Everything about "Catching an L" is oversaturated. From the overexposed colors that bleed in and out of the dizzying video to the meandering horn that blares over a whirlwind drum performance, the first song off Greg Fox's upcoming full-length The Gradual Progression projects a sonic and visual landscape as engaging as it is overwhelming. The result is, quite literally, a trip: the video depicts a 4-wheeler excursion across a rocky apline landscape, and the track doesn't sound much different. Synths jab, cymbals shriek, and unidentifiable sounds shiver in and out of the frame as a loungy horn skronk seems to conduct the assemblage.
It's an enthralling, overstimulating peek into Greg Fox's world, an ever-expanding cosmos soon to be slipping into free jazz and black metal on the upcoming Ex Eye album, a collaboration with saxophonist Colin Stetson. With its honk and propulsion, "Catching an L" forecasts both the freewheeling experimentation of Greg Fox's solo work and the abstract heaviness of Ex Eye. It's a colorful and hallucinatory transmission from one of experimental music's foremost technicians.
Catch Greg Fox play with Ex Eye at Saint Vitus August 8 for one of the jazzy metal four-piece's first shows ever, and be sure to prepare by listening to the groups self-titled debut, out now on Relapse.
Princess Nokia flexes on "G.O.A.T." And she deserves it, too: coming off the explosive 1992 mixtape and riding high on a worldwide fanbase cemented by a blistering world tour, the New York rapper has earned a ride on her own coattails. And if the accompanying video for "G.O.A.T.," Destiny Frasqueri's first track since 1992, is any indication, Princess Nokia is enjoying her life at the top. Lounging on the three-wheel Polaris Slingshot as comfortably as she luxuriates over Wally West's icy throne of a beat, Frasqueri issues one-liners like edicts from a gold-bedecked (and gold-betoothed) monarch. Clad in "skinny jeans and a studded belt," Princess Nokia reminds us that she's become "that weird girl that's running shit."
When she stares at the camera and declares that she "changed rap forever, man," it's no coincidence that she includes the word "man." Eyes directed at the male-dominated, patriarchal industry, Frasqueri sets her sights on label bosses and other suits that stifle and marginalize femme voices, and brandishes normative signifiers of both masculinity and femininity to explode them both. Atop the rubble s[p]its Princess Nokia, festooned with a Yankees Cap and Air Force Ones.
Kill Alters slithers. On "Ego Swim," a cut from their upcoming record No Self Helps via Hausu Mountain, the Brooklyn three-piece shapeshifts across sounds and signifiers, swimming atop squealing synths and slippery drums. As Bonnie Baxter's voice curdles over drummer Hisham Bharoocha's contorting rhythms, Kill Alters tickles the ossified limitations of genre: the hyphenation undergirding the category of noise-rock denatures into tildenation as the tilde (~) seems to wriggle out of the stability of the hyphen (-). Noise-rock, on "Ego Swim," becomes noise~rock—and the relationships between genres get a little trickier, a little more devious. The video that accompanies the bleating track captures the shameless instability at play on "Ego Swim." Fragments of images overlap, converse, and dissolve, depicting decontextualized neon signs, abandoned buildings, and big masks—sometimes all at once. Perhaps the most disturbing splices are the most resonant with the sonics of the track: footage of what appears to be Bonnie Baxter faceswapped with different people and things haunts the video and casts and eerie unrecognizability on the face of the song itself. Disfigured by these ill-fitting faces—from that of a pig to one smeared with makeup—Bonnie Baxter becomes an emblem of the song itself, less uncharacterizable as it is liminal, polymorphous. In its tortorous fluidity, "Ego Swim" isn't a dip into a kiddie pool but a nosedive into a whirlpool.
On Tuesday June 6, Elysia Crampton, Moor Mother, and Total Freedom joined forces to play an incredible series of noisy sets—as haunting as they were moving. Erez Avissar was there to capture the aura of the wonderful night.
