2 Chainz to check in with us on new EP Freebase, wants his pals to know he’s doing just fine

Are you a fan of 2 Chainz? IF YOU ANSWERED YES: proceed through this story as usual. IF YOU ANSWERED NO: you aren’t wanted here. 2 Chainz does not want you here. This news is not for you. You have hurt 2 Chainz with your actions. Please leave. Please. Leave. You’ve done enough damage.

Now that it’s just us Chainzheads here, I’m pleased to announce that 2 Chainz has a new EP coming out soon. It’s a five-track release called Freebase and it’ll be out May 5, as XXL reports. In a press release, Chainz said the following: “It has been a minute since the release of my album B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time and I wanted to give something special to my fans while I record my follow up album. This is a taste of what is to come, and is more importantly, for them.” Awwww, for us, Chainz? Hey. I love it, but I want you to know this: all we want is for you to be happy.

Our good friend 2 Chainz also made us a trailer for his forthcoming EP. Admittedly, there are some images here that some might find a little upsetting, and some quick cuts that might hurt your eyes, and some fellow who is not 2 Chainz talking during it, but there’s also some nice footage of our pal 2 Chainz. Looking great, Chainz!

• 2 Chainz: http://www.2chainz.com
• Def Jam: http://www.defjam.com

[Photo: Tim Mosenfelder] http://j.mp/1k9t1Tx

Watch: Dan Svizeny - “It’s Beautiful”

There are some WEIRD zones out there past all the shit-it-yourself and bootleg cultures of urban environments. Like, put aside all your classist and suburb hate, and focus on the mentality of people. When does it begin to crack and these kids/generations begin to refute that? Is it in vein that Dan Svizeny has a hockey jersey with his name on it within the new video for “It’s Beautiful?” Drinking cheap beer out in the woods at witching hour… is it to exit from that suburban-style living, or a tribute to pointing out ALL our American flaws of guilt? Does he purposefully point out the necessity to rebel or is it just so ingrained in his culture to be as such that it’s all pure-to-form videoing?

At all costs, Max Gardner (director of the video) adds another visual entity in his catalog of stoic (also a VERY Dan Svizeny attribute) videos on Vimeo, and it’s all kinda hot in a David Gordon Green sorta way. Also, shouts out to Mirror Universe Tapes to keeping the heat alive in their own way: videos, new tapes, baller status, etc. Point being, out of ALL them words: Dan Svizeny gets his bad-ass on CONSTANTLY and nothing can jack his swag. Was actually listening to 29 yesterday on my new stereo system and I just about died. Jacked about his new tape Daniel Anton Svizeny on Mirror Universe Tapes NOW!!!

• Dan Svizeny: http://coughcool.tumblr.com
• Mirror Universe Tapes: http://www.mirroruniversetapes.com http://j.mp/1k9t1mK

♫ Listen: Moth Cock / Jerry Paper / Andy Boay - “Gatorboi” / “Come Over” / “Bullwhip Striders/Roll On River”

Taking a page from the C Monster post-book, I’m duel posting these hawt new Hausu Mountain tapes, because:

a. It’s nice outside
b. I’m staring out the window at muh bike
c. I’m feeling lazy, so
d. I’m saving time by only having to link Hausu Mountain once for both releases

And really, not to go patting myself on the back or nothing, but I’m kind of scribbling all over that page ‘cuz this is like a triple post, what with one of the releases being a split and all. It actually took me a really long time to figure out how to even format the title of this post. Does it make sense? Here, I’ll break it down for you:

Hausu Mountain, co-run by our bro, MUKQS has been spitting out tapes like crazy lately. The newest batch, including a tape from Ohio’s Moth Cock, which blasts through two sides of Black Dice-esque fuck-pop electronic manipulation, bending even the analog instrumentation into such bizarre territory as to leave the results entirely new and nearly unrecognizable. Listen to an excerpt from the “Gatorboi” side below:

Brooklyn’s Jerry Paper has been sadding up the stranger sides of that unique Brooklyn-style pop for years now with long sold out releases on small labels across the United States. “Come Over” from this split with tonstartssbandht’s Andy Boay, finds a bit of light peaking in through cardboard and newspaper clippings covering the windows; the breakdowns and change-ups finding Mr. Paper at a musical complexity beyond the tendencies of synth-and-drum-machine artists crafting pop songs by their lonesome. Come over:

