Eskimo Eyes – “i cant think”

ImageEskimo Eyes is an endearing DIY bedroom project from Nelson, New Zealand powered by Ike Zwanikken. i cant think is his first release under this project and I think you guys might really like it. He recorded everything himself and cleverly improvises things like snaps and claps by banging keys and even a pizza cutter against a table. This 5-track EP opens with a tune entitled “Don’t Stay Long” which starts out more ambient until the beat kicks in. It is driven by cut up, pitched down, swaying vocals and backed by steady claps. “Do / Get” samples the intro of Kendrick Lamar’s track “Poetic Justice” which serves as kind of a echo-y background to the intricate clinking and drone-y tune. The third song, “May” was the only one out of the five that was recorded in the home the Zwanikken grew up in (as opposed to his current home in Nelson) whilst visiting family and you can even hear his niece and nephew yelling in the background from time to time. This is where the piano and rain were recorded and all of this combined gives the track, interestingly enough, a warm and comfortable “at home” feel. I don’t want to give it all away so I’ll let you guys listen to the rest for yourselves.

You can stream i cant think in full above and keep on the lookout for more new material on his bandcamp page HERE. The download includes an alternate version to the fourth track. Songs written and produced by Ike Zwanikken himself and mastered by his brother Bo.

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Bombay Bicycle Club Returns With A New Sound

1385_41949_bombay_bicycle_clubIt’s been a couple years since we have heard any new material from Bombay Bicycle Club. Recently the indie-rock group has taken a new approach to their fourth upcoming album, set to release sometime next year.

When we hear Bombay Bicycle Club we automatically revert back to the track “Always Like This” from their first album, I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose. With a track like that there was no denying that the band had refined the indie-rock genre. Their second album on the hand was very different from their previous album. Flaws was more of an acoustic and soft record. Giving off a folk like vibe that I found very delightful and charming. The third album A Different Kind Of Fix gave us tracks like “Shuffle” and “Lights Out, Words Gone.” These songs go back to Bombay’s old roots but and in the meantime were able to discovery a different feel to the album. Listening to the album we can hear little hints of 80’s new wave fused together with pop and indie-folk.

With the upcoming fourth album, “Carry Me” is the single off of the album and by listening to this track I couldn’t help but feel anxious and excited for what the rest of the album has in store. “Carry Me” gives off a euphoric feel with a slight industrial yet heavily percussive sound giving the song a grand appeal. I think front-man Jack Steadman has got something brilliant on his hands. This is nothing like the classic songs of Bombay Bicycle Club but their new approach I believe will attract new listeners.

Having had a listened to “Carry Me” repetitively there is no doubt that this next album will translate that euphoric feel with a new sound to follow.
– Catalina

Death Grips – “Government Plates”

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Truth be told, I had nothing planned to post today. I was considering posting about UK queer grime rapper Roxxxan (who you should still definitely check out) but as I’m sitting here I see Death Grips have uploaded a new album… mixtape… Soundcloud thing? It’s called Government Plates and features some of the Exmilitary style no-hooks all-chaos rap that originally got the Sacramento-based trio buzzing in 2011. Notable, however, is the big production improvements and inclusion of recently released single “Birds”. If it’s even possible, MC Ride’s voice gets even more intense than ever before here, especially on the ear shattering “Anne Bonny”. Knowing Death Grips, I can’t promise this will be around for a while, they could delete it in an hour or it might be an official thing. Who knows. Stream below for the time being.

abhi///dijon – “what changed”

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Maryland R&B duo abhi///dijon have been dropping underrated jams on their soundcloud for most of 2013 now, and with each successive track their vision becomes just a bit more clear. The newest song, “what changed”, a K-Ci & Jojo-esque whisper of a throwback slow jam, with some of the silky lo-fi texture we’ve come to love from artists like Jai Paul and inc. in the past year. With election season over, it’s a shame the initiative to force these guys to finally release a full length album didn’t pass. Hope for 2014? They do promise “new tracks soon” in the song’s description.

Metal Double Feature: Serpents Unleashed and Chemistry of Consciousness

This last week marked the release of Skeletonwitch’s Serpents Unleashed and Toxic Holocaust’s Chemistry of Consciousness. Coincidentally, the opening tracks for both albums are about snakes.

Which makes them pretty brutal, obviously.

I don’t think I’ve had as much fun listening to a record since Torche’s Harmonicraft as I did Serpents Unleashed. The riff structures and melodies are absolutely brilliant and refreshing, and Chance Garnett’s vocals are absolutely on point. Serpents Unleashed avoids the blandness of Forever Abomination and the cheesiness of Breathing the Fire, and instead delivers something akin to the hyper-rhythmic melodies on Beyond the Permafrost. You don’t have to look much further than the second track to figure out that this is a fundamentally revamped Skeletonwitch, complete with welcome improvements in songwriting. The riffs are heavier and more evil, the vocals are more twisted than ever, and the rhythms are faster and more chaotic than their previous efforts. This album is heavy and relentless, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Don’t believe me? Check out “I Am of Death” below:

I traditionally haven’t been the biggest fan of Toxic Holocaust’s thrash-revival thing, but Chemistry of Consciousness genuinely surprised me with how fresh it sounds. They brought their black metal influences to the forefront of their riffs and stepped back their party-rock vibe, making Chemistry of Consciousness sound more like a mature record from a mature band and less like something I’d only listen to when I wanted to drink beer and break stuff. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course.

