Watch: JJ “All White Everything”

01 Jul 2014 — Johanne Swanson

It seems the last couple years have been marked not only by awkward celebrity cultural appropriation and racist consequence, but also a public calling-out of their problematic nature. Thanks to Swedish dream pop duo JJ--no longer lower-cased jj--and the release of their newest single and music video “All White Everything”, we have apt demonstration of vexed racial implications outside of the mainstream sphere.

“All White Everything” takes place beyond reality in a sterile psych ward. Religious themes are heavy. “Let us pray,” singer Elin Kastlander opens, but what follows is nothing stale or ritual. The world is one of monochrome creep filled with white bodies who are even injected by needle with white goop that leaks out of their ears. The chorus, "All white everything, from my face to my wings…from my face to my sins," is epic and expelled like a warning. In structure and melody the song is compelling, perhaps JJ’s best work to date.

Still, the creepiest facet lies in their rendering of whiteness as pureness, a trope that perpetuates white supremacy. Placed in the context of JJ’s R&B influence and collaborators like Ne-Yo, whiteness from face to wings and the construct of a world without brown bodies is uncomfortable and misguided at best. Find the video for “All White Everything” and a horrific trailer for their new album V below. V is out August 19th on Secretly Canadian/Sincerely Yours.


 
 
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Suno Deko “Bluets”

01 Jul 2014 — Tonje Thilesen

We're excited to be releasing the debut EP of Atlanta based, solo pop project Suno Deko, aka one-man wonder David Courtright, over at our NFOP curated imprint Stratosfear. Thrown Color EP is out July 22, with "Bluets" and the title track, "Thrown Color" on 7" LTD colored vinyl. "Bluets" just premiered with our friends over at The Fader earlier today — a subtle, yet undeniably catchy pop song, spawned from Courtright's pellucid ability to make everyone around him feel loved and unique: or maybe that's just my own, slightly naïve image of his music, seen from the perspective as a friend. Either way, we're pretty sure you will enjoy this. 

David Courtright recently performed at Hundred Waters' mini festival and record release weekend in the desert community of Arcosanti, Arizona, alongside Majical Cloudz, How To Dress Well, Kodak To Graph and Julie Byrne, and is set to tour with Mutual Benefit in the fall, plus additional shows with Hundred Waters and How To Dress Well. Check out the tour dates below, and don't forget to pre-order the EP/vinyl over at our bandcamp page. No pressure, though we would very much appreciate it (cough). 

7/01/14- Atlanta – The Earl *
9/8/14 – Atlanta – Terminal West ^
10/18/14 – Tucson, AZ – Club Congress %
10/19/14 – Albuquerque, NM – House show %
10/21/14 – Austin, TX – Red 7 %
10/22/14 – Dallas, TX – Club Dada %
10/23/14 – Norman, OK – Opolis %
10/24/14 – Fayetteville, AR – House show %
10/25/14 – Kansas City, MI – Czar %
10/26/14 – Columbia, MO – House show %
10/27 /14 – St. Louis, MO – Luminary Arts %
10/28/14 Louisville, KY Zanzabar
10/30/14 Pittsburgh, PA Club Cafe

* = w/ Hundred Waters, GEMS
^ = w/ How To Dress Well
% = w/ Mutual Benefit

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Watch: Quiltland “A Billion Know”

25 Jun 2014 — Henning Lahmann

A forthcoming release of the music by Stockholm-based one-woman project Quiltland was first announced by London-based imprint Astro:Dynamics well more than a year ago, and while we cannot say what took all involved parties so long, the passage of time has definitely not deminished the appeal of Frida Li Lövgren muffled synth pop. The ten-track LP collects three older tunes by the artist, the best most well-known being "Days", accompanied by six new arrangements and a remix by acclaimed fellow Swedish artist (and friend) 1991. Watch the premiere of the visuals for album track "A Billion Know" below, a video that fittingly complements the track's wistfully dreamy atmosphere with some standard elements of the North (aurora borealis!) – plus wild horses, and quite a few of them.

Quiltland's self-titled debut LP is out via Astro:Dynamics on June 30. It's preceded by a likewise recommended limited cassette named Sisto, which is available now over here.

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Half Waif “Ceremonial”

24 Jun 2014 — Henry Schiller

“Ceremonial” is a brief (but stunning) showcase of Celtic melodies, delivered as mystic gospel by the significant singing voice of Nandi Rose Plunkett, who records music as Half Waif. The Brooklyn singer seems to hang her coat on some rung between the lulling grace of a new age artist like Enya and the jarring discomfitures of academic composition.

