TC rapper Greg Grease recently teamed with DJ Just Nine, Keyboardist Taylor Johnson and MPC player Trelly Mo to form new an experimental hip-hop group Zuluzuluu. The band’s first single “Let it Go” is available now, and while its short, it offers a glimpse into the direction Grease is headed with this new project. The tune combines Grease’s rapping with some soulful R&B vocals (not sure if this is Grease singing as well but whomever it is has a great voice) over a spacey electronic beat that features a slow keyboard groove and a few funky guitar licks. It only lasts about two minutes but they are a good two minutes and I’m left looking forward to hearing more.
Black Bananas, the gutter-glam project of former Royal Trux frontwoman Jennifer Herrema, are back with another slab of greezy and unhinged scuzz rock and roll. “Physical Emotions” rides a wobbly, thick slab of synth bass on a funky track that does more rolling than rocking, fully leaving behind the classic rock of her old group for a nu-funk sound that wouldn’t displease Dam Funk fans. The track oozes through the speakers and is overblown as all hell, but it again shows Herrema’s ear for finding a diamond in the (very) rough across a disparate range of genres. The new album Electric Brick Wall will be coming out June 24th on Drag City records.
Both Ryan Power and Guerilla Toss released critically acclaimed LPs on NNA Tapes last year, and you have the chance to see if they can live up to the hype tonight in St. Paul at the Turf Club.
On his 2013 release Identity Picks, Ryan Power makes the kind of slightly detached retro soul, a more smooth version of Ariel Pink or a less polished Kaputt-era Destroyer. It has a slightly unsettling 80’s vibe to it but is the kind of immaculately crafted outsider pop that hints at a genius who could probably write top 10 pop hits if he wanted, but luckily for us he chooses to use his power for good.
Guerilla Toss discard the ambiguity and go straight for the jugular. A lean and muscular post-punk outfit who have made waves near their home base on the East Coast, they released the well received Gay Disco last year, proving that their chaotic sound can be captured on wax. Their sound feels constantly on the verge of exploding, that clarvoint moment right before an epic car crash, but they are able to hold together the sound in an impressive and powerful way.
Listen below to one song from each and make sure to catch both tonight, along with Botzy, tonight at the Turf Club.
Soundcloud has a feature that allows you to visually follow a song’s sonic peaks and valleys on a handy scale. Most songs look a bit like the stripe on Charlie Brown’s t-shirt – all ups and downs. Minneapolis quartet Dead Gurus’ “Starflower” however looks like one long, fat bar. That’s because the song is a non-stop onslaught of raw psychedelic rock, wave upon wave of guitar noise and distorted vocals anchored to an undulating rhythm. It shouldn’t be any surprise considering the band is made up artists from some the the Twin Cities’ best psych rock bands – including Bennett Johnson (Daughters of The Sun), Sarah Rose (IS/IS) as well as Jason Edmonds and Scott Weller (Magic Castles). While each artist’s band has a forthcoming full length release this year, they are in Edmonds’ words “making the most of [their] time together in MN creating new music, and having a total blast doing it.” While that sounds a bit semi-permanent, hopefully the band manages to record a lot of songs as great as this while they can. Stream “Starflower” as well as “Serpent Fire” below and keep an eye out for news on the band’s facebook page. Dead Gurus next show is in Milwaukee on 4/24 for Psych Fest, but they’ll also be performing locally in a show at the Turf Club opening for psych/drone legends Loop on 4/26.
Former local artist Dada Trash Collage has continued his work on bubbling, Animal Collective-esqe electronic pop music. His latest offering is the darkly tropical “Matter Lays Flat,” a mid-tempo jam. It doesn’t seem as though it is from any forthcoming release I can find, but we’ll keep you up to date if that changes. Until then, enjoy the warmth that glows off “Matter Lays Flat” by streaming the track below.
I had never heard of “Death Pop” before hearing it being referenced in relation to Minneapolis artist Gus Watkins’ project ACTN. Well, now I know what it is. But I am less interested in the genre than I am in Watkins music – he makes offbeat, moody synthpop that combines R&B style vocals with glossy electronic instrumentation – heavy on the keys and reverb. I think it comes off well in ACTN single “Body Out” which also gives its name to Watkins’ recent debut EP. Stream the track below (or watch the video here) and the rest of the tracks are also streamable at Watkins’ bandcamp. And check the facebook for more details of ACTN’s doings.
The latest Brian Eno joint, a partnership with Underworld’s Karl Hyde titled Eno • Hyde, is nothing if it isn’t bombastic. The first song from the record is “The Satellites,” a huge sounding synthetic orchestra with dark, sinister 80’s undertones that hit like a ton of bricks. It may be a bit over the top for some Eno fanatics, but it is a sugary rush of synth goodness that still highlights Eno’s ability to make larger than life compositions. The LP is titled Someday World and comes out May 5th.
Local MC Guante, a Reviler favorite, might be the James Brown of the local music scene. Not in that he kicks his musicians if they miss a note, but the “hardest working man in show bussiness” part. After last years outstanding You Better Weaponize LP with Big Cats!, you can’t turn a corner without hearing about a spoken-word performance, a lecture, or a hip hop show where he is laying down some hard truths via his conscious and engaging work. With all that is going on, two projects he is involved with have recently caught our attention.
The first is the Dungeons Mixtape that is streaming below, where he jacked beats from the Dungeon Family as a canvass for his searing commentary. It is part shit-talking mixtape, part social commentary, a 30 minute slab equal divided between insightful and entertaining in a way that Guante does better than just about any rapper, local or otherwise.
Guante also will be headlining the Rogue Citizen Minimum Wage Art show tonight at Gamut Gallery in Minneapolis, where artists are making 40 pieces of work that took 1 hour to create and selling them for the current state minimum wage (with proceeds going to Worker Centers). In a show of solidarity, Guante will perform for minimum wage plus tips to highlight the struggle of working for poverty wages and the need to raise our states minimum wage. A good guy making good music. Who would have thought?
Check out the mixtape below and head to Gamut Gallery tonight to see Guante along with other acts, including a DJ set by Ander Other from Doomtree, in what Guante has said is his only “rap show” scheduled in the Twin Cities for right now.
Russian American experimental artist Olga Bell has a new album coming out this Spring, which as far as I know is her first since her well-received solo debut EP Bell (2008). Kraiwas inspired by Bell’s Russian homeland, and will be entirely in the Russian language. The album cover even features beautiful Cyrillic characters on a striking red background. According to its accompanying press release:
Krai (край) is the Russian word for edge, limit, frontier or hinterland. Present-day Russia is divided into a myriad of ‘federal subjects’, including nine krais. In this capacity the term is a political designation, like ‘territory’, but for the earliest Russians these places represented both the promise and terror of the vast unknown.
With nine songs, presumably one for each region, Bell’s record sounds a little bit like Sufjan Stevens’ (abandoned?) 50 States project, except with a Russian twist (and hopefully Ukraine isn’t considered one of these Russian territories). You can stream the first idiosyncratic single from Krai below, and check out the rest of the album when it becomes available on April 29th via New Amsterdam Records.