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Phlask come back with an EP that makes you yearn for a time when all you cared about was Sensible Soccer and staying out late on the weekends

 

 

Last year California’s Phlask released a series of singles that made everyone at thisyearinmusic sit up and take notice. They were brilliant, but in an outsider art kind of way. Each song had the feeling of a found object, that had been subverted to a purpose that wasn’t originally thought of when it was designed and built. The music was a hybrid of rock, but with elements of noise, comedy and jazz through in for good measure. Now they’ve returned and their new EP, 40%, shows that the best is yet to come!

 

 

Timid is anything but its title. Instead of unassuming muzak, what we get is a barrage of feedback and drum beats. Paul Bunyan sounds like the Beach Boys having a bash at garage rock. The pop hooks are there, but everything has been doused in a lo-fi charm that belies its overall punch. Monday Patchouli is the sound of a band experimenting, and improvising, with guitar pedals. There is a regimented beat holding everything together, but the effects give everything a watery, filmy, vibe and ends with a Withnail & I sample. What’s not to love?

 

 

Earthworm is the standout track on the EP. Kicking off with a Bill Hicks samples, it quickly progresses into a rhythmic guitar riff, before some absurdist lyrics remind us that the world is fun and full of wonder. The beat it pounding and keeps everything moving forward while the music gets filled with more and more animosity and venom. The final track, Hair, is a future shoegazing classic. Spiraling guitars engulf you while effects and synths give you a feeling of moving before a malevolent guitar kicks in and reminds you that easy listening this is not!

 

 

What 40% proves is that Phlask are not one trick pony’s. They are very capable of delivering an EP that is as diverse as it is terrifying. They are the new Butthole Surfers, but mixed a retro pop sheen and that gif you saw today and loved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Breakmaster Cylinder mashes up Gimlet Media and it’s something that will never get boring!

 

 

Breakmaster Cylinder is mysterious. If you try and find out who s/he is online you’ll end up reading Reddit and social media posts that theorise, and philosophise BMC’s true identity. While this is a noble pastime, it doesn’t get you to the answer of who BMC is. I have friends who think it’s an AKA of a big named producer, others have romanticised that it’s a Moondog type figure, and a few think it’s just someone who has a 9-5 and makes beats on the side. Whatever the answer ends up being doesn’t detract from one fundamental truth. Breakmaster Cylinder makes amazing music.

 

 

On his most recent album LIVE: From Gimlet’s Executive Washroom his combines two of my favourite things. Music and podcasts. The whole album is a massive in joke loosely based around one of my favourite, if not my favourite, podcast producers Gimlet Media. For you not in the know Gimlet Media makes the kind of podcasts that make you laugh and cry at the same time. Their show Mystery Show is something that everyone should listen to as it’s full of life affirming moments, Heavy Weight is one neurotic man’s journey through life, Homecoming is an audio play about veterans returning from war and undergoing psychological treatments and Reply All features investigative journalism about internet stories and urban myths, and this is where the good Breakmaster comes in, as he scores the whole show.

 

 

So what does all this have to do with today’s post? Well LIVE: From Gimlet’s Executive Washroom is peppered with Gimlet podcast jokes, presenters and soundbites, while BMC makes some of the best musical mash up’s this side of My Name is Frank Butcher, A Stroke of Genie-us and the Grey Album. It isn’t that BMC just sloppily puts an acapella and an instrumental together, oh no, BMC seamlessly combines multiple songs in a way that feels more like a mini-mix and sprinkles Gimlet samples over everything to give it a cohesion. The stand out track is Super Death Support. This combines two amazing things, Death Grips and a segment about solving people’s internet problems. This is more than saying “Have you restarted your computer?”.

 

 

The track opens with Reply All host PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman explain the premise of the segment, then BMC’s theme kicks all, but its far more 8-bit and glitch than it has any right to be. If this was all the same was it would be quality, but then MC Ride’s vocals kick in. Instead of the music getting heavier, as Ride’s aggressive flows, the music keeps on the same playful nature, in fact in places it gets more fun. Alex and PJ appear again a few times, but it’s the backing track that is the main event.

 

 

 

So what have we learnt? Mash up’s are still cool. Don’t mess with MC Ride. Gimlet Media is the place we all want to work, call me Alex Blumberg. And we still don’t know who Breakmaster Cylinder is. But I’m ok about this, as it’s nice to have some mysteries in the world that can’t be solved by a few lazy keystrokes and web searches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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