Chancelor Bennett is not old enough to buy alcohol. Chances are (heh), he probably doesn’t remember when mixtapes were actually tapes. Despite all of this, Bennett, better known as Chance the Rapper, recently released his highly-anticipated second tape Acid Rap. Following up his highly-acclaimed first tape 10Day, whose title is a reference to the amount of time he was suspended from school, during which time he recorded it, Acid Rap (whose title comes from the fact that Chance did a whole lot of LSD during the albums writing and recording process) takes his music to another level, filled with scratchy, soulful samples, clever wordplay, and high-profile guest spots. Beginning with uptempo, Beyonce-esque vocals ushering in opening track “Good Ass Intro”, the album oozes good vibes, with a chorus featuring an ecstatic Chance chanting “you did it, you did it/you did a good-ass job” (Fun fact: “Good-Ass Job was a working – and in my opinion much better – title for Kanye West’s 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy). The album quickly moves into highlight “Pusha Man”, likely a callback to Curtis Mayfield, and a two minute fast-paced banger which quickly ends and we’re left with fifteen seconds of silence before secret track “Paranoia” begins. Here, Chance gets serious for a bit, lamenting the murders that happen every summer in his hometown of Chicago, which go unreported in mainstream media. The song is mellow and contemplative, with a catchy hook floating in a river of questions that don’t seem to get an answer. Other highlights on the album include the party-starter “Juice”, which soundtracks a hilarious and heartwarming video of Chance handing out roses to people on the streets of Chicago; the funky bass grooves of “NaNa”, featuring Action Bronson (or is that Ghostface?); and “Chain Smoker” whose “bridge” section I will defy anyone not to get hyped on. Finally coming to “Everything’s Good (Good Ass Outro)”, the album closes on a feel-good note, with everything feeling just about right. All in all, I highly recommend you take a trip through Acid Rap, and keep a tab on this Bennett kid, ’cause he’s goin’ places.
Deerhunter / Monomania / Out via 4AD on May 7th, 2013
Like any well-oiled pop machine, Atlanta’s avant-garage outfit Deerhunter knows when to slowly gas the psych propellers into an ambient blissout, and bust out pedal-to-the-metal spurts of pure punk rock as soon as the lighters get raised. The band’s fifth studio album Monomania dropped May 7th via 4AD, this time forgoing the astral plane explorations of their sonically anarchic back catalog, and opting instead for a more concise pop record that snaps and crackles in equal measure. The interstellar improv and dream pop sensibility that once resonated at galactic proportions in earlier releases is tighter than ever, as though transmissions between ground control and the International Space Station achieved a crystal-clear moment of recognition, to produce a new release that is surprisingly grounded.
Amidst the bray of garage-punk snarls and slow burning shoegaze longplayers of recent days, it’s hard to tell if and when the genetics of alt rock will see the promise of mutation. In a culture-jamming return to form, frontman Bradford Cox told Rolling Stone that he and guitarist Lockett Pundt listened to only The Ramones and Ricky Nelson prior to making the album, and also cited Pierre Schaeffer, Steve Reich, and Bo Diddley as major influences. In fact, Cox referred to Diddley as “the god of this record,” but added, “I don’t think there’s a single Bo Diddley beat on the album.” Regardless of its precise coordinates, Monomania is a refreshingly relaxed moment amidst the fluorescent junk-pop riffs and celestial loops that combine to form Deerhunter’s weird era of psych-rock ephemera.
