Someone please clean This Unruly Mess up

...cry and lyrics tainted by Hopsin-tier corniness. Frankly, the entire record is an effective waste of ink – save for a phenomenal Chance the Rapper verse and too-short Jamila Woods & Carla Morrison hooks, Macklemore takes features by old school demigods like Kool Moe Dee and KRS-One and throws them in the trash. Ten seconds of DJ Premier scratching a record cannot, in fact, make up for a nauseating Ed Sheeran feature or an ill-accented Idris...
Andrew Bird - Are You Serious

Andrew Bird delivers expected consistency on Are You Serious

...as he distills his very unique sound. There are some notable highlights; the title track contains one of the strongest, most memorable melodies Bird has deployed. “Roma Fade” bounces along at an impressively quick tempo and features thicker violin arrangements than we’ve seen before, and “Valleys of the Young” moves into the big, sentimental ballad territory typical of Bird’s album closers, but this time with some additional force behind it as...

Yeasayer return to the lab, find mixed results with Amen & Goodbye

...misfit “Henrietta.” But now (like Adam and Eve?) these two singles have each other. There does seem to be significant classical influence on Amen & Goodbye, more so than previous albums. Intro track, “Daughters of Cain” features piano accompaniment, jazzy at times and squeaky clean considering Yeasayer’s track record. Segments in the vocal line hearken to Queen, as the lyrics ask, “Are we little ghosts? / The neurons of the brain.” Between...

Lucius prove grief can be good on sophomore effort

...ng of “running through the airport catching escalator rides / down and up again we never find the flight” rife with synesthetic guitar melodies, instrumental explosions, and screeching halts. Similarly, “Something About You” features enough layers to make your head spin. Percussion and synth-heavy, the song is at times whimsical, at others deep, and all the while stimulating. Like attempting to decipher the intricacies of a lover, we are left...

Bronze Radio Return lights up the Chapel in San Francisco

...Chapel in San Francisco after their show in the same location last April. As the crowd waited for the band to come on stage, the only visible thing was the tapestry hanging behind the stage with the cover of Light Me Up. It features drawings and designs in the letters, including a person reaching down through the “O” in Bronze and the “D” in Radio—as if pointing to the center of the stage, where the band members would soon arrive. In the...

Ambassadeurs releases Can’t You See EP, to play LIB and Mezzanine

...d Alone in the Light (2013) were spliced and modulated to an indecipherable state, the few words uttered in “Can’t You See” are quite clear: “No memory / But I’m gonna / Do without you / Can’t you see?” The rest of the track features an infectious E-flat-F4 ostinato, the exact inverse of the vocal melody on its title lyric, and seamless digital scales otherwise. The following track, “My Way,” has a clubbing disposition that almost veers toward...

Q&A: Darryl Holter to perform early Radio Songs by Woody Guthrie Sunday

...ulture across the nation. The two-year stint serves as the foundation of musician, historian, and activist Darryl Holter’s recent Radio Songs: Woody Guthrie in Los Angeles 1937–1939, out last month via 213 Music. Radio Songs features ten renditions of original Guthrie material as collected, curated, and performed by Holter. A sort of aural history text, Ben Wendel’s production and Holter’s arrangements are clean and concise; as a glimpse into...

Ta-ku breaks things up, gets emotional with Songs To Make Up To

...gs To Make Up To, on June 12 via Fools Gold Records / Future Classic. This EP is the complementary piece to his previous Songs To Break Up To (2013). On the new record, Ta-ku dives deeper into defined vocals and lyrics as he features accompanying vocalists Atu, Jordan Rakei, and Sunni Colon. Both musically and thematically, the EP seems to evoke a sense of progression and advocate working through tensions, starting with lead single “Love...

Gacha explores melody, paints a comfortable haze with debut LP

...onsistent, insofar as it is without destination, ending anticlimactically as each harmony drifts away into the distance. If that doesn’t float your boat, there’s lyrical material like “Waterfall.” The lead single features soft female vocals from Beridze, calmly describing a serene apocalypse: “blue and grey / sunset in waves / the world’s ending.” Again, there is little sense of urgency in this six-minute movement of pleasant synth...

Mitski slays happiness with guitars on Puberty 2

...x and leaves just as fleetingly. “Happy” begins on a clipping electronic drum sample, introducing Mitski’s lower registered, drowned-in-reverb vocals that evoke the image of her singing to ghosts in haunted theater. The song features the record’s only prominent horn section that allows the song to build and finally break halfway through, backed by a marching beat that brings the song triumphantly to Mitski’s eventual conclusion: “ If you’re...

In with the old and out with the new: Earl Sweatshirt

Vince Staples is on fire. “Wool” really showed us that. His enticing intro features a brand new flow and a much more energetic Staples than his lethargic and aimless havoc he spat on EARL (2010). His recent music videos and hit single “Norf-Norf” became viral in less than two weeks after release. Odd Future’s odd friend’s future seems quite less odd. He’s no longer talking about smacking women and raping bitches with his grim and ghoulish...

Interview: Guantanamo Baywatch talk Burger Boogaloo 2015

...tly released their album Darling… It’s Too Late (2015) via Suicide Squeeze Records and are playing Burger Records’ Burger Boogaloo festival in Oakland once again. The festival returns for its sixth year and features multiple artists from the Burger Records roster with a mix of legendary garage rock heroes. As Guantanamo Baywatch finished up the end of their Canada dates, I caught up with the band’s guitarist Jason Powell...

EZTV debut with Calling Out on Captured Tracks

...while attempting to write his own solo album and after a few local shows, an unsuccessful Spiritualized touring audition, and several demo recordings, the band settled down and got in touch with Captured Tracks. Calling Out features familiar classic rock melodies and guitar riffs crossed with beachy vibes and rolling bass. When you close your eyes and hear songs like “Dust in the Sky,” images of The Beatles singing over the music...

Kishi Bashi is dynamic, lively on new live album

...with his debut album 151a in 2012, Kishi Bashi continued to release a second album, and EP, and two live albums (as well as his first EP released in 2011). Out November 13, his second live album, String Quartet Live! (2015), features versions of songs from both his albums and his Room for Dream (2011) EP as well as a cover of the Talking Heads song “This Must Be the Place.” Unlike the studio versions, the songs consist of K’s vocals and a string...

Wet announce release date for debut album, Don’t You

...a Records. Preceding the announcement is the release of a vulnerable new single, “Weak”, which you can stream below. Like previous album singles “Deadwater” and “You’re the Best”, the song features singer Kelly Zutrau’s pained vocals wrapped in tight percussion, sparse textures, and R&B-influenced guitar. The band sounds as confident as ever on their thrilling new single, with a triumphant string...