SPACE ROCK: Gong - You: Finally I have an excuse to add some Gong to the wall. Gong was a half French, half English troop of acid-fried intellectuals, artists, and hippie bums (all lunatics) who made eccentric psychedelic infused jazz. It ain’t classic, in any objective sense, nor does it belong anywhere near gold, but gat damn is it incredible. You is one of my favorite albums of all time. It’s the third and final installment of the Flying Teapot Trilogy, the musical manifestation of a series of visions singer and lyricist Daevid Allen had while on a three day shroom binge (I dedicated an entire show to this mythology a couple semesters back called Magick Mother Invokation, so feel free to dig through the archives if you want the whole run down). It’s the most cosmic, compelling, and purely wacky music I’ve ever heard. In the real life mythology of the band themselves, they apparently found their saxophonist Didier Malherbe living in a cave in France strung out on hallucinogens. Didier is an awesome sax player by the way. Steve Hillage the band’s guitarist is also incredibly talented. Gong was so unique that I’d rather not pigeon hole them with a genre, so I’ll just say they defined their own. Gong is space rock and space rock is Gong. Here’s a bunch of videos to give you a better idea. SHILL
RIYL: aliens, witches, cartoon characters, imaginary sounds on an acid trip, space ships
Yuck - Stranger Things: Why do I always seem to need to apologize/explain myself/confess something every week? I digress. Anyway, I decided to review this album because I knew that I had liked Yuck in the past but could not remember what they sound like at all. BUT it was a good call! They make that fuzzy kind of garage-tinged alt rock a la JEFF the Brotherhood that strangely fits in with my current aesthetic of only listening to crap I liked about up to 8 years ago. Apparently the band has really "come into its own" on this album... But honestly that does not matter, right? Like I enjoyed this album without even remembering what they did (but I will say that their downtempo songs and different vocal deliveries throughout the album do set them apart from other bands with similar sounds)... So go for it! THRASHLEY
RIYL: JEFF the Brotherhood, Dinosaur Jr., Pavement
Recommended Tracks: "Hold Me Closer" (1), "Down", "Like A Moth"
NEW: Santigold - 99¢: Santigold is back after three years with an album that's just as fun and funky as you remember her being. With the help of Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij, she takes the weird pop sound that was so unique when she first debuted and translates it to today's musical landscape. The prime example of this, and probably my favorite song of the album, is "Who Be Lovin Me," which features hit-maker and Drake-collaborator ILoveMakonnen. Infused with Makonnen's chill-yet-turnt-yet-lowkey-highkey-sadboy-I-just-smoked-a-bowl-let's-go-do-some-hood-rat-shit sound, it's distinctly of the now. "Banshee," exemplifies this same idea, but in a very different way. It's upbeat and almost frantic, and whereas "Who Be Lovin Me" doesn't give a fuck in a "I'm too cool for you" way, it's IDGAF in a "I'm too cute for you" way. Along with self-loving/obsessed opener "Can't Get Enough of Myself," it's probably the most pump yourself up song on a pump up album. 99¢ is a solid comeback for Santigold and a fun pop listen. NIPPLE MAMA
RIYL: La Roux, Miike Snow, Sleigh Bells
Recommended Tracks: "Can't Get Enough Of Myself" (1), "Banshee" (3), "Who Be Lovin Me" (6), "Rendezvous Girl" (7)
Charli XCX - Vroom Vroom EP: After the pop-punk tinged sophomore album Sucker, Charli XCX has released her new EP, Vroom Vroom, as a celebration of her new label, Vroom Vroom Recordings. SOPHIE produces all four of the tracks on this EP while “Paradise” features Hannah Diamond, indicating the heavy influence of the PC Music sound. Opener“Vroom Vroom” is the most successful melding of these two styles, with Charli’s rap-singing with the beat being reminiscent of SOPHIE’s “BIPP” and “Elle” combined. “Trophy” is immediate with Charli’s threating lyrics attributing to a menacing atmosphere that explodes into a pop bliss build before dropping back down. “Secret (Shh)” continues on the dark vibe from “Trophy”, but lyrically is closer to her debut album True Romance. All of Vroom Vroom’s tracks are high quality, although it could be a difficult listen if you do not like PC Music’s style, as it is a huge influence here. ZADDY
RIYL: PC Music, SOPHIE, Hannah Diamond, Le1f
Recommended Tracks: All
NEW: Xu Xu Fang -- Daylong Secret: For some reason, when I saw the name Xu Xu Fang it rang mad bells. It’s not impossible, they have apparently been active since 1999, however the band has still managed to keep an insanely low profile in terms of typical indicators such as Youtube views or the presence of a Wikipedia page. The self-released Daylong Secret is a beautifully haunting psychedelic alternative album, consisting mostly of brooding atmospheric dream pop. At times, the guitarist - whose name is too low profile for me to find - starts to crank up the intensity which becomes really cool, but they do it strategically in such a way that builds anticipation and then release of stress. Xu Xu Fang is clearly obsessed with trying to create new weird dreamy chord progressions; I would say about 90% of these actually really work out nicely on Daylong Secret. The female vocalist is a generic indie sound but she holds it down well. Frankly, I have a feeling this album is going to blow up. Maybe not to Top 40s status but these guys will be pulling 100k views on a single easily. And you can take that to the bank. BONE DADDY
