Louisville Kentucky’s Coliseum are making post-punk indie rock that would fit nicely on an episode of 120 Minutes in the year 1995. Love it or hate it, the band’s new album, House With a Curse, comes out on Temporary Residence on June 22. J. Robbins produced, and guests include Will Oldham. Listen to “Blind in One Eye” here.
MIA’s new video for the song “Born Free” is supposed to be a fiery polemic against government oppression, genocide, discrimination, and other serious matters, but, in America at least, her vision (or the director’s) seems to have more in common with the Teabagger movement than anything remotely liberal.
In the video, a dark dystopian fantasy is revealed in which the government rounds up a bunch of gingers, takes them out to the desert, and slaughters them in beautiful slow-mo. A powerful statement, no doubt, but one more along the lines of death panels, Obama-Hitler analogies, threat of the government banning fishing, and other delusional paranoid fantasies that do more to distract than to effect change.
I do not believe MIA or any other musician should be criticized too harshly for expressing their views on anything, as intelligent or inane as they may be, because as influential as you may think they are, they are still just pop artists at their core. The tradition of art intermingling with politics is a long and good one. But let’s be real about MIA’s take on this and other issues – her methods are provocative, not dialectic. Yes, there is a place for that, but let’s not kid ourselves about how important she and her music is.
Preceding his forthcoming release The R.E.D. Album, due out June 15th, The Game and DJ Skee have released a mixtape, The Red Room. I haven’t heard it yet, so let’s all listen together. Download it here.
I’m still not quite sure what to make of Harmony Korine’s new feature, Trash Humpers. Read my review for Blurt and watch the trailer below, and you still won’t have any idea. Watch the film when it comes out on May 7, and you might not be any better off.
Harmony Korine‘s new film, Trash Humpers, is either a put-on or performance art, but it’s definitely not a narrative and it’s dubious as to whether there’s even any meaning to the film, such as it is. That is not to say it is without value, I suppose, but it’s sure to divide evenly between admirers and haters. So sure, that perhaps it’s almost too easy to dismiss this bizarre new feature from the one-time Werner Herzog protégé. There is no doubt that Korine knew what he was up to.
The director summed it up quite succinctly in the press release: “A film unearthed from the buried landscape of the American nightmare, Trash Humpers follows a small group of elderly ‘peeping Toms’ through the shadows and margins of an unfamiliar world.” In layman’s terms, that means a couple of guys and one girl, including Korine himself (who is behind the camera most of the time), dressed up as old people and humping trash, screeching, destroying shit, and talking and singing nonsense.
The film is shot in the style of an old VHS tape, often falling out of tracking and occasionally superimposing “rewind” or “pause” over the images. The visual quality, the summertime Nashville at night setting, and the burn-victim makeup of the main characters bring The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to mind, as these old, pervy Leatherfaces go about their business. John Waters, Herzog’s Heart of Glass,Jackass, and Lars Von Trier’s The Idiots also seem to be points of reference.
It’s hard to imagine that this film would even be under discussion if Korine did not make it, whose hipster cred and provocative reputation are both his blessing and his bane. Amidst all the simultaneously repellant and hypnotic images of humping trash cans, destroying baby dolls, and eating pancakes covered with dish soap lies a deeper meaning. Maybe. Maybe Trash Humpers is a statement on the destructive nature of American society, our tendency to waste pretty much everything, the white trash Southern Gothic, and the decaying wasteland of suburban heartland America. Then again, maybe it’s just a piece of trash.
Necro is basically up the same old, same old on his new song, “asBESTos,” off of his forthcoming album, DIE! That means horror-core over a sinister beat built upon a piano line with rhymes about the Virgin Mary covered in elephant dung and “the fag Frodo.” Want more? Listen here.
Black Moth Super Rainbow member Tobacco has a new album coming out on May 25th, Maniac Meat (anticon). And apparently Beck is a fan, since he appears on the song “Fresh Hex” – it sounds kind of like an experimental outtake from Loser. Listen here.
Dudley Perkins aka Declaime is illlllllllll. Yes, ill. He’s got a new album, Fonk, coming out this May on his own label, SomeOthaShip Connect, and you can listen to the first single, “Fame,” right here.
Texas’ Indian Jewelry have a new record coming out on May 11 called Totaled courtesy of We Are Free. Apparently, their work in a Prince cover band called Diamonds+Pearls played a big part in the sound of the album. See if you can hear it on the track ”Oceans” here.
Bonobo (presumably known as Simon Green to his mother), has crafted a triumph of a new album. On Black Sands, the producer/musician has combined the sounds of forward-thinking electronic music and moody acid jazz into an orgy of slinky live and programmed instruments. These aren’t the typical downbeat instrumentals you used to hear in the background of VW commercials. This is exciting, vibrant, electric production that doesn’t necessarily require a close listen, but rewards you if you do decide to pay special attention.
The album’s opener, “Kiara,” (it is actually preceded by “Kiara Prelude,” but it’s really all one song) features beautifully cinematic strings flaring up over an icy electro beat, a perfect example of what Bonobo is able to achieve here. From there, “Kong” takes a decidedly more organic approach, with a fairly traditional jazz construction anchored by a swinging breakbeat.
Let’s stop right here with the descriptions, because without listening to the actual music, this kind of sounds like run-of-the-mill mid’90s trip-hop. It isn’t.Black Sands, whether frantically intertwining guitar and bass riffs (“We Could Forever”) or taking a breather with the excellent singer Andreya Triana doing her thing over a smoky vamp, is a success. Kudos to Bonobo for being able to resurrect acid jazz, rightfully written off by many as boring and dead, and breathe some vibrant new life into it.
Judging by their name, Canadian quartet Cobblestone Jazz would have you think you’re in for an improvisational, free-spirited musical experience. The group’s new album, The Modern Deep Left Quartet, however, is a soulful but meticulously planned out mixtape-style excursion into deep house and techno. It’s not exactly jazz, but the group does manage to infuse a sometimes-austere genre with a great deal of heart and warmth.
Occasionally, the album does come close to the realm of acid jazz, or at least flirts with lithe, jazzy licks (see “Sun Child”). But it’s the darker moments that really shine through, such as the fast-paced descending bassline of “Mr. Polite.” Similarly, “Cromagnon Man” veers away from the blissed-out smoothness of much of the album into Krautrock territory, bringing harsh, stabbing electro bass over a minimal 4/4 beat. “Fiesta” is also a standout track, another dark techno beat repetitively pulsating but never falling into tedium.
Cobblestone Jazz toe the line between icy acid techno and deep house, showcasing the best of both worlds in the process. It’s good to hear some talented producers infusing life into a genre that so easily goes stagnant.
Wartime Blues hail from Missoula, Montana, or thereabouts, and are making some earnestly sung indie-folk-rock. Vocalist Nate Hegyi has something of an Isaac Brock bark, and the music is relatively simple sounding for an octet, but that’s not a bad thing. Listen to their new single, “Youth,” here.