Archy Marshall, who performers under the name King Krule (formerly Zoo Kid), is definitely a unique act. He's seventeen or eighteen, has a thick London-accented voice as deep as an abyssal plain and treats the last thirty years of music -- from post-punk to dubstep -- on the same plane of influence. Like America's wunderkind Wavves, King Krule has incredibly simple production techniques. You hear his voice, you hear his guitar and you hear what I can only describe as the vocal incarnation of teenage ennui. It's rare that someone this young actually breaks out outside of mainstream pop and R&B/hip-hop, and while he may not be the most talented musician out there, he's coming from a place we don't hear much about past high school.
I've been meaning to make a big post about Das Racist for a while but, well, clearly I haven't. However, in the meanwhile, Himanshu released a mixtape. It's pretty good, and the highlight, for me, is this track in Punjabi. I've written about how much I enjoy hip-hop in languages I don't know, and this fits neatly into that category. I have no idea what's going on, but the sound and the production are right on point.
The mixtape, Nehru Jackets, was released for free -- and holy shit is it better than the album Das Racist expect you to pay for -- but as it was mainly hosted on the dearly departed Megaupload, you'll have to do some searching to track it down. Thanks to the justifiable paranoia of other filesharing sites, I haven't been able to find a source for it since I got my copy. You can get in touch with me if you want it. And if you like hip-hop, you do want it.
I occasionally manage to seriously surprise myself by what songs I end up putting on repeat for prolonged periods of time. You'd think it would be something with at least a moderate amount of depth, or, at least, something that sounds just a little different on every listen. Maybe an previously-unnoticed instrument, a particular turn of phrase in the lyrics, juts something that would explain why I listened to the same song for a half-hour. But, no, it will more likely than not turn out to be some sort of puddle-shallow electropop. Like today's selection from Stockholm's Bondage Fairies. They're named after a particularly obscene hentai (sigh), wear masks (nghhh), sing like Blink-182 (come on) and their lyrics are mainly about sex and computers with plenty of sound and fury and signifying nothing. And, yet, here I am, enjoying the ever-loving crap out of their single 1-0 with its memorable chorus "one one zero zero/one one zero zero/one one zero zero/one one one one." I'd say that I found myself embarrassed by how much I actually enjoy this song, but I really don't. All I can picture is 15-year-old me rocking out to it with not the slightest bit of hesitation and far be it for 27-year-old me to tell him to cut it out.
I got my hands on, of all things, Nelson Riddle's soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick's film version of Lolita. The vocals on this track were actually recorded by Sue Lyon, the 14-year-old girl playing the titular role. The track was released as a 45 in 1962. One one hand, it matches the late-50s/early-60s musical aesthetic pretty well. On the other hand, knowing the content of the novel/film makes this delightfully creepy.
So this is Sleigh Bells new single "Comeback Kid" off the upcoming Reign of Terror and I'm really, really digging on it. Derek Miller's hardcore roots are really on display in the guitar work and Alexis Krauss' upbeat, poppy vocals are the perfect counter to it. Their new directions is starting to remind me more and more of the Raveonettes, except influenced by sources considerably more modern than rockabilly and shoegaze. And speaking of those sources, the band's aesthetics -- something the half-dead authenticity purist in me usually puts somewhere on the boring/obnoxious gamut -- are great. The whole 80s day-glo/letterman jacket/high school punk thing is a perfect fit for the sound. Still pretty mad I forgot to get tickets for their upcoming live show because it definitely sold out in a hot second.
My boss is out this week, which means I'm stuck making and cleaning up my own messes at work for a while. Which means overtime and getting home way the hell past I'd like and, uh, I think you can see where this is going. So, here's something that's always (well, since the last time I heard it in ...2004?) relaxed me - Love Spirals Downwards' "Will You Fade":
So AV artist Bartek Szlachcic attached a couple of sensors to a drummer's sticks and recorded it, creating a motion-painting of a drum solo. It's unsurprisingly amazing. I've been going to live shows for a while now, and impressive drumming can be one of the most visually delightful parts of the show. I've previously written about the late Jerry Fuchs, who was a drummer of such skill that his kit was on the front line with the guitarists. Watching Jeremy Barnes (Neutral Milk Hotel/A Hawk and a Hacksaw) play "Drums on Fire" while on tour with Broadcast or, uh, whoever was drumming on Ladytron's Light and Magic tour play "USA vs White Noise" are some of my most cherished concert moments. So, this is video is a special delight.
I've been enjoying the new album by St. Petersburg hip-hop group Есть Есть Есть. The name translates to either "There Is There Is There Is" or "Yes Yes "Yes" depending on how bad my Russian is getting. They sound roughly like Anti-Pop Consortium: IDM-style beats and an somewhat abstract delivery with an odd, almost hypnotically monotone delivery. Most the lyrics go right over my head, but I catch snippets here and there. Like I wrote in this previous post, hip-hop can be about the sound of the vocals as well as the meaning, so we can all enjoy it on those grounds. The track is called Паста, which means "Pasta" and may or may not mean something else in Russian slang, but I have no idea.
I am, quite literally, a year behind on the times with this, but I just started watching Portlandia (it just arrived on Netflix) and the opening song from the first episode has been stuck in my goddamn head for a week now. It's always good to see that a sketch comedy show with a budget you could hold in a change purse can produce something like this. Even without the humor, it's a good and almost unfairly catchy tune.