South Carolingian Chaz Bundick’s one man project Toro y Moi (Chaz Bundick is such a better name) has been gaining some nods and ahems lately, thanks to widespread acclaim for single “Blessa” as well as a few notable spins on the remix circuit. And for the most part Bundick deserves the attention – his blissed out lo-fi tunes are expertly crafted to hit the brain’s candy spot. Blessa particularly – that sonic joyride gets my vote for dream-pop jam of the season (well, it would if I didn’t count anything from Beach House’s Teen Dream).
Betting that T y M’s debut record Causers of This will be a hit would be pretty safe money. The LP hits one out of the park by starting with the aforementioned single, and continues throughout the other ten tracks without many missteps. Bundick has gathered together all the accoutrements of dance pop, drowned them in a bathtub of kool aid, and then resuscitated each piece separately until the each song is made whole. The result is a heavily layered sound where Bundick’s spacey synthesizers and warped vocals range from intimately personal to sounding as if they are being beamed from the cosmos. The effect at times is paramount to experiencing club music through a druggy stupor. Tracks like “Freak Love” definitely have a base in dance pop – but feel completely slowed down and buried in foamy ecstasy.
Several tracks do cut through the haze though and are downright danceable – “Lissoms” “Thanks Vision,” and “Talamak” are all great examples of spaced out bangers. “Imprint After” and “Low Shoulder” are probably two of the most straightforward pop tracks, but even those are swaddled in an intricate electronic blanket. Neverless – you can still tell that people are supposed to dance to it. Regardless of the speed at which the tracks move the feet, Bundick will definitely be getting the kids to move this winter. They just might all get high off of cold medicince first.
And what MGMT clone, its hour come at last, slouches towards Brooklyn to be born? This week it appears to be Rafter a new West Coast (!) three piece dance/electro/zeitgeist outfit. I have a feeling that if I listened to band’s new single “Paper,” more than a few times in a row I might be driven to violence. However one or two listens aren’t too bad, and sure, the beat is kind of catchy. Whatever.
89.3 The Current and their magically shrinking playlist17/100
What are the main things that people, myself included, complain about when bitching and moaning about “pop” radio stations? I think reflectively most music fans answer would center on the paint-by-numbers, derivative, lowest common denominator bubble gum pop music written by someone other than the tight body that is singing it. I would argue that equally annoying is the fact that they play the same few songs over and over ad nauseum. What do you do when that evil creeps into a station you previously really liked? Yes, I am talking about you, 89.3 the Current. I never thought I would see the day in Minneapolis when a non college station would play Ted Leo too much, but I have. The new song, “Even Heroes Have to Die,” taken from Leo’s upcoming The Brutalist Bricks release, features all of traits that make Leo so great. Like most of his work, it is an airtight, earnest song that meets at the intersection between power pop and punk by a guy who has virtually mastered his craft. Then why do I cringe when I hear it? I understand that the Current has heard from people that playing the “most requested” songs will bring listeners back, but I feel like it is a major cop out. You shouldn’t have to beat real music fans into submission to like Ted Leo. They could hear him once a day and still realize how great this song is. Unfortunately, the Current isn’t taking any chances, so if you make the mistake of being in a car with a radio turned to 89.3, be prepared to hear this song. If you don’t want to find yourself coiling into the fetal position as the first chords punch through your speakers, don’t make the mistake of being by the radio too often.
Post-Punk rockers Let’s Wrestle may not bring anything new to the table, but the age old equation of youth + energy + guitars once again seems destined to prove that there are still gems to be mined from Brit Rock. While the band’s debut LP In the Court of Wrestling Let’s is crammed with ear catching guitar hooks and sloppy swagger, it’s actually lead singer Wesley Patrick Gonzalez’s lyrical content that really sets the band apart. Gonzalez’s lines are self deprecating, earnest, and full of wry humor. “We are the Men You’ll Grow to Love Soon” isn’t the band’s best track (for the record I am really digging “I Wish I was in Husker Du”) but it is the single currently being offered so hey, it’s what you get.
After winning critical acclaim for 2009’s Sweet Prudence, Minneapolis’s best female vocalist Aby Wolf is already recording new material. Though “Silents” is still a work in progress, it sheds some possible insight into where the songstress’s sound is heading. An unabashed student of the school of Bjork, Wolf appears to be moving further in the experimental vocalist queen’s direction, eschewing Prudence’s folksy undertones for a starker, more elemental intonation. Silents is entirely looped acapella vocalization, with Wolf arranging the layers of her singing into a minimalist orchestra of stark beauty.