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Pathos Pathos are the bright summery fix we all need now!

 

 

When I think of Orlando basketball, people dressed in animal costumes, sea creatures kept in captivity and Rodney King comes to mind. Now there is another, and more positive, imagine in my minds eyes. Pathos Pathos.

 

 

Sounding like Freelance Whales covering the Spinto Band while Vampire Weekend produce, or it that the other way round, Pathos Pathos make the kind of indie pop that gives you a feeling that you want to jump around like a child not caring what others think of you, whilst giving you optimism. A rare trait in these bleak times.

 

 

As their name suggest this is all done in a way that makes us, the audience, believe their stories by creating emotional response. The music skitters and sways along, sometimes math motifs appear only to be repressed by an indie exuberance. The star of the show however are frontman Matt Walsh’s vocals. They float about, around and through Summer Nights, giving it an effervescent sheen.

 

 

The Pet Names EP is released 8th July

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bedsit troubadour returns with new EP

 

 

Last time we heard from Dan the Human he was just about to release his Part One EP. The music contained on that EP was full of “Exquisite languid melodies and enervated themes permeate this EP. Dreamlike vocals wash over you but jaunty guitar riffs keep you from drifting off into the ether.” Yup that’s what I said and I still stand by them!

 

 

Now he’s now released his first new material since Part One, one the subtly called Part Two EP. The main difference between Part One and Two is that Dan has still kept his lo-fi sensibilities, but he’s added a repetitive feel to the tracks. Simple guitar lines are repeated again and again and again. This isn’t because Dan is lazy, or has run out of things to say, but through repetition he gets his hammers home his ideas of how weird life can be. Each day we leave at the same time, go to the same place and do the same things all day, only to leave at the same time in the evening, go home and, in all probability, do the same things before going to bed at about the same time. This is exemplified on Float. Catchy guitar melodies wash over us, while he croons away.

 

 

The difference between the two EP’s is remarkable. While the music contains the same visceral elements that made Part One a vibrant and exciting listen, Dan has somehow managed to up the discordance in his vocals but keep it catchy as! Let’s hope that we don’t have to wait another ten months for Part Three!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Miguel Baptista Benedict leaves the best for last in 2015

 

 

Miguel Baptista Benedict has had a great year. Not only has he released a slew of albums and singles, including the beast mbb_ex album and the glitched out js8h2k singles, but he has now released a new album cow.

 

 

Given the diversity and depth of Benedict’s back catalogue cow sits somewhere in the middle between 2013’s Super(b)-Child Ran and this years bedsores (regurgitations and loops). Basically this means that while the music is beautifully crafted and painstakingly organised, there are parts what are just pulsating white noise. While this might not sound like a good thing, given their context in the songs, it is exquisite organised chaos.

 

 

The album opens with something that sounds like an Add N to (X) B-Side from 1998, cut up vocals samples that are on the verge of inaudible, but you manage to pick out a few choice words. It’s a bit like going on holiday to a country whose language you studied at school, but you have used/thought about for a decade. You get the jist of it and can work out what’s going on, but you have no idea how to explain what’s wrong with your lunch, without resulting to your native tongue. die ann key ton start off sounding like an ultrasound, while ominous synths fizz and hum about, until a drum beat appears and ushers in the outro. re_2 is made up of a few simple loops that are layered to create an unsettling atmosphere until a faux house melody kicks in which takes the song to an entirely different level. This is the blueprint for the album. Just when you think you have a handle on everything BAM Miguel Baptista Benedict throws in an unexpected element and the song is going off in a totally different tangent.

 

 

trek[ed] flush is one of the stand out tracks on cow. A synth builds tension, while a repetitive drum keeps time. As the song progresses glitchy effects lurk and skulk around the shadows of the song, until they are brave enough to come to the forefront and everything takes on a possessed/haunted vibe. yell at selective hearing is the most abrasive track on the album. This doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable, far from it, as it progresses you get drawn into the rich tapestry of its intricate melody, but its not an easy listen. However by the halfway mark you’re so under its spell you don’t realise that its made up of mostly distorted/abused/white nose samples. detergent sounds like a dirty remix of Vangelis as his most fluid and lyrical. This combination really works well and helps push cow into uncharted realms. The album closed as it started with heavily manipulated vocal samples, sounding a bit like a skit form Chris Morris’ excellently twisted Blue Jam series.

 

 

 

Out of all of Benedict’s releases this year it’s hard to pick a favourite. They all sound totally different, but at the same time unmistakably Miguel Baptista Benedict. That being said, there is something about cow’s composition and production that with each listen something new pops out, or you re-think the whole piece. This is a rare trait, and marks a great musician from a bedroom hobbyist. Let’s hope is another vintage year for Miguel Baptista Benedict!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Portland rapper releases his most cohesive and enjoy work to date. FACT!

