New This Week: Missing Ministry

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WE KNOW, WE KNOW, WE'RE VERY SORRY.

In one swoop, KXSC's esteemed Ministry of Music has just preemptively dismissed any and all complaints you might have had about the lack of music updates since spring break. It's not our fault! James Franco bailed us out of jail and we ended up getting into some wacky scrapes.

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Bonobo - The North Borders: Producer Simon Green’s development as an ever-evolving musician becomes clear in his latest release The North Borders. Green has created atmospheric tracks that come together with simple sounds. The light chime sound on “Cirrus” starts out with a minimalistic beat, but quickly develops into a full-blown compilation of different sounds that create motion out of the different clicks, electronic pulses and smooth beats. The delicate construction of electronic sounds is balanced out with organic textures. The album’s intricate rhythms are placed next to two-steps and shuffles, the arrangements come together in pulsating beats that play a role in the samples delicately layered in that are reminiscent to current U.K. dubstep, garage, and dub. The North Borders demonstrates the range and depth of textural music; the overwhelming number of original samples in the album envelops into a fresh sound that is introduced in perfect timing with the rhythm. -JH

Recommended Tracks: "Cirrus", "Towers", "Transit"

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Devendra Banhart - Mala: Mala, Banhart’s latest contribution, is a work that finds the artist treading new territory yet continuing to display his mastery in the art of storytelling. It is an album filled with simple melodies that slowly unravel to reveal a subtle inner complexity. In many ways, it is a beautifully written anti-love album, offering songs depicting hopeless relationships and indifferent romantic partners. One song entitled “Your Fine Petting Duck” finds Banhart singing to an ex-love interest, “If he treats you bad, please remember how much worse I treated you.” Yet these songs exhibit a certain charm only Banhart is capable of communicating. It’s an album that compels you to lose yourself in the grips of a pleasant nostalgia; an urge you likely won't resist. It’s hard to say whether this is a return to form or a new start for Banhart, but either way it’s an album that certainly brings him back into the conversation. Some of my personal favorite songs include Track 4, Track 5, Track 6, and track 14, but it’s definitely an album I would listen to from beginning to end. -ALBERT

Recommended Tracks: "Mi Negrita", "Never Seen Such Good Things", "Your Fine Petting Duck"

FUN FACT: In a recent interview, Banhart was asked what inspired him to write. He replied that when he was young, he came across his cousin who could not come out and play with him because he was busy writing. When he went over to see what his cousin was writing he read, “Today they cut my nails. We shall see when they grow back.” It was the first time he had ever read something so poetic and it changed the way he thought about writing forever.

 

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Thee Oh Sees - Floating Coffin: For about the last 10 years, John Dwyer has made his voice play the sharp edge to Thee Oh Sees. Dwyer’s fast, high pitch growls sharpen out the group’s tracks, his vocals almost dictate the energy felt from a high-speed car chase or a giant group of people uncontrollably dancing. Floating Coffin still stands up to the past Oh Sees albums, as it is as joyously energetic as it is abrasive. The tracks remain completely true to Thee Oh Sees sound: a mix of psych-pop, loud rock, and surf (-esque) music on speed. “I Come From The Mountain” instantly becomes a fast-paced whirlwind of guitars and howls from Dwyer.  The “fuzz” completely breaks through in “Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster,” so thick, so heavy so crunchy, ughhhhh – YES. “Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster” counteracts with fuzz with Dwyer’s high vocals, howls, and reverb-y vocals. Floating Coffin translates the group's unquantifiable sonic energy into the album. -JH

Recommended Tracks: "Toe Cutter - Thumb Buster", "I Come from the Mountain", "Night Crawler"

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Wavves - Afraid of Heights: If you haven’t yet familiarized yourself with Nathan Williams and his brainchild Wavves, well… you’re missing out, but you should also consider yourself lucky to make his acquaintance on his most mature work of ambient garage punk to date. Williams is sort of a mellowed out Jay Reatard (think booze instead of coke), and lo and behold! Reatard’s backing band has served intermittently on the Wavves roster.  On Afraid of Heights we hear an evolution of William’s musicianship from jangly riffs and nasally vocals to a more serious, grunge-like tone. Critics compare it to Nirvana’s Nevermind, but what do they know. I hear old Weezer and Pixies. With persistent themes of death and dying throughout the record, one might find cause for concern except that the tunes are so darn jolly. Even when Williams sings about holding a gun to his head, it sounds like nothing but good times. “Everything is My Fault” and “I Can’t Dream” are definite departures in style (spacy, swirling backing vocals), and somewhere in there I hear sleighbells, could just be me… -SHILL

Recommended Tracks: "Afraid of Heights" (having watched this video I rescind my statement about there being no cause for concern), "Demon to Lean On", "Gimme a Knife"

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White Fence - Cyclops Reap (will be added soon!): Los Angeles' own Tim Presley serves up some warm fuzzy feelings in his most recent venture through psychedelia, "Cyclops Reap," preparing us for another nostalgic, truth-ridden summer. Each song features a classically simple voice and guitar, but is laden with colorful and trippy tics. Think Syd Barrett having a good day. The heavy 60s influence on the album signals that Tim is doing the same sort of revisionist work as Ariel Pink and Tame Impala. The whole album alternates between soft and sharp tones with "Beat" showcasing the tremolo-ridden underwater talking effect. It can get a BIT flat, a TAD one-note, but Presley's moniker delivers a nasaly, California surf reminiscence along with blatant punk influence, where simplicity and amp feedback are appreciated. I would check out Chairs In The Dark since it's a suitable hook for the album, but if you want something to BLOW YOUR MIND go straight for Pink Gorilla. It's difficult to distinguish what the dude is actually saying, but it leaves your brain spinning in a buzz of paisley swirls. Ya dig? -ARIELLA

Recommended Tracks: "Pink Gorilla", "Chairs in the Dark", "Live on Genevieve"

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