Feedback freakouts “Neon Junkyard” and “Leather Jacket II” open the band’s sixth studio album with freshly sharpened bite, pedaling onward without a moment’s fiery respite. Third track “The Missing” casts a synth-soaked ray of sunshine into the shimmering sea of kraut grooves that comprised Pundt’s 2012 release Spooky Action at a Distance, drifting into the hustle and creak of “Pensacola” and “Dream Captain”, freak folk Americana jams sporting a looser, garagey feel that evokes the DIY tape hiss of psych-rock contemporaries Woods. Saloon waltz “T.H.M.”, the meandering strings of “Sleepwalking”, and tightly capped jam “Back in the Middle” tread familiar ground in the newgaze post-explorations of Deerhunter’s back catalog. Five-minute title drone “Monomania” trickles into the cavernous cassette echo of “Nikebike”, proceeding through dirge to draw open the ultraviolet shades of “Punk (La Vie Antérieure)” for a final wave as the sun sets over a decidedly “avant-garde rock & roll record”, according to vocalist Bradford Cox in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. If their 2010 release Halcyon Digest didn’t hammer your tympanic threshold into metronomic submission, let the message ring forevermore that while indie festival darlings are only beginning to touch on the apache anthems and art-rock tinkering of the early 2000’s, Deerhunter continues make giant leaps forward, without all the white noise to mute their sonic footprint.
All of the cats at KZSC have been enjoying a huge influx of the finest jazz in lieu of the recent JAM (Jazz Appreciation Month) of April. Now that April has ended, the fun hasn’t stopped in May and we continue to recieve tons of titles from our promoters!
Here, some of the most popular plays are listed:
Sarah has already played some of the greatest venues in NYC, including Dizzy’s, the Blue Note and the Iridium. Her expression doesn’t stop at RED- I’m told that there is more to look forward to the end of this year and the the following.As usual, the jazz/blues department at KZSC is committed to keeping things fresh…We are receiving nothing but the newest recordings from all over the country and we want to spin them for YOU! If you want to hear it all, tune into some of the great shows throughout the week:Your favorite kind of American folk music on American Spirit, Wednesdays 9am-12pm
A mix that contains non-GMO soul on Stirrin the Soup, 2-4 pm Thursdays.
See how it’s all related on Not So Distant Relatives, Fridays 2-4pm.
The finest women of jazz on Jazz Kitty, Saturdays 12-2pm.
Still want more??? We know you do. Check out the program schedule in the tab at the top of this page to see what else is cookin’.We thank you for listening, we thank the artists for swinging, and the promoters for mailing. Until next time.
This week I had the opportunity to listen to Branford Marsalis’ newest release, Four Mfs Playin’ Tunes. This album is the first of his to feature 21 year old drummer Justin Faulkner who in the last 5 years has replaced the seemingly irreplaceable Jeff “Tain” Watts. Tain is one of the most powerfully aggressive modern drummers out there who helped change the face of modern jazz in the 1980’s, but now is busy with his own projects which is why Faulkner has taken over since 2009 (when he was 18). Branford Marsalis’ quartet has a very nostalgic sound to it, as it really hasn’t changed much since 1984. The same hard driving swing that characterized the young lions from the late 80s/early 90s is still there, but so is the more relaxed and fluid songs that seem to lack time whatsoever: another Branford specialty. All in all, the album is what I expected, which doesn’t mean it’s bad at all, it’s your classic Branford, none of the guitar and drums heavy pretentious stuff you might hear at a Berkelee College of Music jazz senior recital, this is just four MFs playin’ tunes.
I’m embarrassed to say it, but my time with Cult of Luna has been a relatively short one. I only discovered them about a year ago through a friend, and even then their music didn’t engage me to the extreme that it did for most others. That all changed about 4 months ago, when I entered this bizarre post metal funk that I still, admittedly, am in. I quickly blew the dust off of Salvation, Somewhere Along the Highway and Eternal Kingdom, which only furthered the extent of my moody dwelling. Therefore, it almost seemed like fate when, after fully engorging myself on their previous efforts, Cult of Luna announced the coming of Vertikal, their first album in 5 years.