 

 

If like everyone at thisyearinmusic, Hip-Hop seems to be too slick and over produced at the moment. Yes there are a number of artists who try and push the boundaries and go back to the original ethos of the art form, social commentary, but the majority of contemporary Hip-Hop released least us cold. Lucky the antidote is at hand. Myke Bogan is that antidote.

 

 

Since 2012 the Portland rapper has slowly been making name for himself, his appearance on King Chip’s Royal Tour is testament to this. He’s now released his fourth album Casino Carpet. In short its thirty minutes of lurid samples and laugh out loud lyrics. But don’t mistake for Bogan’s playful tongue in cheek lyrics to mean this is a joke. It isn’t, in fact, he’s deadly serious.

 

 

Opening track Pink Cocaine name checks the Rugrats, Breaking Bad, Philip Seymour Hoffman, religion and the endemic problem of drugs in society. On 6 Beers Bogan opens by saying he finds it funny people “wish they could make songs like I do, but then they wouldn’t be themselves. And that’s not cool”. Imitation is rife in Hip-Hop, and in a world of copy cats and sound-a-likes it’s refreshing to find someone doing their own thing, because it’s what they like rather than it’s what the majority of fans like. Then Bogan talks about hanging out and slowly getting wasted at home, playing FIFA with his favourite teams. Who says American’s don’t like football?

 

 

Stand out track is Beloved. A low tempo track in which Bogan contemplates his life, position in Hip-Hop and how he’s still hungry for success, but not for the usual reasons, i.e. wealth, but so his Grandmother can see him make if before she dies. Bogan’s stye isn’t just refreshing it humanises his music, something not massively seen in Hip-Hop, and grounds his music in reality. How many of us haven’t wanted approval from our family?

 

 

If you like you’re Hip-Hip underground with its tongue in its preverbal smoke filled cheek, then this is for you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Jersey lo-fi maverick follows up last year’s debut with an EP that is as tongue in cheek as it is brilliant

 

 

Authenticity is something that musicians crave. To be considered ‘authentic’ is a holy grail, next to having biggest selling albums, largest gig audiences and longest tours. Very few have ever attainted it because like unicorns, leprechauns and good house albums, few have found them and once you have they vanish forever leaving you mumbling to yourself in forests. One musician who does have it however, you’ve probably never heard of. New Jersey’s Wholewheat is the embodiment of authenticity.

 

 

Since Bob Dylan released his Basement Tapes album in 1975, a collection of songs culled from recordings he made in the basement of the house he was living with The Band, musicians have thought that adding ‘basement’ to a collection of lo-fi songs makes them cool, kooky and interesting. Most of them were actually recorded in proper studios, then made to sound lo-fi later. Wholewheat’s debut album Songs From My Parents Basement, which was actually recorded in his parent’s mold infested basement, was a highlight of 2014. Not only where the songs heart breakingly honest, but they were catchy and infectious. Now he has returned with new release the Ruf Draft EP.

 

 

Heartache and rejection peppers this EP. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Not by a long shot, as Wholewheat is a witty wordsmith, so all his lyrics have a slightly sardonic and self-deprecating vibe to them. The opening lyrics to Just a Little Bit are “Well congratulations, show them they what they won, a bottle of booze, and this loaded gun. The end of the road, is still filled with glory, and Falcao from the Never Ending Story. I’m flat broke, I loaned my conscious to the bank, Asked out this girl, before my heart sank. She’s the type of one, you see in your dreams, she works at the gap, and she folds jeans”. All this is backed by scratchy guitars and astringent lyrics. Absolutely flawless.

 

 

Luckily the rest of the EP is just as satisfying. Paid the Toll feels like a rework of The Beatles-Ticket to Ride (“She’s got a free pass, through my heart, and I already paid the toll”), but more lo-fi and with a sketchy keyboard under it. How can Lyrics like “How can this be, I think I’m happy. For the first time, in my life” be anything but life affirming? The EP closes with Does Love Come with Those Fries, let’s hope fast food restaurants never hear this song, as their might be some lawsuits!

 

 

The Ruf Draft EP inhabits a special place surrounded by Adam Green during his shambling Anti-Folk beginnings, The Flaming Lips when they proclaimed we’re all going to die in a Top 40 pop song, Robert Pollard with a flagrant disregard for recording techniques and Beck’s early work, think One Foot in the Grave and Stereopathetic Soul Manure and you’re close. While Wholewheat is singing about real feelings and emotions there is a whole level of surrealism going on too. And what could be better than that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nashville quartet’s latest album is a svelte version of ad-hoc soundtrack Quartz

 

 

Fly Golden Eagle originally released Quartz as a 26 track two hour monster companion piece to cult classic motion picture The Holy Mountain, funded by John Lennon and George Harrison, it has now been dissected and re-imagined as the 12 track album Quartz Bijou. Sadly tracks ‘Can’t Leave You Alone’, ‘Double Vision’, ‘Ronnie’ and ‘Machine Burger’ have been left out, but Quartz Bijou is a tighter and concise album for it.

