Bay Area based “Industrial” duo “Chelsey and the Noise” released an impressive E.P. last year titled Blank Frames, an E.P. laden with hard-hitting “EBM” inspired production along with catchy songwriting that brought an undeniable sense of catchiness to the usually chaotic world of “Industrial.” Today the duo dropped a stellar new track titled “Mercy Kneel,” and this thing is incredibly addictive. You can listen to the track below:
Artist: Xiu Xiu
Album: Girl with Basket of Fruit
Genre: Experimental/Art Rock/Noise
“Xiu Xiu” are an interesting band to say the least. Lead by sole member Jamie Stewart, this vastly eccentric band have been making music since the early 2000’s. Music that has gained admirers for their brash experimentation soaked in tumult, and also music that has gained detractors who find the band incredibly grating. I understand both parties to be honest, because whether the band are creating disturbing songs about double penetration, or reimagining the soundtrack to David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks,” one thing is certain, their music is not easy to listen to. On one hand I’ll admire the band’s uncompromising style, and on the other I can find them immensely self-indulgent and utterly repulsive, but that’s why I find the band so damn intriguing. By now, going into a “Xiu Xiu” album, I expect to hear some bizarre shit, but somehow the band managed to achieve what I thought was impossible after so many years, the band managed to make their most uncomfortable, disgusting, insane, and off putting album yet with Girl with Basket of Fruit, and it’s in my opinion their best work. This album sounds like the mindset of someone who is losing their entire God damn mind. Filled with ramblings of nonsensical words I’ve tried to decipher but have failed greatly, this album is a haunting nightmare-inducing experience. The album opens with the title track, an off the wall Hell ride that features abrasive tribal drums, manic sound textures, and Jamie’s obnoxious vocals with graphic lyrics detailing frogs jumping up a woman’s butthole, fucking a duck, and floating dicks. Yeah, it’s so absurd and humorous that even Jamie is aware enough to scream “Stop Laughing!” in the middle of one of the verses. The psychotic nature heightens even more on the following track “It Comes Out As A Joke,” where Jamie sounds like he’s in the midst of a bad acid trip while he destroys everything in his room. Picture Bob Geldof destroying his guitars and breaking furniture in Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.” It’s that kind of intensity but this song is even worse and makes that particular scene look like “Sesame Street.” The more ambient tracks like “Armargi ve Moo,” or “Ice Cream Truck” are more somber in tone, but are no less bizarre, with Jamie continuing to frantically rant these cryptic lyrics, and scathing violin that is the complete opposite of beautiful. Odd instrumental choices like these frequently appear throughout the album, like the weird chicken sound effects and incomprehensible audio clips on “Pumpkin Attack on Mommy and Daddy,” or the atmospheric sounds with tribalistic drums that echo the opening track on “Scisssssssors,” and with the bass in this production turned abrasively up and sounding intentionally messy, it’s clear that the band wanted to create their most unsettling album yet, and my have they succeeded. Can this album become a bit of a gimmick at times? Most definitely, but what prevents this album from becoming a complete parody of “Industrial” or “Noise” music is that we all know by now the artistry of the band is completely sincere. They’re never about shock for shock’s sake, and Jamie sings on these tracks with overwhelming passion, but what most of these songs mean, whether they’re metaphoric or just flat-out nonsense is beyond me. I just strap myself in and enjoy this psychotic ride with a smile on my face. Maybe I need help.
Written By: Steven Sandoval
Artist: Angel Bat Dawid
Album: The Oracle
Genre: Avant-Garde Jazz/Improvisational Jazz
When drive overcomes the derailment of tough obstacles, the achievement of personal success is that much more rewarding. Clarinetist, pianist, and singer Angel Bat Dawid overcame rough obstacles to see her dreams of recording an album through, the result, her debut album The Oracle is an enlightening spiritual journey through the empowerment of being African American, but this album also recognizes the many hardships African Americans face. “What should I tell my children who are black of what it means to be captive in dark skin?” asks Dawid on the track “What Should I Tell My Children Who Are Black (Dr. Margaret Burroughs)” a track filled with moody keyboards and choir-like vocals most likely comprised of overdubs of Dawid herself, seeing as how most of the album was recorded entirely by her, and this line is probably the most pivotal, because much of the album speaks on the subject of race, and it’s done in a vain of “Avante-Garde Jazz” filled with Dawid’s bellowing clarinet, melodic keys, and wailing vocals, often improvisational. The lo-fi nature of the production adds a rawness and humanity to the album, with Dawid’s complex clarinet playing that goes astray but somehow still manages to compliment the other minimal backing elements of the instrumentation. Much of the album’s lyrical content is often short and repetitive, but it works well and bluntly gets the point across. Dawid comes from an improvised Jazz scene in Chicago, and she has impressively captured that atmosphere on record with The Oracle. One can only imagine how enthralling it must be to see her live and feeding off of other fellow improvisational musicians. That spirit is incredibly captured on the track “Capetown,” where Dawid and drummer Asher Simiso Gamedze have an all-out jam session that creates such a discombobulating but captivating experience. This is an album that showcases how less is more, with lyrical content that gets straight to the matter at hand, and instrumentation that fully utilizes minimalistic production to emphasize the invigorating and impressive multi-talented skill of Dawid. Hopefully this is only the beginning of a fruitful career of vast experimentation for Angel Bat Dawid.
