Pond - Hobo Rocket
Hiatus Kaiyote - Tawk Tomahawk
You'd be forgiven for scratching your head upon first listen of Hiatus Kaiyote's Tawk Tomahawk. The Australian band doesn't really sound like anyone else, although there are signposts — the vocal swoops and glitched-out organic sounds of Bjork; the the otherworldly soul of Erykah Badu; the atmospherics and layering of Radiohead; and the psychedelic beatwork of J Dilla. Yet Hiatus Kaiyote take what could be a coiled mess of influences and stretch them into something unique and memorable on Tawk Tomahawk. Though things are largely pleasant and ethereal on songs like the stunning "Mobius Streak," frontwoman Nai Palm gets jazzy and raspy on "The World It Softly Lulls" and goes deep and dark on "Malika," while the beats get distorted and aggressive on "Ocelot." Lounges of the future may be spinning Tawk Tomahawk and calling it a classic of forward-thinking soul.
Hiatus Kaiyote Tawk Tomahawk LP $16.98 [out 9/17; preorder here]
Weekend - Jinx
Weekend’s second album of neo-shoegazing rock ‘n’ roll seems to hit every right note. From the get-go, on “Mirror,” we’re thrust into a dark tunnel of dreamy and distorted sounds, with a killer bass line. While their first album, Sports, was a cool update of Jesus & Mary Chain-style noise, the San Franciscans up the breathy, atmospheric beauty on songs like “Oubilette,” as well as the hookiness, as on the industrial pulse of “It’s Alright,” which sounds like the marriage of classic Nine Inch Nails with shoegaze titans Ride. They still have a bit of a ways to go before establishing an identity all their own, but for now, Weekend are perhaps the best band around at doing what they do. No sophomore album “jinx” here — Weekend’s latest is killer.
Weekend Jinx CD $12.98
Weekend Jinx LP $20.98
Hunx & His Punx – Street Punk
Hunx once wrote ’50s-style laments for the lonely rock ‘n’ roll-loving gay guy. Now he and his crew, including Shannon Shaw of Shannon and the Clams, are tearing it up hardcore style on Street Punk, which bears all of the sass of its predecessors with added sneer and fuzz. It’s a kick to hear Hunx scream “I feel really fucked up!” at the album’s outset, or to hear Shannon tell everyone to fuck off on the brief “Everyone’s a Pussy (Fuck You).” Whereas Hunx previously traded in scrappy, candy-coated odes to heartbreak, his songs here are more self-possessed — the title track is a great Stooges-style song about being a square peg, while Shannon has a great time decrying the “fabulousness” attributed to so many gays on “Don’t Call Me Fabulous.” However, Hunx can’t help but keep things tuneful, as on “Born Blonde,” a funny jam about embracing your inner airhead. Hey cutie in the Crass shirt — Hunx wants your number.
Soft Metals – Lenses
L.A. duo Soft Metals continue to turn out excellent, icy synth-pop on their second album. Single “Tell Me” starts out minimally and coolly, featuring Patricia Hall’s ethereal, melancholy vocals and an ever-so-slightly menacing beat before a meaty synth hook comes in and makes it a great dark party jam. Similarly, the sexy tension of a track like “Hourglass” should find fans of likeminded, italo disco-influenced music like Chromatics and Glass Candy. Great for post-midnight dance parties.
Watch the unofficial video for "Tell Me" below, with footage from Killer Clowns From Outer Space!
Gauntlet Hair - Stills
Daughn Gibson - Me Moan
Daughn Gibson’s truck-drivin’, girlfriend-stealin’ persona comes out in full force on his second album, Me Moan. Carrying with it All Hell’s country-noir ambiance, Me Moan presents Gibson with bigger, brighter production, offering steady electronic beats on “Phantom Rider,” over which spectral guitars, synths and Gibson’s ubermasculine baritone seduce. Gibson’s voice is an unusual instrument, unleashing unrelentingly deep tones through clenched teeth, calling to mind an unholy blend of Nick Cave and Johnny Cash. He curls around consonants and adds even more atmosphere to the proceedings on songs like “The Pisgee Nest” — just the way he says “state trooper’s daughter” elicits a sort of middle-of-nowhere, middle-of-the-night elicit affair, like something out of Twin Peaks. Musically Gibson keeps things fascinating throughout, using warped vocal samples on “You Don’t Fade” and electronic beats that keep a foot in the physical world via snaps and handclaps, while guitarists from Baronness and Brokeback echo rockabilly, horror soundtracks and classic country. Even while pulling from quite disparate genres and eras, Me Moan is a remarkably cohesive listen, as Gibson’s distinctive tone splits the difference between tracks as different as the upbeat, country janglin’ “Kissin’ on the Blacktop” and the black-as-night electrobilly of “The Sound of Law.” It's a great accompaniment for whiskey swirling or night driving.