“Bullwhip Strides/Roll On River” hits immediately with that familiar mountain of blown-out vocal harmonies, native to so many of Boay’s releases. Yet, despite the familiarity, Andy Boay is consistently a hard dude to pin down musically. With nearly twenty releases between his solo efforts and brotherly collaborative efforts as tonstartssbandht, the style is constantly shifting between angelic waves of voice, psychedelic jams, and blown-out punk rock. Not to mention the brother’s devotion to nearly all parts of the Beach Boys discography. Regardless, the man never disappoints, and this Hausu Mountain of squealing voices is no exception:

Shiiit. This was a three tape batch? Whoops. Well I’m not going back to include the William Selman tape now. Besides, a quadruple post? That might just break the Chocolate Grinder. Check that one out over here.

• Moth Cock: http://mothcock.bandcamp.com
• Jerry Paper: http://jerrypaper.bandcamp.com
• Andy Boay: http://andyboay.bandcamp.com
• William Selman: https://soundcloud.com/wselman
• Hausu Mountain: http://hausumountain.com http://j.mp/1hpivr7

Watch: TOBACCO - “Streaker” (NSFW?)

TOBACCO made a video for “Streaker.” It’s fucking WHACK. As per usual. There’s tons of swag that comes along with it too, like t-shirts and posters and shit. Track is off new album ULTIMA II MASSAGE via Ghostly International May 13. People be bowing to the dynasty of Black Moth Super Rainbow. Viewers of this video be huffin’ duster and nearly passing out at their work desk, ‘cause if THAT flies where you gain employment, then have at it! Personally, I could MAYBE get away with that: hittin’ pop-shots off the vaporizer in the stairwell, pretending like work actually exists here, and the vomit in a trash can while nobody is looking, place it on the other side of the company spot, and walk away like I own the place.

Driving to Amityville tonight to see Lil B. I’ll probably be doing all sorts of drinking and drugging and smoking and driving on the way down. Get there around seven, show starts at eight, pass out in between there sitting parked-car style with “Streaker” draining the battery on my cellphone, playing through my car stereo, tryna not listen to Lil B so it wont spoil the show. People looking in and knocking on my window, and I do (but don’t) acknowledge them. One person outside my car I hear say, “Hello, is this the Long Island EMT?” I turn off TOBACCO, plum out of my car swiftly, and walk away as people are yelling at me.

I turn around, “Yo, fuck-o. Go pre-order that young ULTIMA II MASSAGE LP by TOBACCO on Ghostly International ASAP! If you get a t-shirt too, you can take it off like I’m taking mine off now and now my pants. I’m naked, see? Come streaking with me!”

• TOBACCO: http://www.blackmothsuperrainbow.com
• Ghostly International: http://ghostly.com http://j.mp/1hoXjBz

O’Death sign to Northern Spy for next release, plan tour, which is huge news if you happen to work for O’Death or Northern Spy!

Holy shit! Aren’t you in that one Appalachian folk-rock-roots-country-honk-sassafras-whatever-etc. band from New York called O’Death??

Then you’ll probably want to know that I just read on Tiny Mix Tapes that your Appalachian folk-rock-roots-country-honk-sassafras-whatever-etc. band (O’Death, remember) has just officially signed to Northern Spy Records for your next LP and follow-up to 2011’s “intensely personal” Outside! Were you up on that shit?

Wait, No? Fuck, good thing I ran into you then! So, yeah, and you probably don’t have any more details about the new album just yet, huh? Oh. You didn’t even know you were releasing one? Yeah, that’s weird. Well, I’d appreciate it if you took my email here and hit me up when stuff like titles and release dates are getting announced; I’ll totally work my music connections and get that stuff posted on the internet somewhere. Cool about Northern Spy though.

Oh, you’re playing these upcoming shows still though, right? You know, with O’Death??