Prickly and polyrhythmic, Palm's "Shadow Expert" bristles and clangs. On the second track off their eponymous EP and upcoming Carpark debut, the Philadelphia-based four piece tumble even deeper into their bizarro corner of mathy art rock. Its ersatz drum patterns and guitar spikes interlocked in an unstable, impossibly complex lattice, the song seems buoyed only by Eve Albert's airy vocals. It's sharply effervescent and charmingly evanescent.
Before the band's June 23 release show with Palberta, Palm shared an expansive playlist with personal commentary for each track. Parse Palm's vast range of inspiration, from DJ Rashad to Broadcast, below a stream of "Shadow Expert."
Julien Bracht and Markus Nikolaus of Lea Porcelain wield massive sounds, from grandstanding synth melodies to explosive drum beats. Exploding across Europe, the duo has—through highly sought-after live performances and a few tracks on Spotify—already amassed a dedicated following ensorceled by their huge tracks. Snippets into their enormous and expanding world, glowing synth-heavy tracks from "A Year From Here" to "Bones" possess an ecstatic grandiosity that flex Markus' sweeping vocals and Julien's tingly compositions. In anticipation of their upcoming release Hymns to the Night, AdHoc caught Julien and Markus to discuss their process, their backgrounds, and their plans—plans nearly as colossal as their music. Read the interview and get swallowed up in the heady expansiveness of Lea Porcelain, a sumptuous universe unto itself.
Could you speak to the story behind the new record? What kind of narrative does it create?
Markus Nikolaus: The album creates the narrative of a journey. It makes you wander through certain moods and it will start to paint a picture in your mind. Rrom beginning to end, you will be left with various narratives: one of the uprising, the rebellious, the roadtripping, the adventurous, the naughty, the melancholic, the sad and the lonely in addition to one of the hopeful, the cheerful, the uplifting, the positive and the optimistic view that this life, no matter how hard, is worth living under any circumstance—because everything is an experience worth living and there is no negative or positive. Everything is in balance, and there are just experiences to be made—and that is what our album is: an experience one has to make.
What were you thinking about when going into record the full-length?
Markus: We didn't think at all. We just started writing to escape the projects we were in by the time. The idea was very simple. Free approach, no pressure, a lot of vine and no borders. That's it! And as we started, we felt how much fun it was and we just kept writing and writing for weeks and months until we realized that we had really created something here. Then we quit everything else and just concentrated on Lea Porcelain.
Under the banner of the Orbiting Human Circus (of the Air), Julian Koster has assembled an unprecedented mixed-medium project consisting of a beloved podcast and zany live show featuring Koster's orchestral indie pop groupThe Music Tapes and narrated from the perspective of an imaginative janitor of the Eiffel Tower. A member of the ersatz Elephant Six collective, creator Koster has performed with Neutral Milk Hotel and Black Swan Network in addition to releasing music under his own name. Before his orbiting troupe touches down in Brooklyn Bazaar June 4, AdHoc caught the multi-talented Koster for a glimpse into his giddy world.
AdHoc: We’re really excited for the show—it’s pretty unlike anything we’ve hosted before. Could you tell us a little about the story behind the podcast?
Julian Koster: Sure, in the podcast, a janitor of the Eiffel Tower is our hero—if you can use that word in relation to him. But you don’t need to know a thing about the podcast or ever have heard it to see the live show—it’s kind of a show in its own right, designed for someone who’s just walking in the door.
And in that show, the janitor is actually hired to clean that night’s venue, so the janitor’s been hired to clean the Brooklyn Bazaar, and he’s there alone, in the middle of the night, cleaning—or trying to clean—or cleaning badly. And he’s imagining the stage that’s there and [that] the lights are there, and he’s imagining putting on a show he’s done all his life since he was a kid. He’s imagining an audience, and that’s you. And so, when you walk in the door, you’re walking into the Brooklyn Bazaar all empty, being cleaned and worked on, and you’re in his imagination. So it’s almost sort of like walking into a circus in a janitor’s imagination in the middle of the night and none of it’s actually happening—but it is happening, all over the Brooklyn Bazaar.
