Archive for the ‘indietronica’ tag
RUWA, an artistic outlet for one Adam Rokhsar, is a surprisingly source of some solid indietronica songs. Though the vast majority of his tracks clock in at skant durations less than 3 minutes, much fine glitch (even sometimes EDM) and Xiu Xiu-esque singing manage to squeeze in. And, hat can I say, I’m a sucker for melancholic indietronica, so YMMV. CHeck out these two select tracks from RUWA’s new album, Science Fiction (review forthcoming).
Another day, another foray into dreamy electronica. Frequent chillwave surfer Memory Tapes dropped “Real Love” yesterday and, while a bit more dancey and vocally driven than I expected from, it really comes off as more of the same. Dare I say that Dayve Hawk and the ultra-subdued like have overstayed their welcome in the House of Indie?
Obsidian is a recovery album: something that’s been made in retaliation to a now finished crisis, and seemingly based on the premise that when you confront the ghosts of an ailment you may find symptoms you weren’t even aware of the first go-around. Though Baths’ Will Wiesenfeld is dealing with a recent bout of E. coli, the language is that of sexual indignation and frustration. Wiesenfeld really wants to be fucked, and the language of this desire invades every facet of this album. Obsidian is lyrically gutsy; in fact Wiesenfeld could probably be accused of oversharing. But beneath the filth and the physical decay are snippets of a Kate Bush-like ear for melody, and an ability to combine club music with more experimental fare that makes Obsidian sort of a emo-inflected version of Grimes’ Visions.
Obsidian is a visceral album, almost in the sense of a Cronenberg body horror piece. It’s hidden in the almost radio-perfect dub beats, but there’s an abundance of physical sliminess on Obsidian. On the other hand, this is an album that’s almost comically dark, with a lyrical directness that seems astute enough to be aware of its own inclination for tampering with clichés. “It is only a matter of come and fuck me,” Wiesenfeld sings on “No Eyes” almost immediately before the song descends (briefly) into an experimental clattering of glass objects. But the obsession with physicality is sometimes expressed in too juvenile a way, especially when paired with the very post-emo dance substance of a song like “Phaedra.” Even amongst the very ripened experimentation of an experienced sampler, the song just screams a little too loudly of emo-pop narrative.
Even “Phaedra” dips back into a very northern European instance of tinkling, glistening electro pop though, giving the song a much deserved climax of comfortable reflection. Similarly, “Miasma Sky” goes from a no-nonsense trans-world moody beat into a synth-pop breakdown reminiscent of early mum, if a bigger and bolder version of such. Lyrics about “rectal walls of agony” and erections being nursed back to full health crop up but are almost tempered into nonchalance by the Bright Eyes-like wailing that one expects to go along with such sentiments. There are sounds that seem to deliberately refer to flatulence, and more than a few moments where crunching and tearing percussion pieces might make you fear for your own skin and bones.
Obsidian is an album from which stunning ideas seem to float, but which is mostly concerned with the Herculean challenge of keeping the rest of its bulk up. Baths’ blending of nascent dance experimentation and emotive lyrical indie often belittles some of its most impressively composed passages, such as the piano pop intro to “No Past Lives.” But Wiesenfeld’s willingness to deface and shamelessly expose himself - and the exceptional lyrical clarity with which he does so – combined with the moonlight provincialism at the heart of many of these songs redeems Obsidian from its inclinations towards the monotone and the reused. Obsidian is a stylistic collage that yes, often fails to put its best foot at the front of the mix, opting instead for the repeat attack of its less substantial attributes, but the magic is still there – still worked into the swill, still very much playing a part.
Guess what? New Emika! The sad ultra-talented producer has engineered another sullen yet beautiful tune in “Wicked Game,” a cover of an otherwise pretty boring Chris Isaac song. Not as complex as her typical fare, this track accomplishes something new for her in that you can sort of dance to it, albeit very slowly and loosely. What was the titular wicked game that spooks the Berliner here? Frankly, I’d rather not know…
Not four hours ago SBTRKT dropped a new chill dance song on his SoundCloud. Certainly not massive material, this summery track is perfectly suited for a house party full of friends and joints.
A new drop from electronic producer xxyxx! First thought: It can easily be confused as a versus between Rihanna and a local videogame arcade.
Just a few years ago, The Morning Benders were a promising indie rock outfit from Berkeley, California who toured with the likes of Grizzly Bear, The Black Keys, and Ra Ra Riot. The band’s 2008 debut, Talking Through Tin Cans, was met with high praise from critics, as was their next album, 2010’s Big Echo. But this review isn’t about The Morning Benders; it’s about POP ETC, and their self-titled release. Well, you might be shocked to hear that the two are actually one in the same, although the differences between them couldn’t be any clearer. Let’s start here: one totally sucks monkey balls, and the other doesn’t.
The Morning Benders, which began as the solo project of Chris Chu during his time at UC Berkeley, were forced to change their name under embarrassing circumstances: they became POP ETC after moving to Brooklyn and learning that ‘bender’ is a not-so-nice British slang word for a homosexual male in March of 2012. I’d just like to say, A) what took you so long to realize that and B) what the fuck happened, man?
POP ETC is an album that not only tries too hard, but also doesn’t know what it’s trying to be. Is it an indie rock album? Not so much. A pop album? Sort of. Throughout the album’s eleven songs, nothing quite fits together: there’s the occasional nod to 90s R&B, the over-produced, shimmery beats, and some zany electronic sounds. POP ETC is a collection of wannabe party songs and poorly constructed ballads that just don’t add up.
I applaud any band that’s trying to switch things up a bit, but because the work of The Morning Benders was so good, it just makes everything on POP ETC feel like so much more of a let-down. The whole new name/new sound thing does make sense, but did Chu and co. really have to take it so far? “Halfway to Heaven,” which is reminiscent of Passion Pit, really isn’t bad; but here’s just no excusing songs like “Back to the Heart,” where an auto-tuned Chu croons, “She said ‘why do we bother?’/I said ‘I’m not your father.’” Yes, he really sings that. No, I’m not making it up.
French indiedisco act Keljit just recently released a new track for some compilation album with a really fancy-pantsy name. Funky, loud, romantic, this drop could easily make it onto my Summer 2012 what-what playlist (alongside “Call Me Maybe”… j/k). Notably here, I feel traces of Janet Jackson and mid-career, house-activated Madonna, which I find to be surprisingly satisfying .