05.14.14 - Chicago, IL - Beat Kitchen
05.15.14 - Grand Rapids, MI - Founders Brewing Co
05.16.14 - Lansing, MI - The Avenue
05.17.14 - Nashville, TN - Valley Branch Retreat
06.07.14 - Brooklyn, NY - The Wick

• O’Death: http://www.odeath.net
• Northern Spy: http://northern-spy.com http://j.mp/1k94Rc0

Music Review: SZA - Z


[Top Dawg Entertainment; 2014]

by Stephen Weil


You can interpret the opening line of SZA’s new album as both mission statement and preemptive defense. It plays backward first — “dnim fo etats a si ytiralc” — then forward — “clarity is a state of mind” — as if to illustrate its own point.

And it’s true. Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who cuts himself off mid-sentence, only to then reflect on the content of what wasn’t said? Or someone who makes quick associative leaps from thought to thought, vocalizing the end result but skipping over the logical connectors that got her there? Listening to SZA can feel a bit like this. Sometimes we can follow her train of thought, fill in the gaps of what isn’t said, and find a measure of clarity in her lyrics. More often, they remain out of reach — oblique, mysterious, unknown.

SZA (born Solana Rowe) reportedly writes her songs as freestyles — like a sort of automatic writing, dredging up idiosyncrasies and insights from her subconscious. At their best, her lyrics are filled with surreal imagery and striking expression — I’m thinking of “Aftermath” from last year’s S EP, on which she sang: “I apologize for waiting to tell you for so long I am not human/ I am made of bacon, fairy tales, pixie dust, I don’t feel.” And she studs her songs with mundane pop cultural references and observations, as on “Pray,” where she sang “Feeling like Topanga, Patti Mayonnaise/ Kind of average with queen qualities” (a strangely evocative line if you share SZA’s cultural reference points).

Now, on Z — her first release since signing with Top Dawg Entertainment last summer — SZA has tempered her most attention-grabbing lyrical impulses, but her songs remain impressionistic, subjective, and a bit scatterbrained. On the album’s opener, “UR,” Rowe’s writing is clipped and tangential: in the second verse, she follows a line about an overworked, overstressed woman struggling to keep up with her own demands (“Superficial superwoman/ Ain’t you tired of that wind in your face?”) with a sudden remembrance of a lover past (“Your skin tastes like Brussels sprouts, I’d swear/ Can’t seem to remember your face”). Elsewhere, she misuses language in an odd, playful way, as though it were the result of impish synaptic misfires. On the hook of “Childs Play,” for example, she ruminates on how things “used to was,” and on “Warm Winds” she wonders “what’s happening to we?”

When everything comes together, Z reaches some rather lofty peaks. On the third track, “Julia,” SZA paints a bittersweet portrait of a relationship as uphill battle. “How could you forget that I’m the one who forgot all your mistakes,” she asks. On the chorus, she sounds a bit like Björk — a professed hero of hers — when she achingly belts out: “Didn’t I try ‘cause you wanted more?” “Julia’s” instrumental, by the often-excellent Felix Snow, is a bright, glassy throwback to 1980s Madonna or Fleetwood Mac’s Tango in the Night (an album Snow and SZA have repurposed in the past). On “Childs Play” — built on a downtempo sample of XXYYXX’s “About You” — SZA engages her schooldays Barbie dolls and video games for an extended metaphor, and is complemented perfectly by the low-key verbal acrobatics and soulful tone of Chance The Rapper.

Z stumbles in its second half, however. “Sweet November’s” Marvin Gaye instrumental doesn’t quite fit among the more modern, electronic productions found on the rest of the album, and SZA’s most compelling characteristics — her quirkiness, her seeming spontaneity — drown in the grand, overwrought production work of Emile Haynie and DJ Dahi.

After first listening to S last year, I was left with a great curiosity about the mind that had created it. It was by no means perfect, but its various components — the lyrics, the beats, the jarring samples from Rosemary’s Baby and Eartha Kitt — combined into something refreshingly unique. Z is a more diffuse effort covering a wider range of ground. SZA remains a captivating, interesting singer, but the focused singularity that made S such a rewarding listen is largely absent here. SZA is likely still finding her voice and figuring out what kind of instrumentals work for her best. So Z sounds to me like a transition, a step backward that could very well be followed by two forward.

