Shabazz Palaces 2011 release Black Up is undoubtedly one of the best, most exciting hip-hop releases of the new millennium. So we waited with bated breath for this second release from Ishmael Butler (one of '90s alt hip-hop greats Digable Planets) and Tendai Maraire, and Lese Majesty does not disappoint. The album is a sweltering blur of chilled-out beats, sparkling synthesizer tapestries and spacey rhymes that echo through your head. The 18-track album has a prog-like massivity to it, making it fun to get lost in—you can listen to Lese Majesty three times in a row on repeat and never get sick of it, nor will you fail to discover something new. But if you need a good entry point into their weird, wonderful world, I'd recommend the bizarrely catchy beats that hook you in "They Come in Gold" or the funny and fast-paced "#CAKE," with its layers of vocals and strange diversions. Now all I'm gonna do with the rest of my day is eat cake and listen to Shabazz Palaces. I wish! Back to work ... but honestly, this is one of the best things anyone's put out this year. Shabazz Palaces play Amoeba SF tonight at 6 p.m.!
Harvey Bassett is an influential, rule-smashing DJ who helped bring garage music to the U.K., but his new band, Wildest Dreams, deals with a different sort of garage—that of Nuggets lore. Wildest Dreams brings a distinctively stylish take to grimy psychedelic garage rock. Opener “Rollerskates” is prime creamy, soft-focus dad rock, like a more dapper, lo-fi Pink Floyd, slotting in nicely with modern weirdos like Ariel Pink and Connan Mockasin. Instrumentals like “Boosh” and “Last Ride” are the kind of perfectly constructed psych-funk numbers that ad guys dream of, seemingly crafted to sell some imaginary, impossibly cool car. Vocals return for the sultry “405,” its funky riffs and funny lyrics sounding effortlessly cool—it sounds like driving through L.A. in the movies, instead of the nightmarish reality that it is. Wildest Dreams meanders through its bargain-bin sounds warmly, sometimes with raw, ghostly vocals (as on “Gyspy Tears”), sometimes without any vocals at all, become cohesive through a generally laid-back vibe and fondness for reverb and light distortion hiss rather than sticking to one stylistic groove. Thus, it feels both like the project of a psych-rock band and that of a DJ/producer—which it is. It comes off as a unique take on a tried-and-true genre, making psych-rock seem turntable-friendly again without relying on electronic beats or jamming together genres that don’t jibe well. Taken together, it's an effortlessly enjoyable listen.
See all of this week's new releases
Follow PST on Facebook