16 MORE DAYS UNTIL KXSC FEST. Are you ready to have the only existence-affirming day of your entire life? Are you prepared to eat so many different delicious things that will be so much better than anything else you have ever eaten before, for the first time in your entire life? Are you ready to see what 900 people in one room looks like, for the first time in your entire life?
(*Note, all of the things listed above only hold any actual validity when applied to myself, as I have not had a very exciting life, but that is all going to change on March 30th).
Rhye - Woman: So everyone here is a big fan of sexy, minimal R&B, right? I'm of the mind that this release from local duo Rhye is the cream of the crop from the past few months, just a smidge ahead of those How to Dress Well and xx records. Yeah, Mike Milosh's voice has a velvety and almost feminine smoothness, and the production is the equivalent of a whispered sweet nothing - but the unconventional arrangements are what truly set Rhye apart from others of the ilk. Strings and horns constantly flourish and accent without distracting from the intimacy, kinetic basslines draw heavily from the heyday of disco, and...is that a steel drum riff that doesn't sound shoehorned in on "Verse"? In fact, nothing on this album is forced (save for that weirdass sax solo on "One of Those Summer Days"), which is especially remarkable when an artist deals so exclusively in that LUV thing. Recommended listening if you've ever had some weird and/or irrational feelings. ZN
Recommended Tracks: "Open", "The Fall", "Hunger"
Fol Chen - The False Alarms: Somewhere in the depths of space lies a planet abundant with reverb, populated by carbon-based lifeforms with robot voices. Recently, scientists have been able to intercept some of the transmissions from the homeworld and market them under the name “Fol Chen” (obviously an alien name). All sci-fi aside, this release is certainly a hybrid between organic and electronic. The often unintelligible, banshee-like vocals are reminiscent of earth’s own Grimes or Bjork, and the echoing arrangements and arena rock snares recall Cults’ old-fashioned pop. Occasionally tracks break into spoken word tangents and are filtered to further enhance the android styled found vocals across the record (Alice Glass would be proud). A piece of music inspired by both classic pop and modern dance, it breaks the fist-pumping mould with most songs on the record landing well below 100 bpm. Fol Chen’s record is really something out of this world. NA
Recommended Tracks: "200 Words", "Doubles", "IOU"
Adrian Younge - Adrian Younge Presents The Delfonics: You may recognize Adrian Younge's name from his work on the Black Dynamite soundtrack - I got a chance to see his band play a raucous opening set for Flying Lotus back in October. And you may recognize the Delfonics' name because...well, they're THE DELFONICS. The name of this record is a little misleading, however: Younge only worked with William Hart, a founding member and leader of the Delfonics. The pair co-wrote every song on this record, which features a significant hip-hop influence and jagged guitar lines that lean more toward the psychedelic end of the spectrum rather than the standard soul sound. The arrangements stop and start on a dime, with chord progressions and instrumentation that keeping you guessing throughout the album's runtime. A healthy potpourri of Dilla, Patti LaBelle, and Ennio Morricone. ZN
Recommended Tracks: "I Can't Cry No More", "Lost Without You", "Love's Melody"
The Replacements - Songs for Slim: Released to raise money for former Replacements guitarist Slim Dunlap, who suffered from a stroke last February, this EP packs 5 covers that have the same soul as the older Replacements albums, but with a more positive and energetic theme. The album has already raised a large sum of money for Slim! Besides the album being a virtuous move to save an old friend, the music is upbeat, raw and still as powerful just as ever, but a bit more sobered-up from the band’s “drunken louts of 1985.” JH
Recommended Tracks: "I'm Not Sayin'", "Busted Up", "Everything's Coming Up Roses"
Kavinsky - OutRun: VRRRRRROOOOOOOOM!!! Kavinsky makes a speedy entrance on his debut album, “Outrun.” Following his work on the critically-acclaimed soundtrack for the “Drive” motion picture, Kavinsky has crafted more than a dozen tracks that bank off of Daft Punk & Justice’s larger-than-life midi rock. If Def Leppard were 4 guys with keytars and a one-armed drum machine, this would be their record. Vocoders and Casio keyboards run amok like a bad 80s flashback, but with the clarity and class of a 21st century composition. Look, I don’t know all too much about this kind of music and there are only so many acceptable puns I can make about cars. If you saw Drive and liked what you heard, chances are that you will enjoy this just as much. NA
Recommended Tracks: "Protovision", "Odd Look", "Nightcall"