01. UR
02. Childs Play (feat. Chance The Rapper)
03. Julia
04. Warm Winds (feat. Isaiah Rashad)
05. HiiiJack
06. Green Mile
07. Babylon (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
08. Sweet November
09. Shattered Ring
10. Omega Links: SZA - Top Dawg Entertainment http://j.mp/1k90dL3

Music Review: Ume - Monuments


[Dangerbird; 2014]

by Joe Hemmerling


While I was a little sorry to see some of the rougher edges of Ume’s debut get sanded down for their sophomore album, Phantoms, in retrospect it was the best move they could have made. Shaking off Urgent Sea’s Sonic Youth worship allowed the band to come fully into its own and blossom into the rock & roll powerhouse it was always meant to be. Balancing crushing riffs with frontwoman Lauren Larsen’s heavenly vocals, Ume managed to create one of 2011’s most endearing hard rock records.

Monuments picks up where Phantoms left off. Larsens Lauren and Eric continue to seek the outer edges of their aesthetic territory, and Monuments contains some of the heaviest and most fragile moments of the band’s career. And it’s the heavy ones that really shine. “Chase It Down” and “Oh Fate” are obvious standouts, building to raucous conclusions that find Larsen matching the fury of her instrument with an equally raw and ragged scream. Next to such a hurricane of raw emotion, gentler offerings like “Barophobia” and “Within My Bones” feel a little anemic, lacking the lyrical chops and dynamism to compensate for their lack of volume.

In fact, the lyrics on Monuments in general continue to tread water. Larsen describes the creation of the album as an unusually emotional process, stating that some of the songs were written in response to the loss of a longtime friend. But while she and her bandmates are great about projecting that intensity of feeling through their performance, the words themselves traffic a little too heavily in generality to truly take root in the heart.

Where Ume really distinguish themselves is in their songs’ construction. I’m continually astonished by how subtly and unexpectedly the trio is able to manipulate the trajectory of a three-minute rock song without scuffing the brilliant sheen off its pop veneer. The way that “Gleam” morphs textures so seamlessly is remarkable to behold, beginning with an imbalanced duet between a clean electric lead and some palm-muted plucking, and progressing into a sweeping verse undergirded by a spectral vocal wash; the whole thing contracts on a dime to a crisp bridge and then snaps back bigger than ever.

Monuments’ album cover sports a line of tweens in purple tutus preparing to take a bow toward an alien, storm-riddled sky. It’s sort of a cheesy image, the kind of thing someone with a little training in Photoshop could probably throw together during a lunch break. Yet, this juxtaposition of “girlish” imagery with more traditionally metal iconography is a perfect visual mission statement for the band. Like Phantoms, which came wallpapered in hot pink skulls like a Lisa Frank folder designed for Hot Topic, this record wears its juxtapositions out in the open like a challenge. And with Ume’s sweet, soft melodies mixed so gracefully with their bone-crushing riffs, any notion of contradiction between the two are dispelled.

01. Black Stone
02. Embrace
03. Too Big World
04. Chase It Down
05. Until the End
06. Barophobia
07. Revival
08. Gleam
09. Oh, Fate
10. Barricade
11. Within My Bones
12. Reason Links: Ume - Dangerbird http://j.mp/1k90fm2

♫ Listen: Apollo Brown - Cigarette Burns EP

What exactly is the appeal of vinyl pops and cellophane scratches? Many would describe vinyl and film as possessing a certain warmth, a humanity even, but what does this really mean? Is it that the sounds are easier on the ears, the scenes a smoother sight? Or is it that the pops and scratches represent traces of past ownership? Maybe what we enjoy most about used media artifacts isn’t the pops and scratches themselves, but the dust and nail particles that cause them. Maybe what we’re attached to is just the detritus of strangers.

It’s a scary but friendly thought, and one that pervades Detroit-based producer Apollo Brown’s Cigarette Burns EP. Cigarette burns, as you might know from Fight Club, are the cue marks placed on film prints in order to alert the projectionist that the reel is ending. “Cigarette Burns” is also the title of a John Carpenter-directed episode of Masters of Horror. Anyway, in this case, the cigarette burns are three dirty, dusty tracks taken from Apollo’s upcoming Thirty Eight (.38) album, which is being described as an “Original Instrumental Soundtrack for an early 80s technicolor cop show that might have made HBO” and “an expansive cinematic composition for the theatre of your mind.”

