New This Week: Boardwalk, Paul McCartney, Kwes, Ryan Hemsworth, and Crystal Antlers

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Boardwalk – Boardwalk: Time begins to feel like it slows a little bit once your ears get adjusted to Boardwalk’s warm and atmospheric dream-pop. Compressed drum tracks and airy instrumentals support Mike Edge’s tasteful guitar work and Amber Quintero’s vocal melodies, which act together in a sort of call-and-response fashion. The album’s reverb-dense fluidity and lazy sunshine complexion is definitively Californian, and makes you want to make lemonade in the summer or sleep in just a little bit longer despite the sun creeping through the blinds. JAMES

Recommended tracks: “I’m Not Myself”, “High Water”, “I’m To Blame”

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Paul McCartney – New: Macca extends his legacy further into the 21st century with “New”. In between breaks from fronting Nirvana and touring the world, Paul teamed up with a group of hailed young producers like Paul Epworth (Adele) and Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse), as well as Ethan Johns and Giles Martin, offspring of former Beatles engineers Glyn Johns and George Martin, respectively. Also on board are the band who have been backing Paul for the past 13 years, which is officially the longest he has spent with any group of musicians (even the Beatles!). The record is essentially just what you’d imagine: the marriage of the unparalleled and unfaltering songwriting of his royal Beatleness, and the innovation and naïve intrigue of a roomful of bright young recording engineers. Together, they create something totally unorthodox, something unpredictable, something... NEW! NICK

Recommended tracks: “Save Us”, “New”, “Early Days”, “Looking At Her”

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Kwes – Ilp: Kwes has chromesthesia and he can legitimately see sounds. He creates music through his perceptions of color evoked by individual pitches and tones. Settle in and switch his jamming romantic pop on for a ride across intergalactic London. In this spectacular Warp release, the sounds blend beautifully into a bubbling restlessness. The beats are very loose and free as Kwes croons through with a cutting clarity. It will totally give you a soulful James Blake vibe, minus the looping. I highly recommend that you listen to Ilp while watching a visualizer and just get your chromesthesia on! ARI

Recommended tracks:

36”, “Cablecar”, “B­_shf_l”, “Broke”

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Ryan Hemsworth  Guilt Trips: On his debut album Guilt Trips, 25 year-old Canadian producer Ryan Hemsworth feels no need to beat around the bush. He’s young, immensely talented, and he’ll probably be remixing your next favorite artist, showing you how much better the original could have been. The album is a hodgepodge of various sounds and styles moving from R&B to rap instrumental to electro pop in effortless fashion. Hemsworth isn’t just showcasing his skill in electronic production, he is proving his refusal to be confined to any single genre. On ‘Still Cold’, he collaborates with Baths to create ethereal synthpop that evokes a Postal Service type ambiance. With ‘Ryan Must Be Destroyed’, my personal favorite, Hemsworth fashions a colossal beat that could easily soundtrack an ancient Japanese samurai war scene, equipped with epic-sounding gongs and a militaristic drumbeat. Shortly after, we are exposed to ‘One For Me’, which exhibits newcomer Tinashe, who croons over a radio-ready soft R&B jam. Guilt Trips is an eclectic large-scale album in both sound and variety, framing Hemsworth as a hyper-ambitious young producer who isn’t afraid to break down genre walls for the sake of experimentation. ALBéRT

Recommended tracks: “Against A Wall”, “Still Cold”, “Ryan Must Be Destroyed”, “One For Me” 

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Crystal Antlers – Nothing Is Real: Nightmarish, spaced out sludge rock. This is slamming your head against the wall to deal with your hangover. It’s wading through the river Styx because Charon just kicked your ass off the ferry. You killed yourself, but hell didn’t even want you. Now you’ve got soul-less skulls biting your ankles. Sure it sucks, but there’s triumph in the tragedy because you make it back to the other side of the shore. Ya know like when Donnie Darko dies (or does he?), it’s the fact that Gretchen is actually alive that makes us feel better. What I’m trying to say is this is a good album. It’s dreamy and melodic, but with some heavy distorted guitar. The first track “Pray” has the spacey psychedelic element to it, but then the guitarist goes off shredding through some vicious solos. Many of the tracks take on this same formula, but evoke different emotions. Sometimes the album is almost drifting you to sleep* while the next song can be making you want to get in a fight. Lyrically, the music is compelling. I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about (licorice pizza?), but I get the feeling that he does and that it means a lot to him. Imagery wise, I’m fairly certain these guys are just as confused as I am; the video for “Rattlesnake” is them dragging around a plastic snake on a string… SHILL

Recommended Tracks: “Pray”, “Rattlesnake”, “Licorice Pizza

*If you like that kind of crap: “Don’t Think of the Stone”

RIYL: Dinosaur Jr., Dogs, Parquet Courts

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