In the time since their 2007 debut, Handsome Furs have not only proved to be more than just a little Wolf Parade side project, but also bigger than the sum of their own, simple parts (guitar + keyboard). And now on their 3rd LP, they’ve almost dropped the guitar entirely—a bizarre challenge for one of the best shredders around, Dan Boeckner, and yet, the process again is outweighed by its outcome. Sound Kapital never stops throbbing; it’s a full blitz of anxious, industrial, anti-establishment synth-punk. And lookout for hell-raising finale “No Feeling”, where Boeckner’s guitar finally breaks through.
[BoxTitle]John Maus: We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideos]http://heavy.com/music/music-video/electronic-music-videos/2011/06/john-maus-believer/[/MusicVideos] [Listen]http://www.npr.org/2011/06/23/137198369/first-listen-john-maus-we-must-become-the-pitiless-censors-of-ourselves[/Listen]
Not everyone is going to get John Maus. Here’s an intense, hyper-intellectual guy on an existential mission, and his vehicle is masculine, lo-fi robot disco. Hazy Maus mantras straddle the line between ridiculous and revelatory, and he pulls it off mainly because there’s a groove to them, and because he’s not full of shit. The latter is more evident in a live setting, where he goes into pure, animated monologue over prepared backing tracks—a shameless and convincing display of an artist who believes in himself and the power of human connection. On record, the passion is in there, though it’s more susceptible. At least there’s one hit that should make a “Believer” out of just about anyone.
[BoxTitle]Shabbazz Palaces: Black Up[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideos] http://heavy.com/music/music-video/hip-hop-music-videos/2011/05/shabazz-palaces-belhaven-meridian/%5B/MusicVideos%5D [Listen]http://www.npr.org/2011/06/20/137270759/first-listen-shabazz-palaces-black-up[/Listen]
After two critically praised EPs of experimental hip hop, Shabazz (Ishmael Butler from legendary 90s act Digable Planets) has delivered the big record. From GvB (“album of the year”, folks) to NPR, progression celebrators have been trumpeting this as something different and important right now. Admittedly these ears don’t log enough hours in rap territory to fully evaluate, but high IQ music transcends taste, and Black Up demands a step out of comfort zones. Explore further here.
[BoxTitle]Red Hot + Rio 2[/BoxTitle] [Listen]http://www.npr.org/2011/06/20/137283468/first-listen-red-hot-rio-2[/Listen]
A two and a half hour Brazilian tropicalia compilation for charity, Red Hot + Rio 2 covers a lot of map, collecting tributes from acts both in and outside the always attractive genre and culture (a long list which includes Beirut, José González, Bebel Gilberto, Of Montreal, Beck, and Rita Lee of Os Mutantes). It runs like an upbeat playlist, a perfect hit play and walk away kind of mix.
[BoxTitle]Blanck Mass: Blanck Mass[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideos]http://alteredzones.com/posts/1528/blanck-mass-ickes-struggle/[/MusicVideos] [Listen]http://blanckmass.bandcamp.com/[/Listen]
One half of electronic drone duo Fuck Buttons, Benjamin John Power has all the earth shaking momentum he needs going into solo forays as Blanck Mass. On his self titled debut, trademark FB atmospherics (soaring, visual, hypnotic, climactic) are applied with a slightly more subdued focus, as he says “cerebral hypoxia and the beautiful complexity of the natural world.” This is headphones splendor.