Bryce Rudow is an associate editor for The Daily Banter, and he likes music. You can send all hatemail to [email protected] and tweet vitriol at him @brycetrudow (or follow him to make him feel more popular while getting access to random new music he doesn’t have the time to write about).
This is a gratuitous reminder to follow the Tunes You Should Fucking Know on Spotify. Thank you!
- Qui – Life, Water, Living
Qui means who in French.
This is important because it is either the most convenient coincidence in music reviewing history, or it is evidence that Qui, which formed in 2000 in Los Angeles, understood how to manipulate their existence on this time-space plane and named their band in a way that would, 14 years later, make it as easy as possible for me to find an angle when writing about them.
Basically, all I’m saying is that I have no idea who Qui is. Or what Qui is, rather.
I know that Qui is made up of drummer/vocalist Paul Christensen and guitarist/vocalist Matt Cronk. I know that they have a pretty crazy band history that includes bouts with “life-threatening medical conditions” and military duties, but I don’t know what they are.
Apparently their older stuff was marked by “avant-garde weirdness” and “often-times antagonistic shows,” but I hear that starting to fall away with their most recent album, Life, Water, Living, which came out last month. Yes there is tons of cacaphonic, “antagonistic” stuff on there, but when they take the chance to leave that behind, they’re making some great stuff. I just wish I knew if that was the exception or the rule for them.
“Kicked Out of Mime College” opens up the album with the kind of reliance on ominous harmonies and percussion that Q and Not U used to employ, but from there it’s a crapshoot as to what you’re going to hear next (and how enjoyable it is going to be).
There’s the brilliant material like “Whatareyadoin?” which is one of the twisted, sexiest songs I’ve heard in years, and “Awkward Human Interest, which borrows from “The Girl From Ipanema” to launch into a lovely sweltering pop rock song.
But then there’s also “Mucho Sex In America,” a Butthole Surfers-leaning onomatopoeia of a song title, and there’s the frantic “You’re A Girl,” which makes me lose absolutely any anchor with which to ground myself when hearing their other stuff.
Qui means who in French.
- 20syl – “The Purge/Rapfix Cypher” (20syl remix)
As some jackass/probably right commenter put the other day, sometimes I’m better off sticking to my strengths when it comes to waxing intelligent about musical genres (though, I’m defending my Schoolboy Q Oxymoron review…dickhead).
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t shit when it comes to producers/remixers — I use former Guest Writer You Should Fucking Know Kwasi Ansu to keep me informed on that world — but the other day, I was perusing Ruckus Rhythms, and stumbled across the perfect Starslinger-esque beat underneath what I recognized as Schoolboy Q’s vocals.
I was so intrigued that I stumbled down a Souncloud rabbit hole for a good half hour, and I loved what I heard so much that I ended up spending most of last week doing my writing to the mellow but surgically precise beats of 20syl.
Some brief Googling/Wikipediaing let me know that 20syl is a French 35-year old with a notable past thanks to his involvement in a group called Hocus Pocus (which apparently mixed hip-hop with live instruments), but honestly, all I think we both care about is that he made the disparately passionate King Krule, Rihanna, and Kendrick Lamar all sound so blissfully resigned with themselves thanks to his relaxed, throwback beats and carefully manipulative production.
It will be interesting to see if he sticks to his remix game, attempts the beat-making route, or even goes for full-on solo songs; he’s got the potential to be good at all three. And I don’t want to get all ahead of myself with another shitty week of weather up ahead, but I could see 20syl soundtracking many spring and summer days coming up.
- Kyla LaGrange – Cut Your Teeth
Sometimes, when it comes to determining whether a particular EDM or pop song is good, I borrow the unofficial definition for obscenity: “I know it when I see it.” In such a relatively similar-sounding world, it’s a pretty rare combination that makes for a listenable and respectable song.
And “Cut Your Teeth”, is, somehow, a great pop song.
It’s the perfect, “Six Undgeround” nod-along tempo, the echoes and pulsing synths make this song feel inescapably syrupy, and La Grange’s vocals are uniquely seductive.
And while it seems like Kyla La Grange’s catalogue delves into trippier ventures like “Fly,”
and flirts more with Florence and the Machine on “Walk Through Walls,” and grits itself down to something folkier like “Vampire Smiles,” sometimes, all I want is a pop song I don’t have to think about.
“Cut Your Teeth” is perfect for that.
And, just because I love thinking about the dumb intricacies of the music industry, it’s worth pointing out that La Grange has done something really interesting with her official Soundcloud page. Because she/her management is smart enough to realize that the right remix can make all the difference in the world (just ask Ellie Goulding), she’s put all her a cappella recordings online so that aspiring producers can help them both get a bit more popular. It’s a great move, and I’m shocked we don’t see this more often.
So I know we usually let one of my peers, friends, or someone I’m trying to suck up to do a guest writing post right about now, but there’s too much material that I want to make sure you (f*cking) know this week, so instead, here’s just some great new music sans hyperbolic commentary. Enjoy!
- Conner Youngblood – “Confidence”
A TYSFK alum, Conner Youngblood is still one of those artists whose relatively anonymity I just can’t comprehend. I’ve already gone on record claiming that this is his year, and maybe his upcoming Confidence EP all be that catalyst.
I talked to Connor about the song and on top of letting me know that “the bagpipe-sounding instrument is this thing called a hurdy-gurdy,” he explained:
“The music is coming to a weird cross-road where I’ve started producing a little more than writing the song itself, so I’ve definitely been exploring all possibilities in terms of sounds. I don’t want to stretch out too far, but I’m on a quest to find that perfect combination of songwriting and production. Just trying to push myself.
The EP will be three new songs, including this one, and covers a story of having, losing, and trying to regain one’s confidence.”
- Joywave – “In Clover”
Another TYSFK alum, Joywave, the six piece out of Rochester, NY, is following up their popular 88888 mixtape and phenomenal single “Tongues,” with a new EP called How Do You Feel? that they are releasing through their own label on 3/11. The first single, “In Clover” is bouncy and funky, but still has that slight edge that seems to permeate most of Joywave’s (and side project Big Data’s) work.