Kendrick Lamar – “Institutionalized” [2015]

I don’t really have the time to properly articulate my own words to describe my feelings toward this album, but in basic terms, it’s by and far a massive landmark in the realm of modern music as a whole, not only hip hop. I mean, mostly hip hop, but issues brought up on the album like these have been rarely tackled with this sort of grace and variety in other realms of music.  The album is incredible, basically, in pretty much every sense of the word and every musical sense. Lyrically, sonically, etc.

In related news, I applied for a dream internship today so let’s hope that that goes well!

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Sun Araw – “Beams” [2008]

This week I had my favorite long train ride from New Haven to NYC, a quick, two-hour ordeal, to go see Björk in Brooklyn. I put on a great album for traveling, Sun Araw’s Beach Head, a four-song psychedelic odyssey through hazy, exotic beaches and bayous. I usually would have gravitated to sharing the “hot-tubbiest” of the tracks, “Horse Steppin’,” but this time I thought I’d share this one, “Beams,” instead.

Why? Well once you get about four minutes into this song, you’ll realize why. There’s a thick, syrupy blues guitar line that pummels in and feels like a gooey waterfall rushing all down your face and all you can do is bob your head along with it. All the while there’s all this crazy psychedelic ambiance of guitar feedback and looping distortion happening in the background, which sounds totally improvised. I don’t do drugs but this kinda seems what it would sound like. Give me some feedback on that one.

Anyways, GROOVES. I described this type of music to my friend as “deeply psychedelic boogie beach jams,” which should hopefully interest you. Give it a listen.

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Album Stream: Death Grips – “Jenny Death”

JENNY DEATH NOW.

The long awaited second half of Death Grips’ supposed “final” double album, Jenny Death, is here. So far, it sounds like it’s definitely the least traditionally hip-hop thing they’ve done up until this point. This is more punk/hardcore with electronic-based instrumentals, rather than a hip-hop based project.

Huge, arena rock guitars are all over this thing. Really reminds me of classic Exmilitary style Death Grips at a few times, which makes me think that this record makes a completed circle around their career. Even the cover of the completed double album, The Powers That B, is a still from the music video for “Guillotine” the first Death Grips song to really blow up on the blogosphere, really  But who knows, they could be back for more.

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Album Review: Yowler – The Offer

a2516597152_10Yowler is the pseudonym of Columbus, OH, resident Maryn Jones. She’s also in the bands Saintseneca and All Dogs, the former being the creators of my favorite album of 2014, Dark Arc. This album, The Offer, is her debut under this name and boy-oh-boy does it pack a punch. Falling in line with a lot of the other solo singer songwriter type deals coming from labels like Double Double Whammy and Orchid Tapes, this has emotionally wrenching lyrics, spare instrumentation, and bare-bones, beautiful vocals.

This record is an exercise in melancholy: the songs are slow and bare, leaving plenty of room for personal thoughts to be interwoven into the musical landscape. The majority of the tracks prominently feature guitar mixed with her vocals; but additional instrumentation comes from piano, drums and the occasional floating noise/ambiance. The recording is very raw, picking up little details of the guitar playing and stray breaths that Jones takes.

In that way,  this album reminds me a lot of Phil Elverum and his projects, which is something that I haven’t been able to say often. The vocals are very immediate – the imperfections and emotional intensity are all forward, presented right at the listener. The instrumentation is also very Elverum-like. There’s very little added to them and they’re  played clearly and soberly.  The melodies are also very simple but continuously hold my attention, always providing some slight variation on the themes, like occasionally adding multi-tracked vocals, harmonies, or extra instrumentation. It’s a marvelously arranged album, that’s for sure.

All in all, I’ve been listening to this one nonstop for the past two days. It’s been my go-to night music and music to recommend to my sleeping roommate. If you’re a fan of Saintseneca, Waxahatchee, Mitski, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Grouper, The Microphones, etc; you owe it to yourself to listen to this. It’s a lovely record that makes me feel sad night feelings.

Check out “7 Towers” below and make sure to support Yowler by buying the digital copy or the cassette from Double Double Whammy!

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Mumdance x Novelist – “Shook” [2015]

g r i m e

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Kanye West – “Flashing Lights” [2007]

For some reason, I had never heard this song until this year.

I know, I know – publicly flay me in the town square.

It’s a great song. I don’t know how I hadn’t heard it. Probably because the only full Kanye albums I had were Fantasy and Late Registration. Oops.

I’m coming around to Yeezus, too. At first I was really turned off by the lyrics but was totally in love with the beats. I’m learning to view them differently.

Also; ALL DAY.

ALL DAY
ALL DAY
ALL DAY

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Jeremy Zuckerman – “End Theme Of Legend Of Korra” [2014]

The perfect, melodic ending to one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Truly one for history. I keep going back to it, especially with the contextual cues from the television show paired with it.

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