In a rare double-blessing, the last two years have given us not only a new album by My Bloody Valentine but another artist iconic of the ’90s, Aphex Twin. Syro plays as a collection of just about everything Richard Davis James does best, fusing jungle beats to gorgeous ambient tapestries on stunning opener “Minipops 67 [120.2][Source Field Mix],” taking us through dense synth explorations on tracks like the 10-minute “Xmas_Evet10 [Thanaton3 Mix]” and vibing off hip-hop and synth funk on “Produk 29 .” Vocals appear now and then (from James and his family), offering skewed, incomprehensible chatter that adds to the liveliness of “Produk 29 ” and giving “Minipops 67 [120.2][Source Field Mix]” its grabbing human element, pulling you into the rest of the album. Though he used some 138 pieces of equipment and shifted his set up every few minutes while recording Syro, that seems to have had an energizing effect on James, and the result is a sharp, if varied piece of work that hangs together beautifully, flowing from scenic but heady pieces like “4 Bit 9d Api+E+6 [126.26]” to hard-hitting bass tracks such as “180db_ .” There aren’t many shocking moments on Syro like, say, “Come to Daddy’s” shrieking wail, nor does it push listeners to their extreme limit like the challenging Drukqs did, but accessibility doesn’t mar Syro. Rather, even despite their straight-off-the-hard-drive titles, tracks like “Papat4 [Pineal Mix]” are really breathtaking pieces of music, designed for immersion rather than to filter listeners out. Just like mbv, we had no right to expect Syro would be this good, much less that it would be released at all, which makes it all the better. Simply put, it’s one of the most instantly enjoyable collections of music James has ever released.
Out Sept. 23
The Internet pretty much exploded when Richard D. James announced Syro, and with good reason. It’s the ambient/electronic artist’s first album in 13 years, and from the sound of the glorious “minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]” (OMG vocals), it’ll have been worth the wait.
Out Sept. 23
Warm Soda – “Busy Lizzy” video
Oakland’s Warm Soda have released a video for “Busy Lizzy,” from their excellent Someone for You, recently released on Castle Face. In the video, sexy librarian babe Busy Lizza walks around town and causes havok with her sheer babeness, all shot on VHS video. It’s like a great ’80s local commercial, set to one of the finest power-pop jams you’ll hear in this young year. They’re all over California in the coming days, check ’em out:
2/21 – San Diego – Soda Bar w/Teenage Burritos, Shiva Trash
2/22 – Fullerton – Burger Records
2/23 – Oakland – Night Light w/Bad Vibez, Cocktails
2/28 – San Francisco – Noise Pop – Brick & Mortar w/Free Energy
3/1 – Pacifica – Winters Tavern
3/7 – Long Beach – Alex’s Bar w/Cigarette Bums, Feral Kizzy
Tera Melos – “Sunburn”
Sacramento’s Tera Melos have unveiled the second track from their buzzed-about forthcoming album X’ed Out. Buzz is the operative word here — glorious guitar buzz, manipulated and strangled into convoluted math-rock guitar lines that bleed into big choruses. There just aren’t a lot of bands exploring guitar textures this way any more, and Tera Melos definitely fill a void. X’ed Out is due April 16 on Sargent House.
MellowHype – “Grill”
Here’s the next song from Odd Future’s MellowHype, which will be on their album Numbers, out Oct. 9. The duo’s warped hip-hop is on fine display on “Grill,” as their doubled vocals spell out their name and rap smoke circles around everyone else. Out next week, you can preorder Numbers here.
Trash Talk – “Exile on Broadway”
Speaking of Odd Future, sounds like OFWGKTA associates Trash Talk are trying to become the hardcore Rolling Stones with “Exile on Broadway” and the Exile on Main St. referencing album art for 119, which is out Oct. 9. Lofty goals, but you can’t argue with the quality and ferocity of a track like this. Stream “Exile on Broadway” here, and preorder 119 here.
This sumptuous, propulsive track comes from L.A. beat maestro Flying Lotus’ new album, Until the Quiet Comes, due Oct. 2 on Warp (preorder here). Expect more excellent pair-ups, such as another with Thom Yorke, on the album.
Deerhoof – “Fête d'Adieu”
So excited to share a new track from S.F.’s Deerhoof, one of my all-time favorite guitar bands. For a while there, it seemed minus guitarist Chris Cohen, the band was losing steam on the lackluster Deerhoof vs. Evil. “Fête d'Adieu” is very promising, however, employing the poppier balance of melodicism with awkward time signatures and chirpy vocals that they moved toward on the Cohen-less but still excellent Friend Opportunity. Here’s hoping Breakup Song is awesome! (Preorder the album here.)