 

 

 

Opening with wall of drums, organs and fuzzed out guitar ‘You Look Good To Me’ is reminiscent of Manfred Mann in 1969. A funky soul groove, with marginally esoteric lyrics. The music oozes out of the speakers while Ben Trimble’s vocals soar above everything like, well, a golden eagle. ‘Horse’s Mouth’ follows hot on the heels of ‘You Look Good To Me’. Like its predecessor it’s a psychedelic beast jammed full of throbbing bass, delicate guitar parts so tangled up you’d need a nit comb to straighten them out and an outro that rivals anything released post 1970. ‘Stepping Stone’ sounds like the Soledad Brothers covering T-Rex in the desert while tripping balls. The riffs are colossal and almost collapse under their own weight, the organ sounds like it was lifted from an Electric Prunes album and the bass pulsates. Somehow Trimble’s vocals manage not only be audible, but take centre stage in the song.

 

 

After the slow stomper of ‘Stepping Stone’, ‘Magic Steven’ ramps things up a bit. Despite all the noodling on the organ it’s a standard rock song and not much happens outside of a 4/4 beat. ‘Monolith’ slows the album down again. Given its name, and the previous quartet of tracks, you’d be forgiven for expecting to have your head caved in under the sound and pressure of the composition, however ‘Monolith’ is a slow tender number that is full of longing and what could have been lyrics, apart from a slight psych out blip in the outro, it’s a beautiful ballad. ‘Tangible Intangible’ is another slow burner. On this track Fly Golden Eagle show that they are just as capable writing something melodic as they are brain melting psych.

 

 

‘The Slider’ picks up the pace again, but from here on however the album loses something and starts to sound likes Fyy Golden Eagle are just going through the motions. While ‘The Slider’ is pleasant, as soon as it finishes you can’t really remember anything about it. Which is a shame as the riff has the potential to be an earworm of epic proportions, but somehow manages to fall just short of the task. The next three tracks follow suit and pass into obscurity as soon as they’re finished. Things pick up again with ‘Tehuacana’, which could be the stand out track on the album. In just under six minutes it manages to mix psych, soul, blues, gospel, funk and folk into a relentless track that is hard to ignore and impossible to tap your foot too. The album closes with ‘Death Myth’. From its uplifting beat to opaque guitar licks, it pulls you in and takes you on an instrumental journey until some studio banter “The very last end of it was bad” finishes the track and album.

 

 

 

Quartz Bijou is full of a retro fuzzy charm, but don’t like this deceive you. Fly Golden Eagle are more than four musicians with a penchant for nostalgic sounds. Like the Brian Jonestown Massacre before them, they take idea of another time but thorough their experiences they ground the album in the now. To get the full impact of the album you probably need to go to Mexico and wander around the desert getting lost meeting dwarves and alchemists. Or you could just get a bit woozy and turn it up loud, which ever turns you on really.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Five albums in for Canada’s experimental indie pop savant

 

 

Right, let’s not mess about here, as this is exactly what Slim Twig has done on his fifth album, Thank You For Sticking’ with Twig. This is Twig’s, AKA Canadian Max Turnbull, most cohesive album. It takes his ability to make sample based music, plus his deft touch for original composition, and mixes them together to create forty minutes where you can hardly see the joins.

 

 

Opening track Slippin’ Slidn’ is a love letter everything glam. Fuzzy beats, merge with even crunching guitars while he layers it with synths, surface noise and wailing vocals. Textiles on Mainstreet showcases Twig’s ear for melody and pastiching Beatlesesque songwriting. Stone Rollin’ (Musical Emotion) is one of the simplest songs on the album and one of the most effective. Through limited elements, keyboards, vocals and some effects, Turnbull displays thanks to a subtle touch how to get the most emotional outpouring with limited effort.

 

 

Fog of Sex (N.S.I.S.) takes a Clockwork Orange sample and skews it into a sleazy pop monster. Think Beck on Midnite Vultures with slowed down T-Rex riffs and you’re close. Out of My Mind does exactly what the title says. It sounds like an episode of the Clangers when they have a party, started tripping balls and the Soup Dragon decides to freak everyone out by speaking in tongues. Live In, Live on Your Era is a relatively standard song in comparison to the rest of the album. Massive 1970’s MOR riffs mingle with woozy vocals and slightly psych production. Cannabis is a freakout jam based around Serge Gainsbourg’s track of the same name.

 

 

Thank You For Sticking’ with Twig is a psych pop gem, that gets better with each listen. Only through repeated listens can you start to gleam the complicated layers of music, sound and noise Turnbull uses to create his sonic wonders. The only downside is that at times it gets lost under the weight of its ideas. Every production trick in the book sounds like it’s been used on this album, which is great, but the album doesn’t flow as well as it could. By removing a few techniques and effects the songs would have room to breathe and, at times, not feel so compacted. Having said that, the scope of the project should be commended and when it works, it’s some of the best music released this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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