Written By: Steven Sandoval
Artist: Charlotte Adigéry
Genre: Electronic/Experimental Pop/Synth-Pop
Zandoli, the new E.P. from Belgian-Caribbean artist Charlotte Adigéry is utterly unique “Electronic” infused “Pop” that is immensely refreshing. This is her second E.P. following her 2017 self-titled EP, and her work with frequent collaborator Bolis Pupul has reached new heights. The two work together perfectly. Adigéry flourishes on each versatile track with sensual swagger with vocal and lyrical content that can be just as playful as it is imaginative, and I really do mean the production is versatile, because these are shapeshifting multifaceted tracks that can be tribal influenced like the all French sung opening track “Paténipat,” and then they can be rich in danceable wonkiness like the track “High Lights,” which has an unorthodox approach to “Pop” with it’s skittering synths. “I know I shouldn’t do it, but I like synthetic wigs a lot,” sings Adigéry, paying homage to the empowerment of wigs and hair extensions, and though this may sound surface level, the way she delivers this theme is completely liberating. Adigéry is an impressive and thoughtful poet as well, metaphorically speaking on sex and seduction on the track “B B C,” and considering how seamlessly she transitions from this track into the conceptual closing track “Okashi,” it’s evident that Adigéry is far from one-dimensional. Unfortunately this E.P. flies by with each listen, because it’s only 5 tracks in length, but every second of these tracks are vastly promising, and they leave me begging for a full-length album this year.
Written By: Steven Sandoval
Everyone’s favorite homicidal doll Chucky is going to have a Hell of a year in 2019. The beloved “Slasher” franchise is getting a reboot this year, set to drop on June 21st starring Aubrey Plaza, Gabriel Bateman, Bryan Tyree Henry, and Tim Matheson. No word yet on who’s going to voice the doll, but the new trailer suggests a darker tone as opposed to the comedic direction the franchise has gone in. Along with a “Scyfy” TV series set to premiere later in the year which will be a continuation of Don Mancini’s franchise, it’s going to be a satisfying year for Chucky fans. You can watch the trailer for the Child’s Play reboot below:
Foxygen have returned, and they will release a new album titled Seeing Other People on April 26th on “Jagjaguwar Records.” The band have also released the album’s first single “Livin’ a Lie,” which also has a music video that was directed by Alessandra Lichtenfeld. The video was filmed in the wake of the Woolsey wildfires. This follows the band’s fantastic cinematic-like album Hang. You can watch the music video, as well as check out the album’s tracklist below:
Seeing Other People Tracklist:
3. Seeing Other People
4. Face the Facts
5. Livin’ a Lie
6. The Thing Is
8. Flag at Half-Mast
9. The Conclusion
Artist: Cherry Glazerr
Album: Stuffed & Ready
Genre: Indie Rock/Alternative Rock/Indie Pop
Clementine Creevy is pretty much the sole member of “Cherry Glazerr,” a band that formed in Los Angeles, California back in 2013, and the rotating lineup has allowed the band to reinvent themselves with each listen. Starting off as a lo-fi “Indie Rock” project, and then moving into a “Garage Rock” direction filled with youthful fervor, “Cherry Glazerr” has always emphasized instrumentation, knowing the importance of musicianship, and that strong focus on instrumentation has never been more apparent than on the band’s fourth album Stuffed & Ready. The production is polished and the instrumentation is immaculate trading in the raucous delivery of their previous work for lush layers of jangly “Dream Pop” reminiscent guitars that go from gentle and dreamy to loud and distortingly ear-splitting very often throughout the album. Lead singer and guitarist Clementine Creevy’s subtle vocals may not always match the intensity of the instrumentation, but her introspective lyricism that often focuses inward is intriguing and admirable. The lyrical content delves into themes such as uneasiness, uncertainty, and these themes are at times delivered in a self-deprecative tone. “My isolation is simple and stupid as me,” sings Creevy on the unsparingly honest track “Isolation.” The theme of solitude is often explored, and it’s faced head-on on the track “Self Explained,” where Creevy details the unfair pressure she puts on her self to go out and Socialize simply because she’s afraid of being alone. “I don’t want people to know how much time I spend alone” sings Creevy, and that brutal honesty and the sound of embarrassment in her voice leads to a heartbreaking listen. The track “Daddi” features a desperate need for guidance, and the lyrics are quite discomforting at times, but these songs are never self-deprecating or brutally melancholy for shock value. You can hear it in her voice that she’s taking herself to therapy by realizing and tackling the negatives to overcome them in an attempt to find her own personal liberty, and though the lush instrumentation can distract you from the words that are being said, it’s definitely worth it to delve into the lyrics, because they completely add new context to the songs when reading them. Compared to other artists within the genre who may deliver this style better, this album can seem inessential, but there’s no denying that this album is emotionally effective, and that maturity is captivating.
Written By: Steven Sandoval