Category Archives: top stories

Album of the Day: Jambinai, “ONDA”

In the press materials for Jambinai’s new album ONDA, Lee Ill-woo groused that “most people expect Asian traditional music to make something smooth for yoga or meditation,” suggesting that he sees his band within that lineage, and that others might not. By using archaic folk instruments to make post-rock and black metal—genres that have, coincidentally, also been used for yoga lately—Jambinai have created one of the more unique alchemies in heavy music. What’s more, they’ve acted as South Korea’s national ambassadors at both Coachella and the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter closing ceremony, the latter of which makes them the gnarliest and least expected Olympic musical performers since Fuck Buttons. There aren’t too many bigger stages for Jambinai to occupy, but in case there is, their third and best LP, ONDA, can fill it.

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On “Honey,” Lungbutter Breathe New Life Into Montreal’s DIY Scene

Lungbutter

“There’s a lot of creativity here that’s able to flourish in ways I think would be challenging in other cities,” says Joni Sadler, speaking about the freedom that living in Montreal has afforded her post-punk band Lungbutter. “The cost of living is a bit easier, and I think that’s facilitated a pretty longstanding creative energy.” It’s that very climate that the three-piece credits with the space they needed to write and record their debut album, Honey.

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This Week’s Essential Releases: Drone Rock, Post-Techno, Soul And More

7 essential

Welcome to Essential Releases, our weekly roundup of the best music on Bandcamp. Each week, we’ll recommend crucial new albums that were released between last Friday and this Friday, plus pick an older LP from the stacks that you may have missed.

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Album of the Day: Psalm One, “FLIGHT OF THE WIG”

Back in the early 2000s, Psalm One pivoted from pursuing a career as a biochemist to paying dues on Chicago’s underground hip-hop scene, eventually signing to the Rhymesayers label after Eyedea caught wind of the dexterous MC’s music. Her latest release, FLIGHT OF THE WIG, is a thoroughly modern hip-hop outing that bristles with metallic rhythms and timely socio-political quips. Recorded in Minneapolis, where Psalm One relocated in search of creative change, the project’s beats are served up by a roster of producers including Optiks, who’s previously worked with Talib Kweli and Homeboy Sandman, and fellow Twin Cities representer Icetep. Collectively, they deliver bass-heavy backdrops that smartly veer towards the minimal, allowing Psalm One’s voice ample space.

On FLIGHT OF THE WIG, the rapper tackles identity politics—”I’m knowing some legends got penises / But I’m standing right here and I pee when I sit,” she raps on “WWIV”—and, on “Rock & Roll McDonaldz,” social media (“Ignorance is bliss and ain’t no fun being Twitter woke”). These big-picture takes contrast with nuanced tales of relationship woes. On “The Impossible Lover,” she laments a tryst that doesn’t allow her to be true to herself. Her rhymes flow in a swinging, scat-like fashion, as she declares: “I love you but I need to let it be / I gotta change, it’s really killing me.” FLIGHT OF THE WIG is a poignant, punchy hip-hop record, a sharp portrait of one of hip-hop’s most emotive and incisive voices.

-Philip Mlynar

The Best Hip-Hop On Bandcamp: May 2019

The 10 most essential hip-hop projects to land on Bandcamp during the month of May include a psychedelic, Jack Kerouac-inspired ramble through Los Angeles, a set of street-centric dispatches delivered from Niagara Falls, and a livewire release from one of Danny Brown’s closest allies. We also check in with an indigenous rap duo from Vancouver packing heritage-forward lyrics.

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Album of the Day: Plastic Mermaids, “Suddenly Everyone Explodes”

Psychedelia traditionally implies a break from reality, a means for artists to escape the humdrum nature of everyday existence and defy the laws of linear logic. But for Plastic Mermaids, real life is bewildering enough. On their debut full-length, Suddenly Everyone Explodes, the Isle of Wight band overwhelm with shapeshifting, sensory-overloading pop songs that siphon their restless irreverence from the masters of modern psychedelic rock: the confetti-blasting splendor of The Flaming Lips, the future-shocked freakery of the Super Furry Animals, the mischievous melodies of the weirder MGMT records. But amid the holiday-parade majesty of “1996” and motorik folk-rock of “I Still Like Kelis,” you’ll find tender treatises on the difficulties of finding and maintaining meaningful connections in the digital age.

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This Week’s Essential Releases: Anatolian Psych, Black Metal, Punk And More

7 essential

Welcome to Essential Releases, our weekly roundup of the best music on Bandcamp. Each week, we’ll recommend crucial new albums that were released between last Friday and this Friday, plus pick an older LP from the stacks that you may have missed.

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Album of the Day: Mavis Staples, “We Get By”

Mavis Staples has never shied away from making a statement, going all the way back to the raw vocal power and unshakeable commitment of The Staple Singers’ 1965 civil rights anthem “Freedom Highway.” The records she’s been making on ANTI for the last 15 years — the overt examples being We’ll Never Turn Back and If All I Was Was Black — have been increasingly oriented toward raising consciousness and, considering our country’s current state, we need Staples’ fiery forward momentum more than ever.

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