Hot Chip - Why Make Sense?
Hot Chip’s latest album title, a sentiment borrowed from their forebears in Talking Heads, is a great guiding principle for the British electro-pop band. Their sixth studio album finds the group abandoning any art-pop pretenses as well as any desire to become overtly mainstream and produce some of its best music yet. “Huarache Lights’” synths pulse like sirens that push your ass to start moving. Over a cyborg beat, Alex Tayor sings, “we’ve been staying up all night, just deleting the days,” instantly summoning the decadence or temporarily losing yourself on the dancefloor. Hot Chip can get a little goofy, giving a potentially heartfelt ballad the lyrical content and title of “White Wine and Fried Chicken,” but things never approach Chromeo levels of silliness, elegantly striking the balance between earnestness and not giving a shit. This serves to make their sonic mining of ’80s genres like synth-funk and house work smoothly—they’re not too self-serious to pull off such sounds while still paying adequate homage to those influences. It doesn’t hurt that the band has never sounded more confident, nor has the music sounded so strong since their breakthrough second album, The Warning, particularly as on the sublime, ethereal house track “Need You Now.” Spin it a few times and the band’s sly hooks take hold and don’t let go. Why Make Sense? makes the case that Hot Chip continue to be the best band of their kind.
Hot Chip - Why Make Sense?
L.A.’s King Tuff first hit big with his 2012 self-titled debut, a rollicking collection of lo-fi pop rock jams about how awesome it is to be “Alone & Stoned,” among other subjects. He followed with 2014’s heavier and headier Black Moon Spell, which looks to proto-metal titans like Blue Cheer and Black Sabbath for inspiration while still retaining his signature pop hooks and catchy riffs. Watch the video for “Black Moon Spell” below for a taste.
So Stressed – “Apple Hill”
Seething Marshall static, desperate highwire vocals and rumbling drums come together on the Sacramaento post-hardcore group’s latest track from the band’s upcoming debut album, The Unlawful Trade of Greco-Roman Art. It’s out May 26 via Honor Press. Stream “Apple Hill” via Interview.
Flesh World – “Poolside Boys”
This watery bit of C86-style shoegaze pop from S.F.’s Flesh World gurgles underfoot over a steady beat, letting its pained vocals and curdling guitars build like a slowly filling tank. An outgrowth from bands like queercore group Limp Wrist and noise poppers Brilliant Colors, Flesh World will release a new LP, The Wild Animals in My Life, June 2 on Iron Lung/La Vida Es Un Mus.
Taking place at a shabby cool bar in the middle of the Mojave called The Palms (where word is beer costs two bucks and twinkies are sold), Deserted at the Palms offers a weekend of camping, interactive art, vendors, a “wet zone” and of course lots of cool music. The lineup also includes Black Bananas, Sonny & The Sunsets, Magic Trick, Jack Name, Part Time, Pharaohs, Nedelle Torrisi, The Memories, Zig Zags, Bloody Death Skull, Kim & The Created, Feels, Zombelle, L.A. Takedown, Butchy Fuego, Anna Oxygen and Barfth.
Vince Staples – “Senorita”
Long Beach’s Vince Staples goes a little trap on “Senorita,” the first song released from his upcoming studio debut full-length, Summertime ’06, due June 30 on Blacksmith/Artium/Def Jam. No I.D.’s creeping production offers the ideal space for Staples’ grim verses and Future’s motoring chorus. I’m in love with the way the song flows over into an ’80s horror/giallo film-style breakdown.
Nic Hessler – “I Feel Again” video
Nic Hessler (f.k.a. Catwalk) has a video for the first track from his excellent debut album, Soft Connections (out now on Captured Tracks) that conveys the expansiveness and joy in the song’s jangling charge, showing the singer/songwriter playing to a beautiful desert sunset. The song and video are all the more effective knowing Hessler’s backstory, as he fought an autoimmune disorder that left him nearly debilitated. “I Feel Again” is the sound of Hessler regaining his health, writing excellent tunes and feeling triumphant. Watch it below via Stereogum.