, the samples overflowing but systematic. Spark Master Tape's rapping will always be a primary concern, since he rarely impresses with his braggadocio, which is the only thing he does for the most part. The sonic tone, and not the mystery rapper, is where 'Ayo Charlie' finds its power.

Sleigh Bells - And Saints

I still recall the first time I heard 'Crown On The Ground.' In 2010, when it released, nothing in my limited library sounded remotely like it. The same applies to the entirety of Sleigh Bells' anarchistic debut Treats, an album's which cover perfectly encapsulates the screeching riot-Rock held within. In recent years, Sleigh Bells have lost their lust, as Alexis Krauss has resorted to being Pop Punk princess with a tasteless Electropop edge. It's as if the blurred faces of those Treats cheerleaders have descended their pyramid, unshielded their identity, and began hollering about boyish troubles in high school. That was all over last year's Jessica Rabbit, with expectation withstanding this year for the quick, seven-track project Kid Kruschev. Lead single 'And Saints' doesn't thwart that expectation, but it does provide a tonal shift using a linear, plodding synth line. Problem being, Sleigh Bells isn't a Synthpop group, Krauss' tense vocals and blunt lyrics evident of that. Even so, the production to begin with is bland, potentially working as the closer to Kid Kruschev that it's slated for, but certainly not as lead single.


A few hours ago, I listened to Black Eyed Peas' 'The Time (Dirty Bit),' and my god. It's been a while since I've subjected myself to horrendously bad music. I just don't have the time to entertain triviality. But man, 'The Time' is on another level. For many reasons of course, but one that sticks out in particular is the utter lack of cohesion. Moments are forcibly combined, like a sandwich containing grotesque, unsuitable ingredients (let's say, peanut butter and mayonnaise). AWOLNATION's latest single 'Passion' reminds me of this. There's no unifying context, no underlying principles, no musical formality. This, coming from someone whose seen success doing all those things (check out 'Kill Your Heroes' or 'Knights Of Shame'). Truth be told, a great deal of Aaron Bruno's last LP, 2015's Run, contained much of the same ideas. It's music for a generation who can't stick to one force of entertainment, as the radio market broadens their spectrum to include Trap, Pop, Rock, Country, and Dance. Sometimes, in the worst cases, combinations of those. 'Passion' suffers by abiding, jumping from one idea, whether it's a one-note guitar riff to a Beach Boys rip-off, to the next.

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