Monday, March 12, 2018

Loosies Of The Week, Mar. 6-12

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. 

Beach House - Dive

After hearing 'Dive,' I feel relieved in saying I wasn't all that impressed with 'Lemon Glow,' despite the general Beach House fandom saying it was yet another leap in quality following Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars. To me, the lead single to 7 merely adapted the Bloom aesthetic for more muddy, debris-filled waters. However, 'Dive' is a different beast all together, and the rush of sensations felt when 'Sparks' first dropped came back in force. As always, Beach House's production is sublime, this time brought on by an intriguing, pulsating glow at the center in the form of an hypnotic drum. 'Dive's' first half wanders towards this glimmering mist, as Alex Scally's divine guitar strokes join Victoria LeGrand's haunted whisper in the hook. Yet, this is all but just a tease, as 'Dive' truly takes flight come its percussion-filled second half. Euphoria swells as Beach House pummels your eardrums with the prettiest Noise and Shoegaze elements you'll ever find. My eyes got watery just experiencing the beautiful kaleidoscopic sounds before me. Currently 2018's song of the year.

Vince Staples - Get The Fuck Off My Dick

Even though I rarely use social media, and have no interest in following the daily lives of my favorite musicians, one thing I do know is this: Vince Staples is a top-tier troll. Creating a GoFundMe page solely to declare to anonymous cynics that $2 million will force Staples into early retirement, stating "get the fuck off my dick or fund my lifestyle," is genius. As a complimentary to fans, Staples even went so far as to team up with renowned West Coast beatsmith DJ Dahi (Summertime 06, Compton, DAMN) for 'Get The Fuck Off My Dick,' a minimal G-Funk anthem that finds Staples at his wits' end. Gone is the Hip House of Big Fish Theory, even though Staples still touts that style here ("avant-garde with this shit"). Instead, Staples' street side emerges, unfazed by online attacks, choosing instead to use his words and wit to thwart naysayers. "I ain't taking no more calls, might think bout calling it quits / Press is trying to block my blessings, no more talking to Vince / NPR and XXL, man I can't tell which is which" he blurts out in the opening verse, a direct condemnation of the trifles fame unwittingly brings you. While there's no denying Staples as head honcho on 'Get The Fuck Off My Dick,' DJ Dahi proves his worth with as little ingredients as possible. Initially, the barebones production, primarily composed of a looped vocal sample, 808, and tick-tocking piano doesn't impress. That is, until Staples' second verse where Dahi subtly details the piano, adding a secondary one, while twisting the hi-hats. It's nuances like that that take generic G-Funk tracks to new heights.

Jon Hopkins - Emerald Rush

Five years have passed since Jon Hopkins' sensational Microhouse tour de force Immunity. A lot has changed in the Electronic genre, including his early 2010's counterparts, like Burial or Andy Stott, falling by the wayside with no current pioneers steering the reigns of IDM. Singularity promises to be a strong return for the atmospheric fidget king, if the lengthy tracklist and quality of 'Emerald Rush' are anything to go by. On the lead single, many of Hopkins' traits return, including his peculiar sense of drum patterns, as if they're eternally caught mid-breath. Added amongst those sharp stabs are ghostly voices lost amongst the fray and intimate piano notes that recall Nils Frahm's Electronic-first music. Towards the end of 'Emerald Rush,' a necessary build-up to crunchy climax occurs, offsetting the Trance elements and proving that Singularity will be more than just looping ideas. Of course, the first minute of whimsical synth jitters helps confirm that too. The one hope left remaining is whether Hopkins has enough tricks up his sleeve for Singularity, as 'Emerald Rush' does borrow wearily from Immunity's beasts, not just in sound or texture, but structure and pacing.

Anderson .Paak - Til It's Over

In recent years, Alternative R&B has slouched in having any discernible face. Aesthetics dominate the landscape with no one idea holding significance above the others. However, if there's one artist capable of steering the ship towards sunnier waters, it's Anderson .Paak. 'Til It's Over' is his first release since 2016 where Malibu and Yes Lawd! (a collaboration with Knxledge) took his career to new heights. The single, part of a marketing campaign that involves Apple, Spike Jonze, FKA Twigs, and a trippy apartment room, reflects the Soul-filled direction .Paak wishes to take Alternative R&B. The production - some of the best and most nimble he's surrounded himself with to date - not only borrows from Malibu's sun-drenched beaches and flushed romantics, but also the inconsistent world of Wonky and the sorely under-utilized Juke age of The Social Experiment. On 'Til It's Over,' it's not .Paak who steals the show, which his unique vocals are more than accustomed to, but actually the production and namely the supremely addictive percussion rhythms. 'Til It's Over' has two hooks, one which evokes quieter textures after a TNGHT-esque anti-drop, and another that transitions effortlessly from that to greener pastures with prismatic visions. FKA Twigs' dancing and Spike Jonze's editing both perfect visual accompaniments to the sounds on hand.

Grouper - Parking Lot

Perhaps in past decades there were artists more isolated in their own, unique world, but in the modern era there's few, if any, I can consider more than Grouper. While government distress, societal upheaval, and pervasive lurkers stress most everyone out, including the musicians of today with their maximalist-everything, Grouper has, for well over a decade, lived in self-imposed exile amongst the forests where deers lay dead, aliens come to land, and ruins stand in overgrowth. That is to say, those who've warmed to her placid welcome find comfort in tracks like 'Parking Lot,' the lead single to Grid Of Points. For others, if that stoic sedation isn't enough to satiate, there isn't much to observe. 'Parking Lot' acts as a continuation of 2014's Ruins, an album that took with it the concept of Liz Harris performing as all her instruments, her sounds, her textures, withered away. Like most Singer/Songwriter efforts, 'Parking Lot' really is Harris, a piano, and nothing more. Her world-building occurs in the edges, the silence between each stroke and each breath. It's not so much the curiosity as her best works, like 'Moon Is Sharp' or 'Disintegrated,' nor does it branch out like 2016's one-off affair Paradise Valley, but 'Parking Lot' still fulfills the Grouper checkboxes in terms of everlasting ambience.

Parquet Courts - Wide Awake

Last we left Parquet Courts they were combing the recesses of Indie Rock with dashes of Post-Punk and Garage Rock on 2015's passable Human Performance. They were not, in any respect, doing this. 'Wide Awake,' the title track to the band's upcoming sixth album, finds Parquet Courts reinventing themselves in ways I'd never imagine. Clear-cut New Wave and Dance-Punk a la the Talking Heads' polyrhythmic-obsessive era comes prancing through in a drunken stupor. The change in tone, passion, and energy is dramatic, especially coming off the periodic lulls found in Human Performance's deep cuts. Unfortunately, whereas David Byrne competed with the hooting and hollering of inviting breakbeats with curious lyrics of his own, A. Savage treats the festivities as nothing more than music to dance to, forgoing any smart, witty, or bold lyrics. This is something he's more than capable of doing, but rather than go the LCD Soundsystem route where James Murphy contemplates amongst the celebration, he goes the Arcade Fire route a la 'Here Comes The Night Time' when the party is all that matters. Nevertheless, 'Wide Awake' intrigues in ways few Parquet Courts singles have before.

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