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
Youth Code – “Consuming Guilt”
Industrial/EMB duo Youth Code are really firing on all cylinders on the first song from their next EP, “Consuming Guilt.” Or rather they’re firing dirt and smoke into your face and then spitting on you to clean yourself up. Industrial filth hasn’t felt this good in a long while. It’s from the A Place to Stand EP, due Sept. 23 on Dais.
The Growlers – “Good Advice”
A whirling farfisa organ drives this garage-pop ditty from SoCal’s Growlers through a subtly twisting arrangement and square into your cranial region. “There’s nothing as depressing as good advice,” Brooks Nielsen sings in a bittersweet rasp, adding, “Nobody wants to hear how to live their life.” Maybe the best thing we’ve heard from the band yet! Chinese Fountain is out Sept. 23 on Everloving. Preorder it now on LP or CD.
It’s the first big release date of the year, with tons of much-anticipated albums hitting shelves.
FIDLAR - FIDLAR
FIDLAR’s long-awaited debut album is a Pabst-soaked party record with strong songwriting anchoring its punk attitude. Pulling from hardcore, surf rock and pop-punk, and with the immediacy of The Clash’s first record, the foursome, made up of singer/guitarist Zac Carper, Brandon Schwartzel (bass), and brothers Elvis Kuehn (guitar) and Max Kuehn (drums), sing about being young and dumb and getting fucked up in songs with names like “Cheap Beer” (the chorus of which consists of the shouted lyrics “I DRINK CHEAP BEER SO WHAT FUCK YOU!”). But all the funny lyrics in the world wouldn’t mean a thing if the songs themselves didn’t captivate you, and they do, across FIDLAR’s 14 tracks. There’s nary a hint of cynical sneer, and though they play with sloppy punk abandon, their hooks are tight as a six-pack ring. FIDLAR sing about who they are and what they do, whether that’s waking, baking, skating in mechanical hedonism on the ferocious “Wake Bake Skate” or reflecting that said young hedonism can “kind of suck,” on the exhausted-sounding closing track. That’s a telling moment — for all of FIDLAR’s gleeful celebration, the record’s honed hooks are the sound of very hard work, and it pays off in spades.
Local Natives, Christopher Owens and The Growlers Albums Up for Preorder!
I blogged a while back about the first songs from the upcoming Local Natives and Christopher Owens albums. Local Natives are originally from Orange County and put out a great first album, Gorilla Manor. The first song from Hummingbird is called “Breakers,” and it’s the most lush thing they’ve done yet. Meanwhile, former Girls frontman Christopher Owens of S.F. has unveiled the single “Here We Go,” a delicate ballad stripped of much of the distortion and reverb that caked a lot of Girls song to reveal a vital core. It’s the first song from Lysandre, due Jan. 15 on Fat Possum, which you can now preorder here!
Additionally, locally grown garage rockers The Growlers will release their new album Hung at Heart Jan. 22. Before that, check them out as part of an Amoeba Presents show at the Henry Fonda Theatre Dec. 28 with Dirt Dress, The Abigails and Sam Flax. Get your tickets at Amoeba Hollywood! Preview the new Growlers album below.