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New This Week: Theophilus London, Kele, Panda Bear, Gorgon City, and Viet Cong

Theophilus London – Vibes!: Vibes! is a blend of all things vibey, vibery, viberiffic, vibetastic, and vibedelic. London gives us the ultimate fusion of several great influences, including hip-hop, new wave, funk, dancehall, and soul, with the potential to resonate with almost anyone. Good vibes and refreshing sentimentality are happening up in here, the name of the album derived from feelings triggered in the California desert recording studio. Vibes! was produced by Kanye, who is also featured on a track. Other featured artists include both Devonte Hynes and Leon Ware. The big boys are drawn to this Brooklyn-based genre bender for a reason. There’s a groove and the production is solid the whole way through. ARI  

 RIYL: Kindness, Childish Gambino

Recommended tracks: “Water Me (feat. Leon Ware)”, “Get Me Right”, “Do Girls”, “Tribe (feat. Jesse Boykins III)”

Kele – Trick: When this album came out last fall, the record promoters always made sure to note that Kele is the singer for Bloc Party and suggested that fans of that band would totally dig this album – thus implying that “Trick” would sound at least something like Bloc Party’s indie/alt style. DIRTY LIARS. This album is great, but it is also totally not alternative at all; it is, however, super smooth, sleek dance music, the kind you might hear in one of those nice night clubs from rom-coms starring people like Mila Kunis where people wear nice dresses and drink martinis or other fancy-ish-looking beverages, if such a place really exists. In other words, Kele is a pretty bomb producer. THE HAWK 

RIYL: Simian Mobile Disco, Phantogram, Caribou 

Recommended Tracks: “Doubt”, “Humour Me”, “Closer”

Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper: Pure Panda Perfection. The sweet side of Animal Collective, Noah Lennox, delivers his best on this latest album with soothing melodies and sinister dreamscapes. His songs are at times grating, anxiety-inducing layers of industrial chaos, but nevertheless a silken undercurrent of repetition and tender vocals shine through the clutter to calm the listener. The first half of Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper growls with the force of a gurgling riptide. A dog yelps in “Mr. Noah” evoking an image of a puppy mill in District 9, an encounter with the Grim Reaper. The second half of the album is more like life after death. “Tropic of Cancer” starts with something of a horn intro, like the welcome party at the gates of Heaven, and whirls into a dreamy harp refrain. I picture Lennox sitting under a marble veranda being fanned and fed grapes like a Greek goddess. A gritty interlude leads into a mingling of scorching light sabers and baroque piano on “Lonely Wanderer”, kicking off what could be the soundtrack for the next edition of Legend of Zelda, dark and magical. The insistent repetition coupled with singeing synth spells imminent chaos and death, some sleepy hamlet burned to the ground, a horrific nightmare. The album ends on a positive note. Are we to believe that PB has met the GR and persevered? Was this a fight for his life or just a chance encounter? I dunno, who cares. Since I know you’ll be wanting to sing along with “Boys Latin” here’s the chorus: “Beasts don't have a second to think. But we don't appreciate our things”. Alls you got to do is stutter each syllable except ‘second’, leave out the first syllable of ‘appreciate’ and stutter once after ‘things’. Bam, saved you from sounding like a fool. SHILL

RIYL: Animal Collective, MGMT, Avey Tare

Recommended Tracks: “Mr. Noah”, “Boys Latin”, “Tropic of Cancer”, “Lonely Wanderer”

Gorgon City - Sirens: Gorgon City’s Sirens combines the groups recognizable deep house sounds with pop vocal features that create lively dance tracks. Some of the songs don’t provide the heavy throbbing sounds that are present in my favorite Gorgon City tracks but it is apparent that the album relies on its ups and downs in order to allow tracks like Real and Ready For Your Love to stand out. The bottom line is if you like house music this album warrants a listen and there are some songs that will have your jaw dropping and feet moving. 

The creation of a cohesive and strong 13 song deep house album is a daunting task to say the least and this album although not entirely successful through and through shows the group diving into interesting territory. This is apparent in the tracks that are easily overlooked on this album that are still strong mellow pop/house songs. That being said there are only 2 or 3 songs I would consider spinning at a party from this album. WILL

RIYL: Duke Dumont, Secondcity, Disclosure (to place it in a general ballpark for yall) 

Recommended Tracks: 8, 2, 6

Viet Cong – Viet CongViet Cong is the hair-raising static of your vacuum tube TV. The perpetual pound of a shoe in a dryer. The sound of glass shattering on the highway. With the explosiveness of an air raid, it’s hard to believe these noisy boys are labelmates with Bon Iver and Angel Olson. Through the thick mayhem of crushed drums, distorted bass, and trashing guitars, the vocals shout David Bowie meets Ian Curtis. Bouncing frequently between punk, indie, and noise rock, Viet Cong is one of the dirtiest records I’ve heard since METZ. Has the new semester already got the best of you? Let out some steam and bang your head against the garage door with Viet Cong! A-ROG 

RIYL: METZ, Deerhoof

Recommended Tracks: Continental Shelf, Silhouettes, Death