"LILT" begins with funerary horns lurching over skittering snare shots. As this introduction foretells, "LILT" itself plays out as an exercise in extremes—juxtaposition, syncopation, and tension tremble across the turbulent surface of Mike Lockwood's new record on Driftless Recordings, BONEPOCKET. Described by the label as Lockwood's "debut instrumental album as a composer," the record also marks a stylistic departure for Driftless as the "first true Jazz release amongst many ambient / instrumental / experimental releases."
Rife with clamoring instrumentation and bombastic contrasts, "LILT" soundtracks a breaking of new ground, both in terms of Lockwood's personal progress as a composer and in purely sonic terms: "LILT" sounds like nothing else. Growing out of the quivering start, clarinets, saxophones, bass, and jazz guitar swell into focus, swirling into a disjunct latticework of competing sounds. As this assemblage reaches its sqeualing summit, it careens back down to its origin—its original sparsity—collapsing on its impressive yet unstable framework. In this fantastic reversal, Lockwood and his cohort settle back down into a lilt, the delightful horn threnody of the track's beginning. "LILT" reminds us that ecstasy is nice, but so is clarity, so is comfort.
BONEPOCKET, Mike Lockwood's debut on Driftless Recordings is out now. Stream the first track, "LILT," below.
Orchin wades through a sonic bog well-traveled, a soupy mixture of dream pop, shoegaze, and straightahead indie rock inhabited by the likes of Porcelain Raft, Holydrug Couple, and The Radio Dept. Despite the Los Angeles four piece's cheeky categorization of their output as "Unpopular Music", Orchin has purveyed an accessible and familiar sound throughout their relatively small catalog. But on "I Think I," Jeremy McLennan and company muscle their way out of overplayed territory—the track stages the progress of a group charting new acoustic directions and resisting submission to hackneyed dream pop tropes. Simply put, "I Think I" illustrates a band finding its footing on an assured and confidently original sonic grounding.
Eventful and complex, "I Think I" refuses to plod. Much as McLennan "think[s he] would like to try one more time," the song itself surges with a commanding and uplifting drum burst. With the driving drum line and invigorated riff, Orchin motors its way out of milquetoast sluggishness of typical dream pop dolor. Urgency, immediacy, and vitality shove to the front as McLennan repeats the lyric without the previous torpor—as the track comes into its own, so does Orchin, taut with purpose and firing on all cylinders.
Orchin take their determined new sound to Alphaville June 17th, alongside Hellrazor, Model/Actriz, and Maneka. Stream "I Think I" below and check out out Orchin's tour dates under the embed.
Orchin tour dates:
6/2 Los Angeles, CA - Basic Flowers
6/7 Oklahoma City, OK - DIY Venue (Address available week-of)
6/8 Lawrence, KS - Replay Lounge
6/10 St Louis, MO - Foam
6/11 Columbia, MO - PDM
6/12 Chicago, IL - Subterranean
6/13 Lakewood, OH - Mahall's
6/16 Montclair, NJ - Meat Locker
6/17 Brooklyn, NY - Alphaville (Presented by AdHoc)
On Wild Palms, Iguana Moonlight transports the listener out of Ilya Ryazantcev's cold and bustling home of Moscow and into a playground of cosmic isolation. The record, part of a cluster of full-lengths soon to be released on Not Not Fun, proffers a delightful relief from spatial and sonic claustrophobia: in its hazy meanderings, Wild Palms nurtures an unhurried space that sounds truly otherworldly.
The record's final track—"VI"—represents perhaps the most alien transmission from the Russian "bedroom voyager." As found sound of ocean waves plod about the track's woozy atmosphere, a form trickles out of an arpeggiating pattern that gently swells into shape. The result sounds like an excavation, a deep probing of the fissures between each bleep and a spectral analysis of each bloop. But Iguana Moonlight's ethereally "equatorial" conjurings don't fall prey to a reactionary escapism; rather, the extraterrestrial landscapes he hallucinates project an uncanny gut-punch of the sublime, as visceral as it is beautiful. Like the white sand of Ryazantcev's imagined beach, "VI" worms its way into the cracks between toes and lingers there, tickling the skin.
Wild Palms lands June 30, courtesy of Not Not Fun. Step into the cosmic beach of Iguana Moonlight's "VI" below.