New Music Friday 2/16/18

Thank God It’s New Music Friday!

Here is the sixth volume of our favorite releases this week. Feel free to contact us with some of your top tunes on our social media! Music is the motive. You can find the following projects on most music retailers & distributors including Apple Music, Spotify, Youtube, iTunes, Amazon Music, etc.

Frank Ocean – “Moon River”

Frank Ocean delivers a haunting cover of the infamous Breakfast at Tiffany’s ballad, “Moon River.” In pure Frank fashion, those flawless falsettos carry the song to new heights.

Zo – Born 2 Ball LP

Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers drops a banger-filled album that no one saw coming. We definitely didn’t see it coming, but what a time it is to be alive.

Khalid, Normani – “Love Lies”

Beach House – “Lemon Glow”

Beach House shares their first single with the world off their upcoming seventh studio album. The song plays in similar haunting fashion to the Beach House we know, love, and cry to all so well.

6LACK – “Cutting Ties”

Blood Orange – Black History

In honor of Black History Month, Blood Orange blesses us with two singles – “Christopher & 6th” and “JUNE 12TH” – both complete with his impeccable vocals and innovative sound.

Tinashe, Future – “Faded Love”

Tinashe and Future team up for yet another dynamic track together oozing sexual tension and desire, perfect for this month of love.

Keep an eye out next Friday for our seventh volume of our favorite releases!

Palm - Rock Island

Guitar music is in a peculiar place right now. At the very least, it’s in another transition period. If there is any one band in 2018 to commandeer that transition, it is Palm.

A band turning guitar music completely on its head, Palm consists of four Philly-based musicians, forming at a liberal arts college in New York City. Their incorporation of electronics and unconventional sounds in their music made their last EP Shadow Expert ear-candy for anyone bored with the trite delay-smothered tremolo picking that comprises many similar guitar-based genres. Bassist Gerasmisos Livistano and drummer Hugo Stanley’s ability to seamlessly spring between an air-tight lock to a buoyant sprint deconstructs rock/guitar music from it’s base- providing the bedrock for guitarists/vocalists Eve Alpert and Kasra Kurt’s experimentation.

Some might call it art rock, some call it math rock- it’s all semantics. Where most math rock/art rock bands call it a day in their experimentation, it’s Palm’s morning coffee. A group truly pushing the musical envelope, Rock Island is already one of the year’s standout releases.

Palm band members
Palm, courtesy of their bandcamp

The three singles released for Rock Island make up the first three tracks of the album, making the rest of the album a fresh listen for those who followed the build-up to the LP. The deceleration at the end of “Dogmilk” serves as a fantastic precursor for the rest of the record, leading into “Forced Hand”, Rock Island’s most stark example of their “rock music backwards” sentiment. The whole track feels like it was written in reverse; accents placed opposite where they’re anticipated, instruments dancing around the stereo field freely.  About a minute and a half through the track, the light breaks through the clouds briefly to allow Alpert to bask in the warm sun before returning to the turbulent swirl of the verses.

The unpredictable shuffles in rhythm/feel during the instrumental “Theme from Rock Island” make the track standout as more than a segue to the back half of the record. The back half of the record provides some of Palm’s most intricate work (“Bread”), which is noteworthy considering their catalog. The horn section and claps during “Swimmer”, the album’s most accessible track, provide relief between the rhythmic jogs of “Color Code” and “Heavy Lifting.” Kurt’s yearning line “All I do is make believe you’re mine” gives way to gleaming electronics, reminiscent of closed eyes looking at the sun on a beach.

The album’s climax, “Heavy Lifting,” starts intricately jaunty, building steadily by the end of the first minute. By the time you think you’re able to start tapping your foot, you’re thrown ten feet deeper into polyrhythms and vividly bright guitars dancing back and forth. A section around 1:40 appears to be your reassurance, until it becomes the driving force you were hiding from. The song gives as much as it takes- as soon as you think you’re out of the thick, you’ve entered a section twice as complex. The push and pull of this track in particular makes it Palm’s most ambitious yet.

Few bands have pushed the genre forward in the past five years as Palm has. At no point does Palm compromise complexity for accessibility, and it works incredibly well in their favor. Palm’s ability to give, take, and utterly surprise is what might save guitar music.

Shopping - The Official Body

Post-punk may as well be one of the few lingering genres that actively bridge old and new through the most engaging and strident methods attainable. The tightly-coiled basslines, unbendable rhythmic power, and decades-long minimalist streak never fall short of skillful and knotty songsmith. In the eyes of Shopping, London’s 21st century reincarnate for old stagers like Public Image Ltd and This Heat, post-punk is what dictates their limber pulse and calibrates even the most stingy of their melodies. Professedly accepting the relatively harmless allegation of wearing their influences on their sleeve, the trio retaliates with a breed of dance-friendly, expressionless rock music for audiences of all temperments to admire.

On their third full-length album, The Official Body, Shopping meander through a funk-inspired core with political overtones lagging behind their elastic beats. In its 31-minute duration, the ten snappy numbers successfully intertwine the decompressed urgency of Wire’s Pink Flag with the nihilistic, anti-everything rhetoric bubbling up in today’s youth. There’s a traceable gimmick for each track: de facto frontwoman Rachel Aggs’ barbed and repetitive guitar licks in the spotlight, Andrew Milk’s clear drum exercises chugging faithfully behind, and the band’s apparent propelling force, Billy Easter’s stout basslines holding it all together. Occasionally giving in to alternate means of expending their stockpiled energy, the band taps into playful vocal duality between Aggs and Milk as well as embellishing their otherwise frank compositions with buzzing synthesizer hooks à la Killing Joke. For the most part,The Official Body abides by careful restraints to make its directives transparent to the audience and its energized messages resounding with each listen.

The Official Body band members

Speaking to Bandcamp about these motivations, Aggs conceded, “As a band, it’s really important for us to laugh, and have fun, and to be really silly—that, in itself, is a defiant act.” While Shopping’s closefisted instrumentation often curbs their potential for aggressive defiance, it’s not misguided to label The Official Body as a protest record even if its arrangements cut back rather than climax. The Liquid Liquid akin dance-punk of “Discover” and “New Values” are captivating exceptions to their unswerving technique. Jarring opener “The Hype” kicks the album off with a midtempo stomp while simultaneously leading a youth revolt against classroom conformity and corporal discipline. Treading into empowering territory, “Suddenly Gone” claps back at the society’s inflexibility of acceptance toward queer artists and artists of color. It’s an uphill effort to classify these topics as easy to swallow, but the band’s artful approach channels these frustrations into sophisticated songs of discontent.

While it’s amusing to see bands like Shopping taking the piss and scrutinizing humanity’s regressive traits in the same song, The Official Body inevitably encapsulates our tendencies as members of an imperfect society to guise our anxieties with seemingly convincing façades. “You have a chance to lead the group,” Milk even suggests in the bustling midpoint “Shave Your Head,” advising the listener “it’s not forever” and it “doesn’t matter.” “My Dad’s a Dancer” further disavows a desire to follow a crowd of lurking bigotry with Aggs’ taunting unseen enemies in the pursuit of adversity (“Taking up another space / Do you deserve this? / You wanna take my place?”). It goes to show that in The Official Body, laughter is not only the best medicine against societal ills but a mechanism denying them victory. Shopping deconstructs these uncertain times ushered by one’s individual obligation to confide in their own beliefs instead of falling in line with an antithetical mankind.