Author: Carl Acheson

Run The Jewels
Self-Titled
Fool’s Gold
Street: 06.26
Run The Jewels = an angry Aesop Rock + a pissed off Big Boi
El-P and Killer Mike are aiming for the heart of every hater and fuck-boy out there with their self-titled release, Run The Jewels. With El-P’s electronic style beat-making and lyrical flow paired with the aggressive, poetic vocals of Killer Mike these two artists make an unlikely/incredible pairing. “36” Chain,” an anthem to not giving a fuck and being a gangster, hits hard and is an unforgiving slaughterhouse intended for anyone in the way of RTJ. Killer Mike’s voice over a space-age, Umberto-esque horror core instrumental is magic. “No Come Down” is an ode to drugs, with Killer Mike delivering an insane, cosmic story of a time when he and a stripper decided to take mushrooms and molly before having sex. Both artists kill it on this project, and, hopefully, more can be expected from this duo. –Carl Acheson
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The Delta Mirror
Better Unsung
Lightwave
Street: 08.06
The Delta Mirror = Explosions in the Sky + El Ten Eleven

Better Unsung is an easy listen, with an interesting mixture of instruments both electronic and natural, vocals that are either clear or are so distorted they are merely mumbles, and a careful use of different musical styles. All these things combine to create swirling, feel-good soundscapes, and could very well be the soundtrack you need to crawl around in your own headspace for a while. Sometimes all the instruments, vocals, reverbs and other elements clash and become a little chaotic—which may lose you—but as an added bonus, there is an über-chill cover of Q Lazzarus’ “Goodbye Horses,” which, I must say, is the perfect jam for tucking your penis between your legs and slowly dancing with yourself. –Carl Acheson

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Odesza
My Friends Never Die EP
Self-Released
Street: 09.17
Odesza = Ratatat + Pantyraid
My Friends Never Die is a testament to this duo’s growth as music makers. Hauntings of their first release, Summer’s Gone, are definitely ringing in the background of this newest collection of songs, but these two producers have taken their own sound and put a completely new twist on it. Whereas Summer’s Gone gave way to the more mellow side of things, MFND is supplemented with bouncier bass and trippier effects, but still manages to keep a solid grasp on Odesza’s winning formula of vocal samples layered over catchy, danceable beats. Once you have listened to the first and title track of this free EP, you will hear exactly what I’m talking about and the rest will remind you of exactly why you started (or should start) listening to these guys. –Carl Acheson
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Phosphorescent
Muchacho
Dead Oceans
Street: 03.19
Phosphorescent = Band of Horses + Bon Iver + Dire Straits 
Phosphorescent’s latest album, Muchacho, is laden with lazy, whining steel guitar, strolling piano, trumpet pieces, string sets and lyrics about the trials and tribulations of love. The instrumental work on this album is where Matthew Houck really flexes his songwriter muscle. The mix of country twang and haunting ambience creates a chilling sound that makes more of a statement than the vocal work. Houck really does have a way with words, but his delivery just isn’t right. With too much reverb on his voice, his powerful words are lost in their own echoes and become peripheral, which is a damn shame, because his actual lyrics are beautiful. Check out the track “The Quotidian Beasts”—it’s a prime representation of the album as a whole. –Carl Acheson

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InFiction
When I’m With You
A&M Entertainment
Street: 02.25.12
InFiction = Tiesto + Benny Benassi
There really isn’t too much of anything that is original on this track list. I have this theory that once you’ve heard one or two electronic dance/trance/trip/techno/whateverthefuckyouwanttocallit songs, then you have basically heard them all. Each six-minute track is predictable, with drum and snare beating at the same monotonous tempo, and synth and obscure vocal samples building up and leading into the inevitable drop of dance music madness. If my life were a foreign car commercial, or if I had a binky in my mouth to match the furry boots all my girlfriends and I had worn to a show at the SaltAir, I would love this music.

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Neon Indian
ERRATA ANNEX EP
Mom + Pop
Street: 04.09
ERRATA ANEX EP  = David Guetta + Chromatics
The first three tracks on ERRATA ANNEX are very dancy and clubbish-sounding. They all have the same idea, with similar tempos and distorted clips of Neon Indian over heavily remixed original instrumentals. If you aren’t paying attention during these first three, you won’t even notice a transition; they all sort of blend together into one long 15-minute mash-up. The last two remixes feature artists Actress and Twin Shadow, and this is where the EP changes up a bit and gets a little more interesting. Actress’ interpretation of “Blindside Kiss” gives the original a sexy, slow, lo-fi feeling. The beat is simple and the vocals are quiet, and they never take the attention away from each other.  Twin Shadow finishes off this set of makeovers with his version of “Hex Girlfriend,” where essentially George Lewis, Jr. takes Alan Palamo’s song and makes it drip with Twin Shadow sound. If you’re a fan of remixes, you’ll probably like this a lot more than if you’re a fan of Neon Indian.