An ancient folk song from an era when aurochs charged through subway, “Ceremonial” is awash in a stunning blend of neolithic imagery and postmodern anguish. Plunkett’s lyrics track the small, almost ceremonial repetitions associated with the everyday failings of everyday relationships. “Ceremonia"l presents a longing for a mystic, sea-drenched cove in which one may finally rid oneself of such petty little cycles of failure.

Half Waif is currently working on her debut full-length album KOTEKAN with producer Devin Greenwood.

 

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Ellie Herring “Cool It”

23 Jun 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

Getting excited about Ellie Herring, who is proving to be quite prolific, is not a new thing for us. Check out this new track, complete with showy and fun artwork. Could just be me, but I think there's something both awesome and playful afoot here.

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Ambrose “Citadel Passage” (exclusive)

23 Jun 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Emerging out of Montreal's apparently inexhaustible pool of interesting synth pop acts, duo Ambrose aka Sonia Thomson and JB Valiquette strike a sweeter and more vivid tone than some of their local contemporaries, most conspiciously labelmates Gold Zebra. Ambrose's debut EP Spanish Boomerang follows their hometown scene's trajectory of minimalist synth pop that could have been written some 30 years ago. Listen to EP track "Citadel Passage" below, a wistful, meticulously arranged gem that serves as an alluring introduction to the duo's music.

Spanish Boomerang is out June 30 via Visage Musique.

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El Mahdy Jr. “Gasba Grime” (exclusive)

23 Jun 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Rarely ever more than one step away from getting lost in exoticist kitsch and a consequence of living in a veritable 21st century melting pot at best, or an impact of the colonialist mindset of the Empire at worst, appropriation of Middle and Far Eastern sonic elements has always been a popular tool among producers in the United Kingdom. Against this backdrop, the emergence of artists such as Istanbul's Gantz or Algerian-born and now likewise based in Turkey's largest metropolis El-Mahdi Rezoug is more than just refreshing – it's nothing less than an eye-opener. The latter's work as El Mahdy Jr. is hands down one of the most exciting discoveries of 2014, although we happily admit that we're rather late; coming across the producer for the first time in January when hearing the flipside of Gantz's Spry Sinister 12" for Deep Medi, the menacing dubstep collaboration "Rising", others had already acclaimed El Mahdy's stunning conflation of oriental tropes and western styles after Portland, Oregon imprint Boomarm Nation had dropped the terrific The Spirit of Fucked Up Places in the summer of last year, a collection of the artist's productions of the past three years (followed by RAÏ DUBS in January).

However, it is the recently released Gasba Grime EP that has brought El Mahdy Jr. to wider and well-deserved attention beyond insider circles. His most accomplished release yet, Gasba Grime gathers four new tracks – accompanied by a Killing Sound remix of "Lost Bridge" – that show compelling diversity and a wide range of influences. While all tunes are worthwhile, it's the title track that's probably most interesting, as El Mahdy's employment of samples could almost be considered a counter-appropriation of time-proven elements of western electronic music. Contemporaneously with a stuttering, likely Arabic vocal sample, a dominant dub siren pierces through the mix; a little later, English vocals, perhaps originating from a raggae or dub 7", set in, resulting in a perplexing melange of contradicting sounds, all set against an aptly fractured and discomforting beat. Listen to "Gasba Grime" exclusively below.

The Gasba Grime EP is out on Geneva's Danse Noire. Get it here or here before they're all gone. Highly recommended.

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Conveyor “Theme XIII”

20 Jun 2014 — Henry Schiller

Last December, Brooklyn art rock / guitar manipulation act Conveyor composed their own score for George Lucas’ THX 1138 (1971) and performed it live alongside two midnight screenings of the film at Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema. The score was subsequently recorded (live) at Bushwick DIY space Silent Barn, and the resultant album, Prime, is set for a July release.

“Theme XIII” is based predominantly around a violent swell of gravelly guitars, which seem to suggest the mounting of significant tension. This tension is brought to the fore by the repetition of a single note that sounds more like the twang of a bowstring releasing an arrow than the methodical plucking of a guitar string. Meanwhile, drums crash into a workmanlike frenzy, echoing the resilience and efficiency of German proto-postpunkers Neu!

Eventually, the track bursts into all out war: the gravel is raining down like the hailstorms you hear about on the news that allegedly result in totaled cars and cracked skulls. The bowstrings tighten into a vicious friction and fire in grand, harmonic chorus against the gates of their previous austerity. THX 1138 is an Orwellian tale about the chaos of conformity in a not-so-distant future; “Theme XIII” feels like a piece of Iron Age military equipment being thrown at the screen of the theater in disgust at what humanity might become.

Prime is out July 15 on Gold Robot Records.

 

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