In the sound scene, new artists need to be innovative/creative/boundary-breaking. This has always been true; this edge is where the excitement is.
If you’re looking for a unifying theme for today’s music choices, it’s only the feeling of being deep in fog and dense static. These are the artists that I can’t get enough of right now.
The following artists are making wavves:
Everything about them is filthy. Formally known as OFWGKTA, or Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, this rap collective is exploding. They’ve been most active in the past year, but each member has been working for a while longer than that. Tyler, The Creator is the “leader,” if there can be such a figure in a superficially radical, mostly anarchical, seemingly nihilistic group. If those modifiers tell you nothing else, it’s that this group is nearly impossible to define and understand. OF is releasing conflicting information and the press doesn’t seem to know how to deal with them, making for a difficult analysis and even more fraught consumer experience. Anyhow, this is Tyler’s most popular solo song, “Yonkers”:
And a video of them being interviewed that embodies their approach:
Odd Future is outspoken, offensive, insensitive and makes something that is either shock-art, aimless, destructive fun or trash. As a listener, you’re never really sure whether they’re having a go at you, at themselves, at everything or at nothing. Whatever it is, it’s compelling. Here are some links to articles about them, and images:
from a buzzy source, the fader
from a mild source, npr
Maybe the best thing from britain since the british invasion, James Blake is a young, fresh, impressionist musician. To describe his work would be to over-describe it, but you better believe it’s an experience. “Limit To Your Love” is his most well known song/landscape:
Here’s the version of the song that Feist did a few years ago, apologies for the junk video quality; Youtube is a terrible mistress:
And here he sounds quite like Antony Hegarty of Antony and The Johnsons. I’m a lonely painter, and I live in a box of paints:
Perhaps the most interesting of his songs is the interpretation of the wilhelm scream. The wilhelm scream is, according to the oracle, the scream equivalent of a laugh track. Need a sound effect for being shot in an old western film? Time for the wilhelm scream. And now, time for James Blake to make a sweet and inventive track:
It’s neat, subtle and delicate. Porcelain Raft’s music could break your heart. Clean and soft like rain, here it is, take a listen:
While looking at THE FADER about OFWGKTA, I ran across a tender little article about Porcelain Raft. Looks like he’s got a little buzz.
I can’t get enough of Bill Callahan. His music falls right into my sweet spot of elegant alternative country, and this song has been my soundtrack for the past month. With a new album out, it’s worth the mention:
I leave you with this, the fifth:
Grimy, depraved, intimate, The Weeknd dives deep into the lusty sonic swamp. The romance of the songs spiral into a beautiful kind of broken. Toronto R&B sensation Abel Tesfaye is the notoriously unknown mastermind behind the music. For now, I’ll leave you in this house of balloons:
Bring your love baby, I can bring the shame.
Thanks for hanging in there, and as always,
laissez le bon temps rouler,