1. The One
2. I: The Weapon
3. Vicarious Redemption
4. The Sweep
6. Mute Departure
8. In Awe Of
9. Passing Through
Vertikal sees Cult of Luna return to their thematic roots of overarching authority and corruption in high places. Based off of the 1927 movie Metropolis, Vertikal is Cult of Luna’s take on a dystopian universe, and while the movie was made over 80 years ago, it’s message is still just as relevant today. With the recent scares from SOPA, PIPA, and the Patriot Act, it’s not hard to see why the band chose the material that they did. However, it can be difficult to convey a message through a different media while still successfully conveying the same intended meaning. Cult of Luna seem to be aware of this, though, for they have created a work of art that not only keeps itself true to its origin’s content, but transcends it as well. From the album cover’s abstract illustration of desolate skyscrapers to the raw emotion that is employed dexterously, Cult of Luna can consider Vertikal a remarkable achievement regarding the communication between the listener and it’s social commentary.
An album with a clear and engaging concept behind it accounts for nothing if it’s not supported by a strong musical force. Fortunately, Vertikal sees Cult of Luna further their trademark sound even more, letting songs naturally evolve as opposed to rushing head first into a melody or theme. This time around, though, the band utilizes much more atmospheric and electronic sounds, contrasting some of the immediacy apparent in their last album, Eternal Kingdom. While Cult of Luna has always exercised some electronic influences into their sound, it’s never been as prominent before as it is in Vertikal. Dubstep comparisons aside, the new style gives the album a mechanical air to it, as if the audience itself was placed in an industrial environment. This dark manufactured sound meshes incredibly well with the concept of the record, thus creating an enthralling experience that delivers one dismal blow after another.
It’s worth noting just how remarkable each and every track is, and the important role each one plays. While “I: The Weapon” lays the groundwork for the rest of the record, “Vicarious Redemption” builds upon that infrastructure, which in turn helps to elevate the following two tracks to an experience greater than the sum of their parts. However, “Mute Departure” utterly ravages the metropolitan that had been carefully and painstakingly constructed and compounded upon, while the last three tracks allow the listener to traverse through the wasteland that once contained this thriving city. Overall, Vertikal is one of the best structured albums in recent memory, not just in song arrangement, but in concept as well.
Have you ever listened to music for the sole purpose of deconstructing your very being? Do you curl up all alone on your disheveled bed whilst concentrating on instrumentals that entrap your psyche? If not, Vertikal may not quite be your brew of choice. However, if through discomfort and adversity you can truly find yourself, this record will reverberate and ripple throughout your anatomy, your constitution, your mortality. With Vertikal, Cult of Luna realize their full potential, and in doing so help us all realize our own. It is made to thrash our true essences, for the betterment of mankind. It is made to challenge our individuality, to broaden our freedom. It is made to teach a lesson, one that we will never forget in our meager lifetimes.
Oh hi! Didn’t see you there. I’d like to talk to you about a wonderful little record by a guy who goes by the name of Mac DeMarco. DeMarco – a Canadian singer-songwriter, formerly of the band Makeout Videotape – released his second album, fittingly titled “2”, in October, and I finally got around to checking it out a couple weeks ago. I’m gonna be honest with you – I was pretty positive I would hate this album before I listened to it. The cover and Pitchfork hype made for a lethal combination in my mind, acting as some kind of harbinger of “ironic slacker” doom. The album’s first track (“Cooking Up Something Good”) even starts with a kinda chunkity-chunk Jack Johnson guitar part. Luckily, by the time the song’s chorus hit, things started to turn around. By the third track – The “Sultans of Swing”-esque “Freaking Out the Neighborhood” – I was hooked. Every song on the album is a catchy, hook-filled fun-time bonanza, full of jangly, shambolic grooves (think Pavement at their most singer-songwritery, laid back moments). These are songs you’ll be humming all day, then you’ll catch yourself humming them and be all “man, I ain’t even mad.” It’s the feelgood album of the summer, except, like, you know, in the winter. Let DeMarco and his band of merry men transport you to sunny days where the drinks are free and Jimmy Buffett is nowhere in sight. Swimming pools and barbecues are there too. Seriously, it’ll be cool. You just gotta listen.