New This Week: Whirr, Azelia Banks, Slim Twig and TV On The Radio

Whirr – SwaySometimes the best way to appreciate new trends or styles of music is to subject oneself to mildly unpleasant situations. Did I ~really~ want to see Juno in the theater with my granny so I could listen to her relate (in great detail) her own experiences as a pregnant teen during the entire film? NO. No one wants to imagine their grandparents hooking up like EVER, but, as I tried to tune out my granny and focus on literally anything else, I made myself fully consciously aware of the soundtrack – which came to define my musical leanings in middle school. (I actually ended up loving the film, but my first viewing was uncomfortable nonetheless.) More recently, I attended a music festival in Austin and watched Deafheaven perform at like 3PM in broad daylight, which is not the optimal time for listening to black metal (if such a time actually exists). The music was droning and noisy and discomforting, and everyone else was wearing all black even though it was almost eighty degrees outside, and the show was just not my favorite, to say the least – but, if nothing else, it did introduce me to the heavier side of shoegaze music, such as Whirr. On a scale from 1 to 10 (or from My Bloody Valentine to Deafheaven), Whirr is probably a 6. Whereas MBV is more alternative, Whirr has an almost punk-inspired heaviness in the way they emphasize the drums and bass, unlike the former’s very guitar-dominant sound – just compare “Press” or “Mumble” off Sway to “Only Shallow” to see the difference. I mean, Whirr is basically an emo band! Ok, so not really, but the melody of “Dry” beneath the typical shoegaze/humming guitar could totally fit in an early Jimmy Eat World record (which is pretty rad to me). Anyway, although we did not add Sway when it came out in late September, we would not be adding it now if the album did not deserve to be part of our wall, so give it a listen. ASHLEY

RIYL: My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Nothing

Recommended Tracks: “Press,” “Mumble,” “Dry,” and “Heavy”

Azealia Banks – Broke With Expensive TasteAzeala Banks’ long-anticipated debut album Broke With Expensive Taste is wrought with the teen angst of jump roping Harlem girl, living in a city saturated with hundreds of sounds to draw from. This angst is amplified by the frustration Banks must’ve felt with her ex-label Interscope when the album was getting repeatedly delayed. The album carelessly jumps between genres taking U-turns, switchbacks, and hairpins unpredictably throughout the course of the record. Notable moments of this occur during the tracks “Gimme a Chance,” when Banks spontaneously spits an entire verse in impeccable Spanish, and “Nude Beach A Go-Go,” a surf rock anthem and curveball collaboration with Ariel Pink. Though it certainly experiences some genre ADD, the album’s loudest voices are dance hip-hop, house, and even a dash of dubstep. Banks lodges her way between sounds with the sharp stubbornness of a thorn stuck in a bike tire; it goes around and around but you don’t’ dare pull it out, or your tire is toast. This vibe transcends most of the album; ‘Azealia Banks is here to stay, and if you say otherwise, there will be hell to pay.’ In her controversial single “212,” she definitely makes it clear that she’s the new boss bitch in town. Throughout Broke With Expensive Taste, Banks showcases her skills as a lyricist, an MC, and a beautiful singer, exuding a cool passiveness towards her music. Much like her tendency to genre hop, by the time she finishes a verse, she is already over it and on to the next thing. There’s no doubt that she has got talent. It’s too bad the album was delayed so long, and it’s lucky for her that her sound didn’t go out of fashion during that time (though I’m not quite sure that’d be possible with the variety of sounds on Broke With Expensive Taste). The album sports a whopping 16 tracks, making it a little lengthy. But most tracks display Banks’ unmistakable sass and trademark spunk. Enjoy! AROG

RIYL: Iggy Azalea, M.I.A., Skream

Recommended Tracks: “212”, “Gimme a Chance”, “Desperado”

Slim Twig – A Hound at the HelmA Hound at the Helm is one of the most unfortunately overlooked albums of the past few years. Thank goodness it’s experiencing this reissue because I otherwise never would have given it the attention it deserves. It’s basically a concept piece based on Nabokov’s novel Lolita, exploring what Slim Twig calls the “transformative power of lust”  and like it’s inspiration, the music of A Hound at the Helm can best be described as beautifully bizarre. On first impression, I was stunned at how experimental psychedelia could blend with baroque instrumentation and end up reminding me of early post-punk. A perfect marriage of Can and Subway Sect with the occasional mania of Animal Collective. The guitar is crunchy, chugging along in the background while harpsichord, piano, and even accordion crop up to dominate the soundscape. String arrangements by Owen Pallett (scored the movie Her) add to an atmosphere that shifts between that of a haunted house and the musical theatre a la The Sound of Music. On top of it all, Slim Twig sings like a drunkard crooning through his sobs as he stumbles through a cemetery. The album culminates in something akin to a creepy carnival, like the scene in Fear and Loathing when Thompson and his associate are losing their shit on ether. Fabulous stuff, I’ll be keeping an eye on this guy. SHILL

RIYL: MGMT, Nick Cave, Diane Coffee

Recommended Tracks: “Heavy Splendour”, “All This Wanting

TV On The Radio – Seeds: Seeds explores an electronic pop atmosphere with garage rock edge and the energy stay constant throughout. Winter and Lazerray stand out as the strongest of the more garage rock side of the album that leave some of the other songs feeling a bit flaccid. This album is a consistent effort from the band and their sound seems to be getting more accessibly and well produced, but if you haven’t listened to an TV On The Radio this is not where I would start. The album is rich with emotionally driven lyrics and each song takes the album into a different emotional swing. Bottom line if you like TVOTR you’ll probably like this album although it doesn’t take any real risks.

RIYL- Spoon

Recommended Tracks - 9, 4, 10

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