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El Ten Eleven

Transitions Remixed

Fake Record Label

Street: 04.02

Transitions Remixed = El Ten Eleven + Ratatat + Crystal Castles + Odesza

It’s very interesting to see what artists can produce from another artist’s original track. Transitions Remixed is a fresh and interesting play on El Ten Eleven’s 2012 album. Even if you aren’t a fan of the El Ten Eleven, with 11 other electronic groups and artists doing remixes, there are so many different genres and sounds that if you can’t find something you like there might be something wrong with your ears. Amp Live’s remix of “Birth” gives the song new life with some flashy synth and a beat that will get your head nodding. Max Tundra’s reworking of “Lullaby” takes the original track and turns it into a poppy, chaotic ride. Odd Nosdam transforms “Thanks Bill” from it’s happy, guitar filled beginnings and makes it dark, slow and cerebral. I could go on and on about the remixes on this album, some are great and some aren’t, but the album is definitely worth checking out. –Carl Acheson


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Arsis
Unwelcome
Nuclear Blast Records
Street: 04.30
Arsis = Epicurean + Suicide Silence
When I first started listening to Unwelcome, I was a little apprehensive—however, the album’s title and first song pulled me in. The chugging guitars, blasting double bass and high, pterodactyl-Satan vocals brought back warm fuzzy memories. With track names such as “Choking On Sand,” you’re damn right you’ve got my attention. I YouTube’d the video for “Carve My Cross,” and within the first 30 seconds, saw a scary pig mask, a dude doing a hair-icane and some very metal people wandering through a spooky house! Despite all these very metal things, I can’t help but point out the band’s continuous game of musical chairs it plays with its members, and the inconsistency of the last few albums, which make me think that they are only out to please the current trend followers and, in the end, make themselves a prime example of gimmick metal. –Carl Acheson

 

 

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Neon Indian

ERRATA ANEX EP

Mom + Pop

Street: 04.09

ERRATA ANEX EP  = David Guetta + Chromatics

The first three tracks on ERRATA ANEX are clubbish-sounding. They all have the same idea, with similar tempos and distorted clips of Neon Indian over heavily remixed original instrumentals. If you aren’t paying attention during these first three you won’t even notice a transition, as they all sort of blend together into one long 15 minute mash-up. The last two remixes feature artists Actress’s and Twin Shadow, where the EP changes up a bit and gets a little more interesting. Actress’ interpretation of “Blindside Kiss” gives the original a sexy, slow, lo-fi feeling. The beat is simple and the vocals are quiet, and never take the attention away from each other.  Twin Shadow finishes off this set of makeovers with his version of “Hex Girlfriend,” where George Lewis, Jr. takes Alan Palamo’s song and makes it drip with Twin Shadow sound. If you’re a fan of remixes, you’ll probably like this more than if you’re a fan of Neon Indian. –Carl Acheson


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Tyler, The Creator

Wolf

Odd Future, RED, Sony

Street: 04.02

Tyler, The Creator = Nas + Necro + MF Doom

With Wolf  being Tyler, The Creator’s third album, it is apparent that he has been hard at work. While still keeping with the Odd Future “fuck the world” mentality, Tyler has created an album that shows his progress as a producer and lyricist, the discomforts that fame has brought him and his growth as a person. Production on Wolf sticks with Tyler’s original formulasimple, flawed and strange. No longer is he talking about “threesomes with a fucking triceratops” or telling stories about killing girls and dumping their bodies in lakes. In “Awkward” and “IFHY” he talks about a love interest and how he is unable to properly maintain his emotions. In “Answer” he addresses his father who abandoned him and his mother when he was a kid and feelings over his recently deceased grandmother. That’s not to say that he has completely forgone his old ways of song making. The album is still littered with tracks like “Trashwang”, “Domo 23” and “Jamba” that are blatant jabs at mainstream radio rap and inspired by the days of Goblin. Wolf should be taken for what it is a young artist who is growing, finding his own niche in the music world while trying to have fun. –Carl Acheson


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