Sample the goods below and in doing so, inhale the digital dust specks of Thirty Eight (.38), dropping on CD, cassette tape and 180 gram LP April 29.

Cigarette Burns EP by Apollo Brown
Cigarette Burns EP by Apollo Brown
Cigarette Burns EP by Apollo Brown

• Apollo Brown: http://apollobrown.bandcamp.com
• Mello Music Group: http://www.mellomusicgroup.com http://j.mp/1hoCTsy

Beneath burrows out from underneath the home of Bill Kouligas, announces Vobes EP on PAN

“Beneath” may be an appropriate word to describe UK producer Ben Walker’s under-the-radar career so far — a necessary status for anyone who’s only just formally started releasing music — OR, it may be a subtle allusion to a previous life as a member of the Mole People. Barely noticeable to the discerning ear, my excursions on the DC underground were sometimes soundtracked by faint rhythmic thumps reminiscent of non-bastardized dubstep. Turns out the city hadn’t decided to stylize the robotic announcers warning us to “please stand clear of the door;” it was coming from somewhere deeper — somewhere farther as well. Excuse my lack of expertise on the subject, but I have reason to suspect that the tunes of Beneath had been traveling via unmapped sewer systems all the way across the Atlantic.

What an unfulfilling life it must’ve been! Thank goodness he’s decided to increase his sun exposure (well, as much as one can in the UK) with a few singles on Tectonic and his own No Symbols label, and mixes for both FACT and Resident Advisor. Making surgical use of sunblock, he now has an EP on the ever-distinct and envelope-pushing PAN, entitled Vobes and set for release May 8 in vinyl and digital formats. Listen to a track below, and don’t let the first minute or so fool you into thinking “simplicity.” Shades of Shackleton mixed with an electronic unorthodoxy undoubtedly foreshadow bigger things…

Vobes tracklisting:

01. Bored 2
02. Occupy
03. One Blings
04. Stress 1 

• Beneath: https://soundcloud.com/beneath
• PAN: http://www.pan-act.com http://j.mp/1hkosWz

DeLorean: Bernard Parmegiani - De Natura Sonorum (1975)

1975: Bernard Parmegiani - De Natura Sonorum

by Grant ‘Gumshoe’ Purdum on 04-23-2014 

I remember reviewing a Johnny Ramone solo record right after the punk paragon had died, but I’ve never been working on a review only to see the artist who created its subject pass on before it’s done. It’s lent a sense of heightened purpose to my evaluation, I must admit. Not because I had previously expected Bernard Parmegiani to read what I am about to write or because knowing that its author is no longer with us will alter my opinion of De Natura Sonorum; it’s just that it’s humbling to know an artist as crippled by talent as Parmegiani came and went so peacefully, with an admiring core of underground admirers, sure, but relatively few who realize the true scope of his genius. Now’s the time for those of us who haven’t caught on yet to listen in.

His time in French television and jingle-making notwithstanding, Parmegiani’s dread-inducing, nail-biting, tension-building ways are represented on this double-LP set. His greatest ally, as with many of the artists fronted by Recollection GRM (not to mention those filling the stable over at Editions RZ), is silence. He uses it to lure the listener into a spider-bite coma before dropping ear-splitting THUMPs and electric spikes down your neck. This isn’t anything like a lot of the music frequenting people’s headphones these days. You can’t count on anything; even expecting the unexpected will leave you open to surprises of the best kind, but they also come as a jolt to the senses that might seem to be devoid of pleasure until you pick up on the greater-good idea he’s been cultivating.

The methods he uses to conjure his compositions seem almost tortuously novel, such as when he “places together various sounds produced by ‘touching’ elastic or instrumental skins or vibrating strings and a number of instrumentalgestures close to this touch, using electronic processes to create white noise, and”… well, you get the idea just from that section of the jacket notes, right? Parmegiani went to great lengths to ensure his albums contained structures that could never be duplicated, and it’s strange to me that so many of us don’t expect that of many of our favorite artists these days. That’s why his work holds up today and will in 50 years when Recollection GRM Version 2.0 hyperloads its deluxe reissue into your mindpod. But why wait till then? http://j.mp/1k74fDE

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