RIYL: College with more guitar, or perhaps dreamier Metric
Recommended Tracks: "Noir State Beach" (1), "Hunting Takes Its Toll" (5)
Tokimonsta - Fovere: After listening to the first track on Tokimonsta's latest release Fovere I knew I was going to be disappointed that the album only has seven songs. Tokimonsta got her start as the first female DJ signed to Flying Lotus' label. Soon after her signing, she was rated #1 female DJ in LA Weekly. This talent is still very clear in her unique music that branches everywhere in the electronic spectrum. She is actually not too different from Flying Lotus in the sense that she does whatever she wants. For example, the song "Put it Down" drops out of nowhere and gets pretty trappy. Lyrically, I have no idea what anything on this album is about, but I don't really care and enjoy the music anyway. Everyone needs to play this on their show. HARRY
RIYL: Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar, Anderson Paak
Recommended Tracks: "Put It Down" (2), "Penny" (6), "I’m Waiting"(1), "Giving Up" (3)
CLASSIC: Broken Social Scene - You Forgot It in People: If I were to recommend five albums as a member of music department, this would be one of them. I love it so much. It’s probably one of my favorite albums of all time.
The second album released in 2002 by Canadian indie rock collective Broken Social Scene, You Forgot It in People. Formed in 1999 by frontman/singer Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, BSS’S sound is a combination of all its members respective musical projects. There are from anytime six to nineteen members who are all key players in the Toronto indie rock scene. There are members who are in bands such as Stars, Metric, Do Make Say Think while the most famous member probably being Leslie Feist. I love BSS for its maximalism: grand orchestrations featuring guitars, horns, woodwinds, violins, samples, distorted synths, several drummers at a time infused with unusual song structures and multiple singers. You Forgot It in People is a true beauty. It’s so washed out yet chaotic all at the same time thanks to producer David Newfield. The songs are so mystical and cinematic, the lyrics sexy but not vulgar, and arrangements find a way to pair french horns, trumpets, and oboes with loops and samples and distorted guitars. The singers make me nostalgic for a time or perspective I never experienced.
Keeping in mind this was released in 2002, I think this album is a precursor for much of the “indie” sound that was so popular in that decade. You can hear similarities anywhere from Arcade Fire to Wolf Parade, Deerhunter, Modest Mouse, Yo La Tengo, The Strokes, Grizzly Bear to Tame Impala. It encapsulates so much of what I think indie rock is. The openness of instrumentation with this air of light hearted discussion about serious topics. In many indie rock musician circles, this is always in the conversation as one of the best produced records of its time.
Lover’s Spit is the most beautiful song about blowjobs you’ll ever hear. Lovers spit could refer to the salvia you exchange when you kiss or the semen you drink as you're “swallowing words while giving head.” It sounds very dirty, but the song is so fucking beautiful and dreamy. Absolutely gorgeous instrumentation with a bright piano, french horns, strings, rock drums, an distorted guitar. The outro has that mixed with these crazy loops of synths and samples holy fuck its to die for. Also, Lorde references this song in her record “Ribs” singing the lines “The drink you spilt all over me/'Lover's Spit' left on repeat.” This line alone makes me want to meet her because I know we can be good friends.
Anthems For a Seventeen Year Old Girl features Emily Haines of Metric singing in distorted, almost demonic vocals over strings, a banjo, guitar, and soft percussion about her seventeen year old self. She is nostalgic about the person she used to be. It’s so gentle, innocent, bittersweet and nostalgic. It’s as complicated as the emotion nostalgia: something that makes you happy but sad at the same time. A gut wrenching sensation that makes me choke up. The lyrics are indeed anthems, repeating lines such as “bleaching your teeth, smiling flash, talking trash under your breath” to describe her superficial seventeen year old self. The way she repeats these lines is hypnotic. It sends me in a trance of nostalgia for an experience (being a 17 year old girl) I’ve never experienced before. This is honestly one of the songs that can make me tear up.
KC accidental is an anthem to drive down Pacific Coast Highway to, with a simple guitar motif and tight driving drums. It builds up to a breakdown where it feels like when you’ve run up a hill at full speed and finally at the top, you see a panoramic view of the landscape all around you. The strings coupled with the only verse in the song makes me feel like I’m in an epic romance movie. DYLAN