Welcome to Spring! Here’s some cool music for all you hot people.
Please make sure to follow the Tunes You Should Know in 2015 playlist on Spotify. It’s like 10,000 spoons when you need 10,000 spoons.
Onto this week’s fixations!
- K.A.A.N. – Abstract Art
This is another one that came to me courtesy of Jia Tolentino’s stellar Tiny Bitch Tapes playlist series. I wish she or I knew more about this rapper from Columbia, Maryland – don’t worry, he and I are already chirping on Twitter – but for right now lets just say fuck the background details and appreciate the fact that I’m pretty sure K.A.A.N hasn’t taken a breath since you first hit play. And while usually speed rappers (e.g. Twista, your various Bones, etc.) just let their speed do the talking, K.A.A.N. takes it a step further with mind-boggling lyrics and an emphatic vocal performance that creates a real tangible sense of urgency. He may not need air, but he’s gasping to breathe.
Plus Route 94’s “My Love” is sampled perfectly, right?
I’m still digging through his 18-track album Abstract Art that was released on Soundcloud 17 days ago, and I encourage you to do the same, but until then enjoy this video of him crushing the “Deep Cover” beat.
- Son Lux – “Change Is Everything”
Ryan Lott, aka Son Lux, has had a pretty interesting career. He originally made his bones composing music for commercials, he’s done arrangements for major feature films (e.g. Looper with JGL), he’s performed at Carnegie Hall and held weeklong residencies with dance companies, and he’s worked with everyone from Sufjan to Lorde. However, I think this video is the coolest thing he’s ever been associated with.
Using a foam board, pins, and string, The Made Shop (a small design shop in Denver) made one of the best stop-motion videos you’re going to see this side of Vine. And if you think that’s cool, feast your ear-tongues on this news-pop: Son Lux is going to be playing with Aural Fixations-alum Landlady at 930 Club on July 20th. Get tickets here and be very happy you did before they sell out.
And now, it’s time for a very special edition of…
HULKIN’ OUT WITH LINDSAY HOGAN! (name subject to change each week until we find one we like)
- Pleasure Beach – “Go”
It seems like a coincidence that this song appeared on the internet as I spent a few lazy days on a roof over looking the ocean from Asbury Park, NJ. The coincidence not being that I was at the ocean, but that a handful of Irish kids released a song modernizing what, for me, is the sacred bittersweet rock-and-roll of Bruce Springsteen. And I think its done quite well.
There is very little on the internet about this band consisting of singer-songwriters from Northern Ireland who released their first and only single last week. In fact, I’ve just told you everything I found out. But it matters little, because this song feel like a moment trapped in time or a long drive on a summer night searching for a place to be completely alone. It conveys both energy and loneliness and it is also not a sound I’ve heard from a contemporary band. You might say it sounds like Arcade Fire, but I hear way more classic rock being unpacked and updated between those synths. I trust that this is not just a one-off bit of genius from these kids (are they even kids?) and I will keep my ear perked for anything else out of Belfast.
- Mas Ysa – “Look Up”
Mas Ysa’s brand of intense electronic pop has been getting attention for a few months now. I listened to “Look Up” a handful of times and was modestly intrigued. But I was lucky to get full picture when he opened for Young Fathers a few weeks ago.
First, I have a soft spot for artists who preform in bare feet and tell self-deprecating jokes on stage.So Mas Ysa was off to a good start. But more importantly, he showed us that his priority was not the giant tangle of boards and electronics in front of him, but the natural, loud and passionate performance of the human behind all those wires. I respect his use of silence in his music. There is a lot to be said in a few punctuated seconds of breathy silence, mid-song, to suck in a small crowd and make a real connection.
As emotional as his performance was though, I look forward to this Mas Ysa’s music drawing bigger crowds so that his music can be danced to the way it deserves. We’ve got all the makings for an intense and cathartic dance party here. Or maybe I’m just projecting.