If any of you metal wizards are into Toxic Holocaust, definitely try to find them live this winter. Joel Grind is a Portland native, and holy f**k can he put on a live show.

Basically, if you’re in the mood for some feel-good blackened thrash, give these albums a listen. Both are out now on Relapse Records.

Hail Satan.

Skeletonwitch Tour Dates: http://www.skeletonwitch.com/tour.php

Toxic Holocaust Tour Dates: http://www.toxicholocaust.com/

(Even though Toxic Holocaust is only scheduled for the east coast right now, I’d be surprised if they didn’t have a show in Portland at least once this winter)

– Zander

Return to 160: Drum & Bass, Jungle, Juke, & Footwork in 2013

In the early 90s, electronic music was still in it’s infancy. House and techno had been around for roughly six years with little variation coming out of it. While house saw it’s heyday out in Chicago with Frankie Knuckles as it’s pioneer, his former disco buddy from the Continental Baths, Larry Levan, was the head of the garage (sometimes referred to as Garage House or US Garage (as not to be confused with Garage Rock or UK Garage)) movement in New York City. Techno was born in Detroit but didn’t stay stateside for long after the Roland TB-303 was found to be an essential weapon eventually bringing acid house to the UK. Out of these eventually came styles of rave music for the kids with smiley faces on their shirts and vacant looks in their eyes. With all the influence of electronic music, as well as ragga, hip hop, and hardcore the genre of drum & bass (or Jungle depending on who you ask) was born, seemingly out of one sample.

In 2013 drum & bass came back in a big way. After electronic music had it’s flirts with pop culture (mainly big beat back in the late 90s, the short lived electroclash of the mid-aughts, and more recently dubstep’s claim to king) drum & bass made a big name for itself without sacrificing integrity. Not only has drum & bass come back as a force to reckon with, it brought the ghettohouse offshoots of juke and footwork with it. Not only have all these genres worked well separately, they flirted with each other in an unprecedented matter.

dBridge (one half of Instra:mental) curates on of the best drum & bass labels with it’s eye towards the future in Exit Records. While the first Mosaic comp is something of legend (featuring dubsteppers Scuba and Skream getting a little more loose with the drums) Mosaic Vol. 2 is the vision of what’s to come. Featuring the likes of Machinedrum, Synkro, Dub Phizix, J:Kenzo, Fracture and more, the comp takes the traditional ideas of drum & bass and breaks them down. The above song from Om Unit & Sam Binga is a strong highlight from a deep compilation.

Special Request is the not so secret alias of Paul Woolford and he definitely turns an ear to the past while pushing himself forward. This white label cut is almost so definitively old school it hurts, but Woolford’s debut full length under his Special Request alias, Soul Music, is something of beauty. It adds the old school appeal of jungle and even touches of hardcore and techno, but always moves forward with sound design. Although Woolford has also been keeping busy under his own name with more house oriented releases, Special Request truly owes a bit to the warehouse.

While being most often billed as a producer of dubstep or the ever ambiguous “UK bass”, Addison Groove has made his name on hyperactive drums and a crushing low end. While a move into drum & bass proper hasn’t happened yet, Addison Groove marries many genres together to act more as a transitional in between piece rather than anything that can be easily labeled. “Footcrab” makes all the more sense now days.

You can’t talk about drum & bass without talking about juke and footwork. And you definitely can’t talk about footwork and juke without talking about DJ Rashad. Rashad has released two EPs and one LP on the always forward thinking Hyperdub Records. Where most footwork and juke suffers from a fairly repetitive lifeless structure, Rashad blows life and soul into it. “Let It Go” acts as a perfect piece to bring you from D&B to the world of juke.

Speaking of Hyperdub, the boss himself, Kode9, has recently become infatuated with the Chicago sound of footwork and juke (check out his Rinse 22 mix CD where he plays no less than eight DJ Rashad songs). The man known for championing the weirder side of dubstep and Burial has really found himself in this new sound. Kode9’s creates something hectic and crazy, giving a distinctly new voice to footwork. Between running a label, using his PhD in philosophy to teach at the University of East London, and touring, Kode9 has still found time to turn out a proper banger.

This conversation wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Machinedrum. After finally finding his groove in 2011 with his album Room(s) and his work in the group Sepalcure, Machinedrum made one of 2013’s definitive 160bpm tunes. Although my initial impressions led me to believe this album, Vapor City, was nothing more than “what if Burial made footwork” the sound of this album is tightly coiled and well put together, there really is no equal for Machinedrum. The Berlin based American producer is definitely top dog these days.