Photography by Magdalena Krzyzanowski
Photography by: Claire Gunville
Photo: Erez Avissar // @weirdmagique
A heavy-hitting lineup of Actress, Forest Swords, and UMFANG graced the stage May 10 at Mercury Lounge. We hope you made it. If not, relive the magic and check out dreamy shots from the atmospheric night generously provided by Erez Avissar.Read More
Ben Katzman, the impresario behind BUFU records has an insatiable love for rock n roll. His solo project, Ben Katzman’s DeGreaser, is his primary outlet for his playful and absurdist take on rock tropes. We Bled to Shred is the newest record from the band—a heavy metal concept EP in which DIY rock is threatened by a musical machine beast called the Bloggernaut, which uses evil show promoters and publicists to undermine the scene. This record finds Ben Katzman in good company, backed up members of American Nightmare, Guerrilla Toss, and Diamond Plate. The EP’s title track is its first single, a two minute battle cry of NWBHM inspired metal, complete with finger tapped guitar breaks and double stopped riffs. The song isn’t exactly victorious—its reflection a life of grueling touring that often seems to offer little in return. But Katzman finds some pride and justification when he barks that he and his DeGreaser have bled to shred. It's hard not to believe him.
Check out the track below. We Bled to Shred is out June 30th on BUFU Records.
On Olden Goldies, Tall Juan mixes things up. The ecstatic rock n’ roll stylings of his latest transmission on BUFU Records resonate with the playfully inverted title of the record: on Olden Goldies, Argentinian-born Far-Rockaway transplant Tall Juan mines a sound reminiscent of the golden oldies of AM radio scuzz—but, not without reverence, warps the sound and structure of a racially and sonically exclusive genre with his Spanish lyrics and casual brashness. This nonchalantly progressive attitude, always tinged with a cocksure enthusiasm, colors the resplendent Olden Goldies with an insouciance tinged with loss and hardship—of drug addiction, heartbreak, and immigration—that Juan bats away with a grin. But beneath this grin scratches, yelps, and yawps Juan’s inimitable voice, a testament to both his Latin roots and his new digs in Queens.
Ranging from a youthful squeal on “Time Bomb” to the soaring spaciousness on the reconciliatory “Kaya” to the introspective melodiousness on slow-burning closer “Take Your Time,” Juan’s versatile voice jaunts with the listener through a rollicking subway ride around Juan’s geographies and relationships. Although Tall Juan may “not know what to do” as he maintains on “I Don’t Know What To Do,” our next step, as listeners of Olden Goldies, is clear: to canonize Juan along with the rockstars of the golden oldies, celebrating both his virtuosity—comparable to classic rock’s standard-bearers—and his visionary rejuvenation of a dormant genre.
On Big French's debut Downtown Runnin, songwriter Quentin Moore’s voice rarely dips from a falsetto and every available space is spackled with manic electric guitar work. After four years, the group's forthcoming LP sees them paring back a bit, but they're nevertheless managing the strangest diversions and insights while keeping tightly tethered to pop. Recorded on reel-to-reel with help from keyboardist Zach Phillips (of OSR Tapes and many affiliated projects), Big French’s Stone Fish is intimate, still manic but more quietly so, with Phillips’ contribution beaming through the mix and the instrumentation. On the warm two-minute “Apartments For The West,” Moore and Phillips fall into a steady, mostly soft groove. This time, Moore’s voice is proximal to the song, the thing around which all the little computer blips and horn intrusions clamber. His language is sing-songy but dense, mutating line by line like a Stein poem: “They’re planning an apartment for the west / they’re sealing new apartments for the west / they’re shielding new apartments for the west / crawling through the window drawing breath.” As the voice seesaws, the thought wanders beyond gentrification, hitting even closer to home—"Thy will be done," Moore had sung in the first minute, and subtle intimations of death and afterlife continue to creep in. "Your sill is an apartment for the west," and you've become the target of a larger plan.
Haunting harmonies drifting through a deep foggy night, the eerie vocals of L.A.'s Dimples begin to tug away at your insides. Their new LP Whimpers on Nicey Music is a collection of cerebral folk music floating atop smoke signals only to be confused for a mirage. Their meticulously designed campfire soundscapes seem to evaporate out of their souls, appearing and vanishing into thin air. “Chains of Shame” bleeds a raw emotion that lingers even after the sounds dissipate. Dimples weave a droning melody that is met with their hypnotically soothing voices. In the video for “Chains of Shame” presented by Giraffe Studios, an old man wearing a cowboy hat wanders down an empty highway. His suit is adorned with rhinestones and decorated to look like a skeleton. He sings along to "Chains of Shame" as he carries himself along this endless highway, hovering like a ghost.
El Murki’s Breakeadito hurdles along at a ludicrous speed. From the very first locomotive kicks of “Kagemusha S.A.” to the slippery juke stutter of “160 Tranqui,” a tilting inertia propels each fragmentary transmission that composes this album from the Argentinian producer otherwise known as Leandro Ramirez. At this streaking velocity, the sounds—ranging from synth squeaks to vocal shards—atomize into discrete blips, components of the stuttering pastiche formulated by El Murki’s goofball poetics. In this state of overdrive, the quantized particles of Breakeadito highlight “Kahn” smear into a chromatic spectrality textured by sputters and pings. And it’s a sumptuous, though overwhelming, texture. But what sticks here isn’t necessarily the full weight of the variegated onslaught but the twinkling moments, always-already receding from the Buenos Aires-based producer’s fecund momentum. As an exercise in truncation and reassembly, Breakeadito seems to grasp at an ecstatic futurity—a resplendent vision of a joyous Latin American reality.
Breakeadito is out May 5 on Orange Milk.